Caramelised Onion Cauliflower Tart.

Happy National Coeliacs Day!

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No, I didn’t know about it either until about an hour ago. But naturally I had to embrace it!

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It’s one of my last shifts at work tonight, and my last shift with the sous chef who is a hoot! It’s not going to be the same without him, but we all have uni to go to. Til next summer! However I promised him I’d bake him something tasty (he rather likes my cookies!) so I have baked some carrot cupcakes with orange cream cheese icing for him (recipe to follow soon!). But seeing as I’m wheat intolerant, I can’t have any of it. So it’s only fair that I baked myself something too.

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I told mum what this was and she did not seem impressed. After having her first bite she was hooked. Just because it’s gluten free AND vegan doesn’t mean it’s bland or dry as cardboard – this was delicious! Well, it doesn’t make The Guardian’s Top 10 Cauliflower Recipe list for nothing! I’ve barely changed it, just swapped the walnuts for pecans as a personal preference. Oh, and I replaced the spelt flour with plain old gf flour as it was already in the cupboard. Waste not, want not!

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Ingredients:

For the roasted cauliflower
1 medium-large cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt

For the crust
50g pecans
40g rolled oats
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
A large pinch of black pepper
120g gluten free flour
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to oil the pan
2 tbsp plain soya milk

For the filling
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp sea salt
A pinch of curry powder
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
60g plain soya milk or unsweetened almond milk
Black pepper

To garnish
Lemon zest
Fresh parsley, chopped

1 To roast the cauliflower, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 Toss the florets in olive oil and salt, then arrange evenly on the tray and roast for 30 minutes. Turn each floret over and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the florets are browning.

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3 Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the crust.

4 To make the crust, reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Lightly oil a 22cm tart tin with a removable bottom and set aside.

5 Place the pecans, oats, baking powder, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl, add the flour and mix well. Drizzle in olive oil and mix until evenly distributed. Add the soya milk and mix again. The mixture should hold together when squeezed but not stick to your hands. Add a little more soya milk if it’s too dry.

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6 Press evenly into the prepared tin, trimming excess pastry from the edges. Prick with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

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7 To make the filling, warm the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

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8 Turn the heat down low, add the salt, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until caramelised.

9 Stir in the curry powder, remove from the heat and transfer into a food processor. Add a quarter of the roasted cauliflower, the lemon juice, soya milk and a large pinch of black pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides as necessary.

10 Spread into the prebaked tart shell and arrange the remaining cauliflower on the top. Bake the tart for 30 minutes.

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11 Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before sprinkling with the lemon zest and parsley.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Cups.

I may have fallen off the health wagon with this one.

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But you know what? It was worth it.

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These are bite size (well if you’ve got a huge gob like yours truly) gluten free cups which you can fill with more food! I had it for breakfast with yoghurt, and for dessert with ice cream and chocolate sauce (the latter is obviously more preferable). But if you fancy it, maybe try strawberries (and chocolate) or thick, whole milk with extra chocolate chips (I think there’s a pattern here…). Let me know what you stuff yours with!

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This makes 12, which is quite a lot, so you get to eat more (or share, whatever).

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats

2 Tbsp. flaxseed

sprinkling of salt

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp. peanut butter

1/4 cup rapeseed oil

1 ripe banana, mashed

2 Tsp. vanilla extract

200g chocolate chips (I went for dark but feel free to use milk or even white)

In a large bowl, mix the oats, flaxseed and salt.

In a glass bowl, combine the maple syrup and peanut butter and blast in the microwave on high until it’s bubbling (about 1 min). Add this to the mashed banana, and add in the vanilla extract and rapeseed oil.

Pour these wet ingredients into the dry oat mix and combine – they should be moist but not sticky. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190C and grease your cupcake trays.

Remove the mix from the freezer and stir in the chocolate chips. It does not taste good at this point if you sneakily sample it (of course I did) but do not worry! Divide the mix into the cupcake tins and press from the bottom up so it has a dip in the middle (hence the cup).

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Bake for about 10 minutes and let cool for 5 before taking them out the tray. DO NOT BE IMPATIENT! Or these poor babies will break. And we don’t want that, do we?

Once cooled, remove by gently sliding a knife around the side, then fill with your chosen poison and demolish.

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Gluten Free Coconut and Raspberry Chocolate Fondants.

Does anyone else think GBBO was unfair on Wednesday?

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GBBO to those not in the know is the Great British Bake Off. I love it! Watching them create those masterpieces and how they think some of them up – unbelievable!

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But Wednesday night I was livid. Poor Iain! It wasn’t even his fault – Diana removed his ice cream from the freezer. Why would you do that Diana? Why?!

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So this is my tribute to Iain and their first challenge – the melty sponge. Mine is a helluva lot simpler  (there’s a reason I’m not on GBBO!) but still damn tasty. AND it uses the vegan chocolate from Seed & Bean Coconut and raspberry chocolate. So a winner on all rounds (except for poor Iain).

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And on a side note, I may or may not be having this for breakfast.

Ingredients (for 3 fondants):

85g Seed & Bean Dark Chocolate with Coconut and Raspberry

2 Tbsp. Gluten Free Flour (I used Dove’s)

75g butter

75g caster sugar

1 Tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease 3 ramekins, then melt together the butter and chocolate in a bain marie. Stir, and when it’s melted remove from the heat. Beat the egg with the caster sugar, then add in the vanilla extract and the flour. Fold in the melted chocolate and divide between the ramekins. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove and eat up – perfect with cream! These can be covered in cling film and chilled for up to 2 days, but remove from the fridge at least 45 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

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I tried to tip it out to look all professional but it failed! Let me know if you manage to do it. If not, trust me, it still tastes amazing.

Toffee, Pear and Frangipane Tart.

I have had such a lazy week. I sprained my ankle last Friday (it ballooned up and looked hilarious – if it weren’t so painful it would be funny) and so I’ve not been able to do any exercise. And boredom leads me to eating… It’s a complete reverse of the past few weeks! Thank goodness bootcamp is starting up again next week, else the inches I lost last time will be back for good! Noooooo!

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Anyhoo. This is a showstopper, perfect for a dessert after a dinner party. You can make your own pastry or use store bought – either way, it’s going to taste good. Before making this tart, I did not know how simple it is to make your own toffee sauce! Seriously. It’s two ingredients. I’m never buying it again! Think of the possibilities – dribbling it over popcorn, dipping strawberries into it, eating it with a spoon…

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This uses 4 pears, so that must count as some of your five a day, surely.

Ingredients:

50g butter

3 Tbsp. soft brown sugar

4 pears

300g ready made shortcrust pastry

75g butter

75g caster sugar

1 large egg

25g plain flour

75g ground almonds

Heat the oven to 190C and put a baking tray in the oven. Peel and core each of the pears, then cut each into 8 wedges.

Gently melt the 50g of butter and brown sugar until the sugar has melted. Add the pears and cook them for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Put a sieve over a bowl and tip the pears into it. Set them aside to cool, reserving the toffee sauce.

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Roll the pastry and line a loose-bottomed tart tin. Trim the edges and line the pastry with baking paper and baking beans. Bake for 18 minutes then leave to cool.

Beat the 75g butter with the sugar until soft and fluffy, then beat in the egg, flour and almonds.

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Spread this on the pastry case, then arrange the pears on top.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. When cool pour over the toffee sauce. Serve with cream or ice cream.

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Flaxseed Twists.

In our cul-de-sac, once a month we hold a Ladies Night where we chitchat, drink wine and nibble. And what’s better than nibbling something which is good for you AND tasty? Nada, that’s what. Plus they look cool.

These little gems are perfect dunked in some hummus, or if you’re feeling virtuous serve these alongside a salad instead of croutons.

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I’ve done the flaxseed hype before, but as a quick recap this superfood is gaining a reputation as a food that may reduce risks of certain cancers, as well as cardiovascular disease and lung disease when eaten as part of a healthy diet. So eat up!

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup flaxseed

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 Tsp. baking powder

1 Tsp. salt

1/2 Tsp. black pepper

2 Tsp. garlic powder

1 Tsp. oregano

1/2 cup semi-skimmed milk (or sub dairy-free if you’re vegan)

4 Tbsp. rapeseed oil

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the milk/oil mix into the dry mix and combine with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Dust some flour on a work surface and roll out the dough until it’s about 1/2 cm to 1 cm thick (doesn’t need to be exact).

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Slice it up lengthwise and twist each one.

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Place on greaseproof paper on a baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes depending on your oven, or until slightly browned.

No Bake Quinoa Flapjack Bars.

It was my bootcamp again yesterday, and I needed a boost. Being ill last week I’d missed two sessions, I was really worried I’d be behind, fitness-wise, so I decided to make a flapjack to give me that edge – with a bit of chocolate in, of course. This isn’t low cal, but there’s nothing overly bad in it either, so as long as you eat it in moderation this can be considered fairly healthy (in my eyes..).

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These bars are best chilled as the quinoa can crumble and then these would no longer be flapjack-esque. And I apologise now, the recipe uses American cups as I am now obsessed with my Tala Measuring Cone and it really does make things simpler to use cups instead of grams!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups old fashioned gluten-free oats

1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled

1 cup raw almonds, chopped haphazardly (isn’t that a fun word?)

1/2 cup golden flaxseed

sprinkle of salt

as many chocolate chips as you fancy!

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 Tsp. vanilla extract

Melted chocolate, for drizzling (optional)

Combine the oats, quinoa, almonds, flaxseed, salt and chocolate chips in a bowl. Add in the honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract and really mix. Pour the mixture into a lined tin and really press down to compact it all. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or, if you can’t wait that long, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes like I did.

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Gluten Free Brooklyns.

Which is better – a gooey, melty brownie, or a soft, bendy cookie? Well, with this recipe you don’t need to decide. BECAUSE IT’S ALL OF THOSE THINGS. I’m serious – this is the tits.

I originally called this invention a “brookie” – a cross between a brownie and cookie. But when I said it people heard “brooklyns” and asked if that was where the recipe came from etc. It didn’t, but the name sort of stuck. I like it – it makes these nuggets of yumminess sound kind of bad ass. Or is that just me?

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Added bonus – it’s gluten free. Curl up when it’s raining (as it often is here – and presumably Brooklyn too?) with a good book and a “brooklyn” and bring on the good mood!

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Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado

1/3 cup caster sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup good quality cocoa (I use Green & Blacks)

1 Tsp. baking powder

1 egg

100g white chocolate, broken into chunks

Preheat oven to 180C. Mash up your avocado then throw it into a bowl.

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Add the other ingredients except the chunks of choc, and beat until it’s a shiny batter.

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Fold in the chocolate and divide into 6 generous servings.

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Cook for 12 minutes then eat while still warm!

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Sopa Paraguaya.

Cornbread. This is a post for cornbread. Granted, this cornbread has a bizarre name, but that’s because it’s a Paraguayan savoury cheese and onion cornbread. But I can see you’re not fooled. Anyone can see that sopa resembles soup, and in fact that’s what it translates as.

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There is a legendary story about the origin of this dish and name dating back to the founder and first president of the Paraguayan state. One day his cook was preparing one of his favorite meals, a soup made with cheese, onions, eggs and cornflour.

Once it was too late to start over, the cook realized she had added too much cornflour. In an attempt to salvage the dish and have something ready to serve, she baked the thick ‘soup’. Her employer was delighted with the result and named the dish ‘Sopa Paraguaya’. (Thanks Wikipedia)

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Smothered in butter, it is a great snack, or serve it with a soup for lunch. Bonus – it’s gluten free.

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Ingredients:

1 large onion, sliced

1 Tbsp. butter

100g grated cheese

250g cottage cheese

250ml milk

5 eggs

1 Tsp. salt

1 Tsp. baking powder

320g polenta

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Preheat oven to about 180C. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onion until soft. Turn the heat down and throw in the grated cheese – stir until it melts. Turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, making sure it’s mixed. Transfer the batter to a lined tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brown on top.

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Chocolate Courgette Cake.

Now now, don’t skip this just because of the courgette – we all love carrot cake, don’t we? So what’s the difference?

The inclusion of courgette creates a moist, light chocolate cake by omitting the butter, and I’m sure you can count it as one of your five a day (or depending how much you eat, two of your five a day!). It’s fluffy, airy and tasty – a summery chocolate loaf if you will. Perfect with a dollop of ice cream or creme fraiche if you’re feeling virtuous.

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Make the most of courgettes whilst they’re in season – these came fresh off of my neighbour’s allotment! Can’t get much fresher than that.

Ingredients:

350g self-raising flour

40g chocolate powder

1 Tsp. each of ginger, nutmeg and clove

175ml extra virgin olive oil

375g caster sugar

3 eggs

2 Tsp. vanilla extract

500ml grated courgette

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Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, mixed spice and 1 tsp salt.

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In another bowl, combine the olive oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and grated courgette.

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Mix the dry and wet mixture until just combined.

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Line a cake or loaf  tin with greaseproof paper, then pour in your mixture. Bake for about 40-50 mins, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

 

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Gluten Free, Low Carb Bread.

Gluten free bread – the recipes often call for xantham gum or random ingredients which you don’t often have lying around. This, however, does not. It uses the increasingly-popular flaxseed.

Okay, superfood hype again, sorry. The flaxseed (or linseed as it’s sometimes called) has 100% of your daily fibrous intake in 2 tablespoons! That means, it’ll get your colon feeling happy again, and you’ll be pooping like a baby (aka, a lot!). Which is good! Means your innards are all working. On top of that it’s packed full of omega 3, most of the B vitamins, and it’s great for your hair, skin, nails, joints & keeping your heart healthy. AND you can buy it in Aldi for a little over a pound. Seriously, just make it already!

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And this bread, well! It’s a sort of hybrid between brown bread and a moist cake, and has a marvellously nutty flavour. Perfect with a smidge of butter as a nibble, or smothered in avocado for breakfast. Today, I used it to mop up all the sauce from my mussels – can’t have that going to waste! (Excuse the laptop, I’m hooked on Luther. Bet I’ll have finished it all by the end of the day!)

 

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I’m afraid the measurements are in cups as I use a Tala Dry Measures cone, so either invest in one of those or convert it, or just keep it all in proportion.

Ingredients:

4 eggs

3 Tbsp. water

1 cup of flaxseed (mine has goji berries in it, which is why there are reddish specks in my loaf!)

1/2 cup ground almonds

1 Tsp. baking powder

Sprinkling of salt

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Preheat the oven to 200C and line a loaf tin with a paper case. Whisk the eggs, then add the water. In a separate bowl, throw in all the dry ingredients, then slowly mix the egg/water concoction in with the dry ingredients. FYI it doesn’t look pretty at this point.. A bit sloppy, but that’s fine! Pour it into the loaf tin, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. It’s lovely warm, but it’ll keep for a few days.

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