because gluten-free food doesn't have to be rubbish

Posts Tagged ‘almond

Chive flowers

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Tis the season for chive flowers and oh what wonderful things they are. I love edible flowers, I think it’s so cool you can have this pretty floral thing on your plate *and* eat it and chive flowers have the added bonus of tasting amazing. They start off sweet and a little dry and crunchy on the tongue and you wonder if they are edible actually, or are going to taste like bland pot pourri, and then the flavours open up and they taste sweet and slightly oniony and then as you chew a bit more you get a really spicy oniony hit from the seeds inside. Delicious, and a beautiful lilac colour. They don’t last long so make the most of them now if you have a clump of chives outside. If you really don’t know what to do with them use them as an edible garnish, but this salad is the perfect place for them, with lots of contrasting colours.

Cranberry and almond quinoa salad with chive flowers
Adapted from Melissa W via Dinner with Julie

100g quinoa
75g dried cranberries
3 tablespoons flaked almonds
10 sping onions, diced
Small handful of spinach, shredded
Small handful of chive flowers
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon light olive oil

1. Cook the quinoa in 250ml water, or chicken stock for about 10-12 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed and the germ separates. Drain off any excess water and leave to sit on the hob for 2-3 minutes under a lid to steam; this will make for fluffier quinoa.

2. Add the cranberries, almonds and spring onions to the quinoa and toss well with a fork. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together with some salt and pepper. Just before serving add the spinach and chive flowers to the quinoa, pour the dressing over the top, mix well and serve up.

Serves 2. This is delicious hot but would work well cold as well. If serving cold add the spinach when the quinoa is fully cooled, so it doesn’t wilt.

Written by guffblog

26th May 2011 at 19:02

Posted in Salad

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Not quite there

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So since this blog is primarily a record, for me, of my cooking highs and lows, how far I have progressed (or regressed) in terms of cooking and how recipes have turned out (and so which I should return to) I vowed that when I met with both triumph and disaster I would treat those two imposters just the same ie by writing about them both. Thus this post.

The first thing to note is it was not a disaster. Far from it, the recipe was sound, and the end result was good; it tasted good, it did what it said on the tin. Alas, my adaptation of the recipe to gluten free just wasn’t quite there. This may have had something to do with my last-hour preparations, with trying to get these ready at the same time as making dinner for 5 people, entertaining small children with computer games and battling the flu. Whatever, the texture was slightly off. Once baked, these biscotti were lovely, but they were just a little too dry to cut cleanly. We all know gluten-free recipes require more liquid than “normal” recipes, and apparently here I just didn’t add quite enough. The original recipe called for 3 eggs, and on halving the recipe I used 2. However, with eggs there’s always that tricky issue of size. The recipe called for large eggs, whereas mine were just, well, egg-sized. I think next time I would err on the side of caution and use the full 3 for half the other quantities and see how it fared.

Almond biscotti
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit 1999, via Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups gf flour blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt
3/4 cup caster sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 medium eggs
3 drops vanilla extract
3 drops orange liqueur
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 cup toasted flaked almonds (I used whole almonds and these definitely contributed to the break-up of the dough when I tried to cut it)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

2. In a medium bowl stir the gf flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt together.

3. In a large bowl stir the melted butter, eggs, vanilla, orange liqueur and zest together. Stir the flour mixture into this mix, until it forms a cohesive mass. Pour in the almonds and stir again.

4. On a lightly floured countertop work the dough for a minute or so until it is a nice supple mass, then shape it into a log a couple of inches in diameter. Put this on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for  25-30 minutes – it will spread out somewhat while it bakes.

5. When golden on top remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, still on its baking sheet, for an hour. When completely cool transfer to a chopping board and with a sharp, serrated knife cut diagonally into sections 1/2-inch thick.

6. Arrange these flat on the baking sheet and return to the oven (still at 180 C) for 10-12 minutes. Flip them over and cook for another 10 minutes on the other side, until lightly brown and crispy.

7. Leave to cool fully and serve with a cup of coffee.

Makes 18-20.

Written by guffblog

23rd December 2010 at 21:27

Posted in Biscuits

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Science experiments

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Yesterday the lovely Michelle from The Bake Escape came round for an afternoon of experimental gluten-free cooking. We’d decided to try our hands at gluten-free puff pastry, the holy grail of pastry making, and some cake on the side. Being a scientist, experimenting seems to come naturally to Michelle and she wasted no time in pondering how to alter a perfectly good cake recipe I’d found. I think she could be good for me though, as the end result was delicious. Possibly even more so than the original. We took a simple but elegant cherry, almond and chocolate cake recipe and tweaked it some, then mixed up the flavours, and then tweaked it some more. Not content with switching the almond paste (different to marzipan and tricky to find over here) for ground almonds she insisted on different flavours in the cake. I offered raspberries in the place of the original cherries but strangely Ms Bake Escape wasn’t so keen on that combination. Er, am I the only one who thinks chocolate and raspberry is a great combination? To keep the peace in the kitchen we divided up the batter and each went our own way; I chose the chocolate and raspberry and Michelle went for triple ginger, adding in sugar and, tasting all the time, deciding to drop in a splash of honey as well. Needless to say, her intuitive cooking produced by far the better dessert. [Though in working together on the puff pastry I think we far exceeded our individual capabilities – more on that later in the week].

Chocolate, almond and triple ginger Cake
Adapted from Cannelle et Vanille

175g ground almonds
3 eggs
50g butter
100g dark chocolate
30g gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon crystallised ginger, diced
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 160 C.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl in the microwave.

3. Beat the ground almonds and eggs together in a large bowl. Fold the melted chocolate into the almonds and eggs. Stir in the flour, sugar and baking powder. Fold in the honey and 3 different types of ginger.

4. Scrape the mixture into ramekins. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until set on top but still slightly gooey in the centre. Serve warm with ice cream.

Makes about 6 ramekins. For the chocolate, almond and raspberry cakes switch out the ginger and honey for a handful (75g) chopped raspberries, plus 2 drops of either raspberry or almond essence, depending on which flavour you want to accentuate. Add a couple of extra minutes to the baking time, as the raspberries add more liquid to the batter.

Written by guffblog

10th October 2010 at 19:20