In my quest to use more of my book collection, I had to start somewhere, and cake is a very good place to start.
Mr Craftyguider has a gluten intolerance, so to make sure he can share some of the responsibility of consuming cake calories, I mostly bake with gluten free ingredients. Because of the nature of gluten free ingredients, I usually follow recipes that are specifically gluten free rather than just substituting gluten free flour for wheat flour in standard recipes.
Michael McCamley’s Gluten Free Baking book was recommended by someone on twitter and there is a wide variety of bakes inside. I am after the elusive recipe for decent gluten free bread and pastry I can bake at home.The book starts with an introduction on what gluten is, the different problems people can experience with an allergy or intolerance to gluten, where to look for gluten in foods, and what alternatives are available.I chose the recipe for banana muffins with maple cream frosting from the first chapter as I had all the ingredients to hand, as well as some very spotty bananas to use up. The recipe method isn’t as detailed as some I’ve used in the past, and the mix looked wrong at some stages of the process. However, I trusted the recipe and got to a mix consistency I recognised as cake batter at the end.The resulting cake tasted as good as it looks, and I couldn’t tell that it was a gluten free cake. It was lovely and moist, had loads of banana, and the maple syrup cream cheese frosting was divine. We ate them over 3 days and they kept perfectly well in a tin in the fridge.There is a wide variety of cakes and biscuits in this book and I will definitely be trying more out based on my first success. The book gives recipes for flours to blend at home to make the various mixes (e.g. bread flour, self raising etc.), but I prefer using the Doves Farm branded pre-blended flours available from most supermarkets where I can. I once counted 19 different types of gluten free flours and standard wheat flours in my baking cupboard when I used to do home blends. That was too much to store and keep track of, so I’m currently at about 8.Breads and Savoury Pastries are the gluten free recipes I’ve never mastered. I think that the structure the gluten gives them is more important than in a cake. Perhaps this is the book that will solve these problems.These Phil Vickery books were the first gluten free books I tried that I had success with (and also the reason I had lots of flours to blend in my cupboard!).My go to book for easy baking is the Cake Angels book by Julia Thomas. It uses basic ingredients that are easy to get hold of, the instructions are simple to understand, and there is a wide range of cake recipes. Again, the recipes don’t taste like they are gluten free. She does also make the recipes dairy free, but I sometimes substitute the dairy free ingredients for ones that contain dairy as we don’t have a problem with lactose.
Do you have a favourite gluten free baking book which always gives you good results?
Disclaimer: I own all of these books and I haven’t been asked to review them, or been paid to review them. All opinions are my own, and I have added some links to the normal Amazon site where I bought my copies. They are not affiliate links and I don’t get any money if you click on them.
Sometimes creativity and vision leave me. I sit there and procrastinate and end up distracted. When this happens, I need to find a way of focussing and finding some inspiration.
As well as my encyclopaedic stash of craft materials, I also have a crafting library to rival Amazon. It’s time to dive in and actually use them. Cue a rummage on the shelves to find something to create.
I’ve had this Good Housekeeping Preserves book for many years. I think it may have been a purchase from one of those book clubs that leave piles of books in workplaces. As I left my last workplace about 8 years ago before working from home and raising my girls, it’s been on the shelf for a long time!
In all that time, I’ve only made one recipe – a rather yummy rhubarb and ginger conserve to use up a glut of rhubarb from my garden one year. As a WI Vice President, I feel it is my duty to have more adventures in the world of jam.9
900g of strawberries, 1kg of jam sugar and 1/2 a lemon later and ta-dah!
Result – 3.5 jars of very yummy strawberry jam. I can hold my head up high in the WI, and I’ve rediscovered a book I’d forgotten I had. Flicking through, there are lots of recipes for jams, marmalades, pickles, drinks and sauces to try.
Anyone for lemon curd?
I’ve been away from meal planning for a few weeks. Time, disorganisation and a weekend away have meant that I’ve been winging it or planning and not blogging. This week needs a bit more careful planning.
Last Monday’s storm knocked out our power and tripped the mains switch. We were away, so when we came back on Tuesday evening, we had to clear two fridges and freezers of food. I rely on my freezer a lot. I am a vegetarian, husband is gluten intolerant (amongst other things), and therefore I cook most meals from scratch. Rather than be a slave to the kitchen, I batch cook and keep my freezer stocked up. Therefore I can cook one type of meal and just defrost the other. I also keep uneaten portions of food, homemade bread, herbs, some fruits and a whole host of other bits in the freezer, and they are now in the bin. It’s such a waste.
No more freezer diving for a while. I even ate a commercial ready meal for the first time in years last week. Not good. I had to bake two loaves of bread last week because the Craftyguidelets were at home. I normally have a jacket potato or something else that suits my Slimming World programme so just pull a couple of slices from a frozen loaf if they are home. I also came unstuck with a lack of gluten free breadcrumbs and other ingredients that I normally just pick from the freezer or fridge.
We do have a glut of chocolate though after a trip to Cadbury World. Or we did have. I seem to have eaten rather a lot…
With a food delivery today, this is what we’ll be eating this week.
Monday Fish pie
Tuesday Toad in the hole
Wednesday Chicken cordon bleu
Thursday Spaghetti bolognese
Friday Vegetable goulash
Saturday Tuna pasta bake
Linking with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.
Last week was a week of in and out and dashing about which meant meal preparation was tricky. A lot of the meals were either pre-prepared or quick to cook so I could just pop them into the oven or bung a few ingredients in the slow cooker.
Sunday was the exception. For the second week in a row we had a roast dinner. I always make sure we have lots of veggies as I don’t eat meat, and this week we even had a home cooked pudding.
The Craftyguidelets made a gluten free apple crumble. It tasted delicious with a big dollop of custard.
This is what we have planned for this week:
Monday Macaroni cheese
Tuesday Ham egg and chips
Wednesday Freezer dive
Thursday Cider braised pork chops
Friday Fish pie
Saturday Take away or freezer dive
Sunday I’m out all day. Do I get Mr CG to cook a roast on his own whilst looking after the Craftyguidelets?
Linking with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday link party. What have you got cooking this week?
Last week’s menu had it’s successes and failures. Last minute changes to my afternoon schedules meant that the ratatouille had to be made in the slow cooker and turned out a bit soggy. However the chicken cordon bleu went down very well with the family and I’ve been asked to add it to the list of regular meals.
I love making vegetable goulash. The smell of smoked paprika is divine, and look at all these lovely colours together.
I’ve also been busy on the baking front. Rather than make a loaf of bread, I chose to make some rolls from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake book. I’m so pleased how they came out, although I’m yet to try one and they went straight into the freezer.
I’ve also been baking with the kids. Eldest Craftyguidelet saw a truffle recipe in her Moshi Monsters magazine which contained biscuits. As Mr Craftyguider is gluten intolerant, I chose a truffle recipe from the Eat Yourself Thin book instead, and we coated them with the hundreds and thousands that were in the magazine, with some gluten free sugar strands for Mr CG. I don’t think chocolate and honey mixed with coffee is ever going to make me thin though, so I might leave the family to munch through these.
We also made the Millionaires Shortbread recipe from my favourite gluten free baking book, Cake Angels. The Craftyguidelets rechristened it Minionaires shortbread due to their obsession with all things Despicable Me.
This week is a bit on the busy side so the menu will be fairly simple.
Monday: Ham, egg and chips
Wednesday: Fish pie
Thursday: Something in the slow cooker
Friday: Vegetable pasta
Sunday: Roast something!
Linking with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday. Have a look to see what everyone else is cooking up this week.
Finally I’ve managed to have the time to sit down, plan a week’s menu, AND blog about it!
Whenever I plan a menu, I normally spread out on the sofa with a pile of recipe books, my laptop with my Ocado order on it, and my diary. The diary is very important as it points out what the family is doing each evening. Mr Craftyguider’s board meetings mean he’ll be back late so I can plan in a meal containing gluten, onions, spices but no meat for me and the Craftyguidelets. Swimming means that I have 20 minutes to get a meal on the table. When my mother-in-law comes round to babysit while I help with Rainbows, I need to have something that I can prepare and leave for Mr Craftyguider to sort when he gets in from work.
This week, we will be eating:
Monday – tuna pasta bake with sweetcorn
Tuesday – gammon, egg and chips
Wednesday – tuna steak and ratatouille
Thursday – spaghetti bolognaise (meat and quorn versions)
Friday – chicken cordon bleu (and a quorn version)
Saturday – vegetable goulash
Sunday – sausages
Linking with Mrs M’s meal planning Monday. Pop over and get some inspiration for your meal plan this week.