Raspberry Jam

Last year for my birthday my parents gave me the chance to go on a jam making course.  The experience was such fun that I was very keen to make my own jam. Sadly last year I was too late to pick my own fruit, but last week I went to a ‘pick your own’ fruit farm ready for my jam making.

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The first time I ever made jam was when I was four.  I went on holiday to Ireland and went blackberry picking with my cousins. I remember the jam I made was the best thing I had ever tasted.  I think it was the freshness of those blackberries.

Making jam when you have picked your own fruit means its fresher and makes better jam. This year the raspberry crop was the best. The blackberries are now starting to be ready to be picked. I picked and made raspberry , strawberry and blackberry jam .

My tip is to only make a kilogram of jam at a time which is 6 jars of jam.  If you make it in this amount I find that it is easier to control the temperature, and all the jam I have made has set really well. Also make the jam as soon as possible after you have picked the fruit.

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I loved the raspberry jam the best.

Recipe for raspberry jam:

Ingredients:

  •  1 kg raspberries
  •  Juice of one lemon
  •  1 pack of jam sugar (1 kg with pectin added)

Method:

  1. Before you start making the jam, sterilise your jars. Put into the oven on 180°(fan)  for 30 mins. After 30 mins take the jars out of the oven and leave to dry. Also put a plate in the freezer or fridge to cool (this will be used to test if the jam has set).
  2. Tip half the raspberries into a preseving pan and add the lemon juice. Mash the berries to a pulp with a potato masher, then cook for 5 mins.
  3. Tip the cooked berries over a sieve. Once all the juice has drained off , firmly work the pulp through the sieve until you are left with the seeds only.
  4. Tip the juice back into the preserving pan and over a low heat stir in the sugar. Then add the remaining raspberries and bring to the boil.Boil for 5 -7 mins (make sure you stir occasionally this will stop the sugar crystallising around the side of the pan).
  5. Spoon a teaspoon of jam onto the cold plate and put back into the fridge for 2 mins. The jam will be ready if it wrinkles when you push a spoon into it.  If it does not, boil again for another 3 mins (I find it needs an extra 3 mins).
  6. Once ready take off the heat. Get a small piece of butter and stir it into the jam, this stops a skin forming when the jam is cooling.
  7. Leave to cool for 30 mins stirring occasionally.  Once cooled poor into the jars and leave to cool for another 30 mins . Then put a ring of parchment paper the size of the lid to stops a skin forming. Then put the lids on.
  8. Unopened store in a cupboard and once opened store in the fridge.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Perfect For Mother’s Day

 

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I made this cake for my mum’s birthday a week ago and she loved it so much she asked me if I would make it again. As it is mothers day on Sunday I have decided to make it again!

I found a recipe for a cake I had made before which worked well but as I’m now on a gluten free diet I needed to adapt the recipe. I also thought it would be good if the recipe had reduced sugar as I’m trying to cut down on sugar in my diet.

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This cake is made with coconut sugar and has maple syrup in the coconut and orange  frosting. This means the cake is much better for you, so don’t feel bad if you have a second slice in the same day!  I also wanted to add extra spice to the cake to help add natural sweetness.

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Make sure you buy the ingredients for the coconut frosting the day before. The coconut frosting requires you to put a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, so the top sets and you can whisk it up to make the frosting the next day.

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Recipe: Gluten free Carrot Cake with coconut and orange cream frosting with lemon curd.

For the cake: (Recipe adapted from the book ‘Great British Bake Off Everyday’)

Ingredients:

For cake:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 125ml light olive oil
  • 230g coconut sugar
  • 225g gluten free plain flour
  • 2 ½ tsp gluten free baking powder
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 375g carrot grated  (6-7 medium size carrots  ) but if you have less amount don’t worry
  • 75g desiccated coconut
  • 100g raisins
  • Zest of one orange

For the syrup:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon

For the frosting:

  • 1 zest of an orange
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (can add more depending how sweet you want it)
  • 2 x 400ml can of coconut milk (Put into the fridge the night before to harden)

Half a jar of lemon curd (optional)

To decorate:

pistachio nuts , desiccated coconut and orange zest

Method:

  1. Firstly make the cake. Prepare 2 x 20.5cm cake tins greased with butter and the base lined with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 180° / 350 °F/gas 4 .
  2. Put the eggs , olive oil and coconut sugar in a bowl, whisk with a free stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand held electric whisk for 5 mins until everything is frothy.
  3. Sift the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum and spices into a bowl and gently fold with a metal spoon until everything is combined.  Add the grated carrot, coconut, raisins and zest of an orange to the bowl and fold in with a spoon until everything is incorporated.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and spread out evenly, making sure to get to the corners and you have smoothed the top. Put into the oven and bake for 35 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. While the cakes are cooking make the syrup. Put the juice of an orange and lemon in a pan and reduce for 10 mins. (I don’t add sugar) .
  6.  Once cooked take out of the oven leave for 5 mins, take out of the tin and place on a cooling rack. While the cake is still warm make small holes with a skewer in the sponge and pour in the syrup .
  7. While the cake is cooling make the coconut frosting. Take the coconut cans of milk out of the fridge and scrape the top that has set over night into a bowl (you don’t need the liquid bit at the bottom. It can be used for homemade curry later in the week. Whisk until soft peaks form, the add the zest of an orange and 1 tsp of maple syrup and whisk for a further 3 mins. Add more maple syrup if you want depending how sweet you want it.
  8. Once the cake is completely cool then start assembling the cake . Place one of the cakes upside down on the cake stand or plate depending what your going to serve it on . Spread half the jar of lemon curd on the cake  ( if you are using it) and then add half of the coconut frosting. Place the other cake on top and spread the rest of the coconut frosting .
  9. To decorate lightly toast desiccated coconut for 5 mins in a pan, until it goes lightly brown, Put on top of the cake then sprinkle pistachio nuts and add zest of an orange.

Enjoy!

 

Gluten free and refined sugar free pear and walnut cake

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For the past year I have wanted to stop eating cakes made with refined sugar, now I have lost my sweet tooth.  I still like to make and eat a dessert for a celebration or if we have people over for dinner.

At Christmas I received a fantastic cook book from my cousin, which is gluten free and refined sugar free, called ‘Clean Cakes’ by Henrietta Inman. I decided I wanted this to be the first recipe I tried, because my dad and I love desserts made with pear.

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I served this cake on boxing day, along side my mince pies, to my family and did not tell them it was refined sugar free . It had the seal of approval so I had to share this recipe with you. This recipe is made with coconut sugar which really works with the walnut. This cake is very light in texture which I was not expecting. It tastes delicious! This cake keeps really well in a tin for up to five days.

You must try this recipe as it has changed my perception of baking refined sugar free. In my opinion it one of the best cakes I have tasted .

I really recommend any one to buy the book ‘Clean Cakes’.

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Recipe : Gluten free and refined sugar free cake from the book ‘Clean Cakes’  by Henrietta Inman

Ingredients;

  • 70g chopped walnuts
  • 180g raw honey
  • 5 large pears
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 80g apple puree
  • 60g brown rice flour
  • 80g coconut sugar
  • 60g teff flour
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2½ tbsp arrowroot
  • ½ tsp gluten free baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs

Method;

  1. Heat the oven to 170ºc fan/325ºc/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 23cm spring form cake tin.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and spread the walnuts on top. Toast for 5 mins and then allow to cool before chopping into small pieces.
  3. Spoon the honey into the base of the tin. Peel and slice the pears then arrange into the base of the tin.
  4. Using a mixer. whisk the butter, sugar, apple puree and vanilla extract until soft and smooth. Combine the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum and salt. Change the whisk to a paddle then add the dry ingredients a table spoon at a time alternating with the egg (this can be done by hand). Finally add the chopped walnuts.
  5. Spoon the mixture over the pears and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes and then remove the sides. Invert on a plate and then remove the bottom of the tin and paper.

Enjoy !!!

Gluten Free Mince Pies

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December is one of my favourite times of the year, because it is the countdown to Christmas! Through out December I love to do my baking in advance. I believe these are perfect to take over to someone’s house through the festive season or to a Christmas party.

I love to serve these on boxing day when my family come over. They are a great way to finish a meal, as they are light but delicious. This recipe freezes well so I always make extras.

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This recipe is a bit different to a traditional mince pie because, instead of having a pastry top, it has a frangipane topping.  I used the pastry recipe from Nigella Lawson’s book ‘Domestic Goddess’. I have loved baking this pastry recipe since I was a little girl, so I thought let’s make it gluten free .

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After going gluten free last year, I was worried that this pastry would not work with gluten free flour, but, I’m delighted to say it works perfectly if you follow my tip below.

Tip:  I have found that instead of putting gluten free pastry in the fridge, just start rolling it out and work with it at once, otherwise it goes hard and breaks. 

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 Pastry recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s book Domestic Goddess.  

Gluten Free Mince Pies

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 175g  gluten free plain flour
  • 30g ground almonds
  • 65g icing sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 125g cold unsalted butter (straight out of the fridge)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2-3 tablespoons of iced water

Ingredients for the frangipane

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 40g gluten free plain flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 tbsp Cointreau (you can use Rum or Brandy if you like)

Also a good quality gluten free mince meat for the filling.

Method

  1. To make the pastry put the flour, almonds, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix.
  2. Add the chopped butter and pulse to a fine bread crumb consistency.
  3. Add a third of the beaten egg yolks and pulse.
  4. Keep adding the egg yolk and pulse.
  5. Finally, add a table spoon at a time of the water until the pastry starts stick together.
  6. Tip the pastry in a large bowl and bring together to form a ball.
  7. Grease the medium size muffin tin and preheat the oven to 170°C/fan or 190°C/gas mark 5.
  8. Cut the pastry in half as it is easier to handle and roll out on a lightly floured surface.
  9. Use a circle cutter and gently place into the tin. Use your fingers to gently press into the tin and prick with a fork.
  10. Bake for 12 minutes.
  11. While the pastry is in the oven make the frangipane topping.
  12. Put all the frangipane ingredients in the food processor and beat together.
  13. Once the pastry has cooled a little put a tbsp of mince meat into each case and top with a tbsp of frangipane. If you like you can sprinkle some flaked almonds on top.
  14. Put back in the oven for 20 mins. Let the pies cool completely in the tin before removing.

Enjoy !!!!

Gluten Free Victoria Sponge

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My favourite cake is a good old Victoria sponge. I make it with gluten free flour but you can just use normal flour if you like. It is fantastic with homemade jam and vanilla buttercream.

Recently I went on a jam making course for my birthday and I picked up some great tips.  (look out for my next post which will be on me making homemade jam.)

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I know some people think that gluten free cakes can be dense but I found if you use the creaming method instead of the all in one method and fold in the flour it makes a nice light cake.

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Enjoy

Recipe: Gluten Free Victoria Sponge

Ingredients:

  • 175g gluten free self rasing flour
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the filling

  • One batch of buttercream
  • 1/4 jar of strawberry jam

For the buttercream:

  • 160g icing sugar
  • 70g butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 fan. Line two 180cm cake tins with parchment paper at the bottom of the tin and butter the sides.
  2. Cream the butter vanilla paste and sugar in a bowl for 5 mins until the butter and sugar is light and fluffy.
  3. Then measure out the flour in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Crack the eggs in a jug and mix with a fork.
  5. Then put the mixer of a medium speed and pour a third of the egg into the butter and sugar then beat in. Add a tablespoon of flour and mix in . (This will stop the mixer from splitting)
  6. Repeat this step until all the egg is incorporated.
  7. Finally fold in the rest of the flour.
  8. Once folded in do a final stir to make sure every thing is incorporated and spoon the mixture evenly between both tins.
  9. Place in the oven for 30-35 mins, the cakes will be done when a skewer come out clean.
  10. While the cake is cooking make the buttercream put the all the butter, icing sugar and vanilla paste in a bowl and mix until it comes together as a creamed mixture it may take time.
  11. When the cakes are ready to come out of the oven put a timer on and leave them to cool for 10 mins in the tin after 10 mins take the cake out of the tin and leave to cool completely
  12. Once cooled spread the jam on one of the cakes and spread the buttercream on the other cake. Then place the butter cream cake on top of the jam layer.
  13. ( Doing this instead of putting the jam and buttercream on the same layer will mean that the buttercream will not run into the jam so when you cut into the cake you will have defined layers. )