Gluten Free Plum & Apricot Crumble


Delicious crumble... my favourite

Delicious crumble... my favourite

Anybody who knows me knows that I have an almost unhealthy addiction to crumble! As soon as Autumn creeps in, I set about experimenting with new recipes to keep us comforted through the (admittedly not so cold) NZ winter months. Right up until early summer, when I really feel like fresh fruit is the way forward, I eek out the crumble season for as long as possible. I make toppings in slightly larger batches than necessary, so I can squirrel away mini sandwich-bags full in the freezer. These are perfect for whipping up little midweek ramekin sized crumbles whenever the mood strikes. 

As you'll gather from a lot of recipes on this blog, we recently found out we have a gluten-free child to accommodate. Not that it's a problem, but it does mean a lot more experimenting and adapting, which is actually quite satisfying. Whilst starting to pack up some of our kitchen cupboards in preparation for moving house, I realised we had an awful lot of different gluten free baking products that people had very kindly given us...

I decided to put them all to good use for a crumble experiment - which I can tell you went down so unexpectedly well with the household I made it for, that I was dishing out seconds to everyone before I'd even had a chance to taste it. I had no expectations for it whatsoever but have now made this four times in the last few weeks for different dinner occasions!! It has been loved, enjoyed and well received by all, so as requested here is the recipe, with love...

Here's what you'll need:   

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of rice flour
  • 1/2 cup of ground almonds/almond meal
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar*
  • 150g of butter, cold & cubed
  • 1tsp of cinammon
  • 1tsp of baking powder
  • Fruit: 850g large tin of Black Doris plums, 1 large tin (or 2 smalls) of apricots - both drained** 

*I am going to experiment with coconut sugar instead of brown sugar next time for a healthier option. 

**This topping could be used for any number of fruit but these are what we chose here. The plum juice was too good to just pour down the drain so we set it aside and mixed it with water/sparkling water like cordial to have with our pudding... even better :)

My little helper writing down as we went the second time!

My little helper writing down as we went the second time!

  1. First of all combine your 3 flours in a large bowl.
  2. Add your cubed butter and squashing it between your thumb and fingers, gently rub it in till it resembles fine sand - you could do this in a food processor as well, but we don't have one yet and I actually find crumble making quite therapeutic.
  3. Next mix your sugar, cinnamon and baking powder in - voila! Crumble topping done.
My trusty assistant hard at work before and after my butter 'squishing'

My trusty assistant hard at work before and after my butter 'squishing'

4. Line your crumble dish with the fruit, cut up any pieces that are too big, then top with the crumble mixture.

Line the dish with fruit - we usually just mix everything up but Arabella liked the artistic approach for this photo - and top with crumble

Line the dish with fruit - we usually just mix everything up but Arabella liked the artistic approach for this photo - and top with crumble

5. Bake in the oven at 170 degrees C for around 30 minutes, oven temperatures vary though so just be aware that when it smells done and delicious, it probably is. It should be lightly golden on top and some of the juices may well ooze up the side of the dish. Yum!

Deliciously done...

Deliciously done...

NOTE: The crumble can be refrigerated if made ahead of time until required - I quite often put it in the oven once we take the dinner out so it is fresh and piping hot for dessert. To take it to a friend's house, I have also made the topping ahead of time, put that in a sandwich bag and simply opened the tins and assembled before cooking - this saves any unnecessary juice getting spilled on the floor of the car or in your lap!

Enjoy your delicious crumble with vanilla ice cream or plain yoghurt and relish the oohs, aahs and yummy noises that will come from everyone eating it :)

Happy Baking,

Love Holly x

Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Loaf


Lemon Blueberry Loaf

Lemon Blueberry Loaf

The inspiration for this recipe was sent to me via Pinterest and came from tasteofhome.

We altered it to be gluten free, omitted the walnuts as our gf daughter doesn't like nuts (booo!) and did away with the sugar syrup drizzle as we prefer something a bit more plain for lunch boxes and after school snacks. Apparently the glaze can help lock in moisture to make it last longer, but that's never really been a problem in our house! Feel free to revert back to the original recipe linked above though if you'd like the other ingredients and quantities.

Here's what you'll need:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon gf baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

Before getting started, preheat the oven to 170 degrees C and grease an 8x4in loaf pan. Then...

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; sift into egg mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
  3. Fold in the blueberries and lemon peel.* 
  4. Transfer to the loaf pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. 

*Note: If using frozen blueberries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter. If using tinned blueberries (sometimes the only thing available), fold in very gently!

Helpful little Mixie-Pixies... Cracking eggs, zesting, sifting, folding

Helpful little Mixie-Pixies... Cracking eggs, zesting, sifting, folding

Once cooled (or my personal preference while it's still a bit warm) cut into slices - it should yield around 16 but for little ones I cut these in half again. Enjoy preferably in the sunshine with good friends and or happy children.

Happy Baking,

Love Holly x

Lemon & Courgette Risotto


Lemon & Courgette Risotto

Lemon & Courgette Risotto

I LOVE RISOTTO! It has been one of my favourite meals for as long as I can remember, however until a few years ago it was reserved as my staple menu choice when eating out. I thought it a really complex thing to make and not something I could master at home. I once read somewhere that risotto is the food of love. Risotto says "I love you enough to spend a long time standing at the stove patiently stirring to create this delicious, seemingly simple masterpiece". It also says in a slightly bossy tone akin to the love given by a wiser, older sister "take a load off, breathe, sip some wine and just deal with it - we are going to be here a while and you can't rush this, so you might as well relax." For me it was originally a love affair saved for nice restaurants, special occasions and quiet nights out with my better half. That was until I was too pregnant to enjoy sitting for long periods of time, our finances were depleted with the imminent arrival of Potterini Nr 1 - which made eating out a luxury that had passed - and we happened to have a very large farmhouse kitchen at the time that seemed to call out for someone standing over a pot stirring for long periods of time. I couldn't enjoy sipping the wine, but I could therapeutically sway back and forth to ease the pregnancy pains as I patiently stirred my first risotto for about 20 minutes, whilst romantically picturing our new life as a little family. (Note to future parents: do lots of dreaming and relaxed cooking before the arrival. All the "loving it forward" will put you in a much better mindset when you've not slept for days, your baby never stops crying and you can't remember the last time you had two hands free to stand in front of a hot pot!)

I have tried lots of different recipes and have a whole stack of ones yet to sample but much like the making of risotto, trialling them all takes time and is a process I can't rush, so I make peace with the fact that one day I will get round to them and share ones that are a success. It is a process that I really enjoy when I am in the right frame of mind - often at the end of a busy week with a glass of wine - and this may sound cheesy but as I stir, I infuse it with love for the people I am going to serve it to... Try it sometime, it will make you feel wonderful.

This was one of our early simple risotto recipes that we cut out of a magazine and is on the first page of our home made recipe book. We enjoyed it so much we have probably made it twenty times or more over the years since our first attempt in April 2009 (just a month after Nr 1 was born!). It's creamy, zingy, fresh, summery and makes you smile to eat it - ask anyone who's had it at ours.

The basics to get you started: 

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 75g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 225g risotto rice
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 2 large courgettes, 1 grated and 1 sliced
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan, plus shavings to serve

1) First things first, get all of your ingredients ready. Chop, grate, measure, zest, juice... Having everything to hand in neat bowls will make you feel relaxed and organised and will make the process all the more enjoyable.

2) Bring your stock to the boil and then lower the heat to keep it simmering slowly for the duration.

3) Melt half the butter in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat and gently cook the onions for about 5 minutes until softened.

4) Add the garlic and rice and stir continuously (a wooden spoon is best) for about 1 minute to coat the rice and toast slightly.

5) Next pour in the wine and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed.

6) Stir in one ladle full of of the simmering stock and adjust the heat - the rice should be at a slow simmer. Stir continuously until the stock has been absorbed and the rice parts when a wooden spoon is run through it.   

Lovely prep work, coating the rice and ladling stock

Lovely prep work, coating the rice and ladling stock

7) Add another ladle full of stock and continue cooking as above, stirring continuously and adding more stock as you go. Remember it takes time, so relax and think of lovely things as you stir. You will also need to put on a pot of water to boil around now.

8) When the rice is almost tender to the bite (this should after around 18-20 minutes) add your grated courgette along with a final ladle of stock. Cook, still stirring, for 1 more minute.

9) Meanwhile blanch the sliced courgette in a pan of salted, boiling water for 2 minutes or until just tender, then drain and set aside.

10) Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice, the remaining butter and grated Parmesan. Stir vigorously till the butter has melted - this vigorous stirring is what makes it creamy - then cover with a lid and leave to stand for a minute.

Serve the risotto on a bed of blanched courgettes with a scattering of Parmesan shavings and some cracked black pepper if you like. Voila - delicious!

Happy Stirring,

Love Holly x

 

QUESTIONS: What food for you symbolizes love and comfort? What do you enjoy making when you are relaxed and have time to savour the experience? Any favourite risotto recipes you'd like to pass along?

Original recipe words by Marina Filippelli




White Chocolate Lemon Truffles


White Chocolate Lemon Truffles

White Chocolate Lemon Truffles

This is another recipe I stumbled upon a couple of years ago via Pinterest when we were gifted a pile of lemons. I have two particular friends who are very keen recipients every time and so I cannot make them for one without saving a couple for the other. This past weekend my lovely Peruvian friend asked me to make these for the parents to enjoy at her son's 2nd birthday party - who was I to turn down such a request! It is a fairly simple recipe - only 5 ingredients - but I'm not going to lie, it has occasionally gone wrong when I've either added too much lemon juice or overheated the cream or chocolate. Just concentrate on what you're doing and perhaps make them when you've not got kids running around your legs - this tends to be when things fall to pieces for me! The original recipe doesn't include lemon curd so feel free to omit this if you like, but Simon loves making it (recipe to follow) and it gives the truffles an extra little something.

Here's what you'll need:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 500g white chocolate, finely chopped or grated
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
  • 1/3 heaping cup cream
  • 1 tbsp Lemon curd
  • Icing sugar or cocoa powder
  1. Combine cream and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the cream starts to bubble lightly – don’t let it boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add the chocolate at once, whisking vigorously until the chocolate is melted and you get a thick, smooth and silky mixture.
  3. Add the juice and lemon curd, mix well, transfer the mixture to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap/cling film. Refrigerate until firm enough to form balls - I let it sit in the fridge overnight.
  4. Scoop out rounded mounds of the mixture (while it’s still cold and firm) and form balls – you don’t want your truffles to be perfectly rounded. Roll the truffles in sifted icing sugar or cocoa powder and place in small fluted paper cases or on a plate. Keep refrigerated until serving to delighted guests.

    Makes about 50 small truffles
Chocolate, cream and zest, scooping truffles to roll  

Chocolate, cream and zest, scooping truffles to roll  

Happy Truffling,

Love Holly x

Gluten Free Lemon Blondies


Lemon Blondies

Lemon Blondies

This was one of the first recipes I wanted to trial when I decided on lemons for August. I'd seen a few scrummy looking pictures on Pinterest and so read various recipes. Most of them didn't use white chocolate however and I couldn't quite make peace with the notion of blondies (basically white chocolate versions of brownies) without chocolate in them. For years I have made the most delicious Christmas Pudding Blondies for New Year's Eve with leftover Christmas Pudding, and I think my family would be a little disappointed if I decided not to do them one year! I always get requests for them and have shared the recipe with numerous people who now do the same (I think it originally came from a Sainsbury's magazine - it's cut out in my Christmas folder so I will try to track down the exact origin and share it later in the year). The recipe as follows was slightly adapted from a plain lemon one I found and my Christmas recipe, and adjusted for the fact it needed to be gluten free. It could have been a disaster - hey that's what experimentation is all about - but was a surprising runaway success, literally! Within 12 hours there was nothing left and the girls are keen to help whip up another batch this weekend...

Here's what you'll need:   

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 200g white chocolate
  • 120g butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup gluten free self raising flour (you can obviously use normal flour here too)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 + 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 + 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • For the lemon glaze:
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest

Before you get started on the mixture, preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line an 8x8 inch brownie pan with baking paper. Then...

  1. Melt the chocolate with the butter. You can use a bain marie, but I have adopted the lazy girls microwave method as I find it much less stressful with kids and no boiling water & hot pans to worry about. Put the chocolate and butter in your jug or bowl, cover and heat for a minute in the microwave at 80% heat. After the first minute I tend to go in 30 second intervals till it's almost melted, then just mix it all together till it fully melts.
  2. Add the sugar and stir then leave to cool slightly (if you don’t do this you may end up with scrambled egg brownies).
  3. Whilst this is cooling whisk the two eggs together with the lemon zest & juice.
  4. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, beat in the eggs and lemon.
  5. Fold in the flour and salt and give a good mix till everything is well combined.
  6. Pour into your cake tin and bake for 25 - 30 minutes till it is a nice golden colour and still a tiny bit soft in the middle. This will set as it cools and make it all the more delicious.
Melt chocolate & butter, whisk eggs with lemon juice & zest, combine it all and bake till golden

Melt chocolate & butter, whisk eggs with lemon juice & zest, combine it all and bake till golden

Leave to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack. Whilst it is cooling make the glaze by sifting the icing sugar together with the lemon zest and juice.

Once the cake is cool spread the glaze over - you can let it soak in and set a little before giving a second coating. Cut up into your desired size pieces, dust with a little extra icing sugar and enjoy - preferably with very good friends who will love you for it!

Zesty bites of lovelyness

Zesty bites of lovelyness

Happy Baking,

Love Holly x

 

 

Lovely Lemons


When Life hands you lemons... Make lemonade, have a gin & tonic, bake a lemon poppyseed loaf, try some lemon chicken, make lemon curd, treat your friends to white chocolate lemon truffles... Or use them as an excuse to add some zesty yellow to your home, make the most of their versatility for cleaning and even include them in your skincare regime... The options are endless! Lemons are the ingredient of the month here and so these are just a few of the recipes & tips I'll be bringing you.

If you've got any suggestions you think I simply must try, please do get in touch! 

Love Holly x 

Pizza Box Giant Oatmeal Raisin Cookie


Pizza box oatmeal raisin cookie

Pizza box oatmeal raisin cookie

My lovely nieces recently sent over a pretty sweet surprise parcel from the UK - A Chupa Chups sweet pizza box. The girls were pretty excited (as was Simon) but it did end up lasting over a month. When it was finished we thought it a shame to throw away the perfectly good box, so decided to make a giant cookie for another friend's birthday instead of a cake. It worked surprisingly well and was big enough for everyone to enjoy together.

So, to get you started here's what you'll need (Yes I know, my kitchen equipment is mainly pink! My sister's is all lime green or yellow - I say go for whatever makes you happy in your kitchen and makes you smile as you bake):

Ingredients & Equipment

Ingredients & Equipment

INGREDIENTS:

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 140g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 120g rolled oats
  • 200g raisins

EQUIPMENT:

  • Mixer
  • Weighing scales
  • Nonstick or lined pizza baking tray
  • Measuring spoons
  • Sieve
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cooling rack
  • Wooden spoon/spatula
  • Pizza board & box for presentation (you could always ask your local pizza place for a clean box!) 

Before you get started, preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

1) Put the butter and sugars in the electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides in between to make sure everything gets combined. Turn down the speed and add the vanilla extract.

2) In your separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinammon. Add the oats, mix until well combined and then add to the butter mixture. Beat on a low speed until well combined, then add the raisins and mix again till they are evenly spread out.

My little sous chef hard at work - with her favourite blue bowl

My little sous chef hard at work - with her favourite blue bowl

3) Arrange enough mixture on the pizza tray to fill it up but allow a little room for spreading. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and relatively firm. Check regularly though to make sure it's not burning and give it an extra couple minutes if necessary.

4) When cooked, let it cool on the tray for a few minutes before sliding off onto the wire cooling rack. Then slide it onto the pizza tray, pop in the box and hey presto, a perfect surprise gift!

The original sweet pizza and box... transformed into a fun gift for a friend 

The original sweet pizza and box... transformed into a fun gift for a friend 

This mixture will make more than you need for the single pizza cookie. You can either bake the rest on baking trays for around 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Alternatively you can freeze it in log shapes wrapped in baking paper or clingfilm, then when you have hungry kids or a friend stopping by on a Sunday afternoon, you can get one out, leave to defrost for a bit (if cooking from frozen just allow an extra 2 minutes), cut into your desired sizes and bake for an instant treat.    

Freezing cookie dough ready for an easy freshly baked treat

Freezing cookie dough ready for an easy freshly baked treat

We baked some this afternoon and they were just as good as the day we made the mixture... A yummy treat with zero mess or effort - Loveliness indeed!

Milk & freshly baked cookies - who could resist?!  

Milk & freshly baked cookies - who could resist?!  

Do you have any fun cookie packaging tips to share? Any lovely ideas we should try? 

Thanks & Happy Baking,

Love Holly x

Baileys Cream Cheese Brownies


Baileys Cream Cheese Brownies 

Baileys Cream Cheese Brownies 

I first made these with my sister Miranda for her baby shower a couple of weeks ago from a recipe she'd found on Pinterest. I tracked it back to the fabulous blog it came from called Butcher, Baker, Baby - which I have just subscribed to. Not being the biggest chocolate fan, one piece is usually enough for me, but I would have happily eaten the whole lot of these! They were absolutely delicious so I was eager to make them again at home to share with you...

Here is what you'll need to get started: (DISCLAIMER - please please please do use proper Baileys, more on this later*.) 

Ingredients & Equipment

Ingredients & Equipment

INGREDIENTS:

  • 110g good quality dark chocolate
  • 110g butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 60g plain flour
  • 2 free range eggs
  • Generous splash of Bailey Irish Cream
  • For the cheesecake mixture:
  • 225g cream cheese (Philadelphia really is best)
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 more free range egg
  • another generous splash of Baileys

EQUIPMENT:

  • Weighing scales
  • Mixing bowl
  • Microwave jug/bowl
  • Baking Paper
  • 23cm/8in square cake tin
  • sieve
  • Mixing spoon & spatula

To start with preheat the oven to 150 degrees and line the cake tin with baking parchment. Then...

1) Melt the chocolate with the butter. You can use a bain marie, but I have adopted the lazy girls microwave method as I find it much less stressful with kids and no boiling water & hot pans to worry about. Put the chocolate and butter in your jug or bowl, cover and heat for a minute in the microwave at 80% heat. After the first minute I tend to go in 30 second intervals till it's almost melted, then just mix it all together till it fully melts. Add the sugar and stir then leave to cool slightly (if you don’t do this you may end up with scrambled egg brownies).

2) Once the brownie mixture has cooled slightly, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing until it is glossy. Stir in the Baileys until well combined then gradually fold in the flour and pour into the cake tin .

3) For the cheesecake mixture beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Add the egg and mix then stir in the Baileys until all is well combined. Top the levelled brownie mixture with the cheesecake mixture and using a knife, gently swirl it into the chocolate mixture.

Mix till glossy, pour into the tin, top with the cheesecake mix & swirl into the brownie mixture

Mix till glossy, pour into the tin, top with the cheesecake mix & swirl into the brownie mixture

4) Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until just set in the middle. When you give it a gentle shake it should wobble a tiny bit in the middle as it will set more as it cools. If it is still very wobbly, give it a bit longer. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares and serving. I personally like lots of little bite size squares to serve people after dinner (or to sneak one out of the tin later) but this really is a judgment call, so up to you.

*Now, as promised a little note on Baileys. When I came to make these we had run out of Baileys. I went to the shops to get some more, but as I was paying for it my card got declined... An unexpected bill had come out and I was left with not quite enough for my key ingredient. Not ready to be deterred from my baking project, I decided that I would improvise with an alternative imitation product that was a third of the price and I had enough money for. However, as the Irish Cream I bought instead of Baileys was vodka based and artificially flavoured, all the flavour evaporated during the baking process and left these tasting simply like cream cheese brownies. They still went down well, but I was a little disappointed and should have known better. Never mind, everybody has baking mishaps and they will be all the more more delicious again next time. I thought it was at least a lesson I could pass on though, so please do take note. 

Tiny bites of lovelyness

Tiny bites of lovelyness

What baking wisdom have you learned from experience? Do you have a favourite after dinner tiny treat you'd like me to try?

Happy Baking!

Love Holly x