Fig and Ginger Goats Cheese Tart

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to win a jar of McQuade’s Celtic Fig and Ginger chutney from Blake Makes. If you’ve not been over to visit there yet, you should visit at least once. It isn’t a gluten free blog, but it is definitely a foodie one.

Fig and Ginger ChutneyThe task was to suggest how you might use this chutney in a recipe. I was rather surprised to see in the comments that some people were unfamiliar with chutney, but there were many excellent and mouthwatering suggestions. This was mine:


I think goats cheese too.

I’m thinking pastry shell (gluten free, naturally), layer of fig and ginger chutney across bottom, goats cheese either sliced or shredded and sprinkled, depending on whether it is a hard or soft cheese, and then cooked in the oven to crisp the pastry and melt the cheese.

Or (perhaps and, if I’m being particularly greedy), fig and ginger icecream, served with (gluten free!) ginger biscuits or flapjack. Depending on the size of the chunks in the chutney, might need to blend the chutney a bit first …

And Lo: a jar of chutney arrived on my doorstep at the end of April.

For various reasons, it took me a while to complete my mission, and actually to cook something with this chutney, but I’ve done it. I used Lifestyle ready-made gluten free pastry rather than making some from scratch, because it was there in the freezer, and needed eating, and also – if I’m honest – because I’m run off my feet with work, and didn’t have time to make my own pastry. But I think a few shortcuts are OK occasionally.

Then I spread the chutney liberally across the bottom of my pastry shell. Not too liberally – I wanted to reserve some to taste separately! – and sprinkled goat’s cheese across the top before cooking it.

It was absolutely delicious. The chutney was also delicious with cheese and crackers. So good, that there’s none left to try the icecream out, but I do think this would work, because of the sweet and sour virtue of good chutney. My husband – a connoisseur of good chutneys – was heard to say (through a mouthful) that it was class. He may have said that it was even better than my own damson chutney, or my cranberry and shallot chutney, but I’m pretending I didn’t hear that.

It is truly a great chutney. Perhaps not, as their publicity says, reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands (figs just don’t grow that far north), but really good. Guys, why aren’t you selling it here? No, really – why not?

(I notice, incidentally, that the recipe at the top of the McQuade’s site is also a goat’s cheese and pastry one, so clearly great taste-buds work alike.)

The perfect recipe for gluten free waffles?

Sorry: this isn’t it, but I know one of you out there has it …

wafflesOnce again, I spent 20 minutes scouring the kitchen to find the tiny scrap of paper that came with our waffle-maker 10 years ago, because coeliac daughter decided she fancied waffles this morning.

It happens every time – this piece of paper enjoys playing hide-and-seek. So I’m documenting the recipe here, for my own benefit, really (you have no idea how many times I’ve had to print off the recipe for chocolate brownie from my own site).

My preferred ready-made gluten free flour mix here in the UK is the Wellfoods version. No doubt you’ll have your own preferred blend – perhaps even specially for waffles – and I’d be really interested to know what blend you use for waffles. The problem I have is that although the waffles puff up nicely while hot, they deflate sadly once they start to cool. I’m sure the ones my mother used to make when I was small (using non-gluten-free flour and a proper heat-on-the-hob American waffle iron, imported by her from the days when we lived in America) didn’t do this.

What am I doing wrong?

I wonder if its the electric waffle iron, not the flour mix or the recipe?


6 oz plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps sugar
2 eggs (separated)
8 fl.oz milk
3 oz melted butter


Combine the dry ingredients.

Mix the egg yolks and milk, then add the melted butter. Beat well, and then add to the dry ingredients. Beat again.

Whisk the egg whites, and fold into the other ingredients.

Add dollops to the wafflemaker and cook until golden brown.

Eat with proper maple syrup (is there any other way?)

Yes, this makes a lot of washing-up. Definitely a weekend-only treat.

Fabulous gluten free seville orange cake

Just over a year ago, I gave you my recipe for seville orange marmalade. Well, guess what? Seville oranges are back in season again …

baking - measuring spoonsYes, I made marmalade again, but I had a few oranges left over that I just couldn’t fit into my preserving pan, and weren’t quite enough to make a new batch of marmalade, so I needed something to use them up.

This is a great cake. Very adult, in that seville oranges are really bitter, so none of my children like it, so don’t offer it at a children’s birthday tea!

Seville Orange Cake

Ingredients for the cake:

150g gluten free white breadcrumbs
200g ground almonds
300g caster sugar (which might be called superfine sugar, in the US?)
3 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
8 eggs
400ml sunflower oil
4 Seville oranges

Extra ingredients for the topping:

100g caster sugar
handful of cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 180C or gas mark 4.

Mix together the breadcrumbs, ground almonds, sugar and baking powder. Add the eggs and oil, and mix gently.

Grate the zest from the lemon and oranges and add to the mixture.

Pour the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm cake tin, and bake for between 40 minutes and an hour – until the cake is firm.

Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from the lemon and oranges and put the juice, sugar, cloves and cinnamon into a pan. Boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.

When the cake is cooked and cooled, pierce it several times with a skewer. Spoon the syrup over the cake, letting it soak in.

Serve by itself (delicious when warm) or with creme fraiche or greek yoghurt.

Cooking for a Gluten Free Goddess

Now here’s a challenge …

cornucopia.jpgThe Gluten Free Goddess recently discovered that she has a plate-ful of other allergies and intolerances:

Cow’s milk/cheese/whey/casein/goat’s milk, egg whites/yolks, chicken/turkey, gluten, peanuts, almonds/walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, lemon, avocado, pineapple, papaya, green beans, kidney beans, oysters.

Gluten is familiar – but can we create a meal without any of these things? Gluten Free By the Bay has challenged bloggers to come up with a recipe that Karina could eat. Always up for a challenge, here’s my offering:

If Karina came round to my house, I’d cook black-eyed bean cakes with ginger onion marmalade, followed by drunken fruit.

I’m hoping that since only kidney beans and soybeans were listed, that Karina would be able to eat black-eyed beans and lentils – I would phone her to check first! Also, my menu assumes that sugar and alcohol are OK – something else to check. Honey would make a good replacement in the onion marmalade and the drunken fruit dish; you could use a simple stock (check it is gluten free!) in place of the white wine for the marmalade.

And here are the details:

BlackEyed Bean Cakes with Ginger Onion Marmalade

(adapted from a recipe by Delia. Delia is one of the most famous cookery writers here in the UK – so well known, that she no longer needs a surname, like Madonna. Her recipes are not aimed at the gluten free – hence the adaptations, but always work well).

Ingredients for the beancakes

4 oz blackeyed beans, either soaked overnight or boiled for 10 mins and soaked for 2 hours. Or just buy tinned ones!
4 oz green or brown lentils, rinsed and picked over for small stones
1 bay leaf
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, chopped finely
1 red pepper, chopped finely
1 green chilli, seeds removed and chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste
2 tablespoons corn meal or polenta or gluten free flour (to coat and make outsides crispy)
salt and pepper

Method for the beancakes

Put the drained beans and lentils in a big pan and add 1 pint water, the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs. Simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the beans and lentils are completely soft. If there’s any water left, drain. Take out the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

Mash them up with a fork or potato masher and season.

During that 45 minutes, you could be chopping up all the vegetables and then frying them gently in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until they are golden brown at the edges. Stir in the mace, chopped thyme and tomato paste, and then combine the vegetable mixture with the drained bean mash.

Make 12 round cakes (making your hands wet helps), put them on an oiled plate or baking tray and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When you’re ready to cook the beancakes, coat them in the corn meal or gluten free flour. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan, and then fry the beancakes for about 3 minutes on each side (in batches), adding more oil if needed. Keep them warm until all the beancakes are ready.

I would serve this with the ginger onion marmalade (see below), a big green salad, and/or Jamie Oliver‘s Smashed Tomato and Olive salad, which is basically 4 parts of mixed tiny tomatoes (red cherry, yellow cherry, baby plum etc) to 1 part of black olives (stones in). Bash the tomatoes and olives so that they split in a rough fashion – but not pulverised! – pull out the olive stones, let the olives and tomatoes mingle their flavours for a while, add lots of fresh basil and some rocket, and serve with a good homemade dressing.

Ingredients for the Ginger Onion Marmalade

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
12 oz red onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 rosemary sprigs
8 fl oz dry white wine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dark soft brown sugar
salt and pepper

Method for the Ginger Onion Marmalade

Peel and slice the onions into rings and fry them with the rosemary in the olive oil until they are golden. Add the white wine and white wine vinegar, brown sugar and ginger, salt and pepper. Simmer everything very gently for about an hour to an hour and a half. Almost all the liquid should be gone. Take out the rosemary before serving.

Drunken Fruit

What fruit do you have in the house? Take a variety of fruits, fresh and dried (obviously avoiding those on Karina’s no-no list) and peel and slice into bite sized pieces. Apples, pears, bananas, plums, dried fruit such as figs, apricots and raisins, and it is good to use a few oranges if you can (try and remove as much of the white pith as you can). Again, lemons are on the no-no list, so I’d need to check that other citrus fruit was OK.

Line a roasting tin (or high-sided baking sheet) with foil, and spread the fruit on this. The foil is simply to make the washing up easier.

Add some brown sugar (tablespoon or two) – I like molasses sugar, but I know that it isn’t to everyone’s taste – and a splash or two of orange juice (if OJ is OK – other fruit juice if not). If you like, you could add a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon. Again, you could add a splash or two (couple of tablespoons, perhaps) of sweet alcohol now – marsala, a sweet sherry, a dark rum, even Grand Marnier if you wanted to pick out the orange flavour. Just as long as you have some sugar and some liquid, this should be fine.

Cook in the oven for about half an hour at about 180C. The fantastic thing about this dish is it is different every time and is very forgiving.


Gluten Free Sachertorte

A classic cake for Easter – what is it about Easter and chocolate?

Ingredients – for the cake
200g or 7oz of dark chocolate (use a good one – say 72% cocoa solids)
5 eggs
250g or 8oz caster sugar
2 tsps instant coffee (dissolved in 2 tblsps hot water)
150g or 5oz ground almonds

Ingredients – for the icing

150g or 5oz dark chocolate as above
50g or 2oz butter
1 tblsp golden syrup

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4, and grease a 9in non-stick spring-release cake tin.


Gently melt the chocolate.
Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks and sugar together until thick and creamy.
Add the ground almonds, dissolved coffee and melted chocolate to the yolk/sugar mix and stir well.
Whisk the whites until they are stiff, and fold into the almond/egg yolk mix.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and cook for 30 minutes, then cover the top with foil and cook for another 20 minutes.
When cooked, leave in the tin for 5 minutes and then release from the cake tin ring. Let it cool completely on the cake tin base, then slide off gently with a palette knife.
Melt the icing ingredients together gently on a very low heat and mix until smooth and glossy.
Spread the icing all over the cake, and let it set for at least an hour before serving.

You can decorate this with mini eggs or with fluffy Easter chicks, if that’s what you fancy.