Baguette, Baguette, Baguette!!! (improved recipe for home made gluten free dairy free bread)

It has come a long way to achieve this wonderful quality and stable recipe for our home made gluten free dairy free bread. This bread is made with a generous amount of golden flaxseeds and gluten free oat. It smells phenomenal when baking in the oven and the freshly baked baguette has a crunchy crust and a beautiful nutty flavour. In my opinion, It’s well worth the effort to make these bread even you are not gluten or dairy intolerant.

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The magic ingredients – Golden Flaxseeds & Psyllium Husks

One of the major challenges of making gluten free bread is to provide a structure for the yeast to work, so the dough will rise during proofing. Gluten in wheat flour provides an amazing quality that would give the bread dough the elasticity and network. To replace the gluten and to give the dough the structure, you could use natural ingredients like xanthan gum or psyllium husks, etc. Personally I prefer to use psyllium husks to xanthan gum, for the former gives you a dough that you can shape into different bread, while the latter tend to give us a runnier dough which is good for pouring into a baking tin.

However, too much psyllium husks is not necessary good for you. Too much fibre intake could cause you problems as much as it would with too little fibre. That’s the reason why we started adding higher ratio of golden flaxseeds (grounded) as it provides soluble fibre which our body would accept better.

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Improved Recipe – Gluten Free Dairy Free Bread

(2 pound bread loaf or two 16 inch baguette)


100g              ground golden flaxseeds (preferred to brown flaxseeds for a nuttier flavour)

350g              water

100g              ground gluten free oat

(Optional 10g of poppy seeds for enhanced flavour)

100g             rice  flour (50/50 with brown rice flour)

50g               corn starch

20g                ground psyllium husks

15g                caster sugar

10g                instant yeast

One                medium size egg (room temperature)

30g                olive oil

7g                  sea salt

***Pre-heat your oven to 170 to 220 degrees C, see Step 8 for detail***

Step 1 – Bring the ground flaxseeds with 350g of water to boil, and then transfer to the kitchenaid stand mixer with a dough hook to cool down to hand warm temperature.

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Step 2 – Mix the other ingredients, except the egg, olive oil and the sea salt, in a separate bowl.

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Step 3 – Once the ground flaxseed mixture is cooled to the desired temperature, pour the ingredients above into the stand mixer with the egg (except the oil and the salt). Turn to a very low speed at 1 or 2 and mix the ingredients until the they are all blended well. With mark 2 or 4, it could take as long as 5 to 10 minutes. You will find the dough much wetter than traditional bread. (Optional – You could use 300g of water instead of 350g, but I find the dough not rise as much with less water ratio)

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Step 4 – Now add the olive oil and patiently let the oil mixed well into the dough. At first, the dough will get separated by the oil and it did not look right. But don’t worry if you give the mixer enough time and at a low speed, the oil will eventually get absorbed into dough. This step is very important as an undermixed dough would not rise.

Step 5 – I tend to add the salt in the last stage of the mixing, so to allow the yeast and sugar work more in the beginning of the process. It should just take a couple of minutes to mix the salt into the dough evenly.

Step 6 – Now you could dust your work surface and your hands with corn starch. Please just put enough of corn starch to allow you to pick up the dough to work with. Excess amount of corn starch will affect the consistency of the dough quality and any destruction of the structure (with psyllium husks and flaxseeds) affect the proofing.

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Step 7 – It is a dough that you can shape with but as it is wetter than the normal wheat flour dough and its delicate, I tend to roll it flat with a rolling pin, and then shape it as a bread loaf or baguette gently. Then cover your dough with a plastic bag (sealed if you could). The dough should rise double in size in half an hour in room temperature or a warm corner in your house.

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Step 8 – For soft crust go for 170 degrees. For crunchy crust 220 degrees. Aim 30 minutes for baguettes and 40 minutes for bread loaf. You will know when it is cooked through if it sounds hollow when taping the bottom of the bread loaf/ baguette.


Enjoy your home made bread with your loved ones!

There is always a cake for you! – Gluten free dairy free chocolate cupcakes with ganache topping

Can you imagine sitting in a room with 30 other people indulging themselves with home made cupcakes, and all you could do is watching them enjoying these beautiful little cakes? I certainly can, but I would be so deeply depressed!

So a couple of days before a charity children party organised by Birthdays with Love, and thanks to my good friend and mentor Three Thrum Mum, I had a little experiment with some gluten free and dairy free chocolate cupcakes. They do taste just like what you would expect – luxurious, heavenly chocolaty, melts in your mouth – as a good chocolate cupcake should be!

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This is how I made them (12 standard cupcakes):

Ingredients for the chocolate cupcakes (gluten free and dairy free):

120 g of gluten free flour (1/3 corn starch, 1/3 rice flour, 1/3 sweet potato flour)

1 tsp of gluten free baking powder

1/4 tsp of xanthan gum

1/4 tsp of kosher salt

40 g of good quality unsweetend cocoa powder

Mix the above dry ingredients and sieve once

2 medium size eggs

60 g of unrefined cane sugar/ light brown sugar

60 g inverted sugar (this is the magic ingredient to keep the cakes moist for longer)

70 g of grape seed oil (I prefer this to coconut oil for it would not affect the taste of the final product)

50 g of soy milk or water

Step 1 – Pre-heat your oven to 180 degree C

Step 2 – Whisk the eggs together with the sugar until its fluffy and pale (hand held mixer or stand mixer)

Step 3 – Sieve in/ pour in the dry ingredients, the inverted sugar, the oil and the soy milk into the egg mixture. You can either turn on the stand mixer just for a a few seconds or by hand folding in the ingredients until blended

**Please note the batter is very liquid but it would make some lovely light fluffy and round cupcakes

Step 4 – Pour roughly around 35 g of the batter in each of the cupcake cases and bake them in the oven at 180 degrees C for around 15 minutes

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Ingredients for the dark chocolate ganache (dairy free):

100 g of good quality dark chocolate (chopped to small pieces and 70% would be the best option)

100 g of soy milk

a dash of vanilla essence

Step 1 – Bring the soy milk to boil. Pour onto the dark chocolate.

Step 2 – Let it sit for a minute or two, and then stir with a spatula until all melted and glossy

Step 3 – Use it however way you like it! I just simply hold the cakes upside down and drown them into this chocolate bath!

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What is next? EAT THEM!

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Macarons or Macaroons?

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However these little cookies are called, it has been an amazing and inspiring year for me. I had the privilege to meet some very cool people in the food industry. I even got to help out in a professional kitchen for a few days. 2013 has treated me very well, and I look forward to new challenges ahead in 2014!

I have not only interested in how macarons are made, but also how they vary in different countries. My in laws are from the UK and they have been telling me for some time about “Macaroons”. According to the information I found on the internet, “Macarons” were originally from Italy and they looked very much like a simple almond cookie (with plenty of cracks on them). And then it got to France and then somehow they become what we are familiar with the big names like Pierre Herme or Laduree.


Anyhow, I thought it would be good to go back to basics and test a couple of recipes. “Macaroons” are similar to “Macarons” in terms of ingredients (egg white, sugar, generally almond and sometimes coconut), but its made with different ratio of egg white to the dry ingredients. Traditionally, English Macaroons are baked on edible rice paper sheets (I still remember the fun of eating the rice paper wrapping the「大白兔」奶糖  when I was a kid) they are more of an almond base, and then gradually the coconut version got more known to the public. The almond one would be the more original one and it transformed into what we are called “Macarons” nowadays.

So here you go, my little test on the “Coconut Macaroons” and I couldn’t believe how easy they are to make. They are surprisingly light and tasty. I had 3 as soon as they were out from the oven!

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What you need:

  • 1 large egg white
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 20g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract 
  • 120g shredded coconut
  • Rice Paper Sheet

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This is how it is done:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC
  2. Beat the egg whites until foamy, then add a pinch of salt into egg white and continue to beat it. When soft peaks are formed. Add the sugar half at a time and whisk the egg white until the hard peaks are form and the meringue is 3 (13)photo 4 (7)
  3. Fold in the almonds, salt, vanilla and coconut. The mixture will be sticky but should, all the same, hold its shape when clumped together.
  4. By hand or 2 spoons to form the macaroons into small domes onto the rice paper. photo 5 (5)
  5. Cook for 20 minutes or until they’re lightly brown.

So here you go a half eaten chewy and light classic coconut macaroon!

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So well….what do you say? Macarons or Macaroons? I think my boy chose Furby Boom instead……..

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The best gift for my parents for Christmas. Congratulations to my sister! (a simple macaron tower with hand made mini cupcakes)

How wonderful to see my sister getting married to her loved one. And even better it is just before Christmas! This is certainly the best gift for my dear parents. My dad, despite fighting against a rare illness and a quiet gentleman, he was over the moon. I cannot put into words how happy we were as a family. It was truly an amazing day and many memorable moments.

To celebrate this big day for my lovely sister and brother in law, I had a lot of help from my in laws. As a team we made 80 Lemon Drizzle & Poppy Seeds Cupcakes, 80 Ginger & Cinnamon Cupcakes and close to 300 Macarons of combinations of Rum, Rose and Orange Chocolate.   And yes all these were created in my kitchen and in less than 3 days. That was really a lot of work from putting together the flowers for the macaron tower to the last minute assembly of the dessert table. Well, at least for us amateurs it was a challenge.

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It was my father in law who made the cupcakes. I am no expert in cupcakes, and in fact I have probably only made a few dozens in my cooking life. We followed a very simple recipe from the BBC website. The magic for the lemon poppy seeds was to inject drops of lemon syrup into the warm cupcakes (use a small knife to make a small cut in each of the cupcakes to soak in the drizzle). And of course a good amount of lemon juice and lemon rind into the frosting. You cannot skip the lemon rind. The oil from the rind is the core of the amazing lemon aroma and flavour. I use 1 part butter, 1 part icing sugar, and very generous amount of fresh lemon juice and rind. Do taste it as you go along and get to the taste that you like.

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Th ginger ones were basically of the same recipe, but this time we added candied ginger and a pinch of cinnamon in it.

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Now moving onto the macarons, I thought it would be good to use a macaron display shelf instead of making a tower with a polystyrene cone (see my post on how to make a macaron tower). I was a little worried that people might mistaken a cone as backdrop and not eating the macarons. Silly thought it might be, the display shelf has been proved to be an excellent idea! I got mine from and I think I paid around USD 30 for one.

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The assembly was very smooth and it only took minutes to set the whole thing up. I highly recommend this macaron display shelf for any home bakers. Excellent way to show your macarons with minimum effort.

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It worked really well!

Okay shall I share one filling’s recipe with you? Shall we see how I made the Rum Macaron Filling?

Here you go:

100g 35% or above White Chocolate (buttons or chopped into small pieces)

100g Whipping Cream

10g Dark Rum (I think I used more than this …..)

Step 1 – Bring the cream to boil and then pour into the white chocolate. Set aside for a minute or two, and then stir it slowly to melt all the white chocolate.

Step 2 – Add the rum a few drops at a time and gently fold into the ganache. Taste it until you get the strength of the rum you like. Remember to do this very slowly or the ganache would curdle.

Step 3 – Once cooled, put that into the fridge overnight.

Step 4 – Next day, use an electric mixer to whisk the ganache until fluffy and light. This is now ready for piping!

Once again, congratulations to my sister and my brother in law! And big thanks to my in laws for all of your help!

Your Macaron, Your Way (Macaron pops, Macaron tower or Macaron Flower?)

What have I been up to lately? Baking macarons ……… again. My hubby wonders where I got my energy from. I made 3 macaron towers/ cakes last week, while I was training for a 10km charity run on Sunday. I can tell you passion is the key to anything that one does. When you enjoy doing something, you will find time and energy (and creativity) to do it!

While some might prefer the classic Macaron Tower, some might prefer something a little playful like Macaron Pops, or why not making it like a flower pot just for a bit of fun?

Thanks to 3 wonderful mums and friends – I had the pleasure to create 3 different styles of macaron gifts for 3 very special ones. Happy Birthday!!!!!!

So instead of detailing the technical part of the making of these macarons and cake, I am going to keep this post short and visually sweet for you!

R likes blue and would appreciate Macaron pops.





Little A loves yellow so a yellow and pink Macaron tower would certainly be the choice!

(click here to see how I made a macaron tower at home)

(click here to see how I made the passionfruit lemon filling)

(click here to see how I made the raspberry jam)





And as for our lovely C and soon to be eleven, she might appreciate something purple and a little different? Macaron flower and a flower pot cake?

(click here to see the recipe of the gluten free sachertorte cake base)





The soil is made of ground hazulnut with hint of black colouring, and the grassy bits are made with shredded coconut rubbed in green colouring.

Hope you like these ideas for macarons!

Macaron Baking Marathon – home made jam filling


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I must have been baking macarons non stopped since Friday. 3 days of non stop baking and still standing. I am either mad, or some so called trully passionate! Haha


I didn’t keep track the numbers of macarons I have created in my little kitchen. 300 maybe?


But I certainly remember the flavours I have done!


1. Chocolate Ganache with Orange Liquor & Candied Orange Peel (click to see the recipe)

2. Salted Caramel

3. Passionfruit Lemon Almond Cream (click to see the recipe)

4. Rose White Chocolate Cream

5. Chocolate Ganache with Rum

6. Vanilla Cream

7. Home made Raspberry Jam

8. Chocolate Ganache with Rum and Raisins


I adore home made jam. You can adjust the taste to your preference. And you know exactly what is in it. I know I say this a lot, but trust me making jam is a lot easier than you thought. Here is the recipe of the Raspberry Jam.

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Home-made Raspberry Jam

(sterilise a glass jar for your jam)


15g caster sugar

7g fruit pectin


10g butter (I used clarified butter for caesin free diet. Adding butter in the jam reduces the unwanted bubbles when boiling the jam)

30g water

250g raspberries


125g sugar

7g vitamin C powder (you can use lemon juice instead. You may need half an lemon, depending on the taste)


Step 1 – Mix well the pectin and the sugar, then add into a pan together with the raspberries, water and butter. Bring it to boil, and boil it (keep stirring) for a few minutes

Step 2 – Add the remaining sugar and the vitamin C powder into the pan. Continue to stir and boil it to 101 to 104 degrees C

Step 3 – Cool down the jam with a ice bath and……THIS IS YOUR HOME MADE JAM!


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Natural Pink Colouring 

Just in case you are interested, the raspberry macarons are coloured with Beetroot Powder and Freeze Dried Raspberry Powder


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Now I can relax and retire from macaron baking……………maybe for a week or so! 🙂



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My Sachertorte ….. My Raspberry gluten free Sachertorte!

Okay I do have a soft spot for my husband. When he said “Darling, I am pretty sure you could do much better than The British Bake Off Contestants”, I am obliged to answer to his request for a gluten free Sachertorte.

To me, Sachertorte is just a fancy name for an almond based chocolate cake with creamy yummy dark chocolate ganache and a layer of apricot jam. Personally, I much prefer something with berries. The sharpness of the berries compliment the bitterness of dark chocolate. As much as I adore chocolate, too much of it can be a little sickling. So why not have a go to make it with Raspberry Jam and top up this very chocolaty chocolate cake with some fresh raspberries? Yay!

In minutes (well it’s more like an hour), we have this beauty for a Sunday afternoon tea. Isn’t it just great?


It’s a pretty simple cake, and I made it so quick I hardly took any photos. My apologies this is going to be a very text heavy post. But wow the taste of this cake is just amazing, especially for those (including me!) who loves good quality dark chocolate and raspberries. What a wonderful marriage of these two beautiful ingredients!


Let’s get straight to the ingredients!

(I used a 6 inch square cake mould)

The Almond Cake Base

160g Dark Chocolate (must be 70 percent cocoa and real chocolate – not compound chocolate where the cocoa butter has been replaced by vegetable oil)

150g Unsalted Butter softened (use clarified butter if you’d like a caesin free version)

110g Unrefined brown sugar

1 vanilla pot (we just want the seeds. Alternatively, a few drops of vanilla essence would do)

5 medium eggs (white and yolk separated)

80g Ground Almond

30g Ground Buckwheat

30g Corn Starch

5g xanthan  gum

The Very Berry Topping

Raspberry Jam – as much as you need to cover the top of the cake (I am very generous)

The Very Chocolaty Topping 

150g Dark Chocolate (yes 70 percent cocoa)

150g Raspberry puree

15g Unsalted butter (clarified butter for caesin free)



How do you do it?

Prepare your topping –

1. I work my way from the topping. Place your chocolate (buttons or cut up smaller piece if its a bar) in a glass bowl.

2. Bring your cream or fruit puree to boil, and then pour that into the chocolate. Add the butter too.

3. Now leave it for a few minutes and then stir it very well until all the chocolate has melted.

4. Leave it in room temperature to set and thicken for spreading

Prepare your cake –

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C, and don’t forget to grease your cake tin

2. You will need 3 bowls. The first one, put in the chocolate and melt it over simmering water (bain marie).

3. In the second bowl, beat the butter until fluffy and then add in the sugar. Continue to beat it until pale and airy.

4. Now add the melted chocolate, vanilla, and egg yolk into the butter and mix well.

5. Sieve all the dry ingredients/ flour into the mixture and gently fold it in.

6. In bowl number 3, put your egg white in it and whisk it till 80% peak (hard peak but not to the stage where the egg white is dry and separated/ lumpy)

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg white into the second bowl and mix well. And gradually add the rest of the egg white. Make sure you do this very quick but with very gentle folding to keep the air. There is no other raising agent in the cake.

8. Into the tin, and bake it for around 50 minutes. Check if its cooked by running a knife in the middle of the cake and check if its clean.

9. Once cooled down, spread a layer of jam, put the cake into the fridge for an hour and then spread the chocolate ganache onto the cake. Topped with raspberries and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.


Its gluten free! But sorry it isn’t calorie free………


One more Macaron Tower. One Year Wiser. (orange liquor, candied orange peel & dark chocolate ganache)

I have been very quiet but in fact I had a pretty full couple of weeks of non stop baking and cake making challenges! Thanks to my lovely friends for trusting me on creating something for their loved ones. I had another opportunity to put together a macaron tower. Happy Birthday Vincent!


You would think making macarons is like breathing or walking to me, after all these years of practice. Sadly, these little cookies are so moody, sometimes the results are still not up to my standard. This time round I had no trouble making the macarons but I didn’t make quite enough macarons to cover a tower!

So after carefully placing them onto the cone, I found out I am short of 10 macarons! Well making another batch wouldn’t work as the colours would be different. Thank you to my lovely friends I managed to distribute 100 macarons to my neighborhood, so I don’t have to stuff myself with them and get sick. Thank you N, E, K and K!



It’s not so bad to make new batches of macarons. Perfection all came down to practice. I do get a lot of practice this time round! I am not going to repeat myself on how to make a Macaron tower/ cone. You could refer to my previous post to get some ideas on the material and tools.


How about I share the recipe on one of the fillings? – Dark Chocolate Ganache with Orange liquor & Candied Orange Peel

(Filling for 25 Macarons)

You would need:

100g dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa)

100g whipping cream

15g unsalted butter (soften in room temperature)

15g Orange Liquor (the more the merrier!)

Small amount of candied orange peel and cut into smaller pieces

This is how you make the ganache:

1. Cut your chocolate bar into smaller pieces (or you can use chocolate buttons) and place then in a glass bowl

2. Bring the cream to boil and then pour it into the chocolate

3. Put the butter into the chocolate and let it standard for a few minutes

4. Still the chocolate with the cream and butter with a spatula until all melted

5. Pour 15g of orange liquor and mix it well

6. Now leave it in room temperature to set to thicken and set to the consistency for piping. Don’t be tempted to stir it! You will know when it’s ready. The colour goes from shiny to dull.

7. Then what you have to do is to pipe the ganache onto the macaron shells and place a couple of the candied orange peel onto it for texture and flavours

Just in case you are interested, the silver ones are passionfruit lemon almond cream and the blue ones are salted caramel. Here is the recipe for passionfruit lemon almond cream!



Do you remember this old favourite from school dinners? “Gypsy Tart” – the legend from Kent, England (gluten free)

Well, it is not the type of dessert you would expect from a fine dining restaurant. But if you from Kent (England), this (overly!) sweet dessert will certainly bring you some childhood memories. I have been told it is one of the best memory of their school dinners in the old days. Really?

Apparently, there is a story behind this Gypsy Tart, quoted from “The Independent” –

The story goes that there was an old gypsy woman who saw a group of children in the field near her house, they looked so undernourished that she wanted to make them something to eat and made the only thing she could with the ingredients she had…

It is basically a short crust pastry tart, filled with foamy evaporated milk with far far too much muscovado  sugar. But nothing beats a good childhood memory comfort food. So here you go, this is my version which so happened to be gluten free for my dear husband. I think I have won his heart one more time!

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Gypsy Tart (gluten free version, but still a guilty version for the amount of sugar in it!)

6 inch pie dish

Tart Pastry Ingredients:

45g ground almond

45g corn starch

90g rice flour

5g psyllium husks

2g salt

90g of clarified butter (you can use just any butter, chilled and cubed)

one egg

a tablespoon of iced water (it depends on the dough)

The Mixing –

  1. Put all the dry ingredients and salt in a large bowl and add the clarified butter (or cubes of normal butter).
  2. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs with no large lumps of butter remaining. Try to work quickly so that it does not become greasy.
  3. Using a knife, stir in the egg and just enough of the cold water to bind the dough together.
  4. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 10-15 minutes before using.
  5. Alternatively you can use the kitchenaid stand mixer to do the work for you!

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The Baking –

  1. After the dough has been chilled, take it out from the fridge and gently roll it to 5mm thickness and big enough to cover the pie dish (gluten free pastry is very flaky and fragile so please do not get upset if you have to redo it a few times)
  2. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and put the dish to the fridge to chill and set for 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C
  3. Bake it blind (thanks for lessons I took from Cocoa Pin, I have learnt to blind bake by covering the dish with aluminium foil) for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil or the baking bins, then bake the dish for an additional of 10 to 15 minutes until firmed and golden brown. Then turn the oven down to 160 degrees C

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The Sweet Filling Ingredients:

70g unrefined muscovado sugar

100g chilled evaporated milk (best chilled in the fridge for 12 hours or above)

1. Whisk the evaporated milk and the sugar together until light and fluffy (it should thicken after about 10 to 15 minutes).

2. Pour the mixture into the pastry case then cook for 15 minutes at 160 degrees C until risen and the surface is dried.

3.  Be patient, this isn’t read for serving yet. After the tart is cool, remove it gently from the pie dish (optional) and let put it into the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours.

4. Serve it with whipped cream or plain vanilla ice cream

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This is simply the simplest dessert to cheer up any children and adults. Forget about the diet, just dive in and enjoy a lovely treat!

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