All I Want For Christmas is MACARON

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ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MACARON!!!!!!

Oh yes I do! This is the very reason why I created “Little Miss Macarons” a year ago to share my passion of macarons in Hong Kong. These little gems are all locally made in small batches by myself and Chris, my business partner, husband and dad of our eight year old boy Eddie.

This year we have braved into the digital world and created an online shopping cart for our Christmas Collection. Pre orders are available until 15th December 2015!

We have given our Macarons a new make over to welcome this wonderful festival!

These festive Macarons will wow you and you guests. All made with from scratch with hearty fillings. What do we have?

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Pre order is available until 15th December at www.littlemissmacarons.oddle.me.

And don’t forget the special offer for the Early Bird offer!

Merry Christmas!

Love from Master Macarons, Mr Macarons and Little Miss Macarons XXX

Crispy pizza with merguez and pork sausages – all home made and all gluten free

What else could you make with the gluten free bread recipe? I certainly will go for a crispy pizza with home made merguez and pork sausages!

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The Pizza Base is just a slightly adjusted bread dough that I previously posted. The ingredients are as follows and you can refer to the steps by clicking the link below:

Gluten free bread made easy

Ingredients:

350g water
100g ground golden flaxseeds
100g corn starch
50g potato starch
50g rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
20g psyllium husks
15g sugar
10g yeast
1 egg
50g olive oil
7g salt

The tips is to pre bake base at 220 degrees c for 5 to 8 minutes, and then bake again for 10 minutes after you place the toppings onto the pizza.

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Want to make your own sausages to put onto the pizza? That will be reviewed in the next post. Stay tuned!

Let’s kick off with a British Classic – Sticky Toffee Pudding (yes, it is gluten free)

Today is Mother’s Day here in Hong Kong, but also a day of heavy rain and thunderstorm. Oh well, it could have been worse! At least I have a roof over my head, and better, a kitchen full of gadgets and ingredients that I could mess with!

My husband (Haha I know he will read this!) has a sweet tooth and is very fond of classic puddings from his home country. A sticky toffee pudding specially made gluten free for him on a rainy Sunday evening? Well you it wish I have taken a photo of him demolishing the pudding!

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How did I make it? This recipe is adopted from a few recipes I have been through on various cook books, so it is not something new.

The only risk I took was the gluten free flour mix – I went 1/3 corn starch 1/3 sweet potato flour and 1/3 ground almond. I had no idea if it would work…… Glad it did!

**Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees C**

**Grease a dish – 1.5 to 2 inches deep, 4.5 inches x 5.5 inches**

Step 1

40g softened butter
75g unrefined dark brown sugar

Cream the above ingredients until it’s light and fluffy

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Step 2

One egg (room temperature and whisked)

Beat in egg into the butter and sugar mixture (add a little at a time to avoid the mixture curdle)

Step 3

100g boiling water
90g chopped date (finely chopped)

Pour the hot water into he date and left on the side. For smoother texture, you can blend it with a processor.

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Step 4

Once the above is cooled to lukewarm temperature, pour it into the butter/ sugar/ egg mixture and just mix it enough to blend with the mixture.

Step 5

30g corn starch
30g sweet potato flour
30g ground almond
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xantham gum

Mix the above well in a separate bowl, sieve into the butter/ sugar/ egg/ date/ water mixture and then fold it in.

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Step 6

Pour into the dish or baking tin, and bake in 180 degrees C for 25 to 30 minutes

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Step 7

125g cream
40g unrefined dark brown sugar
40g butter

Boil the above for 3 to 4 minutes so it thickens a little.

Then pour that onto the cooked pudding.

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Serve with home made custard and enjoy!

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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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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?

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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!

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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)

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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.

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

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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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A Luxury Morning Treat (Apricot, Pistachio, Maple Syrup – gluten free dairy free flapjacks)

Believe me, you have to try it and you will know exactly what I mean. I almost thought I was in a cinema! The smell of the camalised maple syrup reminds me so much of those naughty popcorns. I love it!

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You could argue these oat bars are not as healthy as the ones I made before (basic flapjack recipe). But my goodness me the magic of maple syrup is unbelievable. And with the addition of pistachios and apricot – this is truly indulgence. It’s no ordinary flapjacks!

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Apricot, Pistachio & Maple Syrup Flapjacks

I made 33 finger size flapjacks with a rectangular pan of 12 inches x 20 inches.

You will need:

350g gluten free rolled oats
175g coconut oil (or same amount of butter)
175g maple syrup
125g unrefined raw sugar
50g pistachios (shelled and toasted)
150g dried apricot (cut into small pieces)

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**preheat your oven to 160 degrees c

Step 1 – Put the sugar, the coconut oil, and the maple syrup in a saucepan. Heat it up in low heat and stir it until all the sugar has melted

Step 2 – Pour the heated wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix mix mix until all the liquid is absorbed to the rolled oats (it should just be bind without too much excess liquid or it won’t be crispy)

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Step 3 – Transfer the mixture into a greased baking tin (I used a non stick silicon cloth in the tin) and spread it evenly with a spatula

Step 4 – Bake it in the 160 degrees c oven for 30 to 40 minutes (until it’s beautifully golden brown and you can see all the liquid is absorbed). When you touch the top with your finger, it may not feel crispy yet but it should feel it comes together in one piece.

Step 5 – Now be patient and don’t take the flapjacks out from the oven. Turn off the oven, leave the door open for an inch, and leave the flapjacks in the oven overnight.

First thing in the morning, you will have these beautiful crunchy crispy tasty oatbars for breakfast!

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These luxury oatbars or flapjacks do taste different to the basic ones, with a more nutty and carmalised flavour. Forgive me for saying this again, this is a pretty easy thing to make and it would keep for a good few weeks in an airtight tins. Great nibbles and taste absolutely gorgeous! Enjoy your baking!

“6 beautiful ingredients and 5 basic steps – you have a great snack and breakfast for your family!”

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Flapjacks are uncool? Let’s change their point of view! (Gluten free Dairy Free oat bars with coconut oil and other goodies)

What? Flapjacks are uncool? This is a bold comment from The Guardian when I did a search for flapjacks on the web last night!

What if we made it with goodies like coconut oil, gluten free rolled oats, honey, luxury mixed dried fruits, a pinch of lemon rind, a pinch of roasted hazelnuts and a little touch of ginger? I think anything home made and easy to make is very cool!

This is the breakfast I had this morning – home made flapjacks/ oat bars with beautiful home made yoghurt and fresh passionfruit, alongside with a cup of English breakfast tea. What a wonderful morning!

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These oat bars are so easy to make and they are great healthier alternatives for snacks. I started measuring up ingredients at 11.30pm last night and I was bed by 12.15am, smiling in my bed as I will have lovely breakfast when I wake up! The wonderful smell from the baking is just phenomenal!

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I made 39 finger size flapjacks with a rectangular pan of 12 inches x 20 inches.

Basic Gluten Free Flapjacks (oatbars)

You will need:

350g gluten free rolled oats
175g coconut oil (or same amount of butter)
175g honey
175g unrefined raw sugar (reduce by half if you add any dried fruits)
A drop or two of lemon juice

Optional – I also added a handful of mixed dried fruits, Roasted hazelnuts, fresh lemon rind, and a pinch of ground ginger

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This is how I do it:

**preheat your oven to 160 degrees c

Step 1 – Put the sugar, the coconut oil, and the honey in a saucepan. Heat it and stir it until all the sugar has melted

Step 2 – Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix mix mix until all the liquid is absorbed to the rolled oats

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Step 3 – Transfer your mixture into a greased baking tin (I used a non stick silicon cloth in the tin) and spread it evenly with a spatula

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Step 4 – Bake it in the 160 degrees c oven for 30 to 40 minutes (until it’s beautifully golden brown)

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Step 5 – Remove from oven, wait for baked product to cool down (10 minutes?), cut it into your desired nite sizes, and then return it to the oven to dry overnight for a crunchy bite!

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“4 basic ingredients and 5 basic steps – you have a great snack and breakfast for your family!” 

You have no excuse. Pre-heat your oven, measure your ingredients, and start cooking!

 

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A Classic Never Fails (Lemon Lime Meringue Pie) – except the cheat gluten free pastry base.

A perfect marriage of flavours and texture —– fluffy marshmallow like sweet meringue, soft melt in your mouth tangy lemon lime filling and crunchy nutty pastry. Well well well…it would have been perfect if I had got the pastry right. Unfortunately, I didn’t.

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So lesson learnt – Do no cheat! Yes I did cheat. I had a box of gluten free pancake mix sitting at the cupboard. And I thought the ingredients in it are more or less the same I would put into the gluten free pastry. So why not take a short cut and just put some butter, egg and water in it and turn it into short crust pastry!

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The pastry was very crumbly. I couldn’t roll it so I had to push it into the baking tin. The result was a greasy and very crumbly shortcrust base.

If I make it again. I would use these measurements:

Gluten free short crust pastry

100g ground almond
65g rice flour
60g corn meal
1 pinch salt
35g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
112g cold unsalted butter (diced into cubes)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water

If you have a stand mixer, simply put all the ingredients (except the cold water) and use a paddle to mix it in low speed. When the mixture resembles breadcrumb (butter is all incorporated into the dry ingredients), then add a little bit of water at a time and use your hand to push the mixture into a dough.

If you don’t have a mixer, you can also use a food processor or you can use your finger tips to gently (and very quickly) incorporate butter into the dry ingredients.

If the butter has not melted, then you could quickly roll the pastry into 3mm thick, cover your baking tin, prick the bottom gently with a fork and put it into the fridge for 20 minutes to set.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C and then blind bake (parchment paper over the pastry with rice or beans as weight) for around 10 minutes or until it’s lightly brown.

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Lemon & Lime Filling
22cm round baking tin

You will need:

100g lemon juice
60g lime juice
Rind from 1 lemon and 2 limes (save some for garnish)
100g caster sugar
4 eggs (lightly beaten until white and yolks are mixed together)
4 tbsp single or whipping cream

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This is how I do it:

* preheat your oven to 140 degrees

1. Mix all the ingredients together (except the rind)

2. Sieve the mixture to get a smooth filling

3. Gently mix in the rind and then pour the mixture into the pre-baked pastry

4. Bake it in the lower rack for around 15 minutes or until the lemon lime filling is set (to prevent it going to brown you may want to slide a baking tray to cover the heat)

Italian Meringue Topping

You will need:

100g egg white (room temperature)
200g caster sugar
60g water

A round 1 inch wide piping tip
A piping bag
A thermometer
A stand mixer or a hand held mixer

This is how I do it:

1. Place the egg white into the mixer (or a bowl if you use a hand held mixer)

2. Place the sugar and the water in a small pan and boil it in medium to high heat

3. Don’t mix the sugar and water mixture and let to boil until lots of bubbles can be seen.

4. Put your thermometer into the mixture and continue to boil the syrup. When it hits 110 degrees c, start whisking the egg white in high speed. We want it to get to rather hard peak

5. Once the syrup hits 118 degrees c, remove from heat and slowly pour it into the egg white (turn down the speed to medium)

6. Continue to whisk the egg white until it cools down

7. Last and the fun part is to pipe the egg white onto the pie, then brown it in a 200 degree oven and then decorate with some icing sugar and lemon and lime rind

A gluten free Lemon lime meringue pie is born!

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