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!

20140511-224705.jpg

20140511-225546.jpg

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.

20140511-225206.jpg

20140511-225349.jpg

20140511-225409.jpg

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!

20140511-214621.jpg

20140511-214626.jpg

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

20140511-214707.jpg

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.

20140511-214713.jpg

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.

20140511-214657.jpg

Step 6

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

20140511-214650.jpg

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.

20140511-214645.jpg

20140511-214616.jpg

Serve with home made custard and enjoy!

20140511-214610.jpg

20140511-214604.jpg

Experiment with Whole Grain Buckwheat Flour (another gluten free bread that you can easily make at home)

photo 1 (20)

Now with better understanding of building structure for gluten free bread and a reliable recipe, I can be a little more adventurous with ingredients that I can lay my hands on.

I had a bag of whole grain buckwheat flour that I need using up and I am particular fond of the bottle of organic maple syrup I have in my fridge. So this round loaf is little experiment that I dare take on.

The recipe is very similar to the one that I previously posted with slight change in the ratio of ingredients to give it a stronger structure. We need that for this bread will not be placed in a baking tin to proof.

photo 4 (8)

Experiment Recipe – Gluten Free Dairy Free Bread

Ingredients:

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

350g              water

130g              whole grain buckwheat flour

120g              corn starch

25g                ground psyllium husks

15g                unrefined brown sugar or cane sugar

15g                organic maple syrup

10g                instant yeast

One                medium size egg (room temperature)

30g                sunflower oil (for it does not affect the taste of the dough)

7g                  sea salt

For more pictures and more information on the steps below, please click here to divert you to my previous post on gluten free bread.

***Pre-heat your oven to 230 degrees C**

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.

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

photo 1 (19)

Step 3 – Once the ground flaxseed mixture is cooled to the desired temperature, pour the dry ingredients into the stand mixer with the egg and the maple syrup. 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)

Step 4 – Now add the sunflower 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.

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. Gently shape it into a round ball and place it in a well floured basket for proofing. Cover the 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.

photo 2 (16)

Step 8 – Once its risen to the desired volume, turn the dough upside down onto a baking tray, score it the way you prefer and then bake it in 230 degrees C for 40 minutes. You will know when it is cooked through if it sounds hollow when taping the bottom of the bread loaf.

For more pictures and more information on the above steps, please click here to divert you to my previous post on gluten free bread.

photo 3 (15)

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.

photo 2

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.

photo 4

photo 5

Improved Recipe – Gluten Free Dairy Free Bread

(2 pound bread loaf or two 16 inch baguette)

Ingredients:

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.

photo 2

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

photo 1

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)

photo 3

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.

photo 4

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.

photo 5

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

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.

20140212-121437.jpg

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!

photo 3

photo 2

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

photo 1

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!

photo 4

What is next? EAT THEM!

photo 5

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!

20131109-194621.jpg

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!

IMG_5657

20131109-195315.jpg

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.

20131109-195459.jpg

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!

20131109-201233.jpg

IMG_5642

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!

photo 2 (1)

photo 2 (3)

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!

photo 2 (2)

photo 1 (2)

photo 3

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

photo 2 (4)

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

photo 3 (3)

photo 1 (6)

photo 2 (5)

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!

photo 1 (7)

photo 3 (4)

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!

20131020-114108.jpg

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!

20131020-114830.jpg

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)

20131020-115326.jpg

**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)

20131020-115630.jpg

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!

20131020-115905.jpg

20131020-115916.jpg

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!”

20131020-120227.jpg

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!

20131008-092813.jpg

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!

20131008-093435.jpg

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

20131008-094336.jpg

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

20131008-094636.jpg

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

20131008-094812.jpg

20131008-094758.jpg

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

20131008-095027.jpg

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!

20131008-095224.jpg

20131008-095235.jpg

 

“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!

 

20131008-095422.jpg

20131008-095440.jpg