Flapjacks are a staple of school life in the UK. At least they were when I was a child. They have now probably been overtaken by trendy pre-wrapped granola and raw bars (who am I kidding?!). But when I was a child, flapjacks were the absolute pinnacle of quality homemade goodies that could be found tucked in a lunchbox.
When I was at secondary school I remember the music teacher making flapjacks for the teachers’ coffee break every day for about 2 years to fund the purchase of a new grand piano for the school. Dedication to the cause indeed. And when I was at medical school, triangle shaped flapjacks featured regularly as a post- Dissection Room snack. I kid you not. But I think I’d better leave that particular conversation there….
Flapjacks are not tricky. Buttery, sugary, utterly sinful but ridiculously easy with one caveat – as long as you have the right sized tin and oven temp. Too large a tin and your flap jack will be too thin and crispy, too small and it will be too thick and chewy. I like mine crispy. You have been warned. And please don’t ask me for nutritional information. I like to eat mine, albeit very occasionally, without a guilt complex.
- 90g demerara sugar
- 90g granulated sugar
- 175g unsalted butter
- 1 heaped tbsp golden syrup
- good pinch sea salt
- 350g jumbo GF oats (old-fashioned oats)
- Heat the oven to 150C or 130C fan.
- Butter a tin measuring approx 20 x 27cm.
- Place the sugars, butter and golden syrup in a medium pan and heat over medium heat until the butter has melted.
- Stir in the oats and salt and mix well.
- Tip the mixture into a greased tin and flatten down well with a spatula.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 mins until golden brown.
- Allow to cool and tip out of the tin as one piece before absolutely cold, or you might have trouble getting them out of the tin! Cut into squares or triangles once absolutely cold.
I’m thrilled to announce that I shall be teaching a 4 day 5 night residential gluten free baking class at the beautiful Chalet Savoie Faire.
Dates : to be confirmed for 2017 (please join the mailing list if you’d like to be kept informed of dates when they are published).
The venue is simply stunning – the photos here don’t even do it justice, breath-taking as they are. Le Figaro recently voted it one of France’s top 100 b&b’s. And all just 20 mins drive from Moutiers.
My colleague Nikki is absolutely adorable – an amazing chef and host, who, along with her partner Hugh, has created a little bit of magic in this unspoiled area of France.
The programme is busy – French-themed gluten free baking for 4 half days along with a market visit, Alpine foraging, snow shoeing or skiing if there’s snow, or hiking or biking (or reading and snoozing!) and wine and cheese tasting.
All the food provided is gluten free – some of it made by us during class! There will be three delicious meals a day, including a 3 course dinner with wine, plus a gluten free afternoon teatime, so pack those walking boots!
The course requires a minimum of 4 people to run and numbers are limited to maximum of 8. Please don’t hesitate to contact Nikki (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further details and check out her website www.chaletsavoiefaire.com.
The dates are somewhat flexible, so if you have other dates that are of interest, please let us know, especially if you have a group of friends you would like to bring along!
If a day class near Paris is more what you are looking for then please check out this post for details of baking classes in my home.
Vietnamese rice paper rolls are easy to make but can be daunting to the uninitiated. They make a fairly regular appearance on our gluten free family table as a DIY affair, and my offspring learned to assemble their own rolls from quite a young age, although it’s fair to say their first attempts were pretty ramshackle. I prepare the poached chicken, julienned vegetables, cooked noodles and washed herbs, and rustle up a quick dipping sauce to go alongside. If time is short, then sweet Thai chill sauce will serve as an accompaniment instead.
What we prepare might bear little resemblance to an authentic Vietnamese rice paper roll, but it does make a fresh , healthy supper, which is almost fat-free. All the elements can be prepared well in advance and stored in airtight containers in the fridge. Children are always more keen to try foods they have had a hand in preparing, so why not give these a go. Be as adventurous as you like. I made a lesser-known but actually very traditional version recently with some pieces of fried white fish fillet, cucumber, fresh dill and thin slices of pineapple – delicious.
Two words of caution though – I would suggest you retain control over the dipping of the papers, as a spilled bowl of hot water is not likely to provide a fun-filled interlude at dinner time. And be careful if serving this version to a Vietnamese guest. The addition of a slick of GF hoisin sauce inside the wrapper is clearly an abomination on the part of my family. Not at all authentic, but very tasty indeed.
- 2-3 chicken breasts
- 3 slices of ginger
- bee noon or vermicelli noodles, prepared according to the packet
- 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and julienned
- 3 carrots, peeled and julienned
- 6 spring onions, julienned
- handful of fresh coriander, leaves washed and picked from stems
- handful of fresh mint, washed
- handful of fresh basil, washed
- hoisin sauce (optional)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- juice of 3 limes
- 1/2 fresh long red finger chilli, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Poach the chicken breasts by placing them in a shallow pan and covering with water. Add the ginger, place over a medium heat and as soon as the water comes to the boil, turn off the gas, cover with a fitting lid and leave for 20 mins. Remove from the water and chill.
- Prepare a large shallow bowl of warm water for dipping.
- Dip one paper at a time into the water until just wet - several seconds only. Do not wait for the paper to soften in the bowl, or it will be impossible to handle. Place on a plate while still quite stiff, it will soften on the plate as the water is absorbed.
- Place some of the herbs on the bottom third of the paper, then make layers of chicken, vegetables, noodles and some hoisin sauce if using.
- Fold the bottom third of the paper up and then roll up, tucking in the sides as you go. Slice in half to serve, or leave open at one end for a more authentic look.
- Serve with the dipping sauce, made by stirring all the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved, or Thai sweet chilli sauce.
- thinly sliced rare tuna
- cooked prawns
- fresh dill
- roasted duck breast
- grilled marinated pork
This is one of my favourite, prepare-ahead gluten free breakfasts , and it makes a great healthy snack too. Breakfast time is usually fairly busy in most homes and if you are time poor, then 3 minutes spent assembling the night before could be a great investment. My younger son likes these as a post-exercise snack too – easy to digest, quick to eat and yummy. The chia seeds help thicken the mixture and add some omega 3s into the bargain.
I tend to use vanilla yogurt – the ones sold in little glass jars in France work well. If you only have natural yogurt, then add a little vanilla extract and maple syrup to taste. In the morning I check the consistency, add a little milk if necessary, and return the oats to their cleaned glass jars. Am I the only one to enjoy seeing nice tidy rows of the same thing in the fridge? It could explain why I never run out of anchovies or capers….
- 1 small vanilla yogurt (125g)
- 125 ml milk (approx) - semi-skimmed, full fat or non-dairy
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup jumbo (old-fashioned) GF oats
- fresh fruit to serve
- Mix all the ingredients together.
- Cover and stash in the fridge overnight.
- Stir again in the morning and add a little more milk if mixture is too thick.
- Serve with chopped fresh fruit.
- I use the yogurt jar to measure the milk.
- If using natural yogurt, then add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tsp maple syrup (or to taste).
- Can be stored for 24 hours if needed.
This is one of those dishes that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s basically a gluten free dumpling of potato, carrot and broad beans or peas, bound with chickpea flour served with a creamy spiced sauce. I know, your attention is wavering already, right?
The chick pea flour adds protein to the dish and makes the dumplings almost into a kind of gnocchi. They are baked instead of the more usual frying, and the accompanying sauce is made with coconut milk rather than the traditional cream. So an egg free, dairy free, vegan curried potato and vegetable gnocchi. I can hear you all saying ‘yum’. Especially about the vegan part (disclaimer: this is in no way intended to be a slight on the vegans of the world. Far from it, a few more meatless meals would be a wonderful thing for our planet. And our purses.).
Suspend disbelief my friends – this is the most economical and delicious dish and reheats really well. I was tempted to eat it for breakfast this morning. Except I ate the leftover fig clafoutis instead. And if you’d been following on instagram (@biencuitgf), you would know all about that. That’s all I’ll say on the matter.
I based this recipe on this one by Renee Press at oneworld.org. I changed the veggies a bit, using up some shelled frozen broad beans that already have the greyish husks removed. I think it would work well with cauliflower too. A pretty good way to use up any veggies that have been languishing too long in the fridge!
- 4tbsp raw cashew nuts
- 3 medium floury (not waxy) potatoes
- 1 large carrot
- 125g frozen broad beans or peas
- 1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 4 tbsp chick pea flour
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2cm fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp whole cumin seed
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
- 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
- 250 ml coconut milk
- 250ml water
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- Start by toasting the cashews in a dry frying pan over a medium flame for 5 mins or so, stirring occasionally, until golden. Turn onto a plate and leave to cool. Once cool, chop finely with a knife (or use the food processor, but make sure you don't go too far and end up with cashew butter!)
- Prepare the dumplings by peeling the potato and carrot and cutting both into chunks. Boil in water until just soft to the point of a knife, about 20 mins.
- Add the frozen beans or peas and cook for another 2 mins then drain.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/180 C fan.
- Mash with a fork or a potato masher and stir in half the chopped toasted cashews, salt, turmeric, black pepper, cumin and chick pea flour. This should form a soft dough.
- Take a small handful of dough (bearing in mind the whole recipe should make 10-12) and roll into a ball, then a cylinder. Finally flatten each cylinder slightly and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining dough. Coat lightly with olive oil using a mister, or use a pastry brush and a light hand.
- Bake in the oven for 15 mins then turn the dumplings over and bake another 10 mins until lightly golden.
- Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Heat the oil until hot, then add the ginger, garlic, chilli flakes, cumin and onion and cook, stirring, for about 5-10 mins until onion is translucent and starting to brown just at the edges.
- Add the turmeric, ground coriander and salt and cook for a minute, stirring.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, water and half the reserved chopped toasted cashews. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, without a lid, until you end up with a nice thick gravy.
- When the dumplings are ready place them into the frying pan of gravy and turn them over to coat with sauce. Serve immediately with rice, or steamed vegetables.
- If you know you are going to have leftovers, then keep some of the dumplings and sauce back and store them separately. Otherwise the dumplings will soak up all the sauce in the fridge.
- Use within 2 days.
There are some things I would never dream of ordering in France. One of them is a salade chèvre chaud – usually an oozy slice of goat cheese on a piece of sourdough toast served on dressed salad leaves. I’m not sure which friend passed this idea on to me first – Steph in the Alps or Sarah on the Ile de Ré. Yes I’m lucky enough to have friends living in amazing parts of France. And even luckier that they invite us to stay with them. And just occasionally lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a great idea for a gluten free recipe from one of these gluten eaters!
I used a mixture of olive oil and walnut oil for the dressing and ideally I would have added toasted chopped walnuts rather than pine nuts. However, seeing as how my pine nuts had been hanging around the kitchen cupboard for a while and considering that a small packet costs way more than my monthly salary right now (haha!) I used them up. Next time I would definitely go the walnut route.
The salad dressing makes enough for 4 people or more, but some folk like more dressing than others and I usually have some dressing leftover in my fridge to rustle up a quick lunch or side salad. I like to leave the skins on the apples for a bit of colour and texture. Peel the apples if yours are less than pretty.
This would make a great starter or light lunch. Enjoy!
- 1 apple, washed
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 handfuls washed salad leaves
- 2 cabecou (individual cheeses) or slices of a log of goat cheese
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- fine sea salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp walnut oil
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat until toasted.
- Core the apple and cut two 1com thick slices. Place on a baking sheet.
- Preheat the grill (medium).
- Make the dressing by stirring together the mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar then whisking in the oils.
- Drizzle half a tsp of the dressing over the top surface of each apple ring.
- Grill for 3-5 mins.
- Dress the salad leaves with as much of the dressing as you like (store the remainder for another day in the fridge).
- Place goat cheese on top of each apple slice, return to grill and grill for 5 mins until cheese is starting to bubble and apples starting to brown at edges.
- Place the apple and cheese on the salad and serve immediately.
I bought something akin to these crunchy gluten free little crackers, at vast expense obviously, in Singapore. They made a nice change to the oatcakes and Schar crackers I usually have to hand. They provoked an episode of reverse engineering that was quite successful at the third attempt.
I made these just before we went away to the Ile de Ré to visit old friends and paired with 24 month old comte and some local goats cheese they helped fuel me to and from the beach by bicycle and through quite a few games of mahjong. I used a mixture of walnuts and brazils on this occasion, but have used pecans in the past. I rather think any nuts would work (apart from peanuts which aren’t tree nuts as you know), but you might need more or less oil depending on the nuts used.
- 50g walnuts (or other nuts)
- 25g my flour blend
- 100g GF oats (I use the old-fashioned coarse flakes)
- 1/4 tsp GF baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 10g ground flax
- 1 tbsp walnut oil
- 3 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 180C or 160C fan.
- Place the oats, flour and nuts in a food processor and blend on pulse until coarsely ground.
- Add the baking powder, salt, ground flax and combine.
- Add the walnut oil and water and process to a dough. Add a little more water if it really needs it, but avoid adding too much or you'll have trouble drying the crackers out when baking them.
- Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking parchment and roll out thinly.
- Score with a knife into squares. Prick with a fork.
- Bake for 25-30 mins (depending on thickness) until golden brown. If the edge ones are browning quickly than the centre ones then carefully lift the centre crackers to the edge so they brown more evenly.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight tin when cold.
- These will keep for about a week.