Friday, 30 May 2014

Yogurt baby bundt cake - gluten free

One of my favourite all time recipes is a delightfully simple yogurt loaf cake which is so simple that you don't even need scales. When I went gluten free I had doubts that this recipe would convert well to being made with non wheat flour, how wrong was I !

With a couple of little tweaks this recipe has successfully made the switch to gluten free, the recipe makes 2 x 2lb tin loaves, or one 2lb tin loaf and a small bundt cake. You now have a cake for the freezer, and one on ice for if you ever need a quick cake when guests arrive with little notice. Its really difficult to tell that this cake is gluten free, its not gritty or grainy unlike other recipes.

So here's the tweaked recipe

What you need
  • 1 pot of yogurt (plain, vanilla, lemon, strawberry whatever you like)
  • 3 pots of gluten free self raising flour (or plain with 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 pots of caster sugar
  • 1 pot of vegetable oil ( I use coconut oil or sunflower)
  • 3 eggs - free range
  • 1/2 tsp xanthum or guar gum (not absolutely necessary but helps crumb structure)
  • 2 x 2lb loaf tins lined or 1 loaf tin and one small bundt tin oiled
What you do 
  • Mix all ingredients together until you have a smooth batter, its really easy in a mixer
  • Pour into prepared tins and smooth level
  • Bake in a pre heated oven at 170c for about 45 minutes until golden and well risen
  • Cool in the tins, to remove bundt upend tin gingerly with a gentle tap and the cake should release.
  • I iced the bundt using a simple glace icing - using sieved icing sugar and water, I then sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Vincents restaurant at Preston College

I'm not sure as to why more people don't support their local college training restaurants as they are a great dining venue, where the standard of food is always very high for the cost you pay for the menu.
The restaurants are an essential training ground for the chefs, sommeliers and front of house staff of the future and provide the students with an environment in which to hone their skills.

We were really pleased to be invited along to Vincents the training restaurant for Preston College for a Venetian evening. I let the college know I needed gluten free before arriving so they could adapt the menu accordingly.

Vincents like most training restaurants in located in a dedicated area of the college and unfortunately for most they can suffer from the "college" look, Vincents I am pleased to say is better than most in its appeal.

The service we received was warm and efficient and the students were keen to please, we also had a lovely discussion with one of the lecturers on local food and their sourcing policy which I am pleased to say is very much on a local basis. We only had one slight drop in service when our mains came out and I think there must have been some confusion over whether I had received a gluten free version of the dish and my plate was whisked away for a moment but this was quickly rectified.

The evening has been organised by a student with an emphasis on the food, so the Italian touches in the dining area where subtle such as red, white and green table coverings and subtle Italian music. The food menu was lovely and thankfully for me only actually had one pasta dish on it anyway.

Mr LF's bruschetta ! , they kindly provided a dish of garlic mushrooms for myself instead of the bread. My mushrooms were very tasty if a little plain looking and the bruschetta according to Mr LF was tasty and a nice appetiser.

Melon and parma ham, a light starter for us both, the flavours were clean and fresh, a good balance.

Chicken main , well flavoured sauce and the chicken breast was stuffed with spinach and cheese.

Sea bass main, the pea veloute was of particular note.

Mr LF's dessert of tiramisu, cherry tart and zabaglione

I had my own assiette of cherries, zabaglione and a rich dark chocolate tart.

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Vincents and wouldn't hesitate to pay a return visit. The restaurant is open for Lunch in term times, Tuesday to Friday and also on Thursday evening for dinner, they also run the coffee bar in the college as well. Vincents can be contacted on 01772 225432 for bookings (11am - 2pm Mon - Fri).

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Wellbeing Farm - much more than just a venue.

Set in stunning upland Lancashire countryside the Wellbeing Farm is a must visit for anyone interested in food and where it comes from field to fork really means something here. Or you can just generally chill out and get back in touch with yourself. With amazing 180 degree views means that on a good day you can see the Welsh hills and the Wirral. This thoughtfully converted farmstead is a location for a wide variety of activities and events. Whether its llama trekking or sausage making, the Wellbeing Farm has the course for you.

On a warm late spring evening Mr LF and I ventured to pastures new for our Sausage making experience, on driving up to the farm we were gobsmacked (the only word for it !) with the views, rolling moorland with vistas as far as the eye could see.

This unique venue hosts corporate wellbeing events, private events and educational visits during the week and at weekend is open to the public. They are also hosting their first "rustic" barn style wedding in a few weeks time complete with hay bales to sit on.


The calming rustically decorated buildings immediately put you at ease and the farm's environmentally credentials are second to none, evidenced by the large wind turbine on a nearby rise which powers the farm. They proudly source local produce and have a true commitment to sustainability.

The welcome was warm and genuine as we entered the lovely licensed cafe / bistro which hosts regular gourmet evenings and we were pleased to note lots of local produce which even stretched to a good range of local beers. Whilst awaiting the arrival of all the attendees (10 in our case for the evenings sausage making event) we took the opportunity to shoots a few images so you can get the feel for the Wellbeing Farm.

Outside you can make friends with the farm's llamas or pop into the poly tunnel to grab some fresh herbs or salads for your cookery experience. The sheep in the field are raised by the farm and in season are used for the butchery courses, the farm also has resident pigs, chickens and quails amongst other animals.


So on with the sausage show ! First we had to hand mix the sausage meat and rusk with a secret blend of herbs and spices. With a bit of friendly persuasion everybody started to relax and embrace squishing the mixture. (Due to needing a Gluten free diet they also kindly mixed up a special batch just for me)

Now it was time to load the filling machine and get ready to fill the natural skins.

Loading the skins on to the filling machine


Filling the sausage

Tying the sausage , this was the difficult bit ! But Lee made this look very easy


Ta dah ! Sausages


The finished product ready for cooking


All this sausage making was hungry work and afterwards we enjoyed a BBQ of our creations with that awesome view for company.


Thanks to all the team at the Wellbeing Farm for a really enjoyable informative evening in a lovely environment. So check out their website and plan your visit soon and enjoy the full Wellbeing experience. They work in close partnership with Whiteheads Butchers in the local village for their butchery experiences.

Our experience was provided on a complementary basis however I was not required to write a positive review, all comments, views and opinions are my own.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Chickpea and almond biscuits - naturally gluten free

I have come to the conclusion that gluten free biscuits and cookies are pretty easy and I really can't see any reason to buy the overpriced ones you see in stores. This recipe uses besan flour or chickpea flour (garbanzo to our American friends) as its base combined with ground almonds, the resultant biscuit is deliciously crunchy with a slight nutty flavour, you can add spice or flavourings to your delicious biscuit.

Besan flour is available in the ethnic area of the supermarket or at specialist stores, just watch out for added ingredients if you need it gluten free. Chickpea flour is one of the cheaper naturally gluten free flours and is used frequently in Asian cuisine.

What you need
  • 1 cup of ground almonds
  • 1 cup of chickpea flour (besan)
  • 3/4 cup soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (or if diary free coconut oil)
  • 1 egg yolk (large egg)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of your chosen spice ( cinnamon is nice)
What you do 
  • Preheat the oven to 180c
  • Line 2 baking trays with a silicone sheet or baking parchment.
  • Mix all the ingredients except the egg in a mixing bowl until the fat is rubbed in.
  • Add the egg yolk and combine.
  • Form ball of the mixture using your hands and press down on the prepared baking sheet
  • Bake for approx 15 minutes until golden and starting to firm
  • Cool initially on the baking sheet and then fully cool on a wire rack, the biscuits will firm up on cooling.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Chicken and vegetable pot pie - Gluten free

One of the things that you miss when you go gluten free is pastry, all types, but more especially the comforting dish that is the pie. Gluten free pastry can be very disappointing, its often hard and has little or no flavour, so I was pleased to discover a promising gluten free recipe on the BBC good food website, I decided I would combine this with a traditional creamy chicken and vegetable filling for my first foray into gluten free pastry.

Reader, I am pleased to report that the resultant pie was absolutely delicious and I would definitely make the pastry again, it was sort of a shortcrust meets suet crust type of pie crust, very savoury and very very moreish. Frankly if I didn't know it was gluten free you really couldn't tell, so this would be a great recipe for a family meal.

What you need
  • 175g gluten free flour
  • 85g coarsely grated chilled butter
  • 50g grated mature cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp coarse mustard
  • 3 tbsp cold water to bind
The pie filling
  • Cooked shredded chicken
  • Onion - finely sliced
  • Couple of carrots - peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • Frozen peas
  • Mushrooms - 4 or 5 finely chopped
  • Chicken stock 
  • Slaked cornflour to thicken
  • Fresh herbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Double cream or creme fraiche
  • Butter or oil
What you do
  • To make the pastry mix together all the pastry ingredients except the water with a fork, add the water and combine to make a dough
  • Once formed into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make your pie filling, Cook off in a tiny amount of oil or butter the onion until starting to softenened, now add the rest of the vegetables and cook for a few minutes until again softenening, now add the chicken and the herbs, followed by enough chicken stock just to cover the mixture in the pan.
  • Simmer until the vegetables are tender, add the herbs and slaked cornflour to thicken the sauce. Add a dollop of creme fraiche and taste for seasoning.
  • Allow to cool and place in pie dish.

  • Once cool, we are ready to top with the pastry. Roll out the pastry between two pieces of clingfilm until you have a piece of pastry large enough to cover your pie dish , remove the top piece of cling film and flip the pastry piece on top of the pie dish. Remove the other piece of cling film and make a couple of holes in the pastry top.
  • Brush the pastry with a little milk or beaten egg. 

  • Bake for 30 - 35 minutes at 180c until golden.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Teryaki Chicken

Chicken Teryaki is a staple dish in the LF household, I think mainly due to the fact that its an easy dish to whip up after a busy day at work, it also tastes amazing and the only thing that you need to think about is ensuring that I have got the chicken breasts out of the freezer to thaw before I go to work. I love to serve this with egg and pea fried rice which is great as it uses frozen peas and is made with all storecupboard ingredients. I always have fresh ginger in the vegetable rack so I can make terayaki when ever the mood takes me, it lasts very well if kept in a cool dark place.

Terayaki is a Japanese method of cooking which creates a glaze of soya sauce (or if you are gluten free Tamari works fine), apparently the tera part means shiny and the yaki is the cooking method. The glaze here is from soya sauce, mirin and some brown sugar. I am sure the dish would work well with prawns or salmon also.

What you need
  • 2 large skinless chicken breasts - chopped into bite sized chunks
  • About 50g brown sugar
  • 80ml mirin (rice wine)
  • 60ml soya sauce or tamari (check thats is Gluten free)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated -about a thumb sized piece
  • 1 medium red onion or 6 spring onions - peeled and chopped finely (I have used welsh onions too)
  • 1 clove of garlic - peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp seasame seeds - toasted
  • Seasame oil or wok oil
What you do
  • Firstly ensure you have all your ingredients ready to hand, prepared and ready to go as this is a really quick dish
  • Start by heating the oil in the wok / frying pan
  • In a bowl mix the brown sugar, soya sauce and mirin to make a sauce
  • Fry off the chicken pieces , sprinkled with a little salt and pepper until golden
  • Now add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for a minute or so
  • Add the sauce mixture to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes as the sauce starts to reduce and thicken and become glossy.
  • Add the onions to the pan and cook until they have wilted.
  • The chicken should now be cooked, remove from the hob and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds
  • Serve with fried rice immediately

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Cheese of the Month - No 16

Garstang White - a new cheese for Lancashire

I am really pleased to be able to feature a new Lancashire cheese, fortunately for us we were one of the first people in the country to taste Garstang White by Dewlay as Mr LF was photographing the cheese.

Garstang White is made in Lancashire and is made with creamy rich Jersey milk, mold ripened like a brie this cheese perfectly fits a gap in the market for a locally produced creamy oozy versatile cheese which is ideal for cooking or melting.

The cheese is available in 225g packs or in deli wheels of 1kg for slicing, the cheese matures in the same way as a brie and becomes increasingly more flavourful and oozy as the cheese matures. Dewlay are currently struggling to keep with the initial high demand as Garstang White is proving a popular addition to the Lancashire Cheese board and in now featured on various local restaurants menus.

Currently available from Dewlays cheese shop and various selected independent cheese shops ( I know Pats Cheese stall in Chorley has it) in the region, given its popularity I am sure Booths will also be stocking soon.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

May 2014 - Sharon Loving - The Ginger Baker Longridge


     Sharon Loving - The Ginger Baker Longridge.

Meet Sharon Loving , The Ginger Baker who is this month's featured foodie. Sharon is a talented Gluten Free baker and owner of The Ginger Baker cafe / tea room in Longridge. Check out our recent post on her newly opened cafe.

Sharon is a gluten free baker who has become a feature of the Lancashire Food scene supplying a wide range of tasty treats direct to customers and through various quality outlets and now her own venue too.

Here's her answers to our questions.
·  What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?
I have two bibles,  Laduree  Paris ‘Sucre’  and ‘The Golden Book Of Chocolate’

·   What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
An entire meal on your doorstep, vegetables, meat, fish, bread cakes all on your doorstep.

·   If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
I’m a trained organic horticulturist, so that would be my backup career

·       ·   Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
My Microwave for melting chocolate

·        · Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
My In Laws Enid and James – amazing adventurous cooks, they opened my eyes to the world of ingredients, how many ways to cook venison and how many ways to pickle vegetables

·       ·   What advice would you give to your younger self ?
Be patient, it will happen

·       ·   Describe your style in three words
Pretty - Unique - Flavoursome

·      ·    What was your latest foodie gadget purchase 
       My Lovely vintage green Kitchen Aid

·        · What is your greatest achievement to date ?
My Glutenfree  Tearoom ‘The Ginger Baker’, it’s been many years in the planning.

·        · What is the worst mistake you have made ?

I once covered a vegan cake in normal chocolate and didn’t realise until I woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. I got a lovely card saying it was the most amazing cake she’d ever eaten.

·       ·   Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn’t expect !

I was interviewed to present a gardening programme on a well-known channel but fell ill and had to have major surgery, so that was put on the back burner. I also had a glass of champagne with John Hurt when we sat together at a movie premier, in my late teens. We chatted for a while and I just thought he was a strange old man – no idea who he was :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...