Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Ginger Baker

Its with great pleasure that I am writing this article telling you about a new cafe / bakery / tearoom that has recently opened in the Ribble Valley village of Longridge. What makes "The Ginger Baker" so special is that its a mainly "gluten free" venue, Sharon the Ginger Baker who has been baking Gluten Free for several years has had dreams of opening her own venue for years, so she jumped at the chance when this cute venue became available in heart of Longridge.

The Ginger Baker stocks a wide range of gluten free treats, snacks and breads along side great coffees and drinks at great prices. The breads range has been sourced from Wheat Free Bakery Scotland which is all gluten free and it tastes, looks and smells amazing. The cakes and pastries are a either carefully sourced from Gluten free bakeries or baked on the premises by Sharon and her team.


Situated in the heart of the village there is ample local parking for your visit and you can book afternoon teas and special events with the tea room.


Its well worth a trip especially if you need a Gluten Free diet  and the welcome is warm and genuine, you can find the venue on Berry Lane, Longridge. You can also find the Ginger Baker on Facebook and twitter too.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Apple and almond cake

I make no excuse for another cake using ground almonds as the flour substitute, this is a recipe I spotted initially being tweeted by Nigella (she of soft focus fame), no sooner had I followed the link to her website that I then saw another food blogger with a similar post. I now know why this recipe is so popular, it tastes so buttery and is moist with a subtle apple flavour. Just like Nigella's famous clementine cake its an easy bake which when combined with its fairly plain looks belies its deliciousness.

Ideal as a gluten free adult birthday cake and apparently a traditional "Seder" treat (Seder being the ritual feast at the start of Passover) why not give this bake a try.

What you need
  • 3 eating apples (ones with plenty of flavour)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • Oil spray for the cake tin
  • 8 eggs 
  • 325g ground almonds
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • Icing sugar for dusting 
What you do
  • Firstly we need to make an apple puree, place the peeled, cored apple chunks in a sauce pan with 2tsp caster sugar and 1 tbsp lemon juice, simmer for about 10 minutes until soft and the apples make a rough puree.
  • Allow this to cool fully before starting to bake
  • Preheat the oven to 180c and oil spray a round loose bottom ( base lined) or spring form cake tin, approximately 9 inch diameter
  • In a food processor blend the eggs, puree, sugar and lemon juice until you have a smooth mixture
  • Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle the top with flaked almonds
  • Bake for 45 minutes or so until golden and the cake tests cooked.
  • Cool in the tin initially and then cool fully on a wire rack
  • To serve sprinkle with icing sugar, it needs nothing more.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Lekue - meringue roulade with blackcurrant and mint couli

Over the Easter weekend we had friends visiting and for a while now I had been wanting to use my Lekue Swiss roll mold , so I thought I would give a meringue roulade a go. I also had ulterior motives to use a excess of homelaid eggs and meringue recipes uses loads of eggs don't they (well whites anyway).

I decided to plump for making a plain cream roulade which could  then be served with anything from fresh fruit, fruit couli (using frozen homegrown fruit) or chocolate or caramel sauce. Choices choices......

I am mighty pleased with the resultant soft billowy marshmallowy meringue and the performance of the Lekue mold, the only downside being that the mold is rather flexible so it tooks some nifty handling of the oven shelf to turn the meringue out of the mold onto the cooling rack.

To ensure a smooth glossy well airated meringue ensure your mixing bowl is clean and free from grease, as a precaution I always wipe round with some lemon juice on some kitchen paper.

What you need
  • 6 egg whites
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 50g flaked almonds
To fill the roulade I used whipped double cream sweetened with a good slug of vanilla paste, you could use whipping cream, marscapone or yogurt or even a sweetened cream cheese mixture. For a roulade this size I used a 300ml pot.

What you do
  • Preheat your oven to 180c fan
  • Place the egg whites in the bowl of your mixer (I used my trusty Kitchenaid) and mix until very stiff and well airated
  • Add the caster sugar a little at a time, whislt continuing to mix until all added and the meringue is very stiff and glossy
  • Scoop into your lekue mold (or if you haven't got one then a lined swiss roll tin) and smooth level
  • Sprinkle with the flaked almonds
  • Place in the pre heated oven and bake for 10 minutes until golden
  • Turn the oven down to 140c and bake for a further 15 minutes or so until crispy to touch
  • Take the meringue out of the over an tip out onto a baking paper covered wire rack to cool for 10 minutes or so
  • Then fill with your chosen filling and roll using the baking paper to assist your roll.
  • Remove the ends (chefs treats) and serve decorated with fruit or fruit couli or sauce.
  • The roulade freezes well when filled with cream and rolled.
For the couli I used some of the last frozen homegrown blackcurrant I had in the freezer , sweetened with caster sugar (1/2 the weight of the blackcurrants) scented with a generous spring of fresh peppermint from the garden.

I am entering this post in Cooking with herbs challenge as I used this months featured herb - mint is in my recipe, the challenge was created by Karen over at Lavender and Lovage and she is hosting this month too.

                                                              Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage

I was kindly provided the roulade mold by Lekue for testing and review purposes. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Cauliflower Curry Sauce

Cauliflower seems to becoming the ingredient of the moment, recently I have seen it being used as a grain substitute to make pizza and garlic bread and in this post as the basis for a nutritious base for a curry sauce which is versatile enough to be used in various fish, meat and vegetable curry dishes. Its an easy way for you to get kiddies to eat this vegetable without knowing as well as you would never know that it contains cauliflower.

Originally I understand this was slimming world recipe so its no fat and high in fibre, its easy to make and freezes well so you store away in portions appropriate to your family size.

What you need
  • 1 cauliflower - pulled into florets
  • 3 tsp vegetable stock powder
  • 3 tbsp curry powder (use whatever strength you like)
What you do

  • Place the cauliflower florets, curry powder and stock powder in a saucepan along with enough water to just cover the cauliflower.

  • Bring to the boil and simmer  until soft
  • Allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes
  • Blend using a hand blender to a smooth consistency, thin with more water if desired.

  • Freeze or use immediately in curry of your choice. I like to add additional vegetables and possible some mango chutney or dried fruits for a more fruity finish to my curry.

                                                In my veg box cauliflower

A blog challenge created by Citrusspice and hosted by Sliceofme

Spanish Paprika chicken using Schwartz flavour shots ! - recipe mix in oil

You've seen the TV advert, which is very cool and very colourful so I was intrigued to try Schwartz newest kid on the block. Flavour shots are essentially a recipe herb and spice mix in oil, ready for you to cook with. Most of the shots are gluten free (do contain maltodextrin but this is considered safe for most coeliacs) (not all) and vegetarian friendly ( not all), the website has various recipes for you to try the shots with plus videos of others as well. The package also has a suggested recipe for you to follow.

Flavour shots are available in most supermarkets and in eight tasty flavours (not all supermarkets are carrying the full range) and retail for around £1.

I plumped for the Spanish smoked paprika chicken shot, which is a pretty easy recipe to follow and I had the necessary ingredients to hand.

What you need
  • Flavour shot
  • 1 onion - chopped finely
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of tomato ketchup 
  • 1 pepper - finely diced
  • 2 large chicken breasts - chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 75g chorizo - chopped (optional I didn't use)
What you do 
  • Mix up the flavour shot with a spoon and pour into large frying pan
  • Heat over a medium heat, add the chopped onion and stir and cook for about 5 minutes until softened
  • Now add the chicken pieces (and chorizo if using) and fry another 4-5 minutes
  • Next add the chopped pepper, tomatoes and ketchup
  • Stir and simmer over a low heat, covered for approximately 10 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove the lid and simmer to reduce sauce to desired consistency.
Serve with rice, roast baby potatoes or whatever takes your fancy, a pretty tasty dish a little too tomatoey for me which I felt dominated the chicken a little. 

This is a featured post for Schwartz for which I have received compensation, all views are my own. 


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Caramel Buckwheat choc chip cookies - gluten free

My adventure in buckwheat continue and I have discovered a recipe that Mr LF likes ! see told you I would. It also features one of my favourite purchases from the recent Cake and Bake Show in Manchester. On the wonderful Bakery Bits stand, I disovered this fantastic range of Italian essences, there was a show offer on so I purchased 3 bottles, Caramel, Fiori di Sicila and Aroma Panettone. All smell amazing and contain only natural ingredients, so I am really pleased with my purchases, they are great in many different bakes.


Buckwheat is a naturally gluten free flour and is married beautifully with the caramel essence in this bake to provide a caramelly slightly sea salty adult cookie studded with chunks of dark chocolate. A batch is so easy to whip up when that nothing but a cookie will do feeling strikes, my other tip for a succesful bake is to use a good quality silicone sheet to bake on, so you have no worries about cookies sticking to trays or paper.

The recipe is based on one I discovered on Glutenfreecooking but with a couple of tweaks the main one being the caramel essence, I used a 1tsp in the mix, I have also made a batch with the Aroma Panettone essence and that was fab too.

What you need
  • 1 generous cup of buckwheat flour (Co-incidentally Bakery Bits sell buckwheat flour too )
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (or you could use coconut oil) - need to be soft
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg large - free range
  • 1 pack of dark chocolate chips (100g pack)
  • 1 tsp caramel essence

What you do
  • Preheat your oven to 180c (fan)
  • Place your baking silicone sheet on baking tray (s)
  • Mix the sugar and egg in the mixer until light and fluffy
  • Now add the soft butter and the rest of the ingredients, mix until just mixed
  • Add the chocolate chips last
  • Spoon generous teaspoons of the mixture onto the trays and remember they will spread whilst baking
  • Bake for 10 minutes or so until colouring nicely and only slightly soft to the touch
  • Allow to cool on the tray
  • Once cool, store in an airtight tin ( they won't last long !)

I have just spotted for this month's Biscuit Barrel Challenge that the theme is favourites so I am going to enter this delicious cookie as its currently my favourite.


The challenge is hosted by I'd much rather bake  , so pop across and see the other great enteries.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Tea 4 2 - Manchester


I have been meaning to publish a short post on a new restuarant / cafe/ bar in Manchester that I initially spotted whilst on a conference for business in the city.

Whats so special about a cafe in Manchester I hear you all cry, well this one has an extensive gluten free menu ( there is loads of choice) !

The venue is easy to find just off the main drag from the Arndale to Piccadilly and is decorated in a oh so funky white and pink (chaps don't be put off its just funky and cool not girly), the cakes in the window tempt you inside.

I was in a bit of a rush so plumped for a sandwich but the menu is amazing and even features afternoon teas (gluten free) and the cakes well they looked amazing. My sandwich was great and featured some of the best gluten free bread I have tasted, according to the waitress they have its specially made in Cornwall / Devon and shipped up to them.

The table next to me was also enjoying the food also and couldn't believe it was all gluten free, price wise  it was competitive too. Their menu caters to all tastes and can be viewed on their website, they also stock an extensive range of gluten free beers as well.

Their website is here

    Embedded image permalink


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Blood orange, lemon and almond cake

On a recent visit to my local greengrocers I was pleased to see that blood oranges were in season, juicy sweet and full of orangey flavour they make a great addition to the fruit bowl. Combined with a classic lemon this is a gorgeous zesty bake, the blood orange adds a beautiful orange hue to the cake, this recipe is based on Nigella Lawson's clementine cake which in turn is based on Claudia Roden's orange and almond cake, I am pretty sure Fiona Cairns has a version too.

This recipe is reliable and naturally gluten free, its a plain Jane of cake that packs a glorious flavour punch, juicy, zesty and ever so slightly adult. I couldn't resist decorating it with the little viola's coming into flower in the garden, those little cute faces calling out to me.

The cake require no real skill and I now have a short cut route of cooking the orange and lemon, rather than boiling in water for a couple of hours,you can avoid the steamy kitchen by microwaving in a covered bowl for about 8 -10 minutes until soft. Easy !

Its great to be able to use the lovely unsung blood orange in a recipe and a great celebration of spring. You can substitute any citrus fruit, lemons, clementines, all work fine, just keep the quantity roughly the same.

What you need

  • 1 orange and 1 lemon, ideally organic and unwaxed (if you can't get blood orange ordinary works fine)
  • 6 eggs - large free range 
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • Springform cake tin - approx 8" diameter, oil sprayed
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • Violas
What you do
  • Firstly you need to cook the orange and lemon, you can either boil in water for approx 2 hours until soft, or alternatively microwave for about 8-10 minutes
  • Allow the soft whole fruit to cool and cut open to remove any pips.
  • Preheat the oven to 170c fan / gas mark 5
  • Now pulp in the food processor until a fine puree
  • Now add the other ingredients, pulse again until you have a smoothish mixture
  • Pour into your prepared tin and smooth the top
  • Bake for approx 50 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean and the cake is a gorgeous golden colour, cover with foil if it appears to be darkening too quickly
  • Allow to cool full in the tin
  • Dust with icing sugar and serve

Serve on a platter or cake stand strewn with viola's, spring has sprung !

I am entering this post in for the blog challenge Simple and in Season created by Renbehan and hosted this month by Utterly Scrummy Food 

                                               Simple and in Season NOW OPEN


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Coast at the Glendower Hotel, Lytham St Annes.

The Glendower Hotel is a family run hotel in the genteel seaside town of Lytham St Annes, recently refurbished, MR LF and myself were lucky enough to invited to the press launch lunch in their newly opened restaurant "COAST".

With the emphasis on seafood, COAST is set to become the dining destination for locals and visitors alike once word gets out of the quality dining experience now available. Supplied by local fishmongers - Lannigans and the farmers of the Fylde's rich agricultural lands, the menu is a great showcase of local produce, cooked with love, care and attention.

Craig Brown has recently been appointed of the Head chef at COAST, formerly of the gastro pub chain Green Crab, Fylde Rugby club and the Villa Country House Hotel. The talented kitchen team want to provide a classic twist across the spectrum of British Food, with a strong emphasis on local ingredients.

Craig's ethos, is that fresh produce is absolutely essential to exemplary food. Right here in St Annes, COAST is in an exceptional location for sourcing the very best ingredients from both land and sea.

Our delightful amuse buche, a great start to a lovely meal, accompanied by some great artisan style breads and olives.

After making our choices from the wide ranging menu, Mr LF chose the ham hock terrine with homemade piccalilli and granary bread, a perfectly balanced dish with enough poke in the pickle to offset the rich porky terrine.

My choice was the asparagus with crispy egg, as I was intrigued by the pink grapefruit and citrus hollandaise. A delicious combination  and the citrus flavours worked beautifully alongside the asparagus and egg.

On to our mains, Mr LF chose the hotpot, which was a deconstructed version and apparently tasty enough to give Lancashire's Michelin starred chef a run for his money. The dish was also a generous man sized portion.

Given that COAST's emphasis is seafood I chose the plaice dish which included the ultra local ingredient "Lytham shrimp". A delicious balance of flavours and textures which had been prepared with great attention so that the fish was perfectly cooked and the samphire crunchy, just like I like it !

For dessert we both selected the chocolate mousse, which was also the most popular dessert dish with the rest of the table too. A decadent combination of chocolate and cherries which rounded of the meal beautifully.

The service was attentive and friendly and we loved the driftwood feel to the decor, providing a modern contemporary ambiance to the restaurant. 

The Glendower Hotel is part of the Best Western Group and is situated on North Promenade, Lytham St Annes. Over looking the iconic Sand dunes, the 60 room hotel is ideally situated for short break, weddings, corporate events and has stunning coastal views.

Lunch was provided on a complementary basis however I was not required to write a review (positive or otherwise), all comments, views and opinions are my own.

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