Entries in Apple Puree (5)

Thursday
Jun052014

Carrot and Citrus Cake (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Vegan)

When times get tough and life seems a bit of a slog there are always a few things you can do.  I know we each vary greatly but in my experience I know of few ills that aren’t at least lessened by a)  walking the hills until you feel cleansed by fresh air and exercise (dog for company optional but preferable) b) disappearing into a book, a cup of tea in hand c) phoning your best friend, putting the world to rights and lamenting that not enough people think just like you (note: you can only do this with your best friend, everyone else will think you’re an idiot) d) cooking up a storm, more specifically, baking up a treat and even better if you’re baking for someone special.  If there is one thing I feel sure of is that a gift of cake never goes down badly and bringing pleasure to other people is a sure fire way of making your own day better.  Cake making is a methodical, meditative practise and whether it’s baking, decorating or eating them, there’s always a stage of the process that just feels lovely.  Personally, I enjoy the slow, steady progression of making cakes the best, though I’m not adverse to a cup of tea and a bite of something sweet, really the joy is in the mixing, spooning and that unbeatable sweet/spice fragrance that wafts around your kitchen.  For all of these things and more this cake is the winner: grated apple and carrots, caramel syrup and brown sugar and a delicate ripple of mixed spice make it deliciously aromatic and moist – the lemon icing is just the proverbial cherry on top.  Despite a bit of melting, grating and folding it is incredibly easy to make and keeps really well (I opt for an airtight tin or if pushed, a big freezer bag clipped over a plate) making it a real cut-and-come-again type bake, ideal for a friends and family do or a weekend when you know lots of people will be coming by, or if necessary, ready for a quiet moment when you want to slow down, take stock and think of the happy things in life.

CARROT AND APPLE CAKE WITH LEMON ICING

Serves 8-12

You will need an 8 inch/20 cm cake tin with removeable base for this recipe

150g dairy-free margarine

100ml golden syrup or agave syrup

200g soft light brown sugar or coconut sugar

250g carrots

1 eating apple

100g apple puree

250g gluten-free self raising flour

3 tsp baking powder

½ tsp mixed spice

25g ground flaxseed

 

For the icing

150g icing sugar

2-3 tbsp lemon juice

The grated zest of 1 lemon and orange

 

Preheat the oven to 180c and lightly grease and line the cake tin.

Place the margarine, syrup and brown sugar (or coconut sugar) into a saucepan and heat gently over a low heat, stirring every now and then, until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Take off the heat and pour into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Trim the ends from the carrots and core the apple, finely grate both – I don’t worry about peeling either the apple or carrots (though I do give them a good scrub first) but please, feel free to peel both if you want to.

Spoon the apple puree into the syrup mixture and stir together, sift over the flour, baking powder and mixed spice and fold together.  Next, add the grated apple, carrot and the ground flaxseed and fold together until completely combined and fragrant.  Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and then bake in the oven for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes or until risen and golden and firm to the touch.

Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Place the icing sugar into a mixing bowl and add the lemon juice, bit by bit, until the desired consistency.  Spread over the cake and scatter over the lemon and orange zest.

Thursday
Apr102014

Rhubarb & Apple Traybake (Gluten Free, Vegan, Dairy Free, Egg Free)

If you hadn’t noticed from all my tweeting and nudging and hinting...I’ve got a new book out!!  I’m so enormously proud of this (as I was my first) and I really, really hope you all love it too.  The emails, comments and messages I’ve had over the last few years have been incredibly inspiring and touching too.  I really hope that if I have done just a little to make living life with food intolerances just that bit easier, then I have done something of some value and if you can cook my recipes and then share them with your friends and family then I have achieved what I set out to.  Truly, thank you if you bought the first book and (ahem) thank you too for buying the second!  If you need any further incentive, then here’s a little bit about it...

Free-from Food for Family and Friends is cookbook dedicated to delicious gluten, dairy, egg, soy and yeast free recipes, and I when I say free-from I mean that every single recipe in this book is free from all of those foods.  For those that are new to my work I aim to show you how delicious free-from food can be.  I believe that embracing your food intolerances is the best thing you can do for both your mind and body.  Once you have moved past the struggle of feeling unwell and adjusting your diet, you will begin to feel healthier, happier and to realise the abundance of foods you can eat.  I promise you that there is not one recipe, dish or meal that cannot be adapted, created or bettered by making it intolerance friendly and this book aims to show you how.

My first book was divided into seasons, to show the natural and fresh abundance of foods available to us.  I still firmly believe in cooking by the seasons and cannot encourage you enough to look in your local markets and greengrocers to see what’s fresh and plentiful, but I also understand that day-to-day life is not always so simple and that family, work and increasingly fast pace of live can leave you with less and less time to cook.  But I also believe that cooking and eating is a bonding experience – a time for friends and family to come together which is why Free-from Food for Family & Friends is about food for all of the family, to enjoy at any time of the day, any day of the week and every day of the year.  From lazy breakfasts to quick lunches, al fresco summery food, fireside suppers, weeknight eating, family favourites, decadent and proper puddings and then celebratory food for the weekend, this book has it all! 

To get your taste buds going here’s a little treat from the book; I’m yet to make this without it disappearing almost straight from the oven, the roasted rhubarb lends a fragrant tang that balances out the almost caramel crust sweetness of the cake, made light and fresh from the apple puree baked within it.  It makes a wonderful afternoon indulgence with a pot of tea and friends and family, but you could also happily serve it as a homely pudding, a pouring of custard or a scoop of slightly tart coconut yoghurt (as seen here) to accompany it.  I shall leave that up to you but I promise both book and bake are a delight to behold!

RHUBARB AND APPLE TRAYBAKE

Makes 12 squares

You will need a 8 inch square baking tin for this recipe

 

200g golden caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra for roasting the rhubarb

100g apple puree

125ml sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

225g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

400g rhubarb

 Preheat the oven to 180c and line the baking tin.

Trim the ends from the rhubarb and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Place on a roasting tray, scatter over the sugar and roast for 15 minutes until tender but still holding their shape.

Place the apple puree, sugar, oil and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and beat together until smooth and combined.  Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture until you have a smooth and thick batter.

Spoon the batter into the baking tin and smooth into the corners, levelling the top with the back of a spoon.  Scatter the rhubarb evenly over the surface of the bake and, using your fingertips, gently press the pieces down into the batter a little.  Bake for 45 minutes until golden and fragrant.

Remove from the oven and either serve warm with coconut yoghurt or custard, or leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting into squares.