Entries in Ground Ginger (3)

Sunday
Sep092012

Gingerbread (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, egg free)

I’m having a little phase of experimental baking.  Not for the book you understand, - I’m having a short break from that for a few weeks - just a personal exploration of new combinations, ingredients, methods.  I’m being fairly relaxed about it, I’m not trying to make the perfect loaf or the best cake; I’m just exploring possibilities, testing the waters, if you will.  A recent discovery of mine, though I’m sure some of you are already familiar with it, is Coconut Palm Sugar.  It’s made from the crystallised nectar of the coconut palm blossoms (I love that description, I lifted it straight from the packaging, it’s so ridiculously aspirational!)  Essentially, it’s an unrefined sugar, very low in GI and therefore slower to release into the system (a good thing).  Plus, it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals making it a far healthier choice to your usual refined sugars.  Most importantly, it tastes utterly divine.  I’m a big fan of Muscavodo sugars for their caramel, malty flavours and coconut sugar does just the same for baking; it adds a lovely mellow hit and an extra sweet and toffee level of flavour.  I can really recommend it, but (and I do understand this), if you feel that swapping the sugars in your life is just a step too far then you can easily use your plain old soft light brown sugar instead, it will be equally delicious.

This particular Gingerbread has to be one of the easiest things to make in the world.  In a matter of minutes you can have it in the oven, a bit of measuring and stirring your only chore, which, other than pleasingly simple, also makes it a brilliant thing to rustle up at short notice.  It has a faintly earthy, rustic quality in appearance, it’s not particularly pretty and I’ve yet to make it without the top cracking a little, but this does nothing to diminish the gorgeous ginger flavour with just a hint of citrus from the lemon juice.  The crumb is dense to the eye but actually very light to the bite, and the caramel sweetness from the coconut sugar is divine.  All in all, it’s a lovely thing to have with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or to pack into your lunch box for a treat at work.   You could ice it if you wish, it would make it look a little prettier but I really wouldn’t bother unless I was serving at an afternoon tea or such like.  I rather like its homely appearance; it reminds you that it’s homemade and full of good quality, simple ingredients – just as it should be.

Oh yes, and apologies for the slightly erratic posting on The Intolerant Gourmet this fortnight, I’m currently on holiday.  Normal mid-weekly posting will resume soon, I promise.

GINGERBREAD

Makes 8 squares

275g Doves Farm gluten free self-raising flour

200g Coconut Palm Sugar or soft light brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp ground ginger

100ml sunflower oil

170ml cold water

2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200c and lightly grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.

Place the flour, ginger, baking powder and sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir together until combined.  Pour in the oil, lemon juice and water and stir together until you have a smooth cake batter. 

Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin, level the top with the back of a spoon and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until golden and cooked through.  Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  When ready cut into squares and serve.

 

Tuesday
Jun192012

Ginger Ice Cream (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, egg free)

It’s been hard to know what to cook recently; one day the sun is out and blazing warmth, filling me with the excitement of summer, thin cotton tops, homemade lemonade, sunbathing and salads.  The next, the sky is grey and gloomy, the wind up and I find myself rifling through drawers searching for a jumper and desperately making soups and pasta to stave off the cold.  After a particularly contrary and ill-timed week of recipe testing risottos on a scorching hot day, followed by ice creams on the next, only to have it tip it down with rain, I’ve given up all pretence of creating ‘summer’ food and instead am just going to share with you all the things I’ve been enjoying recently, come rain or shine.

Despite the said weather, my day of recipe testing ice creams was a triumph.  Helped in no small way by the acquisition of this particularly brilliant ice cream maker, which, despite the cost, is totally worth its weight in gold.  More importantly, I’ve found the most brilliant, failsafe method of creating luxurious, creamy dairy-free ice cream.  The answer, my friends, is cornflour.  A traditional Sicilian technique of thickening ice cream is to replace the eggs with cornflour – such simplicity and it absolutely works.

This particularly punchy, fragrant ginger version is absolute nectar.  It has quite a kick to it - as I really adore ginger - making it a grown up affair.  It’s really divine when served with Rhubarb Crumble (for those rainy days) and equally delicious served just on its own (for those sunshine moments).  I used almond milk to make mine but coconut milk (the carton variety rather than the tinned) would work, as would rice milk (though the thicker makes like Provamel will work better than Rice Dream).  Also, it’s worth noting that the ice cream photographed had been in the freezer for a few days, if you serve it straight from making it will be ‘soft set’ in consistency and infinitely more creamy.  Yum.

GINGER ICE CREAM

Serves 4 – 6

450ml almond, coconut or rice milk

15g cornflour

1 tsp ground ginger

75g golden caster sugar

2 balls of stem ginger, very finely chopped

Stir 100ml of the milk into the cornflour and mix until smooth.

Whisk together the sugar and ground ginger in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the remaining milk into a saucepan and then heat gently until just simmering.  Take off the heat and pour the milk over the sugar and ginger, whisking as you go to keep the mixture smooth and dissolve the sugar.

Return the liquid to the saucepan and a medium heat.  Whisk in the cornflour mixture and simmer gently for a few minutes, whisking continuously, until the mixture has thickened and is smooth and glossy.  Pour the ice cream mixture into a clean bowl and leave to cool to room temperature for an hour. 

Whisk the mixture again, cover and then chill in the fridge for 2 – 24 hours (it’s worth noting that the longer you leave the mixture to chill the smoother the ice cream will be as chilling it helps to stop any ice crystals forming when you make the ice cream).

Once chilled, stir in the finely chopped stem ginger and then freeze and churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.