Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

I've been baking a lot the past 2 days to get everything ready for my birthday get together tonight, so I'll have a few bakes to share with you over the next couple of days. I've had no kitchen disasters and everything has pretty much turned out as planned. There's always some things that need improving and some things to that you can do better, but that's half the fun of baking. Plus everyone's tastes are individual and different so I will not be surprised if people do make some alterations to these recipes.

I made the recipe gluten free by using plain free from flour from Asda.

The muffins tasted quite soft and light, with the taste of cinnamon coming through then you get the taste of the blueberries. This is definitely a recipe that I'd do again, as it literally took me 10  to 15 minutes to put all the ingredients together and get them ready, then 20 to bake them. I did test one  ;-) still warm from the oven and I had to restrain myself from eating them all before everyone came round.

Makes 12 muffins

1 3/4 cup of Plain Free From Flour or Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder (make sure it is gluten free - Dr Oetker is if you are in doubt)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup semi skimmed milk
1 egg
1/4 cup of oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1  1/2 cups of blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C 
  2. I put all of the dry ingredients into a bowl, whisked the egg separately then added the rest of the ingredients apart from the blueberries into the bowl. Mix together with a spoon until the mixture becomes nice and smooth, as soon as it is please stop as you don't want to over stir this.
  3. Add the blueberries and  fold these into the mixture
  4. Put into greased muffin tins or line with muffin cases and fill evenly between the cases.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until you test with a knife and this comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool down for 10 minutes and put onto a wire rack

The originally recipe that I adapted is here.

Why not give these easy muffins a go and let me know what you think?
I hope you all enjoy your weekend.


Chocolate Banana Souffles

I spied this recipe on the Skinny Taste site a while ago and I was a little hungry one afternoon and fancied something a bit sweet and at 131.2 calories per portion, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to try them and not feel guilty about it!

It was quick and easy to make and resulted in a nice light and fluffy dessert. I think they came out looking pretty good as well and I'd be quite happy to serve these a dessert if I had guests round.

The great thing about this dessert is that you can taste both the banana and the chocolate coming through, but I don't believe that either was overpowering and actually complemented each other very well. It was also just the right balance of sweetness for me, as I have got a bit of a sweet tooth but sometimes it can be a bit too much.

I did make one substitution in this recipe, simply due to the flour that I had in the house. I used rice flour instead of the cornstarch.

You can find the recipe that I used here.

I really enjoyed making this simple soufflé idea, so I think I will start experimenting with some different flavours.


Heinz Farmers Market Seven Vegetable Soup

As I'm writing this review, the weather is quite cold, a layer of snow covering the tops of the cars which is slowly starting to melt. So for lunch today, I did reach for Heinz Farmers Market Seven Vegetable Soup.  I did read on the following forum on-line that this is gluten free and I cannot see any gluten ingredients on the tin (normally it does advise if gluten is contained and listed on the allergens), the only thing that I would say is that it doesn't say that it's gluten free and so for Celiac's I'm not sure at the moment if this is safe to eat or not.

I was pretty impressed with the taste of this, I think it did more or less look like the picture on the tin. I personally did season this soup slightly.

Texture / Consistency:
The soup was a nice consistency, fairly thick with good chunks of vegetables. 

Currently £1 from Asda (Checked on Asda.com on 11/03/13)

115 calories per 1/2 can or 230 calories per full can.

For a tinned vegetable soup, I'd probably give this about a 4 / 5 as I really enjoyed this.

I did enjoy this for tinned food and it does contain vegetables, which I'm trying to up my in take of so all in all a pretty good eat. If I'm honest, I am trying to cut down on eating canned foods and pre prepared food from the supermarkets, but I think every now it probably wont hurt me (this is just my own personal opinion).


Beef Rendang

As I normally work throughout the week, Saturday morning is the first time that I get the chance to be able to  have a lay in (not that I often do!) and have a relaxed morning. I normally like to have a leisurely breakfast and watch Saturday Kitchen. It was on this programme that I saw Rick Stein make beef Rendang and it inspired me to make instantly to put this on the menu for the following week.

Both myself and my boyfriend love eating different types of foods and cuisines and also making our own curries at home. My boyfriend tends to be the one who cooks the curries, because he does love a bit of spice. So when I did show him the recipe for the first time, he seemed quite keen.

We think the depth of flavour in this recipe was amazing and the fact that it is naturally gluten free and with no substitutes in it is good. It did have a bit of a kick to it, we actually put in a couple of chilli's less in ours, but you can taste this when you're cooking and use as many as you require to your own taste. You can always chop and put more in, but once they're in its obviously difficult to take the heat down. After tasting the recipe, we also decided to add a little sugar as we felt that it was slightly too sour so for us this balanced the taste out a bit more.

Frying the purée in the wok
I think this is a great recipe as it makes use of a cheaper cut of meat, but great taste of the recipe means that it doesn't feel like you're eating the lower cost cuts. Do remember that this means that you do have to cook it out to make sure the beef doesn't come out chewy and is nice and easy to eat. 

Adding the beef to the paste and browning the meat off
 The way the rice was cooked in this recipe was probably one of the best that we have tried, it was easy to do and the rice came out nice and fluffy and wasn't too sticky. The portion size was definitely a good size portion, I think you could potentially bulk the recipe up with less meat and substitute some vegetables in it. I have seen cauliflower and potatoes used in curries, so this is potentially something to think about in the future. 

You can find the recipe that I've used here, I suggest you give this a try if you like a bit of spice or curry as it's one of the better curries that I've tried.


Home Made Oxtail Soup

I cannot tell you enough how much we both loved this recipe, the consistency, the taste and texture were all absolutely spot on. To be honest, I don't think there's much reason to change this recipe. The only thing that we did was sub the flour for Asda's Free From Plain Flour and we used gluten free stock cubes.

This recipe is fairly cheap to make, but is not one of the most inexpensive soups that I have made. Oxtail is still fairly cheap though (I don't think it's quite as cheap as it used to be, but then again I haven't previously bought Oxtail so who I am to talk on how the prices have change ;-) ), but using red wine does bump up the price per serving. If you are looking to decrease the cost of this recipe a little, I personally think that you could get away with only using 1 kg of Oxtail and still get  4 servings out of this, but I think as oxtail is still fairly cheap I'd put in the full amount if you want to experience the full flavour and texture of this dish. There is quite a lot of meat in the soup, so I think this is a good soup to have for an evening meal.

These are the oxtail pieces which have been trimmed and browned in a pan, then removed and put in a bowl to one side:

The vegetables frying in the pan, before adding the red wine and returning the oxtail to the pan:

I also suggest going to your local market, or picking your own vegetables from the loose section in the supermarket rather than buying the pre-packaged bags (unless you have plans to use the rest of them in other recipes), this way you only use the vegetables that you need and do not waste anything.

If you are a fan of oxtail soup from the tins, then you should definitely try this recipe. It has a much stronger, richer and deeper flavour than the tinned kind, so why not give this a try. Most butchers should have oxtail and some supermarkets do stock this.

You can find the recipe that we used here.

For those of you that are gluten free, please ensure you use gluten free flour and gluten free stock cubes (unless you use your own pre-made stock for this).


Two Ingredient Pancakes

For a while now, I've noticed a lot of people talking about pancakes with just two ingredients in it: egg and banana. I've seen people raving about these pancakes, saying how good they taste and they are a lighter, skinnier and lower calorie version of a "normal" pancake. So whilst I have more time on my hands today and in a bid to eat a little healthier I thought I'd give these a try.

The mixture was so simple to put together and literally took me minutes from getting the ingredients ready to frying them off in a pan. I think considering how quick they are, I could potentially make these before I go to work in a morning. I used coconut oil to fry mine in, as I've heard that there are many health benefits to using this and also I want to also test out using it as I've not really used it much yet. I was really pleased with how well they fried up and how good the pancakes looked.

The texture is slightly different from your standard pancakes made with flour, but to be honest I actually quite like the texture and given the ingredients used in these pancakes and the ease of making them, I think I will be making these pancakes more often! They're also brilliant for those of us living a gluten free lifestyle, as they're naturally gluten free.

You can put whatever toppings you would like on your pancakes, I think next time I will get some assorted fruit to add to the top of these. I also wonder for those of us who love chocolate, if the pancakes would taste good with some added cocoa powder for a chocolatey taste (I think I'll have to give this a try!).

To take a look at the recipe that I used and to give this pancakes a go, take a look at the following recipe.

Have you already experimented with flourless pancakes? If so please let me know how it went for you and what you think of this type of pancake.


Nutella Banana Ice Cream

I fancied some ice cream last night, as I wanted something sweet but I was really aware that I needed to make sure that it wasn't unhealthy as I have been treating myself a bit more than usual (bringing cake and cookies to work for my birthday). I've seen quite a few people talk about using bananas to make ice cream, so I thought I'd make some Nutella, Banana Ice Cream.

The is the recipe that I used for this, gives you a lovely hard Nutella ice cream, however I prefer soft scoop ice cream, so I decided to freeze the bananas first for at least 2 hours then add the rest of the ingredients to my mini chopper. You then have a lovely soft scoop ice cream, with a nice flavour but the calories in this are a lot less and it is a much more healthy and natural ice cream than one of the sugar laden ones you can buy from the supermarket (I don't tend to eat these as much any more as a lot of these have gluten in them). 

If you fancy trying this, then go ahead and look at this recipe. This gives you a great recipe for hard Nutella ice cream. You can still taste the bananas coming through, which is something that I really like. I urge you to try this, as I think with easy and healthy options like this, it gets much easier to say no to those sugar laden ice creams out on the market now.

I've also made a peanut butter ice cream, which was also nice. You can find the recipe for this here.

For some other takes on this banana ice cream idea, you can find these on the following sites:

I think I'm going to experiment a bit with this type of ice cream and try some different flavours out. If you've already tried this recipe with some other flavours, please feel free to share your recipes.