Tarta de Santiago

The cake of Saint James – a medieval masterpiece that pairs perfectly with a mid-morning cortado coffee.

Its exact origins and specific recipe are long gone in the winds of time, but the celebration of the patron saint of Spain continues, especially on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and in the Galician capital Santiago de Compostela.

I’m not a huge fan of cakes or even baking them, but this simple gluten-free almond recipe has me hooked. It feels a touch more, grown-up.  I’ve spent a while experimenting and have finally settled on this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • zest of 1 unwaxed orange
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • icing sugar to dust

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C (140°C fan)
  2. Grease and line an 8 or 9-inch springform baking tin.
  3. Separate the egg yolks and whites.
  4. Whisk the yolks with the golden caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
  5. Mix in the almonds, zest and extract.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  7. Gently combine the two mixtures and fill your baking tin.
  8. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.
  9. Rest the cake in its tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

cooling down the tarta de santiago10. When completely cool, dust the top of the cake using icing sugar and a stencil of the cross of Saint James.

youngling dusting the tarta de santiago

Serve with a little crème fraîche if you like. I certainly do.

Gluten Free Granola

Homemade granola? So easy – so much easier than you’d think!

This is my last recipe in this series of twists on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution healthy breakfasts.

I’d planned to simply create a homemade granola recipe for my twist on Jamie’s Banana & Cinnamon Porridge, but a little research has led me towards using buckwheat and making this recipe even more inclusive. The GFG!

Granola is such a delicious, nutritious and flexible breakfast that you can make in batches and store so that it’s always on hand.

making granola

Ingredients:

  • 200g buckwheat
  • 200g oats (certified Gluten Free)
  • 200g mixed nuts, roughly chopped
  • 100g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, linseed)
  • 75g coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g dried fruit (cranberries work well)
  • Milk, honey, yoghurt and fresh berries to serve (all optional)

Method:

The key here is to watch your granola like a hawk whilst toasting it in the oven – ovens vary tremendously – don’t let it burn! Turning it frequently will make sure it’s evenly cooked.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
  2. Except for the dried fruit, mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over a low heat.
  4. Add all of the wet ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
  5. Spread the mix out on a couple of baking trays in a single layer (or bake in batches).
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 – 35 minutes, turning roughly every 10 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
  7. Allow the granola to cool, mix in the dried fruits and store in a clean airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  8. Serve plainly with milk, or perhaps yoghurt with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for a more decadent breakfast.

granola

 

gluten free granola

Variations:

This recipe doesn’t have to be gluten free (GF) if you’re not on a specialist diet – regular oats are much cheaper and taste exactly the same. Technically, oats are GF anyway (oats contain a similar but more tolerable protein than gluten, called avenins), however there is a risk to those suffering from coeliac disease as they may have been stored or packaged in the vicinity of barley, wheat or rye grain.

You may wish to adapt this recipe to suit your taste, in fact, I’d implore you to do so; try switching the maple syrup for honey, the coconut oil for olive oil, add cacao nibs and chia seeds, experiment with different nuts or even add a little cardamom. Have fun with it and soon you’ll be batch-cooking your own special blend on a regular basis.

Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce

I’m hoping that I’m not the only person who struggles when deciding what to cook when friends come over to eat. I get a bit anxious when said friends have allergies or a particular intolerance. Thankfully there are thousands of recipes and ideas out there on the internet, but I still seem to have a bit of a mental block about it.

I thought I’d cracked it last time with ‘Char Sui Pork’ until I realised that Hoisin sauce (one of the key ingredients) isn’t gluten free..

Given that I aim to make everything from scratch, I thought I’d have a go at making the hoisin sauce as well – it turned out better than expected and made quite a nice little parting gift as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1tsp Five Spice powder
  • 125ml Red Miso paste
  • 125ml Honey
  • 2tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar

Method:

  1. Blend it all together.
  2. Marvel at how clever you are.

You can use your GF hoisin sauce straight away or pop it into sterilised jars, refrigerate and use within a month.

homemade Hoisin

This blog post is part of December’s Food Revolution challenge to make your own condiment.

And for interest, here’s how the Char Sui Pork belly strips turned out:

GF char sui pork

Happy eating!

 

Chilli con Jamie

Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of cooking for a lovely group of school mums on their annual get-together in The Cotswolds.

A dear friend had asked if I’d like to cater for the event, and together we hatched a plan to use this as an opportunity to raise awareness for the Food Revolution and Elizabeth’s Footprint – [Natalia Spencer is walking the entire 6,000 mile coastline of the UK in aid of Bristol Children’s Hospital following the sudden and tragic loss of her beautiful 5-year-old daughter Elizabeth.] 

So, deep breath, what do you cook for fourteen…?

I needed something hearty, a little bit special, and above all something that wouldn’t be a logistical nightmare given Chipping Campden is a 40 minute drive from Cheltenham.

Delectable and transportable; it’s got to be a slow cooked chilli. It just so happens that I recently acquired a cast iron, 12 litre, Staub Cocotte (dutch oven)..

Let’s not reinvent the wheel here – I know a man who’s nailed this dish, so please do check out Jamie’s tried and tested recipe here: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/chilli-con-jamie/

The only tweaks I made were to scale up the quantities to make it go a bit further. I used 3kg of brisket, 5 cans of tomatoes, 750ml fresh coffee and 3 tins of kidney beans etc.

3kg beef brisket

Trimming up the beef takes a little time but once it’s all in the pot you can pretty much sit back and leave it alone for a few hours. If you’re interested, I chose to use a combination of Ancho and Pasilla chillies which were rehydrated in strong coffee.

Ancho and Pasilla chillies

I wrapped a couple of towels around my impractically heavy cast iron pot and carefully stowed my precious cargo in the passenger footwell.

Seeing a rainbow over Chipping Campden as I made my way down the quiet country lanes really made my day. I had to stop the car and take a moment to fully appreciate the world around me, basking in the horizontal early evening sunlight and cherishing every aspect of the quiet, rolling countryside. I wish I could have captured it for you Natalia.

I want to extend a huge, huge thank you to all you lovely ladies for donating a whopping £200 to Elizabeth’s Footprint – I’m so pleased you enjoyed your dinner :o)

Chilli con carne

Omelette Twist

As Jamie launches his ‘10 recipes to save your life’ for this year’s Food Revolution, here’s my twist on the basic omelette for you: Baked Mini Omelettes!

Super-simple fayre, these little treats are a fun take on the humble and nutritious egg, and can be served hot or cold.

The fillings are up to you – I like to have a bit of variation so here’s some ideas:

Fresh chives, chillies, bell peppers, ham, tomato, cheese, smoked salmon; perhaps some pre-cooked ingredients: bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, sausage, broccoli.. the list goes on, so feel free to experiment.

The most important factor is to use the freshest and highest quality eggs you can find – the hens deserve it, and it’ll make such a difference to your cooking.

You’ll need roughly 1 egg for each omelette.

 

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C degrees (160°C fan).

Grease a muffin/cupcake tray with butter or a drop of oil.

Beat the eggs and season them with salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tray and sprinkle in your choice of ingredients.

Bake for 12 minutes.

It’s as easy as that.

Enjoy!

mini omelettes