Sunday, 16 December 2012

Gluten Free Coffee and Walnut Cake

And so the gluten free challenge continues. This challenge entailed trying to make one of my favourite ever cakes without it having a dry, sandy texture, which baking with rice flour based gluten free flour can often do. I've cooked this cake many time before and I'm heavily indebted to Nigel Slater from Kitchen Diaries, a recipe I've tweaked once or twice but not to this extent.

The kind people at Hillfarm Rapeseed Oil recently sent me a bottle of their golden, cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil. I'm not sure if they will be surprised to hear that I used a glug of their oil in a cake rather than a savoury dish, but oils are often used to add moistness to bakes and in this instance, it made perfect sense. Not only did it moisten, it also added a touch of its golden colour and a slight nutty taste to complement the walnuts. It has been a fabulously versatile oil that I've used mainly for pan roasts but a drop in a cake - genius!

This recipe and quantities can be made with normal flour and the oil can be replaced with olive, vegetable or sunflower oil.

Gluten Free Coffee and Walnut Cake

200g salted butter
200g Demerara sugar
3 large eggs
200g gluten free self-raising flour
100ml Hillfarm rapeseed oil

2 tsp coffee granules
75g walnut halves

For the butter cream:
150g butter or margarine
300g icing sugar
2 tsp coffee granules
Walnut halves

1 - Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gm4. Grease and line a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin.
2 - Cream the butter and sugar until soft and light. You can go manual and beat with a wooden spoon or use an electric mixer.
3 - Crack in the eggs one by one and thoroughly combine. Then, gently fold in the flour.
4 - Put the walnuts into a bag and whack with a rolling pin until broken up, the fold into the cake mixture.
5 - Dissolve the coffee granules in a tsp of boiling water and along with the oil, gently fold in. Pour into the cake tin, place onto a baking tray and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if it is cooked (if it is still uncooked in the centre, cake will stick to the skewer.) Remove and cool on a wire rack.
6 - To make the butter cream, best the butter or margarine until light and fluffy the. Bat in the icing sugar 50g at a time. Dissolve the coffee in a tsp of boiling water and fold in.
7 - Remove the cake from the tin. Using a sharp knife, cut approximately across the middle. Spread half of the butter cream into the centre and place on the top part of the cake. Spread the remaining butter cream on top and decorate with walnut halves.



Saturday, 1 December 2012

Carrot, Lentil and Orange Soup

A soup that takes 30 minutes from slicing to serving. Fresh and vibrant with the addition of paprika and just a hint of chilli, the orange adds an unusual but welcome zesty kick.

Carrot, Lentil and Orange Soup
Feeds 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and grated
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp paprika
A pinch of ground chilli
4 large handfuls of red lentils
750ml vegetable stock (fresh or from cube)
Juice squeezed from an orange
Salt and pepper

1 - Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook slowly for 10 minutes without colouring.
2 - Add the tomato puree and spices and stir through, cooking for 2 minutes.
3 - Add the lentils and stock, bring to the simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
4 - Blend to your preference (I prefer a bit of texture). Squeeze in the orange juice, taste for seasoning and serve.