Category: Gluten free adaptable

Megan’s Tomato, cheese and herb muffins

Savoury muffins are an awesome thing. Especially heated up a little, when the cheese melts and all the herbs get aromatic. Mmmm.

A couple of calm tomato, cheese and herb muffins

I didn’t make these muffins. I made apple and white chocolate chip cookies. And I am so mad, they’re not a cookie, they’re like a mini-cake thing. They’re all soft and squishy.

I actually yelled at my cookbook. It was new, and the first thing I’d tried, and now we’re not talking.

As a lovely coincidence Megan the Vegeterian, who you may remember from such posts as Moroccan lentil soup, emailed me this recipe and some pics. Which means I can let go of the bad cookie incident and instead drink wine and eat potato chips while writing up this blog. Neat, huh?

Take it away Megan!…

This muffin recipe comes via The Weekly Times from Joanne Heard in Cobrico. Yes, I am that person, who cuts out the recipes from the Tomato, cheese and herb muffinsnewspaper and cooks them,

Cobrico is a small town in Western Victoria. There are plenty of cows and dairies in the region, which may account for the reasonably large amount of cheese in this recipe.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
50 grams butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups milk
50 grams coarsely grated parmesan cheese
50 grams cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped semi-sundried tomatoes
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or dried mixed herbs

Method

  1. Prepare a 12-pan muffin tray.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add cheese and rosemary and then mix.
  3. In a second bowl, mix milk, egg, butter, tomatoes and pesto.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk mix until just combined.
  5. Fill greased muffin pans to three-quarters. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly touched.

Healthy? Somewhere between Homer Simpson and ‘are you kidding me?’

Gluten free? Muffins with cheese usually translate to GF well if you swap out the plan flour for a GF substitute, as the cheese is an excellent binding agent. But check your pesto, baking powder and any other additives to packaged goods as you usually would.

Storage: In an airtight container. Or in your stomach. They also freeze really well. I find freezing them means I don’t eat 12 muffins in two days.

Healthy vegetable bake

I went ahead and made you all a vegetable bake for dinner. But then I got real hungry so had to eat it. It was so good. The best vegetable bake ever. You would have loved it. I know how you love vegetable bake. You might have to make you own dinner now. Sorry. My bad.

You see, I saw all these lovely vegetables sitting in my fridge draw.

And I thought, we should do this! We should eat more vegetables!

But then I thought, bacon is tasty, we should put that in too.

So I did. And then I remembered that binding ingredients were probably necessary lest we just sit down to bacon and grated veggies. So I found some good healthy binding things. And now you should make it too.

And you know what? It’s healthy! Double bonus.

Preparation time: 20 minutes preparation, 50 minutes in the oven.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

No Kevin Bacons were harmed in the making of this vegie bake.

4 rashes of shortcut rindless bacon, diced
½ onion, diced
1 ½ cups grated zucchinis (courgettes) – about 2 medium zucchinis
1 cup grated carrot – about 1 large carrot
200 gram tin of whole corn kernels, drained
¾ cup of lite cheese, grated (80 grams)
1 cup flour/rice flour/gluten-free bread crumbed
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs lightly beaten
¼ cup skim milk
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin/loaf tin/whatever you’ve got, or line with grease proof paper.
  2. Fry the bacon and onion in a saucepan until bacon is cooked to your liking (I like mine very crispy).
  3. Combine all other ingredients together in a large bowl, and add bacon and onion.
  4. Pour into prepared tin. Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean, is golden on top and bounces back to touch. Cut and serve! Nice with a bean salad. Lovely cold as a picnic snack too.

Healthy? Look at all those lovely vegetables! It’s about 320 calories a serve. 250 without the bacon (booo).

Gluten free? This is very adaptable. I’ve made this with gluten free flour, crumbed up gluten free bread (while travelling and short on supplies) and wholemeal flour. All work well.

Storage: I usually eat this over two nights, it keeps well overnight, and is great to make the night before a picnic too. I’ve never frozen it, let me know how it goes if you do.

Chocolate caramel slice

A word of warning, this is the second time I’ve tried to write this up. The first time I started, got very hungry, left for the kitchen and never came back. This time I’ve come armed with tea, cookies and jam on toast to help me through (for, surprise, surprise there is no chocolate caramel slice left in the house).

To get yours to look like the picture, double the amount of chocolate topping outlined below. It was an accident as I was originally halving the recipe, but it turned out to be a fabulous mistake. I also used leftover easter eggs chocolate, which worked really well.

Ingredients: Base
1 cup flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
115 grams butter, melted

Ingredients: Filling
1/3 cup golden syrup
115 grams butter, melted
2 x 400g cans sweetened condensed milk

Ingredients: Chocolate Topping (I doubled this)
170 grams dark chocolate
3 teaspoons olive oil

Method: Base
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (350F).
2. Place the flour, coconut, sugar, and butter in a bowl and mix. It should be crumbly, but sticking together.
3. Press the mixture into a rectangular 20x30cm (ish) baking tin that has been lined with baking paper. I also sprayed the baking paper with olive oil spray for good measure. Press the mixture in really well to give yourself a good base for cutting later.
4. Bake for around 15-18 minutes (until browned).

Method: Caramel Filling
1. Place the golden syrup, butter and condensed milk in a saucepan over low heat and stir for 7 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly.
2. Pour over the cooked base.
3. Bake for 20 minutes (check after 15), or until the caramel is golden. The caramel can bubble up a little with the cooking, but it will settle upon cooling and will be covered with chocolate.
4. Refrigerate until the slice is cold – about two to three hours.

Method: Topping
1. Place the chocolate and oil in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Spread over the slice.
4. Refrigerate until firm.
5. Cut with a heated knife.

Cut in to 2cm squares, this makes 36.

Don’t: Melt the butter in the microwave on a high heat. It exploded everywhere and then you have to put more in your jug to make up for the stuff all over the microwave. Not to mention clean the microwave.

And really don’t: stick your finger in the hot caramel. Not that I’d know….

Healthy? Really? Do you really have to ask if? I’ll tell you what, I will write it very small, and then you don’t have to read it unless you magnify the page, for ignorance is bliss. Like this slice. Calorie count: 150  a slice (which really isn’t that bad anyway).

Gluten free? The base is not. The GF recipes I have seen just substitute the flour with GF flour, but I haven’t tried it. With all the butter and sugar, I think it would be fine and bind well enough. Or, you could do something like:

GF alternate for base
Ingredients
170 grams digestive type GF biscuits from the supermarket, crushed
60 grams butter, melted

Method
Combine the digestive biscuits and butter together. Press firmly into the base of the tin. No need to cook it for this method. Then just add the caramel sauce on top and keep going as above.

Storage: In an airtight container.

Source: Modified from Donna Hay “Modern Classics book 2: Cookies, Biscuits + Slices, Small Cakes, Desserts, Hot Puddings, Pies + Tarts” pp. 16-17.

Fruit and nut flapjacks (granola bars)

Would you like a granola bar with that flapjack?

I love granola bars. I ate a bucket load when I first moved to London because Starbucks has awesome granola bars and free wifi. Handy for the hungry, unemployed traveller.

Then, once I was employed I went to a local café and asked for a granola bar and was looked at like I had two heads. Turns out that there is a lot of international debacle about what is a flapjack and what is a granola bar.


Call them what you like, they’re awesome oaty-fruity-nutty goodness. I’ve eaten a lot, but I like Starbucks ones the best. I tried to recreate them – there is a Starbucks recipe on line, don’t be fooled, it’s NOTHING like the in-store version – and after three tries I’ve come up with this recipe.

Ingredients
70 grams butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
300 grams honey/golden syrup or 150 grams of each. You can add more for extra moistness
1/2 cup oat bran (not the cereal, this is found with the oats in the supermarket)
2 cups of oats
50 grams sunflower seeds (1/4 cup)
50 grams pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup)
90 grams almonds (about 1 cup, or mix it up with half-half hazelnuts and almonds)
200 grams dried fruit (I used glazed apricots, coconut, dates, sultanas)
Dash of cinnamon and ginger
2 spoonful of peanut butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C and grease a 18cm square tin.
  2. Melt butter, vanilla essence and honey/syrup in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over a low heat.
  3. Mix everything else together in a large bowl.
  4. Pour hot butter mix into bowl, stir well.
  5. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for around 20 minutes, until golden on top.
  6. Once pulled out of the over, flatten mix with rolling pin to pack the mixture tightly, if not packed well enough it won’t stick together. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then cut up while still warm.

The flattening of the mix with the rolling pin/tin/bottle (I found a cider bottle worked well) is key here. There are two ways to make flapjacks, I’ve tried both and find the below method (which doesn’t get baked) produces a slightly chewer, firmer bar. But the above is more like Starbucks and my preference. Take your pick and let me know.

A handy rolling pin, and a reward for baking done!

Alternate method
Same recipe. Preheat oven to 180. Mix together oats, oat bran, seeds and nuts. Mix ingredients thoroughly and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Toast this mixture in the oven for approximately 8 minutes tossing the mixture every 2 minutes so it doesn’t burn.

Meanwhile melt butter, vanilla essence and honey/syrup in a saucepan, simmer on low heat. When the oat mixture is done toasting, place in bowl and add hot butter mixture. Mix and transfer to a baking tray. Then, place wax paper or baking paper over the mixture and press down to pack the mixture down tightly. If not pressed down tightly enough it won’t stick together. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cut up. Leave in pan to cool completely.

Healthy? Cut into about 20 or 24 squares you’re looking at about 180 calories a square. But it’s dependent on what fruit and nut you use.

Gluten free? Yep. Just use the GF oats. If you can’t find GF oatbran, substituting normal oats, or quick oats will work fine.

Storage: In an airtight container. No eggs means it’ll last for ages.

Don’t: Just add more fruit and nut because it’s yummy. Been there, done that, had it all fall apart on me.

Carrot cake muffins with cream cheese icing

As with a heap of the recipes on here, this is a more-is-more kind of recipe. I just couldn’t find a recipe with enough stuff in it, and for me, a carrot cake should have pineapple, sultanas, nuts and some great spices, minimum. This recipe is loosely based on a breakfast muffin (hence the oats), which also keeps it good and moist.

Ingredients

For the muffin
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats (not instant of quick cooking)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil (you can swap this out for plain natural yogurt, works well)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 x 225 gram can crushed pineapple (if you can’t get that – as I’m finding in the UK –  just get normal pineapple in a can and resign yourself to cutting it up best you can)
1 1/2 cups grated carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

For the icing
½ cup light cream cheese
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups icing sugar (approx.)
Orange or lemon rind (optional)

Method for muffin
Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.

Whisk flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl stir brown sugar, egg, oil, vanilla essence and milk until well combined. Stir in pineapple, carrots and raisins.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until moist.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and muffins are golden and spring back when pressed. Makes 12

Cool on wire rack. Once completely cooled, spread on icing.

Method for icing
Mix cream cheese, salt and vanilla essence with a fork, then keep adding icing sugar until it’s thick enough to hold its own shape. You’ll end up adding over a cup and a half of icing sugar. A small amount of orange or lemon rind makes the icing extra special.

Healthy? You’ve got a couple of options, without the walnuts and icing, they come in at 190 (and 155 if you swap oil for natural yogurt). Otherwise they’re about 290 as written above, with a good generous serve of the icing, which is how I usually make them. They’re super filling!

Gluten free? I’ve made these with GF flour and GF oats and you never would have known the difference. They adapt really well.

Storage: They freeze well, icing and all. Otherwise keep in airtight container and are best eaten in two days.

Do: Eat the leftover icing and feel sick for doing it. It’s still worth it. Or, the icing freezes well if you make too much – as I often do. Then you have some stored for next time.