Vanilla and blackcurrant sponge

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2016) and taken from the book River Cottage Gluten Free written by Nutritionist, cook and River Cottage teacher Naomi Devlin.

For a nut-free version of this moist, flavoursome cake, replace the ground almonds with 50g gluten-free white flour – the cake will be a little drier, but still delicious.

Serves:  10

Vanilla and blackcurrant spongeIngredients:

200g gluten-free white flour blend
100g cornflour
4 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp ground psyllium husk
100g ground almonds
5 tbsp milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
350g salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
350g light Muscovado sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 large eggs

For the filling:

Juice of 1 lemon
350g blackcurrant jam
450ml double cream, whipped until thick

Icing sugar, for dusting

You will need:
2 x 20 cm sandwich tins

Step One:  Preheat the oven to 180oF/Fan 160oC/Gas 4.  Line the base of the cake tins with discs of baking parchment and butter the sides.  Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder, psyllium and ground almonds together into a bowl; set aside.  Pour the milk into a small bowl and add the vinegar to curdle the milk.

Step Two:  In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together using an electric hand whisk or wooden spoon until light and fluffy (or use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment).  Beat in 1 egg, followed by 3 spoonfuls of the flour mix, beating well between each addition until the mixture is smooth again.  Repeat until the eggs are all in, then beat in the rest of the flour mix.  Beat in the curdled milk mix.

Step Three:  Scrape the mixture into the prepared tins and level the surface.  Let stand for 15 minutes, then bake for 28-30 minutes until golden, springy and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Let stand for 10-15 minutes, then run a thin knife around the inside of the tin.  Turn out the cakes and place, right side up, on a wire rack.  Leave until cold.

Step Four:  Using a serrated knife, slice each cake in half horizontally to make four layers.  Stir the lemon juice into the blackcurrant jam.  Place one cake layer on a plate, spread with a third of the blackcurrant mixture and cover with a third of the whipped cream.  Repeat twice, placing the prettiest cake layer on top.  Sift a little icing sugar over the top and serve.

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Margherita Pizzas

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2016) and taken from the book River Cottage Gluten Free written by Nutritionist, cook and River Cottage teacher Naomi Devlin.

This is a thin-based pizza, sparingly spread with a simple tomato sauce and baked until the base is invitingly crisp and the cheese is bubbling.

Margherita pizzaServes:  3-4

Ingredients for the Pizza Base:-

70g sorghum flour; 10g fresh yeast (or 3g quick dried)
140g potato starch
40g tapioca starch
25ml olive oil
1 large egg
1 scant tsp sea salt
1 tsp light Muscovado sugar
1 tsp xanthum gum or 2 tsp ground psyllium husk
1 tsp cider vinegar
Fine polenta or rice flour

Ingredients for the Topping:

400g tin plum tomatoes
2-3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
50ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Few drops wine vinegar (optional)
2-3 mozzarella balls, each about 125g
Thyme, or oregano leaves for sprinkling (optional)
Rocket leaves and Parmesan shavings

Step One: For the pizza base, mix the sorghum flour, yeast and 120g tepid water in a bowl until smooth, then cover.  Set aside at room temperature for an hour to ferment.

Step Two: For the tomato sauce, chop the tomatoes and put in a pan with the juice from the tin.  Add the garlic and cook, covered, over a medium heat, for 10 minutes.  Stir in the olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt, a few good grinds of pepper, a pinch of sugar and a little vinegar if you think the flavour needs lifting.  The oil will take a bit of stirring to get it to emulsify with the tomato.  If the sauce is too thin, cook uncovered for a few minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Step Three: When you are ready to make the dough, beat the remaining pizza base ingredients, except the polenta or rice flour, into the sorghum mixture, until smooth.

Step Four:  Sprinkle flat baking sheets and work-surface with fine polenta or rice flour.  Scoop up a quarter of the dough with floured fingers, roll into a ball, then roll out on your floured surface into a thin circle, about 5mm thick.  Pick up an edge gently and slide a floured rolling pin underneath to help you transfer the delicate dough to the baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Step Five:  Spread the sauce between the pizzas using the back of a spoon.  Slice mozzarella and lay on top.  Sprinkle with thyme or oregano and drizzle any exposed dough with a little olive oil.  Leave to rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, until the dough looks puffy.  Preheat the oven to 250oC /Fan 230oC/Gas 10, or as high as it will go and bake for 6-8 minutes.  Add rocket and Parmesan, and serve.

Chestnut and chorizo soup

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2016) and taken from the book River Cottage Gluten Free written by Nutritionist, cook and River Cottage teacher Naomi Devlin.

Roast chestnuts have the starchy quality of baked potato, with a smoky sweetness that is fantastic with chorizo.  You can also use pre-prepared chestnuts here, for something that is almost as good.  If you need more protein, a poached or fried egg is a great addition.

Chestnut Chorizo soupServes:  4

Ingredients: 

400g fresh chestnuts (in shells)
125g chorizo or spicy salami, skinned
1 tsp butter or duck fat
Pinch of fennel seeds (optional)
4 carrots, roughly diced
1 large onion, roughly diced
1 celery stick, roughly diced
150g Swiss chard or rainbow chard
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 tbsp tomato puree
large pinch of saffron threads
Greek yogurt and Turkish dried chilli flakes, to finish

Step One:  Preheat the oven to 220oC / Fan 200oC / Gas 7.  Make a cut in the top of each chestnut, place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until tender.  Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel, halve or quarter and set aside.  (It’s a lot quicker to use pre-prepared chestnuts, but you won’t get the same smoky flavour).

Step Two:  Cut the chorizo or salami into small chunks.  Heat a saucepan over a low heat and add the chorizo chunks with the butter or duck fat and fennel seeds, if using.  Cook gently for a few minutes until the chorizo oil starts to run.  Add the diced vegetables and cook gently for at least 20 minutes until they have taken on a deeper colour and smell sweet.

Step Three:  While the vegetables soften, slice the white stalk from the chard leaves and cut it into chunks; set aside.  Shred the leaves finely and set these aside too.  Add the garlic to the pan with the thyme leaves and tomato puree and cook for a couple of minutes until the tomato smell rises from the pan.  Add the chopped chestnuts, chard stalks, saffron threads and enough boiling water to cover everything by 2-3 cm.  Bring to a simmer, put the lid on and lower the heat.  Simmer gently for about 15 minutes until everything is soft.  Taste for seasoning.

:  Either leave the soup chunky or mash it a bit, leaving some texture – you’re not aiming for a smooth result.  If it’s too thick, add a little water; if too thin, uncover, turn the heat up a bit and let it bubble to reduce slightly.  Finally, add the chard leaves to the soup and bring back to the boil; this will be enough to cook them through.  Serve each portion topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, if you like.  If the chorizo is mild, you may want to put some chilli flakes on the table.

Nectarine & Polenta Upside-Down Cake

This recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine – August 2015

Nectarine and Polenta upside down cakeThis cake, with an upside-down topping and moist, sandy texture, this charmingly retro cake is naturally gluten-free.  If you’re baking for someone who is sensitive to gluten, make sure to use gluten-free baking powder.

Serves:  6-8

Ingredients:  For the Sponge: 120g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing; 125g caster sugar; 2 eggs, lightly beaten; 75g ground almonds; 75g fine or ‘quick cook’ polenta; finely grated zest of 1 lemon; 1 tsp baking powder; pinch salt

For the Topping: 2 medium nectarines – or equal quantity of other stone fruit – skin on, stones removed; 75g light Muscovado sugar; juice of half a lemon

Step One: Preheat the oven to 190oC. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin with butter and line the bottom with baking parchment.  Generously grease the parchment with butter too.  It’s best not to use a loose-bottomed tin here, but if that’s all you have, tightly wrap a double layer of foil around the outside of the base to prevent juices escaping.

Step Two: Quarter the nectarines and cut them into thin slices.  Toss with the sugar and lemon juice, then arrange in a single layer, slightly overlapping, round the bottom of your tin.  Scrape any excess sugar syrup over the top.

Step Three: To make the sponge, cream butter and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon, or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition.  Fold in the almonds, polenta, baking powder, lemon zest and salt.

Step Four: Spoon the batter over the nectarines, smooth the surface with a spatula, then tap firmly on the work-surface to remove any bubbles.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until risen and golden.

Step Five: Remove the cake from the oven, run a sharp knife around the edge, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mushroom Quiche

Serves:  4;  Prep:  30 mins;  Cook:  40 mins;  Cals per portion:  334

This quiche has a really delicious base made from grated vegetables

Ingredients:  Crust:  1 courgette, coarsely grated; 1 carrot, coarsely grated; 1 small parsnip, peeled and grated; 4 tbsp/60ml melted butter; 3oz/75g soya flour

Filling:  1 tbsp/15ml oil; 1 shallot, finely chopped; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 6oz/175g mushrooms, sliced; 1 sprig fresh thyme; 2oz/50g Cheddar cheese, grated; 3 eggs; 1/2 pt/300ml milk; salt and pepper; 9in/23cm flan dish, greased

  • Preheat oven to Mark 5 / 375oF/190oC.  Place courgette in a colander and sprinkle with a little salt.  Leave to stand for 10 minutes then squeeze out the excess moisture.  Transfer to a bowl, add other crust ingredients and mix well.  Press mixture into the flan dish to form a crust.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add shallot and garlic and fry until soft.  Stir in mushrooms and thyme and simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Remove the thyme.  Spoon mushrooms on the crust.  Sprinkle on half the cheese.
  • Beat eggs and milk together and season.  Pour over crust.  Sprinkle over remaining cheese.  Bake for 30 mins