Rachel Allen’s Gluten Free Orange, Chocolate, Polenta Cake

While I have no problem experimenting to find ways of adapting recipes to be gluten free it is sometimes nice  to find someone else has already done the work for and I can be sure the recipe is going to work without any trial or error.

Rachel Allen’s cook books are reassuringly user friendly while still being full of interesting recipes. A great everyday book is  her Easy Meals, this is the book to go through before you do your big weekly shop as you will definitely find plenty of inspiration for mid week dinners, thereby avoiding that dispiriting wander around the grocery store picking up and putting down random vegetables and trying to figure out yet another use for chicken breasts.

This recipe is for a gluten free Chocolate Polenta Cake which, as all good cakes should be, is as good served warm with a scoop of ice cream or cold with a  cup of tea. If you are new to gluten free baking it is also a great recipe to begin with as there is no messing around with unfamiliar gluten free flours,  just make sure that your chocolate is gluten free.


200 grams of gluten free dark chocolate

100 grams of butter

225 gams of caster sugar

5 eggs, separated

75 grams of polenta ( fine cornmeal)

grated zest of 1 orange

Butter a 10″ baking tin and line the base with baking parchment.

Preheat your oven to Gas 3, 160, 325f

Break the chocolate in to pieces and place in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Put the pan over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt. Once melted remove the bowl from the heat and allow the chocolate mix to cool slightly.

Whisk together the egg yolks and 150 grams of the sugar until it has increased in volume and is light in colour, this should take about 5 minutes.

Fold the cooled chocolate mix in to the egg / sugar batter.

In a clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, add in the remaining caster sugar and whisk until you have stiff, glossy peaks.

Gently fold the polenta, orange zest and egg whites in to the chocolate batter and then spoon in to the prepared tin.


Place the tin in the oven and bak for 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.



Allow the cake to rest and cool slightly in the tin before removing it from the tin and allowing to cool on a wire rack.

Serve still warm with cream or ice cream or cooled with a hot cup of tea.


Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


If Valentines fell on the weekend you could go mad with hand made chocolates or an elaborate meal for the beloved in your life however it is a Tuesday and we are all either out at work or working from home while wrangling children, the bottom line is only a few  very committed people will have the energy or inclination to spend a few hours in the kitchen this evening prepping an intricate Valentines dinner.

What most people really want is to spend a couple of quiet hours with the one they love over good food, a higher quality wine than we might usually purchase or perhaps a glass or two of prosecco while happily ignoring the pile of washing in the corner or the toys all over the floor. The one essential component of a Valentines meal is  desert, even it is just a bar of gluten free chocolate  but these gluten free cookies are so simple I can assure you that you can make them this evening without causing yourself any stress. These manage to be both crisp and chewy and are lovely when sandwiched with a good ice cream. You can also just pile them on a plate as a treat to be enjoyed while snuggled on the couch watching a movie or whatever netflix series you are both currently engrossed in. These are also perfect as a  handmade Valentine’s gift,  just wrap them in cellophane and tie with a ribbon, I would much rather 12 of these than a dozen roses.

When I think cookies, I think of butter, sugar and chocolate and of course that leads me straight to Ina Garten, the queen of all things luxurious and indulgent in the kitchen. I slightly adapted her recipe for chocolate chunk cookies, mainly to make them gluten free but also because I adjusted the amount of chocolate and nuts, increasing the nut to chocolate ratio slightly. I also used milk chocolate instead of semi -sweet because sometimes that is just the chocolate I want.


450 grams of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of light soft brown sugar
½ cup of caster sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups of Doves Farm Gluten Free self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon sea or Maldon salt, use less if you are using table salt
2 cups of roughly chopped walnuts
400 grams of milk chocolate roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to gas 4/ 180/ 350f


• Line two baking sheets with baking parchment, I ran out of parchment and baked the cookies on buttered baking sheets and they were fine but your life will be easier if you use the baking parchment.
• Place the softened butter and the 2 sugars in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
• Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla extract.
• Sift the flour, baking powder and salt over the batter and beat in on slow speed until just combined.
• Using a wooden spoon stir in the chopped nuts and chocolate.
• Place a round tablespoon of the cookie batter on the baking sheet, evenly spaced and the cookies will spread as they cook so leave a bit of space between them, I fit 6 on each baking sheet.
• Bake for 15 minutes, the cookies will be soft when they come out but will crisp up as they cool.
• Allow to cool for a few minutes on the tray before carefully moving the cookies to a cooling rack with a palette knife.
• Repeat the process, you should get about 36 cookies out of the batter.
• Once cooled you can store the cookies in an airtight container.

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!


Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This post should be about a lovely warming ginger loaf, golden and studded with finely chopped stem ginger and glazed with ginger syrup, a bake that was beautifully soft on the day it was baked and then the next day it was fit only to be a doorstop, to say the recipe needs a bit of tweaking would be an understatement . While I work on that here is a repost of a very old fashioned cake but as retro is in so enjoy this perfect autumn warmer with some softly whipped cream.

V11.pineapple upsidedown cake1

This is a desert that is more of a pudding than a cake. My Mum used to make this when we were small and maybe that is why I think of it as great comfort food. I hadn’t made it in years and then a friend of mine was saying that she loved pineapple in deserts and I remembered how much I loved this. I love deserts that are served warm, with whipped cream or ice cream melting over the sides. When tipped out this pudding cake should be a deep caramel colour and should smell amazing.

This is also very retro, having come from my Mums Margaret Patton cookbook, a book that has long since lost its spine from use and age. It is adapted here to be GF, for a non GF version just use regular flour and omit the xanthum gum.

The original recipe calls for glace cherries to be placed in the centre of each pineapple ring but I haven’t been able to get a clear answer anywhere on whether glace cherries are GF. The internet failed me there so I just left them out.

V11.pinapple upsidedown cake


  • 5 oz / 140 grms butter
  • 5 oz / 140 grms sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6oz / 170 grms of Doves farm plain flour
  • ½ tsp of xanthum gum
  • 1 ½ tsp of GF baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 tablespoons milk.

For the topping

  • 2oz / 56 grms butter
  • 2oz / 56 grms dark brown sugar
  • I small tin of pineapple rings in juice


  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and light, use a gentle speed at first otherwise you will end up with butter and sugar all over your walls, the counter and yourself!
  2. Whisk eggs with a fork and beat gradually into the butter mixture, this is a pain if you don’t have a standing mixer as you keep having to start and stop unless you can convince someone to hold the mixer while you pour.
  3. Sift flour, xanthum gum and baking powder in to the batter and fold in, mix the milk and vanilla and fold alternately into the creamed mixture.
    The mix should be a soft dropping consistency, if it isn’t then you could add a drop more milk or a tablespoon of the pineapple juice.
  4. For the topping melt the 2oz butter in a 8 or 9 inch cake tin, I used a nine inch as I prefer a ratio of more pineapple to sponge. I have a heavy bottomed tin so I melted the butter in the tin over a low heat you could also just melt the butter in a pot or in the microwave and pour it in to the tin.
  5. Top the melted butter with 2 oz brown sugar and arrange pineapple rings over the butter / sugar mix. If you are going to use the glace cherries now is the time to place them in the centre of the pineapple rings.
  6. Spoon over the cake batter and smooth out, gently, with a spatula or knife.
  7. Bake at gas mark 4 , 325f, 160c for an hour. If the top starts to brown you can loosely cover the tin with tinfoil. The cake is done when the sponge has pulled away from the sides of the tin and springs back when you press it or a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then run a knife around the edge to loosen. Place your serving plate over the tin and carefully turn it over so that the cake slides out on to the plate.
  9. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Gluten Free White Chocolate Cheesecake Marbled Brownies


There are days for crisp green salads and  fresh fruit and then there are days when you just want all of the chocolate and having had a bit of a mad week in work I was having one of those days.  Since I couldn’t figure out what type of chocolate I wanted or how I wanted it served I decided to combine two of my favourite textures, brownie and baked cheesecake. I have seen a few recipes for cheesecake marbled brownies where there is a small amount of cheesecake batter swirled in to the brownie but because I love baked cheesecake I decided to make a full quantity of the cheesecake recipe and then dollop over spoons of the brownie batter before using a flat butter knife to create a marbled effect. For such an easy recipe you get a very impressive looking cake.

For a double hit of chocolate I made a white chocolate cheesecake and used dark chocolate for the brownie mix and the combination was definitely a winner. These do need to be chilled before they are eaten as once cold these are dense, fudgy and delicious.

I made this in a 9” by 11” roasting dish but you could divide the mixture between two smaller tins.

White chocolate cheesecake

300g white chocolate
400g full fat cream cheese
150 ml soured cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract


4 ounces of butter cut
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup gluten free self raising flour, I used Aldi’s flour and it worked brilliantly but you could use Dove’s Farm

Preheat the oven to 160, 325F, Gas 3

Butter and line the base and sides of your tin with baking parchment, this will make it easier to lift the brownies out of the tin once they are baked.

Break the white chocolate in to pieces and place in a bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water until it is melted, once it has melted completely remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl whisk together the cream cheese and the eggs until smooth. I used a hand whisk, there is no need to use anything electrical for this recipe.

Next whisk in the cream cheese and vanilla and then pour in the melted white chocolate and whisk to combine.


Allow that to sit and start on the brownie batter

Break the dark chocolate in to pieces and place it and the butter in a bowl set over a pan of lightly simmering water until both have melted. Remove the bowl from the heat.

To the melted chocolate add the sugar whisking with your hand whisk, this will give you a slightly grainy thick batter.

Next whisk in the eggs and the vanilla extract and then add the gluten free flour, whisk very gently until just combined.


Pour the white chocolate cheesecake batter in to your prepared tin and then drop spoonfuls of the brownie mix in to the cheesecake batter. Space the spoons of brownie mix as evenly as you can so that there will be an even blend of brownie and cheesecake in each square when you slice the cake.

Use a palette knife or a flat butter knife to fold the two batters together, you want to create a marbled effect so don’t be tempted to just get in there and stir. Use the tip of the knife to lift portions of cheesecake batter from the bottom of the tin up and over the brownie mix and then gently pull the brownie mix into the cheesecake.


Once you are happy with the look of the cake place it in your preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the centre is set.

Allow to rest in the tin for 15 minutes and then use the baking parchment to lift the brownie from the tin so it can cool on a baking rack.

Once the brownie is completely cooled use a sharp knife to cut it in to evenly sized squares. I made my squares about 1.5” by 1.5” as they are quite rich but you can cut them larger if you like.


These are best served chilled and were nicer the following day, so keep them covered in the fridge although I imagine they won’t last very long.



Gluten Free Whiskey, Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding with a Caramel Sauce


A timely repost for the freezing weather that has descended upon us! The frosty, dark evenings are the perfect excuse to make this most comforting of deserts.

This is the good stuff, perfect winter comfort food for this delightful weather. Crisp and golden on top, soft and fluffy in the middle with a luschious caramel sauce poured over and pooling on the plate. I have nothing more to say except to urge you to try this, you will be happy you did.

I used one pack of Juvela white bread rolls. http://www.juvela.co.uk/product/fresh-white-rolls/. I find them to be great for French toast and bread puddings, anything that involves bread that needs to be soaked in custard. This bread is firm and will stand up to the soaking where a softer bread may disintegrate in to the custard. If you are making this with a thinly sliced GF bread you can cut the soaking time.

Bread & Butter Pudding

1 pack Juvela GF white rolls (five rolls) or your GF bread of choice
Butter, softened
Chunky Marmalade
I tablespoon whiskey
3 eggs
75 grams of sugar
275 ml of milk
60 ml of double cream
I tablespoon of sugar

1. If you are using the Juvela rolls then trim the top and bottom to expose the crumb for better custard absorbtion. Cut the rolls in half.
2. Butter each halved roll and then spread marmalade on half of the sliced rolls.
3. Sandwich the halved rolls back together using one buttered half and one spread with marmalade.
4. Butter the top and bottom of each sandwich.
5. Cut the sandwiches in half and arrange in a buttered oven proof dish
6. If you are using the rolls use a skewer or cake tester to poke some holes so the custard will penetrate the bread. If you are using sliced bread you can skip this step.
7. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, sugar and whiskey.
8. Pour the custard over the bread and leave to sit for at least a half an hour while you pre- heat your oven to Gas 4 /180c/ 350.
9. If using the Juvela rolls you should leave your pudding to sit for at least an hour, basting the bread with the custard from the bottom of the dish very now and then. This is because these rolls are quite dense and you do not want the inside of your pudding to be dry.
10. Just before you pop the pudding in the oven sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the top
11. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the pudding has puffed up and is golden brown


Whiskey Caramel Sauce

2/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of water
1.2 cup of double cream
Pinch of salt
I tablespoon of whiskey

1. Put the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat gwently swirling the pan until the sugar dissolves
2. Cook without stirring or swirling until the sugar syrup turn a medium golden caramel, this should take about five minutes.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cream, the caramel will bubble up and then seize so return the pot top the heat and stir until the caramel dissolves and you have a smooth sauce.
4. Stir in the salt and the whiskey and pour in to a warmed jug. The caramel will thicken as it cools so if you want to pour it use it straight away. If you need to make it in advance you can rewarm the sauce to pouring consistency.


Serve this pudding in warmed bowls or plates with the caramel sauce and either pouring or whipped cream.

Rachel Khoo’s Raspberry & Almond Tart Gluten Free


I haven’t really been subscribing to the January rush to get back in the gym, I am taking it easy with a few yoga classes until the New Year’s Resolution crowd have chilled out a bit and there isn’t a queue for the machines. January has been rough this year and so I am being very gentle with myself, no swearing off alcohol, no ridiculous resolutions and definitely no post -Christmas diet!

As arguably the most miserable month January is a time for hearty stews, deep filled savoury pies, warming soups and a house filled with the smell of home baking. The second of the two new cookbooks I was gifted at Christmas was Rachel Khoo’s Paris Kitchen. I discovered Rachel Khoo while babysitting for friend’s, I babysit in return for TV privileges since I don’t have any channels at home. My friends get to go out and I mainline cooking shows, it is a win win situation.

Rachel’s food looks amazing, her kitchen is tinier than mine, a thing I never thought possible and I imagine she would be great craic over a glass or two of wine, advising on food, how to keep an immaculate fringe and the best red lipsticks on the market.



The first recipe I made from her book was a raspberry and almond tart. I am a massive fan of frangipane, from the cheapest almond slices you can buy to the most high end almond and fruit tart. This tart was beautiful, the pastry, made with an unusual method worked amazingly well with Gluten Free flour and turned out goldenly crisp and flaky, the filling was almost the texture of a set almond custard, thick, rich and a luscious counter to the tart raspberries. While the tart was baking my kitchen was full of the aroma of almonds and sweet jammy warm raspberries, just the thing to brighten up a grim January day.

Rachel Khoo’s Raspberry & Almond Tart adapted to be Gluten Free



Pastry: enough to line a buttered 9” loose bottomed tart tin


90 grams of softened butter
1 teaspoon of sugar
Pinch of salt
180 grams of Dove’s Farm Gluten Free Flour
2 egg yolks
2 to 3 tablespoons of iced water

• Beat the sugar and butter together until soft
• Mix in the flour
• Add in the 2 egg yolks, at this pint you may not think the pastry will come together but it will.
• Add in the iced water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together in a soft ball.
• Chill the pastry for 30 minutes
• Remove the pastry from the fridge and place between two sheets of floured baking parchment.
• Roll the pastry between the baking parchment until it will fit your tin
• Ease the rolled pastry in the tin and prick the base with a fork

Preheat your oven to 180/Gas 4/ 350f



200 grams of ground almonds
200 grams of sugar
200 grams of butter, softened
2 eggs
300 grams of raspberries

• Beat together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy
• Beat in the ground almonds
• Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated
• Scrape the mixture in the lined pastry tin and smooth out with a flat knife
• Arrange the raspberries over the almond mixture, pressing them in lightly.
• Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the almond mixture has set
• If you feel that the raspberries are beginning to burn then cover the tart loosely with tinfoil
• Allow the tart to cool and then remove it from the tine.
• Dust with icing sugar


The tart is delicious warm with softly whipped cream or served cold with a hot cup of coffee.

Gluten Free Apricot & Almond Tartelettes


It really is the season of mellow fruitfulness, each grocery store I go in to has punnets of peaches, nectarines and apricots and stunningly they are all beautifully ripe and juicy. A week ago I picked up two punnets of beautiful tiny apricots with the intention of making a pie. I had recently made a desert of peaches stuffed with crushed amaretti biscuits and oven roasted and the combination of flavours worked so well that I wanted to combine these apricots with almonds. I decided on an apricot and frangipane tart and because the apricots were so tiny and pretty I made individual tartelettes rather than one big tart.

The quantity of pastry here made 24 little tarts, I used two 12 mould bun / small muffin trays.


10 ounces Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour
1 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum
¼ teaspoon of salt
1& ½ tablespoons of icing sugar
2 ounces of lard
3 ounces of chilled butter
A few tablespoons of chilled water
1. Stir together the dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Grate or cut in the butter and lard and then rub to9 the fine breadcrumb stage with the tipe of your fingers.
3. Stir in just enough of the chilled water to make a smooth dough.
4. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for at least a half hour before turning the pastry our on to a well- floured work-surface
5. Roll the pastry out to a thickness of about 3mm and use a cutter I use an extra- large wine glass) to cut out pastry circles to fit the moulds in your tray.
You can pop the pastry lined tray in the fridge while you are making the frangipane filling.



Frangipane Filling


125 grams of sugar
125 grams of ground almonds
125 grams of butter, softened
1 tablespoon of gluten free plain flour
2 eggs

1. Beat together the softened butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy
2. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scrapping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well combined.
3. Stir together the four and the ground almonds and then fold into the batter.



To make the tarts
Pre heat the oven to Gas 5 / 190c/ 375
Apricot jam
12 apricots rinsed halved and stoned. When you half the apricots slice them half way through on the diagonal.


1. Place a ½ teaspoon of apricot jam in the base of each tart
2. Spoon in about half a desert spoon of frangipane in to each tart, you need to divide the frangipane evenly between the 24 tarts.
3. Lightly press an apricot half in to each tart.
4. Place in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. After 25 minutes you can switch the placement of the trays in the oven to prevent the tarts on the top shelf from browning too much.
5. Remove the trays from the oven and allow to cool in the tray for a few minutes before placing the tarts on a cooling rack.
6. Make a glaze by thinning the apricot jam with a little hot water and brushing over the warm tarts.
These tarts can be served warm with little cream or ice cream for desert or you could pop them on a cake tray to serve after lunch with a cup of tea.