Gluten free experience at Chiquito

Yes Chiquito! Thank you for your gluten free menu, I can now frequent your establishment for cocktails, sombreros and Mexican with confidence. Attention all, the amazing people at Chiquito have put together a gluten free menu that does not disappoint.

My family and I decided to celebrate my little brothers return from Spain by going out for dinner at Chiquito. My family love Chiquito and we regularly visit for special occasions (given the number of times we have visited, there have been many special occasions). I normally drive because my mom and brother love the cocktail menu, they get all giggly on the variety of mojito flavours or limited edition mixers. The restaurant always has a lively and upbeat feel because hearty Mexican food brings out the best in people.

Looking through the menu I saw so many delicious options, even some of the healthy options tempted me. In the end though I went for the ribs, full-rack. These ribs were so delicious, juicy and meaty, covered in a yummy bbq sauce with extra sauce for you to pour on as you wish. It even came with a little gluten free flag stuck in them, just to give you confidence that what you are eating is safe. However, there is an issue we need to address with this meal. They don’t serve the regular fries with the gluten free options. They serve sweet potato wedges. I genuinely don’t like it when restaurants insist on having chips that they coat with flour – what is the point! But, these sweet potato wedges were amazing. They were huge and full of flavour. I am willing to (on this rare occasion) make an exception and allow a free pass for Chiquito’s sweet potato wedges.

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Now I should have mentioned that Chiquito have changed a few things like their menu, but I couldn’t see that many differences because I recognised so many dishes from the previous menu on the gluten free one. By the way, if you like the fajitas they do a gluten free option.

When we arrived they served some free nachos on the table (a change from popcorn) but I wasn’t sure if they were safe to eat. It might be nice if they said if the nachos were gluten free or not when they severe them. If you put food in front of someone you might not realise that they can’t have it, and is worth mentioning just in case. A lot of tortilla chips out there are gluten free, but some aren’t, and you could think it is safe but find it isn’t at all. If the person dining is coeliac, Chiquito could get in some real trouble. It is worth noting that the nachos are not included on the gluten free menu.

I never ordered a pudding because I was so full, but I did take a look. Their gluten free deserts include the old familiars ice cream and sorbet, but they also serve a blueberry and apple crumble, chilli pineapple thins and a fruit melody. When I was visiting my brother in Spain we came across frozen gluten free churros. If Chiquito served gluten free churros, they would make it into the gluten free hall of fame. I miss their churros sooo much, and would love the opportunity to have them again (but without being in pain afterwards).

Although this review has only discussed one item on the gluten free menu I still wanted to discuss the experience of dining at Chiquito when you are trying to avoid gluten. You’ve read the good and the bad, but overall I would recommend it. The gluten free flag in the food is a lovely touch, and the fact they have an actual menu leaves a good impression. Plus the food is really good, I have never been let down by the food at Chiquto. If you want a fun, but some-what safe, gluten free dining experience, head to Chiquito. Don’t worry if you’ve left your sombrero at home, they have plenty of spares.

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Gluten free dining at Bill’s

Ah Bill’s, where do I begin. Yes it is a hipster chain restaurant, but every time I visit I fall more and more in love with it. Quick question, can something still be hipster when it becomes mainstream? Back to the post. I loved going to bills before the low FODMAP diet and I love visiting it still. The menu used to be small (they have recently added a load of more of delicious dishes), but everything on it looked amazing and unique. They serve dishes you think you’ll like, but you’ve never had it the way they serve it, so you give it a go, and it exceeds your expectations. Even though I am jealous that I can’t have some of the new items on the menu, I am impressed by how good the gluten free menu is. It has some of the dishes I enjoyed before, and some I want to try.

Firstly, you can see their gluten free menu on their website, so if you are like me, you can check out what you are going to order before you even get to the restaurant. Does anyone else do this? They have plenty of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert. In order to do this review I decided I would have to check out at least two of the menus, so I went for breakfast with my bestie and dinner, but not in the same day. Although, that would have been amazing.

When I used to go to Bill’s for breakfast before the low FODMAP diet, I would always get the pancakes with fruit. These pancakes are so fluffy and delicious, but alas they are not on the gluten free menu. I also used to get the Bill’s breakfast, which is on the gluten free menu. Bill’s, if you ever want to included gluten free pancakes on your menu you could use this recipe, the pancakes it produces are very similar to yours and would bring happiness to those who are gluten free. However, for this breakfast I decided to get the Eggs Royale. I love Eggs Royale, I tend to order it when eating out as their is nothing better than having someone else prepare poached eggs for you. They are too tricky to do at home, and a chef can make them better. The Eggs Royale weren’t served on a gluten free muffins, just gluten free bread, but the bread was really good. Very light and fluffy, but not too crumply. This gluten free bread is toasted, so this might be why it doesn’t fall apart. Regardless, the bread was light, not dense, and paired perfectly with the eggs and salmon. The hollandaise sauce is also good and adds to this fabulous breakfast.

A few weeks later I was back at Bill’s for dinner. This time I decided to go for the fish pie. I had always wanted to try it, but never got round to it (thank god its on the gluten free menu). I wasn’t actually expecting much from this pie, but it was amazing. The mash alone was soooo tasty, and the chunks of fish and prawns was generous. You definitely get yours moneys worth. It comes with a little pot of cream, and I tried it, but found that I liked the taste of the pie alone so much that I ignored the sauce for the rest of the meal. The only thing that lets the dinner and lunch menu down is the naked burger. It is a pet peeve of mine when you go to restaurants and they offer a naked burger, or sweet potato chips instead of regular. There is no need to buy chips for your restaurant that are covered in flour, and a naked burger is just a lazy option for a gluten free menu. Buy some frozen gluten free buns and stop making gluten free meals so small!

Rant over, luckily the Bill’s desert menu saves it. There really aren’t that many differences between the gluten free and regular desert menu. I went for the sticky toffee pudding which is a favourite of mine. Before the low FODMAP diet I tried sticky toffee pudding at Bill’s and would have no reaction, but whenever I bought sticky toffee pudding from the supermarket it really upset my stomach. Now I know it is because the Bill’s version is gluten free. This sticky toffee pudding is also delicious and they serve it warm with an addictively sweet toffee sauce. However, I need to go back to try the Victoria sponge cake and Eton mess. There are also chocolate options for those who love their chocolate.

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If you are gluten free and looking for somewhere to dine Bill’s is definitely the place for you. They have chains everywhere and have a lot of delicious choices available. Plus they do some amazing drinks and cocktails.

These past two gluten free experiences of Bill’s have made me love Bill’s even more, but I haven’t quite gotten over the naked burger thing.

Gluten free Raspberry and Coconut loaf.

A few weeks ago my boyfriend took me to Kipling Gardens in Brighton for a picnic. He asked me what food I wanted for our picnic and although I had many requests, my main one was meringue baskets. I had been seeing these all over the supermarkets and wanted to try them out. I know I like meringue, so I wasn’t trying anything new, but I’d never eaten it in this style before. We got some blueberries, raspberries and cream to go with our meringues, and all together it was delicious. I will also have to give eton mess a try now. Being on the low fodmap diet has opened me up to trying lots of new foods, the meringue baskets were one, and eton mess will be the next. However, this post isn’t about my new found love of meringue, and the many different ways it can be eaten, it’s about the delicious raspberries I ate with that meringue, and how I was inspired to bake with them.

 
I headed to where I usually steal inspiration from, Pinterest. But I couldn’t find anything on Pinterest that made me want to bake with raspberries. Then I remembered that I had also wanted to bake something with coconut in it and A Volia! Inspiration had struck. A raspberry and coconut loaf with raspberry jam on top sprinkled with coconut made me instantly pulling out my mixing bowl and hand whisk. I searched Pinterest again and found this recipe which isn’t gluten free but I decided to swap the flour in it for gluten free flour.

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Ingredients
225g Self Raising Flour
175g Unsalted Butter
175g Caster Sugar
3 Large Eggs
200g Fresh Raspberries
4tbsp raspberry jam (you can decide if you want more or less)
75g coconut (roughly, you can have as much or as little as you want

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees/gas mark 3 and line a loaf tin.
  2. Mix all the ingredients (apart from the raspberries) together in a large bowl until fully combined, about two minutes with a handheld mixer. Mix in the raspberries very gently as you don’t want them to break. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for an hour. You can tell if the mixture is done by sticking a skewer into the middle, if it comes out unclean, cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  3. Allow the loaf to cool completely before removing from the tin and spreading the jam on the top. Sprinkle with coconut. If your jam is coming out the fridge, spoon 4 tbsp into a bowl and keep mixing it around until it becomes more spreadable. I did this so that the loaf wouldn’t break when spreading the jam.

Kept in an airtight container the loaf should last three days, if it lasts that long.

Although this was delicious, and I discovered that Raspberry and coconut make a lovely summery combination, the loaf was very crumbly. I had this problem a few weeks ago when I made a lemon sponge cake, the cake worked, but once you cut a slice it was too crumbly to eat unless you had a fork.

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Does anyone have any tips for gluten free baking when following a recipe that isn’t designed to be gluten free? Should I use Xantham Gum? I did try using it in the loaf, but it didn’t really help. Does anyone know how much you should use so that it acts as the elasticity gluten normally provides to keep cakes or loafs together? Does anyone have any other tips to help me with my problem? Like how to keep a cake moist when using gluten free flour? I really want to learn more about baking gluten free so any help anyone can pass on would be fantastic.

 
Yes, I know I should probably just use gluten free recipes. But I have some great cake recipes that I want to make gluten free, I just don’t know how.

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Chewy Gluten Free Cookies

I’ve been doing a lot of gluten free baking recently; I’ve been making cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, macaroons and a lemon meringue pie. One gluten free baked good you can always find in the supermarket is gluten free cookies or biscuits, if they are so easy to make then why haven’t I been making them?

The recipe I found for the cookies was simple enough and I chose it because it would produce the big chewy cookies I wanted. You can see the recipe here. There is an ingredient in these cookies that I personally would never have thought to add to cookies. It’s full-fat cream cheese. I’m not sure if this is because it stops the cookie from drying out when using gluten free flour, or if it is something we should all be doing to make our cookies delicious and chewy.

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I absolutely love this recipe, and will be using this when making cookies in the future. I don’t need to keep looking for the best recipe for gluten free cookies, I’ve found it. The technique I used to make my cookies makes them big and chewy with crispy edges. These cookies ended up being the size of my face, which I am not complaining about.

I made these and brought them into work for my colleagues to try, they could not tell they were gluten free and loved them. There were a few left over the next day and I believe a few colleagues had them for breakfast. My mom even had two in a row, clearly this recipe isn’t just good, they are so good that you have to go back for a second one.

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Ingredients

282g Plain Flour

½ tsp Xanthan Gum (unless the blend of flour you are using already has xanthan or guar gum in it)

1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1tsp Salt

2 Ounces Cream Cheese

171g Unsalted Butter, melted

200g Light Brown Sugar

100g Caster Sugar

1 ½ Vanilla Extract

2 Egg Yolks (room temperature)

175g Chocolate Chips

175g White Chocolate Chips

Method

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum (if needed), bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl place the cream cheese, and then pour the melted butter over it. Add the brown sugar and caster sugar and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes with a handheld electric whisk, or in a stand mixer.
  3. Add vanilla extract and egg yolks (one at a time) mixing on low-medium speed until well mixed.
  4. Add the flour mixture that was set aside, mixing on low until just combined.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and mix again, until the chips are mixed thoroughly. I wanted two cookies that had no chocolate in them, so I did not add the chocolate chips until after I had taken the mixture out the fridge.
  6. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, these can be stored for up to 4 days.
  7. If you want the cookies to be small, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 15 minutes to soften enough for easier scooping. I wanted my cookies to be big and flat so I left them for 45 minutes. I also added the chocolate chips last right before using an ice cream scoop to make the cookies.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375o/gas mark 5
  9. Line baking trays with baking paper, no not grease or spray.
  10. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop even mounds of cookie dough spaced several inches apart. I made 14
  11. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes. I baked mine by judgement, I waited until they were wide, browning at the edges, with the centres looking just underdone. The cookies will continue to cook whilst they cool. If you want them to be gooey then bake for less time, if you want them crunchier, bake longer.
  12. Let the cookies sit on the baking trays for 5-10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

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As I still haven’t introduced chocolate back into my diet, I made myself two cookies with no chocolate and add the milk and white chocolate chips to the rest of the mixture. The cookies were still delicious and baked exactly as I like them. I haven’t had big chewy cookies in so long it was great to have some again, and they were all the better because they were homemade. When you buy gluten free cookies they are always the hard crunchy ones, you can never get thegluten freshly baked in store kind that come in a pack of 5. By making your own you get to add whatever ingredients you want. The next time I make these I want to try adding coconut, or making chewy ginger cookies.

I found that these cookies last well after two days, but that is just how long they lasted in my house and at work, they might have lasted longer. This is another recipe that I would recommend making even if you can have gluten, they were amazing. It must have something to do with the cream cheese and only using egg yolk.

The last few cakes I have baked have been very crumbly so baking something that was gluten free and a complete success has given me motivation to continue baking gluten free goodies!

Benefiting my Face

So I may have spent a little bit too much money at Benefit…twice. I can explain.

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So last Saturday I had to work, it was my first time working on a Saturday in about 15 months. However, I didn’t buy benefit make up because I was feeling sorry for myself, quite the opposite, I was so happy with how the day went that I decided to reward myself.

I only popped into Boots for some shower gel, but whilst walking past the Benefit counter I thought about how much I needed a new eyebrow pencil. Benefit launched a whole new brow collection a few months back but I hadn’t checked it out yet. I have always been a pencil and brush kind of girl, I feel like I get a very natural look using this technique. The Goof Proof Brown Pencil is exactly what I need, a brush one end, and a pencil that can either be used to fill in the brows, or you can use the tip for finer detail.

I also picked up the Poise Tint. This is something I have always wanted to try. The lovely lady at the Benefit counter showed me how to use it on your cheeks, and I fell in love with it. I use it in my everyday make up routine now; I think it is my favourite make up product right now (and that is a bold statement from a girl who wears winged eyeliner every day)! You simply pop a blob on the back of your hand and, using your fingertips, gently pat it onto the apples of your cheeks. It looks scary when you’ve got a bright pink blob on the back of your hand, but it gives a beautiful natural pink blush to the cheeks.  When I was paying for my lovely new products the Benefit Make-up artist asked me if I was interested in a free makeover. I couldn’t believe my luck, I booked me and my friend in for the following Friday.

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Okay so I didn’t need another blush, but this was so pretty I just had to have the Dandelion Blush. I’m a big fan of pink subtle blushes, and this blush works well with pale skin. It stays put nicely throughout the day, and would be great for everyday use.

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I tend to normally put on some lip balm at the beginning of the day and forget to keep using it throughout the day, even if my lips dry out. The colour of the Cha Cha Balm looks like a very bright coral, but it is a nice subtle pop of colour when applied to the lips. It is super hydrating. I feel like this will be great to carry around in my bag reminding me to moisturise my lips throughout the day.

The free make overs at Benefit were a part of their campaign to launch the new Boiing Concealer range. I didn’t actually get the chance to check out the whole range, but the Boiing Hydrating Concealer was used under my eyes when I was having the free make over. I could feel how hydrating and creamy it was on my face before the make-up artist did a swatch on the back of my hand. It works great under the eyes as it doesn’t feel heavy and feels more comfortable to wear than other heavy concealers. However, I would say this concealer is better at highlighting areas or doing a bit of colour correcting. I think some of the other concealers from this range are better for covering up things like spots, but if you need something to brightened under the eyes this is the one for you.

The majority of my everyday make up look is now Benefit, it’s a bit like when you get dressed and realise your whole outfit is from Topshop, you like what you are wearing, so you don’t care.

Gluten Free at Ed’s Easy Diner

Yes, another one of my beloved restaurants that provides gluten free options!

Me and my family first discovered Ed’s Easy Diner in Bluewater years ago, and every time we are there, we have to pay another visit. An Ed’s opened really close to me in Sussex, but it then sadly closed 😥 . When I discovered there is an Ed’s in Brighton it gave me the perfect excuse to visit Brighton again.

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Firstly, at Ed’s you get a gluten free menu! No looking through the nutritional booklet here. As Ed’s is an American diner it specialises in burgers and hotdogs, so it is great that they do gluten free burgers and hotdog buns. I didn’t compare the gluten-free menu to the gluten menu, but it was still pretty extensive, and seemed to have a lot of the same items that you could get on the regular menu. I’m so happy to see somewhere that actuallys provides gluten free buns. It really bugs me when restaurants just do a ‘naked burger’. I’m not expecting fresh buns, I’m happy for them to be frozen and toasted back to life for my burger.  I feel like Ed’s deserves a lot of recognition for their gluten free menu. You can still enjoy a lot of the same things as everyone else, and not have an obvious stand out non-gluten meal. I will also mention here, that Ed’s also do gluten free chips, and they had two gluten free desert options!

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Even before I knew I had to give up wheat and gluten I hadn’t had a hotdog in so long! When I saw that Ed’s did gluten free hotdog buns (something I haven’t even spotted in many well-known super markets) I knew it was time for the hotdog draught to end. The bun was delicious. It was almost like having a brioche bun that was maybe a day old. It was still very soft, and had a rich texture; it wasn’t dry and dense like most gluten free baked goods can be. I really enjoyed this hotdog, and the bun did taste good by itself. I will definitely be ordering the hotdog again, and trying a gluten free burger… probably not at the same time though.

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Over all I’ve always loved and recommended Ed’s because I love the American diner theme. Plus I have been watching Riverdale and I kind of felt like I was sitting it that diner just waiting for Archie to come in and share a milkshake with me.  If you are gluten free and needing a burger or hotdog, please check out Ed’s. They have restaurants all over London, and of course Brighton. Ed’s definitely needs to expand and be everywhere like a Pizza Express! I can’t wait for my next visit!

P.S. If you get a milkshake, be prepared to have a lot of milkshake!

Think Pink

What is your favourite colour?

Mine is pink. I like a baby, light or dusty pink, not the bright, bubble-gum, pop kind of pink. I know people will take their favourite colour and use it everywhere. They will paint their room pink, wear it, and even dye their hair that colour. But I just don’t seem to surround myself with my favourite colour. It is nowhere to be seen in my everyday life. Anyone who knows me would think my favourite colour is probably white, grey, black or navy. So I am trying to make a conscious effort to include pink more in my everyday life.

The first way I introduced pink back into my routine is through my shower. I picked up my favourite summery shower gel, the Sugar Crush body wash by Soap and Glory. This is my go to shower gel in the summer, it’s moisturising, but feels light and refreshing on your skin, and has a great sweet/citrus scent. As with all Soap and Glory products it comes in pink packaging and just the look of the packaging makes me happy. I love its retro design. I also got my go to body scrub, the Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub. This is my favourite because I love how thick but exfoliating it is on your skin. I feel like it really gets to work at removing dead skin, whilst not drying the skin out. Plus it smells like maple syrup, and I love me some maple syrup. Next I picked up the L’Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss Shine Shampoo and Conditioner. I used to use this all the time when I was at secondary school, it always left my hair feeling super soft and smelling good. I decided to repurchase and I love how soft my hair feels. Lastly I got the Good Things Stay Clear Purifying Cleanser. Again, I liked the packaging but it is what I need for my skin, it is anti-blemish which is what I tend to get. It also smells of blueberries and mango which is great for these summer months. My whole shower right now is all about how good the product smells, as well as how it looks. Forget the benefits, I am completely going for whether the product makes me happy or not.

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I recently visited the Lush in Brighton and came across this Think Pink Bath Bomb, and I just knew it was a sign that I had to have it. What better way to add more pink into your life than with a bath bomb? This bath bomb is super glittery and smells of vanilla. I cannot wait to have a nice relaxing bath with it. I have a basket of lush bath bombs that need using but this will definitely be the next one I pop in my bath.

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Whilst browsing the shelves of Primark I found these light pink cushions. I’ve been needing some cushions to go with my new white duvet cover set, and I knew I could kill two birds with one stone by getting these pillows. They add a nice touch of pink to my room and didn’t break the bank. Adding little things like pillows are a great way to change the look and feel to a bed, sofa or room. I feel a subtle bit of colour on white bed sheets makes the bed look more like a great relaxing place to collapse into after a long day.

Adding my favourite colour to my frequently visited places throughout my regular day to day routine has definitely helped me feel happier and more positive. I feel a little bit like Elle Woods in legally Blonde, and just look at how happy and positive she was. Now all I need to do is get more pink into my office, not sure how well that will go down with the two guys I share an office with, but all well.

Gluten Free at Harvester

When it comes to dining out I am really not that fussy (apart from the whole low FODMAP diet thing). I know people who turn their nose up at harvester, but they don’t know what they are missing out on. The unlimited drinks refills, the salad bar, the desserts and the classic, can’t go wrong, meal options. I’ve loved the harvester ever since I was little. Who else remembers when they looked like some kind of farming antique shop?

Harvesters around me seem to be closing down slowly, so, me and my mom ventured out to Crawley for a cheap but delicious eat. The harvester does not have a gluten free menu, but they will give you a nutritional information booklet for you to look through and select your meal. I didn’t find out until later that they also do gluten free bread rolls on request for the salad cart! I just assumed they didn’t, it wasn’t until I was half way through the main course that my mom informed me. To be fair the waitress probably should have told me too. I went for the ribs and sticky toffee pudding, and my lord, it was delicious.

Harvester ribs are always so good, they are really meaty, and the meat just falls of the bone (sorry if you are a vegetarian). You’ll also be happy to hear that their chips are gluten free as well. There were a few things on the menu that are my classic go to choices for the harvester, like the rotisserie chicken, but it contains gluten. It would be useful if the harvester told you where the gluten was located in the meal. For example, if it is in the sauce then you could just ask for the meal with no sauce.

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Now the sticky toffee pudding basically stole the show. It was warm, gooey and deliciously moreish. I find it odd that Sticky toffee pudding is gluten free in a lot of places (Bill’s is another), but not in others. But I ain’t complaining. When the pudding was placed in front of me I just dived in and totally forgot to photograph it. I tried to hide where I had a few bites, but I wasn’t very successful.

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You can also check out what you can have on the menu before you go to the restaurant to help you save time, click here for a list of all their foods, including salad cart items, which are gluten free.

Now I know I can still eat some of my favourite dishes at the harvester I will definitely be going back again, especially since it doesn’t hurt my wallet as much as other restaurants could.

Pip x

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Gluten Free Pancakes Recipe

I have to admit that when I knew I was giving up gluten and wheat, pancakes was not the first thing that I was gutted about missing out on. All I could think about was how would I live without pizza?!?! But, since going gluten free, I have discovered another round shaped food that I can still enjoy and fills me with happiness.

If I am honest I can’t really tell the difference between the gluten and non-gluten pre-made pancakes you pick up in the supermarket. My favourite pre-made gluten free pancakes are the golden syrup ones from Tesco (blog post to follow). The genius ones are also good, but I find them to be drier than the Tesco own version. These have been a great quick and easy breakfast for me. I’ll heat them up in the oven if I have more time, or pop them in the toaster. Once I’ve warmed them up I’ll drizzle some maple syrup on and chow down.

However, last Sunday morning, whilst feeling particularly low, I really wanted a full and comforting breakfast, but I had no pancakes. In fact I had nothing for breakfast and knew I was going to have to make something from scratch. I had eggs, milk and gluten-free flour – Pancake Power! (please let me know if you get the reference), and searched the internet for a gluten-free recipe.  I used this recipe from the Tesco website, and I swear these are the best pancakes I have ever had. You have to make these even if you can tolerate gluten, and they probably can be made with regular flour. They were so full of flavour and fluffy, whilst being light and moist. They were everything I had ever wanted and more. I’ve already told my best friend that I will make these for her one morning, because I feel everyone should experience these.

The man who discovered this recipe is honestly a genius, I will be making these again and again. I’ll still use the pre-made ones for my quick breakfasts before my commute to work, but these will be the weekend treat that I’ll make with time and care.

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Ingredients

150g Gluten-free Self-Raising Flour (I used Dove’s Farm)

1 level tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 small ripe Banana, mashed

1 Egg

175ml Semi-skimmed Milk (you could use almond milk)

Method

  1. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a bowl. Add the banana and egg (this will get very sticky but keep trying to mix it all), then gradually whisk in the milk, to make a smooth batter.
  2. Melt butter (or coconut oil) in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add individual tablespoons of batter; they should spread to about 7cm in diameter so you’ll need to work in batches. Cook until small bubbles start to appear on the top, then flip and cook until both sides are golden. Warning these cooked quite quickly so watch them whilst they are cooking.
  3. Transfer to a warm serving plate and repeat with the remaining batter. I tend to put my oven on the lowest setting, and then place the pancakes on a baking tray under some foil to keep them warm.
  4. Serve stacked and with your favourite toppings.

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Normally I add sliced banana, blueberries and maple syrup to top my pancakes. However, these already have a slight banana flavour to them as they are included in the recipe, but you could still have bananas if you wanted. I found I could enjoy these with just some maple syrup drizzled generously over the top. As I said earlier, they aren’t dry at all, so adding maple syrup is really just for more flavour. Having said this, I feel that these are sweet pancakes, I’m not sure how they would taste if you had savoury toppings.

Please give this recipe a go. I know I can’t wait to make these again. They are the real deal American fluffy style pancakes, and I didn’t have to whisk egg whites until my arm was sore to get thick pancakes. They were easy to make, so there really is no excuse.

If you do make these, let me know how you get on, I would love to know if anyone else enjoyed these as much as I did.

Pip x

Gin and Tonic Loaf

I love my co-workers, they will always help me eat my latest baked good/s. I always do my baking on Sunday afternoon, but the problem is that I always make too much. I just can’t eat 12 cupcakes in three days before they start to go bad by myself, as much as I would like to.

For a few months I was going through a baking dry spell. I didn’t feel inspired to bake, and there wasn’t anything I desperately wanted to bake. One of the lovely ladies at work knew I needed some inspiration and sent me a link to this Gin and Tonic loaf recipe. It also happened to be her birthday about a month later. I thought I would save this recipe until she could enjoy it on her special day. I even made this recipe with gluten full flour. I have decided that all birthday cakes I make for other people won’t be gluten free, they should indulge on their birthday, and I will just pass on a slice.

Although I didn’t get the opportunity to try this loaf myself, it smelt amazing and everyone definitely loved it! I won’t lie I was very tempted to eat it, gluten and all. The whole loaf went very quickly, and received rave reviews.

Ingredients

For the Loaf

200g Unsalted Butter, softened, plus extra to grease

200g Caster Sugar

4 Medium Eggs

200g Self-Raising Flour

½ Baking Powder

Finely Grate Zest 1 Lime

75ml Gin

For the Syrup and Topping

125g Caster Sugar

125ml Tonic Water

2 Limes cut in half through their length and sliced into 3mm half moons

100g Icing Sugar, sifted

Methods

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC/160oC(fan)/Gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of a 900g loaf tin with baking paper. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar with a handheld electric whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
  2. Fold in the flour, baking powder and lime zest, followed by the gin. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for 55 minutes – 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Mine took about 1 hour 15 minutes to bake. Am I the only one who finds baking time takes longer than suggested?
  3. Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup: gently heat the caster sugar and tonic water in a small pan, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil for 1 minute. Add 2tbsp of gin to the syrup.
  4. As soon as the loaf comes out the oven, poke holes into the top of the loaf and drizzle over syrup/gin mixture. Leave the loaf to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  5. Make the icing by mixing together icing sugar with remaining 1 ½ tbsp gin. Remove cooled loaf from the tin, transfer to a board and peel off parchment. Pour over the icing. Cut up the lime to decorate on top, right before you serve.

If you follow the recipe from Good Housekeeping you can make candied lime slices, this way they will last longer. However, I was feeling lazy and liked the idea of the fresh lime juices soaking into the icing, adding a little extra favour.

I absolutely love baking with limes; it creates such a pleasant cake aroma. This is definitely a lovely summer cake to be enjoyed wherever you like, whether that is at a picnic, a barbeque, or you know, the office at 11am on a Wednesday. It can suit any occasion, and will definitely leave those eating it feeling cheery.

*Sorry there aren’t more photos, I wasn’t planning on writing about this bake, but everyone enjoyed it so much I thought I would try to share how good this recipe is.