Recipe of the Week: Doves Farm Gluten Free Pizza

Yummy gluten-free pizza. NOM.

The thing I hate most about not being able to eat wheat is that I can’t just pick up the phone to Domino’s and be delivered a huge, melty, cheesy, doughy pizza. Not without it making me rather ill, anyway. When my boyfriend treated himself to Pizza Hut last night, it looked and smelt SO GOOD that I decided to have a go at making my own version this weekend. Whilst watching the latest episode of Glee and having a glass of wine, naturally.

I’ve tried to make gluten-free pizza dough before with various “quick ‘n’ easy” no-yeast recipes that don’t involve waiting for the dough to rise (I’m a very impatient baker/eater), but I haven’t yet found one that works that well. This time I decided to start dinner before I got mega-hungry, do it the “proper” way and follow the Doves Farm recipe on the back of the flour packet.

This recipe is for a veggie topping, but I don’t believe in pizza without pepperoni so I loaded mine up with that plus mushrooms, sweetcorn and grated mozzarella. For the tomato sauce base, I just spread with tomato purée then seasoned with salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Before going in the oven, I gave it a good sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce. Scrummy.

I decided to split the cooking times 50/50 (20 minutes for the base, then 20 minutes with the topping on) because I was worried about the base not cooking all the way through – a common problem with gluten-free baking as the dough doesn’t rise in the same way as wheat-based dough – or the cheese burning. It’s in the oven as I write this, so fingers crossed…

Served up with rocket, spinach and watercress salad.

The verdict? Pretty good actually. The dough cooked nicely all the way through and had that light, cakey kind of texture that you always get from rice flours. It’s not the perfect substitute for a take-away, but it certainly did the job of fulfilling my pizza craving. I’ll definitely be using this recipe again as it was an absolute doddle to make and relatively speedy. Plus, it made SO much pizza that I have ¾ left to eat cold tomorrow! Result. Although…. maybe I’ll just have one more slice..

NOTE: Just realised the ingredients on the packet of flour are slightly different to the one on the website, though the method is the same. Here are the measurements I used:

450g Doves Farm White Bread Flour
½ tsp Salt
2tsp Quick yeast
2tbsp Sugar
325ml Warm milk
1tsp Vinegar
2 Eggs
6tbsp Oil

Advertisements

Recipe of the Week: Harry Eastwood’s Parmesan and Paprika Scones

Harry Eastwood's Parmesan & Paprika Scones

 

It’s been a while since the baking bug last struck me. But a lazy Sunday afternoon with the rugby on telly persuaded me to get out my mixing bowl, pastry cutters and rolling pin and make something yummy. Time to re-kindle my love affair with Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache. After baking my way through a fair amount of the sweet stuff in this book – my copy of which is now looking incredibly well-thumbed – I decided to try my hand at something savoury.

Made with butternut squash as a main ingredient, the Parmesan and Paprika Scones (page 134) are, like everything else in the book, a healthier way to enjoy the things we love. Having a body that doesn’t really agree with wheat, it’s fantastic that most recipes in this book are wheat or gluten-free. This particular one uses spelt flour. An ancient relative of modern wheat, spelt does contain an amount of gluten, so unfortunately it’s not suitable for those with coeliac disease. However, as it contains significantly less gluten than common wheat, most people with wheat intolerances are fine with it. Seeing as this is the first time I’ve baked with it, I’ll have to let you know if this is actually the case.

The recipe calls for white spelt flour, but because I like my scones with a bit o’ rough I opted for wholegrain (plus it was all that Sainsbury’s had). And although the book suggests you use a food processor, mine is teeny-tiny so I only used it to blend the squash, honey and cheese together. Then I shoved everything in a mixing bowl and got stuck right in with my hands – my favourite kind of baking.

If you do a lot of baking, re-usable silicone mats are a brilliant (and far less wasteful) alternative to baking parchment. You can pick them up for pretty cheap: here on eBay they’re under £3 including postage. Completely non-stick, you can cook anything on them and they’ll save you all that scrubbing at your baking trays. I just lightly rubbed some flour onto one and cooked the scones straight on top.

Being entirely impatient (and pretty hungry after neglecting to eat lunch) I decided to tuck right into mine while they were still warm. Slathered in plenty of cream cheese with a nice mug of Twining’s English Breakfast Tea proved the perfect means of enjoyment.

Slathered in plenty of cream cheese. Mega-nom.

 

If you think this recipe sounds totally delicious (and trust me, it is) you can pick up a copy of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache here. Massively recommended if you need a regular baking fix without the diet-related guilt.

Recipe Review: Elwood Wines Olive Cake (a Recipe from Bordeaux)

Olive cake, fresh from the oven and smelling gorgeous

When Elwood Wines held their Wine Challenge at the Blaker’s Park Picnic in June this year, they were serving their wines alongside the most delicious looking bread which, being wheat intolerant, I wasn’t able to sample on the day. So, on discovering that they had uploaded the recipe to their website I absolutely had to give it a go – gluten-free style.

More like a “savoury cake” than a loaf of bread, there’s no kneading, no leaving to rise and no fiddling about with yeast and hot water necessary – my favourite kind of baking. And the end result? A delicious, savoury, cheesy, crumbly delight that makes the ideal late-night self-indulgent supper. So here it is: the Elwood Wines Olive Cake.

First, measure out 250g self raising flour (I tend to use Dove’s Farm Gluten & Wheat Free Self Raising White Flour) and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix in 4 free-range eggs (use large ones – medium ones don’t give you quite enough liquid). Once the flour and eggs are thoroughly blended together, add a 175ml glass of dry white wine and half a glass of extra virgin olive oil. Using a whisk, beat into the egg and flour mix until you get rid of all the lumps.

Next add to the mixture 200g pitted sliced black olives (you can buy them already sliced – which saves a LOT of time), 200g cubed ham or lardons (cooked, not raw – I fried the lardons in a small amount of olive oil) and 200g grated cheese (make sure you use a hard cheese like gruyere, edam, cheddar or emmental).

Stir these in quickly and poor all of the mixture into a lined loaf tin. A word of warning though – I used a 1lb loaf tin greased with olive oil, but the loaf didn’t hold together too well. I’m not sure if it was because of the depth of the tin, or because of the lack of gluten in the flour, but I think that a flatter tin (perhaps roasting tin) lined with greased baking parchment would be better. That’s what I’ll be using next time.

Anyway, back to the recipe. Place in the centre of a pre-heated oven (200°c/400°F/Gas mark 6) and cook for 60 minutes.

Freshly baked Olive Cake #nomnomnom

Once cooked, cut into cubes or slices and serve with red or white wine. I would recommend the Cotes du Rhone 1er Cote 2007, La Ferme du Mont (£9 per bottle/£54 per case) or the Fairtrade Thandi Sauvignon/Semillon 2009, Thandi, South Africa (£6.75 per bottle/£40.50 per case) – both are available from Elwood Wines.

Recipe of the Week: Harry Eastwood’s Lemon, Sunflower Seed & Blueberry Muffins

My muffin and my cup of tea. Lovely.

I cannot describe how delighted I was to receive Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache last Christmas. After developing a severe intolerance to wheat and gluten, cakes were something that were suddenly closed off to me. No more would I enjoy a Starbuck’s muffin with a vanilla latte or a belgian bun with a cup of tea. This made me very, very sad.

Until that is, I discovered this book and placed it firmly at the top of my Christmas list because pretty much every recipe in it is entirely gluten-free. I’m not the most experimental or experienced baker, so working my way (very slowly) through this book has been somewhat of a revelation. The premise is simple: cakes don’t have to be once in a while treats to be enjoyed amidst feelings of guilt. They can actually be good for you. No, I’m not joking. Take the muffins for example: the nutritional info for your average muffin puts the calorie content at around 380 calories (way more if they contain chocolate), whereas the ones in this book range from around 180-260. That’s a saving of more than a large glass of wine! Brilliant.

Some more of batch number three...

Anyway, my favourite recipe so far (I have a long way to go to do the whole book) has got to be these Lemon, Sunflower Seed and Blueberry Muffins (p. 96). Harry (of Cook Yourself Thin fame) has taken the humble blueberry muffin, a favourite coffee-shop breakfast snack and totally revamped it. The lemon taste comes through with an unexpected strength, which adds a surprising twist when you bite into one for the first time. The secret “alternative” ingredient? Well, all the cakes contain vegetables. Yes, vegetables. A mound of grated courgette in this case. Combined with the use of wonderfully light rice flour (which Harry says is actually far better for making cakes with than wheat flour), the use of vegetables means that these cakes stay incredibly moist for days. I normally do a batch of muffins or a big cake at the weekend which still taste delicious at the end of the next week.

This recipe can be a little fiddly in places (I absolutely hate grating lemon zest) and I had to invest in an electric whisk for fear of developing repetitive strain injury from all the whisking, but it is SO worth it, trust me. Now, all this writing about it has made me want to go and make my fourth batch…

Happy muffin-eating!