Monthly Archives: July 2015

Dairy Free Garlic Bread

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A different take on classic butteryย garlic bread; a ciabatta loaf generously covered in garlic, dried oregano and thyme, rubbed with olive oil and sea salt and baked. A great accompaniment to a lot of dinners!

Garlic bread is quite a departure from the normal sweet tooth bakes I post on here. However, it is still baked (so totally appropriate to post on here, right?!) and I felt quite an important one to post. I used to love garlic bread – I would have fought you for a whole plate of Pizza Express garlic dough balls anytime – dripping with butter, perhaps coated with cheese, and always stuffed full of garlic. And then when I gave up dairy, I was a bit stumped. I had always bought garlic bread. Or eaten it in restaurants. And I get that the premise is simply garlic and butter – but that never seemed quite the same when I tried it!

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I eventually came across a Jamie Oliver recipe, which was a great change from a standard, buttery garlic bread. Instead of butter, it used olive oil. Instead of a baguette, it used a ciabatta loaf. It was also covered in dried herbs and well seasoned. Now that looked interesting! That was something I had to try. And since then, I’ve mourned the loss of my dough balls no more. Well – a lot less!

The recipe is really simple and uses all store cupboard ingredients. All you need is a knife and an oven. No excuses not to try!

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Quick Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

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Smooth, gelato-like Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt. An ideal dessert which can be thrown together in minutes, with only four ingredients!

One thing I really miss being dairy free is a wide choice of ice creams. Wide choice, reasonably priced and readily available ice creams! Although there are some excellent dairy free ice cream alternatives available, they tend to be fairly expensive and not available everywhere. And sometimes vanilla ice cream just doesn’t cut it! However, I found a great recipe in Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals cook book, where he makes a sort of instant ice cream using frozen blueberries, yoghurt and honey – and this is the inspiration for this recipe. A very simple frozen dessert using readily available ingredients.

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I’ve used strawberries as they are in season at the moment, and if you, like us, buy them when they’re on offer, you might occasionally find yourself with a few too many! The best thing about this recipe is that it is actually best when the strawberries are getting to almost past their best – this is when they are sweetest and have the most intense strawberry flavour. So if you ever find yourself with some strawberries that are turning, and you’re not going to eat them right away – freeze them! Although freezing berries can often ruin their texture, it is a great trick for keeping seasonal fruit for recipes where the texture is not important, and this recipe is a perfect example.

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This recipe is seriously quick – I had to laugh writing the recipe realising there are only 3 steps. And one of them is serve and eat! The only key thing you need is a good blender as it does take some serious power to whizz the frozen fruit smooth. One thing you can do to help with this is cut your strawberries up smaller – at least into quarters. Don’t go mad though and cut them too small as you might then loose a lot of the tasty strawberry juices.

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Filed under Frozen Treats, Fruit

Chocolate, Almond and Orange Biscotti

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Classic Italian Biscotti recipe flavoured with chocolate, almonds and orange, perfect for a treat anytime of the day. Ideal for dipping in a hot drink or a cold, sweet glass of wine if you prefer!ย 

Biscotti are something I’ve always been curious about making- and not something I’ve eaten very often. I tend to think of them as something reserved for Christmas, or posh restaurants where they are served alongside your after-dinner coffee. However, I stumbled across a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ on the internet and thought they just sounded too tasty not to give them a try. Paul makes a trio of biscotti, and I just couldn’t resist the sound of chocolate, almond and orange.

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Biscotti come in lots of different flavours, but are very recognisable from their traditional shape and texture – always an elongated half moon shape with a very dry and crunchy texture. They are also surprisingly sweet, and so my favourite way to eat them is dipped in steaming black coffee. The bitter coffee and sweet biscuit compliment each other perfectly, whilst the almond provides more crunch and the orange zest really brings out the flavour of the coffee, chocolate and almond.

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The name ‘biscotti’ originates from Latin and means twice baked. Confusingly, biscotti in Italian simply means biscuit; this could lead to a great disappointment if you were hoping for the twice baked variety (in Italy twice baked biscuits are called ‘cantuccini’)! However, despite their fancy name, they’re very simple to make. By shaping the dough into logs for the first bake, and then cutting them into fingers for the second bake there is no need to be precise or pretty about it – which makes a nice change from the things I usually bake!

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Victoria Sponge Cake

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A perfectly classic Victoria Sponge cake; soft, fluffy sponge cakes sandwiched together with vanilla buttercream and fruit jam.

A Victoria Sponge is such a British classic, and in my opinion every good baker should be able to nail a perfect version of it. The reason why I say this is often people think a Victoria Sponge is one of the more simple cakes you can make; and whilst this is true in terms of techniques, it is also difficult in the sense there is no where to hide! With just simple flavours and a dusting of icing sugar on top, the flavours shine and so does your perfect taste and texture.

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One thing I love about this cake is it’s universal appeal. Perfect for children and adults alike it works for birthdays, special occasions or even just when you fancy a bit of cake. You can also play with the flavours to suit your tastes, the occasion or the season. Whilst this is made with half raspberry and half strawberry jam which is ideal for summer, you could also make this with blackberries or apples in autumn, or with rhubarb or oranges in winter.

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A perfect Victoria Sponge consists of two sponge cakes with a light and soft texture, and they should be ever so slightly crumbly when fresh. I’ve substituted the traditional whipped cream filling for a light, not too sweet vanilla buttercream – not only do I personally think this is preferable to cream but it will also keep fresh longer. Also, if you find yourself surrounded by a glut of fresh fruit, you could use this instead of jam for a change.

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