Vegan and Gluten Free but still Yummy

This weekend between all the shopping and trying to to get too caught up in the commercialism around Christmas we had a lovely party to go to. Lots of our friends have become vegan recently and I’m always trying to cut down on gluten so these cookies seemed a good idea to try.

First, the coconut oil is whisked up until it starts to be fluffy then the sugar is creamed in and the milk (oat in this case but whichever milk you choose would work – obviously non-dairy milk if you’re making vegan cookies) mixed in. The gluten-free flour and baking powder are mixed in a separate bowl.

The dry ingredients are mixed into the wet until it resembles large breadcrumbs. Then the mixture is brought into a ball by hand an kneaded gently, it’s quite crumbly and hard work to bring together.

Once the dough sticks together it’s reasonably easy to roll and cut shapes from. They are baked on greaseproof paper lined baking trays and take about 10 minutes.

They mostly held together well once baked only a few crumbled while I was icing them.

The icing was just powdered sugar and water mixed to the right consistency and sprinkles over the top. Simple, pretty and most importantly declared yummy by the taste team and the guests at the party we took them to.

 

 

 

SugarCookies

Advertisements

Pizza

Parenting challenge this week -when the news is pretty scary how do you help your 13-year-old with a tendency to be anxious and an interest in current affairs not let it overwhelm them? I don’t know the answer, I’m working on not letting it overwhelm me and remembering that a loving gentle home environment and a safe space are the things I can control when I can’t control what’s out there. If anyone has the answer please let me know I’m always keen to learn.

In our little home bubble, we’ve had a lovely weekend. All three children worked together on a meal for father’s day without arguing which was a minor miracle. Friday we had pizza for tea. Making pizza is pretty easy and fun if you just use a bread mix for the base and let people choose their own toppings and don’t make the people who have very strong views on how much sauce a pizza should have share with each other.

The challenge comes when you’re trying to cut down on gluten. I’ve tried a gluten free scone pizza base, too dry for me and a commercially prepared gluten free pizza base, tasty but not so fun from a cooking point of view. So this week yeast and gluten free flour like this recipe.

There’s milk in it which I think could be substituted for a non-dairy alternative but I thought on the first go I’d not change too much. Making the yeast bubble was fun and looked cooler than the photo shows.

It wasn’t too sticky and formed a dough nicely but didn’t rise as well as I hoped. It did look more different than the photo shows. Think I need to do a food photography course next.

Rolling out was not too difficult but picking it up to put on the tray was practically impossible without it falling to pieces.img_20170616_173712.jpg

The one on the left I managed to get on the tray almost in one piece but the one on the left fell apart completely and ended up as a pile on the tray with the result it was a lot thicker.

They looked good once the topping was on and they had been baked.

The thinner pizza was pretty good just a little floury if it had been just a bit thinner it might have been just right. The thicker pizza was just too floury and I mostly just at the topping.

So the search for the perfect gluten free pizza continues.

In other news, while I was making pizza our new budding foody was making Mary Berry’s ‘Can’t go wrong chocolate cake’. Which was very yummy. It’s two layers in the recipe but he’s of the opinion that two cakes are better than one!

img_20170616_174530.jpg

 

Cheese and Chocolate Chips

You’ll be relieved to hear I’ve not mixed the two things together. Last weekend -the long weekend- we were busy, so baking didn’t happen. I realised when looking through my photos for this post I did do some more baking last week too so there are two posts ready for this week.

I’ve been thinking about how to not get completely exhausted and frustrated while doing household tasks and cleaning this week. Half term is always a time there’s so much more to be done and it can be easy to let things slide for a day and then have regret the next day. In our house, we are trying to teach our children the household tasks are the joint responsibility of the household. So the older kids have a list of chores to pick from before they go off and do their own thing each day and the youngest is beginning to learn to tidy up her own things after she finishes using them. Still, many of the household chores fall to me as does keeping a mental picture of what needs doing and how long it was since all the different tasks were last done. The most helpful thing I’ve found apart from doing little and often and listening to good podcasts or radio shows is thinking about why I am doing something, who am I really doing it for. More often than not I find I’m really doing things for myself. It’s me who doesn’t feel comfortable surrounded by dirty dishes or with piles of dog hair over the floor so really it’s me who benefits from those things being sorted out. I think it’s important to teach my kids to do the laundry and to cook and clean so they are positive members of any future household they belong to and can look after themselves when they are ready to leave home. But I find it much less stressful if I remember they aren’t there yet they’re still learning and sometimes I have the energy to teach but sometimes I don’t but I still want things done so I chose the things that matter to me and let the other things slide if I’m happy in my surroundings that’s what’s most important.

Today I was invited to a vegan cheese related event which was too good an opportunity to try something new to turn down. So I had a go at making vegan queso dip.

I used this recipe which I picked because it was comparatively quick to make. I have spotted some recipes for cashew cheese which take a while to mature but I’m definitely giving them a try soon.

Basically, this is aubergine dip flavoured with garlic, cumin, nutritional yeast and what is supposed to be chilli powder but I didn’t have any so I used paprika. I chopped too much garlic and had to remove some when I measured and I might use even less if I make it again as it was a bit garlicky for my personal taste.

The only issue I had was it didn’t thicken as much as I expected even after adding extra cornflour. But once mixed with salsa and nachos it was really yummy and cheesy and I couldn’t really tell it was vegan. Not sure if anyone else tried it so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

This afternoon we had a go at vegan gluten free chocolate chip cookies as choc-chip cookies are something super popular with my family.

Had fun cooking with my kitchen assistant except when she was disappointed she couldn’t use the oven herself.

I started with this recipe and then changed it around for ingredients I had in the cupboard.

1/3rd Cup coconut oil

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons almond milk

2 cups Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dark choc chips

Heat oven to Gas Mark 4 (180C 350F).

Grease cookie sheets.

Cream coconut oil and sugar, whisk in vanilla and almond milk.

img_20170601_185444.jpg

Stir in flour and baking powder. Gently combine chocolate chips. 1 cup is definitely too many chocolate chips 1/2 or 3/4 would be plenty. img_20170601_190109.jpg

Make small balls and flatten slightly onto trays at a reasonable distance from each other.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before eating if you can resist that long.

These are amazing. So good that the fussiest member of the taste team ate two without realising or even minding when he found out they were gluten free and vegan. Will be making them again many times.

img_20170601_193833.jpg

More gluten free woes

So I did bake this week. It was fun but pretty much a disaster.

I made gluten free cupcakes. With some adjustments based on this recipe.

I didn’t like them much. I just need to develop a taste for gluten-free maybe.

Bananas and apples for sweetness and coconut flour. I think the coconut flour was probably the main issue, my gluten free friend can’t eat oats so maybe I need to try a different type of flour.

The taste test team refused to try them because they were ‘burnt’ and then disaster struck…

We went out and left them on the kitchen worktop. The dog ate the lot.

Then he pooed all over the kitchen floor later that night. 11 muffins might be too much for one dog.

It’s been a busy week.

 

Hmm gluten free woes.

I’m not running late I’m officially moving to Mondays as I can have time to myself to bake without assistance if I want to. Most of this week I’m going to be trying to sort out the excess stuff in my house so I’ve got a clear space to clean as I have invited people over for the first time since we moved in at the end of the week and would like them to be able to sit down not on a cardboard box!

In the spirit of trying to reduce gluten and sugar and because one of the people who maybe coming to visit is gluten free thought I would give some grain free muffins a try. The recipe I was working from was just apple flavour but as I didn’t have enough applesauce I substituted some forest fruits. This may have been a mistake, keep reading…

First I managed to throw them all over while trying to put them in the blender, including on my new white dress, it’s gone in the wash, fingers crossed it comes out! I added the apples and some apple juice too and it made quite a nice smoothy at least.

The recipe was an all in one bowl type which are popular with me because easy!

At first it looked pretty, but then the whole mixture went purple and then brown. Did not look too appetising. I forgot to put the timer on and got distracted talking about sparkly carpets on whats-app but my reliable nose reminded me to check before it was too late and they came out perfectly done.

dsc_0875

Sadly still not looking super appetising. The sweetness is great but the texture is not to my taste. Not sure how much is to do with the specific recipe and how much is to do with needing to get used to the texture of coconut flour. Also they seem a little greasy.

Have some ideas to try something similar with wheat flour as sugar-free is more important to me personally.

And now back to painting things…