Hello all! Just a quick heads up. If you don’t live in (or have an intention to visit) Lausanne in Switzerland and have an intolerance to gluten this post is probably not going to be of any interest to you. So maybe go grab a coffee and I’ll see you soon! I’ve a cook cake box tutorial I’ll post just as soon as I can.
However if you do live in Canton Vaud and are intolerant to gluten, or have a loved one who is… this may be of interest.
One of the most common email requests I’ve been getting is from lovely ladies and gents in Lausanne asking where to find gluten-free products. I’ve sent out an email list of my favourite places more times than I can count! So I’ve decided to post it here on the blog.
Quite possibly the best gluten-free cakes, tarts, biscuits, chocolate eclairs and quiches I have ever had. The tea room is fabulous and their biscuits are now being stocked in Globus in Lausanne. In Winter, their hot chocolate is by far and away the most delicious and decadent experience I’ve had in Switzerland. And that’s saying something coming from a country where the main dish is steaming bowls of rich, hot cheese followed by double cream smothered meringues for dessert!
This recently opened health food store has a great selection of GF foods and cake/ biscuit mixes. Whilst not cheap, their Marlette cake mixes are the only ones I’ll use. They’re organic and delicious. They also stock Sonja-Sante breads and cookies. So definitely worth visiting if you’re in the neighbourhood.
I had an itch. I needed to bake. It had been so long that my Kitchen Aid had a light coating of dust!
The cover of What Katie Ate has been giving me cravings for friands for quite some time. They don’t exist here and certainly not in gluten-free form. The delicious raspberries in season provided me with the perfect excuse.
As I don’t have a friand tin I decided to use a cupcake pan and they worked fine. I adapted two recipes to be gluten-free. One from What Katie Ate and another from online aptly named “The Perfect Friand”. And then decided I liked a mix of both! They’re light and delicious. Not to mention really easy and quick to make!
My husband has requested I make them again, and as I’ve just collected the piece to make my ice-cream maker work, I have plenty of use for spare egg yolks. I think next time I’ll use plums on the top…
GLUTEN-FREE RASPBERRY FRIANDS
Makes about a dozen
4 egg whites
60 grams of almond meal
60 grams of gluten-free flour of your choice
1/4 teaspoon of guar gum
120 grams of icing sugar (not icing mixture)
Pinch of salt
100 grams of melted unsalted butter
Butter to grease pan
125 grams of fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 degrees celsius fan forced)
Grease tin with butter (I used a cupcake tin as I don’t own a friand tin)
Whisk egg whites until frothy.
In a separate bowl, combine almond meal, sieved icing sugar and the pinch of salt together.
Add egg whites and fold in until well combined.
Gradually stir in butter.
Pour into tin, Filling each mould three-quarters full.
Place a raspberry in the top of each.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly before removing from the mould. I needed to run a knife around the edge of mine to loosen them.
There were a few things I gave up on finding when I found out I couldn’t eat gluten anymore. One of them was profiteroles and a good choux pastry. But a trip to my favourite bakery assured me that a gluten-free choux pastry is very possible. They make the most amazing gluten-free eclairs!
So when the latest issue of Delicious magazine graced my letterbox with a Better Cook Challenge on choux pastry I was determined to try and make a gluten-free profiterole. We had some friends and their gorgeous offspring coming for lunch last Friday, so I seized the second wind I got on Thursday night after putting Munchkin to bed, and tried.
And it worked! *cue cheer and happy dance*
Honestly I can’t really remember exactly what the glutenous version tastes like, but both of my friends and my husband assured me that my version were delicious. And my husband advising that I could make them again very soon convinced me of it.
As per usual I used Schaer patisserie mix C as it’s the best commercially bought flour mix I’ve come across for pastries and cakes (and Sonja in Cully wouldn’t divulge her amazing recipe ;))
I finished them with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce rather than the chocolate one in the magazine. I’ll write up the caramel recipe for next weeks gluten-free recipe post.
Hello lovely ladies and gents! I had intended this blog post to go live in time for Mother’s Day, so that all of you out there who wanted something a little more tasty than burnt toast for breakfast could stock up on ingredients, print out this post or email it to your partners and suggest that they make this with the kids.
Why? Because it’s insanely easy, looks good and is delicious! But life (or in this case a still teething Munchkin) managed to get in the way of my best laid plans.
So here it is post Mother’s Day. Maybe you can put in an order for one for your birthday?
The main ingredient for this cake?
A cake mix.
Yup, this lady has changed her tune after rather a lot of burnt caramel and cakes that resemble pancakes because the Munchkin decided to curtail her nap and/ or to take up lung exercises right at an essential moment. So whilst I thought that hell would freeze over and be coated in frosting before I’d use a packet, I’ve found myself resorting to using cake mixes in emergencies. I’ve found a couple of fabulous gluten-free ones. But you could use any you find at the grocery or whole-foods.
After following the instructions on the packet to make up the batter, I added half a cup of chopped walnuts and half a cup of chopped dark fleur de sel chocolate. And poured it into a large slice tin before baking at the temperature suggested on the packet. Just keep a good eye on it as it will bake a lot quicker due to it being put in a larger tin.
This meant that I ended up with a ‘brownie’ type cake. I cut it in half, trimmed it so the edges looked neat and layered it with chopped strawberries and whipped cream.
I then covered it with a light dusting of good quality cocoa powder. I use a tea strainer for this as it gives me loads more control and creates less of a cocoa powder cloud in my kitchen. It’s also a really handy thing to give your kids when they’re “helping”.
And finally, I added a sprinkle of some of my favourite decorations… dried flowers/ petals. I bought these from a market here in Lausanne, they’re organic and oh so pretty! But you could probably find them at a local delicatessen or specialty shop.
If all else fails, just attack with your favourite sugary decoration
And voilà! An exceedingly quick (I had this done in one very short Munchkin nap), delicious and pretty cake to serve your friend who is coming for tea. And a really easy cake for you (or your husband *hint hint*) to whip up with your kids for your next Mother’s Day or birthday.
I’m not on bed rest (thank goodness!) but I have been ordered by my doctor not to do anything more energetic than a walk. Maybe she knows me too well… she specifically told me I’m not allowed to clean the house or start emptying cupboards. So I’m all ironed up and feel like I should be bouncing off the walls. But at 37 weeks pregnant, I’m fighting a persistent head/ chest cold and playing the waiting game… I’m continually tired and carrying what feels like an energetic and very uncomfortable bundle of elbows and knees.
Munchkin is running out of room and I’m running out of patience with being pregnant. But we have managed to get some stuff done!
We set up Munchkin’s temporary nursery. The rest of her furniture will arrive in a couple of months. But for now, we have everything she needs to start life. All of her clothes are washed and ready and she finally has her own space in the house which feels nice.
The reason we’re not overly worried about her nursery is that she’ll be sleeping in with us for the first few months. We’ve her Leander cradle all ready and waiting for her arrival.
On the days my brain works, and when I’ve not been trying to get all the paperwork etc together for Munchkin’s citizenship and passport or finding her a paediatrician, I’ve been playing with felt; making little shoes for Munchkin and for some friends who have recently had babies. I think I’m finally happy with the design. I love them in coral and grey! I now just have to work out the different sizings.
I can’t decide if I like the bows on the front or on the side. So I’m making Munchkin a pair of both!
We had a small get together with some of our friends on Sunday on the deck of my favourite gluten-free café in Cully. It wasn’t a baby shower in the traditional sense, but we really wanted to see our friends before we temporarily slip even further off the social scene after Munchkin arrives.
I wasn’t allowed to go all ‘Nicola’ on it. Frustratingly, all I was allowed to do was to book the space and to send out email/ Facebook invites. So it was a decidedly un-Nicola-like event, not a hot air balloon to be seen, but it was delightful nonetheless (DM soothed my ruffled feathers by reminding me that I have many, many future Munchkin birthdays and unbirthday parties to organise). And I have to admit, it was quite a novel experience not to have to worry about anything more than just turning up.
Munchkin received some seriously splendid gifts from our lovely and very generous friends. She already has a toy collection and wardrobe I’m envious of!
Some of our crafty friends had got together to create a gorgeous present for Munchkin. They each knit or crochet some panels and made them up into a beautiful baby blanket. They’d been sneaky enough to get DM to send them the colours I wanted for the nursery and in amongst the pretty patterns, they included a couple of sneaky geeky panels. One of a Dalek and the other of a storm trooper. It’s perfect and suits DM’s and my style exactly. I’m really looking forward to seeing Munchkin wrapped up in it.
I spent yesterday with my feet above my heart trying to get my swollen feet back to a size that would fit inside my slip on shoes and worked out this little pattern for a crochet aviators hat/ helmet for the little nephew we’re expecting in a few weeks. I then made another one for DM’s cousin who just had a little baby boy. I’m waiting for Munchkin to arrive so that I can custom make her one that fits perfectly.
Why is it that every time I start to wonder what I’m doing with my life and start to consider returning to a ‘normal’ profession something turns up to make me change my mind? In this case, the latest issue of Cupcake Heaven turned up in my letterbox.
I’m now 34 weeks pregnant and I’m feeling it! I look like I’ve eaten ALL THE CAKES and I’m now getting tired a lot earlier than usual. My social calendar has taken another hit as I find I’m needing more and more down time. But the Doctors say this is all normal and that Munchkin is perfectly healthy. So I’m slowly but surely working through the remains of my to-do list before Munchkin arrives.
This week I’m making her a cot quilt and trying to get the design for her birth announcements done. As I’ve never quilted before, I enlisted the aid of the lovely Lynne who is quite possibly the most prolific and fabulous quilter I’ve ever encountered. Under her expert tutelage I’m making fairly good progress and currently have only had to unpick about half a dozen triangles. I’ll keep you updated as to it’s progress and shall blog the finished product.
I’m also discovering that I get fairly strange cravings. After a horrendous night wherein Munchkin ensured I slept less than I thought was humanly possible, I found I was craving carbs and sugar. In particular I found myself feeling rather partial to one of my childhood favourites, pikelets, and so quickly whipped up a batch. They’re delicious! I used the recipe from the Common Sense Cookery book and substituted gluten-free flour for the normal flour. Voilà! Deliciousness on a plate! They’re perfect covered in jam and cream or slathered in salty butter. I’ve had to promise DM that I’ll make him some soon as I ate the remainder of them this morning for breakfast. For those of you who want to try them, I’ve put the recipe at the bottom of this post.
It was around about this point in time that my trusty old Brother sewing machine started spitting out small parts at me. Literally.
A little investigation revealed that these are in fact the pieces that turn the lights and power to my machine on and off. I can’t complain. The machine was my mothers before it was mine. And I know for a fact she inherited it from someone else. So it’s definitely seen it’s fair share of work and has travelled halfway around the world without grumbling, until now. The machine still works, I just have to power it on and off at the wall. And on the plus side it looks like I’ll be getting a new machine for my birthday! Any recommendations?
Gluten Free Pikelet Recipe
150 grams of gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons of gluten-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bi carb of soda
1/2 cup of sour milk or fresh milk plus 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon of melted butter
Sift flour, salt and soda
Place egg, milk, sugar and butter in centre of flour
Beat until smooth and a thick pouring consistency
Place a dessertspoonful into a teflon coated pan – cook until they brown, turn over and cook other side.
One of my favourite foods is in season! I’m currently addicted to watermelon and have found myself enabled by our local grocery as they’ve been selling deliciously sweet, organic, mini melons. I’ve been eating my fair share (possibly more)! I’ve also found I can’t get enough lemonade so when I saw a recipe for something called Watermelonade the other day, I had to try my hand at making up a version. I love it! It’s just the right combination of sweet/ sour and utterly refreshing.
But I’m now out of watermelon… I need to make another trip to the store!
Gluten-free brownies are awesome. No. Seriously. They are.
Why? Because they’re basically all chocolatey deliciousness and there’s not much in the way of flour. I made two batches over the last week. One to take to a friends birthday picnic and then another for DM to take into the office. According to DM the batch for the office lasted about 5 minutes. I’m assuming that’s a good thing.
For the picnic brownies, I used milk chocolate and about 100 grams of shaved almonds. But for the office brownies, I used a 48% dark chocolate and 200 grams of slivered almonds.
The difference is quite strong. The milk chocolate brownies taste sweeter, whereas the dark chocolate had a bit more crunch due to the slivered almonds and were a little more ‘adult’ in flavour . They would be perfect with a scoop of homemade ice-cream as a dessert, maybe with a dribble of salted caramel sauce? *drools a little and heads off to make another batch*
Both types were delicious. It just depends on your own personal taste. Using good quality butter, chocolate and cocoa powder makes a big difference with this recipe. Buy the best you can afford and you wont regret it! Both batches were perfectly moist in the center and a little crunchy along the edge with a really nice thin ‘crust’ on top.
They’re really quick and easy to make, so perfect if you’ve last minute guests or are craving a chocolate hit. Enjoy!
250 grams of unsalted butter
300 grams of sugar (I used whole sugar much like this) but use whatever you prefer
This will be my last iced-coffee post this year. Promise!
I know I wrote all about how I love cold brewed iced coffee a couple of weeks ago. But I also want to share with you my instant go-to iced coffee for when I’ve run out of coffee syrup and I don’t want to have to wait 12 to 15 hours for my caffeine hit! I go to the trusty Nespresso machine. Almost everyone has a pod coffee machine of some sort in Switzerland. The simple question “Would you like a coffee?” has become quite a lengthy process since the introduction of the Nespresso machine! It’s now “what colour would you like?”, “long or short?”, “frothy milk?”, “sugar?”… and now “hot or iced?”. I have one wicked friend who frequently answers “yes” to all of the questions. One day I’m going to work out how to combine all of the above into one coffee!
Making iced coffee with your Nespresso machine is actually really simple to do. Just take your favourite coffee flavour (I’ve still got a hefty stash of the limited edition nut flavours that came out a while ago, but I’ve been told the new vanilla, caramel and chocolate limited flavours are fabulous in iced coffee too!) and put a shot or two into a cocktail shaker or jar. Add sugar if you wish, quickly stirring a little to dissolve it and then throw in a handful of ice. Read more