Baking

Pancakes (with Gluten Free Option)

Ok, admittedly pancakes cannot be termed as baking, but I honestly didn’t know what sub-heading to use for these!..They are not only for dessert, although delicious simply with lemon and sugar, they are equally good as a savoury wrap – try my recipe for Chicken, Chilli & Basil Wraps (here).

Basic Pancakes (with Gluten)

110g plain flour

A pinch of salt

2 large eggs

200ml milk mixed together with 75ml water

2 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra for cooking the pancakes

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl (hold the sieve up high to give the flour an ‘airing’).
  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and break the eggs into it.
  3. Whisk the eggs into the flour, incorporating the bits from the sides.
  4. Start to add small quantities of the milk and water mixture gradually, until it has all been added and the batter is smooth.
  5. When you are ready to cook the pancakes add the 2 tablespoons of melted butter to the batter and stir well.
  6. Melt about a teaspoon of butter in a small frying pan. Swirl it around the pan and tip off any excess butter – the pan only needs a light coating.
  7. When the pan is really hot, turn down the heat to medium and add about 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan, tip it around from side to side so that the base is evenly coated. It should only take ½ -1 minute to cook, you will notice little bubbles rising under the surface. Use a palette knife (or if you’re feeling brave, toss it!) to turn the pancake over to cook the other side, then slide on to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm whilst you cook the next pancake.

(The first pancake is often ‘a tester’, so that you can determine how much batter your pan needs, so don’t be surprised if it isn’t perfect).

Basic Gluten Free Pancakes

100g gluten free plain flour (I use Doves)

A pinch of salt

2 large eggs

1½ teaspoons melted butter, plus extra for cooking the pancakes

240ml whole milk

60ml water

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl (hold the sieve up high to give the flour an ‘airing’).
  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and break the eggs into it and add the melted butter and about ¼ of the milk, whisk to combine to a thick mixture, incorporating all of the flour around the sides.
  3. Slowly whisk in the rest of the milk and the water, until the batter is smooth.
  4. Leave to sit for 20-30 minutes. Mix well again when you are ready to cook the pancakes.
  5. Melt about a teaspoon of butter in a small frying pan. Swirl it around the pan and tip off any excess butter – the pan only needs a light coating.
  6. When the pan is really hot, turn down the heat to medium and add about 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan, tip it around from side to side so that the base is evenly coated. It should only take ½ – 1 minute to cook. Use a palette knife (or if you’re feeling brave, toss it!) to turn the pancake over to cook the other side, then slide on to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm whilst you cook the next pancake.

(The first pancake is often ‘a tester’, so that you can determine how much batter your pan needs, so don’t be surprised if it isn’t perfect).

*It is important to give the batter a good mix just before using for each pancake as the flour tends to settle at the bottom.

The Very Best Sausage Rolls (with a gluten free option!!)

Seriously, this is the best sausage roll recipe you will come across!…The secret is the sausage meat, the combination of bacon and fennel with the pork mince really adds a burst of flavour. Apart from making the sausage meat, this recipe is very quick, as it uses ready rolled puff pastry. Any uncooked sausage rolls can be easily frozen and cooked at a later date.

Gluten Free Note: As you may know, I’m gluten free, and so I make these both with and without gluten, if I’m totally honest the gluten recipe is slightly better, however the gluten free option is still very good. I have recently discovered ‘Jus Roll Gluten Free Ready Rolled Puff Pastry’, and I was pleasantly surprised with it, it doesn’t puff up in quite the same way as the gluten puff pastry, hence those pictured are made with ‘proper puff pastry’, however they still taste rather delicious!

The sausage meat recipe requires ‘Panko’ Breadcrumbs, so as a gluten free option I use ‘Esgir, Gluten Free Crunchy Crumbs’, which are a great substitute.

For the Sausaage Meat

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 onion, finely chopped

1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

150g unsmoked streaky bacon, finely chopped

Olive oil

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan

500g pork mince

40g panko breadcrumbs (or gluten free crumbs – see note above)

1 egg, lightly whisked

½ teaspoon salt

Black pepper

For the Rolls

2 packets of Jus Rol Ready Rolled Puff Pastry (Gluten Free if required – see note above)

1 egg, lightly whisked

A little plain flour (gluten free if required) for rolling

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion, garlic and celery for 2 minutes, then add the bacon. Cook for a further 2 minutes without browning. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Add the fennel seeds, pork mince, breadcrumbs, salt and a little pepper and the egg, mix well using your hands.
  3. To make the rolls: lay out the pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface. Cut each rectangle of pastry in half lengthways, so that you have four pieces. Put the sausage meat in a compact log shape along the middle length of each piece of the pastry. For each piece: brush the egg along one long edge, fold the pastry over to meet this egg washed edge, seal tightly, then fold this sealed edge under the long roll.
  4. If you have the patience it is a good idea to refrigerate the long rolls for an hour before cooking, as it makes them easier to cut.
  5. When you are ready to cook them, cut each long roll into smaller lengths to create ‘sausage rolls’. Gently score each roll a couple of times with a knife and brush with the egg wash.
  6. Place on a baking tray and cook in a preheated oven, 180’c fan,  for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and serve warm.

Freezing Note: You can freeze unbaked sausage rolls, place in an airtight container in single layers with baking paper between each layer. You can cook them from frozen, brush with egg wash and place in a preheated oven, 180’c, for about 40 minutes.

Anchovy Puff Pastries

These Anchovy Puffs are a recipe which you will definitely thank me for, they are absolutely delicious, not just with Cullen Skink (recipe here), but also as canapés with a glass of champagne! The combination of the cold, salty ice cream inside the hot puff pastries is divine. I have recently discovered ‘Jus Roll’ gluten free puff pastry, and I must say I was very impressed with it, so if you are gluten free, you can still enjoy these delicious puffs…in fact the Anchovy Puffs pictured above were made with it!

They are very easy to make, the ice cream is not ‘proper’ ice cream so does not need stirring – you just mix and freeze! The puff pastries can be frozen – just defrost and reheat before serving.

1 egg yolk

60g cream cheese

120ml double cream, lightly whipped

25g anchovy fillets, drained and chopped

A pinch of cayenne pepper

1 packet of ready rolled puff pastry (gluten free if required)

1 egg, beaten

1-2 tablespoons of porridge oats

A little flour of rolling (gluten free if required)

  1. In a small bowl lightly whisk the egg yolk until creamy. Whisk in the cream cheese and then stir in the lightly whipped double cream, chopped anchovies, cayenne pepper and parsley. Transfer to a shallow container and freeze for about 2 hours until hard (there is no need to stir this ice cream).
  2. On a lightly floured surface unroll the pastry. Using a 3” round cutter, cut out circles and transfer to a baking sheet. Then take a small knife and ‘knock up’ the edges of the pastry to encourage rising. Chill for 30 minutes before baking.
  3. Brush the pastry circles with the beaten egg and sprinkle with some porridge oats. Bake in a preheated oven, 220’c fan, for 7-10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.
  4. Remove the pastries and whilst still hot split them in half across the middle and spoon the anchovy ice cream into each.
  5. Serve straight away either with the Cullen Skink (recipe here) or as canapés with a glass of champagne!

Oatmeal Bread

This is a wonderful gluten free bread, it is best served warm from the oven or toasted. Once sliced it can be frozen.

425g rolled oats

A scant teaspoon of sea salt

2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda

2 tablespoons of mixed seeds

1 egg

500g natural yogurt

  1. Preheat oven to 200’c fan. Line a 900g/1Ib loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. Mix together the oats, salt, bicarbonate of soda and mixed seeds.
  3. Whisk the egg into the yogurt. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Scoop the dough into the tin and bake for 50 minutes.
  5. Turn out of the tin and bake the loaf for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.