Friday, October 30, 2015

Raspberry and Lemon Shortbread Rounds (Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free)

When the lovely Lucy here put out a call for "free-from" recipes I just knew I had to jump in. Not simply because I consider myself (in all modesty) a bit of an expert in the field of free-from baking (more on that later), but quite honestly, I have no other outlet just now for my creations (except my tummy). It's only fair to warn you, expert or no, that I have always been a haphazard baker. When I was about four I watched my Dad make drop scones without measuring any of the ingredients, and from there I never looked back.

Now, the only reason I measure when baking is:
1. If I'm using a mixture of ingredients I'm unfamiliar with, and
2. In retrospect when creating new recipes, in order to vaguely remember the formula for next time. There: you have been duly warned

I came to free-from baking in a long, roundabout way. I have always experimented with different ingredients that entice and excite me. But like most, it has also been an enforced health journey for me. I first gave up dairy, and instantly cured many congestive complaints. Then I gave up wheat, and finally gluten altogether - curing me of chronic fatigue and digestive upsets.

More recently I have experimented with giving up sugar (of all kinds) in a bid to kill a chronic candida overgrowth (terrifyingly common in today's culture of refined foods, and basely responsible for most chronic illnesses). Suffice to say most of my bakes and creations these days are dairy, gluten AND sugar-free, and often vegan too (beat that GBBO!). This makes them no less tasty (I am particular on that front!) and above all they are QUICK and EASY, because I like pretty instant results.

I created with the help of my 4 and 6 year-olds this weekend! Unusually for it doesn't contain chocolate (sorry about that) but I do use cacao butter. If you can't source cacao butter easily, feel free to substitute as you see fit

3/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 tbsp whole flaxseed
1/4 cup buckwheat (or other GF) flour
1 tbsp freeze dried raspberry powder (or other flavouring)
1/4 tsp GF baking powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp honey or syrup
Zest & juice of 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup cacao butter
1 tbsp freeze dried raspberry powder
1tsp honey/syrup
Few drops vanilla extract

To Make: 

Grind together the almonds, coconut and flaxseed to form a flour. Mix with rest of dried ingredients for biscuit dough. Gently melt the oils, almond butter and honey/syrup together over a bowl of hot water, then add in the lemon juice and zest. Pour over the dried ingredients and mix well to a dough.

Take spoonfuls of the dough and roll into balls, place on a nonstick baking tray (or greaseproof paper) and flatten out evenly into discs about 1/2cm thick.

Bake at 180C for about 10 minutes, until the biscuits begin to brown.

Cool on a wire rack and make the icing by gently melting together the cacao butter, honey/syrup, vanilla and raspberry. Allow to cool and thicken slightly before dribbling over biscuits. Enjoy!

If you liked these recipes do try out Zoe's first ebook, Real Food Raw, which contains lots of fun, quick and easy wholefood recipes especially created for a free-from diet. There's also lots of great tips and help in there to support you in transitioning between food habits, and how you can make it easy for yourself.

 Zoë Foster is a Life Energy Alchemist at, where she helps soul-driven women balance their natural energetic highs and lows and find their own rhythm - one that maximises both creative output AND self-care on a whole-person level. Zoë is also a writer and yoga teacher and lives on the edge of magical Dartmoor in Devon, UK with her young family.

 You can connect with Zoë on Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Pinterest and Twitter at @ZoeKMFoster.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Chewy Triple Ginger Cookies

These are for the ginger lovers in the house.

My older girl had been on to me to make hideous looking goblin biscuits, AKA green gingerbread men, for Halloween last year. The recipe came from her hideous (IMHO) Rainbow Fairies Annual. I was going to use my fail-safe ginger bread recipe, which I've shared here before, but decided she'd enjoy the whole thing more if she read the recipe aloud from the book as we went.

So the kiddies had their lurid green goblins, and I adapted the other half of the mix to be adult-friendly, by upping the ginger and adding stem ginger chunks - and shaping as proper cookies.

Rather than bake a big batch, what I recommend is to make up the dough, and keep it wrapped in the fridge in cling film (saran wrap) and bake a fresh batch every couple of days as they go quite soggy on the day after they're cooked. Fresh from the oven they are crisp and chewy and very moreish

Preheat oven to 180C Fan

120g butter (melted)
1 egg (beaten)
270g plain flour
2 tsp dried ground ginger
8-12 lumps of preserved stem ginger in syrup chopped into small chunks - depending on size and your love of ginger!
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp syrup from the ginger jar
1  tsp baking soda (sieved)
170g light brown soft sugar

Mix the butter, sugar, ground ginger and syrups together well. Add half the flour, then the beaten egg, and the other half of the flour. Add the chopped ginger. Mix to combine, knead for a minute with your hands. Form into a log, the diametre you want your cookies.

Slice into 1 cm thick slices, place on a lined baking tray - do not over crowd - squash them slightly thinner with your hands.

Bake for 10 mins until rich golden, be sure the edges don't go dark brown or they will be bitter. Cool for 2-3 mins on the tray to harden slightly, then remove and cool on a wire rack. Best eaten warm!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Marmalade Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

Adapted from the Breakfast of Champions column in the Saturday Guardian magazine. I loved the look of these prima ballerina's favourite breakfast muffins, but wanted to make them gluten free... and decrease the sugar load by quite a bit. They are light and fluffy, more cupcake than muffin texture, with a rich, tangy marmalade flavour. Paddington would most definintely approve!

80g cornflour
70g ground almonds
15g brown rice flour
5g potato flour (if you don't have it just use 5g more of cornflour)
1 tablespoon baking power
60g caster sugar

75g cooled melted butter
1 large egg
Zest and juice of one orange
75ml milk
130g marmalade

Makes 9

Heat the oven to 170C fan and put muffin cases in 9 holes of a 12-hole muffin tray.

Combine the dry ingredients, crumbling them together with your fingers, getting rid of any lumps.
Briefly whisk the wet ingredients together to combine, pour into the dry along with the marmalade, and mix briefly by hand until just combined (over-mixing makes for tough, dense muffins).

Fill the cases two-thirds full, and bake for 15-20 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.

These are DIVINE warm... they are quite grainy and dry the next day.


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