I enjoy baking but I’m not quite Bake Off standard and one of the things I’ve tried to do more of is free from baking.
I have lots of friends who have food intolerances (as do I) so I like to make sure they feel catered for if I’m having them round.
When the team at Indigo Herbs got in touch about using their natural, free from ingredients I said yes please!
Indigo Herbs is an independent business located in the heart of Somerset, in Glastonbury and has a huge range of interesting products available online and in store. Plus they’re friendly, which is always a bonus.
On with the recipe!
Everyone loves chocolate brownies and chocolate pairs really well with cherries so combining the two was a doddle.
This bake is vegetarian but not vegan as I’ve yet to find an egg substitute that works as effectively without leaving any trace.
150g Purple Corn Flour*
150g Organic Coconut Sugar*
1.5 tbsp coconut oil
200g dark chocolate of your choice
1tsp gluten free baking powder
1.5 tsp Acerola Cherry Powder*
A few glacè cherries, chopped
Sprinkling of Organic Puffed Quinoa*
A very lazy cake to bake
Oven on 200°c and locate cake tin (I used a loose bottom one), line with baking parchment.
Weigh and measure your ingredients – do not drop any of them on the floor.
Mix your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (I used a spatula but you could use your electric mixing bowl/whisk – I could only locate 1 prong attachment thing).
Melt the coconut oil and chocolate in a bowl in the microwave – this takes about 3 to 4 minutes. You could use a Bain Marie but that takes longer and requires more room in the kitchen and the brain.
Add the eggs to the dry mix, do not get any shell in there. If you do, fish it out, wrong kind of tasty surprise.
When the oil and chocolate have melted, pour it in. Be careful the bowl will be hot.
Mix everything together. Add the glacè cherries. Stir them in. You would be best to do this bit by hand.
You could be really clever and coat them in a little flour first so they don’t sink. I forgot to do this.
Pour into the lined brownie tray (or a cake tin like I did as my brownie tray is huge) and smooth the top. Or leave it slightly uneven if like me, you’re lazy and perfection is tiring.
Sprinkle the popped quinoa over the top. This provides a nice little crunch – a textural opposition to the soft brownies.
Pop into the oven for 20-30 minutes. Check whether a knife comes out clean. If it does, then it’s done, if the knife is sticky, pop it back in for a few minutes more. Ovens (and cakes) can be unpredictable.
Do the washing up or load the dishwasher and thank whoever invented this life saver.
Once the baking is done, take it out of the oven (switch the oven off – no one ever tells you to remember to do this in recipe books).
Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes as it will be soft. Then carefully transfer to a cooling rack (I got a set of three of these on Amazon – you’re welcome).
Once cool, you can decorate with more cherries or just slice and serve. Cream or custard (dairy free if preferred) go well with this.
Obviously you can skip the cherries or swap them for something else, try popcorn instead of quinoa, add extra chocolate, make a bigger batch. Basically, make it your own. Then send me the results – cake by post.
My independent taste testers gave this tasty treat two thumbs up, so give it a go.
*items provided by Indigo Herbs for the purposes of this recipe post. All opinions and recipes my own.
This past Saturday my mother and I went on one of our increasingly common outings. This time we went to Kensington Olympia to explore free from foods and allergy busters.
When my mum isn’t buying me lunch (thanks!) she’s an incredibly hard-working and somewhat brilliant nurse working in public health and school health. She recently celebrated 40 years in nursing and is my go to for any ‘should I take this weird thing to a doctor’ query (lucky her).
We had free tickets because the event gives loads away every year – I will share the link for next July once I get it. I did however miss the blogger meet up because I was too busy sampling cakes, oops.
I also failed miserably to take any photos of use, although I will include the entirely random few I did manage at the end.
Seriously I blame all the free cake samples and the abundance of dairy free treats. I had a truly delicious magnum style caramel ice cream and got chocolate all over my white top – I shouldn’t be allowed out.
We did stop for actual lunch too – the prices in the Olympia’s cafes are eye watering for two salads and two drinks.
My mum became pals with an allergy nurse from a children’s asthma charity – discussing epipens and inhalers. Joy.
I located the make up stand and got a bit of a makeover while I was at it – once a beauty blogger, always a beauty blogger (this will be getting it’s own post so stay tuned).
I even came home with not just a goody bag full of snacks but some little purchases including gluten free samosas, rocky road mix, vodka cocktails (mum and I split 4 between us, she enjoys the odd tipple and free samples) and a few other little bits and bobs. I also found some new and some familiar brands to add to my shopping list.
There was some live music from the imaginatively named Thomas and Thomas who played cover versions of a range of songs that definitely had at least one fan – the little boy dancing away in front of them! They were actually quite good but the dancing was very entertaining and quite distracting.
We were ambushed by the man from the WWF and spent the rest of the day not walking past him again. I know why charities rent stands at these events but I wish they wouldn’t.
I managed to get us lost finding the cocktails stand when we decided to make our purchases before leaving, thank goodness we found them again! Maps are very much not my strong point, though I can scent a goody bag at 500 paces it seems.
Anyway, it was really interesting to see how far the free from and allergy market has come along since I was a sniffly asthmatic kid with eczema now that I am a sniffly asthmatic adult with eczema.
This time of year is so miserable, there’s almost nothing better than a warm, fudgey brownie to cheer up the day. Here’s my personal favourite recipe.
Set oven to 200°c, grease and line a brownie tin/square cake tin. I used an electric mixer but you can do it by hand just as easily. I’ve replaced some of the ingredients with substitutes, but you don’t have to.
Melt the coconut oil and chocolate in a microwave.
Mix all the dry ingredients together, add the eggs, mix, add the chocolate oil, mix.
Add the chopped nuts, dried fruit etc if using. Mix together by hand.
Pour into prepared tin, smooth out with a spatula. Pop into a hot oven, cook for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes, cut into squares. These will last a few days in an airtight container, if you can resist them!
Can we just talk a minute about how fabulous Nadiya from GBBO is?
From her incredible bakes (soda pop cake) to her wonderfully expressive face, Nadiya is just marvellous. And she won. The only woman in the final, where she made a wedding cake (her own in fact, as she didn’t have one on the big day), she was funny (chocolate souffles are worse than childbirth) and sweet (that star baker phone call home to her hubby).
She is also a British Muslim woman wearing a hijab, before the watershed, not playing the wife of a terrorist (note to writers, this trope is tired and boring, come up with new material), nor was she silent or unable to speak English (in fact she’s probably bilingual).
The media are of course on the hunt for terrible things to say about her, her husband, family and why she won. This is just, quite frankly, disgusting behaviour. Nadiya seems like a sweet person, who loves her husband and her kids, practices her faith publicly, and is also funny, an excellent baker and made Mary Berry cry (and almost me too).
We should be celebrating her success, why shouldn’t she win? In the multiethnic, multifaith society we live in, I’m proud that Nadiya won, she’s got every right, she is British after all and that’s what the show’s called The Great BRITISH Bake Off, not The Great White Men Only Bake Off (they were well represented throughout as in life).
As ridiculous as it might sound – it does show, in a somewhat silly way (through the medium of cake) what Britain is – a place where anyone can achieve, regardless of what the media says, despite the things that could set us apart from one another.
So, well done Nadiya, oh and can I have the recipe for your lemon cake please.