Tag Archives: rice flour baking

Meeting a knead

With so much of my time and energy focused on NEAW16 throughout May as well as coping with the aftermath of M’s broken leg, I unusually spent very little time in the kitchen for most of the month, other than to whip up the regular offerings for each meal. Having taken a much-needed short break to recover, it has been time to revisit some of the recipes I’ve spotted and saved over the last few weeks to see if they could be adapted to suit M’s current dietary needs. One of the foods he really misses having is bread and barely a month goes by without him requesting a sandwich made of “real bread”Kneading-dough-007 and not just rice cakes. A couple of years ago I took a Doves Farm recipe and adapted it to suit our then requirements, and it worked. It wasn’t brilliant, but M loved it despite its foibles because it met his needs. Over the last 18 months, I’ve mastered bread-like equivalents such as pancakes and flatbreads, but hadn’t ventured back into the world of bread-making…until now.

The biggest challenge for my current bread-making attempt was the yeast. We haven’t trialled yeast with M as yet and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t imagine we’ll be doing so for quite some time as the nutritional benefit to be gained by adding it to his diet right now is negligible. We will, without a doubt, get there some day, probably round about the time M wants to start drinking beer – though obviously my baby will never be old enough for that milestone to pass! – but it doesn’t feel like a priority for the time being. Instead, I switched on my trusty laptop and started looking for yeast alternatives or, even better, recipes for yeast-free bread and found this fantastic one by FussyFoodie.co.uk, which I was able to tweak further for M. I am, as ever, extremely grateful to those other allergy-aware cooks IMG_0458[1]out there, who take their time to share their recipes via blogs and other websites as their hard work helps make my efforts a little easier as I strive to create appetising dishes for M.

I baked my final recipe twice to try out both my bread-maker and my free form bread-making skills, as well as adding different flavours to see how the end results compared. The machine mixed loaf looked great, but I found that the ingredients hadn’t really been combined enough in the pan and ended up having to remove a good centimetre or so of rice flour from the bottom of the loaf before it could be enjoyed. The centre of the loaf also failed to cook thoroughly, though toasting slices of the bread before serving did go some way to resolving that particular crisis. Both M and G were suitably impressed by my efforts, which encouraged me to give it a go a second time. This time round I hand-mixed the dough, added some herbs for a different flavour and formed small bread rolls instead of a single loaf. IMG_0491[1]These worked much better in my opinion and M certainly enjoyed the crusty outside, reminiscent of a “real” bread roll, almost as much as the warm centre that had been spread with some coconut oil to replace the butter. I will definitely be baking this bread recipe again and may even try to co-ordinate my cooking so that M can enjoy his chicken burgers in a bap!

A Birthday* surprise (*cake recipe included!)

11009339_10152614451586123_8225188594845865541_o20140912_225331Six months ago I tackled the challenge of a birthday cake for M, where the only ingredients he could eat safely didn’t lend themselves to whipping up a tasty sponge and he ended up with a 3-tier Cluedo-themed “fake” cake. Six months before that, I adapted a crazy cake recipe to create a M-friendly chocolate masterpiece for my Mum’s milestone birthday.

Somehow it seems fitting that we’ve come almost full circle in our cake journey and I’ve recently found myself facing the task of another birthday cake for Mum and, more than that,  one which could be eaten and enjoyed by us all. The apple and rice flour cupcakes I’ve been making have been a real winner with the children, but the ever-persistent problem of a granular taste to these bakes, no matter what I’ve tried, meant that I was desperate to find an alternative and better recipe to mark this special occasion. Despite frequent google searches, that recipe was proving to be irritatingly elusive and it was only when we finally achieved a fifth safe food for M that I struck birthday cake gold.logo-eureka-01

To be perfectly honest, it really all came as something of a surprise success as I had no great hopes of yet another search turning up a rice flour cake that would 1) accommodate M’s restricted diet and 2) taste delicious. Despite my doubts, I thought it worth a look with our new ingredient of pear added to the mix and came across this easy recipe for pear and rice flour cupcakes that were not only gluten- and dairy- as advertised, but also egg- and soya-free too. I decided to do a test run and made a quick batch whilst G and M were in school. By the time they arrived home, the house was filled with the tantalising smell of fresh baking and M’s nose instantly went into impressive action as he begged to know if he could taste-test the cakes I’d been preparing that afternoon. Three cupcakes quickly disappeared from the cooling rack and I was thrilled to discover that there was none of that unpleasant granular taste that I’ve come to associate with rice flour baking. With an instant hit on my hands, I now needed to decide whether to attempt a cupcake tower for my Mum or see if I could cook a more traditional cake using the same recipe.

Due to an abundance of apples in our household at the moment – the benefit of apple trees conveniently located at my Mum’s, my office and at a friend’s – I tweaked the recipe to include some apple and reduced down the original quantities of oil and syrup as the original cupcakes had been a little too sweet for my liking. I waited nervously as the cakes baked, fingers tightly crossed that the larger layers would turn out as well as the cupcakes had and I needn’t have worried. The cakes looked impressive and I now have yet another great recipe to add to my list. Having left them to cool in the fridge (no #GBBO-style “wafting” in my household!) I sandwiched them together with some home-made apple purée before turning my mind to the knotty subject of how to decorate it all.

appleswansNow, if I had seen at that point episode 7 of #GBBO, I might have taken my inspiration from Paul’s amazing apple swans and spent my afternoon carving the intricate decorations to top the cake, but fortunately, or maybe unfortunately – I suppose it depends on your point of view – that episode had yet to air and instead I found myself using my time much more wisely: I was back on google trying to work out if a dairy-free buttercream icing was at all possible. To my delight and complete surprise, I found a way to adapt a recipe and create my very own coconut oil icing, which would tick all the boxes when it came to M’s dietary requirements. Whilst he is unable to eat coconut milk or flesh, he is able to tolerate the oil and I was over-the-moon to have the chance to finally bake a cake that actually looked and tasted like “real” cake for him to try for the first time in nearly a year. I took a tentative and small first mouthful to check the taste before spreading it across my cake. It has, unsurprisingly, a strong coconut taste, but this complimented the apple and pear flavours of the cake and was beautifully easy to use.

The icing was easy to make and I’ve no doubt I’ll be making more the next time a M-friendly cake is required. To make my recipe, I used:

  • 250g solid coconut oil
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp rice milk
  1. Put the “solid” coconut oil – it should not be liquid at room temperature – into a bowl and blend until smooth 20150912_185526
  2. Slowly add the icing sugar and vanilla, continuing to beat the mixture 20150912_185815
  3. Finally add the rice milk, 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the consistency required. You can add more or less rice milk depending on how spreadable you want the icing to be 20150912_190502
  4. At this point I added some food colouring, one drop at a time, until I got the colour I was after – I’m not too sure about the green icing I ended up with, it was Mike’s suggestion and I’m not convinced it was the right one!
  5. Use to decorate cakes or cupcakes. Whatever your opinion of the colour, the finished result looked spectacular and I’m pleased to say it tasted amazing too!20150912_204048

NB – you can add any other safe flavours or colourings instead of the vanilla

This recipe is an entry into the #Swearbyit challenge with Vita Coco. Find more great coconut oil recipes and tips on using coconut oil at http://www.swearbyit.com”