FODMAP Friendly Tomato, Goat’s Cheese and Basil Bread


Inspired by this week’s Great British Bake Off. Week 3: Bread.

Before being advised by the doctor to follow the low FODMAP diet I ADORED this bread, originally devised by BBC Good Food. However, their recipe isn’t FODMAP friendly, as it includes butter and wheat flour- boo. So, instead of moping over the fact I couldn’t eat this bread anymore, I decided to have a bit of fun with the recipe. The result? A completely FODMAP friendly, and still utterly delicious loaf of bread! Here’s what I did… 

100g Dairy-Free Butter (I use Vitalite)
300g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour 
2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp Salt and a lot of Black Pepper
175g Goat’s Cheese, diced (no need to remove the rind)
175g Cherry Tomatoes, halved
15g Basil
100ml Lactose-Free Milk
3 eggs

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4
Grease and line a loaf tin
Put the Flour, Xanthan Gum, Salt and Pepper into a bowl
Rub the butter into the flour to resemble fine breadcrumbs
Add 100g of the Tomatoes and 100g of the Goat’s Cheese to the mix
Roughly tear (so in rather large pieces) the Basil and add to the mix
Beat the Milk and Eggs together in a separate bowl, then quickly stir into the Flour mixture
*The mixture should look quite wet/sticky*
Empty the mixture into the tray and scatter the remaining Tomatoes and Cheese
Bake for 45-50 minutes until when a skewer is inserted, it comes out clean

Cut when cool and serve in thick slices- most of all, enjoy that gooey cheesy and tomatoey goodness! Mmmm! 

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Oreo Cookie Cupcakes


Said to taste every bit as good as they look. Give ’em a go!

For the cake:

1 pack oreo cookies
75g self raising flour
25g good quality cocoa powder
100g light brown sugar
100g butter, room temperature
2 eggs (preferably free range or organic)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Place a oreo cookie at the bottom of each of the cupcake cases
Sift the flour and the cocoa together and put aside
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy
Add the eggs one at a time, alternating with a spoon full of the flour and cocoa
Fold in the remaining flour and cocoa
Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for about 10-15 minutes until when you insert a skewer it comes out clean and the sponge is springy when touched
Leave to cool while you make the icing…


3/4 (approx.) packet oreo cookies
75g butter, softened
125g icing sugar, sifted
A few drops of vanilla essence

Beat the butter
Add the icing sugar and vanilla essence and beat until a smooth butter icing is formed
Place the oreo cookies into a sandwich bag
Using a rolling pin, roughly smash the cookies into small chunks
Add most of these chunks to the icing and stir so they’re distributed evenly
Spread the icing onto the cool cakes
Decorate by sprinkling the remaining oreo chunks on top of the icing

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Chocolate Cake with a Caramel filling and Chocolate Ganache

I love to bake so I don’t really need a reason to grab a wooden spoon and bake a few treats. However, this weekend was an special exception as it was my Grandad’s 80th birthday celebrations, so the thinking cap went on and ingredients were gathered to make a feast of cakes! So here’s one of the few bakes I did, a chocoholic’s delight: Chocolate and Caramel cake…



35g cocoa powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml boiling water
2  eggs
185g light muscovado sugar
90ml vegetable oil
100g self-raising flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 160 degrees
Grease and line 2 sandwich tins
Pour the boiling water over the cocoa powder and whisk so there are no lumps
Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk again until smooth
Leave this mixture to the side to cool
Using an electric whisk, combine the eggs, sugar and vegetable oil
Fold in the flour, followed by the cocoa mixture
Split the mixture between the sandwich tins and bake for 25-30 minutes
*While the cake is cooking, you can make the caramel filling (recipe below!)*
Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in its tin, before turning out onto a wire rack to continue cooling

Caramel filling:

125g light soft brown sugar
75ml double cream
70g butter
1/4 tsp salt

Heat the sugar, cream and salt in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves 
Allow it to bubble for a few minutes (be careful it doesn’t burn), then remove for the heat and allow to cool completely
Beat the butter, then add the cooled caramel mixture and mix until combined
Leave to chill in the fridge until it is needed


Chocolate Ganache:

115g dark chocolate
65g double cream 

Gently heat the cream in a pan, take off the heat when it starts to simmer
Pour the heated cream over the chocolate
Leave for a minute for the chocolate to melt, then stir until it is all melted and becomes smooth and glossy


Once cooled, remove the cake from the sandwich tins
Spread the caramel icing on one of the halves, then sandwich together with the other
Pour the ganaches over the cake so that is drips down the sides, use a spatula to make sure it is distributed fairly evenly

Decorate as you wish! I used small pieces of honeycomb. 


Oreo Cookie, Lemon Drizzle and Coffee cupcakes completed the baking bonanza. Recipes to follow in my next few posts!



3D Gluten-Free Vanilla Shortbread Beach Scene #GBBO

As a newbie to ‘Great Bloggers Bake Off’, I decided to go for it and attempt the almighty 3D biscuit structure challenge. Although with the deadline a little later tonight, I have cut it pretty fine! 

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So here is my gluten-free vanilla shortbread beach hut and beach accessories, surrounded with honeycomb sand. As my first try at anything like this, I’m really happy with it- although, quite noticeably I forgot the top halves of the doors, my bad! 

First, the honeycomb:

200g caster sugar
5 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Grease a square tin
Mix the sugar and golden syrup together and gently heat on the stove until the sugar has dissolved
Once sugar grains are no longer visible, slightly increase the heat and let the mixture simmer until an amber caramel colour forms (this will happen fairly quickly!)
Remove from the heat, add the bicarbonate of soda as quickly as possible and beat until all mixed in and the mixture is bubbling
Pour the mixture into the greased tin and leave to the side for 1 hr-1 1/2 hrs until hard
SMASH IT, and use as sand (tip: place around the plate, once the biscuits are all stuck down)

For the biccies:

200g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
335g gluten free flour (make sure it contains xanthan gum, if not add 2 tsp)
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Mix the butter and sugar together
Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix until combined
Add the flour gradually, mixing it into the other ingredients well before adding flour.
Flour a surface with gluten free flour to roll the dough out on. Roll out the dough to about the width of a pound coin.
Cut shapes out of the dough. For the hut I made templates for the front and back (7 cm length 10cm height- remember the tops!), the sides (12cm length, 10cm height) and the roof (12cm length, 7cm height). For the accessories, I made the buoy with a larger cookie cutter and cut the middle with a smaller one. The rest of the accessories were free hand. 
Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment
Bake in the oven until the edges of the shortbread are turning golden. The smaller elements will take approximately 8-10 minutes, whereas the larger ones will take 16-18 minutes
While these are cooking, make the royal icing (directions below!)
Remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes on the baking tray, then transfer to a cooling rack
Once cooled, decorate with glace icing (mix approx 200g icing with a few drops of water until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Add food colouring if you desire)

For the royal icing:

1 egg white
250g icing sugar

Whisk the ingredients together to made a very thick icing, ideal to ‘glue’ and stick parts together and to the presentation plate.

Assemble using your new best friend: Royal icing
Pipe the icing onto the biscuits and glue the first side onto the plate
Continue to glue the other sides down and together
Pipe icing onto the tops of the two sides and glue together the two roof slabs before placing onto the sides
Glue the accessories around the plate as you desire!
Sprinkle the honeycomb sand

And… Ta da! Your very own biscuit beach scene. 3D and gluten-free, what more could you ask for?! 

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‘Black Eyed Susan’ Blueberry, Elderflower and Sage Mini Marbled Cakes


I’m a girl who enjoys a good cocktail from time to time. Earlier this year, Mum came to visit me up in Liverpool and together we discovered ‘Frederik’s’- a cute little bar on Hope Street. We managed to get rather tipsy sipping on their weird-and-wonderful cocktail concoctions, our personal favourite was the oddly titled ‘Black Eyed Susan’- a combination of Vodka, Blueberries, Elderflower and a hint of Sage. So, months on, I decided to re-create this cocktail as a cake- minus the splash of vodka and handsome barman.


Note: This was a spontaneous experiment. I simply woke up this morning and leapt into it, improvising a recipe based on previous bakes and my own initiative, but I reckon they turned out pretty damn successful. If you fancy giving ‘Black Eyed Susan’ cakes a go and reckon they would benefit with a bit of tweaking here and there, please feel free to adapt the recipe (well, ‘guidelines’) below to your own preference. Oh, and do tell me how you chose make them 🙂


The ‘guidelines’…

125g Butter
125g Caster Sugar
2 eggs
125g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
3-4 tbsp Elderflower cordial
150g (approx) Blueberries
5-6 Sage leaves

50g Butter, softened
125g Icing Sugar
1 tbsp Elderflower cordial
Blueberries for decoration

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Grease and line a cake tin
In a small bowl, stir the flour and baking powder together and leave to the side for later
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy
Add the eggs, one at a time, alternating with a spoonful of the flour mixture
Sift and stir in the rest of the flour mixture
Split the cake mix into two bowls
In one bowl, add the elderflower cordial
Puree the blueberries and sage, sieve and add to the other bowl
Place spoonfuls of the mixtures into the cake tin and use a skewer to create a marbled effect
Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack

Meanwhile, make the buttercream:
Beat the butter, then add the icing sugar and elderflower cordial and beat again to create a smooth icing

Back to the cake…
Cut small rounds from the sponge (I used a round cookie cutter)
Pipe the icing onto the tops of the rounds and sandwich together
Decorate with a few blueberries

Et voilà! The ‘Black Eyed Susan’ cake is born!



Where to eat out if you’re a gluten-free foodie!

That time is approaching, the end of summer. Its back to uni in just over a month, so I’m getting organised. Like, ‘writing lists and ticking things off’ sort of organised. 

But I’m so easily distracted.

‘Lets just check Facebook’, ‘… see whats happening on Instagram’, ‘Hey, I’ll watch Jeremy Kyle’

(That last one is pretty shameful.)

Just earlier, during another bout of procrastination, I started searching Google for gluten-free restaurants/cafes/bakeries. *Note: I would search for a FODMAP friendly restaurant- but c’mon, that would get me nowhere.* I’ve got to say, despite initially being a way to avoid all the boring jobs I have to do (i.e. No. 6 on the list: get a tax refund (yawn)), it ended up being a worthwhile search, presenting some great places I’d love to try.

Going out for dinner for most people is relaxing luxury. Well for people suffering with IBS like me, it’s a right pain in the ****, both for me and the people that join me. It starts being a nuisance from the get go. I’m one for popping the chosen restaurant into Google and having a nose at the menu before I visit, the vital question being: ‘Do they serve anything I can eat?’. I mean, actually having something to eat is the aim for going out for dinner isn’t it, so a few restaurants in the past have been rejected for the fact I simply can’t see anything suitable for my diet on the menu. Fortunately, my friends are quite understanding of this. In fact, for her birthday earlier this year, my best friend chose one restaurant over another just because it provided a separate gluten-free menu for me. Yes guys, that’s true friendship right there.

Anyway, back to my Google search findings. I stumbled across ‘The best gluten free restaurants, cafes and bakeries in the UK’ – on first glance it seemed to hit the nail on the head. I clicked into it, not knowing I’d end up spending a great chunk of time trawling through menus of hand-picked gluten-free hideaways, slobbering over some of the delicious-sounding food on offer. I’ve listed a few of the sites below (turning out to be quite a range of cuisines) that particularly tickled my fancy, do give them a look: 

The Truscott Arms, London (Bar Menu) – serving, among other delights, gluten-free fish and chips- yum! There’s also Dinner, Saturday and Sunday menus featured on their main website.

Le Bistrot Pierre (various locations) – Here’s a place which seems to really understand the struggles of gluten-free diners, providing gluten-free bread in their entrees and following with some mouthwatering French fancies! With one based in Cardiff, I’m sure to visit. 

The Creperie, Brighton – Going to Paris earlier this summer and not being able to eat a galette was pretty tough. Fortunately ‘The Creperie’ serves gluten-free ones! Brighton might not be Paris, but it suits me fine if I can get my chops around the “Everyone’s Favourite”- with ham/chorizo and cheddar cheese. 

Pho (various locations) – This caught my eye as I’ve never tried Vietnamese food and would really love to. Looking at the menu, rice noodles feature as the key ingredient in a vast amount of the dishes, meaning it’s perfect for gluten-free diners like me who want to try something new. One of their restaurants happens to be in Brighton which also serves as home to ‘The Creperie’- so I know where I’ll be heading for a day out in the near future! 

It’s great to see that more and more restaurants are providing for gluten allergies and intolerances. Personally, when I see a restaurant which takes gluten-free guests into consideration, it makes me more eager to visit and try their food- and by the looks of it, some of them are producing yummy gluten-free dishes. Hopefully I’ll visit some of the restaurants I’ve mentioned in this post very soon, and I’ll be sure to post my feedback!