January, 2011

Jan 11

The Pink Whisk’s Clementine Polenta Cake

Once again, I am absolutely delighted to bring to you another  wheat – free recipe from the wonderful Ruth Clemens aka The Pink Whisk…. enjoy!

P.S. Do check out her incredibly beautiful macaroons too, as they are suitable for many freefrom diets.

Clementine Cake.JPG

A fabulously delicious Clementine cake to serve for dessert, you’d never tell it was ‘free-from’. It may seem like a bit of an effort to boil the clementines but it is very definitely worth it and makes the house smell like sunshine too!


250g butter/soya spread

250g caster sugar

3 eggs, large

100g polenta

250g ground almonds

5 clementines

To serve

Icing sugar, to dust

300ml Crème fraiche

Place the clementines in a pan, cover with water and place on the hob to boil for two hours. Top up the water from time to time to keep them covered.

After two hours turn off the heat and leave to cool in the pan.

Preheat oven to 140c Fan/160c/Gas Mark 3.

Grease and base line a 23cm round springform tin.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat the eggs and add a little at a time beating well after each addition.

Add the polenta and ground almonds and mix well, the mixture will be quite thick and paste like.

Take the cooled whole clementines and place in a food processor/blender and blitz, skin, pith and all. Leave the chunks quite large if you prefer. Set aside 1 tbsp of the clementines.

Add the remaining blitzed clementines to the cake and mix till thoroughly combined.

Place in the oven and bake for approx 1 hour, check the cake after 30 minutes and if it is browning on top too quickly cover with foil and return to the oven to finish baking.

Allow to cool in the tin.

Prepare the crème fraiche stirring through the 1 tbsp blitzed clementine until evenly mixed. Dust the cooled cake with icing sugar and serve with a large dollop of clementine crème fraiche.

Jan 11

Adapting recipes for a free from diet

One of the most difficult aspects of cooking for a “free from” diet is working out what you can and can’t eat, and alternatives for the foods you can’t have. Not everyone wants to have a shop bought alternative – some foods just don’t work as well once you take out the wheat or dairy for example, but sometimes alternatives work well to enable you to enjoy certain dishes. So many more ingredients are much more readily available now thanks to numerous celebrities endorsing a “free from” diet.

 My aim this week is to provide some suggestions which might help you to find something new which you are able to eat.

Grains can be a minefield if you have a wheat or gluten allergy. Try quinoa, millet and rice which are widely available and make a lovely alternative to couscous for example. Don’t overlook the humble potato either – a jacket potato or sweet potato mash are a wonderful source of wheat and gluten free carbohydrate.

Milk can be another problem area if you have lactose intolerance.  Many people substitute cow’s milk for soya milk. However there are a number of people allergic to soya too. Oat milk and almond milk are lovely alternatives. I have noticed that they are much more expensive however, having seen a litre of almond milk retail for over £3, so here’s a recipe to make your own:

  1. Soak a cup of almonds in water for 4-8 hours.
  2. Drain and rinse the almonds until the water runs clear. Place into a blender.
  3. Cover the almonds with water and blend on a low setting until the nuts have been broken down.
  4. Add more water to fill blender up to the top.
  5. Blend for 20-30 seconds on maximum speed.
  6. Pour the milk through a sieve
  7. Serve the almond milk, or store in the fridge for later. Raw almond milk can be stored in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

One of the lessons we learnt very quickly when we had to adapt to a “free from” diet was that you can’t rely on readymade foods and sauces. It’s not as though we ate ready meals every night, but allergens are present in the most unexpected foods once you start to read the labels carefully. I cannot recommend enough the benefit of making your own food when you can. Instead of using a readymade curry sauce for example, make a simple sauce with spices (some readymade spice pastes are very good), coconut milk and tomatoes.

If you have any questions on this, please so get in touch. Follow me on Twitter @gofreecakes.

Watch this space for some exciting recipes and guest posts coming very soon….

Jan 11

Free From Kitchen Winter Salad

Winter Salad.JPG


Happy New Year!

Everyone’s been saying it: no more stodgy food, please! Everyone’s been talking about making a healthy new start in 2011 and I for one feel as though it is very necessary.

I have no one else to blame but myself. With all the Christmas goodies stockpiled by early December, it seemed a shame to have them hanging around, so I embarked on a valiant effort to ensure all those mince pies, Christmas cake, ricciarelli, chocolates, trifle, nuts, (I could go on) would not go wasted. Well, someone had to do it. No wonder I am craving some goodness now. In fact having started on the Christmas food so early this year, I was seriously feeling like I had approached the detox stage by Christmas Eve, but I’m not one to give up. So now, having cleared the decks, I embark on a better start to the year.

Although I feel like some serious nourishment, it is still cold and I don’t want to feel as though I am depriving myself. That’s why I think my winter salad really hits the spot, tasty, nutritious but satisfying at the same time. See what you think – you can let me know on Twitter @gofreecakes

Free From Kitchen Winter Salad

Serves 4 as a side salad or 2 as a main meal


2 very large fresh beetroot, peeled and cut into small wedges

250g (appx.) Chantenay carrots, topped if desired

2 large oranges

4 sticks celery

1-3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper


1) Preheat the oven to 180°C

2) Prepare the carrots and beetroot and bake in the oven on an oiled baking sheet for around 25 minutes until tender

3) Peel the orange and cut out the segments. Try to squeeze as much juice as possible from the peel and retain

4) Slice the celery

5) Whisk the olive oil with the orange juice together with the salt and pepper

6) Combine the baked vegetables with the orange segments, dress and serve immediately.



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