Browse Month by October 2016
Desserts

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake – dairy and gluten free

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life

We sometimes make strawberry cheesecake for a special occasion, but my daughter and I couldn’t resist trying out the same recipe with a new combination of flavours – rhubarb and ginger – just for the sake of it.

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life

And why not? You always need a bit of cheesecake in your life.

I know rhubarb is normally cooked with a lot of sugar to sweeten it, but we wanted to use as little added sugar in this recipe as we could get away with, so we baked it in the oven and added some orange juice, along with some chopped stem ginger in syrup (shop bought).

We used gluten and dairy free ginger biscuits, so there’s already sugar in these and we added just a tablespoon of icing sugar to the cream cheese topping, to help marry all the ingredients together.

As you can see from the photos, we like to put the fruit in the middle of the biscuit base and cream cheese toppings, which works really well in this case. The tartness of the rhubarb ‘jam’, sits well with the ginger biscuit base and the combination of flavours is complemented nicely with the cool creamy topping.

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life

 

Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life
Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free
Print Recipe
A lovely combination of flavours, with the tart rhubarb, baked with ginger and orange juice and a cool, creamy topping - all gluten and dairy free
Servings
10
Servings
10
Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free - A Free From Life
Rhubarb and ginger cheesecake - dairy and gluten free
Print Recipe
A lovely combination of flavours, with the tart rhubarb, baked with ginger and orange juice and a cool, creamy topping - all gluten and dairy free
Servings
10
Servings
10
Instructions
  1. Put the ginger biscuits into a large clear sandwich bag, re-seal and bash with a rolling pin until formed into crumbs
  2. Melt the dairy free spread and add the ginger biscuit crumbs to the melted butter, stirring until fully coated. Pour into a 9 inch round, greased cake tin and press down with the back of a wooden spoon. Put in the fridge to set.
  3. Cut the rhubarb in to 2 inch pieces and add to an oven proof dish. Add the orange juice and stem ginger in syrup, stir to coat and cover with tin foil. Bake in the oven on a medium heat for 30-45 mins until soft. Leave to cool.
  4. Whisk the coconut cream, cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla together until smooth.
  5. Spread the cooled rhubarb over the biscuit base and pour the cream cheese mixture over the top. Put back in the fridge for at least 1 hour, until set.
Recipe Notes

Linking up with Free From Fridays.

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Baking, Reviews

Free From Fairy gluten free wholegrain plain flour

How to make gluten free bread - A Free From Life

I’ve been following the Free From Fairy’s blog for some time now. Having developed her own blend of gluten free flour that doesn’t contain rice flour, she’s used it to develop lot’s of scrummy looking baked goods, both savoury and sweet.

I’m not a fan of rice flour either, not just for the health concerns regarding its arsenic content, but also because I find it gritty and drying. I can see why it’s used in gluten free baking, but there are so many other lovely and tasty gluten free flours out there.

One of the first things I did when my son went gluten free, in addition to dairy, was to buy a bread maker. I can’t stand the commercial offerings and I knew I had to make something better. Oh boy, did I have some disasters – inedible bricks, poorly mixed loaves, too sticky, too crumbly, you name it. My kitchen was like a product development laboratory for a good few weeks until I found a combination that worked, but that combination was a good one and I’ve stuck to it.

Finally getting around to ordering some of the Free From Fairy’s flour, I decided to put it to the test with my recipe and do you know what? It worked a treat.

How to make gluten free bread - A Free From Life

In fact, I didn’t measure it (though was tempted) but it might have even come out taller than my own do (not that I’m obsessed with the size of my loaves or anything).

Anyway, this recipe is for a Panasonic S2500, though I’m sure it works with other Panasonic machines. I haven’t tried it with other bread makers, so I’m not sure if the recipe would need tweaking in order to work. I use the gluten free programme and the dark crust setting. If you don’t have the gluten free option, you can use a rapid bake setting. What this means, essentially, is that your machine will allow the bread to rise, then bake it off. The normal programmes include a rise stage, followed by another kneading called ‘knocking back’. If you do this to your gluten free loaf, you won’t get it to rise again.

Gluten free bread recipe:

  • 500g gluten free flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 80g olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 300ml water

Instructions:

  • Thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients.
  • Make a well in the centre and add the eggs.
  • Add the oil, vinegar and water.
  • Mix using an electric mixer with dough hooks until it forms a loose sticky dough. Note that it won’t be a workable dough as you would expect with bread. It should be wetter and stickier.
  • Pour into the bread machine pan and set the machine to the gluten free programme with dark crust.

If you happen to try this recipe in another bread machine, please let me know how you get on.

Savoury Dishes

Meat and sweet potato pie – gluten, dairy and nightshade free comfort food

Meat and sweet potato pie - gluten, dairy and nightshade free - A Free From Life

What is your ultimate comfort food?

We’ve been having some lovely sunny autumnal days, but the mornings and evenings are getting cooler and I don’t know if it’s that, or if I’ve felt tired this week, but I really fancied some comfort food and only one thing would do – PIE.

Meat and sweet potato pie - gluten, dairy and nightshade free - A Free From Life

The dinners of my childhood years tended to be made up of meat with vegetables and potatoes and then fish on a Friday. Occasionally they would include some form of pie, be it Shepherd’s pie, with the classic mashed potato topping, or meat and potato pie with a pastry crust. Those were my favourite dinners and I’ve been reminiscing recently about that sort of comfort food. They may not have been fancy dinners, but they were tasty and balanced and in my house, there was never much waste.

Meat and sweet potato pie - gluten, dairy and nightshade free - A Free From Life

As much as I love pastry though (being a Northerner and all, it’s a given), the older you get, the less likely it is to agree with you. Whether it’s the gluten or the fat content (if it’s made with a shortening ingredient such as lard), this does not help if you have stomach acid issues or IBS. The good thing is, a gluten free pastry doesn’t seem to be as heavy on the stomach, or leave you with that heartburn feeling. That’s what I’ve certainly found anyway.

I made this lovely meat and potato pie the other day and it went down very well with the family, so I thought I would share it with you. It’s made with gluten and dairy free pastry and the filling is gluten, dairy and nightshade free. As it stands, it is a tasty pie, but if you don’t need to eliminate any of those things, I’m going to give options at the end for what you can add as an alternative. You see when I cook, I have to adapt my recipes to make them suitable for all the family. Whilst I spend time converting them to be free from this and that, you can just as easily ‘un convert’ them for your own needs.

Meat and sweet potato pie - gluten, dairy and nightshade free - A Free From Life

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe and it evokes some childhood memories of your own. Food can do that, which is what I love about it. Ask me any memory and you can guarantee it will include some anecdote or other about food. When it comes to meat and potato pie, I’m instantly taken back to days spent with my nanna and granddad during school holidays, sitting in their tiny kitchen, with the oven door kept slightly ajar for extra warmth.

Meat and sweet potato pie - gluten, dairy and nightshade free - A Free From Life
Meat and sweet potato pie
Print Recipe
A gluten, dairy and nightshade free version of the classic meat and potato pie
Servings
4-5
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings
4-5
Cook Time
1 hour
Meat and sweet potato pie - gluten, dairy and nightshade free - A Free From Life
Meat and sweet potato pie
Print Recipe
A gluten, dairy and nightshade free version of the classic meat and potato pie
Servings
4-5
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings
4-5
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200/gas 6/fan 180
  2. Make the pastry first: Mix together the gram flour, sorghum flour and tapioca starch, rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the water and bring together to form a dough. Wrap in a large piece of clingfilm and put in the fridge.
  3. Chop the onion, carrots and sweet potato into small chunks and dry fry for 5-10 minutes. Add the mince and continue to fry until it has browned.
  4. Add the nutritional yeast and marmite and stir in to the mixture before adding the 150 ml of water.
  5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick, until the vegetables are softened and most of the water has been absorbed into the mixture.
  6. Whilst the vegetables and meat are cooking, roll out the pastry: Take two thirds and put the other third back in the fridge.
  7. IMPORTANT NOTE: gluten free pastry is very 'short', which means it will easily crumble. The best and easiest way to handle it, is to roll out between a folded over sheet of clingfilm so it doesn't stick to either the work surface or the rolling pin.
  8. Flatten your large piece of clingfilm on your work surface and put the dough roughly in the middle, folding the other half over the top of the dough. Now roll out, occasionally measuring against your pie dish. When big enough, peel back the top side of the clingfilm and lift up the rolled out pastry, carefully inverting it into the greased pie dish. Once placed in the dish, peel back the bottom layer of clingfilm and you can cut away any of the sides if they are too long.
  9. Don't worry if your pastry doesn't quite fit. Use your fingers to stretch it out and add extra pieces if it's too short. It doesn't need to be perfect.
  10. Once the mince and vegetables are cooked and the water has mostly absorbed in to the mixture, add it to the pastry case.
  11. Roll out the rest of the pastry in the clingfilm as before and place it on top of the mince and vegetable mixture to close your pie. Use your thumbs to press the lid of the pastry together with the edges of the case. Pierce with a fork several times and brush with a little dairy free milk.
  12. Put the pie in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, by which time, the pastry should be nice and browned.
Recipe Notes

Recipe notes:

  • If you want to make this recipe more FODMAP friendly - add a stick of celery instead of the onion.
  • If you don't have an issue with nightshades - feel free to use an ordinary white potato instead of sweet potato.
  • If you don't have an issue with gluten - add 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce and 1 tbsp plain flour, instead of the nutritional yeast.
  • You can use plain flour instead of the gram, sorghum and tapioca starch mix, when making your pastry (in the same total amount).
  • You can also use butter instead of margarine for making the pastry, or half butter, half animal or vegetable shortening.

 

Linking up with Free From Fridays.

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Health

Living with multiple food intolerances & a nomination for an award

A 'Free-From' Life

I’m honoured to find myself nominated for a UK Allergy Blog Award 2017 in the category of Nutritional Advice for excluding certain food groups and/or catering for food allergies.

You can vote for me by following this link.

A 'Free-From' Life

Why should you vote for ‘A ‘Free-From’ Life’?

I’ve written extensively about why I started this blog; the issues my son faced with his early development and my struggle to get a diagnosis for him. The short of it is that my youngest son is dairy and gluten intolerant and since being diagnosed, the way we eat as a family has changed to cater for his needs. It’s not easy to live with multiple food intolerances and I hope that by sharing my finds and success stories, I can help others in a similar position.

As a parent of a child with dietary needs, I absorb all of the stress and hassle out of finding something suitable to eat when we go out and about. I take any failings personally, along with being made to feel awkward and fussy. I also take the good moments to heart and they give me as much pleasure as they do my son.

One of my favourite moments was when we visited Baby Cakes Bakery in New York and told my son he could choose anything he wanted. When you are dairy intolerant, you can rarely eat anything from a bakery. Everything in Baby Cakes is dairy, wheat, gluten, egg and soya free, so watching his face light up and seeing his delight when tucking into a chocolate donut was one of the highlights of a very special trip.

A 'Free-From' Life

Little things like that make it all worthwhile.

Living with multiple food intolerances isn’t easy, but we do the best we can. By sharing our ups and downs along the way, I hope to highlight the issues and bring attention to the importance of catering for different dietary needs.

If you think this blog is worthy of an award, you can vote for me by following this link. Thank you so much for all your support.