Browse Month by December 2016
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Frangelico chocolate truffles

Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life

These chocolate truffles were so easy to make and took next to no time to prepare. I made them with my daughter and whilst she made a batch and added vanilla extract, I added Frangelico liqueur to make mine boozy!

Have you tried Frangelico? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s the hazelnut equivalent of Amaretto and in my opinion, far superior. I’ve never been a fan of Amaretto anyway, finding the almond taste too overpowering. Frangelico, on the other hand, combines sweetness, with the nuttiness of the hazelnuts in order to complement the warmth of the alcohol. It’s delicious and I’ve been wanting to try it out in something like this for ages.

Don’t you just love Christmas? It gives you the excuse to go over the top and indulge. Love it!

Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life

I managed to get 9 truffles from my batch, whilst my daughter made 14! Hers were very small though, but as we used dark chocolate, they are quite bitter, so you don’t need much to make an impact. They would be ideal to offer with after dinner coffee, to clear the pallet after a big meal. If you want to make them sweeter, use milk chocolate.

We made this using dairy free cream – a coconut cream to be precise, so they are both gluten and dairy free. As you can see, we rolled some in cocoa powder and others in dessicated coconut.

Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life

The preparation to make these took no more than five minutes, but once the ingredients are melted together and mixed, they must be cooled before you can work with them. The tricky side to making the truffles is in the working of the cooled mixture. You have to work fast so they don’t melt.

It’s an ideal recipe to get the kids involved with though, especially those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty.

Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life
Frangelico chocolate truffles
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
Frangelico chocolate truffles - A Free From Life
Frangelico chocolate truffles
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Break up the chocolate and add it to a mixing bowl with the butter and cream
  2. Sit the bowl over a pan of boiling water and stir until melted, then add the Frangelico or vanilla
  3. Leave until the bowl is cool to the touch before transferring to the fridge. Return at five minute intervals to stir. In the meantime, set out a plate with cocoa powder and another with the coconut and lay out your truffle cases
  4. Once the mixture has hardened to the consistency of fondant icing, remove from the fridge and roll teaspoonsful into balls
  5. Roll each ball in either the cocoa powder or coconut and put into truffle cases. Store in a refrigerator
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Cookies

Christmas spiced place name cookies

Christmas spiced place name cookies

Day three of my make ahead Christmas recipes is for Christmas spiced cookies.

Christmas spiced place name cookies - A Free From Life

There will be ten of us around the table on Christmas day and I like to make it look extra special for the big occasion.

This year, I’m trying something different to the usual place name holders by making them edible! These Christmas spiced cookies were fun to make because I let the children decorate them (yes you read that right, I relinquished the control on this one). With our collection of angel, snowman, Christmas tree and star cookie cutters, we were able to make some lovely little place names that the guests can eat if they feel that way inclined (or can fit anything else in).

Christmas spiced place name cookies

These are wheat free, as I made them with spelt flour. They are also dairy free.

A variation of gingerbread, I used mixed spice instead of just ginger, to give the lovely blend of spices that remind us of Christmas and I’m hoping they’ll make an interesting addition to the table. That is, if you can see them amongst the crackers, selfie masks, napkins and little stocking cutlery holders. Perhaps it’s over the top, but who cares? It’s Christmas.

Christmas spiced place name cookies - A Free From Life

 

Christmas spiced place name cookies
Christmas spiced place name cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
10
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings
10
Cook Time
10 minutes
Christmas spiced place name cookies
Christmas spiced place name cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
10
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings
10
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas 4 and grease and line two baking sheets
  2. Sift together the flour, bicarb, salt and mixed spice
  3. Rub in the butter to the flour mix, until you get a texture resembling breadcrumbs
  4. Add the sugar and mix well
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the egg and golden syrup
  6. Use a fork to whisk in the egg and syrup to the mix until it starts to form a dough, bring it together with your hands if necessary
  7. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out to about 3mm thick and cut out your shapes, taking the extra and re-rolling until all the dough is used up.
  8. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden
  9. Leave to cool completely before decorating and for a finishing touch, dust with icing sugar
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Side dishes

Make ahead Christmas recipes – Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life

My second make ahead Christmas recipe this week is for cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls. If you didn’t catch yesterday’s recipe for Duchess sweet potatoes, you can find it here.

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life

Made with gluten free sausage meat and the crumbed crusts from one of my gluten free loaves, this stuffing recipe is also suitable for those following a dairy free diet.

I decided to make these as stuffing balls, to serve as an alternative to the pigs in blankets I usually offer. You can, of course, use this recipe to stuff the cavity of the turkey, or bake it in an oven proof dish. The citrus burst of the orange zest, complements the sweetness of the cranberries and apples, with just a hint of the nutty chestnuts coming through. I think you could eat these on their own, they’re that good. Cooked as I did, they are the equivalent of meatballs and could quite easily go alongside some salad and other leftovers from your Christmas lunch.

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing ball s - A Free From Life

The next recipe I’ll be sharing is for Christmas spiced name place cookies.

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life
Make ahead Christmas recipes - Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing
Print Recipe
Gluten and dairy free stuffing with full fruit flavours to give an ideal accompaniment to your Christmas meal
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life
Make ahead Christmas recipes - Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing
Print Recipe
Gluten and dairy free stuffing with full fruit flavours to give an ideal accompaniment to your Christmas meal
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter and fry the chopped shallots and herbs until softened
  2. Add the cooked onions and herbs to a large mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well (you may have to use your hands to do this)
  3. Form in to walnut sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet
  4. Bake in the oven at 180C for 45 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Recipe Notes

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life

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Side dishes

Make ahead Christmas recipes – Duchess sweet potatoes (gluten and dairy free)

It’s the countdown to Christmas and time to start prepping for the big day. One way to get organised and give yourself less to worry about, is to make ahead as much as possible. This week, I’m excited to be sharing with you some Christmas recipes you can make in advance, so on the day itself you can wow your guests with your creative handiwork. All the recipes are gluten, dairy and nightshade free.

First up today is a recipe I’m resurrecting from the 1980’s – Duchess potatoes.

Duchess sweet potatoes - A Free From Life

These were a childhood favourite of mine and something we only ever had on Christmas day, so it was always something to look forward to. I remember mum making them in advance and freezing them, so all she needed to do was defrost and warm through on the day. Mum always made them with white potatoes to go alongside the roasties, but as I don’t eat white potatoes, I thought I’d try something different and make them with sweet potatoes instead.

It does take a little preparation to make these, but don’t be put off. My piping skills are non-existent, but I managed to produce something that looks as though I actually knew what I was doing. They are a show-stopping side dish that will add that something extra to your Christmas meal and the colour of these is just so vibrant and gorgeous, they are going to look amazing alongside the purple of the red cabbage and the bright green of the sprouts.

Duchess sweet potatoes - A Free From Life

Tomorrow I will be making stuffing balls, with cranberry, orange and chestnuts.

Duchess Sweet Potatoes
Print Recipe
A nightshade free alternative to the classic 80's side dish, Duchess Potatoes
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Duchess Sweet Potatoes
Print Recipe
A nightshade free alternative to the classic 80's side dish, Duchess Potatoes
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Ingredients
Servings: 20-24
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Boil the sweet potatoes until they are tender (about 20-30 minutes)
  3. Drain and return to a low heat for a minute to allow the remainder of the water to evaporate
  4. Mash the sweet potatoes, using an ordinary potato masher, then use an electric mixer to whisk them until smooth and creamy
  5. Add the butter and egg yolk, along with salt and pepper to taste and continue to whisk for another minute or two until light and fluffy
  6. Lightly oil two baking trays
  7. Spoon the sweet potato mixture in to the piping bag and push down. Twist the open end and push the mixture until it comes through the nozzle. Test it before you start to make the real things.
  8. Work in circles, by piping the sweet potato in spirals until you have a rosette shape. Feel free to get creative at this point.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool on the trays before removing to freeze.
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Health

UK Allergy Blog Awards finalist

I’m an Allergy Blog Awards UK finalist

Wowsers, I only went and made it to the final of the UK Allergy Blog Awards didn’t I?

That’s down to all those of you who read and support this blog, so thank you. I appreciate it, I really do.

I’m honoured and privileged to be among some of the top allergy bloggers in the UK and I’m both excited and nervous about meeting them at the awards ceremony next year.

This blog is a resource for those with multiple food intolerance. I mainly cook dairy and gluten free for my son, but as I avoid nightshades too, I have to adapt recipes accordingly. The main point I want to prove is that it can be done.

Being gluten free is a lifestyle choice for many now and it’s not so difficult to be catered for when you go out to a restaurant. Being both dairy and gluten free is still a problem and I find it increasingly frustrating because the two often go hand in hand, particularly where children are concerned. So I may moan a lot about restaurants and other catering establishments, but I feel it’s imperative to keep hammering this point home. That is another reason why this blog is so important to me.

We went to a hotel complex in Tenerife back in October and the chefs there made desserts for my son everyday. They were incredible creations that I couldn’t believe were dairy free and kept having to ask the waiters to check. But they were and those chefs proved that you can make something amazing without dairy and with a bit of imagination.

You would be amazed how much a dairy intolerant person appreciates that bit of effort, especially a child.

What to expect from ‘A ‘Free-From’ Life

Going forward, I will continue to share my successful recipes. I intend to document some easy dairy hacks for things like ‘cheese’ sauce and whipped ‘cream’ desserts and I hope to share my discoveries as I attempt to uncover what is really behind my IBS symptoms.

I hope you continue to follow this blog and enjoy, and make use of, the posts on here. If there is anything you would like to see, please feel free to get in touch with me. Perhaps it’s a dessert you really miss, or something you’ve been craving but can’t have anymore. Maybe you just want to know more about how to cut something out of your diet without having to miss out too much. I will do my best to help you.

Whatever the outcome at the Allergy Blog Awards final next year, the important point is, there are a number of us bloggers out there doing our best to help people with allergies and food intolerances. We want to promote awareness of the issues and show that although sufferers may be a minority, they are growing in numbers and need a voice to support them.

I will leave you with this…

Our Sunday roast dinner last week included pork belly with crackling, roast potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower cheese and Yorkshire puddings. All homemade and of course, dairy and gluten free. We were all so stuffed, we couldn’t eat dessert. You don’t need to go hungry when you have a food intolerance!

Dairy free cauliflower cheese - A Free From Life

Uncategorised

Carrot cake muffins – gluten and dairy free

Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life

It was my birthday yesterday, so naturally this calls for cake.

gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life

Deciding on carrot cake muffins with ‘cream cheese’ topping, I set about converting a recipe. I’m not a fan of overly sweet things, really I’m not. Not since I’ve been doing yearly sugar detoxes anyway. Whilst I enjoy the occasional sweet treat, I find when I bake myself, I can reduce the sugar considerably and still produce a treat that satisfies.

I’m also a fan of wholesome cakes – my chocolate courgette cake being a family favourite. The sweetness of the carrots, combined with juicy raisins and the crunch of chopped walnuts, just fits the bill.

As you can see, I went a little overboard and made 24 muffins, which is a lot of cake, but I wanted to make plenty to share the birthday love!

Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life

 

The muffins came out a lovely golden brown. They held well and the result was a delicious, moist cake.

If you would like to try them for yourself, you can find the recipe below.

Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life
Carrot cake muffins - gluten and dairy free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life
Carrot cake muffins - gluten and dairy free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 5. Line 2 muffin trays with paper cases.
  2. Beat together the oil, sugar and eggs
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the tapioca, sorghum and quinoa flours with the baking powder, bicarb, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat together until fully incorporated.
  5. Grate the carrots and finely chop the walnuts. Add these, along with the raisins the the mix and stir in.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. To make the cream cheese frosting: Sift the icing sugar and cream with the margarine. Add the vanilla extract and cream cheese, then beat together until smooth. Once the cakes are cooled, spread the cream cheese frosting on to each muffin, then refrigerate until set.
Recipe Notes
Le Coin de Mel
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