Ingredient: dairy free margarine
Uncategorised

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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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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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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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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