Ingredient: Sorghum flour
Cookies

Pecan Cookies – gluten, dairy and egg free

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

Few things are more comforting in life than the smell of freshly baked cookies (fresh baked bread and ground coffee are up there too). It’s home, it’s childhood memories and a great big hug all wrapped into one.

‘Free From’ cookies don’t have to be tasteless, dry or gritty and just because you have to avoid gluten and dairy, doesn’t mean you can’t experience that same home-baked, fresh cookie experience.

The ideal mix of crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, this cookie recipe is gluten, dairy and egg free, but is so tasty, I’d put money on no one telling the difference, or even caring for that matter.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

This recipe includes chopped pecans, but if you want to make it nut free, just change this part of the recipe for something else, such as raisins or chocolate chips. The combinations are endless, really. You can take out the cinnamon and add ginger, substitute the vanilla for almond essence or for a citrus flavour, add orange or lemon juice.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

These are so easy to make, my 10 year old made a batch all on her own. She used dark chocolate chips, instead of nuts or raisins and kept the cinnamon. It was a lovely combination.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Pecan Cookies - Gluten, dairy and egg free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Pecan Cookies - Gluten, dairy and egg free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Weigh out the flours, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon and mix together well. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric whisk. Add the golden syrup and vanilla extract
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar and continue to beat to until the mixture is incorporated into a soft dough
  4. Weigh out the pecans and chop, either by hand or in a coffee grinder. Add these to the dough and mix well
  5. Take desert spoonfuls of the dough and make into a round before putting onto a baking tray (lined with non-stick parchment paper) and flattening with the back of your hand
  6. Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 12 minutes or until golden
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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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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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Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life

Try these gluten and dairy free pecan cookies for a tasty after school treat

Now the kids are back at school, I find myself thinking once more about packed lunches and afternoon snacks. Sunday is the day for preparation in our house and that usually involves turning my kitchen into a mini bakery. I make at least two or three different things, thinking that will see us through the week.

Of course by Tuesday or Wednesday there’s nothing left, something that’s inevitable when you offer up home baking to a family of five. My gluten and dairy free treats go down well with everyone, not just my intolerant son and these cookies are no exception.

pecan-cookies-4

When I made these pecan cookies for the first time last week, they went down such a storm, I ended up making two batches. They really were very easy to make though, taking just 10 minutes to prepare and 12 minutes to bake.

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life

I like to experiment with different gluten free flours and I highly encourage you to give it a try. The difference in taste you get compared to the shop-bought blends is staggering. Not that I’m criticising commercial gluten free flour blends, it’s just that they tend to use rice flour and I’m not a fan. I don’t like the grittiness you get and I personally believe there are much tastier gluten free flours out there.

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life

This recipe uses a combination of sorghum flour (my favourite gluten free flour) and chestnut flour, which I thought I would try out. I’ve used chestnut flour before in a gnocchi recipe and found it worked well. I thought the nuttiness of the chestnuts would complement the pecans in this recipe. I’ve also used tapioca flour, which is my starch of choice. Whenever you blend gluten free flours, the recipe works much better if you combine the flour with a starch. You’re aiming to recreate the gluten effect and starch can help with that. You can find out more about baking gluten free from a previous post I wrote.

If you’re worried about buying a new flour, using it once and wasting the rest, don’t be. If my experience is anything to go by, these cookies will become a family staple and before you know it, you’ll have used up the whole bag!

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies
Print Recipe
Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/Fan 160C
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy, then add the syrup
  3. Measure the flours into a separate bowl and add the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well
  4. Add the mixed flour to the butter/sugar/syrup mix and stir or beat together to form a sticky dough
  5. Put the pecans in a blender and pulse until roughly chopped
  6. Add the pecans to the dough and stir to incorporate
  7. Grease a baking sheet
  8. Place walnut-sized balls of the dough on to the baking sheet, with space in between. Makes approx. 15 (no need to flatten them)
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden
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