Browse Tag by Dairy free baking

Peach and blueberry cobbler

This peach and blueberry cobbler was something I literally just cobbled together at the weekend – I know, bad jokes aside, this came out of a need for some comfort food, as well as to use up whatever ingredients happened to be available.

I’m trying to teach my eldest daughter about cooking at the moment

We talked about how it’s an intuitive process whereby you must use your senses to guide you. You might add a little more salt or pepper upon tasting, give the pasta a little squeeze to see if it’s cooked enough, or put a splash of water in a sauce that feels too sticky and thick.

I rarely follow recipes, preferring instead to make up my own, but I recognise it’s not so easy to wing it when it comes to baking, particularly with gluten free baking. Baking is more of an exact science, but it doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with flavours and this cobbler is the perfect example of that.

We had some tinned peaches in the cupboard and some blueberries in the fridge that were on the turn.

I thought they’d make a perfect combination, and as we’d already had a crumble recently, I came up with the idea of a cobbler instead. The cobbler topping is very much like a scone mix and this gluten and dairy free version doesn’t disappoint. The addition of ground almonds and almond milk give it a lovely nutty flavour.

Made with ordinary flour, you would be able to shape the dough into rounds and place them on top of the fruit, however, a gluten free version comes out more like the consistency of thick cake mix. This means you have to spoon it on instead, but by using an ice cream scoop, you can still get the cobbled shape upon baking.

Peach and blueberry cobbler - A Free From Life

I added the minimum amount of sugar to this recipe, just 25 grams, as the fruit is sweet enough on its own.

You could use an alternative such as coconut sugar, if you wanted to make it refined sugar free. The cobbler topping, I think, would be delicious on it’s own. Scooped into muffin tins, it would work as a gluten and dairy free scone alternative.

Here’s the recipe:
200g gluten free plain flour (I used Free From Fairy plain flour blend)
2tsp baking powder (if you use self-raising flour, you don’t need this)
100g ground almonds
25g sugar
100g dairy free ‘butter’
180ml almond milk
Juice of half a lemon
1 egg
Fruit of your choice

  • Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar, then add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • In a measuring jug, weigh out the almond milk, add the lemon juice and then beat in the egg.
  • Add this to the flour mix and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Lay out your fruit in the bottom of an ovenproof dish big enough to serve 6 people.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, add the topping mix on to the fruit, making sure it’s completely covered (tip – start on the outside, work your way around and towards the middle).
  • Bake in the oven at 180C for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.

Peach and blueberry cobbler - A Free From Life

Serve with dairy free ice cream or custard.

Le Coin de Mel

Dairy free diaries

Dairy Intolerance - what you need to know - A Free From Life
Image courtesy of tiverlucky at

My son is dairy and wheat intolerant and although I make most things to suit him, I don’t always avoid these items in my own diet.

Having suffered long-term with IBS, I’ve found my own symptoms are worsened by nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines, mainly). Avoiding these foods definitely helps keep my stomach from tying in knots and my skin breaking out in hives, but one thing it hasn’t helped with is my skin.

I haven’t talked about my skin problems on this blog before, but it’s time to finally ‘come out’!

Although I suffered with bad skin as a teen, it cleared when I started taking the pill. When I came off the pill, I went on to have three children, and during this time my skin was clear, which I think was mainly down to the hormones swimming around my system during that time.

It was after having my third child that things began to unravel. A year after having him, I sought help because my IBS was at its worst and my skin was terrible.

Having taken measures to help with both of these problems, I’ve since changed my diet to get the IBS under control and the products I use do a good job of controlling my skin – mostly.

The area I can’t seem to do anything about is my chin.

I’ve looked into it (thanks Google), and found the cause of outbreaks in this area is hormonal related and common amongst women of 30+. Great. Even better news, it’s a recognised form of acne. Wonderful.

So it seems unless I go back on the pill (not going to happen) or take some form of hormone regulating medication (I’m in my early forties, so I’m not going there yet), there isn’t a lot I can do. Or is there?

Some suggestions indicate poor digestion as a possible contributor to these forms of outbreaks (that’ll be me then), with a link to dairy. So it leaves me with little choice but to give this option a try.

I’m reaching the end of week one of my dairy free trial. I tried to kid myself that I didn’t each that much dairy in the first place, but I’ve found the difficulties arise when you go out.

What has changed this week?

  • I went to Costa (once), for a takeaway and had a soya milk cappuccino (wasn’t too bad). Didn’t choose anything to eat because the choice is limited to dried fruit, nuts or some mini cherry bakewells (too sweet for me).
  • I took my eldest daughter plus friends to the local trampoline park on Saturday and it was over lunchtime. Again I had a coffee with soya milk, but there wasn’t anything I could eat except crisps (and I don’t do potatoes do I?) By the time we left and called into town on the way home, I was starving and ended up getting a slice of banana bread from the local gluten free cafe (it was one of three choices that were both gluten and dairy free).
  • Today, I was out shopping with my middle daughter, whilst my eldest and her friends went to the cinema (this, and the trampolining, were because of her birthday, not that I take her to stuff and don’t do anything with the other two – just in case you were wondering). I needed caffeine (as you do when you’ve had three teenagers for a sleepover), so we dropped in to M and S.

Although there were a few choices of gluten free cakes, there wasn’t anything dairy free. Even if I’d opted to forego the gluten free, the choice didn’t improve because all the sandwiches included dairy. I ended up with a gluten free bread bun, spread with margarine and you guessed it, a coffee with soya milk.

I will say one thing for this week, I have definitely eaten less and avoiding dairy has meant not giving into the sugar cravings. I can also appreciate, more than ever, what my son has to live with on a daily basis and it’s the reason why I always take snacks for him wherever we go.

As for the skin (the reason for doing this) I can’t say I’ve seen any improvement yet, although it’s early days and I wouldn’t expect to. The test will be to see how it fairs over a complete cycle because after all, it’s the hormones at work here, and diet may not be the contributing factor.

I’m off to make a peach cobbler now. It’s a simple recipe and will be both gluten and dairy free, plus low sugar. It is Sunday after all, and with the log fire burning away, some comfort food feels like the perfect end to the week.


Courgette and carrot loaf – gluten and dairy free

Courgette and carrot loaf - A Free From Life

We have a small vegetable patch in our garden and every year, one of our greatest successes is courgettes. With such an abundant crop, it would be easy to become fed up of eating them, which has happened in previous years. So I’ve had to become more inventive in how I use them up.

One of our favourites is a chocolate courgette cake and I also enjoy letting the odd one grow big enough to be marrow size, then baking it in the oven, halving, scooping out the middle and filling with a savoury rice, mince Bolognese or chilli. It’s such a hearty meal.

Courgette and carrot loaf - A Free From Life

Then I inherited a recipe for a courgette and carrot loaf that I thought I’d try out. I had to convert it to be gluten free and with the addition of sunflower oil, it’s dairy free too. What I love about this courgette and carrot loaf is that it’s packed with flavour and wholesome goodness.

Courgette and carrot loaf - A Free From Life

The ingredients work together so well, with the carrots providing some sweetness, the courgettes moisture and the nuts give just the right amount of crunch. A slice of this loaf will give you a tasty, satisfying mid-morning snack that will keep you going until lunch or an afternoon tea treat to last you until dinner.

Courgette and carrot loaf - A Free From Life

Free From Farmhouse
Link up your recipe of the week
Courgette and carrot loaf - A Free From Life
Courgette and carrot loaf
Print Recipe
A tea time loaf packed with vegetables and nuts for a tasty, satisfying and filling treat.
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50mins - 1 hr
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50mins - 1 hr
Courgette and carrot loaf - A Free From Life
Courgette and carrot loaf
Print Recipe
A tea time loaf packed with vegetables and nuts for a tasty, satisfying and filling treat.
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50mins - 1 hr
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50mins - 1 hr
  1. Weigh out the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and mixed nuts. Stir well
  2. In a separate bowl mixed together the beaten eggs, oil, lemon rind and grated veg.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together until well incorporated.
  4. Pour in to a greased loaf tin and bake in the oven at 180/gas 4 for 50 mins to 1 hour. Check with a tooth pick to see if it comes out clean. If so, it is done.
Recipe Notes

Leave to cool in the tin before turning out on to a wire rack.

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Almond Butter and Raisin Cookies – grain free, dairy free

Almond butter raisin cookies - A Free From Life

I adapted this recipe from a wheat based peanut raisin cookie recipe I had. The original recipe didn’t have peanut butter, but used coarsesly ground peanuts instead. As I discussed in my posts about converting your recipes to make them gluten free, you need to add more liquid, otherwise the resulting product will be too dry, so it made sense to add a nut butter instead of ground nuts. I replaced the flour with a mixture of ground almonds and fat reduced almond flour.

These cookies are very easy to make and the result is a delicious, crunchie cookie. I hope you enjoy them too.

100g dairy free butter alternative
50g sugar
2 tbsp coconut milk, or another dairy free milk
1 egg white
100g almond butter
200g almond flour (can be a mix of finer flour and ground Almonds)
2tsp baking powder
50g raisins


Preheat the oven to 160/gas 3
– Cream the butter and sugar
– Add the milk and almond butter and whisk to incorporate
– Weigh out the almond flour and baking powder, then add these to the wet mix and whisk again
– Whisk the egg white separately until foamy, then add this to the rest of the ingredients
– Fold in the raisins

Form in to balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, evenly spaced. I made mine about the size of golf balls because I wanted a nice, substantial sized cookie.

Flatten into rounds with the palm of your hand and bake for around 15 minutes, or until golden.

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Casa Costello

Almond, Coconut Squares – Dairy Free, Gluten Free

Almond coconut squares - gluten free, dairy free - A Free From Life

I don’t know about you, but with the warm weather we’ve been having, I keep finding that the bananas in the fruit bowl are overripe before I know it and I have to turn them in to something else so they don’t get wasted.

Once they turn brown and spotty, bananas are past their best for eating, but with all the starch converted to sugar, they make a great base for using in baked goods in place of processed sugar. I used up mine to make these almond, coconut squares:

Almond coconut squares gluten free, dairy free - A Free From Life

These little treats taste so good. They are packed full of protein and combine my favourite flavours of almond and coconut. I used this fab dairy free chocolate from Doisy and Dam for an extra hit of coconut, but you can use any chocolate you like.

Coconut & Lucuma Chocolate - dairy free - A Free From Life

2 large or 3 medium overripe bananas
3 eggs
50g coconut oil
130g almond butter
130g almond flour
3tbsp coconut flour
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4tsp salt
50g chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 180/gas 4 and grease or line a flap jack tin

– Mash the bananas in a large bowl
– Add the eggs, coconut oil and almond butter and mix well
– Add the almond flour, coconut flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and whisk until everything is well incorporated
– Fold in the chocolate chips

– Pour into the tin and spread evenly
– Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and firm to touch

What are your favourite ways to use up ripe bananas?

Free From Farmhouse
Casa Costello

Chocolate Teff Shortbread – Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Chocolate teff shortbread - A Free From Life

These cookies have the same short, crumbly texture as shortbread, but without the mountain of butter. This is the first time I’ve used teff flour in a sweet product (I normally use it in my bread recipe), but I was keen to come up with something that would enhance its rich malty flavour.

Figuring it would pair well with chocolate I had a go at making cookies. After a couple of attempts, I made these:

The addition of tahini compliments the strong flavours of the chocolate and teff, plus it means you add less butter too. I used a dairy free alternative to butter. I’ve named the biscuits after the teff flour because it is the predominant flavour that comes through.

65g rice flour
65g sorghum flour
120g tapioca flour
85g teff flour
15g raw cacao
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g unrefined sugar

100g butter (dairy free spread)
130g tahini
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla

Dark chocolate

– Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together
– In a separate bowl, measure out the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth and creamy
– Add the wet mix to the dry and stir until it forms a dough
– Take walnut-sized balls of the dough and place on to a parchment lined baking sheet, ensuring there is space in between each one
– Flatten the balls to form a round cookies shape
– Bake for 12-15 minutes at 180/gas 4

Leave the cookies to cool before dipping them in melted dark chocolate. I can’t confess to having a skill at doing this. I literally dunked them face first and it got a bit messy – could be a great job for a child helper, with the bonus that you get to lick your fingers when you’ve finished!

Free From Farmhouse

Apple Slice – Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free

Apple Slice - A Free From Life

Apple Slice - A Free From Life

This recipe comes from the need to use up some apples that I had in the fridge. I used cooking apples, but when I made it a second time, I tried it with eating apples and it worked just as well. I also tried this recipe with both margarine and coconut oil. My preferred version is the one with coconut oil, but again, both work just as well.

– 250g gluten free plain flour. You can use a pre-blended version, but mine contained this mix:
150g tapioca flour
50g quinoa flour
50g sorghum flour

– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 75g unrefined sugar
– 120g coconut oil or margarine
– 2 Bramley apples (medium) or 3 eating apples
– 50g raisins
2 tbsp dairy free milk (I used Koko Dairy Free coconut milk)

Preheat the oven to 180/gas 4

– Measure out the flour, add the baking powder and cinnamon and mix well
– If using coconut oil, melt it first, then add to the dry mix. If using margarine, add in small cubes and use your fingers to rub in to the flour until you have a breadcrumb-like texture
– Stir in the sugar
– Use a blender to coarsely chop the apples into small cubes (you can do this by hand, but include a mixture of grated and chopped to vary the size of the pieces)
– Add to the mix with the raisins and stir until well incorporated
– Add the milk and stir until the mixture comes together like a sticky, loose dough

– Turn on to a lined baking sheet and form into a circle or rectangle of about two and a half centimetres thick
– Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until golden
– Leave to cool completely before cutting in to small pieces or squares

Apple Slice - A Free From Life

Free From Farmhouse

Lemon and Sultana Scones

Lemon and sultana scones - A Free From Life

The word ‘scone’ instantly reminds me of childhood holidays in Devon, where idyllic little teashops beckoned you in with the promise of homemade versions served with oodles of clotted cream. Of course, you can have a cream tea anywhere nowadays and why not? This simple little baked good, with its fruity and creamy companions, makes the perfect treat for a summer’s day.

As usual, my first attempts at making anything gluten and dairy free tend to come out dense, hard and often brick-like. Based on some of the things I’ve made in the past, I could quite easily go and work for the Ministry of Defence. I keep working on my recipes, though and I get there in the end. That’s the time to share them on this blog.

The scones in this recipe are no bricks, let me tell you. The result is light and fluffy with a lemony freshness. Unfortunately, clotted cream is a no-no for the dairy intolerant contingent of our family, but with the addition of my chia jam and some coconut cream, this makes for a cream tea to rival any traditional one.

200g ground almonds
100g tapioca starch
100g brown rice flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
120g dairy free alternative to butter
1 egg (beaten)
2 tsp honey
120g yoghurt (dairy free if required)
70g sultanas
Grate rind of 1 lemon
1 egg yolk

Instructions (makes 12)

Preheat the oven to 180/gas 4

– Mix the ground almonds together with the flour, starch and bicarbonate of soda
– Add the butter in cubes and rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
– Thoroughly mix in the egg, honey and yoghurt
– Fold in the sultanas and grated lemon rind

Don’t be alarmed if you have a soft and sticky mixture that’s more of a batter than a dough. You are not working with a dough that you roll out and cut, as you would if making traditional scones. A dough of this consistency, when baking gluten free, will result in a baked good that is dry and hard.

– Using a desert spoon, drop heaped spoonfuls of the mixture on to a lined baking sheets, making sure there is space in between each one
– Brush the tops with the egg yolk
– Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown

Vary this recipe by changing the sultanas for other dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries or cherries. You could also substitute the lemon zest for orange.

Casa Costello