25 October 2013

Cheese, Walnut and Rosemary Spelt Focaccia

Nothing beats the smell of homemade bread- there's just no comparison. 
Having been on a gluten-free diet for the last 8 years, this has proved torture for my love of artisan breads and exotic flavoured loaves. 
However, recently I've been able to slowly incorporate a little bit of gluten back into my diet. Spelt is a great flour to use in wholegrain baking. It's an ancient relative of the modern wheat we use today and even though it contains gluten, it is considered to be much more digestible and tolerable for those with a wheat intolerance. 
When using spelt flour in bread it produces a lovely earthy, nutty sort of flavour. Paired with delicate rosemary and a strong cheese it results in a delicious tasting loaf. 
This is a recipe adapted from that of Beca's from the Great British Bake Off for spelt and potato foccacia bread.  


300g potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 380g unpeeled weight)
300g wholegrain spelt flour
1tsp dried-active yeast
1tsp salt
1tsp caster sugar
1tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
3-4tbsp olive oil
Strong cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic
Extra rosemary sprigs


Add the chopped potatoes to a pan of boiling, salted water and simmer for about 15 minutes until soft. Then drain the potatoes, reserving 130ml of the cooking liquid and then put them back in the hot pan to dry out a bit. 

Meanwhile measure out the spelt flour, yeast, salt, sugar and rosemary into a bowl and mix well. 

Then mash the potatoes with the olive oil and add to the flour mixture in a large mixing bowl. Mix well and then begin to add the potato water gradually until the mixture is well combined and has come together. Then knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it feels smooth. ( You can either do this by hand on a lightly oiled work surface or in a machine using a dough hook.)
Then place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with some oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour. 

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Whilst the dough is proving, prepare the toppings. Beca uses more cooked new potatoes on top of hers but instead I used some fresh rosemary sprigs, chopped up walnut pieces, finely chopped garlic and some grated strong cheddar cheese. 

Once the dough has proved, generously grease a large baking tray and then tip the proved dough out into it. Using your fingertips, spread the dough to the edges of the tray- the dough should be quite wet and elastic. Then scatter over the cheese, garlic, walnuts and rosemary and drizzle over a little extra olive oil as well as a sprinkling of sea salt. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Adapted from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/potato_spelt_and_9574

What do you think of our Great british Bake Off Final party? - any excuse for tea and cake in our flat!
Did you manage to predict the winner?

22 October 2013

Maple Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes

Now I'm one of those people that has to have breakfast. If I haven't had breakfast by about 11am then I'm not a happy person to come across! It's my favourite meal of the day, especially when you've got a bit of extra time and can whip up something special. 
This was one of those mornings.  
I had some spare pureed pumpkin from my search for pumpkin to make my pumpkin and walnut bread along with some pecans and delicious canadian maple syrup. 
What better to make than some pumpkin pancakes made with nutty brown butter, ground pecans, autumn spices and maple syrup. 


50g pecans
55g butter
70g gluten-free self-raising flour
20g porridge oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt

2 medium eggs
1tbsp maple syrup
140g pumpkin puree
125ml milk

Maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (fan).
Spread the pecans out on a baking tray and roast in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and toasted.

Meanwhile, add the butter to a small skillet pan and put over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted and begins to foam, keep stirring until it turns a golden brown nutty colour and then remove from the heat.

Once the pecans have toasted, tip them into a food processor and pulse until ground into very small pieces. Combine the ground pecans with the flour, oats, spices, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs along with the maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of browned butter, pumpkin puree and the milk.

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until you have a thick but smooth batter.

Put a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a knob of butter. Once the butter is bubbling add a big tablespoon of batter and spread into a small round pancake. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and then flip over and cook for another 2 minutes.

Repeat this with the rest of the batter.

Serve the warm pancakes with the rest of the brown butter, a drizzle of maple syrup and some crispy bacon pieces if you wish.

Adapted from: http://naturallyella.com/2013/10/08/pumpkin-brown-butter-pecan-pancakes/

19 October 2013

Upside-down Sticky Orange and Rosemary Cake

The smell of caramelized oranges reminds me that winter and mulled wine is fast approaching!- something I'm definitely looking forward to!
This is a gloriously sticky, ever-so moreish upside-down cake with a marmalade-like outside and a soft fluffy rosemary-infused inside.
Upside-down cakes are great because once tipped out they reveal a beautifully patterned surface and sweet syrup that makes this cake very moist and great served warm with creme fraiche for pudding.
Oranges and rosemary is a flavour combination that really works as the sweet earthy rosemary goes so well with the tangy fresh oranges.
It's also quick and much easier to make than it looks but produces a real showstopping result!
I'm sorry for the delay between posts this week- uni work has really stepped up- but there will be lots to come next week including our flat's GBBO final party on Tuesday- I'm routing for Ruby!


For the syrup:
220g caster sugar
125ml water
Small sprig of rosemary
2 large oranges, thinly sliced

4 large eggs
220g caster sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
150g self-raising flour ( I used gluten-free)
110g ground almonds
50g butter, melted
75g sunflower oil
25g vanilla yoghurt
Small sprig rosemary,stalk discarded and leaves finely chopped
Zest of 1 orange


Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C (fan.)

Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla to a large mixing bowl along with the orange zest and finely chopped rosemary.

Using an electric whisk, beat on a high speed until smooth, pale and doubled in volume (about 5-8 minutes.)

Meanwhile for the syrup, add the caster sugar, water and rosemary to a small saucepan. Put over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the oranges slices and simmer for 15 minutes until the oranges have softened, and the sugar mixture have become syrupy.

Measure out the flour and ground almonds.

Whisk the melted butter, oil and yoghurt into the eggs and sugar mixture and then sift in the flour and almonds. Using a large metal spoon, fold them into the mixture until fully incorporated.

Once the oranges have softened and the syrup has thickened, remove them from the heat. Lay the oranges in the bottom and up the sides of a greased, deep round cake tin or oven-proof dish.

Spoon over a few tablespoons of the syrup mixture, discarding the rosemary sprigs. Pour the cake mixture over the oranges and spread out evenly.

Put the dish on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes to an hour until golden brown and baked the whole way through-(when a skewer is inserted into the middle of the cake it should come out clean.) - you may have to cover the top of the cake with some baking paper to stop it from browning too quickly.

Once baked, remove from the oven and prick the top all over with a sharp knife. Pour over the rest of the orange syrup and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes.

Using a palette knife, loosen the edges of the cake and then hold a large plate over the top and tip the cake out upside down onto the plate.

Serve warm with creme fraiche or a fruit compote.

Adapted from: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1510659/sticky-orange-upsidedown-cake

11 October 2013

Roasted Filled Squash with Wild Mushrooms

My local town now has a new greengrocer shop. It's been years since there's been a proper greengrocer selling local seasonal, and slightly more exotic vegetables than the nearby supermarkets! And it's a place I'm definitely glad to support. It now means I can find different varieties of vegetables without having to to order them online such as these delicious varieties of winter squash. 
There's an abundance of them now and endless opportunities for delicious soups, casseroles or salads. These squash are stuffed with wild mushrooms, pancetta, curly kale and quinoa and make a hearty lunch when the weather beckons you inside. 



2 seasonal squash (I used winter buttercup and harlequin squash)
75g quinoa
250ml boiling water
100g wild mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 large mushroom, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 large sprig rosemary
Small bunch thyme
1 pack pancetta (roughly 100g)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
75g cashew nuts
1 large handful curly kale
Small knob of butter


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (fan.)

Wash your squash and cut the top of each to reveal the inner cavity. Scrape out the seeds and soft stringy flesh and then drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast on a lined baking tray with the tops in the preheated oven for 35 minutes until slightly browned and softened.

Rinse the seeds and separate them from the rest of the flesh. Roast the squash seeds on a baking tray on another shelf in the oven for the last 15-20 minutes of roasting time.

Meanwhile add the quinoa to a small saucepan along with a little salt and the boiling water.
Put the saucepan on a medium heat and simmer with a lid on for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until all the water has been absorbed. Then remove from the heat and leave the quinoa to stand with the lid on for 5-10 minutes.

Whilst the quinoa is cooking and the squash is roasting, add your pancetta pieces to a large frying pan on a high heat. Fry until they begin to brown and then add 2 crushed garlic cloves and the rosemary and thyme, finely chopped. Fry these off for a minute and then add a good glug of olive oil and all the mushrooms. 

Season well with pepper , add a small knob of salted butter and fry for 5-8 minutes until golden. Add the cashew nuts and ensure that they are coated in the oil and flavours from the mushroom mix. 

Add in a large handful of curly kale along with 3 tbsp cold water. ( The water will help to cook the kale quickly by steaming it. )
Once the kale has wilted remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Stir the mushroom and kale mix with the quinoa and then fill the cavities of the roasted squash with the mixture.  

Grate over a little fresh parmesan and put back in the oven for 5-8 minutes until the cheese is molten and gooey.

Serve hot.

6 October 2013

Roasted Fig, Goats Cheese and Honey Muffins

I'm in week four of university already- time is flying by this year but I've already been presented with such great opportunities, especially as I'm now part of the Come Dine With Me Society Committee- a great excuse for endless dinner parties and trips out to some of the most exciting upcoming restaurants in Edinburgh.
Our most recent trip to the Scran and Scrallie, Stockbridge confirmed the brilliant style and taste of Tom Kitchin.
In the meantime, I've been busy planning recipes for our Christmas stall in December and baking as much as I can in-between lectures.
This recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and salty goodness.
The sweet, sticky, caramelised roasted figs are paired wonderfully with the soft salty goats cheese and make a great flavour combination for this soft-textured, fluffy muffin.


125g goats cheese
2tbsp runny honey
1 spoonful of orange zest

300g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt

1 large egg
2tbsp vegetable oil
50g melted butter
100g honey
150g plain yoghurt
3tbsp milk

3 figs


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan.)

Cut up the fresh figs into small pieces and scatter them onto a lined baking tray.

Roast in the oven for 15 minutes until sticky and caramelised.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Then turn the oven up to 200 degrees C (fan).

In a small bowl, beat together the soft goats cheese, honey and orange zest until smooth.

In another bowl, measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and a sprinkle of black pepper. 

In a measuring jug, whisk together the egg, vegetable oil, melted butter, honey and yoghurt. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined but not over-mixed. Stir in the milk to loosen the mixture slightly and then fold in the roasted figs.

Line a muffin tray with muffin cases and then spoon the batter into the cases till each is about half full. 
Then add a spoonful of filling to each case and then top with some extra batter - make sure the cheese filling is fully covered by the muffin batter. 

Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown. 
When baked, allow to cool. 

Adapted from: http://www.runningwithspoons.com/2013/09/23/fig-and-goat-cheese-honey-muffins/