Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Completed Collection

Thought I'd stick up some photos of the completed collection - they've now all arrived safe and sound in NZ.

I may have taken a small amount of artistic licence with the trout colours:
Rainbow trout
and Brown trout

two lambs, two goats.....

two piggies, and one hen

Thursday, 3 November 2011

How to make a goat

A step-by-step guide to making your own little goat :-)

Step 1. Make a rectangular block out of your base colour (orange). Round the edges slightly. Add the tail.

Step 2. Make 4 equal size cylinders out of dark brown for the legs. Stick one at each corner.

Step 3. Choose a light colour for the undercoat (white).
Make long strands by rolling out by hand, making sure one end is tapered. 

Start at the back end of the goat, wrapping the first strands round and under the tail.

Keep applying the strands as shown, working forwards. Do the same on the other side of the goat, with a straight line down the back. Make the strands long enough that they mostly cover the body (although don't worry about them being the same length - goats are scruffy!)

Keep going until the whole body is covered - I call this the 'headless ghost-goat' stage :-)

Step 4. Give your headless goat a collar - colour of your choice!
Step 5. Time to make a head. Make two cylinder shapes, of equal width but with your base colour (orange) longer than the nose (pink). Place the two cylinders together and roll until they join together smoothly.

Stick the head onto the goat, on top of the collar - I find the collar helps hold the head in place more securely

Step 6: Make the ears by rolling a long sausage shape and flattening the middle part (where it will sit on the head). Round the ends and flatten slightly to give the ears their long, flappy shape....and....

...stick them on the head. Place the flattened central section round the back of the head. Shape the ear flaps to give them a little curve

Step 7: Time to start on the top coat. Alternate strands of different colours (light and dark brown). Start with two short strands going down below the tail (got to give him a little dignity) ....

.....keep going.....

...and going....

until.... reach the front, where.....

.... you can give him an extra, shorter layer - over his chest

Step 8: Make the horns, and stick them on the head
Step 9: Add the facial characteristics - nostrils, eyes, and a big smile :-)

 Step 10: Time for the funky hair do!

Start at the back of the head, with a row of hair long enough to reach his back
 then add another, slightly shorter row. Start to work around to the front of the head.

give him a fringe, with strands going out in all directions. Send some out over his horns, curling round underneath. He's ended up with a little circular bald patch...keep going...

....till its all filled in. The last few strands are the hardest, but they end up going in all directions.

 Last step: add the goatee under the chin!

And introduce him to his friends!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Walnut Cake

Another cake recipe, to pass the time while you wait for the cook book to be completed...
This started life as a walnut and coffee cake, but evolved into just a walnut cake, albeit with rather nice icing

For the cake –                                                               
75g walnut pieces                                                                 
150g ground almonds                                                        
3 eggs                                                                           
100g melted butter
100g sugar                                                          
50ml water
(or 30ml water and 20ml walnut oil)                                        
1 tsp baking powder
For the middle -  
100g butter     
30g icing sugar    
2 capfuls of Baileys 
For the top -
250g mascapone
15-30g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/GM4).

The cake:
Place the walnuts with the ground almonds in a food processor and blitz until the walnut pieces have turned to a similar consistency to the almonds – some small chunks is fine, and you will have some darker flecks from the walnut skins too (see the photo below). Place in a bowl and add the melted butter, sugar, baking powder and eggs. Mix well. Mix in the coffee a bit at a time, until it is all added. Divide the mixture between two round (diameter) greased and lined baking tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F/GM4) for 25 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove and allow to cool in the tins.

The middle:
Mix the ingredients together. Place one cake on the plate it will be served on, and spread the Baileys butter icing on the top. Carefully place the second cake on top of the icing.

The top:
Mix the ingredients together (add sugar to taste). Spread the icing all over the top of the cake and down the sides. Finish off with some whole walnuts to decorate the top. 

If you fancied coffee and walnut, you could easily adapt this recipe by adding a little coffee essence to the mix.... 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Hazelnut, orange and chocolate biscuits

Wasn't sure whether to post this, since I'm now writing a cook book (of sorts...) and wondered whether I should keep the new recipes to myself....but this is too yummy not to share, and quite similar to my previous biscuit recipes so here it is:

70g melted butter
mix in: 30-50g sugar (to taste)
100g ground almonds
1 egg yolk
15g chopped roasted hazelnuts
1 tsp orange essence
25g dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder

mix it all together - it should form one big lump or ball in your bowl once thoroughly mixed. Divide into 16 equal sized bits, roll into balls and place on a greased and lined baking tray. I don't squish these at all, just leave them as balls:

Bake in a prewarmed oven at 160C (325F/GM3) for 20 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray before removing. Keep these in an airtight container and they keep for a couple of days then go soggy (they're still nice, but not as crunchy) ... saying that, they don't last that long in this house anyway....

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Apple Jelly

Another apple-related post (probably several more to follow...)
I've never made jelly or jam before, but with help from 'Aunty Karla' I now have 6lb of the stuff sitting in my pantry :-)

Recipe? Right, get husband to chop, peel and core 4 lb of cooking apples....
Place in large pan (apples, not husband), add 3 pints water and simmer until you have apple mush.
Strain the juice through muslin, using contraption something like this:

Allow to drip for hours/overnight. Protect from cat pounce. Then invite Karla around to help with the tricky bit involving adding 4lb of jam sugar, and heating it till the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil, for approx 4 minutes. Use the saucer test to check when its ready: add a little blob of jam onto the saucer and hold up to light so that you can see reflection of light on the jelly surface. Push the jelly with your finger, looking to see if wrinkles form on the surface...(I'm sure there are much better descriptions of this elsewhere on the internet....). Be careful when handling hot jelly - you DO NOT want to get this on your skin....

We got 6 one pound jars of apple jelly using these quantities - now I need to invent a cake recipe involving apple jelly!

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Just a quick wee postie, critter this time, inbetween the apple-related posts: 

Rather pleased with this one. I've made a chicken before, but he turned out to be a rooster so this time I wanted to aim for a nice brown laying hen. I've also gone for a bit more patterning with the tools, as well as colourful feathers here and there. Not sure about her expression - ??? whats she thinking about?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Apple Mint Chutney (with garlic and chilli)

OK, another non-cake recipe, but as I sit here typing this blog post the whole house smells deliciously of this chutney I made last night so I can't resist. Besides, I have a tree in the garden heavily laden with cooking apples and also 33 empty glass jars to still's how I filled the first six of them:

4lb cooking apples - peeled, chopped, cored...takes ages but sit down with the TV/radio/music on and its soon done....then cook with 1/2pt white wine vinegar until thick and pulpy.
Then add:
1 lb tomatoes - chopped and (mostly) peeled
four or five chilli peppers - roughly chopped
about half a bulb worth of roughly chopped garlic
1/2 pt white wine vinegar
1 lb soft brown sugar
couple teaspoons each of ground ginger and mixed spice
one red onion, peeled and chopped into big chunks
one teaspoon salt

Bring up to heat and allow to bubble gently for about 30mins.
Add large handful of mint (roughly chopped) and allow to bubble for another 5 mins.

Turn the heat off and allow to cool a little (still its stopped bubbling). Place into clean jars whilst still hot, and lid. This filled six 1lb jam jars for me :-)
No idea what it will taste like....but the smell alone is worth it!!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Busy modelling....

Just a quick post, while I complete the latest collection for New Zealand. So far I've done two lambs, two pigs and one goat....

I'm particularly pleased with the goat - he didn't look right until I added the 'goatee' but now I think he's my favourite.

I've had to order more varnish, and some more FIMO. So now I've got livestock colours

Looking forward to the challenge of doing fish :-S

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Gluten Free Group on facebook

For more gluten free recipes of all sorts (not just cakes) have a look at my facebook group:
The Gluten Free Group:!/group.php?gid=37306498422

Its open to everyone and has a whole range of recipes, tips, restaurant lists etc contributed to by members  - although the recipes are mostly mine and 'Aunty Karlas'...(who invented the most fabulous word "bakexperimenting" to describe what we do)

Of course, the more people who join the group the better, since we can all share recipes and local knowledge about restaurants and cafes catering for gluten free diets.

One day we really will have to write that cookbook we keep talking about....

Aunty Karla's apricot and almond cakes

Oh dear, long time no post! This recipe should more than make up for it. If you omit the egg, this one is vegan as well as gluten free and lactose free...clever aunty Karla

110g rice flour
60g (approx) ground almonds
100ml olive oil
200ml water
pinch of salt
baking powder (1 tsp)
chopped dried apricots (about 75-100g)
almond essence (about 1-2 tbsp)
sugar (anything from 80-150g)
1 egg (for the non-vegans)
Mix the oil and water. Add the dry ingredients, adjusting the sugar amount to taste. Add almond essence to taste, the amount above is a guide. Mix well, add the egg if no vegans around (!!). Chop the almonds and mix in. The mixture is quite sloppy but don't worry. If it seems too sloppy, you can add more almonds.

Divide into 12 bun cases.
Bake at 160-180C for about 20 mins, until light golden brown.
Aunty Karla has made chocolate versions as well as some with mixed spice so this is a very versatile recipe - enjoy!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Tomato, feta and red pepper tartlets

Not a cake I know, but worth posting about. This recipe is adapted from one of my favourite GF cook books, but the pastry is quite different from their version (and much better in my opinion!). I find GF savoury pastry quite a challenge, but I think I’ve finally cracked it with this recipe:

For the savoury pastry:
75g potato flour
75g rice flour
75g ground almonds
1 tbsp xanthan gum
1 egg
50g butter
Olive oil

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the egg, and rub in the butter till a fine crumb. Gather together into a ball, adding as much olive oil as needed to hold it together. I find that the ‘wetter’ the better with this pastry (don’t expect the same pastry rules to apply to gluten free pastry) so I add plenty of oil, so that the pastry holds together easily and is actually smooth and rather greasy to the touch. It can be refridgerated or frozen if needed, but I don’t find cooling it helps with the handling. I roll the pastry out sandwiched between two sheets of grease-proof paper, so I don’t worry about dusting surfaces with flour – it makes a mess and dries out your pastry! Don’t roll the pastry too thin, and be careful transferring it to the tin as it will break easily. If it rips, roll it up and start again – have patience with it!

Blind bake the pastry for 10 minutes at 180C. Remove from oven, coat with egg wash and return to the oven for 2 minutes.

Roasted red peppers
Tin tomatoes
Olive oil flavoured with garlic
Thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, sugar, balsamic vinegar
Gluten free pesto

Fry a finely diced onion in garlic flavoured olive oil until softened. Add a tin of tomatoes, and season with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and about 1 tbsp of sugar. Cook until the liquid is reduced – add a few drops of balsamic vinegar (this tomato mixture can be prepared in advance and frozen if required).
Roasted red pepper (in a jar – cheating I know!) – finely slice and place in the bottom of the pastry case. Crumble some feta on top, then add a couple of tsp of the tomato mixture on top. Finish off with some more crumbled feta and return them to the oven for 10 minutes.

Once cooked, drizzle a little gluten free pesto on the top and serve warm or cold.

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