New, improved “I still want to do it myself” Chocolate Cake

I am not quite sure how this happened, but the Allergy Brothers initiated Cake Friday.  This means I bake them a cake every Friday!  This has meant that I have had the opportunity to tweak my chocolate cake recipe (the original is here; you can also see that the Allergy Brothers’ cake decorating skills are improving!).  It is still a very forgiving recipe that is easy to make.

200g gram flour

40g chestnut flour

3 tsp baking powder

200g sugar

25g cocoa powder

9 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

340ml water

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Line cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Add oil and vanilla essence to the dry mixture.
  5. Gradually add water and mix well until a smooth and runny consistency.
  6. Pour cake batter into the lined tin.
  7. Bake on middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Check the cake with a skewer, if it comes out wet then bake for a further 10 minutes.

Old El Paso Mexicana Street Market White Corn Tortillas

Ingredients – Water, white corn masa (43%), stabilisers:glycerol, xanthan gum; salt, emulsifier:mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids.

I found these, unexpectedly, in the world food aisle at the supermarket.  I nearly didn’t check the ingredients list because there was bound to be something Allergy Brothers-unfriendly in there.  So glad that I did.  No wheat, no egg, no rice.  Amazing.  I just about restrained myself from doing a happy dance right there.

We had previously tried some corn tortillas from The Cool Chile Company.  They were delicious, but needed cooking and had to be eaten straight away.  This new product from Old El Paso seemed more convenient.

Firstly, we tried them hot, which needed only 30 seconds in the microwave (you can also pan toast them or heat them in the oven).  We ate them filled with pan-fried turkey strips, sliced cucumber and avocado, and Zest vegan pesto.  Obviously not traditional Mexican food, but safe for the Allergy Brothers to eat.  I appreciated how quick this meal was to make, and that the Allergy Brothers’ plates were empty because they enjoyed the tortillas so much.

We were curious to see whether you could use them cold as wraps.  The tortillas are pre-cooked with instructions on how to heat them.  Allergy Little volunteered to be our test subject and ate a cucumber and vegan cheese wrap.  It was so good that he had a second.  This meant, that for the first time ever,  the Allergy Brothers could have something that looked like a regular sandwich in their packed lunch for school.  They were very pleased.

The Visitor Centre Café at Abberton Reservoir, N. Essex, UK

This just shows how mainstream gluten free eating has become.  We took the Allergy Brothers to visit Abberton Reservoir (CO2 0EU for your sat nav).  We had planned to go for a walk, but we honestly got no further than the play area because the boys were having such a good time there.abbertonAnyway, the boys were pretty hungry after all that climbing.  Luckily, the café had crisps and drinks that the boys could eat.  I had a choice of two types of homemade, gluten free cake: a chocolate cake and a Victoria Sponge.  The cake was pretty sweet and reminded me of the kind of baking my Granny used to do before healthy eating was a thing.   I think I really need to do a walk next time to justify the cake, but full marks to such a small café catering to gluten free customers so well.

AbbertoncakeTo find out more about Abberton Reservoir, click here.


Rhubarb, apple and ginger crumble

A really lovely, warming crumble for Autumn.


For the crumble topping:

25g margarine

60g gram flour

30g sugar

30g polenta

For the fruit filling:

400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm pieces

2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

100g caster sugar

30g piece of ginger, peeled


To make the crumble topping

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5.  Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Rub the gram flour into the margarine until it resembles bread crumbs.  Stir in the sugar and polenta.
  3. Spread the mixture out on the baking tray, and put it in the oven.  After 10 minutes, give it a stir and then return to the oven.  Keep an eye on it and remove from the oven when the mixture is golden, but not brown.ToppingFor the fruit filling
  4. Mix together the rhubarb, apples and sugar.  Finely grate the ginger into the fruit and mix well.  Transfer to a dish for the oven.  Add enough water to cover the base of the dish so it doesn’t catch.
  5. The oven should still be at 190C/Gas Mark 5 so put the fruit in the oven for about 15 minutes.  Very carefully, remove from the oven and spoon the crumble topping over the fruit.  Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is nicely browned.

Chestnut Shortbread

werbackWe’re back.  After a long sabbatical involving illness, kitchen renovations, and other dreary things, we are back with lots of original recipes to share with you.

And I thought I would start off by treating you to a shortbread recipe.


100g chestnut flour

100g cornflour

100g gram flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

75ml maple syrup

125ml sunflower oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3.  Line a tin with baking parchment.
  2. Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  3. Pour in the oil and maple syrup.  Mix thoroughly to create a soft, crumbly dough.
  4. Tip the dough into the lined tin and press it into an even layer, smoothing down the top with the back of a spoon.  Prick the shortbread all over with a fork.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes until the shortbread is a rich brown colour.  Take it out of the oven and immediately cut into 8-12 pieces.  Then leave it to cool in the tin.

I served this slightly warm with fresh raspberries and whisky cream (for the dairy and alcohol eaters).