Thursday 31 January 2013

Gluten Free Sage & Onion Stuffing Balls

This is one of Abigail's personal favourites and one of the first savoury recipes she learned to make herself, it's a bit on the messy side but easy for anyone to make! Once again this is one I came up with 2006 and easily one of our most used. I recommend our 'Bread For Gluten Free Breadcrumbs' recipe for rolls of an ideal crumbing consistency.

Preparation time - under 15 minutes
Cooking time - ~20 minutes (less for a fan assisted oven)
Makes / Serves - makes ~12 balls
Child friendly - 3/5
Difficulty rating - 1/5


200 g gluten-free bread-crumbs
2 large, or 3 small, onions
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
3 tablespoons dried sage
1 tablespoon vegetable or sunflower oil
pinch of salt
pinch of ground black pepper

  1. Dice the onion and fry in a minimal amount of oil until softened, set aside for later.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 190 C / 375 F / Gas Mark 5 and prepare a baking tray by lining with foil or greasing well with oil.
  3. Place the breadcrumbs, sage, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well by hand.
  4. Add the onion (which should now be fairly cool) and oil to the bowl and mix well.
  5. Add the beaten egg to the bowl and mix well, ensuring an even mix.
  6. Divide the mixture and shape into 12 balls and place, evenly spaced, onto the baking tray.
  7. Bake for ~20 minutes or until evenly browned.
  1. Rather than frying the onion you can microwave it in a bowl mixed with 2 tablespoons of oil for 1-2 minutes, depending on your microwaves rating. If you do this then add all of the oil used to cook the onion to the mix instead of adding the oil separately in step 4 above.
  2. It's very easy to adjust this recipe for different flavours of stuffing, for example if serving with pork you could use about a third less onion and add a Bramley apple instead (cubed, boiled until softened and well drained), be creative!

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Gluten Free Gravy

Their are many specialist gluten-free gravy products on the market which vary greatly in both quality and price, for a typical 200 g jar or tub you can expect to pay from  £1.69 up to around £2.69, depending on the brand.

But the truth is you don't really need them! The reason is simple, Bisto launched a product range called Bisto Best several years ago and the whole range is essentially gluten-free (we'll get to the 'essentially' bit later), what's more at ~£1.50 a jar it is cheaper than any specialist gluten-free gravy I've ever come across and is the best tasting gravy from a jar we have ever tasted.

These three have all earned a permanent place in our kitchen...

In addition to the varieties above they also make pork, lamb and vegetable (this is the only one in the range not suitable for Coeliacs) see the Bisto website for further information.

Unfortunately they do not make a turkey variety but we find two parts chicken to one part caramelised onion makes a perfect gravy for turkey, we use this blend every Christmas!

Now for the explanation as to why I said they were 'essentially' gluten-free, if you visited the website or have looked at a jar in a store then you may have noticed this warning...

"Contains Soya. Produced on a line which handles Wheatflour."

Now this was only added relatively recently and to someone on a gluten-free diet that doesn't sound good, however in this case it really is nothing to worry about for the following reason...

"...  Premier Foods provided substantial test results which showed that the gravy granules contain a very low level of gluten within the safe levels for people with coeliac disease (20 ppm or less). We therefore list Bisto Best gravy granules in the Food and Drink Directory.

Please be aware that the jars still have a ‘may contain’ statement but we have confirmed the product is suitable."

That is a direct quote from Coaliac UK and and an up to date statement can be found here.

It is available from just about every supermarket and even many smaller shops so if you like your gravy give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

Bisto Best Gravy (various varieties) 200 g      9.5/10

Update November 2015: We've had a few messages from people concerned about the recent recipe change and questioning whether this product is still suitable for a gluten-free diet. I can confirm that only the vegetable variety is no longer considered safe and that all other varieties still meet the strict requirements of Coeliac UK and are still included in their directory. I've updated the post to specifically mention that the vegetable variety is an exception.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Mobile Version Of Site

I came across a problem earlier with how some of the recipe posts were being displayed on the mobile version of the site, I'm pleased to say that this has now been fixed and I have taken steps to ensure the problem does not affect future posts.

Gluten Free Scotch Pancakes

Also known as Drop Scones, these are a very quick and easy treat. This is another one of our older recipes from 2006 and definitely one of our most used.

Preparation time - under 10 minutes
Cooking time - ~10 minutes
Makes / Serves - makes ~10-15 pancakes
Child friendly - 4/5
Difficulty rating - 1/5


200 g gluten-free self raising flour alternative
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
300 ml milk
2 teaspoons sugar
vegetable or sunflower oil for frying

  1. Put all the ingredients into a jug and beat until a smooth batter is achieved.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  3. Once the pan is nice and hot pour tablespoons of batter into the pan to form rounds, you can either use a tablespoon or carefully pour straight from the jug.
  4. When the underside appears golden carefully turn them and cook the other side until that also appears golden.
  5. Serve immediately or once cooled store in airtight container for a day or two. 
  1. Using an electric hand mixer for this recipe reduces the preparation time to just a couple of minutes and tends to produce a much fluffier consistency.
  2. A population variation of these is 'Lemon & Sultana Scotch Pancakes', to make these just replace 10-20 ml of the milk with lemon juice and add ~25 g of sultanas to mix just before you start to cook the pancakes. You'll need to use a tablespoon rather than pouring straight from the jug though to make sure each pancake contains sultanas!
  3. You can serve these just as they, with a little butter on top, some ice-cream melted over them, topped with maple syrup and pecans, topped with toffee sauce and mixed nuts or any number of other variations, be creative!

Saturday 26 January 2013

Gluten Free Cauliflower Cheese

Here is the first of our brand new recipes for 2013, we make this for the entire family as it is completely indistinguishable from 'normal' cauliflower cheese and tastes absolutely wonderful!

Preparation Time -  30 minutes
Cooking time - 25 minutes
Makes / Serves - 4 portions
Child friendly - 1/5
Difficulty rating - 3/5


1 large cauliflower
70 g gluten free plain flour alternative
50 g butter (or good quaility 'spreadable')
450 ml milk (any except skimmed)
150 ml stock (the water the cauliflower is cooked in)
90 g cheddar cheese (whatever strength you prefer)
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets as evenly as possible.
  2. Boil the cauliflower in a large pan until tender (10-15 minutes), drain well and set aside 150 ml of the stock water for later use.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / Gas Mark 6.
  4. Place the florets into a medium sized oven proof dish (we use a lasagne dish) and set aside.
  5. Now it's time to make the cheese sauce. Over a low heat, melt the butter in a medium sized pan, then remove from the heat and stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. 
  6. Return to the heat and gradually stir in the milk, mixing well after each addition.
  7. Stir the sauce continuously until the mixture thickens, which can take several minutes.
  8. Add the stock, salt, and black pepper to the pan and mix well.
  9. Add around two thirds of the cheese, mix well and remove from the heat.
  10. Pour the sauce evenly over the cauliflower and then sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
  11. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.
  1. If the sauce has not thickened enough after 5-6 minutes you might need to add an extra 5 g of flour, it really depends on the flour used, don't be afraid to add more if you feel it's needed.
  2. Cauliflower cheese is often served as a meal in itself, to make it a more well rounded meal you could grill 6-8 rashers of streaky bacon before starting the recipe, cut them into small pieces and mix into the sauce just before pouring over the cauliflower.

Friday 25 January 2013

Gluten Free Banana Loaf

This recipe is a little more recent (mid-2007), but proved extremely popular on our old site. I've also updated it a little to include a small amount of xanthan gum, which can be left out if you don't have any. Getting enough fibre into a gluten free diet can be very difficult and this recipe can be a great help in that regard.

Preparation time -  under 15 minutes
Cooking time - 50-60 minutes
Makes / Serves - One small loaf is approx 8-10 servings
Child friendly - 5/5
Difficulty rating - 1/5


170 g gluten-free brown or 'fibre' flour alternative
150 g caster sugar
75 g softened butter
3 large or 4 small bananas (mashed)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4 and prepare a small loaf tin, if not silicone it is a good idea to line with baking paper as well as greasing.
  2. Place all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat together until completely mixed.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes, check with a skewer to ensure the loaf is cooked right through and bake for a further 10 minutes if needed.
  4. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  1. If you're in a hurry an electric hand mixer can really speed up this recipe, however a low speed setting should be used.
  2. You can make this recipe a bit more interesting by adding 120 g of either sultanas or chopped mixed nuts, it's also delicious served with toffee sauce, especially if it's warmed for ~20-30 seconds in the microwave first.
  3. This recipe also works very well with golden caster sugar which gives the loaf a subtly different flavour, particularly when sultanas are also added as above.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

This was one the first recipes I adapted from my Nan's old cookbook in 2005 as it was the thing Abigail missed most at the time, but unlike the shortbread this recipe wasn't included in the cookbook itself, it was a recipe my Nan came up with herself in the 1960's, jotted down on a scrap of paper and tucked into the biscuit section! These aren't your average cookie, not overly crunchy like a typical British cookie but not overly soft like American cookies, they sit somewhere in between!

Preparation time -  under 15 minutes
Cooking time - ~20 minutes (slightly less for a fan oven)
Makes / Serves - This depends on the size you want them, we usually do 8-12.
Child friendly - 5/5
Difficulty rating - 1/5


150 g gluten-free plain flour alternative
150 g caster sugar
125 g softened butter
100 g chocolate chips (or chunks)
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons water

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4 and prepare a baking tray by either greasing it or lining with baking paper (which seems to work better in this case).
  2. Add the flour, baking powder and caster sugar to your mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the butter, egg and water to your mixing bowl and mix until smooth.
  4. Add the chocolate chips (or chunks) to the mixing bowl and mix well.
  5. Using a tablespoon put blobs of the mixture onto the baking tray at least a few centimetres apart (to allow for spreading).
  6. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Allow to partly cool on the tray before transferring to a cooling rack.
  1. If you're in a hurry these can be made with an electric hand whisk in just a couple of minutes, just add everything except the chocolate chips at the same time, mix well, and then mix in the chocolate chips by hand.
  2. You could replace the chocolate chips with any number of other things, such as fudge pieces, sultanas, dried apple (plus a teaspoon of cinnamon), be creative!
  3. For a slightly different taste you can use golden caster sugar, which works best when you've replaced the chocolate chips with something fruity (like the suggestions above). 
  4. For an extra chocolatey twist replace 30 g of the flour with cocoa!

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Gluten Free Yorkshire Puddings

Another recipe from 2006, this one is essential for everyone on a gluten-free diet who loves their roast dinners! We have tried several other Yorkshire Pudding  recipes over the years and we always end up coming back to this one.

Preparation time - under 15 minutes
Cooking time - ~25 minutes (slightly less for a fan oven)
Makes / Serves - 6 average sized Yorkshire Puddings
Child friendly - 2/5
Difficulty rating - 3/5


65 g gluten-free self raising flour alternative
50 g butter (or good quality 'spreadable')
125 ml water
2 eggs (lightly beaten)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 C / 425 F / Gas Mark 7 and grease either six Yorkshire Pudding tins, a muffin tray, or similar (this recipe works best with fairly deep, well greased, tins).
  2. In a small pan, melt the butter over a low heat.
  3. Add the water to the pan and gently bring to the boil.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the flour, beating well.
  5. Return to a low heat and stir continuously until the mixture thickens and forms a stiff ball that can be rolled around the pan.
  6. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for around 30 seconds.
  7. Gradually add the beaten eggs until a stiff dropping consistency is obtained (you might not need all the egg!), beating well after each addition. 
  8. Spoon the mixture into the 6 tins, using a teaspoon to spread it evenly over the base and up the sides.
  9. Bake for around 20 minutes then remove from the oven and pierce the top of each Yorkshire Pudding with a sharp knife, bake for another 5 minutes to crisp.
  1. Although these are best eaten fresh from the oven they can be kept in the fridge for up to a couple of days and reheated in the oven for 5-7 minutes to re-crisp.
  2. It might take a couple of attempts to get the consistency right but stick with it, they are well worth it!
  3. Add some sage and finely shredded and chopped onion before spooning into the tins to give them a sage and onion twist for a chicken or turkey roast. 

Saturday 19 January 2013

Gluten Free Scotch Eggs

This was one of our most popular recipes from the old site and although it can be quite a messy one is actually very easy, you might need to make them a couple of times to get the amount or bread / rolls right though as this does depend on brand etc (I recommend our 'Bread For Gluten Free Breadcrumbs' recipe for rolls of an ideal crumbing consistency). The end results beat any supermarket bought scotch egg by a long way, a great addition to any packed lunch or picnic.

Preparation time - ~30 minutes
Cooking time - ~5 minutes
Makes / Serves - 6
Child friendly - 3/5
Difficulty rating - 1/5


6 eggs (hard boiled)
2 eggs (beaten)
200-250 g fine gluten-free breadcrumbs (depends on brand)
500 g gluten-free sausage meat
70 g gluten-free plain flour alternative
vegetable or sunflower oil for frying

  1. Shell the boiled eggs and put to one side.
  2. Divide the sausage meat into six roughly even portions.
  3. Put the flour in a small bowl and roll each egg in it individually, again placing them to one side as you go.
  4. Wrap a sausage meat portion around each egg as evenly as you can, forming a ball shape.
  5. One at a time dip the sausage encased eggs into the beaten eggs and then immediately roll it in the breadcrumbs, ensuring an even coverage.
  6. Heat the oil to 180 C / 350 F and cook each egg for around 5 minutes or until you are happy that the sausage meat is cooked and the breadcrumbs are browned. 
  7. Roll on a paper towel to remove excess oil, serve warm or allow to cool and chill for later, they should keep fine in the fridge for a few days.
  1. For a healthier alternative you could bake them in a pre-heated oven for 25 minutes at 190 C / 375 F /  Gas Mark 5, turning halfway through to ensure even browning. Although most people would agree they taste better fried!
  2. If your intending to eat them warm (straight after cooking) you can use eggs that are slightly less well boiled and have a softer, even slightly runny, yolk for a more traditional taste.
  3. If you want to try something a little different add some chilli, onion, garlic, herbs,  black pepper or a combination such as garlic and tarragon to the sausage meat  at step 2 and mix in thoroughly , be creative!

Thursday 17 January 2013

Gluten Free Pancake Day Pancakes

This one is a recipe we developed in 2006 so that Abigail didn't miss out on Pancake Day, it's incredibly simple and the pancakes easily taste good enough for everyone to share rather than cooking both gluten and gluten-free pancakes.  

Preparation time - ~5 minutes
Cooking time - ~5 minutes
Makes / Serves - 8 average sized pancakes
Child friendly - 3/5
Difficulty rating - 1/5


100 g gluten-free plain flour alternative
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
300 ml cold milk
vegetable or sunflower oil for frying

  1. Add the eggs and milk together in a jug and beat well.
  2. Add the flour to the jug gradually, beating well after each addition to ensure a smooth mixture (if using an electric hand whisk you can just add it all at once).
  3. Heat your frying pan to a medium heat, using just enough oil to ensure the pancake doesn't stick (this may take a couple of tries to get right!).
  4. Pour in enough of the batter to thinly coat the pans base, lifting the pan from the heat and tilting it to spread the batter evenly.
  5. When the underside of the pancake is a nice golden colour turn it (or flip it if your daring enough) and cook the other side until it is also a nice golden colour.
  1. If your not serving the pancakes straight away it's best to layer them between foil until you need them, they will keep in the fridge for at least a couple of days.
  2. The batter made in this recipe can also be used as for crêpes, for sweet crêpes just add a 1/2 teaspoon of caster sugar to the mix in step 1 and for savoury crêpes add a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  3. It can be very difficult to get a smooth mixture when hand beating so an electric hand mixer is definitely recommended.
  4. For something a little different you can replace 10 g of the flour with cocoa to give them a chocolate twist, this works great for deserts where you are filling the pancakes / crêpes,  an old favourite is to use a black cherry filling and serve warm with a little vanilla ice cream on top, be creative!

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Bread For Gluten Free Breadcrumbs

Here is another recipe from 2005, even though their are far better bread recipes (and I'll be posting more soon) we still feel that this is the best one to make if want breadcrumbs for another recipe (breaded chicken, scotch eggs etc) as many gluten free breads just go mouldy rather than drying out like wheat based breads.

Preperation time - under 20 minutes (plus 30-40 minutes proving / rising time)
Cooking time - loaf 20-25 minutes, rolls 15-20 minutes (slightly less for a fan oven)
Makes / Serves - 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves or 8-10 rolls
Child friendly - 3/5
Difficulty rating - 2/5


500 g gluten-free plain flour alternative
1 teaspoon quick yeast (not always gluten-free so check the label!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon vegetable or sunflower oil
450 ml warm water (or 500 ml for a brown or 'fibre' mix)

  1. Grease either a large bread tin, two small loaf tins or a baking tray.
  2. Put the flour, yeast, salt and sugar into your mixing bowl and mix well, it is very important to ensure that the dry  ingredients are well mixed before moving on.
  3. Add the oil and again take care to mix well.
  4. Add the water, holding back around 50 ml, and once again mix until a thick batter type mixture is obtained.
  5. The mixture should join back up fairly quickly if you run a sharp knife through it, if it feels too thick then gradually add the remaining water little by little, mixing well and retesting the batter between additions (the mixture will be very sticky compared to a wheat flour dough, this is normal).
  6. Place the mixture in your tin/s or divide, shape into rolls and place evenly spaced onto your baking tray.
  7. Cover loosely with either a damp tea towel or cling-film  and leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes to prove / rise, the mixture should almost double in size.
  8. Heat your oven to 220 C / 425 F / Gas mark 7.
  9. When ready remove the tea towel or cling film place in the pre-heated oven, turning at least once during cooking to ensure an evenly cooked crust. For loaves allow 20-25 minutes cooking time, for rolls allow 15-20 minutes.
  10. Leave the bread / rolls to cool completely, and use within 3 days.
  1. Despite the title the bread / rolls baked using this recipe are fine to eat as such, they are quite dry and crumbly compared to other recipes though which is why this recipe is best for use as breadcrumbs. 
  2. If you want to make a smaller batch then you can just halve the recipe and make half as many rolls or a single small loaf.
  3. Once breaded most things can be frozen for weeks or even months and cooked later, so you can make them up in bulk and have them to hand whenever you want them.
  4. Breadcrumbs made from this recipe are perfect for chicken, fish, scotch eggs, mushrooms and just about anything else you might want to bread!

Ultimate Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

This recipe is another one originally from 2005, but it has been revised to include a little xanthan gum to make the sponge even softer. If you don't have any xanthan gum the recipe is still great without it, but it does make a difference!

Preparation time - under 30 minutes
Cooking time - 35 minutes (slightly less for a fan oven)
Makes / Serves - serves ~10
Child friendly - 4/5
Difficulty rating - 1/5


165 g gluten-free self-raising flour alternative
125 g butter (or good quality 'spreadable')
110 g caster sugar
40 g icing sugar
45 g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (not always gluten-free so check the label!)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
250 ml milk (slightly warmed)

  1. Heat your oven to 180 C / 355 F / Gas mark 4.
  2. If not using a silicone mould then line your cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, caster sugar and icing sugar until light and creamy.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and then gradually add the lightly beaten egg, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add the flour, cocoa, xanthan gum and bicarbonate of soda and start to fold them into the mixture using a spoon.
  6. Once the dry ingredients have been mostly incorporated into the mixture add the warm milk and beat until the mixture is smooth.
  7. Pour the mixture into your mould / tin and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Leave the cake in the mould / tin for at least 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  1. Silicone cake moulds are far better that traditional tins, especially when it comes to gluten-free baking as you can peel them away from the cake more carefully.
  2. Using an electric hand mixer (on a medium speed setting) rather than beating by hand can easily halve the preparation time and often gives a better final result!
  3. If you want to cut the cake into brownies, like we often do, then I'd recommend using a 20-25 cm square mould / tin.
  4. You can stir in some chocolate chips or fudge pieces just before pouring into the mould  to make it even tastier!

Monday 14 January 2013

Tasty Gluten Free Shortbread

To start things off I'm going to post a few of our original recipes from 2005/2006 that are still relevant today!

First up... shortbread!

This was one of the easiest recipes to adapt as it's pretty much just the 'normal' recipe but with a flour substitution, it's actually based on a recipe my nan (Betty) taught me from the 'Good Housekeeping Guide' she was given in the nineteen forties!

Preparation time - ~30 minutes
Cooking time - 15-20 minutes (slightly less for a fan oven)
Makes / Serves - ~20 shortbread
Child friendly - 5/5
Difficulty rating - 1/5


125 g butter
55 g caster sugar
180 g gluten-free plain flour alternative
icing sugar for dusting

  1. Cover your baking tray with either foil, baking paper or a reusable Teflon sheet.
  2. Blend the butter and sugar together, using a spoon, until smooth.
  3. Stir in the flour gradually to get a smooth paste.
  4. Turn the mixture out on to a work surface and gently roll it out to a thickness of around 1 cm or half an inch thick.
  5. Cut into fingers or other shape as desired and place onto baking tray, leftover paste can be rolled out again several times to use up any trimmings if shaped cutters are used.
  6. Heat your oven to 190 C / 375 F / Gas mark 5.
  7. Prick all over with a fork and sprinkle with icing sugar and refrigerate for about 20 minutes. 
  8. Bake in the oven for  15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown.
  9. Leave them on the baking tray to cool, or alternatively transfer to a wire rack after 5 minutes or so to speed the process up.
  1. Weigh your butter first, cut it into small cubes, and leave it at room temperature to soften slightly whilst you get everything else ready!
  2. Shortbread can be decorated in all sorts of ways, especially using icing or chocolate as a base, be creative!
  3. You can make plain shortbread a little more interesting in lots of ways, for example you could exchange 60 g or 2 oz of the flour for cocoa and add some chocolate chips to make them chocolatey or add some natural lemon flavouring and a some lemon zest for a zingy twist!
  4. Gluten free shortbread makes an excellent base for things like banoffee pie, cheesecakes, etc.

Saturday 12 January 2013

This blog is a replacement for our old site 'AbigailsSpecialFood' and all the recipes still relevant (a lot has changed with regards to the availability of gluten free foods in the last 8 years!) will be gradually reposted here as we go through them.

The original site has now been completely taken down and any old links should now redirect here, so if you ended up here by clicking one of the old links don't worry you are in the right place!

Now Abigail is that bit older she'll also making some posts, including recipes and reviews, of her own :)

Please bear with us whilst we get the recipes transferred over!