Category Archives: School lunch

Grannie’s Gluten Free Fruit Cake

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When I was diagnosed with coeliacs disease my Mum, on the other side of the world, started wracking her brain for recipes that she had shared with one of her coeliac friends.

This was the first one she sent me and it was her mum’s recipe!

I use a generic premixed gluten free plain flour for this and gluten free baking powder, you can swap these for the regular stuff too.

The large amount of fruit makes this a moist cake which doesn’t look or taste different to a regular fruit cake.

I soak the fruit in hot tea to soften it up and make it moister, a wee drop of brandy works well too, it begins to remind me of Christmas Cake when the booze starts baking!

Start the night before.

Ingredients

175g caster sugar

175g butter, at room temperature

225g gluten free plain flour

1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

3 eggs, beaten

450g dried fruit, currants, raisins, sultanas

90mls hot tea

zest of 1 orange

Method

The night before, place the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the hot tea, stir and cover and leave overnight.

Preheat oven to 180degrees Centigrade.

Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.

In a large bowl cream the sugar and butter until light.

Slowly add the eggs  beating between additions.

Add the sieved flour and baking powder.

Add fruit and zest.

Fill tin and level out.

Bake for one and a half hours, check with a skewer that it’s cooked through.

Allow to cool in the tin.

Gluten Free Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies

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Now, trust me in this, these are delish! Yes, there is a sneaky bit of beetroot here but the kids will never notice and it really adds to the recipe.

I often bake for the boys but sometimes I fancy some baking for us as a family and that means it has to be gluten free for me. To make these non gluten free omit almonds, rice flour and baking powder and use 150g self raising flour instead.

I cook the beetroot when I have the oven on for something else, wrap the whole beetroot in foil, root tip, skin and shoots included. Depending on size it may take 1-2hours.

This mix makes 16-20 pieces depending on how you cut it up.

Ingredients

250g cooked, peeled beetroot, grated

250g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

250g butter

250g sugar, granulated or caster is fine

3 eggs

100g ground almonds

50g rice flour

1teaspoon gluten free baking powder

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Grease and line  the base and sides of a 20 by 28cm tin.

In an oven proof bowl, combine the butter and chocolate, pop in the oven to melt. Keep an eye on it and stir a few times as it begins to melt. You could do this in a microwave or over water. Set aside.

Whisk the egg and sugar until light in colour and mousse like, this helps get some extra air in for the gluten free recipe.

Slowly add the chocolate mix, whisk well in.

Add the almond meal, rice flour and gluten free baking powder, fold in.

Add the beetroot gently and fold in.

Pour into prepared tin, level out and pop in the oven.

Bake for 40-50mins, I like my brownies on the gooey side.

Allow to cool in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.

Serve on their own or have a wee treat, serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

Lentil Soup

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I love soup, a meal in a bowl served with bread, simple satisfying food.

This soup is loved by children, full of flavour and a few hidden carrots! It is also great for school lunches, lots of goodness packed in to their thermos!

This recipe makes 4 litres, enough to serve 10-12 depending on your bowl size and whether you choose to water it down a bit! I always freeze half, it freezes really well and gives me an occasional night off!

Ingredients

2 ham hocks

1 onion, chopped roughly

1kg carrots, peeled and chopped

splash of olive oil

400g/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained

salt and pepper

Method

In a large stock pot or pressure cooker, place the ham hocks and add 2.5litres water.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour if using a stockpot. In a pressure cooker bring up to pressure and cook for 30mins.

Drain with a sieve over a large bowl or jug to catch all of the stock.

Once the hocks have cooled, strip off the meat, chop finely and set aside.

In a large pan, a  6 litre pan works well, warm a splash of olive oil and add onions and carrots, cook until onions are soft.

Skim any fat off the stock, make the stock up to 3 litres with water, add stock to the onion and carrot mix, stir and add the lentils.

Add the hock meat and bring up to the boil, simmer gently for 30-40mins when the carrots should be soft and the lentils falling apart.

Allow to cool slightly and then, using a hand held blender, liquidize completely. If using a liquidizer let the soup cool right down, soup splashes really burn!

Season well, we enjoy lots of pepper in this soup.

Serve with some nice crusty bread.

For a vegetarian version, omit the hock and use vegetable stock, add 2 teaspoons ground cumin and 4 teaspoons ground coriander while cooking the onions and carrots.

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