Lemon and Coconut Cookies

Lemon and Coconut Cookies by The Fat Foodie

I love lemon in cookies because I think the fruity flavour lifts the rich, buttery biscuit and makes it taste really fresh and light. It’s also particularly good when combined with the exotic flavour of coconut because the two tastes working together really sing, so these lemon and coconut cookies are the ideal combination then!

This is a dairy-free and gluten-free cookie recipe. However, for all of you sceptics out there, I tested it on my Dad and his workmates and they couldn’t tell the difference between these cookies and a ‘normal’ biscuit, which testifies to its tastiness. (If you’re not dairy or gluten sensitive you can just make them with normal flour and butter though, if you like.)

These lemon and coconut cookies are so easy to make. In fact, rather than standing rubbing the butter into the flour and whatnot like a traditional biscuit normally requires, I just made the cookie dough in a jug by whisking all of the ingredients together with an electric whisk. The most time-consuming part of this bake is simply waiting for the cookie dough to chill in the fridge before you bake it and even that’s not entirely essential either!

If you fancy a fresh and light dairy-free and gluten-free biscuit then these lemon and coconut cookies are for you. They’re delicately flavoured with zingy, zesty lemon extract and are enhanced by the exotic tropical taste of coconut. They’re practically begging to be eaten with a cuppa!

Ingredients for the cookies:

200g plain flour (I used gluten-free)

50g cornflour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp lemon extract

125g white sugar

125g butter (I used dairy-free)

For decorating:

Icing sugar

Water

Desiccated coconut

Method:

Measure the cookie ingredients into a large plastic jug and use an electric whisk to mix it all together. (You can add a little water if you feel it needs it to combine properly into a dough, but don’t add a lot.)

Once it’s fully combined, place the dough on a sheet of cling film, roll it into a sausage shape and chill it in the fridge for at least an hour. (This makes it easier to slice.)

Preheat your oven to 180°C/170°C Fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Unroll the cookie dough from the cling film and cut it into 1 cm thick slices, before placing them on the baking tray with a gap between each.

Bake for 15 to 20 mins or until golden brown.

Leave to cool on a cooling rack. Make your icing by mixing the icing sugar with a tiny bit of water at a time until it’s the thickness to coat the back of a spoon.

Once the cookies are cold, drizzle the icing over the lemon and coconut cookies and then scatter the desiccated coconut over them. Serve.

Lemon and Coconut Cookies by The Fat Foodie

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Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes

Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes by The Fat Foodie

I think we can all agree that potatoes are a staple of the low FODMAP diet. Their wonderfully low FODMAP status means that they’re a great carbohydrate to be able to fall back on when you need a relatively quick meal. I tend to get fed up of eating bread all the time, even if it’s my gorgeous gluten-free soda bread, so it’s nice to know that I can have a baked potato instead.

When I was at uni doing my Masters I’d often go for a baked potato for lunch because they were huge, well-baked beauties that were perfect specimens of the potato family. Although many baked potatoes can be dry, these ones always had lovely moist interiors and were encased within a delicious-tasting natural shell. (I always eat the baked potato skin because it’s packed full of nutrients.)

Now, I’m going to tell you how to make the perfect baked potatoes and this advice is gold, my friends. On one of those days when I was buying lunch from the uni canteen I asked the lady who was serving the lunches why their baked potatoes tasted so good and she smiled and replied that, although they weren’t supposed to add salt without good reason, she coated the freshly washed raw potatoes in a very thin layer of granulated salt before she baked them so that the salt dried in the oven and created a crust on the outside which prevented the moisture within the potatoes from evaporating while simultaneously seasoning the potatoes beautifully. (I’m paraphrasing here.)

This was a revelation to me. I’d never have dreamed of putting salt on my baked potatoes, but sure enough, when I tried it at home (and every time I’ve made them since) it produces wonderfully tasty and beautifully seasoned baked potatoes.

Another trick to ensuring you get the perfect salt-crusted baked potatoes is to use a four-pronged potato baker. When my partner and I tied the knot, my Aunt and Uncle in Canada very generously sent over a Debenhams gift voucher for us. I bought a number of things with it, including a large bale of white towels which have long gone to grey bath towel heaven. However, one thing which remains from their wedding gift, and is used on a very regular basis, is a pair of potato bakers. These potato bakers are brilliant because they ensure your potatoes cook evenly by piercing them through the middle and radiating the heat through their centre. They’re truly a genius invention!

If you enjoy a good baked potato I’d really encourage you to try these salt-crusted baked potatoes some time. They’re a lovely way to treat what is a pretty plain vegetable and they really coax the natural sweetness out of the potato. The only hard part is deciding what you’re going to top them with.

Ingredients:

As many large potatoes as you need (washed and any eyes removed)

Granulated salt

Any toppings you fancy

Method:

Preheat your oven to 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7.

Wash your large potatoes and remove any eyes from them.

Scatter salt over the wet potatoes (I use around 1/3 to 1/2 a teaspoon of salt per potato) and then skewer them on the potato bakers and place on a baking tray.

Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes About to be Baked by The Fat Foodie

Bake them in the oven for around 45 to 55 minutes. (You can’t really tell when they’re ready from looking at them so I tend to check they’re cooked by removing one of them from the potato baker and cutting it open. If it’s soft in the middle, they’re done. If not, pop it back on the potato baker and put them back in for a bit longer.)

Once your potatoes are ready remove them from the potato bakers and serve with your desired toppings.

Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes by The Fat Foodie

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Strawberry Shortcakes (makes 12)

Strawberry Shortcakes by The Fat Foodie

I live in a small village called Cambusbarron which is in Stirling, Scotland. Every summer when the sun beats its rays down and encourages nature to bloom Cambusbarron is carpeted in tiny native wild Scottish strawberries, the majority of which grow no bigger than my pinkie nail, but are blessed with the perfect combination of sugary sweet and fruity tart flavours.

Last summer I took a walk up to the old quarry behind Cambusbarron and I was astonished to discover that these tiny wild strawberries completely covered the gravelled land on the approach to the water. I couldn’t put a foot down without stepping on them, so tightly and thickly were they spread across the ground.

Cambusbarron Quarry

Tiny Wild Scottish Strawberries

My Finger Showing the Scale of the Wild Strawberries

This year we’ve cleared a lot of unnecessary trees and shrubs from our garden (well, my Dad has cleared them for me, to be honest!) and as a result wild strawberries have sprung up all over the garden. They’re beautiful plants, providing steady, long-lasting greenery that is dotted with bright crimson coloured tiny fruits. I certainly have no intention of getting rid of them, as I would with any other invasive plant life.

When I first started seeing them appearing in the garden I resolved that I would make something with them for the website and after giving it some thought I decided on strawberry shortcakes. The shortcakes are made of two pieces of crisp, buttery lemon shortbread biscuit that sandwich a rich smooth buttercream icing that is interspersed with the tiny wild strawberries from my garden and topped with a dot more buttercream and fresh baby mint leaves. You could just use slices of fresh strawberries though, if you’re not blessed with living in Cambusbarron.

I’m absolutely over the moon with this strawberry shortcake recipe and the shortbread it’s made from is most definitely now my favourite gluten-free biscuit recipe. The soft, smooth-textured cornflour makes the biscuits really crumbly while the butter adds a lovely crisp shortness to the overall crunch of them. You’d never in a million years believe they were gluten-free. As I optimistically said to my partner after I’d tried them for the first time, “Oh my God! They’re definitely going in the cookbook!”.

Ingredients for the shortbread biscuits:

100g cornflour

150g gluten-free flour

95g icing sugar

125g cold salted butter (cubed)

1 tsp lemon extract

2 tbsp cold water

 

Ingredients for the buttercream icing:

50g soft butter

110g icing sugar

2 tsps of rice milk

1 tsp lemon extract

 

For decorating:

Caster sugar

Fresh strawberries

Fresh mint leaves

Method:

Preheat your oven to 210C/190C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Lay greaseproof paper out onto two large baking trays.

Weigh the cornflour, gluten-free flour, icing sugar, lemon extract and butter into a large mixing bowl.

Rub the butter through all of the dry ingredients until it resembles fine sand. Add the water and mix until a smooth dough is formed.

Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for half an hour. (The cold temperature makes it easier to roll out.)

In the meantime make the buttercream by putting the icing ingredients into a jug and whisking together until light and airy. Place in a piping bag.

Once the shortcake dough is cold, use a rolling pin to roll it out on a floured surface until it is approximately 1/2 a centimetre thick. (I roll it out on floured greaseproof paper so it doesn’t stick to my work surface.)

Use a biscuit cutter to stamp out your biscuits and then lay them on the greaseproofed baking trays, leaving a generous gap between each.

Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 mins or until light golden brown.

Using a fish slice to lift gently them, lay the shortcakes on a cooling rack and scatter with caster sugar.

Once the shortcakes are cool, decorate the base with dots of the buttercream icing, strawberries and fresh mint leaves and then top them with another shortcake biscuit. Serve.

The base Layer of Strawberry Shortcakes by The Fat Foodie

Strawberry Shortcakes by The Fat Foodie

Strawberry Shortcakes by The Fat Foodie

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Chicken Satay (serves 4)

Chicken Satay by The Fat Foodie

I had a bowl of chicken satay a long time ago in a restaurant and it was really delicious, but when I looked into making it myself I saw that the ingredient list was as long as my arm and was heavily based on fried onion and garlic. Not FODMAP friendly ingredients! However, I was sure that similar results could be attained by using fewer ingredients and after some tweaking I decided I was happy to write this version up for the website. I make this chicken satay all the time because it’s a great standby meal to have on-hand and requires so few ingredients. It also helps that most of the ingredients are long-lasting, so I always have them in my kitchen cupboards and fridge.

Traditionally, chicken satay is made with sweet chilli sauce, but every single one I’ve checked has contained garlic in one form or another, so that’s not going to work on a low FODMAP diet. However, a fellow fodmapper recommended Lingham’s Sweet Chilli Sauce to me because it doesn’t contain garlic and it works wonderfully. (It can be found in Tesco. Thanks, Jane!)

Chicken satay tends to be quite a sweet dish because the sauce is made with peanut butter, but the lime juice helps cut through the sweetness and adds a fresh dimension to the meal. It’s also nice to serve the chicken satay with a green vegetable on the side because it makes the sweetness less overpowering and adds variety and texture to the dish. I sometimes serve this chicken satay with either green beans or sesame broccoli (made by sauteing small florets of broccoli in 1 tbsp of hot sesame oil and adding 2 tbsps of sesame seeds before serving), but it’s delicious just as a substantial bowlful of chunky pieces of tender chicken that are encased in a rich, thick peanut satay sauce and served resting on a bed of fluffy white rice. Delicious!

Ingredients:

600g of skinless & boneless chicken thighs (cut into small pieces)

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsps sesame seeds

300g long grain rice

 

For the satay sauce:

170g crunchy peanut butter

100ml Lingham’s Sweet Chilli Sauce

4 tbsps lime juice (add more to taste)

Method:

Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the sesame oil, chicken pieces and sesame seeds. Cook until the chicken is done.

At the same time, cook your rice in salted water.

Add the sauce ingredients to the pan and stir until hot.

Drain your rice, portion into bowls, top with the chicken satay and serve.

Chicken Satay by The Fat Foodie

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Flowerpot Muffins (makes 6)

Flowerpot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

The other day I was in Lakeland when I spied a box of silicone flowerpot baking pots and a set of leaf-shaped icing cutters and I couldn’t resist buying them to make a summer-themed bake. I’ve written before about the fact that you can use edible flowers to decorate your cakes, so I figured I’d pillage my hanging baskets and cottage garden to find some lovely blooms to adorn these beautiful little cakes.

The chocolate cake itself is made from my chocolate muffin recipe because it’s always a reliable bake, is seriously tasty, and keeps moist for days. In fact, I genuinely think that this is my go-to chocolate muffin recipe from now on because they are soft, light, moist and incredibly fudgy and you certainly can’t tell that they’re gluten-free and contain sweet potato.

I debated about whether I should remove the flowerpot muffins from their moulds before serving them, but I decided that the visual impact comes from the silicone flowerpots, so I just kept them in them. I did however, remove the cakes from the flowerpots after they’d been baked to make sure they weren’t stuck inside them before I put them back in, just so they came out easily and the person who was trying to eat them wasn’t faced with having to try to remove their cake from the pot.

These flowerpot muffins look really impressive and taste fantastic, but they are actually a really simple bake to make because the flowerpots and leaf cutters do most of the work for you. The cake sponge is rich, chocolatey and moist, the cocoa icing is creamy and smooth, and the green icing leaves really enhance the natural beauty of the edible flowers. I think anyone would be thrilled to receive one of these celebrations of summer, don’t you think?

A Pansy Flowerpot Muffin by The Fat Foodie

A Rose Flowerpot Muffin by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

140g peeled raw sweet potatoes (cut into small chunks)

60g brown sugar

35g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

15g cocoa

35g chopped peanuts (optional)

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

50ml vegetable oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

50ml rice milk

1/4 tsp salt

 

For the chocolate icing:

200g icing sugar

25g cocoa

Around 1 tbsp of water (but depends on how thick you want the icing to be)

A pack of ready to roll green icing

A selection of edible flowers (click here for a comprehensive list of edible flowers)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F/Gas mark 5.

Place the silicone flowerpot baking pots in a muffin tray or on a baking tray.

Prepare the sweet potatoes and cook them on a plate in the microwave until they are soft. Put the cooked sweet potato in a large mixing bowl, mash well and leave to cool.

Once the sweet potato is fairly cool, add all of your wet ingredients and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Divide the mixture between the 6 silicone flowerpot baking pots and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins or until a skewer pushed into the middle of one comes out clean. Leave to cool.

To make the icing, slowly stir the water into the icing sugar and cocoa to blend the icing together (you can make it as thick or thin as you like) and once you’re happy with the consistency pour it over the chocolate muffins.

Roll out the block of green icing and use your leaf-shaped icing cutters to cut out leaf shapes. Attach them to the chocolate icing so that they drape over the edge of the muffins.

Add your edible flowers and serve.

Flowerpot Muffins by The Fat Foodie

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