Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble

Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble by The Fat Foodie

The other day my Dad gave me some more rhubarb from his garden and I decided to make a gluten-free rhubarb and ginger crumble with it. I wasn’t going to write up this recipe because I was convinced that I must have put a crumble recipe up on my website at some point in the past, but I was astonished to find out that I hadn’t. I make crumbles all the time because they’re such an easy, quick pudding to knock up and they’re a great way of using up old fruit that’s kicking around the fruit bowl.

A while ago I’d been in Morrison’s supermarket and I spied a huge bag of fresh ginger roots in their ‘Selected Seconds’ section for the incredibly low price of 62p and because I normally use fresh ginger in my curries I figured that I’d chuck the roots in my freezer and use them as and when I needed them. However, when I was considering what to pair my sticks of rhubarb with I remembered that I had the fresh ginger and so I decided that a rhubarb and ginger crumble would be a beautiful combo.

I’ve written before about how dry and granular gluten-free flour tends to be, but in this case it’s a real bonus because it lends itself very well to giving the crumble topping a really crisp, biscuity texture. As a result, the rhubarb and ginger crumble you take out of the oven has a crunchy, buttery topping that provides a delicious contrast to the sharp, but sweet pulped rhubarb that’s thoroughly infused with the warmth of fresh ginger. It’s a dessert which marries perfectly with a generous dollop of custard, a scoop of cold ice cream or a gulg of cold cream.

Ingredients:

300g rhubarb (washed and cut into 1cm chunks)

50g root ginger (minced)

70g sugar

For the crumble topping:

100g gluten-free flour (I use )

50g butter (or non-dairy equivalent)

50g sugar

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

Place the rhubarb pieces, minced ginger and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook until the rhubarb has pulped down.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6.

Put all of the dry crumble ingredients into a large mixing bowl and rub the butter into it until it looks like damp sand.

Once the rhubarb has cooked, taste it and add more sugar if you like before pouring it into an ovenproof casserole dish.

Scatter the crumble mixture over the top and bake until the top is golden brown.

Serve with cream (I like oat cream), ice cream or custard.

Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble by The Fat Foodie

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Corned Beef and Potato Pie

Corned Beef and Potato Pie by The Fat Foodie

I’m originally from the North East of England and as a result I was born with a love of pastry in all of its beautiful forms. Northeasterners are extremely skilled at working all types of pastry into divine concoctions. They can make delicious steak pies, mince pies and chicken pies. They can also create outstanding apple turnovers and jam tarts. However, for all that they are great at creating these wonderful delicacies, in my eyes none of these pastries compare to the humble plate pie.

Plate pie is exactly as it sounds – a pie baked on a plate, with the gentle sloping curves of the plate helping to contain the filling within a pastry casing. My Mum and Dad (both of whom are Northeasterners) are masters of the plate pie, just as their own parents were, and frequently make them for family gatherings. They often make plate pies filled with minced beef and onion, which is delicious, but my favourite is their corned beef and potato pie.

Once upon a time, it would have been necessary to peel and boil countless potatoes to make the mash for this pie, but the invention and ease of access to cheap, good quality ready-made mashed potato in our supermarkets has made the creation of this pie a much faster task than it ever was. The same can be said about the convenience of picking up a pack of ready-made (and even ready-rolled) puff or shortcrust pastry instead of having to go through the palaver of making your own. We’re truly living in exciting times, my friends!

For all that it’s now July, on the day I’m writing this the weather is, as the Scots would say, ‘dreich’ (drizzly, overcast and cold) and I’d highly recommend making this plate pie on a day such as this. The lovely warmth of the fan oven is gently circulating around the kitchen and the scent of the pie cooking is reassuring me that a good dinner will warm me up even further very soon. I’m going to serve it with steamed broccoli, thyme-infused carrots and a ‘stick to your ribs as it goes down’ rich beef gravy. And now I think of it, I’m sure there’s some rhubarb and ginger crumble left in the freezer that we can have with warm custard. Shall I set another place at the table for you?

Ingredients:

A 500g block of puff pastry (I used gluten-free)

A 340g tin of corned beef

A 500g carton of good quality mashed potato

1 tsp asafoetida

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 beaten egg (for sealing the edges and glazing the top of the pie)

Method:

Get a large, deep dinner plate or a pie plate and keep it to one side.

Put the corned beef, mashed potato, asafoetida and ground pepper into a large bowl and mash together.

Cut your puff pastry in half and keep one half aside.

Roll one piece out on a floured surface until it is the right size to fit comfortably on top of the plate with a little hanging over the edges.

Put the beef and mash mix in it and smooth it out, leaving 1 cm around the edges bare so you can seal the pie edges later on.

Roll the other piece of puff pastry out until it’s the right size to fit on top of the pie.

Spread beaten egg along the edge of the pie and fit the lid on top. Use a fork to gently seal the pastry together and then trim off the excess with a knife and make two small knife cuts in the centre of the pie. (This helps steam escape.)

Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 mins until the pastry is risen and golden brown.

Corned Beef and Potato Pie by The Fat Foodie

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Breadmaker Banana Hazelnut Bread

Breadmaker Banana Hazelnut Bread by The Fat Foodie

I recently acquired a breadmaker from a friend and I’ve been looking for something to bake in it for a while. I remember that when breadmakers first came out they were really expensive and cost well over £100 to buy, but nowadays you can pick them up really cheap. In fact, I’ve just Googled it and you can buy one for £21:49 from Argos! It’s insane how much prices decrease after the initial fad dies down, huh?

Anyway, as I was saying, the breadmaker I inherited from my friend is only a Tesco version (I think she paid around £30 for it a number of years ago), but it does the job very nicely because for all that it’s only a supermarket version it’s still got 3 crust colour settings and a range of cooking options to suit whatever bake you’re making. That’s good enough for me!

After a couple of failed attempts at making gluten-free loaves in it (spoiler alert – these were massive failures!) I decided to park my lofty notions of creating the perfect, light and airy gluten-free loaf aside and try to make a banana bread instead. Thankfully this was a much more successful endeavour!

Although I enjoy banana cakes sometimes I prefer banana breads because they have a firmer texture and are more substantial. They also don’t need as much sugar in them so you can kind of justify having a small slice of the bread for breakfast. In fact, if you have the option on your breadmaker to start cooking your loaf at a specific time (which many modern models do) you could wake up to a freshly baked banana hazelnut bread that’s just begging to be coated in butter and eaten with your morning cuppa.

Ripe bananas test high for oligo-fructan FODMAPs at half a medium banana so if that’s an issue for you I’d exercise caution. Although, one banana hazelnut bread makes at least 12 portions so that’s a small amount of banana consumed per portion, but as with every recipe on my website these are just my adventures in cooking low FODMAP food so it’s important that you only make what will work for your own body. Also, I must stress that this isn’t a gluten-free loaf because I used spelt flour which still contains gluten, but is an ancient form of wheat grain that is easier to digest because it’s less refined than normal wheat flour. Therefore, if you’re gluten intolerant you should probably give this a miss. Sorry, guys!

However, if you can tolerate spelt or a small amount of gluten in your diet then I’d encourage you to give this breadmaker banana hazelnut bread a go because it’s genuinely delicious. This recipe makes a loaf that’s infused with the delicate flavour of fresh banana and is studded with crisp, crunchy little hazelnuts. It’s lovely on its own, but I think it’s elevated into something utterly divine when it’s topped with a generous slathering of salted butter. You only live once, right?

Ingredients:

260g plain flour (I used spelt)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g sugar

4 tbsps vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 large over-ripe bananas

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsps ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g hazelnuts

Method:

Place all of your wet ingredients into your breadmaker and then add the dry ingredients.

Choose a setting that will bake the loaf for around two and a half hours with a light crust.

Check to see if the loaf is cooked by pushing a skewer into the middle of it. If the skewer comes out clean then it’s cooked. If necessary continue to cook for a bit longer.

Once it’s done remove from the breadmaker and leave to cool inside the tin.

Once cool, cut into thick slices and serve either on its own or with butter.

Breadmaker Banana Hazelnut Bread by The Fat Foodie

Breadmaker Banana Hazelnut Bread by The Fat Foodie

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Quick Cook Dahl

Quick Cook Dahl by The Fat Foodie

Emma Hatcher, the author of the awesome low FODMAP cookbook The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen Cookbook, has a recipe for a dahl that’s made with just three tins and some spices. It’s a lovely dahl, but as an Indian food aficionado I prefer my curries to have a lot more flavour in them so although I make this quick cook dahl with the three tins Emma suggests, I also add a lot more spices to it which, in my humble opinion, makes the dahl more complex and tastier.

I normally make my dahls with dry red lentils, but tinned green lentils work very well in this curry because they keep their shape even after they’ve been cooked which helps to add texture to the curry. Also, the beauty of using tinned lentils is that the tinning process helps to reduce their FODMAP content, so you’re much less likely to have problems digesting them. (This would be the perfect opportunity to use a flatulence joke, but I’m much classier than that. Honest.)

This quick cook dahl can easily be made in a slow cooker if you’d like a meal ready to come home to after work, simply requiring you to throw the ingredients into the slow cooker and give it a stir before leaving the house, but it only takes about half an hour to make on the stove top too so it’s a great option for dinner if you don’t want to be standing cooking for ages when you get home.

This recipe makes a lovely creamy, substantial dahl that’s well-spiced, but not hot, and is packed full of flavour. It’s the perfect quick-to-cook, comforting vegetarian curry that’s just waiting to be topped with freshly chopped coriander leaves and served to accompany soft, fluffy boiled rice and crispy shards of poppadums. My own mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground turmeric

2 tsps ground coriander

1 tsp asafoetida powder

A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger (minced)

A handful of shredded green leek tops

1 tin of green lentils

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tin of coconut milk

300g rice

30g chopped fresh coriander

Method:

If you’re using the slow cooker then just add everything into the slow cooker, stir well and then leave to cook throughout the day before serving with freshly cooked rice.

If you’re cooking this on the hob though, put the oil in a saucepan and then add the spices and cook them for a couple of minutes to release their flavours.

Drain and rinse the lentils and add them to the pot along with the coconut milk and chopped tomatoes.

Leave to simmer for 10-15 mins until hot and cook your rice during this time.

Stir two-thirds of the chopped fresh coriander through the dahl and then serve with soft, fluffy rice and rest of the fresh coriander.

Quick Cook Dahl by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Torte

Chocolate Torte by The Fat Foodie

The other day I was walking home from work when my Dad stopped his car to say that he’d got me a clutch of fresh duck eggs from one of his colleagues. Never one to turn my nose up at free ingredients, particularly ones as generous as eight massive, freshly-lain duck eggs, I dutifully followed him home to collect them. Once I’d given them a wash (chickens aren’t that fussed about keeping their productions clean) I was rewarded with the sight of a bowlful of creamy, pink and blue, large eggs with striations that made them look like they’d been sculpted from marble. They were truly a thing of natural beauty.

Freshly Lain Duck Eggs

Now I’d been wracking my brain trying to come up with a recipe that would do them justice. Duck eggs are very rich, infusing a delicate and delicious intensity into cakes and biscuits with very little effort, so I knew that I didn’t want to waste them on a bake that would fail to let them shine. After some consideration I knew that a chocolate torte would be the perfect vehicle for their use because the richness of the torte would only be enhanced by the duck eggs.

A chocolate torte is a very rich, buttery and intensely chocolatey  cake. It’s not made with a flour sponge like most cakes are and instead depends on the lightness of whisked eggs (and in this case a small amount of ground almonds) to provide the structure of the cake. Accordingly, the result is a slightly dense, but infinitely moreish, chocolate torte that requires only a small serving to satisfy one’s sweet tooth.

Much like pavlovas and profiteroles, this bake looks complicated and its reputation only bolsters this misconception, but trust me, this chocolate torte is really easy to make. It literally only requires you to melt your butter and dark chocolate in one jug, whisk all of your other ingredients together in another jug and then pour one into the other before whisking again and baking. You can’t really get any easier than that, can you?

This chocolate torte is a dream to both make and eat, particularly when served with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of good quality ice-cream. It’s a torte that is decadent and luxurious, with a rich, fudgy, but light cake base that delivers the perfect chocolate hit to the taste buds. Try making this one soon, guys, you won’t regret it.

Chocolate Torte by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

85g salted butter (at room temperature)

170g dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)

4 large hen’s eggs (or 3 duck eggs, if using)

50g sugar

2 tsps of instant coffee granules

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

50g ground almonds

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cocoa powder (for dusting the top)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.

Line a 9 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Place your butter and dark chocolate in a microwavable jug and slowly melt in the microwave, stirring frequently so the chocolate doesn’t burn. If you don’t have a microwave then melt it slowly by placing the jug in a pot that’s been filled with boiling water (but is not on the heat) and allowing it to melt down. (Don’t have the pot over heat though or you might melt your jug!)

Leave the melted chocolate mixture to cool slightly.

Measure all of your other ingredients into a separate jug and whisk well until thoroughly combined and airy.

Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the other jug, whisking all the while. Mix it all together and then pour into your cake tin and bake for 40-45 mins.

Check the cake is cooked by poking a skewer into the middle. It should be cooked when only a few crumbs are on the skewer when removed from the cake, but remember that it is supposed to be moist and fudgy in the middle so don’t panic too much if it’s a bit wetter than a normal cake.

Leave to cool and then dust with cocoa powder and serve with whipped cream or ice-cream (or a non-dairy alternative).

Chocolate Torte by The Fat Foodie

Chocolate Torte by The Fat Foodie

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