Empire Biscuits (makes 14)

Empire Biscuits by The Fat Foodie

Empire biscuits are very popular in Britain, particularly in Scotland, but they actually originated in Germany and were known as ‘Linzer biscuits’ and ‘Deutsch biscuits’. After World War One, in Britain their name was changed to ‘Empire biscuits’ and that’s how they’ve stayed ever since. In Ireland instead of serving them topped with a glacé cherry they decorate theirs with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut, which I think sounds delicious!

Empire biscuits are a great low FODMAP biscuit option because their structure is comprised of  shortbread (which is really easy to make gluten-free and remains tasty) and the toppings are FODMAP friendly too, so you can’t go wrong with them really. Also, if a single halved glacé cherry would cause you issues then you could use the desiccated coconut option to decorate them instead.

I added a teaspoon of lemon extract to my biscuit dough because I think that the sharp, zingy lemon oil provides a delicious contrast with the sweet taste of the strawberry jam, but it’s entirely optional and if you choose to leave it out of your empire biscuits they won’t suffer in the taste department at all.

These low FODMAP empire biscuits are very easy to make and don’t require much time at all to produce, but they’re very rewarding in taste due to their crisp, sweet, buttery shortbread rounds that are generously sandwiched between good quality strawberry jam and topped with soft, sweet icing sugar. It’s no wonder they’re so popular throughout the country!

Ingredients for the biscuits:

100g cornflour

150g gluten-free flour

95g icing sugar

125g butter (or non-dairy alternative)

1 tsp lemon extract (optional)

2 tbsps cold water

To decorate:

Strawberry jam

100g icing sugar

7 halved glacé cherries (or desiccated coconut)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and have a rolling pin and a round biscuit cutter at hand.

Place all of the biscuit ingredients (except the water) in a mixing bowl and rub the ingredients together until it has the texture of fine sand.

Add the water and form a smooth dough.

Roll the biscuit dough out on a clean work surface and cut out an even number of biscuits.

Place the biscuits on a greaseproofed baking tray and bake them in the oven for 12-15 mins or until they are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Put your icing sugar in a small bowl and add a little water at a time to make a thick icing for decorating your biscuits.

Once the biscuits are cool, spread strawberry jam onto half of the biscuits and coat the other half of the biscuits in icing sugar and top them with either a glacé cherry or a sprinkling of desiccated coconut.

Once the icing has set, sandwich the biscuits together and serve.

Empire Biscuits by The Fat Foodie

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Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam

Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam by The Fat Foodie

Rhubarb is a really healthy vegetable to incorporate into our diets. It’s a great source of fibre and is packed full of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins K, C and A, along with B-Vitamins too and iron, potassium and calcium. It’s a great vegetable all round! So, when my Dad gave me another bunch of rhubarb stalks the other day I wasn’t going to refuse the gift and I decided that the best thing to do with them would be to make a jam.

Rhubarb is very low in pectin, the carbohydrate found in fruit which helps jam to set firm. You can buy jam sugar which is normal white sugar that has pectin added into it, but I didn’t have any so I needed to find a way to add pectin into my jam. However, the white pith of citrus fruits contains lots of pectin so I figured I’d use the rind of some satsumas I had in the fruit bowl. On reflection, I thought that I would be just as well using the whole fruit (waste not, want not!), so I blended 4 whole satsumas, along with the ginger, to a pulp in the Nutribullet and added them into my jam mix. (I checked them for pips first though!)

This rhubarb, orange and ginger jam is really easy to make, involving nothing more than preparing your ingredients and then letting it boil away on the stove top for about half an hour with the occasional stir. In return you’ll be rewarded with at least 5 jars of tart, but sweet, soft-set rhubarb and orange jam that’s infused with the warming spice of ginger throughout. I’m currently dolloping it on every slice of toast that comes across my path.

Ingredients:

1kg of chopped rhubarb stalks

80g fresh root ginger (finely minced)

1kg white sugar

100ml lemon juice

100ml water

2 tsps vanilla extract

4 whole satsumas (blended smooth)

Method:

Heat your oven to 140C/120C Fan/gas mark 1.

Sterilise your jars by washing them thoroughly in hot, soapy water and then rinsing well. Put them on a baking sheet and place them in a hot oven until they have dried. Switch off the oven and leave them in the oven.

Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and add all of your liquid ingredients followed by your rhubarb, minced ginger and blended oranges.

Stir well and cook for around half an hour, stirring occasionally.

Once you’re happy that the fruit has cooked, taking care because it’s very hot, pour the jam into your sterilised jam jars, cover the jam with a waxed disc and seal with the lid.

Leave to cool before placing in the fridge.

Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Jam by The Fat Foodie

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Coconut Pyramids (makes 12)

Coconut Pyramids by The Fat Foodie

I was in the Brownies when I was a kid and one of my favourite activities was when we did some baking. Although we had our pack meetings in the local cavernous, cold village hall we did our baking at our Brown Owl’s house which was terribly convenient for me because the Brown Owl in question happened to be my Mum.

One of the recipes she used to make with us was coconut pyramids, a really easy bake which produces lovely little sweet pyramids of toasted coconut that were guaranteed to stick in your teeth and have your tongue probing for wayward pieces of desiccated coconut for hours. Good times indeed.

These coconut pyramids are a great option for those who are looking to make a low FODMAP sweetie because as long as you treat one pyramid as a single serving they remain low FODMAP. I won’t be held responsible if you can’t resist indulging in more than one, but I wouldn’t blame you.

You can serve these coconut pyramids simply as they are, but I like them with a coating of dark chocolate. I intended to top my coconut pyramids with a dark chocolate capstone, but I got carried away with the application of chocolate and ended up making them fully encased in chocolate instead, with an edible gold glitter capstone. I regret nothing.

Ingredients:

200g desiccated coconut

150g sugar

3 eggs

100g dark chocolate

Method:

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

Lay greaseproof paper out onto a large baking tray.

Crack your eggs into a jug and using an electric whisk, whisk until they are fluffy.

Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture turns pale. (This is caused by the sugar partially dissolving which helps prevent the coconut pyramids from being granular.)

Add the coconut and mix together.

Take small handfuls of mixture and form them into little pyramids before placing them on the greaseproofed baking tray.

Once you’ve formed all of your pyramids bake them for 12-15 mins or until they are golden brown.

Leave to cool and then melt your dark chocolate and coat the pyramids. Leave until the chocolate has set before eating.

Coconut Pyramids by The Fat Foodie

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Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau by The Fat Foodie

I have to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of black forest gateau. I think it’s because it seems like such a 1980’s dessert. I’ve never liked dairy cream either, so the thought of eating a cake that’s so heavily dosed with thick whipped cream has never really floated my boat. However, I am a fan of chocolate and fresh cherries. Very much so indeed! So when my Mum gave me a punnet of perfectly ripe fresh cherries that needed to be used up I figured I’d have a bash at making a version of black forest gateau that I could actually enjoy.

Now according to the Monash app, a serving of 3 cherries (21g) is a yellow traffic light for fructose. A serving higher than 3 cherries (42g) becomes a red for fructose and a yellow for polyols, so if those are categories which cause you issues I’d exercise caution with the quantity of fresh cherries and cherry jam you use. However, if you’re fine with these categories it’s full steam ahead!

I used my standard sweet potato based chocolate sponge for this black forest gateau because it makes a gorgeous, moist, rich cake which works really well with the sweet ripe cherries and the whipped cream. I think the advent of a number of non-dairy creams that are now available on the market has really expanded my appreciation of creamy things, such as stroganoffs. Whereas once I would have given them a wide berth, now I’m willing to try making them myself and it’s really opening my eyes to a lot of recipes. The cream for this black forest gateau is simply made from coconut cream that’s been mixed with icing sugar, but if you don’t have a problem with dairy you could just use whipped double cream.

This black forest gateau is really easy to make and rewards you with beautifully moist chocolate sponge layers which are thinly spread with cherry jam, wrapped in a duvet of whipped cream, topped with fresh, ripe cherry halves and finished with a generous dusting of grated dark chocolate. It’s no wonder really, that in the all-encompassing cake world it’s considered an immortal.

Ingredients:

420g raw sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into small pieces)

150ml vegetable oil

50g cocoa

100g gluten-free flour

200g brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

140ml rice milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

To decorate:

170g black cherries (halved and pitted)

100g cherry jam (optional)

Non-dairy cream (I used the coconut cream from a really good quality tin of coconut milk and mixed it with 3 tbsps of icing sugar)

Grated dark chocolate

Method:

Put a tin of coconut milk in the fridge to cool.

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

Line two 9″ cake tins with greaseproof paper.

Peel your sweet potato and cut them into small cubes (about 2cm square). Place on a plate and cook on high in the microwave until the sweet potato is soft. Leave to cool down a bit.

Make your coconut cream by opening the tin of chilled coconut milk, pouring out the coconut milk and putting the solidified coconut cream in a bowl. Mix 3 tbsps of icing sugar into the coconut cream.

Keeping the decorative jam, cherries and coconut cream aside, put all of the cake ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Once the mixture is fully combined, spoon into the cake tins (making sure there’s an equal amount in each) and bake in the oven for 40-50 mins (or until a skewer pushed into the middle of the cakes comes out clean).

Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before topping one of the cakes with jam, coconut cream and a third of the cherries. Lay the second cake on top and coat it with jam, the rest of the cream and the rest of the cherries before scattering with icing sugar and the grated dark chocolate. Serve.

Black Forest Gateaux by The Fat Foodie

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Lemon and Poppy Seed Pound Cake (makes 12 slices)

Lemon and Poppy Seed Pound Cake by The Fat Foodie

Pound cakes are so called because they are an American type of cake that uses a pound each of butter, sugar, flour and eggs to create the cake. They are normally baked in a loaf tin and drizzled with icing sugar or a sugar glaze and then served in slices. This lemon and poppy seed pound cake has a base of gluten-free flour and ground almonds, but although almonds become high FODMAP at servings of over 12g, this cake yields a total of 12 slices which keeps the FODMAP quota low.

I’ve fancied making a lemon cake for quite a while because I think it’s a lovely fresh summer cake, but I hadn’t really found the time to do so. However, the other day I discovered some beautiful flowers in the garden that I knew would look stunning on top of a lemon and poppy seed pound cake.

Now, I know we shouldn’t pick wildflowers, but when I saw that I had some cornflowers growing in my garden as a result of a bee-friendly wildflower seed mix I’d optimistically thrown down at the start of the summer I couldn’t resist picking a few flower heads to scatter their beautiful azure blue petals over the top of this cake. I’d also picked a handful of plump, ripe blue-black blackberries as I was walking home the other day which I thought would be a lovely taste contrast to add to the cake. (Exercise caution when using edible flowers and only use them if you’re absolutely certain about the variety you’re using. A comprehensive list of flowers which are safe to eat can be found here.)

After I’d taken the lemon and poppy seed pound cake out of the oven and let it cool down I drizzled it with icing sugar, scattered the cornflower petals over the top and plonked the blackberries on. Needless to say, that evening after dinner we enjoyed a generous slice of the lemon-infused cake that married wonderfully with the sweet, tart blackberries. Long live summer!

Ingredients:

140g ground almonds

1 tbsp poppyseeds

100g gluten-free flour

2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

150g sugar

120ml vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 tsps lemon extract

120ml rice milk

2 tsps lemon juice

For decoration:

Icing sugar

Dried cornflowers

Method:

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

Line a two pound loaf tin with greaseproof paper. (I buy these greaseproof loaf tin liners and they make life so much easier!)

In a large mixing bowl, mix all of your wet ingredients together and then mix in the dry ingredients.

Once it’s all combined, pour your cake batter into the loaf tin, smooth it out and bake it in the oven for around 50 mins to an hour. Don’t worry if it needs a little longer. (You’ll know it’s baked when a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.)

Once it’s baked, let it cool on a cooling rack.

Make some icing by mixing icing sugar with a little water at a time until it just coats the back of a spoon. Once your cake is cool, drizzle it with some icing sugar and add any decoration you like. Serve.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Pound Cake by The Fat Foodie

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