Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is the lunch I cooked this afternoon. I was a bit nervous about it because I’d never made macaroni and cheese before, but the recipe sounded easy enough, and it turned out really great! The recipe I got from the lovely Karina over at Gluten-Free Goddess who has a knack for devising the most wonderful gluten-free recipes.

The full recipe can be found here at Gluten-Free Goddess, so I’ll just list the few changes that I made to it.

Instead of Cheddar cheese I used Emmental, and I didn’t have any cottage cheese so I used soft fresh goat’s cheese instead. Also I left out the addition of either dry sherry or white wine, simply because I didn’t have either. And lastly, I didn’t have any small cherry tomatoes so I used big grape tomatoes instead and chopped them into small pieces.

I didn’t have any ready-made gluten-free breadcrumbs either, so I used some leftover buckwheat crackers instead.

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The end result was delicious, even if it doesn’t look all that great in the pictures (I need to work on my photographic skills when it comes to food).

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But seriously, if you ever feel uninspired at that crucial moment when you need to whip up a quick dinner, just take a peek at Karina’s website. There’s something there for everyone, and her recipes not only accomodate a gluten-free diet, but a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle as well.

Christmas Cake

I know, I know, it’s January so we shouldn’t be talking about Christmas any longer. But I wanted to share with you my take on a traditional Christmas cake which I baked on Christmas Eve. It was based on the recipe by Mary Berry from the Great British Bake Off Masterclass (this links to the original recipe), but I changed it a bit to make it gluten-free.

I don’t remember exactly what I used for the filling and how much, but I threw a lot of raisins and sultanas, and different kinds of dried fruit together, and instead of soaking them in brandy (which I didn’t have), I soaked them in Armagnac for 3 days. I also used the zest of a lemon instead of an orange, simply because I didn’t have any.

The recipe also calls for mixed spice, which you can’t buy here in France, so I made my own mix:
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp nutmeg
2 tbsp ground mace
2 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground ginger

For the cake base I used a traditional banana bread recipe, which I use for lots of cakes. What is nice about this is that there’s a lot less fat in it than in a normal cake, because a large part of the butter is replaced by mashed bananas. So instead of the 250 grams of butter that is used in the normal recipe, I only added about 125 grams, and 3 medium sized mashed bananas.

Apart from this I followed the normal recipe, only I didn’t cover it in royal icing. I used pink marzipan to cover the cake, and I thought it would be a shame to cover it again after that. In the end I’m glad I left it like that, because the cake was already incredibly sweet, and with the icing it would’ve been even worse. It was really tasty though, and I was very happy with the way it turned out, especially since it was my first try.

It is definitely true that this cake is best made a few days before it is eaten. I made it on Christmas Eve, and even though it tasted alright at the time, it tasted a lot better when I had another slice of it a few days later. I’ll definitely be baking this again next Christmas!

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Oven roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes

Just a little something I whipped up for lunch this afternoon. I had two sweet potatoes left, and about a dozen really small normal potatoes. So I peeled and sliced them, and popped them in the oven for 40 minutes. And they were delicious (if I may say so myself).

What you need:

  • a baking tray
  • parchment paper
  • potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • smoked paprika powder
  • dried thyme
  • coarse sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • few cloves of garlic
  • olive oil

Put the parchment paper on the baking tray and spread the potatoes and sweet potatoes out on top. Add a few cloves of garlic. Sprinkle with olive oil, smoked paprika, thyme, sea salt, and black pepper.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for around 40 minutes. The first 20 minutes I put the oven on 150C, and after that I turned it up to 180C to make sure they potatoes turned a nice golden brown colour. We ate them with some cajun chicken fillets and a salad.

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