Gastronomically Terrific

June 21, 2014

Gluten free & vegan raisin flapjacks

Filed under: Cake, vegetarian — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:34 pm

It is always worth documenting successful vegan recipes. This flapjack recipe is doubly-valuable, since it is also Gluten Free. It is also “dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, maybe gluten-free [depending on oats used], vegetarian and vegan”. So it can be enjoyed by almost everyone!

This is not a flattering picture - they look exactly like ordinary flapjacks!

This is not a flattering picture – they look exactly like ordinary flapjacks!

Of course, flapjacks are a good choice for vegan + gluten free cakes. The recipe remains fundamentally the same because all the ingredients can be replaced by gluten free/vegan counterparts without changing the bake.

I used as a guide, but modified the recipe to get the taste and size I wanted. That recipe also contains banana – which my subconscious clearly didn’t want since I left it out by accident! The recipe below is what I actually put in, and it worked.


  • 125g dairy free spread
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 300g oats (gluten free if desired; note that oats are not gluten free as standard)
  • 50g raisins (You can add double this and it would be fine. You could also change it for chocolate chips; again gluten free/vegan is possible)
  • pinch salt


Mix everything in a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (conventional oven). Grease and line a 20x20cm baking tin, put the mixture in, compact and smooth it.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Final thoughts

You can do a lot to make flapjack more interesting. A chocolate covering is always popular, and there are ways to add layers of jam, apple etc to change the flavour. This is going to be the starting point for many of my “everything free” recipes, because it is so versatile and hard to mess up!

I was told by a colleague that this was very tasty flapjack, the second best he’d had that week. That is a fair analysis, because the recipe above really is the simplest thing you can do. But everyone agreed that it was good and lost nothing for having no dairy or gluten in it, which I also agree with! Next time I’ll try to be more exotic and win “best flapjack of the week” award. Watch out in 2015!

Who made it: Dan

Recipe: provided above, based on


June 12, 2014

Teach Me Sugarcraft cupcake decorating class

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — lawsonanna @ 1:02 pm
14 All my cupcakes

Dogs, hedgehogs and flower decorated cupcakes

OK, so, for my birthday, my husband bought me a voucher to attend a cupcake decorating class with a friend. He said he’d be happy to attend, but equally happy to look after the little one if I wanted to go with a friend. I chose to go with a friend I hadn’t seen for ages – partly because I thought she’d enjoy it more, partly because I thought it would be a good chance to catch up, and partly because I know she’s good at the practical stuff and could help me out when I messed it all up!

I have to admit, I did have a bit of trepidation about going. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and it’s not something I ever really would have considered going to if it hadn’t been a present (not that I don’t love baking and decorating; I do. But it’s a bit like sport. I’d much rather do it in the privacy of my own home than as a team with an audience).

Luckily, overall the session was really enjoyable. 15 Flower cupcakes CUDecorating the cakes was great fun (you don’t get to bake them – you’re given 12 cupcakes and you have 2 hours to decorate them, with the leaders showing you what to do. Don’t worry, they’re not judgmental. Just encouraging). I was super proud of my cakes, and actually seemed to be a bit more confident than my friend – not that she didn’t also do a fine job (notwithstanding the fact that she then dropped her cakes when we were walking back – which was in equal parts distressing and heartbreaking after 2 hours worth of work). There were a couple of issues with the class – mainly that 2 hours isn’t really quite long enough when you have to share equipment and cut out billions of little sugar flowers for your cakes.

Whilst the class did have some good tips (did you know you can freeze sugarpaste?), I felt that the majority of my problems at home come from not having the right pieces of equipment, not a lack of knowledge. For example, I buy sugar flowers because I think I’d be rubbish at making them. With a flower cutter I didn’t have a problem. But I don’t own one. To be fair, if I’m serious about creating these items in the future, I can always just go and buy these things!

Anyway, if I was proud of those cupcakes with rose icing, I’m really proud of these 12 cupcakes. Especially the dogs!16 Dog cupcakes CU

June 11, 2014

Cake baked Alaska

Filed under: Cake, pudding — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 12:57 pm

Cake baked Alaska with flashThe June recipe from my Homebaking 2014 calendar, this seemed like an ideal pudding to make when we had friends visiting for the weekend.

Now, it sounds odd, but cake baked Alaska is really easy to make, and doesn’t taste as bizarre as it sounds! Firstly, you make a cake. Any cake you like. I chose to make a sponge cake, but the recipe suggested a banana loaf cake. Either way, once it has been made and cooled down, you cut it up and put it on the bottom of a dish or flan tin. You then dollop ice cream in the middle (the recipe called for vanilla; I mixed rum and raisin and vanilla. Vanilla would probably have been better, but we had rum and raisin to use up). Finally, you make a meringue mixture with egg whites and golden caster sugar. You then pile this over the ice cream and around the edges, on top of the cake. You then bake the whole thing in the oven for 5-7 minutes.

Like I said, it doesn’t taste half as bizarre as it sounds!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Homebaking calendar 2014, June

June 10, 2014

Cupcakes with rose icing

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 12:47 pm

01 Rose iced cupcakesI haven’t done a lot of baking over the past month or so – a combination of heading off on holiday, there being too many other things happening, and there already being too much naughty food in the house – meaning we’d get extra fat if I baked too much! Therefore I’ve basically stuck to the recipes in my Homebaking 2014 calendar, just to make sure that I make each of the months recipes before I forget they exist!

So, back in May, just before my mum’s birthday, and a visit to Exeter to see family, I made these cupcakes with rose icing. I knew plenty of them would get eaten by our parents, so wasn’t worried about the getting fat issue with these!

The cupcakes themselves are pretty interesting – they’re fairy cakes, but you add white chocolate and strawberry yoghurt flakes (well, the recipe calls for “fruit flakes”, but to my mind that means yoghurt flakes. It worked out well, anyway). The icing is the fun part though. The recipe states that you just make pink buttercream (by adding some red food colouring and rose water), dollop it on the cake and decorate with sugar roses. The picture in the calendar looked much more impressive than that, so I decided that I was at least going to pipe the icing on the cake before adding sugar roses.

And I think I did a fairly good job. You can judge for yourself by looking at the picture, but I’m fairly proud of these. They both looked and tasted good – and nobody complained when I handed them over to be eaten!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Homebaking Calendar 2014, May


June 9, 2014

Piselli con panna e pancetta

Filed under: Christmas, side, vegetarian — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 12:46 pm

I’ve loved the picture of this in Nigella’s Christmas book now, but couldn’t really find a reason to make it previously. It is, after all, basically just a big bowl of peas. Enter my son. He doesn’t eat much. But he always eats peas. I have to admit, I wasn’t 100% sure how this would go down – whilst he loves peas, these are peas with a twist. If you speak Italian, you’ll know what the twist is. Basically they have spring onions and lardons added, and are then cooked in double cream.

Things went pretty well. My son was almost as enthusiastic about the lardons as the peas. He didn’t eat as many of these as he would have a normal, plain plate of peas – but then they are much richer. I can also see why they live in Nigella’s Christmas book. Whilst not part of her main Christmas meal (they’re in the soups and sides section), I think they’d make a perfect veggie addition to a Christmas roast. They don’t require any roasting (and our oven is always horrendously overstuffed at Christmas), and take all of about 5 minutes to cook – with not a lot of intervention. So you can get on with making the peas and brussel sprouts whilst somebody else is cajouled into making the gravy. And yes, I am now planning Christmas in May. At least it’s not February.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 63

NB: I wrote this post back in early May, when I actually cooked this dish. Presumably I was waiting to take a photo before I posted it. But that photo never got taken, and therefore this never got posted. So you’ll just have to imagine what peas and lardons covered in cream looks like!

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