Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Buttermilk Chicken...

Buttermilk Chicken is an American classic... chicken marinated in buttermilk overnight, then dredged in flour & deep fried in corn oil to give that golden crispy coating that we'll recognise from southern fried chicken dishes... Oh and lets not forget all the artificial flavourings that get added to the commercially produced version. So yeah, let's make a healthier but equally tasty dish....

I love how marinating chicken completely changes the flavour and texture of the meat with minimal time and effort. My version of buttermilk chicken will melt in your mouth it's so tender, and with the addition of the Parmesan and seed coating, it's wonderfully crispy.

For the buttermilk marinade: 

  • 1 chicken fillet
  • buttermilk 
  • 1 onion chopped in half
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper

Add all the above to a deep bowl (you just need enough buttermilk to ensure the chicken is fully immersed)..

Place in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours before cooking. 

For the coating: 
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp finely grated parmesan 
  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 170d. 

Toss the ingredients for the coating together until combined and lay on a shallow plate. 

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk & roll in the seed mixture to coat well. 

Place in a heatproof dish, drizzle with a little melted coconut oil and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with salad & sweet potato chips. 

For an awesome quick dip for your fries, mix equal parts Greek yoghurt with Frank's Hot Sauce. Yum!!!

My favourite part about a meal like this? It's really simple & quick to make, but still fits in with my nutrition plan whilst tasting absolutely awesome! Give it a go... and for those of you with children, they'll love this too! 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Raspberry Blondies....

Did you know some people don't like chocolate???? Madness!! Who'd have thought that there are people out there who don't like brownies?? Since I try to cater for everyone, I baked Sarah some Raspberry Blondies.... (she's not going to thank me for this comment).... but she hoovered them up like a fat kid attacks a brownie! My point?? (other than to rip the piss)...as much as I bang on about how all the GLBTK baked good are treats and shouldn't be eaten all the time, I love nothing more than seeing people destroy a plate of healthified cake!... 

Why?? It's very easy to come on here and post recipes and photos of attractive looking food... after all, we eat with our eyes first...but what's the point if it doesn't taste good? If healthier cakes & desserts tasted bland and as if they lacked something, then would we really bother? Good quality, healthy food can taste incredible... and spreading that message is the mission of GLBTK... 

So anyway.... the Blondies! I always thought Blondies were just white chocolate brownies... WRONG! Blondies are simply white cake cut into bars sometimes with nuts/fruit/chocolate chips...they sound kinda boring now! So.. lets make something a little more exciting... how about Raspberry Blondies packed with creamy almond butter to give them a great fudgy, dense texture like that of brownies and throw in some juicy sweet raspberries?? That sounds more appealing than 'white cake'....

For the Blondies:
  • 50g butter
  • 100g almond butter (I always use Keen )
  • 2 tbsp Irish honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g ground almonds 
  • 1 tsp GF baking powder
  • 100g fresh raspberries 
  • 30g cacoa nibs
  • flaked almonds

Preheat fan oven to 160d. Line a 7" square cake tin with parchment paper. 

Start by melting the butter, almond butter & honey together over a low heat. 

Beat in the eggs, one at time. Add the vanilla extract. 

Stir in the ground almonds and baking powder. 

Carefully fold in the raspberries and cacoa nibs. 

Spoon mixture into lined cake tin, sprinkle with extra cacoa nibs & flaked almonds. Bake for 15 - 20 mins until just set. 

If you over bake, you'll have more of a cake-like texture rather than a dense, fudgy consistency. 

Cut into squares and serve! 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Strawberry Swiss Roll...

For someone who has almost zero tolerance or patience, I'm unbelievably patient when it comes to baking and cooking. I'll spend hours baking & decorating cakes without even noticing the time pass. It's my thing...baking focusses my mind, makes me happy and helps me to relax. 

As much as I love spending 4 hours making a cake, I'm not sure all of you do! That's why I try to keep most of my recipes quick and simple so that anyone can make them. Most importantly really, I try to make sure that all the ingredients are readily available in your local supermarket.... adding specialist ingredients to recipes usually requires trips to specialist shops, and often a lot of extra expense. 

This Strawberry Swiss Roll is quick and easy to bake, and as always is a million times better for your health than the traditional version...

There's no need to be worried about rolling the cake, it's actually really easy. If it cracks a little, don't worry about it, it will still taste awesome.... or just cover any cracks with fresh strawberries or homemade chocolate sauce! 

For the Swiss Roll: 
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 3 tbsp Irish honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp GF baking powder

Preheat fan oven to 160d. Line a Swiss Roll tin with non stick baking parchment. 

Separate the eggs. 

Add the honey and vanilla to the egg yolks. Whisk until doubled in volume and pale in colour. 

In a clean, 100% grease free bowl, whisk the egg whites until holding stiff peaks & opaque. 

Fold the ground almonds and baking powder into the egg yolk mixture. 

Lastly, using a large spoon fold in the egg whites (1/4 at a time), until well mixed in. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes until well risen and the cake springs back to a light touch. 

Now... listen... you need a large sheet or parchment paper on a heatproof counter top. Turn the cake out onto the parchment. Don't mess around and try to do it slowly or carefully... just do it!!! Turn it over quickly and it'll be perfect.... do it slowly and it'll 100% break. 

You need to remove the parchment that's stuck to the cake from the tin. Don't try and pull it off like a plaster... it's a delicate sponge cake, you'll break it! Start at one of the corners and peel the parchment in pieces. Tear small pieces at a time. Be patient! Pulling it all off at once will end badly. 

Done that? Good job! Now... you're going to lift the edge of the parchment (closest to you, at the narrow end of the cake, and you're going to firmly roll the cake while it's still hot. Again... this is no time to mess around with being gentle... just do it! It won't break if you're firm with it.... 

Once rolled, set aside to cool. 

While the cake is cooling, make your jam...It's really easy to make & you won't miss the bags of sugar that are in store bought jams... 

For the jam: 
  • 250g bag of frozen strawberries 
  • 1 tbsp honey
Simmer the strawberries and honey over a low heat until defrosted & thickened like jam (Similar to the raspberry jam here)

Once the cake is cooled, unroll it gently. 

Spread an even layer of your cooled strawberry jam over the cake. 

Simply re-roll the cake. It's really easy this time as the cake has cooled and will remember its shape! 

It's a pretty impressive looking & really delicious cake but best of all... it's so simple to bake! Hope you enjoy it :) 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Jaffa Cakes...

I get really excited about recreating people's favourite snacks & treats. I love the challenge of not only making a healthier version, but also one that people love to eat!

A very good friend of mine adores Jaffa Cakes and I'm always baking him cakes based on the Jaffa Cake. I started to wonder if I could make him a healthier version of his favourite treat. First attempt turned out so well I couldn't help being delighted. I've promised to hang out with him this week and we're going to have a baking day... Jaffa Cakes will absolutely be on the menu :)

The best part of this recipe is that it's actually really simple to make, so kids will LOVE helping out just as much as they'll love devouring the finished goodies...

For the Jaffa filling:

  • juice of 3 large oranges
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Irish honey
  • 100ml water 
  • 2 sachets of powdered gelatin (12g sachet x 2) 

Line a 7" square tin with parchment paper or cling film. 

Mix the first 5 ingredients together and heat to just before boiling point. 

Remove approx 150ml of the hot liquid and place in a separate shallow bowl. 

Sprinkle the 2 sachets of gelatin over the hot liquid & set aside to dissolve for 5 minutes. Once fully dissolved, stir gently to ensure there are no lumps remaining. 

Pour the gelatin mixture back into the remaining liquid gradually, whisking constantly to prevent the gelatin forming lumps or strings in the mixture.  

Once fully combined, pour into the prepared tin & place in the fridge until set (should only take about 25 minutes but you can make a start on the sponge base while you wait). 

For the base: 

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp Irish honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp GF baking powder

Preheat the oven to 160d (fan). 

Start by whisking the eggs, honey and vanilla until pale and doubled in volume. 

Fold in the ground almonds & baking powder until just combined. 

Divide mixture into a non stick shallow bun tin. (This recipe yields 12) 

Bake the sponge base for 8-10 minutes until slightly risen and firm to touch. 

Allow to cool for about a minute before carefully removing the sponge discs from the tray. Place on a wire rack to cool. 

To assemble: 
  • 100g dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids) 

Using a round cookie cutter (slightly smaller than the sponge discs), cut out circles of the orange jelly. 

Place on top of the sponge base. 

Melt the chocolate gently in a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water.

Using a teaspoon, pour chocolate over the centre of the jelly disc and spread gently to coat the sides in order to hold the jelly in place. 

Allow the chocolate to harden before serving. 

I'm not kidding, these taste better than the original. There's more jelly filling, it actually tastes like orange and they're healthier! What's not to love?! 

If you know someone who loves Jaffa Cakes, share this recipe with them... they'll love you for it! 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Snickers Bars...

Guess what I made!!!!

Who likes Snickers Bars?

Snickers Nutritional Info
That's a lot of sugar!

I'm constantly getting requests to make healthier versions of various products, and today it's the turn of the Snickers bar...

These bars contain lots of natural ingredients... Though before anyone says it, let me point out two things about my recipe..
  1. Peanuts are a legume, not a nut. If you're following a strict Paleo protocol you may want to substitute the PB with almond butter and the peanuts with chopped almonds... though if you're that into Paleo, you already know that right? 
  2. I've used 81% cocoa solid dark chocolate. Yep it's processed. Yep it contains some sugar. But hey, I'm pretty confident none (or very few) of you eat THAT clean that this is going to be a deal breaker... . Remember, the higher the cocoa solids in chocolate, the lower the sugar content. 
So.. back to the bars... They taste just like the real thing, and that's coming from a friend who considers a Snickers bar to be an energy bar... (in fairness to him, he never said a 'healthy' energy bar)!

For the nougat base: 
  • 50g 81% dark chocolate, melted
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tsp Irish honey
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy) 
  • 1 sachet Gelatin  (12g) 
  • 100ml hot water (just slightly cooler than boiling point)

Start by lining an 8" square cake tin with greaseproof paper. 

Spread the melted chocolate over the base of the lined tin & leave aside to harden.

Put 100ml of very hot water in a bowl with 2 tbsp peanut butter & sprinkle the gelatin powder over the top. (the gelatin needs to be added to the liquid & not the other way around or you'll end up with a solid lump). Set aside to dissolve for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the egg whites and honey to a heatproof bowl set above gently simmering water. Whisk constantly (unless you want scrambled eggs) until they form stiff peaks. 

Pour in the gelatin mixture gradually, stirring well between each addition. 

Spread the mixture on top of the chocolate base which should now be set. 

Leave aside to firm up while you get started on the caramel centre. 

For the caramel: 
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk 
  • 1 tsp Irish honey
  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add the coconut milk & honey to a saucepan & bring to the boil. 

Once boiled, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until thick & golden in colour. Stir regularly to prevent burning.

Once thickened & cooled stir in the peanut butter & vanilla until combined.

Spread over the nougat base.

You can now cover the bars with a layer of chocolate before cutting into 12 bars. I chose to pour chocolate over the top so they were totally coated like the original. 

If you're in a hurry & don't like making a mess.... maybe just layer the top with chocolate! 

Either way, you'll need... 

For the topping: 
  • 125g dark chocolate (81% cocoa solid), melted

They'll taste amazing whether you drizzle the chocolate over the top, or dip the bars. 

Allow the chocolate to set & enjoy.