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This week I’ve been trying out various gluten free recipes as 3 out of 5 of us have IBS and I know many of you out there also suffer from this condition and if you have a sweet tooth like us I thought you may like some of these recipes.

However – it’s not easy getting it right – some of the recipes I have tried (and they  have been numerous) are just too dry and crumbly and others lacking in flavour, mostly though it’s trying to get the right texture.

The first recipe was given to me by a lovely woman who has a coeliac husband, it has to be said when I saw the ingredients my eyebrows shot up and I was exceptionally dubious about the whole thing – but I gave it a whirl.

Apricot and Almond Cake

  • 1 tin of chick peas (drained)
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 2.5 oz dried apricots 
  • 3 teaspoons almond essence
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend well.
  2. Grease and line a cake tin
  3. Pour mixture into oven Gas Mark 4 / 180C / 350F  (basically a moderate oven).
  4. Cook for between 35-40 minutes.
  5. Turn out to cool and dust with icing sugar.
This is how mine turned out: –
I have to be honest, although initially dubious it tasted lovely and no hint of a chickpea flavour (which was my biggest fear) – I also tried a few variations on this -I substituted the almond for chopped dried or glace cherries which was really lovely – sort of like a Bakewell Cake.  Then for another twist I added orange instead of almond essence and dark chocolate chips instead of fruit and that was good too.  However – my attempt at a banana and chocolate version was disgusting – some how the combination of bananas with the chickpea mix tasted bitter and burnt, so that one ended up in the bottom of the bin!
My second challenge was to find a lovely moist gluten free version of a Victoria sponge cake (second daughters favourite).  I’d tried a few but always found the texture to be just a little off – BUT – hurrah – I have found the perfect recipe and so have decided to share it with you.
Gluten Free Vanilla Sponge Cake/Fairy Cakes
  • 180g Caster Sugar
  • 2 medium eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon glycerine
  • 175g Gluten free self raising flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon Xanthan gum
  • 130ml sunflower oil
  • 130ml whole milk (I used semi-skimmed which worked out perfectly fine)
  1. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until light and creamy.
  2. Place mixture into two sandwich greased and line tins (or fairy cake papers)
  3. Bake in oven 180C for 15-20 minutes if fairy cakes a little longer if sandwich tins.
  4. Turn out and cool
  5. Ice as it takes your fancy 🙂
I made mine in one deep tin and added some plain chocolate chips, topping it off with a vanilla butter cream icing.  It is the best gluten free sponge recipe so far, beautifully moist.

It keeps longer than the previous recipes I’ve tried and even though no butter was used has a lovely buttery flavour.


My last challenge was to try and make gluten free brownies – as my daughter loves them and so far I have failed to find a good recipe for her.  So was very pleased to find a tiny card in with the gluten free baking powder with this recipe in it.
Gluten Free Brownies (makes 9 brownie slices)
  • 175g Dark chocolate chips
  • 190g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • 15g cocoa powder + 2 extra teaspoons for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 200g White chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
  2. Grease and line a deep 8″ square tin.
  3. Put the dark chocolate chips and small pieces of butter into a bowl and melt together over a pan of simmering water.
  4. Once chocolate and butter melted remove from heat and add the sugar – then set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. Whisk the eggs to make a thick and glossy mixture, sift onto that the cocoa and baking powders, add the ground almonds, vanilla extract and 150g of the white chocolate chips and carefully mix well together (set the remaining white chocolate chips to one side for decorating the brownies).
  6. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth over the top.
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes until risen and slightly crusty on the top (the mixture should be soft underneath).
  8. Leave to cool completely in the tin then remove and wrap and store for 24 hours.
  9. To serve; melt the remaining white chocolate pieces in a bowl over simmering water.
  10. Cut brownies into 9 portions and drizzle each slices with the white chocolate, leave to set for a few minutes and then dust lightly with the 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder.

This is a photo of my first brownie attempt – pretty damn good if you ask me 🙂

    This brownie recipe is a real keeper – the brownies are really soft, moist and gooey – mmmmm!


    The last recipe I was excited about and thought share with you (although you may not thank me afterwards!) is my Windy Winter Soup (it’s a slimming world recipe and it’s official title is “Super Speed Soup” and very healthy but due to the number of beans and lentils may make you a wee bit windy so I have renamed it!)  I was worried when I saw the recipe and thought it may be a little bland, but it actually makes a wonderfully tasty, chunky, filling and warming winter soup, so good I will definitely be making this again and again.

    It’s dead easy to make: –

    Winter Windy Soup
    Add all of the following into a pan, cover with water & cook until veggies are soft but not mush ..

    • 1 can mixed bean salad
    • 1 can green lentils
    • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
    • 1 can baked beans
    • Handful of split lentils
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 4 large carrots, diced
    • 2 parsnips, diced
    • Pepper (any colour), chopped
    • 2 beef stock cubes
    • Mixed herbs
    • Salt and Pepper to taste.
    Hope you like it 🙂


    Other than baking this week I have been helping the girls to dye their hair.  I don’t know about you but sometimes jazzing up your hair can really lift a girls spirits, especially when your are a teenager and so physically limited by everything because of the damn evil Mr M.E.

    Seeing as both girls don’t go into school and so aren’t tied down to their regulations we don’t see why they can’t experiment with their hair.  AND boy did we have some fun – at some point during the process I must have caught my glove because afterwards I had a very purple thumb!!

    Tara has gone a bluey green and Tasha a lovely purple (using a bleach/shampoo combination to lighten their hair and then directions dye on top of that).  The results were awesome and the girls are very happy with their new looks 🙂  PLUS as directions hair dyes are cheap to buy it doesn’t break the bank to do, win win if you ask me, here are photos of the results …



    1. I know Sandi, I was equally unsure when I saw the ingredient list – but love it too & so pleased it's been a hit over with you – it's also just as lovely with cherries instead of apricots (just avoid bananas!) 🙂 xx

      2nd February 2014
    2. Anonymous

      Tanya, tried the almond and apricot cake -was a tad unsure – it is bloody gorgeous, a hit with my lot and the recipe is now doing the rounds of the Selwyn Library group over here, getting nothing but rave reviews! Thank you. Sandi xx

      1st February 2014

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