Courgette, Lemon & Elderflower Drizzle Cake really is a delicious treat. The combination of courgette, lemon and elderflower in a cake is one that I hope will appeal to gardeners! I grew up on an organic farm and the realities of seasonal foods were an everyday normality for me. More than that, the relationship between the soil and the land around me with the food I ate was a natural and obvious connection. I believe that my interest in cooking stemmed at least in part from a desire to find ways to use up a glut of that eggs or make something of the crab apples growing in the hedgerows.

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(This recipe for cranberry, orange & ginger mincemeat was also featured on Getrealirishtours.com)

When I made this cranberry, orange & ginger mincemeat , the house was instantly transformed by the festive smells. People were trickling into the kitchen and even the collection of ingredients piled on the table spoke of the warmth and familiarity of a traditional Christmas. This recipe is, however, a twist on a classic, using the tart cranberry flavour in fresh and dried forms to offset the sweetness of the orange and other dried fruits. Cranberries are so delicious and I need to use them as much as I can during their short season! I can’t resist dried figs either – they are such a luxurious touch, especially when they are all bathed together in cherry brandy. The Christmas smells really come from the aromatic fresh ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

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My lovely friend Sue

bought me The Happy Pear cookery book and both of us instantly identified the healthy Coconut Macaroons as a ‘must bake’. Made with just a few ingredients, without processed sugar, gluten or dairy, they store well and are a perfect little pick me up in mid afternoon. They have helped me to avoid the all too readily available workplace sweets.

Healthy Coconut macaroons drizzled with dark chocolate from the Happy Pear Coockery Book

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Here was my brief. A birthday celebration pudding made without refined sugar, dairy, gluten or cocoa. Yes, I did despair. I lamented. I wailed and pleaded. In normal circumstances the obvious option was to make the preferred pudding of the birthday girl, a sticky toffee pudding.  Was this possible without all the traditional ingredients? I refused to be beaten. They could take my sugar but they could never take my baking spirit.

 

Stickytoffeepudding

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When I started this blog, I really wanted it to be about the recipes I love. Both new ones and ones that are firm favourites. Red velvet cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting are cupcakes that I make time and time again. They are easily adaptable to being gluten free, and so they work for all sorts of events. I have made them for my sisters wedding, work events and tea parties. They are always popular and people request them every time I am baking for an event.
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I was in Vancouver over the summertime and while I was there, I saw a hilarious greeting card. It read ’A birthday cake without wheat is rarely a treat’. My mother avoids lactose while my sister can’t eat gluten. My father needs a chocolate free diet. One by one all these things are manageable, but when combined, it requires some baking research and planning. I am grateful they can all eat eggs and nuts.

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Cookies are a pretty straight forward option for gluten free or dairy free baking. They don’t need to rise so the missing gluten isn’t that important. I really like the flavour and texture that coconut oil lends. Plus it is that bit healthier than butter! (I am trying to find a bright side of a family who reject my dairy and wheat filled baked goodness!). With the growing numbers of people who have dietary restrictions, every baker needs a few recipes like this under their belt!

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