Gluten Free in Barcelona!

So, I had the pleasure of visiting Barcelona for 3 days over the Easter break (yes, yes, I know this blog is a little delayed… I’ve been unwell so that’s my excuse!) and I was amazed by the rich and varied gluten free options available to me! I was initially a little nervous about the trip (and so travelled well prepared with lots of perkier porridge pots, kallo rice cakes and nakd bars – classic coeliac!) but a little research and some great local recommendations meant I feasted like an intolerant king throughout my stay!P1120048

First stop was ‘Conesa’ a small, unassuming sandwich shop in the gothic quarter, very popular among the locals judging by the long queue of chatting customers streaming out of it’s door! I was so impressed by their approach to serving coeliac safe food, they had a selection of gluten free breads kept in a separate section of their (admittedly tiny!) kitchen and a designated grill and area to prepare the sandwiches. The choice was unreal! From carnivore to vegan you would have been well satisfied! I (finally) decided on a chicken and roasted vegetable grilled sandwich which did not disappoint – the bread was crispy and fluffy and the filling was gooey and moreish. Top marks!P1120054

High on carbs it was time to explore a little of what the main strip ‘La Rambla’ had to offer, we stumbled across ‘Mercat de Sant Josep de la boqueria’; a buzzing, busy market bursting full of local, varied and colourful produce.P1120075 P1120068 P1120067

We couldn’t resist picking up a pot of freshly cut pineapple and coconut flesh as ‘pudding’.

Day 2 began with a 3 mile walk to the quieter and more traditional end of the city, in search of the famous ‘Baci D’Angelo’ – I couldn’t go to Barcelona without visiting the only 100% gluten free bakery on offer! Now clearly, my research lacked a few essential pieces of information, like whether the shop was actually still open or not – so full of excitement and ready to gorge on gluten free croissants, the (gluten eating) husband and I strolled up to… a building site! It seems Baci D’Angelo have closed their shop and taken to selling purely online – that’ll teach me!

I like to view this error as a happy accident though, a quick look on the ‘Find Me GF’ app (thank you WIFI!) resulted in probably the best gluten free lunch I had ever had (big statement, I know!)P1120268

‘Il Piccolo Focone’ filled me with confidence straight away, boasting an eye-catching ‘sense gluten’ sticker on their window and displaying the recent award they had won for their commitment to providing high-quality, coeliac friendly food.

As soon as I opened the menu I knew I needed 3 things: gluten free beer, gluten free batter and (hopefully!) an amazing gluten free pizza – thankfully they didn’t disappoint!

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The calamari was crispy, soft and not at all floury or chewy – utterly delicious, but the main event was the pizza! It looked, smelled and tasted like ‘real dough’ and quickly transported me back to those good old ‘pre-diagnosis’ days – the best bit being the bouncy, smooth dough (and not needing a steak knife to cut through it, even when it got cold!).

Day 3 meant lunch at ‘Copasetic’, highly recommended by our hotel for being, not only coeliac friendly, but also committed to using sustainable and organic ingredients – sounded perfect!

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The clean, modern interior and the promise of an organic steak burger with freshly made gluten-free sesame bun were enough to win me over! When it arrived the burger was huge! The buttery jacket potato accompaniment was largely ignored in favour of the juicy burger with zingy pickled beetroot and mustard mayo – it was so refreshing to have a ‘different’ burger, free from the usual ketchup and gherkins! The bun was squidgy and, most importantly, didn’t fall apart at first bite!

Last stop on our gluten free, whistle-stop tour of Barcelona was ‘La Lluna’ a ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ restaurant just off ‘La Rambla’, proudly serving a 90% gluten-free menu to locals and tourists alike.

With 3 courses for only 15 euros, it would have been rude not to go for the hat-trick:P1120584 P1120586 P1120589

I devoured a goats cheese crumble salad, monkfish and potato stew and a baked vanilla, strawberry and mango cheesecake – the best thing about the heavily gluten free menu? I was able to to snaffle tastes of all of the husband’s dishes too!

Overall I was really impressed by the options available to me in Barcelona and ended up travelling home (a few pounds heavier!) with a bag full of crumbled, uneaten rice cakes and some squished, neglected nakd bars – delicioso!

Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

  

I have been making a huge batch of cupcakes for a birthday delivery tomorrow and one of the flavours requested was ‘Lemon Meringue’ – this is always such a popular flavour at market and with friends and family so I thought I would share it with you! 

I used a mixture of sorghum flour, tapioca starch for the flour but I have written the recipe using Doves plain flour as this works too and is easier for people to access!

Ingredients (for 12 cupcakes)

For the cake:

2 lemons (zest and juice)

170g Unsalted Butter

140g Gluten free plain flour (e.g. Doves)

30g Ground almonds 

170g Caster sugar

100ml Milk

3 eggs

3/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

3/4 tsp Baking powder

For the lemon syrup:

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons icing sugar

For the Italian meringue:

220g caster sugar

6 tablespoons water

4 egg whites

  Preheat oven to 180•c

 

Start by melting the butter with the lemon zest over a gentle heat. While it’s melting add the juice of 1 lemon to your milk.

  

Mix all of your dry ingredients together and whisk lightly to combine

 

Once your butter has cooled slightly, add the eggs and all of your wet ingredients your dry ingredients and quickly mix (I’ve been lazy and used a mixer – bingo wings for me!!)

  

The mixture will be very wet now so you may find it easier to use a piping bag to fill your cupcake cases

  

Bake for 15 minutes – the cakes rise quite flat (perfect for icing!) and will still feel a little soft. Transfer immediately to a wire rack to stop the case from separating from the cake.

Combine all of the lemon syrup ingredients and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, prick your cupcakes with a mini-fork or sharp knife and spoon the liquid over the cakes while still warm.

  

Your cakes can now sit and cool (and tempt you with their delicious zingy smell!) while you make the meringue topping.

Whisk your egg whites until they form stiff peaks 

  

Combine your caster sugar and water in a heavy bottom saucepan and place over a medium heat, wet a pastry brush and wash down any sugar crystals from the rim of the pan. Boil the mixture until it reaches 120•c

  

Once it reaches that gorgeous golden colour and the smell of caramel fills your kitchen remove from the heat and pour in a steady stream into your whipped egg whites with the whisk running. Keep the whisk running until the bowl is room temperature to touch.

   

 

Now all that left to do is pipe your gooey, fluffy marshmallow meringue onto your cakes and give them a quick blast with a cooks blowtorch.

 

And voila! Zesty, gooey lemon meringue cupcakes perfect for afternoon tea (or breakfast,snack,elevenses…)

  

Enjoy! X

A rather oval pizza…

Cauliflower and Teff pizza recipe!

While this may be a far cry from what your used to seeing from Fussy Flours (more cauliflower, less buttercream!), unfortunately I can’t survive on sweet, buttery treats alone so here I am sharing the recipe for one of my favourite, gluten free, mid-week dinners!

I have totally fallen in love with teff and am trying to use it more and more in my baking, I find it is the closest substitute for ‘wholegrain’ flour as it gives you that same delicious, nutty ‘brown bread’ flavour – something which I really miss!

Ingredients

Makes 1 large pizza base

  • 150g riced, raw cauliflower
  • 50g teff flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Optional herbs and spices as you wish

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Kick things off by ricing your cauliflower (I’m never sure why it’s called that, it always looks more like couscous to me!) I find this easiest in the food processor but the same effect can be achieved with a humble cheese grater, just a little more elbow grease involved:





(Please excuse my slightly sketchy photography skills!)

When your cauliflower is well riced and fluffy, transfer it to a mixing bowl and add all other dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon:



You should have a ‘breadcrumb’ like texture at this point. Add your egg and once again mix until you have a crumbly dough which sticks together when pressed:





Time to make your pizza base! Line a large baking sheet (or pizza stone if you have one – this would be preferable!) with non-stick baking parchment and place your ball of dough on top (there is no need to oil the paper). Push and spread the dough into the shape you need with your hands, my pizzas always end up rather oval:



Pop the base into your preheated oven for 20 minutes, by this time it should be dark and a little crispy around the edges:



Remove from the tin using the edges of the baking paper and flip it upside down onto another sheet of baking paper and peel away the the underneath:



Pop the pizza back on the baking sheet (now upside down) and add your toppings. I had a boiled down tomato base with mozzarella, piquante peppers, pesto chicken, mushrooms and sweetcorn – so delicious!

Place the pizza back in the oven for 10 minutes (or until your cheese is melted and golden!), remove, transfer to your plate and enjoy!





Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, it is so easy and versatile, perfect for a busy evening.

This is also dairy free (as long as you choose your toppings wiseley!) and can be egg free if you replace the egg with 50g well soaked chia seeds.



The blog bandwagon…

Hello! I have found as my little business, Fussy Flours, has begun to grow, more and more people are asking me to share my gluten free recipes so they can make yummy cakes and bakes at home and so I have decided to start a blog so that I can share more with you all! I will post my trials, successes (and probably disasters!) and will happily answer your queries and questions!

I thought I’d kick off with a bit of a review, rather than a recipe. As Easter is drawing ever closer, I thought I’d turn my hand to a bit of gluten free hot cross bun baking! I love hot cross buns, there’s something about the spicy, zesty dough covered in thick salty butter that is utterly irresistible and the smell of them crisping up in the toaster is so nostalgic.

Lucky for me, the cover recipe in this months ‘Free From Magazine’ (which I bought in Lakeland) was hot cross buns – how could I resist?!

The recipe, from the lovely people over at PERKIERfoods, was simple and easy to follow, you can try it for yourself here.

The only adaptations I made were to use full fat butter (because marg scares me!) and letting the yeast foam up a little in the warm milk before adding to the flour (because I’m a little untrustworthy of ‘quick action’ yeast!) and I was pleasantly surprised by the results!





My hot cross buns were, as you would expect, most delicious when fresh out of the oven, but a few days in they are still cutting and toasting well. The texture is a little chewier than I had hoped but that’s better than the crumbly mess you sometimes find with gluten free bread! Next time I plan to substitute a 3rd of the flour with ground almonds, add another teaspoon of spice and use muscovado sugar instead of caster sugar to see if this makes them even yummier!

Are there any foods that you miss since eating a gluten free diet? What is your favourite gluten free bread recipe?