This is the first post I have been able to write for a while and there are two main reasons for this; one of them is that I started my first full-time job a few months ago and have found myself either too tired or too busy to blog. The other reason is a pretty bad illness which I had for most of March during which time I couldn't even eat food, let alone cook it. Even now, several months on, I am still having effects from this illness and have started eating a wheat free diet. It was not until I gave up eating wheat that I realised quite how wheat-focused my diet really was and how much of the British diet revolves around wheat. I really admire people who keep a totally gluten free diet in this country, and especially parents of gluten intolerant children because I have found it so difficult to think of meals, particularly to take to work for lunch; when you have been raised entirely on sandwiches for lunch you really struggle to think of what you could eat other than sandwiches. Even when I asked my mother, who is a dietitian, what I could eat she just said "Well I always just eat sandwiches". Very helpful, thanks Mum.
Anyway, what with being busy and tired from work and not being able to eat wheat or very much food at all really since my illness, I lost some of my passion for baking for a while (very sad times). It was an old friend of mine who inspired me again recently. I bumped into him when I was visiting another friend and he told me that he had had an inspired idea to make pork and apple doughnuts and was going to be doing it later that day. I thought this sounded like a strange and fairly horrible thing to cook but was intrigued enough to go round and watch him do it. In the very first step of the recipe I fell into my accustomed role of kitchen control freak and completely took over the entire operation, I don't think he really minded though, at any rate it got me back into my love of cooking so thank you Ben for letting me cook your doughnuts. They did actually turn out really well, slow cooked pork with apple sauce and a cider glaze, I tried a little bit and they were actually delicious so any time you are feeling bored and a little bit crazy, pork doughnuts may be the way to go.
So since I am not eating wheat I have decided that I will start baking wheat free cakes, makes sense doesn't it. I made this Almond and Raspberry Roulade for my Dad on father's day on Sunday as a cake which is not meant to have wheat in it rather than one which is replacing wheat with something else, in an attempt to convince him that wheat is not necessary for a cake to be nice, something which he is finding difficult to accept. I think I have started to persuade him though since this cake was absolutely delicious. I got the recipe for it from the Waitrose website but I will summarise it below.
Cooking time: 12 minutes
100g ground almonds
pinch of salt
5 medium eggs
100g caster sugar
3tbs icing sugar
300ml carton of double cream
4tbs flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4. Grease and line a swiss roll tin and oil slightly.
- Separate the eggs into two large bowls. Mix the ground almonds with the salt. Take 2tbs from the caster sugar and put to one side, add the rest to the egg yolks and mix with an electric whisk until thick enough to leave a trail when you lift the whisk.
- Wash the whisk, add the 2tbs of caster sugar to the egg whites and whisk until they are thick and glossy. Quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg yolks and gently fold that into the egg whites. Pour it all into the tin and smooth it so it is flat and reaches all the edges. Bake it for 12 minutes in the oven or until it starts to shrink away from the edges.
- Lay a clean tea towel on a flat surface with a sheet of greaseproof paper on top of it. Sprinkle with caster sugar and turn out the roulade onto the paper once it is cool enough to handle. Peel off the paper, trim the edges off the sponge and leave until it is completely cool.
- Sift the icing sugar into the cream and whisk it until it forms soft peaks. Stir in half of the raspberries into the cream and spread the mixture over the roulade. Place some more of the raspberries on, especially along the edges to improve the appearance of the finished roulade, making sure to leave some for decoration at the end. Finally toast the flaked almonds until they are brown and crisp and sprinkle on the top of the roulade, followed by a sprinkle of icing sugar.
I actually question the last step of the recipe because, when you just sprinkle flaked almonds on top of a roulade, as soon as you cut it into pieces or even just move the plate it is on, all of the almonds fall off. There must be a way to make them stay on there, I am thinking a thin icing sugar glaze or something, if you have any ideas please do leave a comment. Apart from that I think this is a great recipe and like the way it is gluten free but without really meaning to be.