Vanilla Cupcakes – Gluten-Free recipe from Phil Vickery’s new book – out today!

Phil Vickery has a new cookbook out today! If you hadn’t heard of this celeb chef before, you certainly will now. All coeliacs listen up. The book is called Seriously Good! Gluten-Free Baking.

Phil Vickery is a talented chef who appears regularly on This Morning. Not only that, he’s already authored of several best-selling cookery books.

So why get excited about this one? Well, apart from the fact that his last ‘Seriously Good!’ book: Gluten-free Cooking was an enormous success and he’s Coeliac UK’s Food Ambassador, this new one is all about baking! Baking can be the coeliac’s nightmare. Not anymore.

Baking gluten-free isn’t the easiest thing to do – it’s the gluten that gives most cakes their spongy feel. So I’m predicting that this book might be even more popular than Gluten-Free Cooking was.

Here’s a sample recipe from the book for Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes.

“Cupcakes are all the rage at the moment, and they come in many different shapes and sizes from baby cakes to giant versions that you can fill with ice cream, like I did once on This Morning.

The good thing, though, is that you don’t need to be a baker or experienced cook to make them! This recipe has four simple steps and hey presto, they’re ready to pop into the oven. So add what you like to this basic recipe, and have a bit of fun. I think this recipe is softer and tastier than a standard sponge recipe.”

Makes: 12
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15–20 minutes

180g caster sugar
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon glycerine
175g Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
130ml sunflower oil
130ml whole milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Place 12 paper muffin cases in a muffin tray.

Place the caster sugar, eggs, vanilla and glycerine into a large mixing bowl and whisk on high speed for 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum together and mix them really well. I find it best to sieve them a couple of times, to make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Next, mix the oil and milk together in a jug.

Once the egg mixture is nice and thick, add the flour mixture and liquid. Whisk well, but don’t go mad.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until well risen to the top of the paper cases. Remove the cakes, in the paper cases, from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Ice and decorate however you like.

Try a different flavour…
Add any of the following to the egg mixture with the flour: 50g dried fruit, 75g fresh berries, 50g chopped plain chocolate, 50g chopped nuts, zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange.

To Store: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To Freeze: Once cooled, store either in a plastic bag or an airtight container.

Phil Vickery’s Seriously Good! Gluten-Free Baking is published by Kyle Cathie  at £19.99. You can order it today from Amazon.

So who is Justin Bieber? And why he might choose agave nectar over maple syrup

We’re not here to tell Justin Bieber what he should eat, but when the sweet voiced 16 year old pop sensation speaks it seems half the world’s teen population of women are listening.

So yesterday Justin sent out a tweet about how much he loves maple syrup, it became the number 1 trend on Twitter, and young girls everywhere decided pancakes and syrup might be the preferred breakfast option after all.

Agave syrup - good on pancakes too
Agave syrup - good on pancakes too

We just want to recommend agave rather than maple. But you can’t blame Justin, perhaps he was just being patriotic. He and maple syrup are both Canadian exports.

Going south of the US border perhaps Shakira should tweet about Agave Nectar. It’s made of the same essence that goes into making tequilla and it’s far healthier than maple.

Agave syrup has half the calories of maple syrup, and it will leave you feeling fuller and more nourished. It’s also sweeter than sugar so you don’t need as much when you add it to food.

The flavour of agave is less smokey than its northern friend and a little more like honey.  In Great Britain, because you can cook with it, it makes a good alternative to golden syrup.

When Justin Bieber visits Britain maybe someone should offer him some slightly lower calorie flapjacks made with agave syrup (recipe here) and see if he tweets about those…

Lepicol for a healthy gut – you might never know how much you need it

How’s this for a testimony:

I have been using Lepicol for a few weeks and I am now sure that my bowel problems are over.

My Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ‘piles’ and constipation has virtually gone and I can’t tell you how pleased I am.

When people remark how much perkier I seem I don’t hesitate to tell them about my Lepicol success story.  I aim to always take it daily and tell my G.P. Surgery to take the doctor’s ‘remedy’ off my repeat prescription list.

I can’t believe I’ve stumbled across Lepicol – a product that works so much better.  Thank you and keep it coming.

What is Lepicol?
Lepicol is a clever mix of an incredible fibre food (called Psyllium husks), probiotics and a chicory based inulin. They work together to bring you relief if you have a sluggish or sensitive tummy.

So many people have been spreading the word about how helpful they’ve found Lepicol, whether it’s with IBS, piles, diverticular disease, constipation, cramp pains, bloating or discomfort, acid reflux, diarrhea or colitis.

Often converts add that they now have more energy, a better immune system, and improved weight loss.

This is good news. There is greater understanding nowadays that laxitives can be very damaging for your health in the long run, resulting in poor nutrition and damaging your digestive system.

Is it good for me?
Lepicol is made of natural source ingredients that are gentle on your gut – leaving you with healthy bowels and protection from future disease.

Psyllium husk fibre absorbs 20 times its own weight and it has a spongy feel to it, which means it doesn’t rip at your insides like other fibre foods. And, because Lepicol is not absorbed by the body, it is suitable for everyday use.

The inulin is a prebiotic which works with the probiotics to maintain friendly bacteria in your stomach for a healthy colon.

Lepicol comes in capsules and is gluten free, wheat free, phytate free and GM free. You can also get the psyllium husks in tablet form by themselves.

The Healthy Bowels Company now produce a Fibre Food for Kids which adds oat bran to the psyllium husk mix. You can even have a Colon Massage Oil to encourage relief.

Spaghetti with butternut squash – Organic Fortnight Favourites

We asked the GoodnessDirect team what their favourite organic fruit or vegetable was and how they like to eat it.

Here’s Tschaka’s answer

There’s just something very wholesome about organic butternut squash. It’s brilliant how you can get so much nutrition and healthiness in that pinkish sweet tasting bulbous mass.

And it’s very easy to cook too. Here’s a great example

small butternut squash
400g spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
some fresh sage leaves, shredded
75g pine nuts, toasted
100g sun dried tomatoes, chopped
50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Cook 1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 4-5 minutes, until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.

Add 400g dried spaghetti to the water and cook according to packet instructions. Drain well, return to the pan and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.

Add the squash, along with some shredded fresh sage leaves, toasted pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes and cheese . Gently toss together, divide into 4 bowls and top with extra Parmesan shavings, to serve.

Stuffed Peppers Balkan style – Organic Fortnight Favourites

We asked the GoodnessDirect team what their organic favourite fruit or vegetable was and how they like to eat it.

Here’s Clare’s answer

I really like peppers, you can do so much with them. Put them in your salad, in a bolognese or stuff them with meat and cook them.

Here is my favourite recipe for organic stuffed peppers

450g ground beef
100g long grain white rice
1 cup water
6 green bell peppers
225g tomato pasata
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Cook the beef with the onion until evenly browned.

Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.)

In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice and half the tomato passata. Add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato passata and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

Cauliflower curry with cayenne and cumin – Organic Fortnight Favourites

We asked the GoodnessDirect team what their organic favourite fruit or vegetable was and how they like to eat it.

Here’s Lesley’s answer

Cauliflower all the way, makes me think about when I was a kid and my dad used to make hills of mashed potato, with the meat as a buried treasure with cauliflower trees on top and gravy rain. This was the only way I would eat my Sunday dinner. Now I have fond memories and love cauliflower in cheesy bakes, in with pasta, in soups, in casseroles, in stir frys and raw in salads.

Here is my recipe idea: Cauli curry

A simple cauliflower curry with cayenne and cumin. This authentic Indian curry recipe is suitable for veggie and vegans.

1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp peanuts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
1 cauliflower, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Blend together the ginger, sesame seeds, peanuts, garlic, spices and water.

Sautee the onions in vegetable oil over medium high heat about 3-5 minutes, or until onions turn clear.

Add cauliflower and spices mixture and cover. Allow to cook another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until cauliflower is almost done. Add lemon juice and allow to cook for 3 more minutes.

You can add a potato or two if you want something to absorb more of the flavour, or even make a similar potato version experimenting with different spices (turmeric, chilli and coriander).

Cinnamon Apple and Plum Crumble – Organic Fortnight Favourites

We asked the GoodnessDirect team what their favourite organic fruit or vegetable was and how they like to eat it.

Here’s Laura’s answer

My (current) favourite is organic plums.

I love the fact that you can just grab them and eat them or that you can make jam out of them or even better apple and plum crumble!  YUMMY!!

Here’s a recipe for that…

For the filling
675g cooking apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
675g dessert apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
12 plums, stones removed, quartered
25g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp water

For the crumble
280g self-raising flour
140g butter, and a little extra for greasing
140g demerara sugar
70g porridge oats

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and grease a large baking dish with butter.

For the filling: put the apples and plums in the baking dish. Sprinkle over the sugar, cinnamon and water and mix together. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the fruits soften. Remove the baking dish from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 200C/gas 6.

For the crumble: combine the flour, butter and sugar using a food processor. Then stir in the oats by hand.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the fruit and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with ice cream or custard.