Christine’s Strawberry Cream Valentine Tarts – recipe

A perfect  celebratory dessert – creamy, rich and sweet. Ideal for Valentines Day: Christine Bailey’s Strawberry Cream Valentine Tarts

strawberry cream tarts1

Completely gluten free, grain free and vegan. Top with a fresh sliced strawberry or chocolate heart for a truly romantic treat.

Christine is a well known nutritionist, chef, presenter and author of many healthy recipe books.  Her latest book Nourish is a cancer care recipe book written in collaboration with the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre. Christine will be running a cancer care cookery demonstration on May 5th at CNE, Wokingham.  For more information and to book visit

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Freezing time:2 hours 30 minutes
Suitable for: vegetarians, suitable for vegans, Dairy Free, Seed Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free

Serves 6

125g pecan nuts
75g pitted, soft dates
2tsp melted coconut butter
250g cashew nuts
200ml Vanilla Rice Dream
225g Strawberries, chopped
3tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of Himalayan salt
115g melted coconut oil

1. Grease 6 metal rings and line the sides with a strip of baking parchment. Place on a lined baking sheet.
2. To make the base grind up the pecan nuts in a food processor until very fine.  Add the dates and coconut oil and process to form a sticky dough. Divide the dough between the metal ring bases and press down firmly to form a crust.
3. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden
4. To make the filling place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and thick.  Divide the filling between the metal rings.  Return the rings back into the freezer and freeze for 1-2 hours until firm.  Carefully remove the rings and place the desserts on individual serving plates.
5. Place in the fridge and allow to defrost for an hour before serving. They can be kept in the fridge until needed.
6. Top with berries or a chocolate heart to serve.

Buttermilk pancakes or Buckwheat crepes – gluten free pancake recipes for you

It’s the worst thing. Forgetting pancake day and having to do it all a day later.

So don’t forget, Pancake Day is Tuesday 12th February.

Be prepared and make sure you have all the gluten free ingredients you need in your cupboard.  There’s lots of extra toppings to indulge in too, such as maple syrup, lemon juice, chocolate sauce or natural sweeteners.

So now, here’s not one, but two gluten free pancake recipes for you…

buckwheatpancakesGluten Free Buttermik Pancakes

1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Gluten Free baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and thoroughly blend through.
  2. Combine buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla in a separate mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
  3. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients adding it gradually. Whisk until batter is smooth. If batter looks too thick, add more milk a teaspoon at a time until the consistency is ok.
  4. Lightly brush the frying pan or skillet with olive oil and heat on a medium ring. Pour a measure of batter into the pan an allow it to spread. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top and the bottom is golden brown, flip the pancake to cook the other side until golden.
  5. Serve with your desired topping!

Buckwheat Crepes

buttermilk pancakes3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 gluten-free flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk or dairy substitute
3 eggs
4 tbsp melted butter or olive oil

  1. Pour milk, eggs and melted butter or oil into a blender pitcher. Pulse until combined.
  2. In a small bowl mix gluten-free buckwheat flour, gluten-free flour and salt and add to liquid in blender, pulse until combined and smooth.
  3. Allow batter to rest for two hours for the best results.
  4. Heat a frying pan or skillet and lightly brush it with oil. Pour a measure of batter into the pan once it is hot enough and swirl it to cover the whole of the bottom of the pan. Cook for about a minute until the top is barely moist. Use a thin spatula to loosen the edges and gently flip the crepe to cook the other side until lightly browned. Repeat with the remaining batter
  5. Serve with what ever topping tickles your fancy!

For the party try Christine’s gluten free Roasted Pepper and Walnut Dip recipe

walnutdipNutritionist, Christine Bailey, has an easy store-cupboard dip or spread which takes just minutes to prepare. Perfect for the party!

Rich in antioxidants and essential fats this is packed full of protein and nutrients.  With a creamy sweet taste it combines omega rich walnut oil and balsamic vinegar to create a wonderful dairy free dip.

Suitable for Vegetarians and vegans, Gluten-free, Wheat-free, Dairy-free, Egg-Free

Serves 4-6

Pinch of smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, crushed
100g / 4oz walnuts, chopped
225g / 8oz roasted red peppers (from a jar)
1tbsp sun dried tomato puree
3tbsp organic cold pressed walnut oil
1-2tbsp Higher Nature’s Organic Wild Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar to taste
2tsp xylitol
Salt and black pepper to taste

1.    Place the paprika, garlic, walnuts, peppers in a food processor or blender and process until finely chopped.
2.    Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
3.    Adjust quantity of vinegar and xylitol according to taste.  Season with a little black pepper and sea salt.

Christine’s gluten free Butternut Squash and Pear Soup recipe

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

Nutritionist, Christine Bailey, cooks up a flavoursome gluten free sweet soup, combining antioxidant rich vegetables with juicy pears.

Winter squashes and sweet potatoes are crammed with cancer fighting, cardio-protective nutrients.  Rich in carotenoids plus vitamins C and E – valuable antioxidants for the skin, eyes, lungs and immune system.  A great source of soluble fibre to aid digestion and full of anti-vital and antibacterial properties great for the immune system.  To make this more substantial add a tin of cooked butter beans and puree until smooth. Alternatively accompany with some additional protein such as lean ham or cheese.

Serves 4

Storage: Make in advance and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Freeze in batches for up to 1 month.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato peeled and cubed
3 ripe pears, peeled and chopped
¼tsp garam masala
¼tsp cayenne pepper
450ml/16floz/2cups homemade vegetable stock or use low salt bouillon powder
5 tbsp low fat crème fraiche (omit if dairy intolerant or can add a little soy yogurt before serving).

1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients except the crème fraiche and simmer for 25 minutes until the squash is tender.

2. Puree in a food processor.  Return to the pan and stir in the crème fraiche. Season with black pepper and warm through to serve.

Christine is a qualified nutritionist and chef and author of numerous healthy recipe books.  One of her specialisms is digestive health and cooking for people with allergies including those sensitive to gluten and dairy.  When she’s not writing recipes she advises clients and companies. For additional recipes why not book on to one of Christine’s cookery days or purchase one of her e-books online (See

Sweet Freedom gluten free mince pie recipe


Yesterday we featured a recipe for homemade mince pies made with Sweet Freedom – a great ingredient which can be used instead of sugar. Here’s a gluten free version.

Check yesterday’s post for the mincemeat recipe.

Makes 20-22

150g Quinoa Flour
150g Rice Flour
130g Butter, diced
70g Ground Almonds
½ Tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder
40g Sweet Freedom Original
50ml Cold Water
2 Medium Free Range Egg Yolks

500g-550g Mincemeat

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan 150C.
2. Place the flours into a bowl with the butter.  Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Mix in the ground almonds and baking powder.  Next, add the remaining ingredients and cut them into the flour with a knife, then bring the pastry together into a ball with your hands.
3. Take two thirds of the pastry and roll out thinly between two sheets of cling film.  Using the larger cutter, cut out rounds and use them to line the bun tray.  Fill with mincemeat and then roll out the remaining pastry, again between cling film, and cut out rounds with the smaller cutter.  Place the lids on the pies and lightly press down with the palm of your hand to seal them.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.  Leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack.

Heard of ‘Stir Up’ Sunday? Get those mixing bowls ready for this healthier Christmas Pudding recipe

It was ‘Stir Up Sunday’ last weekend, so high time to make your Christmas Puds. 

Did you know that Stir Up Sunday is an informal Anglican Church term for the last Sunday before advent? The words would be read:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded

stir upThis would apparently remind cooks and housewives around the country to make sure they’d mixed their Christmas Pudding ingredients which, as everyone knows, should be prepared the day before you steam the pudding.

You couldn’t make this stuff up!

Christmas Pudding Recipe

Using Sweet Freedom Dark, made 100% from fruit in place of sugar, turns this traditional Christmas pudding into a healthier finale to your Christmas meal.

Serves 10
Ready in 60 minutes

You will need a 1 litre (approx 2lb) pudding basin or spherical pudding mould.


  1. In a large bowl mix together the raisins, currants, suet, breadcrumbs and grated carrots. Then mix together the Sweet Freedom, Guinness, Brandy and eggs and pour onto the fruit mixture. Stir well until combined, cover and leave in a cool place overnight.
  2. The next day, grease the basin or mould with butter or oil and place a small circle of non stick baking parchment in the bottom of the basin or in the top and bottom halves of the spherical mould. Stir the pudding (don’t forget to make a wish!) and press into the basin or mould. If you are using a basin, cover with a piece of baking parchment followed by tin foil and tie with string.
  3. Steam for 8 hours, keeping the water in the pan topped up with boiling water. Leave to cool and if you’ve used a basin, remove the baking parchment and foil and re-cover with new paper and foil. Keep the pudding in a cool place until Christmas day.
  4. On Christmas morning, steam the pudding for at least an hour before serving.

Gluten Free Version

  • Use 150g of ground almonds instead of the breadcrumbs and omit the Guinness and use 60ml of Brandy instead. Some suet does have flour as an ingredient, so do check. Gluten free vegetable suet is available at GoodnessDirect.
  • To Flambe the pudding – warm a little brandy or vodka, pour over the pudding and carefully set alight.

The timing relates to ‘hands on’ time, rather than the long periods of preparation and steaming.

Try this creamy dairy free ingredient in your Christmas cooking… (recipe included)

Amazake is a deliciously sweet and creamy dairy free alternative
Try this deliciously sweet and creamy dairy free alternative for your desserts

If you’re looking for a cooking alternative to milk, you might want to try amazake. It’s so deliciously thick and creamy it is hard to believe its made from dairy free ingredients!

Amazake is a non-dairy ingredient for desserts and drinks, made purely from whole grain rice. It is naturally sweet flavour and has a thick creamy consistency. Plus it’s gluten free too

Try using amazake for making pancake batter, muffin mixes or dairy free French Toast. Or you can mix it into your fruit smoothie. Also available, with their own distinctive flavours, are oat and millet amazake.

Try this Orange amazake dessert Recipe…

A light, but satisfying dairy-free dessert for serving all year round.

(serves 5)

– 1 jar (380g) Clearspring Amazake
– 350ml (1 jar) water
– 1 tbsp (30g) Clearspring Malt Syrup
– 100ml carrot juice for colouring (optional)
– Juice of 1 orange + some of the rind, grated
– 1 tbsp Clearspring Kuzu (thickener)
– A pinch Clearspring Traditional Sea Salt
– Slices of orange to garnish

1. Mix all the ingredients except for the kuzu and bring to the boil whilst stirring.
2. Dissolve the kuzu in a little water then add to the hot liquid stirring until thick.
3. Serve into individual dishes, cool and garnish with the orange slices.