Gluten and Dairy Free Super Speedy Brownies

If you’re like me there are times when you just need some deliciously, chocolatey comfort food and you don’t want the hassle or the wait for something to bake. For those occasions these rich, gooey brownies are perfect. They’re ready from start to finish in about 10-15 minutes. Technically you should then let them cool for 10 minutes before cutting them but that depends on how desperate you are.

Gluten and Dairy Free Super Speedy Brownies

150g dairy free spread (I use Flora Buttery)
65g cocoa powder
200g sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
50g gluten free plain (all purpose) flour
Half tsp xanthan gum

Put the dairy free spread in a bowl and melt in the microwave on high for about 40 seconds.

Add the sugar, cocoa and vanilla in that order and mix well.

Add the eggs slightly whipping after each one. Add flour and xanthan gum and mix well.

Grease a microwave safe dish (or use a silicone one like I do and don’t bother greasing it) and spoon in the mixture.

Microwave on high for 4-5 mins. Let rest for 10 mins before cutting into 16 squares – if you can wait that long.

Everyone will love these brownies whether they normally eat gluten/dairy free or not. They’re delicious on their own or served warm with dairy free ice cream. They don’t last long in this house! If you like you can also make them with regular butter and flour and leave out the xanthan gum. They are just as delicious this way if you don’t have any dietary requirements.

This is going to be my last batch for a while since I’m developing a food baby as a result of Coronavirus lockdown (eating and drinking too much obviously). Really need to start focusing on healthy food and more exercise next week 😝. If you have any yummy healthy snacks to share please leave me your links in the comments 😊.

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Some of my favs 😊

It’s been almost 9 months now since I cut wheat and dairy from my diet – enough time to grow a baby! I haven’t done that though 😂. At first I thought that cutting two pretty major foods would be really difficult but that hasn’t been my experience. I thought I’d share some of my favourite quick food ideas and alternatives that I’ve discovered for anyone who is thinking about it and isn’t sure where to start.

Breakfast is often an egg on gluten free toast (GF) with sunflower spread but if I fancy a change then I go for home made muesli with dairy free yoghurt. If I’m really in a hurry then Rice Krispies with rice milk is also yummy. There’s always fruit or fruit salad as options too and avocado on GF toast is yummy too (Pret a Manger do a lovely one with chilli flakes on top). If you’re really hungry you can even have a full cooked breakfast as long as you check the sausages are wheat free and avoid the potato scones or hash browns etc.

Most days I take lunch with me to work so it has to be something I can pack. Soup or salads are easy options. If I’m making homemade soup with stock cubes I check that they don’t contain wheat (Knorr ones don’t). Tinned soups can be tricky but ASDA do a really nice chunky steak and ale soup which is wheat and dairy free. If I’m having a salad the best discovery has been that original mayo (not low fat varieties) and salad cream (despite the name) are both dairy free. You can also get a coleslaw that doesn’t contain dairy (like Scotty’s for example). Gluten free wraps are good too and I really like the sweet potato ones from BFree. Fruit is always an option or raw veggies with houmous (check for dairy) or salsa. My favourite is broccoli with houmous. Crisps are sometimes fine, especially salted or salt and vinegar ones. Kettle chips are the nicest I think. Then there’s left-overs from whatever was dinner the night before.

Dinner is easier in many ways as your staples like meat, veg, rice and potatoes are all fine and gluten free pasta is good too. Pre-prepared sauces are the hardest thing I think, but there are options. Some curry sauces are free from wheat and dairy and if you like a more creamy sauce you can just add some coconut cream. Yum! A quick pasta sauce can be made with pasatta and herbs and garlic. I’ve even discovered a way to make a cheesy flavoured sauce that I’m basically happy with. I use a soft cheese alternative called Sheese (which is made on the island where I grew up) and melt it down with a splash of soy cream and voila it’s done. For the junk food cravings there are GF burgers and sausages available and you don’t have to go for the shop’s free from range which is often more expensive. Lots of places do a 100% beef burger in their freezer section which are quite reasonable. Gluten and dairy free pizzas are harder to come by but they do exist. My favourite is Morrison’s own (and I usually add some extra toppings – like mushrooms of course!) Oven chips are often coated so you have to watch out for those but my favourite ones from Aunt Bessies are GF so I’m happy.

I’ve mentioned a couple of sweet treats in previous posts – not that I have a particularly sweet tooth but I think that I thought that this would be the hardest thing to replace so I focused on it first. It turns out that you can make alternatives for lots of things. If you don’t have time to make something there are some quick options too. Alpro yoghurts are pretty good and there are lots of free from cookies available. One of the best discoveries I made was this dairy free ice cream which is really yummy with edible (GF of course) cookie dough. Genius Double Chocolate muffins are also fab! Wish I was getting paid fo all this advertising I’m doing 😂.

For snacks I eat nuts, fruit, raw veggies with dips, crisps, bombay mix (way too much of that!), rice cakes with peanut butter on them – so many options really.

Drinks are mostly fine.  I usually just take coffee black and maybe a splash of soy or oat milk in tea. Fruit teas aren’t a problem unless you’re one of those strange types that puts milk in them! Yuk! 😜 Wine is okay and so is gin so I’m sorted 😉, just need to watch out for the odd cocktail that contains dairy. If you’re a beer drinker you’d need to try the GF ones but I don’t often drink beer so I’m not sure what they’re like.

Yes, I do cheat occasionally, I mean it’s not like I’m allergic, but on the whole I’m sticking to my new diet because I feel better for it. My gut is happier and I feel less sluggish in general. If you’ve been thinking about trying this then why don’t you have a go? I’ll be surprised if you don’t feel better for it.

It’s Pancake Day

It’s Pancake Day!  I have some lovely memories of pancake day as a child and also from when my two were younger.  I’m pretty sure that part of that is just to do with how yummy pancakes are; but it’s also about the fun we had tossing pancakes and having them stick to the ceiling or the floor or land on the hob 😂.

As you know, I’m no longer eating wheat or dairy but I don’t think it’s gonna be a problem. I’ve discovered that the small thick pancakes work just as well with gluten free flour and almond milk (at least I think I used almond milk but it might have been soy – I can’t remember 🤔). So do waffles. I’ve made both recently and they were really tasty.

I had a bit more trouble with the larger pancakes that I tried today. I used rice milk this time and they were pretty soft and didn’t hold together that well. Not sure if I should have put some xanthan gum in them? Can someone out there tell me how to fix them please? They still tasted pretty good though with a chicken and herby tomato topping.

Anyway here is the adapted recipe for my Granny’s Scotch Pancakes that did work if you want to try them. I forgot to take pics unfortunately hence the stock photo.

Granny’s Scotch Pancakes

Ingredients:
125g Doves Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g castor sugar
1 egg
150ml almond/soy milk
Oil

Method:
Put the dry ingredients into a bowl (or use a large jug like I do and you can pour the mixture straight into the pan).  Add the egg and milk and beat thoroughly.  If the mixture is too thick to pour add a little more milk.

Put a small amount of oil in a frying pan and heat gently.  Pour tablespoonfuls of batter on to the pan keeping them far apart.  When bubbles rise through the pancake turn it over and cook the other side.

These are great served warm with maple syrup and bacon or let them cool and serve with dairy free spread and jam. 😋

A most unusual diet!

So back at the beginning of October I decided to try a new diet.  I was feeling a bit sluggish and despite regular exercise was struggling to shift the last few pounds that I’d gained from too much wine and comfort eating over the summer.  I’ve tried A LOT of diets in my time.  I probably started dieting way too young really but I’ve always been conscious of not allowing myself to gain too much weight.  As a teenager I remember doing Rosemary Conley’s Hip and Thigh diet (even the name is crazy when I think about it now).  Since then I’ve tried Atkins, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, The Harcombe Diet, and various others.  I’m not knocking any of these ’cause I know they have their place and all of them work for some people when they’re carried out sensibly but although some of them helped me lose weight initially (I lost 2 stone on Weight Watchers after I had my son), all of them felt restrictive and many of them were not a particularly healthy long term solution – apart from the fact that I struggled to stick at them for any length of time.

After having read some articles and watching a few video clips online I decided to have a bash at a wheat and dairy free diet.  The plan initially was to try it until Christmas and see how I got on.  I have to be honest and say that in the first week or two it took me a bit longer to plan and organise menus and shopping lists while I worked out what I could and couldn’t eat for various meals.  Since then though, I’ve got into the swing of it and found lots of alternative options and a good variety of healthy (and unhealthy) foods I can eat.

Anyway if you’re reading between the lines you’ve probably realised that I’m still on this diet.  Christmas came along (the planned end of the experiment) and I thought ‘you know I think I’m just gonna keep going’.  And that’s what’s so unusual about it.  I don’t actually want to stop!  So I lost a few pounds and I’m happy with that but that’s not what’s got me hooked.  I feel so much better physically (and mentally).  I would even go so far as to say I feel younger – sounds crazy I know.  I’m more energetic and more alert.  I’m sleeping better which is a huge help.  I’m way less conjested, less bloated and my gut just feels better in general.  I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself of anything – in fact I’m probably eating more treats than ever.  I don’t have to count calories and I don’t feel like I’m not getting a balanced diet.  This is honestly the best diet I’ve ever tried.  I guess if you wanted to lose more than a few pounds you’d still need to be careful not to eat too many treats on this but I’m loving the other benefits.

Over the last few months I’ve found lots of great recipes online and adapted a few of my own.  One of my favourites in the run up to Christmas was Jamie Oliver’s Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake which is totally awesome.  If you want to avoid the soya it also works really well with almond yoghurt.  I expect I’ll end up posting some others as I go along so if you’re particularly interested let me know in the comments.  In the meantime I’ll leave you with a couple of pics of that totally awesome chocolate cake that I made. 🙂

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