Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Diet free zone

It's that time of year again when the word diet is generally overused and baking books get binned for Stir Fry, Soup and Low- Fat recipe books. Whilst we're all for promoting healthier ways of eating we decided here at HQ that instead of removing all treats from your diet (which let's be honest never truly works) we would show you great alternatives to the traditional favourites that not only taste great but are a lot healthier than their original recipes. 

So put down the box of chocolate's and pick up a spoon as we show you a healthier way to get your sugar fix three times over....

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Serves  8 | To prepare 20 mins  | To cook 55 mins

  • 140g unsalted butter , softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250g carrots , grated
  • 140g sultanas
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 50g mixed nuts , chopped
  • 75g butter , softened
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until soft and creamy, then stir in the grated carrot and sultanas. Pour the eggs into the mix a little at a time.
  • Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and most of the chopped nuts and mix well. Tip the mix into the loaf tin, then bake for 50-55 mins or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 mins, then remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat the butter in a large bowl until it is really soft, add the icing sugar and cinnamon, then beat until thick and creamy. When the cake is cool, spread the icing on top, then sprinkle with a little more cinnamon and the remaining chopped nuts.

 Chocolate Mousse 

Serves  | To prepare  | To cook 

  • 85g dark chocolate , 70% (I used Green & Black's)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder , plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp coffee granules
  • ½ tsp vanilla 
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 50g full-fat Greek yoghurt
  • handful raspberries, to decorate
  • Chop the chocolate very finely and put it into a large bowl that will fit over a pan of simmering water. Mix the cocoa, coffee and vanilla with 2 tbsp cold water, and pour over the chocolate. Place the bowl over the gently simmering water, give it all a stir, then remove from the heat. Leave with the bowl of chocolate still over the water, stirring occasionally to check when melted.
  • Stir the melted chocolate, it will be quite thick. Stir in 2 tbsp boiling water and the chocolate will immediately thin down and become silky smooth. Leave to cool slightly.
  • Whisk the egg whites to fairly soft peaks, then whisk in the sugar until thick and glossy. Beat the yogurt into the cooled chocolate. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mix using a large metal spoon, then very gently fold in the rest of the whites until they are evenly mixed in - being careful not to over-mix or you will lose the volume of the mousse. Spoon into 4 small cups or (125-150ml) ramekins and chill for a couple of hours, or overnight.
  • Place each mousse on a saucer or small plate. Top with a few raspberries, then dust with a little cocoa powder. Will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge.

Half Fat Lemon Tart

Serves  | To prepare  | To cook 


For The Pastry
  • 50g butter , cut in pieces
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • 1 medium egg yolk
For The Filling 
  • 3 medium eggs,  plus 2 medium egg whites
  • 140g icing sugar , plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (about 4 lemons)
  • 125ml lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
  • 200ml tub half-fat crème fraîche
  • Rub the butter into the flour until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the icing sugar, then make a well and use a round-bladed knife to stir in the oil, egg yolk and 1½-2 tbsp cold water until dough comes together. Without overhandling, gather into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out so it fits a 23 x 2cm loose-bottom flan tin. Ease the pastry into the tin, then trim the edges by rolling the rolling pin over the top. Press the pastry into the flutes so it sits very slightly proud of the edge (this extra height helps in case of any shrinkage). Lightly prick the pastry base with a fork, then chill for about 10 mins. Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
  • Meanwhile, make the filling. Beat the eggs and egg whites together with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then gradually beat in the eggs. If the mix is at all lumpy, simply beat with a wire whisk. Stir in the lemon zest and the juice. Leave to stand so the lemon flavour can develop.
  • Sit the chilled pastry case on a baking sheet. Line with baking parchment and baking beans and bake blind for 20 mins until well set. Carefully lift out the beans and paper, then bake the pastry case for another 3-5 mins until the base is cooked and pale golden.
  • Strain the lemon mixture through a sieve. Beat the crème fraîche in a medium bowl until smooth, then slowly stir in the lemon mix until well blended. Transfer to a jug, then carefully pour two thirds into the warm pastry case. Place in the oven with the oven shelf half out, pour in the rest of the filling, then carefully slide the shelf back in. Reduce the heat to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Bake for 25-30 mins until barely set with a slight wobble in the middle. Cool for about 1 hr, then serve with a light dusting of icing sugar. Best eaten the same day.


Which one is your favourite? 

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We hope you all had a fabulous New Year! Now here's to a great 2013!



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