Gluten free baked Creme Caramel cheesecake with Pistachio crumb crust

This is great if you are entertaining as you can make the cheesecake a day ahead, then just decorate it when you need it.

Creme Caramel Cheesecake with Pistachio crumb crust

Ingredients

1 & 1/2 cups gluten free biscuits (like a shortbread or other plain biscuit);

1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios;

125 g melted butter;

500g softened cream cheese (get it out of the fridge while you are preparing the base);

3 lightly beaten eggs;

125g castor sugar;

1 tsp vanilla extract;

2 tbsp gluten free cornflour (not the wheaten variety);

150g sour cream;

1 cup sugar;

1/2 tsp vanilla extract;

Extra pistachios for decoration.

Method:

Heat the oven to 150 celcius (140 fan forced). Combine the crushed biscuit crumbs, chopped pistachios and butter in a bowl, then press over the base and a little up the sides of a 23cm spring form cake pan.

Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cornflour and sour cream until the mixture is smooth. Pour into cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes, then turn the oven off without removing the cheesecake and let it cool in the oven for two hours (don’t open the door). Remove, cover with cling film and refrigerate. I left mine overnight but you could use it with a minimum of an hour’s refrigeration.

When almost ready to serve, transfer the cake to the serving plate while it is still cold from the fridge.

Place the sugar in a small saucepan over a high heat and bring to a dark caramel. You can shake the pan occasionally to let the melted sugar mix with the unmelted sugar.

NOW, THE NEXT PART CAN BE DANGEROUS IF YOU AREN’T CAREFUL!!

Stand back a little and be careful – add one third of a cup of water, letting the bubbles subside if you need to before stirring with a long handled spoon. If you aren’t careful, the bubbling mixture can come up the spoon and burn you severely, so take care and make sure the kids (or the dog) aren’t underfoot at this point. Stir until the mixture is a thick liquid, but only just, because if you leave the caramel on too long, it can become bitter. Stir through the vanilla extract and pour over the cheesecake. Decorate with additional pistachios.

Allow it to stand for about 10-15 minutes before serving, to let the caramel set a little, and to prevent burning if people try to eat it while hot.

My Moroccan beef soup

My Moroccan Soup

This soup is so thick and hearty, we had it for dinner one night. You could serve it with any type of bread and it would taste good. This will serve 6 not very hungry people, or 3 – 4 hungry ones!

Ingredients:

Several large glugs of olive oil;

500g chuck steak, cut into chunks and put in a bag with 2 tbsp gluten free plain flour (seal and shake the bag to coat the meat with flour);

1 onion, chopped;

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped;

2cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped;

1/4 tsp chilli flakes;

1 tbsp paprika (you can use the hot type, but I like the sweet, even if it isn’t authentic);

2 tsp cumin;

1 litre vegetable stock;

4 X 400g canned chopped tomatoes;

1 X 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained;

2 tsp caster sugar;

Sour cream to serve (you should use Greek yoghurt – use it if you prefer, but I love the sour cream with these combination of flavours).

Method:

Heat several glugs of olive oil in a heavy based soup saucepan, then add the flour coated meat, a little at a time and brown well, stirring frequently to prevent the meat sticking. (Even if it sticks a little, you can scrape it once you add the stock, just don’t let it burn);

Add onion, ginger, garlic and spices, stir for a minute or two, then turn the heat down for another minute or two, still stirring;

Turn the heat back up and add the (hot) stock and the tomatoes, combine well and check that nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pot;

Bring to boil, season with salt, pepper and the caster sugar;

Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours, checking occasionally;

Lightly whizz with a stick blender (or you can take it out and put it in a standard blender), don’t turn it into a puree, blend some but leave some chunks to give body;

Add the chickpeas and heat through.

Serve with a blob of sour cream (or yoghurt if you are a traditionalist!) and whatever bread you fancy.

Nutella Mousse with Gluten Free Popping Rocks

Serves 4

Surprise everyone!

I love the sensation of popping rocks in confectionery, but I am never sure with commercial confectionery if the rocks are gluten free, so when I found some in a packet, I bought them and stashed them in my bulging, messy pantry “just in case”.

As my daughter is a Nutella freak, I decided to make this Nutella Mousse, and in a naughty mood, “decorated” it with popping rocks before handing dishes over to my family.

Well, I thought it was funny anyway!

Ingredients:

100g dark chocolate buttons (or chop up some chocolate if you have it in block form);

300ml of chilled thickened cream;

1/2 cup Nutella.

Method:

Melt chocolate, either by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), or melt it in the microwave. I prefer 30 second bursts, stirring in between.

Let it cool for 5 minutes, meanwhile beat the cream until soft peaks form.

Add the Nutella to the cream and gently whisk until combined, then gently fold the chocolate through, marbling it if you like. Spoon the mixture into serving glasses, just before serving sprinkle with the popping rocks.