Pain free food

Mary Kemp; Gluten free cakes; Blueberry muffins

Mary Kemp; Gluten free cakes; Blueberry muffins - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

Cooking for friends and family who have food allergies is not difficult when using fresh ingredients, fruit, vegetables, meat or fish, but when it comes to baking it can be much more of a challenge. You can buy a lot more ready-made products suitable for those with food allergies, but they can be expensive and I would argue home-made is better not just in value but for taste.

Mary Kemp; Gluten free cakes; Banana cake

Mary Kemp; Gluten free cakes; Banana cake - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

Here are four recipes that are all wheat-free. Three are lovely alternatives for breakfasts and the last is one of my favourite puddings – I would challenge anyone to realise it is a gluten-free recipe.

Mary Kemp; Gluten free cakes; Tunisian orange cake

Mary Kemp; Gluten free cakes; Tunisian orange cake - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

Mary Kemp; Gluten free cakes; Museli bars

Mary Kemp; Gluten free cakes; Museli bars - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

Sunday morning blueberry breakfast muffins

These gluten-free muffins are delightful warm, not long out of the oven.You can weigh out the ingredients the night before and mix them the following morning; they don’t take many minutes to make and will have cooked by the time you have made the coffee and laid the table! Use raspberries if you prefer. I find the gluten-free flour does make the consistency of muffins slightly heavier, but they still taste lovely and are a good way of getting children to eat fruit.

Makes 12 muffins

300g gluten-free plain flour

1 tbs gluten-free baking powder

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75g sugar

Grated rind of 1 orange

2 eggs

225ml milk

100g butter, melted and left to cool

1tsp vanilla extract

225g fresh blueberries

A little demerara sugar to sprinkle over top

1 Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and grated orange rind in a bowl.Then mix the eggs, milk, cooled butter and vanilla essence in a large jug and then pour it over to the dry ingredients, stir together with a wooden spoon, but be careful not to over mix.

2 Stir in the blueberries and pour into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the top.

3 Cook for 20 to 25 minutes at 200 C or gas mark 6 or in the baking oven of a three or four oven Aga or the roasting oven of two oven Aga with the cold shelf over.

Banana cake


Banana cake is lovely served warm for a weekend breakfast or with coffee mid-morning. It’s also a good way of using up over-ripe bananas.

125g softened butter

330g sugar

2 eggs

3 bananas

A couple of drops of vanilla


250g gluten-free plain flour

1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cinnamon

125ml whole milk mixed with

1 tsp lemon juice

1 Preheat the oven to 180C. In an Aga, you will be using the baking oven of a three or four oven or the roasting oven of a two oven Aga with the cold shelf above.

2 Grease a loaf tin, 21.5cm by 11.5cm then sprinkle with flour on all sides and line base with parchment paper. Remember to knock out any unnecessary flour.

3 Beat butter and sugar to a pale and creamy consistency.Then add the eggs a little at a time, followed by the banana and vanilla. Mix well, but be careful not to overbeat. Add the dry ingredients and milk alternatively, until all is mixed in well.

4 Pour mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.To check if it is cooked use a skewer and if it comes out clean it is done. If the cake looks golden brown on the outside but is still not completely cooked through, turn the oven down and cook on a lower heat.

5 Cool for a few minutes in thetin and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool further.

Tunisian orange cake

Gluten and dairy-free.

This is a real goodie, though more of a pudding than a cake, and can be made several days before you need it as it keeps brilliantly.

85g gluten-free white breadcrumbs

300g caster sugar

150g ground almonds

2¼ level teaspoons of gluten-free baking powder

330ml sunflower oil

6 eggs

Zest of 1½ large orange finely grated

Zest of 1 lemon finely grated

Citrus syrup

Juice of 1½ orange

Juice of 1½ lemon

125g sugar

3 cloves

1½ cinnamon stick

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line the base of a round 23cm (9in), 6cm (2in) deep cake tin, spring form if you have one.

2 Mix the breadcrumbs with the sugar, ground almonds and baking powder a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and the eggs, pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the orange and lemon zest and pour into the prepared tin.

3 Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown, and if you insert a skewer into the centre it comes out clean.

4 Once the cake is cooked, leave it in the tin for five minutes and then turn it out on to a large plate.

5 To make the citrus syrup, put all the ingredients into a stainless steel saucepan; bring gently to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely and simmer for about three minutes.

6 While the cake is still warm, pierce it with a skewer. Spoon the hot syrup over the cake and leave to cool. Spoon any excess syrup back over the cake every now and then until all the juice has been completely soaked up.

7 Lay the cinnamon and cloves on top of the cake for decoration and serve with whipped cream or thick Greek yogurt.

Cereal bars

Wheat and gluten-free Lots of us miss out on breakfast, often because of the lack of time in the morning. Then by mid morning the energy levels start to drop. Complex carbohydrates are the carbohydrates that give slow releasing energy and oats are one of the best sources. These oaty cereal bars are so easy to make, need no cooking, and are a good alternative if you do miss breakfast.The orange juice and fruit give the bars their sweetness and they don’t need any butter or oil to hold them together.

100g rolled oats

140g dried apricots

90g dried apple

180g sultanas

2 dried figs

Juice of ½ orange

1 Line a 20cm square baking tray with parchment paper.

2 Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor and whiz to a fine pulp.Then add the juice a little at a time until the mixture becomes sticky. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray and press it right into the corners. Chill in the fridge overnight.

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