Avocado Salsa on Batch 5 Toast

The Plain Kitchen Avocado salsa

A friend came over for a cup of tea last week, and very kindly gave me the most wonderful gift: a loaf of Bath Bakery’s Batch #5 Gluten Free Bread. It was a total revelation: that night I had three slices- and, as many of you may know, it’s generally very difficult to do this with a shop bought gluten free loaf. The bread was wonderfully soft- and toasted, it was sublime. I had yet another slice the following day, with the Avocado salsa I had made for the gram wraps: this was avo on toast taken to another level.

Batch #5 is available to buy online: their Seed Loaf looks pretty good too, and I will be ordering some this week.

Serves 1


1 thick slice of Batch #5 white bread

Butter for the toast (I like rather a lot)

½ large Avo (Hass, if you can)

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp cumin

Absolute tiniest amount of very finely chopped shallot or red onion: this is optional, but I do like a slight fresh onion flavour in a salsa

2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

Pinch of Maldon salt

Grinding of black pepper

Few leaves basil and coriander, finely chopped

Squeeze of lemon juice

Sour cream and grated cheese to serve

Good gluten free toast and Avocado


Mix all of the salsa ingredients together. Toast the bread, butter it, pile the salsa on top of the toast, followed by the sour cream and cheese. Done.

Batch 5 Gluten Free Bread

Baby Leaf and Ricotta Flan

The Plain Kitchen

This is a mash up of a quiche, a flan and a pie- well, at least that’s what I thought when I made it. I fancied a rather more substantial crust to my usual cheddar quiche crust- and one that was herbed, one that would complement a spinach type of filling, with cream cheese and ricotta: I could picture it in my head: and it turned out well- the crust is substantial- but, if you fancy it thinner, I would simply divide it between two smaller quiche tins and double up the filling quantities if you wanted to. I used a 20cm tart tin- so, not as deep as a quiche- hence it being more flan like, if that makes sense! The baby leaves in question here were chard, spinach and pea shoots: If you wanted just chard, or spinach, that would be perfect. Somehow I don’t think it would work with just pea shoots- I don’t think they have enough bulk and substance to them. Remember, 150g seems like a lot of leaves- but they reduce and wilt down to a small squeezed handful. And yes, you must do the squeezing after wilting- the filling will be too watery if you don’t.

Serve warm or at room temperature. It’s not great cold!

Serves 6

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius


For the base:

70g gram flour

105g gluten free self raising flour

20g ricotta cheese

50g cheddar chese, grated

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch table salt

85 butter

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Good grinding black pepper

½ an egg: ie, beat an egg, and only use ½ of the beaten egg- the other half will go into the filling

1-2 tbsp water

For the filling:

The other half of that beaten egg

150g chard, spinach and pea shoots or similar, chopped

180g full fat cream cheese

50g ricotta cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

½ white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, microplaned

25g parmesan, grated

50g melted butter

½ tsp Pimenton

½ tsp maldon salt

Good grinding black pepper

For the top:

Handful pine nuts

A little extra microplaned parmesan


Start on the pastry first. Mix all of the ingredienss together, except for the water and egg, in abowl- rub the butter, cheese and ricotta into the mix as you would for scones, until you have a fine mix. Add 1 tbsp water and half the beaten egg, and pull together to form a dough. If you think it needs a little more water, add it now. Line your tart or flan tin in a patchwork fashion- again, because we are dealing with gluten free flour, there is no need to rest or chill it, rather work with it when it is warm. Really make sure that the whole bottonm and sides are evenly covered in the dough, and flatten it all out. Line the bottom with a round of baking parchment, fill with baking beads and bake blind for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven, remove the beads and parchment and bake again for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and wait to cool completely.

To make the filling, wilt the leaves: all I do is pop the chopped leaves into a nonstick frying pan on a medium heat and stir very gently and quickly, never letting the leaves catch, but allowing them to wilt. Once they have wilted, remove from the heat and pop the leaves into a bowl- you will squeeze the water out later when they’re cool enough to handle.


Soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil- about 10 minutes on a medium heat is what you need. Mix with the ricotta, melted butter, beaten egg, parmesan, pimenton, seasoning and the cream cheese. The leaves should be cool enough to handle by now. Squeeze any excess water from them- you may just be left with a large dark handful of leaves! Stir these through the cheese mixture, well, to distribute the leaves evenly. Pour into the tart shell, top with pine nuts and microplaned parmesan, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.


Banana and Oat Crumpets

The Plain Kitchen gluten free mana oat crumpets

Our Saturday ritual, as I may have mentioned to you before, involves pancakes. It began when Barnaby was little, I suppose as a special weekend breakfast treat, and the little ritual has stuck. I do however worry about the nonexistent nutrients in your average pancake especially when doused in lemon and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, as is my son’s wont.

I came up with these: and they were a huge success. I added a little clementine zest & juice into a small pot of plain yoghurt, added the slightest amount of maple syrup to it, and it was sublime with the crumpet. I have posted this in time for tomorrow too: you may have spotted another little addition to the crumpets here, and this may come in handy after the Great Easter Egg Hunt is over tomorrow: grated chocolate. It uses a small amount of milk chocolate, and when grated on the small side of the grater, a little really does go a long way.

Use a non stick frying pan for these: the melted butter in the crumpet batter ensures you don’t need any other oil or butter in the pan.

Serves 3 (2 crumpets each)


For the crumpets:

45g salted butter, melted

1 ripe banana, mashed well

70g Gliuten Free self raising flour (I use Doves)

40g caster sugar

40g porridge oats

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork

½ tsp vanilla paste

For the Yoghurt:

200ml full fat natural yoghurt

Zest and juice of 1 clementine

1 tsp maple syrup


Whizz the oats to a milled, grainy mix using a hand held blender: I pop the oats into a plastic container that has high sides, a sort of measuring jug: this will ensure the oats don’t go spraying everywhere.

Mix the milled oats with the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add the mashed banana, melted butter, egg and vanilla paste and give a very good whisk.

Heat up a non stick frying pan, to a medium heat. Ladle a spoon at a time into the frying pan, and allow to cook for about 45 seconds to a minute on each side. Be careful when flipping over; use a large lifter to do so. The cooking time will of course depend on the heat of your pan: gauge the cooking time of each side and adjust the times accordingly.

Mix the yoghurt with the zest and juice of the clementine and the maple syrup. Serve alongside the crumpet, with of course the grated Easter egg Chocolate.

Barnaby’s Bars

Fruit and Oat Bars, The Plain Kitchen

These are a lunchbox staple now in our house: because so many schools have a no-nut policy for lunchboxes, it can be difficult to find appropriate snacks for children to eat- most cereal bars contain nuts of some sort. I came up with these as a solution to the nut-free rule, and they are brilliant, with or without the chocolate. Use any dried fruit: cranberries, cherries, apricots, apple, peaches- all will work. I do try to use dates where possible, as they are sticky and sweet, and add to the texture of the bars. I also use the packets of milled linseeds which one can now buy as a cereal topper in most shops- I get ours from Lidl, and love it in this recipe, as it helps to bind the bars together.

Makes 24 bars (one baking tray, approximately 30cm x 20cm, full)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Line a Swiss Roll tin, or similar baking tray, that is about 1cm deep, with baking parchment.


200g oats

50g milled linseeds, or similar cereal topper

25g sesame seeds

25g sunflower seeds

100g soft brown sugar

2 tbsp maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla paste

½ tsp cinnamon

130g butter

200g mixed dried fruit- I used chopped dates and sultanas in this recipe

For the chocolate topping, if required:

100g dark chocolate

50g milk chocolate


Spread the oats, linseeds and seeds onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, but keep checking on the oats, and shake the tray about to ensure even browning and toasting occurs.

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and sugar slowly- about 3-4 minutes should do it, over a low heat. Then add the syrup, dried fruit, cinnamon and vanilla, and bring the heat up, until the mixture is bubbling gently. Let it bubble for 5 minutes, and then take off the heat. Mix in the toasted oat mix very well, until all the oats are well covered in the sticky mix. Pour the mixture into the baking tray (still lined with parchment) and flatten out with a spatula. Allow to cool.

Melt the chocolate over a low heat (or in the microwave) and mix well. Pour the chocolate over the oat mix, spread out evenly with a spatula, and then allow to cool properly, before cutting into bars.

These will keep in a tin for a week.

Oat and Fruit Bars with Chocolate The Plain Kitchen

Biscuits: Three Ways

The Plain Kitchen Mince Pie Biscuits

This recipe has been adapted from one of my mum’s biscuit recipes: it is a plain dough, to which you add your own flavourings and additions. I decided on choc chip, coconut and cherries, and mincemeat (for ”mincepie” biscuits).

The Plain Kitchen Coconut and cherry biscuits

Using lard, which many old fashioned recipes do, along with cornflour, makes these biscuits gorgeously crisp: just ensure you seal them in an airtight container, which will retain the crispness. Add whatever you fancy to the biscuit dough: I simply chose my ingredients according to what was in the grocery cupboard at the time.

Perfect for the chilly weekend that is about to hit us: enjoy!

Makes 14 cherry and coconut biscuits, 14 mince pie biscuits, and 8 large choc chip cookies.

The Plain Kitchen gluten free choc chip cookies

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

For the dough:

130g lard

60g butter

250g caster sugar

300g plain gluten free flour (I use Doves)

70g cornflour

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

For the cherry and coconut:

50g desiccated coconut

7 glace cherries, halved

For the choc chip cookies:

80g dark or milk chocolate, smashed with a rolling pin

For the mince pie biscuits:

1 tbsp flour

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp caster sugar

100g mincemeat


In a Kitchenaid or food processor, mix all of the ingredients for the dough well, until a pliable soft dough has formed. Remove, and divide into three sections. To one third, add the coconut and mix well. To the other third, add the choc chips, and mix well. Leave the other third plain for the moment.

Roll the coconut dough into 14 or so balls, arrange on a baking tray lined with parchment, and place half a glace cherry on top, squashing down on the biscuit as you do so.

For the choc chip cookies, divide the dough into 8 large balls onto a baking tray lined with parchment, and flatten out using the palm of your hand.

For the mince pie biscuit, mix the mixed spice, flour and sugar onto a work surface, and then roll the dough out onto the work surface, about ½ cm thick. The flour, spice and sugar mix helps it not to stick, and lends a lovely fragrance to the biscuits. Cut out rounds using a scone cutter. Lay each cut round onto a baking sheet, and on the top of each round, and pop a tiny bit of mincemeat on top of each round.

Bake the coconut and mince pie biscuits at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, and the larger cookies at 180 degrees for 15-18 minutes.