About Pep'sfreefromkitchen

I run a Free-from Blog that covers most diets, but specialises in Gluten and Nightshade Free baking and cooking. There are also occasional gardening posts.

Other Recipes: Pate Brisee/Rich Shortcrust Pastry


Coming off from this recipe, read that first.

Yo, Dear Reader, this time I’m in pretty familiar territory, the biggest different between this pastry and others I have is that it is absurdly butter, so much so you have to be extremely careful not to melt it as you prepare the dough, as you can see it is strong, but it’s very flaky so you might want to adjust it a lot more if you’re making a gluten free version. There isn’t a lot you can say outside of the usual with pastry. Work fast, have things ready before you even take it out of the fridge and remember that over working will make it elastic and spoil the flaking caused by the butter melting between the layers. It isn’t puff pastry, but it’s closer than shortcrust usually is. Not much to say on this one, Dear Reader, I’ll be back again later so until then stay safe and take care.

Ingredients

185g Plain Wheat Flour
2 Tsp Caster Sugar
160g Butter, very cold, cut into cubes
4 to 6 Tbsp Ice Cold Water

Method

  1. Sieve the Flour into a bowl, then add the Sugar.
  2. Add the Butter and mash together with hands until it forms a lumpy, dry mixture.
  3. Add a Tbsp of Cold Water and mash together with fork. Keep adding Water and mixing until the Dough holds it’s shape when pinched together.
  4. Form into a flat disc, do not knead too much, and place in fridge for 15 minutes.
  5. Grease the baking tin with Butter and scatter with Flour.
  6. Let the Dough rest out of the fridge for a few minutes then roll out the Dough into a circle and place over the baking tin.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 180 (No fan), then rest in tin until cool.

Other Recipes: Crème Patissiere/Pastry Cream

These are really old photos, it’s difficult to even find them.

Yo, Dear Reader, feels like I forgot about these, doesn’t it, they take a little more work than it seems. Most of them are recipes that are guaranteed good, but that I haven’t made in nearly a decade. It’s like a snapshot from the fat days or a cookery book you don’t have to pay for, as with all these how they’re adapted and if they can be is up to you, I’m just glad the work is still finding an audience after all these years. They took a lot of work to write up, I thought of myself in years reading the recipes and imagined how best to guide myself through them with the language I was using.

So, I made this because I wanted a banana cream pie and accidently ended up with an elaborate French style dessert. I can’t say it’s French, might be an insult to the French, Dear Reader, but it was far beyond what a banana cream pie would normally be. It’s a more advance version of the usual custard made with cornflour, it’s rich and smooth and dense. It’s an amazing recipe, it is very involved and you need to follow it to the letter to get the smooth velvety result, it may be possible to make it gluten free, but as I say, Dear Reader I leave that in your hands. Not much I can say, this is one of a pair so I’ll get the other ready too and post that alongside this. See you in a moment.

Ingredients

1 Cup/240ml Milk
4 Egg Yolks
100g Caster Sugar
50g Plain Wheat Flour
45g Butter (Cut in small pieces)
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

  1. Place Egg Yolks in mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with electric mixer, gradually adding Sugar. Beat for 2 minutes, until mixture is thick and lemon colored.
  2. Beat in Flour
  3. In a heavy saucepan heat Milk to near boiling.
  4. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the Hot Milk.
  5. Transfer mixture to heavy saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, mixture should start to thicken gradually and will be slightly lumpy. Let mixture come to a boil and boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.
  6. Beat in Butter with electric mixer a little at a time until all lumps are gone, then Stir in Vanilla extract. Cover with cling film and let mixture cool.

In and Out, Gardening All About


Combing my interests, Pokémon and Gardening, to create an even more fun space.


The silver pothos looks ready, funnily the side that wasn’t for rooting rooted instead.


I like it a little more than the golden one. Don’t tell them.

Yo, Dear Reader, I’m back again, though not with the promised stories as there is almost nothing happening around here and I am mostly just bumbling around the garden or stuck inside staring at the indoor garden. I do have an update on the Guinness Brack a baker friend tried it and said it was fantastic, she’d tell me if it was bad. So I guess it’s a given that that’ll be made again for the market, naturally that isn’t going to be adaptable into gluten free, but I am now curious if a version of a cider brack would work, which could be made gluten free. It’ll go on the backburner of my brain until much later. I don’t drink and I don’t eat these baked goods so they’re made entirely when an event is happening. I guess I could advertise them as limited editions, eh, Dear Reader? As for me I’m still struggling with stress and my stomach hasn’t been good, well, it never is, for over a year so I’m sticking to what I know for the most part. I’m having some issues with dairy, but it seems to be mostly with hot dairy, but not just things high in lactose which is bewildering. I could see lactose intolerance being added to my problems, I can’t eat much dairy as is and nothing aged, but even hot butter was causing nausea and that isn’t high in lactose from what I’ve read. As I say my stomach is bad anyway so I’ll just be careful. I’ve been here so often this doesn’t phase me anymore.


Not sure what shape the tree will be in time, but I’ll keep trying to shape it elegantly.


The Monstera is already too big and it hasn’t started growing big yet.


Little tiny shoot and the big leaf is to big for the photo! Help!

I’ve been meaning to get a few more of he other recipes organised and posted, but my motivation is pretty low these days, I don’t have any intention of abandoning the blog, but I know when it’s best to leave it alone and to anyone else out there with chronic health issues remember that taking a break is more than okay, it’s necessary for your health and well being, both mental and physical. Naturally when the garden starts up more I’ll be able to reshare old tips and new ideas. With the bulbs emerging I’m going to brew strong coffee via cold brew and use it as an anti-slug spray. I am putting down pellets, but scattered as there have been issues with the filthy gardens surrounding mine. I’ve done my reading, but I’ll still need better weather to put things into practice. I’ll use fresh ground coffee in a water bottle and leave it a few days, as a bonus you also give the plants a boost. Much like the milk spray for squash, Dear Reader, the natural ways always have more benefits when possible. As I say not much yet, but I’ll keep posts bits and pieces of interest. Until later, Dear Reader, stay safe and take care.

Man Nobly Saves Spider He Endangered


I was sick of going out just for essentials so I went out for orchids.

Still sick of going out, but I have orchids. More orchids.

The garlic needed that frost to really kickstart it.

The snowdrops are the only thing in sync with the season.

I took it off the wall and made it into a ground planter instead.

Yo, Dear Reader, those faces are staying as they’ll embarrass my niece when she gets older, that’s the joy of teens…there may be others, but it’s hard to say. I think that was a birthday present years ago and like most things in the garden it was built around, it was screwed into the wall by some idiot who thought it needed to be there for perpetuity, might’ve been me, Dear Reader, when I took it down I realised it’d terrible as a wall planter, hard to water and plant in, so with a few zip ties it becomes a ground planter, need to find ground where it can fit, but that’ll come later. A huge spider decided that I’d be  suitable place to explore and I thankfully managed to gather it up and rehouse it, I moved it so it’s my fault, I wouldn’t harm them, they’re far too useful in the garden. I’m trying to clean up some of the Winter debris, Dear Reader which is the absolute dullest of jobs and is largely dependent on the weather, which has been pretty awful. Lots of small jobs add up and then take much longer to finish, but they’ll get done, or I’ll leave them until another day. It never really ends, Dear Reader, for better or worse depends on where you stand.

These were originally a chunk of established snowdrops, they’ve been divided since, hence the bald patch.

This is likely the last batch of “rare”, aka not Moth Orchids, orchids they’ll have for a while.

How that marker survived is amazing.

I found a tin watering can and here we are.

They smell spicy, I can’t identify it, but it’s unusual.

It went easier than I’d have thought, I thought I’d need epoxy.

That wishing well has been upgraded with thrown out pots so often I’ve lost track, I oved the bucket that came with it to the side, it’s too large or the centre and too small to plant much in, I jammed some mint in there for colour, I’ll try to find a small fern for the out rim of the little water bowl. I thought I’d need to seal and have the watering can fill, but when I fed the piping through it fit into the neck and just emptied right into the opening. So I snipped the handle and hung that around the top of the well and put the solar panel on an old metal daffodil, finally it finds a use, much like everything in time, Dear Reader. I’ll mostly be sweeping and picking up junk for a while more, weeding is a no go until things dry up a little, I don’t want to damage any bulbs, they’ve all started to poke out their shoots, it’s once again coming to life. I’ll do my best, Dear Reader. I’ll be back again soon, until then stay safe and take care.

Plan For The Future…No, Not That One


It’s Orchid flush day, when I flush them through with rainwater to moisten the medium and let them drain.

The bubbles are the only indication it isn’t dead, even green isn’t always a surefire sign.

The unopened buds have a really unusual shape.

Tempted to get another, but they’ll be gone when I go again…probably for the best.

Tradescantia grow so fast from cuttings, this looks best at night, during the day it’s this dull colour, at night a vibrant purple.

The flowers have opened already, they’re gorgeous.

Yo, Dear Reader, I recently received an email that my seed potatoes and onion sets will be dispatching soon, I pre-ordered these months ago and luckily so because they’re already sold out, I did have warning thankfully, the site I use is staffed by really good people and it’s local, which means I need to start planning my year. I always have a barebones idea of where I want to go, I say want because as I’ve learned and relearned you plan for the year you want, prepare for the year everything goes wrong and the experience a year you had no idea would come. The seasons are going out of whack and gardening is a fickle thing no matter what, but that’s what makes it such fun, even the heartbreaks have a place, Dear Reader, you can never tell so you can never try to control too much and once you accept that you’re just a smaller part of a greater cycle you just do all you can and learn to roll with the punches. You prepare for disasters that won’t happen, but might, you get tripped up by new troubles and are amazed by new discoveries that you’d have thought exhausted in the previous years. It’s intense at times, Dear Reader, bland and listless at others, but I could be without it. It isn’t the  year I wanted, but I’ll do all I can with whatever I’m given.

I stirred the Marimo and they formed a tower.

The ring of pink and yellow really makes them stand out.

They don’t seem to need much, they just grow and grow.

The Mother’s Day Rose is still going strong.

Teeny Christmas Cactus.

Cymbidium grow surprisingly fast, at least the bulbs do.

They really are stunning.

The Marimo just pump out oxygen when the sun hits.

The plant is so tall.

The weather isn’t as bad as it was, but it isn’t great for getting out and really getting things done. I took a pot of dahlias, the ones someone keeps throwing away, that for two years has turned into a bush and little else, I put those near the honeysuckle, where the junk area was, which has shifted, probably moved itself at this stage, it’s big enough, filling a gap, then I went around the other side where I saw that the daffodils that I just let there are coming back. I then decided to tug away the old nasturtiums and grass, I expected a lot of work and carefully pulling, but two minutes later it was clean, it just needed a little cleaning but looked way worse than it was. That area was a plot for sticking anything too good to just discard, so currently it has a currant bush, an evergreen shrub, strawberries, dahlias, nerines, foxglove, geum, daffodils, tulips, bluebells, nasturtium and honestly who knows what else. Funnily it took care of itself and looked great and was another haven for bees. Hopefully it’ll do as well this year. Not much going on, Dear Reader, I haven’t had much drive to post much, but I’ll try to get a few posts out here and there, still need to post the Other recipes too. All things in time, Dear Reader, until later then, stay safe and take care.

Group Hug…Huddle…Help!


I’ve been scrounging and recycling again, Dear Reader. Angel Wings, rooted, but rough, I’ll do my best.

After a year I have the orchids I wanted, the pots were free.

Look at the stems, even they are perfect.

Just cram it in there is my motto.

I’ve heard of them, but never saw them in the shops before.

Yo, Dear Reader, it feels whenever I get a plant or four…a dozen or so, I end up with more than I meant to get, which isn’t a bad feeling at all, but I do tend to run out of space and I staunchly refuse to learn from my own previous mistakes. Which is admirable…if you’re a plant in my room, beyond that it’s probably a problem, still things work out in strange ways. I bought the beautiful “rare” orchid, much cheaper than I’d pay online, and found two suitable tin pots, alongside all the other plants. People really throw away the finest of plants and those that aren’t so great are a little rarer so…yes I’m making excuses, Dear Reader, but the Senecio Angel Wings looked like a dead jelly fish and felt like fabric, I had to take it when I saw the roots beginning. Let’s hope it’ll take, I just happened to have seen it online before this or I’d have had no idea what it was or even if it were real. I’ve had great luck bringing these plans back to health and vitality and there’s always a spot to cram a plant into.

It’s weary of the camera.

Camellia, a gift from a friend. One is for Naru’s Garden.

Ah, nothing like Christmas themed pots…all year round.

Steamy Salad Starter.

Who needs a heated propagator?…Another one.

I think I mentioned that the hotbin has been running great these last few weeks, I keep it stirred now, and thinking on starting salad seeds in a heated propagator made me curious and well here we are, the hair nets are brilliant plant pot covers for starting seeds and protecting seedlings. I will have to move them out of there after they start, I’ll let them root a little and then put them in the greenhouse, the way things are I just can’t face the open heads of lettuce, hard to say if I’ll ever want to again, in the shops and the cut ones are all really limp and bland. I know, Dear Reader, patience, but I’d like a little salad to change things up. Not much else happening these days, I’ll leave it at that, enjoy the photos. Until later, stay safe and take care.

I had to whistle at it to get it to turn and it sang in response.

Both are Dendrobium.

I almost missed the very one I wanted.

If nothing else I’m having fun. Need to take a break for now.

Not to be outdone the rose is budding again.

I bought the Rubella, but the rest were free. I want all evergreens to fill the gap that Winter brings.

Primroses are great spreaders.

It’s so tall.

No idea what that is, but I know I have at least two others and they’re nice.

The Silver Dust gets huge in time.

Heaven Freezes Over


I lost sight of this for a while, but here it is again.

I had to empty the bin and once I started I had to finish.

I never noticed it looks like a snake or a tiger.

Yo, Dear Reader, the weather has warmed enough that I could finally empty the dreaded tall compost bin, it was frozen in part, dreaded because it’s too narrow to just dig out and the opening in the base is small and everything compacts too much to use it until the end. So I, Dearest Darling Jack, had to lean in with a plastic scoop and scoop what was half worms, chill thanks o the chill weather, and really well broken down compost. Now I know what you’re thinking, what about the smell? How dare you I don’t sme…oh, you meant the compost. Let me tell you a secret, Dear Reader, or rather a fact, if a compost has the right ratios when it’s ready it’ll just smell sweet, a slightly alien sweetness, not a sugary one, but not unpleasant. This is a god six or more months of kitchen waste and cardboard, I’ll rest another bin again, I’ve been at this so long I forget when I even started, both have been amended with compost, all the fruit bushes, a few more trugs, including the largest, and the roses and large dahlia patch all saw a scoop each, but even then I had a wheelbarrow’s worth for the vegetable bed. I had to do it all at once as the bins are getting full, I’m considering getting a second wormery for the leachate, I’d save in the long run, but I’ll stick to my four bins. I always joke hat the worms move from the confined bin, hellish sounding, but they like it, to a wide bed where they can burrow near endlessly, sounds like heaven in comparison

In it goes to mingle and eventually be spread all over.

The prickly pear didn’t want to be left out.

Setting up the rose garden fence, slowly because those nails are fiddly.

These leaves had fallen off and were in the plant tray.

The rose garden is getting proper stakes, with U shaped nails to keep it tidy, I’ll have coated wire soonish, but I need to hammer in more nails into the stakes before I drive them into the ground, which is tedious and fiddly. It should look better, I can’t cut back the roses, hence the extra early feeding, but I can at least rein them in a bit. I’m trying to fix things up as best I can for now, just something to focus on, the weather has been against me, when isn’t it, Dear Reader?, but seems to be changing just enough to be out without the risk of pratfalls. I have a few tasks set up that can be done piecemeal, but as I say the bin needed emptying. It compacts so much that it becomes so dense it needs stirring to even dig out a layer, the height of that bin makes it a pain, but it’s done for at least another year. I have a few bits to do and I’ll keep making work for myself, the robin is having a great time with all the food available, I’m rewarded by its song so I can’t complain. I’ll be back again later, Dear Reader, with a story more interesting than dirt, until then stay safe and take care.

Eats and No Eats


That you can have a plant cutting posted to you and it will somehow survive is still novel to me.

A very kind Dear Reader, whom I won’t name and embarrass, sent me a gift of ingredients and I have missed these crunchy delights.

I’m passing this onto you, Dear Reader it has been criminally overlooked.

Yo, Dear Reader, I find it sad that some of the better recipes here aren’t all that well known, I know that it often happens and when there are just so many recipes it’s easy for newer visitors to overlook them, Buckwheat Cakes, six years give or take, wow I forget how long I’ve been blogging. These came from my dedication to checking every nook and cranny on the internet, from a forum post in the middle of nowhere, yes, my memory is strange, Dear Reader, they’re essentially Scottish Oatcakes remade with buckwheat in lieu of oats. They’re crunchier than oatcakes, but if you need them less so you can just make them thicker, I like the crunch. My stomach isn’t great these days, so I froze half. They are just a delight in that they remind me of nothing and are wholly their own taste and experience. There are a lot of recipes on the site, Dear Reader, some I can’t make as my diet changed since their creation, others that are hampered by ingredients no longer being available. So you owe thanks to a very supportive and endlessly kind Dear Reader for helping me revive this recipe for a new audience.

So simple and with so few ingredients. Even better than oatcakes if you ask me.

I’m just doing my best and so are they.

We’ve been frozen in due to rain and freezing conditions, the sidewalks were impossible to use and the garden path is as deadly, so my garden walks have been limited, I’m currently in the process of erecting fencing in the rose garden again. I’m hammer fiddly U shaped nails into stakes and it is a living hell of tediousness, Dear Reader, the nails are small and need more force than you can apply without them falling away, I’ll take it a stake at a time, each marked with pen to keep things aligned, no flies on Jack, Dear Reader, and once they’re in I’ll run a coated wire through them to finish it off. Simple, but it’ll last years and years. The broom handles were useful, but this will be more attractive and longer lasting. As I say not much doing, Dear Reader, I’m just tidying around and waiting, as are we all really. I’ll be back again soon, likely with more plants, until then stay safe and take care.

Jack and The Frangipane Scented Golden Skull Feat Golden Godzilla


That was dead! What, was hell full? That succulent is tenacious and keeps dying and reviving and I love to hate it.

Much like an over proud parent I take far too many Photos of RTC. This is the mystery node, root? stem? who knows?

Second re-budding.

First re-budding, this is what? The Twelfth re-bud it’s had.

The flower stem is fascinating as I’ve never watched one grow before.

Yo, Dear Reader, it’s been a while. I hadn’t realised, things are very bad here currently, but I’d rather talk plants than pandemics, but a very dear friend checked in on me and made me realise I haven’t been all that active here. Which is a shame because there’s a joy in sharing even the most mundane of news, hopefully in the reading of it too, Dear Reader. Naturally he garden is slow to grow both indoors and out, so I’m trying to use the down time smartly. I’ve been meaning to get neem oil for safe pesticides for a while now, but it always seems to be out of stock, thankfully I’ve been busy looking up Irish alternatives to Amazon UK and found al the oils and essential oils I needed to mix up a batch while supporting Irish businesses. Neem oil disrupts the hormones of some bugs and the soap melts them while the scents deter them. Thankfully it was sunny today so I could spray, leave the window open and let it all dry. I’ve replaced all the bad soil, but this is a preventative as well as a treatment. I used 1 teaspoon of Cold Pressed Neem Oil, 1 teaspoon liquid castile soap and a dash of peppermint, rosemary and citronella oil. I put those in warm water in a jar and shook it and pour that into a spray bottle of distilled water to the litre mark. Then just sprayed everything down, both sides of the leaves and left it to dry, as it dries it falls away so you don’t need to wipe down anything. Hopefully it’ll help, it can’t hurt and is necessary. I’ve also been using sticky yellow traps for fungus gnats, very effective and simple. I’m learning a lot, Dear Reader.

A monstera cutting I bought online is rooting. Never thought of buying cuttings, but for rarer plants it’s great.

It’ll be a year in March. From a cutting of a cutting to a rose again.

Finally bought the neem oil and other essential oils to make the safe pesticide spray.

I found paint pens and well, here we are.

All along there was a huge hollow in there, thanks to me finally trying to fix it I can plant in it.

The skull was once blue and seemed to be useless for the purpose it was intended as the well for pens and brushes was too short and far too narrow for planting as I thought it was wider when I bought it. I sprayed it for giggles and decided to finally take out the drill. The forstner bits I bought years ago, actually used a free voucher so I guess they were free, what? I’m cheap, Dear Reader, have been used on everything that they were never intended for and have been the greatest tool. I just thought I’d widen out the cavity using them and I heard a crack and was full sure it had shattered, but instead the insert had broken away revealing that the skull was hollow and had plenty of empty space without it. Perfect for a slow growing plant. Funnily it smells just like marzipan. The smell is fading and I’ll line it, but of all the scents that isn’t what I’d have expected. Not much else to report, Dear Reader, I’m out hunting for “rare”, as the shops name them, orchids again soon. I have a giftcard and a strong desire for plants so if they stock them I shall stock up. I’ll try to post more, as I say my head has been in the right place, but this is a help and I sometimes forget that. Stay safe and take care, Dear Reader, hopefully I finally get the rare orchid I’ve been waiting for, until then, later.

The low grow club…and Biollante Jr. (Sweetheart Plant Cutting).

After painting Godzilla I also did the eyes and a single tooth. I know, I know, but things are dull, you find whatever joy you can, Dear Reader.

Less ferocious, more startled that it has hit him in the face.

Repeat and Rest


A little new growth on the stem.


RTC just refusing to stop.

Yo, Dear Reader, I haven’t been talking much about my weigh-loss journey, mostly because there are a lot of very traumatic things happening in regards my wait for surgery and this whole year has been terrible in ways I don’t even want to get into. But I’ve been talking a lot recently about how I’ve hit a wall for recipes, obviously I have more than anyone person could ever use all at once, no matter how complex the meal plan there’s still a lot of divisions in the recipes, I had to start over three times after all, each time a new bundle of limits, but I’ve always tried to pry somethin beneficial from all of the struggles I’ve been through. I’ve talked often and at length about how little help there is for life after extreme weight-loss, but I’ve recently realised that because I had such a difficult path to a mostly stable diet I’ve come to think that it’s an aberration rather than a success.


The R in RTC doesn’t stand for rest that’s for sure.


That’s about the fifth time that stem has rebudded.

I changed my diet so much and at such extremes, you have to remember that I abandoned a diet that was all my life at that point, over two decades of habits, then I had to trash my diet over and over, I had to pare off segments, add in patchwork pieces and just try to find out how to be as healthy as I can be, these days with the extreme stress it feels as if I’m failing, but I remind myself, Dear Reader, that I simply wouldn’t be alive without all that work. I’ve never seen anyone in my situation in all the reading I’ve done, I’m hardly unique, but I’m in a rare enough position that I can’t always get the help or answers I need. So, I came t a realisation, that I deserve a rest from trying to solve the issues with food that have plagued me, I solved it so often that I have back-ups for my back-ups, now it’s time to just use what I have and to stop searching for more. Those back-ups are sadly necessary, Dear Reader, the lost of one pantry staple could destroy my diet if I hadn’t worked to avoid it. I need to realise that a state of stability is where I was headed all along. I’m here, I did something incredible, now I need to just coast along. I deserve that rest.


I’ve been checking for bugs, nothing so far thankfully.

As I say things aren’t good, we’re back into another lockdown which is actually good as it may prevent hospitals overcrowding, but I think daily on he hidden costs, the lives ruined by this disease and worse by the selfishness of others, there are lives that cannot return to what they were, those can never be tracked or recorded. I don’t want this to drag anyone down, but I need a record, even if it floats away into the void of blogging posts, just to say that despite everything I’m still here, but no one deserves to suffer so much without support. I’m extraordinarily lucky to have found wonderful friends on here, that even support me when I can hardly think to send an email. Without them I think I’d be in a much worse place. So, though I’m likely to have fewer and fewer recipes, the other section will be updated periodically still, I hope that the garden posts do for you what they do for me, Dear Reader: Offer a reprieve, a moment of stillness and the closest thing to peace I can find these days. All I can do is harden my resolve to haunt the phonelines next year, they won’t keep me in the dark and they will never forget about me again. I’ve lost my year again, before it even starts, I just wanted to garden without this hanging over the year, but I will not lose anymore. I’ll be back in my usual spirits, Dear Reader, I just wanted to say that sometimes it’s enough to just be, to rest isn’t stopping, it’s not backsliding, it’s vital at times. Until next time, stay safe and take care and thank you for reading.