RECIPE: Flour power

A new recipe book is putting the spotlight on different types of flour.

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Flour by Christine McFadden (Absolute Press, £26) explores the options available to those who avoid wheat flour. We bring you two of her delicious recipes and find out more about flours that are anything but run of the mill.

Quinoa flour

Quinoa trumps the nutritional credentials of most other plant foods. It contains a complete set of essential amino acids that make up protein, putting it on a par with foods from animal sources. It’s also a rich source of resistant starch which generally improves gut health.

Find it at…;;;

Sesame flour

Milled from sesame seeds, this underused flour certainly delivers on the nutritional front. It contains an impressive amount of essential amino acids that make up protein plus iron, dietary fibre and important B-vitamins – and no gluten whatsoever.

Find it at…

Good supermarkets, health food shops and online at

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Roasted tomato and gruyère tart
Serves 6 as a light meal

With added rice flour and xanthan gum to help bind the dough, this pastry is lovely to work with, tastes good and looks great when baked.


150g (5½oz) quinoa flour

90g (3½oz) rice flour

1½ tsp xanthan gum

150g (5½oz) unsalted butter chilled, diced

4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

vegetable oil for greasing


12-14 plum tomatoes, halved crossways

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt flakes

Muscovado sugar

150g (5½oz) Gruyère, coarsely grated

4 eggs, lightly beaten

125ml (4fl oz) double cream

2 tablespoons oregano or marjoram leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 150C/Gas Mark 2.

For filling, arrange single layer of tomatoes on a roasting tray. Sprinkle with oil, sea salt flakes, black pepper and a good few pinches of sugar. Roast for 1½ –2 hours, rotating every 30 minutes, until tomatoes are shrivelled but slightly moist. Cool.

For pastry, put flours, gum and pinch of sea salt into a sieve over a bowl. Muddle with fingers, then push through sieve once or twice until well blended. Using cold hands, lightly rub in butter. Hold hands well above the bowl so flour drifts gently down, incorporating air. Rub in any remaining butter. Add yolks with a fork, followed by enough water to form dough.

Tip dough on to a floured surface. Knead briefly. Gather dough into a ball. Flatten to a thick disc about 12cm (4½in) in diameter. Wrap in greaseproof paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. Lightly grease a 28cm (11in) loose-based tart tin.

Roll out pastry on baking parchment to a circle measuring about 33cm (13in) in diameter. Place tin upside down over the circle. Lift corners of parchment. Fold towards the middle of underside of tin. Using both hands, hold corners in place. Quickly turn tin over, allowing dough to flop into tin. Press any cracks together.

Trim surplus dough; save to patch any cracks. Press dough into edge of tin to raise slightly above rim. Line base with foil. Fill with baking beans, making sure they go all the way to the edge. Bake blind for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Remove foil. Patch any cracks with reserved dough. Bake for 5–7 minutes, until pastry is pale golden. Remove from oven. Increase heat to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Put a baking tray in to heat.

Arrange tomato in pastry. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Combine eggs, cream, herbs; season. Pour over tomatoes. Bake immediately for 20 minutes or until puffy and golden. Serve hot or warm.

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Lime leaf scented blancmange with sesame brittle

This is an irresistible combination of soft, scented milky blancmange and gleaming shards of crunchy brittle. It would make a lovely Mothers’ Day treat.

Serves 4–6

3 large lime leaves, fresh or frozen but not dried

600ml (1 pint) whole milk

4 tbsp cornflour

4 tbsp sesame flour

3 tbsp caster sugar, or to taste

For sesame brittle

200g (7oz) caster sugar

4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

You will need: up to six 150ml (5fl oz) metal heart-shaped moulds or ramekin dishes

Remove stalk from lime leaves. Roughly shred. Save a few as a garnish. Put the rest in a saucepan with all but 4 tbsp of milk. Slowly bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove. Leave to infuse for about 20 minutes.

In a second saucepan, blend cornflour and reserved milk. Stir in sesame flour and sugar. Strain infused milk on to cornflour mix and stir. Bring to boil, whisking constantly until thickened – about 3 minutes. Simmer gently for 3 minutes, continuing to whisk. Pour into moulds. Cool. Chill for 2 hours, or until set.

Meanwhile, line baking sheet with silicone sheet. Pour sugar into heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Melt sugar without stirring, shaking occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat slightly. Bring to boil. Bubble for few minutes until evenly golden. Stir in seeds. Boil for few more seconds. Pour on to silicone-lined baking sheet, tilting so brittle spreads in very thin layer. Once it’s set solid, break into shards or small fragments.

When ready to serve, turn the blancmange on to serving plates. Decorate with two or three sesame shards and a sliver of lime leaf.


Watch the brittle like a hawk – it can burn very quickly.






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