The Poison Pen

Beaches & Cream

Posted in Days Out, gluten free, Local by thepoisonpen on March 21, 2011

Saturday called for a venture into the wilds of the north east coast, which lead to finding this surprising little coffee house just north of Tynemouth at Cullercoats Bay! And what a treat it was. I find Tynemouth for all it’s seaside town charm, lacking in the eatery department, particularly if you’re off gluten/dairy. So when I wandered in on the off chance to see if this little eatery offered soya milk, I was answered back with a surprising yes, we do! And a look out of the corner of my eye spied a gorgeous almond and orange gluten free cake. Heaven!

And as if that’s not enough, what should sit next door but a wonderful old fashioned style ice cream parlour!

The interior is a beautifully designed elegant space where you’ll find an array of Fornasetti accents. My lust for the wallpaper knows no bounds as I was eyeing it up last year when we were re-decorating our fireplace. True lust! A bit of googling reveals it’s the work of Space ID and Quay Shop Fitters who also designed the beautiful shop/cafe of Gareth James Chocolatier just down the road in Tynemouth.

Well worth the small drive up the coast, especially since I tend to find the eateries in Tynemouth disappointing at best.

Beaches & Cream
North Shields,
Tyne and Wear,
NE30 4PN

Gluten Free Chocolate Lime Cake

Posted in gluten free by thepoisonpen on January 18, 2011

I’m on a baking quest plain and simply. After becoming tired and disillusioned with the same old stale tasting gluten free varieties available in the local supermarkets, and monetary contraints becoming more apparent. I’ve started baking from scratch a variety of foods that will compete with their glutinous rivals.

This cake, is probably in my top 5 of home baked cakes so far. The recipe is from the delectable Nigella Lawson’s book ‘Kitchen‘ which I’ve been going through since my boyfriend kindly bought me it for Christmas (this being one of two gluten free cake recipes). But I’ve decided to re-posted it mainly to continue bringing to light more amazing gluten free recipes that taste as good as any wheat filled treat out there. The texture and consistency is that of an expensive mousse-y torte rather than a crumbling traditional cake, and as such I’ve found it keeps for a lot longer.

I’ve amended a couple of the ingredients to personal preferences, and wanted to say this tastes just as good using a dairy free margarine as the replacement to butter. You can even reduce the sugar, I tried it on second attempt using only 175g instead of 250g and it came out just as sweet, I think it altogether depends on the type of dark chocolate you use. Less sugar is always good!

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 150g soft unsalted butter or dairy free margarine
  • 6 eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 4 teaspoons best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • zest and juice 1 lime
  • 1 x 23cm springform or other round cake tin
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4, line the base of your cake tin with baking parchment and butter the sides.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together either in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, or in a microwave (following manufacturer’s instructions), then set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar together until about tripled in volume, pale and moussy.
  4. Mix the ground almonds with the cocoa powder and fold this gently into the egg and sugar mixture, followed by the slightly cooled chocolate and butter. Finally, fold in the zest and juice of your lime.
  5. Pour and scrape this mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40–45 minutes (though start to check at 35); the cake will be just firm on top, but still have a bit of wobble underneath.
  6. Remove from the oven and sit the cake in its tin on a wire rack to cool.
  7. When cold, dust with icing sugar

If you try this, then please let me know what you think. I’ve managed to convert anyone who’s tasted it so far, wheat eater or not.