Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins {gluten-free}

These Gluten-Free Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins are the perfect balance of tangy and sweet with the gentle earthiness of thyme.

overhead of Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins on a wooden table

These Blackcurrant, White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins were originally posted as a wheat recipe back in 2014 and I am so happy I have finally managed to re-jig the ingredients to create a gluten-free version. I have seriously been missing this muffin and had to sneak in this last recipe using summer berries before I turn my head to stone fruits, apples and pears.

overhead of Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins on a wooden table

Blackcurrants are seriously underrated. Their beautifully sweet yet tart pop in the mouth takes me straight back to my childhood like no other fruit. They used to grow all over our garden when we were growing up and my father would help my sister and I gather handfuls upon handfuls. This took some time, blackcurrants are particularly tiny. We wouldn’t do anything more complicated than pluck them diligently from our tiny hands and eat them straight. They needed no sugar maceration, cream or crumble to do them justice. They really are a perfect little currant.

overhead of Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins on a wooden table

It feels right to discuss these childhood memories of my father as I spent a small amount of time with him this week as he finally got a chance to meet baby Beau. My father and I have a complicated relationship but we are lucky that we can always find common ground through food. It’s through him that I can know with certainty where my passion, and okay greed, of food comes from. We usually meet over lunch and besides talking about the children our conversation basically revolves around food, what we are eating, what we have loved eating and what we are jealous of the other for eating.

overhead of Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins on a wooden table

My father still grows fruits, vegetables and herbs in his small but functional garden, whereas I merely kill potted basil plants on my kitchen window sill. I’d like to say that my children will have the same memories that I have of picking fruit from our garden as I gently teach them where our food comes from, but sadly any plant that comes into contact with me dies on sight. I think our pear tree is terrified of me and only offers up a minuscule offering every couple of years like some sort of a sacrifice.

overhead of Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins on a wooden table

So I’ll leave the growing to my father and get my blackcurrants from the farmers’ market instead. I think these berries I used for the Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins might well be the last of the season so if you can’t get them then blueberries also work well, although they do miss the tang that the blackcurrants bring in beautiful harmony with the white chocolate and thyme.

overhead of Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins on a wooden table

The basis of this muffin recipe is not mine but originated from a Paul A Young recipe. He is a master chocolatier and the pairing of white chocolate with thyme is sublime. I originally adapted the recipe by adding the aforementioned blackcurrants but now that I have made it gluten-free it truly feels like my own. I gave over last Sunday to coming up with the perfect flour blend for these muffins that could stand up to the wheat version with pride. I finally settled on sweet rice flour to add fluffiness and the bind so that the muffins are not crumbly. Gluten-free oat flour was added for its neutrality but slight butterscotch aroma. Then finally I rounded out the blend with a touch of potato flour, almost as a filler to make up the numbers, but it’s also hydroscopic so helps even out the stickiness of the sweet rice flour and the burst of moisture from the blackcurrants. The resulting muffin is beautifully light and fluffy and holds together exceedingly well, especially considering all the add-ins thrown at it.

overhead of Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins on a wooden table

These Blackcurrant, White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins really let their component ingredients shine, they are the perfect late summer treat and a testament to the blackcurrant which is definitely one of my favourite fruits of the summer.

Print Recipe
Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins {gluten-free}
These Gluten-Free Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins are the perfect balance of tangy and sweet with the gentle earthiness of thyme.
overhead of Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins on a wooden table
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword muffins
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 ml light olive oil not extra virgin and the lightest blend you can find
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 20 g thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 180 g oat flour
  • 180 g sweet rice flour
  • 40 g potato flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150 g white chocolate chips
  • 150 g blackcurrants
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword muffins
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 ml light olive oil not extra virgin and the lightest blend you can find
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 20 g thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 180 g oat flour
  • 180 g sweet rice flour
  • 40 g potato flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150 g white chocolate chips
  • 150 g blackcurrants
overhead of Blackcurrant White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins on a wooden table
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and prepare a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin liners.
  2. Place the sugars, eggs, olive oil, milk, thyme and vanilla in a large bowl and beat together until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat together until smooth.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips and the blackcurrants until evenly dispersed.
  6. Divide the batter into muffin cases, filling to just below the top.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until risen and the blackcurrants are bursting out.
  8. Remove the muffins from the tin straight away to cool on a wire rack.
  9. Drizzle with extra melted white chocolate if you like.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Paul A Young’s White Chocolate and Thyme Muffins from his Adventures with Chocolate

SHOP THE RECIPE

The 12 hole muffin tin I always use and will thoroughly recommend due to its durability and ease of washing is the MasterClass 12-Hole Non-Stick Cupcake Tray / Baking Pan, 35 x 27 cm

It’s not easy to buy certified gluten-free sweet rice flour in the UK, for some reason Bob’s Red Mill is astronomically expensive. However I have finally found a brand which is 100% certified gluten-free and it’s fantastic. The brand is yourhealthstore Premium Gluten Free Sweet Rice Flour (glutinous) 1kg

Oat flour can be picked up at most health food shops and if I run out that’s where I head to. However, like all alternative flours it can be expensive so I find the most economical way is to buy it online. I go through bags of the stuff as it’s the flour I use most regularly so I like to buy in bulk. My favourite brand is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour 400 g (Pack of 4) at a reasonable price. Even better if you go the subscribe and save option.

Some of the links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy anything using the links then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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gooseberry friands on a napkin on a wooden table

Blackberry Cheesecake Hazelnut Oat Bars {gluten-free}

side view of Blackberry Cheesecake Hazelnut Oat Bars on a wooden board

Gooseberry Thyme Jam

Gooseberry Thyme Jam is wonderfully tart with earthy floral notes from the thyme. Of course it’s delicious on toast, crumpets and scones but don’t dismiss its excellence nestling happily on a cheese board.

Gooseberry Thyme Jam

The summer that I decided to make a go of it with my cake stall at the local farmers’ markets I was also fully invested with homemade preserves. I was churning jams, chutneys, butters, ketchups and pickles out of my kitchen at an alarming speed. I was spending early mornings and weekends foraging and then experimenting with my preserves during the day. We still have bountiful jars of rosehip jelly from that very productive time. So when I got a place at a farmers’ market I presumed I would also be selling my preserves right alongside the cakes. This was the dream.

For almost three years that dream has been a bit wobbly. The cakes are a no brainer, they are my deep love and they will make it to a market come rain, shine, wind or hail. I have never though been able to achieve real consistency with the preserves. I still make them, not in huge quantities though. But often I don’t have time to label them or forget to bring the box with me to market.

Gooseberry Thyme Jam

It’s about this time of year when I start looking ahead to the winter markets. I know, it’s crazy! I usually do a few winter fairs selling just preserves and now is the best time for me to start stocking up. My preserves only stall is the best fun. It doesn’t have the same concern that a cake stall may have over leftover stock and it’s easier to hand a customer over a jar than to carefully cut a slice of cake, box it, clean the knives, brush the cake crumbs off the table. Plus the preserves sell like gangbusters in the winter months as people think about their Christmas cold cuts and gifting.

Having just reminded myself how much I love the preserves stall though I’m not sure whether though this is the year to let it fall by the wayside.

Gooseberry Thyme Jam

I have less time than ever. I’m so thrilled that my cake business is doing really well with the markets, bespoke commissions and other opportunities that are on the horizon which I’ll tell you about soon. There is always more I can be doing though to get my cakes out there, admin for the website, social media and do I really want to cut into that time for the preserves?

It probably seems like the sensible decision to concentrate on the cakes when I only have a couple of days a week to do business related things but I have worked hard at developing my recipes, I have a loyal winter customer base and last year I even managed to get the preserves into the local delis. Do I really want to give that up? I am in such a quandary.

Gooseberry Thyme Jam

So, whilst I’m still deciding what to do about the preserves I will continue developing recipes, maybe to sell, maybe just for home use. And meanwhile the latest addition to my collection is a Gooseberry Thyme Jam. One of the easiest jams I have ever made. It only requires three ingredients and was an hour of pleasurable work from start to finish.

I do love a good jam, especially those made with the tarter fruits so they are not overly sweet. When I was a child I was brought up on jammy toast which seems like the ultimate indulgence to our current anti-sugar fever. Now though, I enjoy my jams as part of a cheese board at the end of a meal. Jams are the most excellent accompaniment to salty cheese and if you haven’t tried it then this Gooseberry Thyme Jam is the best place to start. A match made in heaven.

Gooseberry Thyme Jam

Print Recipe
Gooseberry Thyme Jam
Gooseberry Thyme Jam is wonderfully tart with earthy floral notes from the thyme
Overhead image of Gooseberry Thyme Jam on a wooden board with gooseberries and a sprig of thyme
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
5x 200g jars
Ingredients
  • 800 g gooseberries
  • 650 g granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
5x 200g jars
Ingredients
  • 800 g gooseberries
  • 650 g granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Overhead image of Gooseberry Thyme Jam on a wooden board with gooseberries and a sprig of thyme
Instructions
  1. Pour the gooseberries into a large preserving pan with 200ml water. Turn onto a gentle heat and cook the gooseberries until they start to go a bit pulpy.
  2. Sieve the gooseberry pulp and discard the skin and stem bits.
  3. Clean out the preserving pan and place the gooseberry pulp back in with the granulated sugar and the thyme leaves.
  4. Bring to a rolling boil, making sure to stir the bottom of the pan frequently so the fruit doesn’t stick. It should take 5-10 minutes from then to reach setting point.
  5. Once the jam reaches 104°C or passes the saucer wrinkle test* then decant into sterilised jars*.
Recipe Notes

*The saucer wrinkle test basically requires you to put about 5 saucers in your freezer when you begin making your jam. Once you think the jam might be ready then you can double check by removing a saucer from the freezer, dropping a teaspoon of jam on it then placing the saucer in the fridge. After about 30 seconds remove the saucer and push the jam with your finger. If it wrinkles up it’s ready, if it just pools back into the space your finger has left then it needs more bubbling time. Boil it a bit longer, then test again with another saucer.

*To sterilise the jars place the very clean jars you would like to use in an oven pre-heated to 140°C for 20 minutes. Sterilise the lids by dropping them into a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes with a splash of vinegar. I don’t sterilise my lids in the oven as they tend to ruin.

Duck Fat Roasted Parsnips with Thyme: Day 9 of Whole30

Duck Fat Roasted Parsnips with Thyme
It’s day 9 and I’m starting to get a bit jaded. There are only so many variations on meat and vegetables you can handle before you start to crave something different. This is where my parsnips came in to save the day yesterday.

Slashing a number of food groups out of your diet isn’t easy as you have to funnel all your creativity into quite a narrow focus. I am now starting to look beyond the simple salads and greenery that I have been relying on for the past 9 days and that has now led me to re-examine parsnips. This is a root vegetable I have always liked but for some reason they don’t appear in my kitchen at any other time save Christmas where they are lumped in with the roasties.

I thought I would introduce the parsnip into my diet this week in its most simple form as it is how I have always cooked them, roasted with duck fat. What the Whole30 lacks in food group variety, it makes up for in the quality of the foods you are allowed and including duck fat as part of a healthy eating plan seems a little excessive but it’s as natural a cooking agent as you will get. It was also sheer happenstance as I had a huge jar of it knocking around my fridge from a duck we had roasted for Sunday lunch a couple of weeks ago.

I accompanied the parsnips with a simple roast chicken, steamed kale and carrots. It was nice to give a bit of an occasion to the parsnips, letting their sticky sweet earthiness shine through the other humbly prepared veg. It was hardly the most summery of dishes but then as I look outside this is hardly the most summery of Mays.

Duck Fat Roasted Parsnips with Thyme  |  Stroud Green Larder

Duck Fat Roasted Parsnips with Thyme
Serves 2 as a side

4 parsnips
2 tbsp duck fat
A couple of sprigs of thyme

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel the parsnips, then cut into three pieces widthways.  Then cut the pieces in half lengthways.
  3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil then add the parsnips. Bring back to the boil then turn down to a simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Place the duck fat on a baking dish into the oven to melt and warm it up.
  5. Drain the parsnips then tip into the baking dish with plenty of salt, black pepper and a couple of sprigs of thyme, turn so every parsnip is completely coated with the duck fat.
  6. Roast for about 45 minutes, turning the parsnips over a couple of times, until they are golden.

Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Infused Olive Oil

Lemon Garlic and Thyme Olive Oil
If you cook a lot then there are a bunch of tasks which you will be doing on a regular basis like chopping onions or crushing garlic. It’s these menial jobs which can sometimes add a good few minutes onto preparing your meal and let’s be honest, those few minutes can sometimes be better spent thumbing through Grazia or hopping amongst the Sky channels.

This is why I love infused oils; garlic is such a good infused oil mainly because of garlic’s innate tendency to burn easily, so while I am very careful about using fresh garlic in the oven, if all the garlic flavour is within the oil then you don’t need to worry. Also I do get fed up of always peeling and crushing those suckers, I must do it nearly every day. So having an oil where the hard work is done for you is so useful.

This particular infusion of olive oil is brilliant for slathering over a chicken before it goes on to roast. You can also use it drizzled over barbecued meats or steamed vegetables for instant flavour or in salad dressings which cuts out mincing about with mustard and vinegar emulsions, chuck this onto your leaves and you’re golden.

So the main thing I am really trying to get across here is that for about 30 minutes of not too stressful labour of a weekend you can produce an oil that will help you cut down time on your cooking for the next couple of weeks. Just as long as you like all your meals flavoured with lemon and garlic, but who doesn’t?

Dried Thyme | Stroud Green Larder

Of course you can use whatever herbs you like, the woodier herbs tend to dry better than the more leafy ones so will impart flavour more easily. It is important to use dried herbs rather than ones picked fresh as mould will gather on fresh herbs floating about in oil. The same goes for the garlic and lemon but I advise you fish those out of the oil anyway then you don’t have to worry about botulism or anything. The other oil infusion I also regularly make is chilli oil. Prepare it in the same way as the garlic infusion by simmering the oil with the chilli then removing the chilli before you decant it.

As a footnote, one of the directions below calls you to peel a whole head of garlic. If you find this a bit of a nuisance then you obviously haven’t seen Martha Stewart’s excellent tutorial which explains how the job can be done in under a minute. And since I tested it out for this recipe I can confirm that it does actually work.

Lemon Garlic and Thyme Olive Oil | Stroud Green Larder

Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Infused Olive Oil

A few sprigs of thyme
1 head of garlic
3 strips lemon zest
500ml olive oil

  1. First of all dry the thyme by putting the herb on baking parchment on a baking tray and place in the bottom tray of an oven at the lowest setting you have. Leave the door slightly ajar and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Remove and peel all the garlic cloves from the head of the garlic.
  3. Then place the garlic, along with the lemon zest and olive oil in a wide bottomed saucepan.
  4. Heat the oil on a low setting, never bringing to a simmer, for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the lemon and garlic with a slotted spoon and leave the oil to cool before decanting into a jar along with the dried thyme.
  6. This should keep well for about 2 weeks.