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Coconut carrot zucchini bread, with the hint of sweetness without sugar!

This year I decided with some friends to follow the lent. Have never ever done it before but somehow it felt like the right thing to do. It’s a time for reflection, to awaken your sense,  slow down, clean the body and mind, etc. in order to recharge and become stronger and wiser 😉

My attention landed on ditching the sugar and continue without coffee and alcohol (which I gave up earlier, under project called “to get my energy back” :o).

I did not eat much of the refined sugar anyway but I have a sweet tooth, love chocolate and I LOOOVE baking while using natural sweeteners like dates, bananas, honey, etc. I think the last drop in my head to ditch the sugar was after listening to an interview with J.J. Virgin, Certified Nutrition Specialist who has done great detective work on sugars in different foods and how it impact our life, our mood, weight, you name it. So I have decided to concentrate on savory dishes and also replace fruits with veggies (its not that I miss out the vitamins, minerals, fiber  or a tasty food – only the sweet taste ;o) . Though I found myself missing my morning or afternoon snack to have with my tea.

So what do I do, I experiment! :o)

Coconut and cinnamon are tastes what can give me a hint of sweetness so I did choose one of the recipes I have made before and decided to experiment. It worked, my lovely collages were again my Guiney pigs and they enjoyed it.

I have also got myself a magic machine called Thermomix which made the baking so much easier but I will guide you through the proses if you don’t have it (yet ;o)

You need:

1/2 zucchini, (shredded finely and squeezed out for non Thermomix bake)

1 carrot (shredded finely for non Thermomix bake)

4 happy chicken eggs

100 g of coconut butter also called creamed coconut (if you don’t find it use coconut cream but add about ½ dl /25 g of coconut flour and if you have also some dedicated coconut, to help it to stick together*. Or go to the original recipe and smash in a banana ;o)  

1 tbsp. coconut oil, plus extra if needed for greasing the pan

1 dl / 55 g coconut flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 – 3 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 dl walnuts / 45 g (Optional but highly suggested)

1 dl coconut flakes (Optional but highly suggested)  

Directions

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and grease you loaf pan if needed

For the Thermomix user:

Cut the zucchini and carrot put them into your Thermomix bowl and chop:

Time: 5 sec / Speed: 5

Scrape down the veggies from the walls and add walnuts:

Time: 3 sec / Speed: 4

Add all the rest. To makes sure you don’t have any lumps in the flour use the seal, and mix:

Time: 10 sec / Speed in reverse: 3  

Put the batter into the form and bake in the oven for 45 – 50 min or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

For non Thermomix baker

Mix the eggs in a large bowl, add the oil, coconut butter, dry ingredients, shredded carrot and zucchini, then add the apple cider vinegar, and stir until the batter is smooth.

Crumble in the nuts, add the coconut flakes and give it a finl stir.

Put the batter into the form and bake in the oven for 45-50 min or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Enjoy! 

* I did one patch with the coconut cream to test but without extra coconut flour + I was also too quick to get it out of the form  … and it kind of fell apart :o) If you are brave enough to experiment be also ready to fail  here and there! ;o)

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Cauliflower crust pizza with walnut pesto

Visited an Italian resonant with some friends few weeks ago, offering gluten and dairy free pizza and pasta, I had a gluten free veggie pizza and it was OK. I haven’t had a pizza in the restaurant for ages, so it felt excited ;o)

I’m no really in the favour of gluten free processed products, I rather advocate for naturally gluten free food, minimally processed, but here and then, why not.

Label “gluten free” has become trendy but it does not automatically mean its good and healthy for you. What matters instead is how and by whom it was created and what’s in the product, what have they replaced the gluten with? what do they use instead?!

To make the long story short, the visit to the pizza place inspired me to serve my family and friends the home made versions of the pizza, naturally gluten free :o). Making the pizza doug with cauliflower is also a clever way to increase the veggies in your diet.

 I have also made the crust with courgette and buckwheat (recipe will come soon).  Have not experimented with broccoli yet, probably because I still love eating it steamed with pinch of salt and butter :o)

The crust

1 medium size cauliflower head, cut into pieces

3 eggs

1 dl ground almonds (you can do it before adding rest of the ingredients to the food processor)

2-3 tsp. oregano, parsley, or any Italian seasoning

1 tsp of sea salt or Himalayan salt 

Directions:

Heat the oven to 200 Celsius. Put everything in the food possessor and process until you get a dough like substance. You might need to scrape the walls occasionally.

Spread it evenly on the oven tray covered with the baking paper and bake in the oven for a bout 30 min or until its golden brown.

The topping

Walnut pesto (can be prepared in advance)

Ruccola

Cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or smaller

Steamed broccoli

Salmon and serrano ham

Directions

Spread the pesto on the crust, add ruccola, tomatoes, broccoli florets, serrano ham on the half of the pizza and cold smoked salmon on the other half.

Walnut pesto (can be prepared in advance)

1,5 dl walnuts

2,5 dl of fully packed basil leaves (feel free to use more)

2 garlic gloves

2 tsp of lemon juice

0,5 tsp of sea salt or Himalayan salt

0,5 dl of extra virgin olive oil

Put everything into the food processor and process until you are satisfied with the consistence, you need to scrape the walls occasionally.

Serve and enjoy! 

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Crisp seed-bread

Beautiful picture by Triin Raa

http://www.triinraa.com

Makes about 1 baking tray

Ingredients

1,5 dl linseeds, soaked in 2,5-3 dl water for about 30-60 min

3 dl sunflower seeds

salt/pepper and/or herbs, spices of your liking

Directions

Mix the seeds together using your hand (or spoon but it feels nice to touch the food with the hand :o) cover the baking tray with the baking paper and spread the mixture evenly, leave it about 0,5 cm thick. Use the knife to draw the lines, vertically and horizontally, it will make it easier to brake to even pieces when its ready. Bake in the oven, 175 Celsius, for about 35-40 min. Enjoy with some organic butter and the soup.

Variations: I love chilli flakes and like to add it to the bred, I have also used tamari instead of salt and pepper, and what ever herbs or spices have inspired me on the day of making the bread. For the “sweet” version add cinnamon, vanilla or any other spices of your liking, be brave, experiment. Its fun!  :o)

You can also use other seeds like sesame or pumpkin seeds. When using pumpkin seeds increase the amount of linseeds as they are what keep the bred together and pumpkin seeds are bit bigger than sunflower seeds.  Try 2 dl of linseeds and 3 dl of pumpkinseeds.

Like I did today, with cinnamon and vanilla!

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Dill flavoured creamy cauliflower soup

This is one of my favourite soups. Its smooth, filling and has lots of flavour. Believe me, dill with cauliflower … match made in heaven! :o)

I like to make extra so I can freeze it, specially  during the winter season. There are always days when you come home from work uninspired to cook, its late, your hungry and want food immediately! Its nice to have something in the freezer so you can prepare  quickly a tasty, healthy and nutritious dinner.

Cauliflower is nutrient rich veggie, including plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals. Its also a good source of dietary fibre. World Wide Web has a lot of information about the health benefits of cauliflower, so I’m not gonna repeat it. If you want more details just dive in but you can also just include it into your weekly shopping list and start eating it regularly. It will do you a lot of good. :o) The soup is delicious to have with the nutty bread or the crisp seed bread.

Ingredients

1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil or ghee

1 onion chopped into small pieces

2-3 clove of garlic, chopped into small pieces

2-3 stalks of celery, cut in to pieces (optional)

1 medium head of the cauliflower, cut into florets or even smaller pieces to diminish the cooking time

2-3 tbsp. chopped dill, frozen or fresh

1 tsp of sea or Himalaya salt

2 dl coconut milk (optional)

butter (optional)

water

chilli flakes if you like it spicy

Directions

Heat the oil on the pan and add the onion, sauté for few minutes on the medium heat, then add the garlic, continue an other minute or two and add water. Next the celery and cauliflower florets will go in, add some more water till the cauliflower is covered. Add salt and dill and simmer for about 15-20 min or until the cauliflower is cooked. In the end add the coconut milk and put it into the blender to puree. You can also use the stick blender but to get the silky creamy texture I suggest to use the the high speed blender. I have Magimix with a soup making function. Works wonders!

Add more salt and dill of your liking. Same goes for water, depending how thick you want your soup to be. Add a bitt of butter when serving, garnish with some chilly flakes, if you like it spicy. Feel free to add any fresh herbs you might have at home. Serve with the nutty bred or crisp seed bread.

Enjoy!

Millet porridge with cinnamon and peanut butter!

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 dl millet

2 dl coconut milk

4 tsp of cinnamon (or more if you like cinnamon as me)

Pinch of salt

4 tbsp. of peanut butter (or any other nut butter of your liking)

Honey (optional)

Shredded coconut or flakes and any berries to garnish

Directions

Cook the quinoa in about 5 dl of water, stir occasionally on the low heat for about 15 min. Add the cinnamon and the salt. In the end add the coconut milk and simmer till it has reduced. Mix in the peanut butter, serve on the plates and garnish with shredded coconut or flakes and berries. You will probably have some over for the morning after.

* The original recipe was made with quinoa, I like them both and I also like to add bit extra nut butter! :o)