Gluten-free carrot coconut spiced cake

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Can gluten free cake be as good as “normal” cake? Well, it depends… in this case, it was. It is also a very long list of ingredients to make it taste like and feel like cake. Worthwhile the effort? Well, yes. It was pretty good cake, with a unusual texture. The beasts My lovely co-workers had it all in a single meeting… I still have to let them know this was a specially healthy version of what they usually get…

Carrot cake (gluten free; adapted from Dias com Mafalda blog)

Ingredients

  • 100g of brown or unrefined sugar
  • 100mL of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 3 slightly beaten eggs
  • 3 grated carrots
  • 1 grated apple
  • 100g of crated cocunut
  • 100g raisin
  • the zest of one orange and 1 tablespoon of orange juice
  • 175g gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 of powdered clove.

 

Method

Grease a loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180oC

Combine the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs with  wooden spoon. Fold in the grated carrots, apple and coconut together with the raisins, the orange zest and juice. On top of this mix, sift the flour, the spices, baking-powder and baking soda.

Put the batter in the tin  and transfer to the oven. Let it bake for about 20min. Test with a knife before taking it out – it should come out dry.

Take it out from the tin while still hot, and let it cool down before serving.

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Spiced chia pudding with blueberries and crunchy chocolate muesli

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Mighty, gluten-free seeds, packed with omega-3, protein Blah-di-blah-di-blah-di-blah Eleven health benefits of chia seeds that are supported by science Blah-di-blah-di-blah-di-blah Great source of healthy omega-3 fats and fibre blah-di  and fortunately it’s an easy food to ad lalalalala. Indeed, I am trying to repurpose this blog into an healthy super foods outlet. The thing is that I actually like the gelatinous texture with some bite  and a nutty flavour. It make me feel full for a long time. It is super easy a pudding like dessert – all you need is milk or vegetal equivalent, add spices and you are ready to go. For extra healthy points, add another superfood.

Spiced chia pudding with blueberries and crunchy chocolate muesli (adapted from a recipe found in Food and Wine on-line magazine).

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2  cup  (about 120mL) water
  • 1 1/4 cup (about 300mL) of light or full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • fresh blueberries to task
  • crunchy chocolate muesli

Method

In a bowl, combine the chia seeds, water, coconut milk, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

To serve, stir in the sea salt and top with fresh blueberries, granola and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve chilled.


Pearl barley tabouleh with marinated feta

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A bit more nutritious and wholesome than regular tabouleh, but a very interesting spin on this dish. The kind of stuff that makes you look forward for your lunch box…

Pearl barley tabouleh with marinated feta (adapted from Yotam Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients 

  • 40g pearl barley
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 80g parsley, leaves and stems
  • 4 spring onions (about 40g in total), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 40g cashew nuts, lightly toasted and crushed roughly
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm dice
  • ½ teasponn ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

Put the pearl barley in a small saucepan, cover with water and boil for 30-35 minutes, until tender but still with a bite. Drain into a fine sieve, shake to remove all the water and transfer to a large bowl.

Break the feta into rough pieces about 2cm in size, and mix in a small bowl with the olive oil, za’atar, coriander seeds and cumin. Gently mix together and leave to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Chop the parsley finely and place in a bowl with the spring onion, garlic, cashew nuts, green pepper, allspice, lemon juice, olive oil and cooked pearl barley. Mix well together and season to taste.


Fennel with radishes and sumac

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A memory of the Summer that has never been…  Very easy to do, bold flavours and can be prepared in advance. What’s not to like..?

Fennel with radishes and sumac (Adapted from The Guardian’s The 10 best salad drawer recipes)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 small fennel bulb, about 200g
  • 200g radishes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Seeds of ¼ pomegranate (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of sumac
  • Salt

Method

1 Have ready a bowl of water with 1 tbsp of lemon juice in it. Finely slice the fennel using a mandoline and place in the acidulated water until just ready to serve, to prevent it discolouring.

2 Finely slice the radishes and place in a bowl. Whisk the oil and remaining lemon juice together. Drain the fennel and mix with the radishes. Drizzle over the dressing and toss gently. Strew the salad over a large serving platter and scatter with the pomegranate seeds, if using. Finish with a dusting of sumac and a little salt then serve straight away.


Aubergine, potato, tomato

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Some dishes I chose because they read well and/or have a good combination of flavours. Others, because the story they have attached to it. This is one I picked after reading Yotam’s editorial. It just explained so well what brunch should be about: “It’s a long meal that takes up a large chunk of the middle of the day, a proper celebration of food, but without the fanfare and worries that come with a full-blown dinner party“. Never better said… Every now and again, we get together for brunch, who tends to end up into a several hours long marathons, usually ending when the host runs out of bubbly. Or coffee. Or both…. Happy memories – and hopefully many more to come.

As usual, it was a  super dish. A bit laborious, but nevertheless worthwhile the effort. This was served with (fried/baked) eggs to order. Still feel a bit insecure to venture into poached eggs, as the original recipe called for.

Aubergine, potato, tomato (adapted from  Yotam Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients

  • 4 medium tomatoes cut into 1cm dices
  • 1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp hot savoury chilli sauce (Yotam recommends Sriracha, I used piri piri)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 aubergines, cut into 3cm chunks
  • 250ml olive oil
  • About 300ml sunflower oil
  • 600g  waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 3mm-thick slices
  • 80g tahini paste
  • 2½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tbsp coriander, chopped

(1 onion was omitted for humanitarian reasons. A. is extremely allergic to them)

Method

Put the peeled, diced tomatoes in a colander for half an hour to drain. Transfer to a medium bowl and add  vinegar, parsley, hot sauce  and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Mix gently and set aside.

Mix the aubergine with a teaspoon and a half of salt, place in a colander and set over a bowl for half an hour, to drain off any excess liquid. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and pat dry.

In a 26cm sauté pan, put 200mL of olive oil and as much sunflower oil as you need to bring it 1cm up the sides of the pan. Place on a medium-high heat and, once hot, add the aubergine in batches and fry for three to four minutes, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and repeat with the rest of the aubergine. Remove the left over oil and wipe down the pan.

Bring a medium pan of water to a boil, add the potatoes and cook for three minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water and set aside to dry. Add two tablespoons of fresh olive oil to the skillet and place on a medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and fry for 10 minutes with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and a crack of black pepper, until cooked through and golden brown; turn them over from time to time. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Put the tahini, 60mL of water, a tablespoon and a half of lemon juice, the garlic and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl, and whisk to a thick, pourable consistency. Spoon half the sauce over the potatoes and spread the aubergine on top. Follow this with the remaining tahini, then the tomatoes. Poach the eggs just before you are ready to serve and lay them on top of the tomatoes, along with a drizzle of the remaining oil, a sprinkle  with sumac and coriander, and the last of the lemon juice. Bring to the table in the pan.

 

 


Poached eggs with tomato, pepper and saffron

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In North Africa, it is called shakshuka – which literally mean mixture in Arabic. Basically, it is eggs poached in a mildly spicy sauce made from slow-cooked leek, bell peppers, garlic and tomatoes, spiced up with saffron, cumin and cayenne.  It is a bit laborious, but you can prepare it well in advance and keep it in the fridge until the mobile calorie intake unit friends show up for duty. In any case, it is the perfect dish for a brunch, packed with flavours, sweet and savoury at the same time… Just serve with bread.

Note: the onions were replaced for leeks, as one of the mobile calorie intake unit  is allergic to onions.

Poached eggs with pepper, tomato and saffron (adapted from Yotam Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian.)

Ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon  cumin seeds
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 2 large leeks
  • 2  red and 2 yellow peppers, cut into 2cm strips
  • 20g of unrefined sugar
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 6  thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
  • 30 mls chopped parsley
  • 30 mls chopped coriander, plus extra to garnish
  • 6  ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • a few thread of saffron
  • 1  pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
  •  up to 250ml water
  • 8  free-range eggs
  •  salt and black pepper

Method

In a very large pan dry-roast the cumin seeds on a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil and onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, sugar and herbs and continue cooking on a high heat for 5-10 minutes to get a nice colour.

Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. During the cooking keep adding water so that the mix has a pasta sauce consistency. Remember to  taste and adjust the seasoning as you go.

Remove from the heat, remove the bay leafs and transfer to a a large bowl. Set aside. The vegetabe mix can be prepared well in advance, and kept in the fridge.

When you are ready to serve, put the pepper mix in a a frying pan large enough to take a generous individual portion. Place it  on a medium heat to warm up, then make two gaps in the pepper mix in each pan and carefully break an egg into each gap. Sprinkle with salt and cover the pans with a lids.  Cook on a very gentle heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the eggs are just set. Sprinkle with coriander and serve


Sweet potato, carrot and chickpea soup

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It is cold in Zurich, and this is all I want to eat. It is warming, filling and packed with different flavours – what is not to like about this soup?

Sweet potato, carrot and chickpea soup (recipe found in taste.com.au)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 600g orange sweet potato, peeled, diced
  • 500g carrots, peeled, sliced
  • 1.5L chicken stock
  • 300g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 small lemon, juiced

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Stir in coriander, cumin and chilli powder. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add sweet potato and carrot. let them sweat stirring often, for 5 minutes until they are all covered with the spices and onion.

Add stock. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

Add chickpeas to soup and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until chickpeas are tender.

Remove from the heat and blend the soup with an hand held mixer, until smooth.

Return to saucepan over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Heat, stirring until it gets to a soft boil. Serve.