Breads and crackers

Sesame seed crackers

crackerstack

Happy new year! I wish you all a happy and healthy 2015.

My kids just went back to school today, and I had a great day doing some baking while listening to Serial (which I highly recommend). The breads I am developing are still a work in progress. These grain-free crackers, on the other hand, turned out really well. They are tasty enough to eat plain but also perfect as a base for whatever topping you fancy: sliced avocado, bean dip, nut butter, etc.

Perfect for an after-school snack.

crackerrack

Sesame seed crackers (adapted from Elana’s Pantry)

300 g ground almonds

100 g sesame seeds (I used half black and half white)

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

Makes approximately 80 crackers in two batches.

Preheat your oven to to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the ground almonds, sesame seeds and sea salt in a bowl.

Whisk the eggs and olive oil together, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well. The dough will be very dry and crumbly. After initially mixing the dough with a spatula, I found it easier to work the dough with my hands until well blended.

Divide the dough in two half and set one half aside.

Place the other half of the dough on the baking sheet, and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out thinly between the two sheets of parchment paper. The dough should be evenly rolled out (check there are no holes!) and cover the entire surface of the baking sheet.

Remove the top sheet of baking parchment and cut into squares or rectangles with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

Bake for 15 minutes, until firm and slightly browned. Cool, then carefully break apart the squares before serving.

Repeat with the other ball of dough, or refrigerate for up to five days before using.

 

 

Breakfast

Overnight chia seed porridge

chiaingredients

As I mentioned last month, I’ve been experimenting with some new breakfast ideas lately. This week, I decided to try eating chia seeds for breakfast. I’m sure you’ve heard of the superfood properties of chia seeds: they are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and a range of minerals including calcium. Chia seeds are also gluten-free and GAPS-legal, making them a great grain-free breakfast option.

To make the chia seed porridge, the chia seeds are simply mixed with coconut milk (or almond if you prefer) and a vanilla bean, and left to plump up in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, just remove the vanilla bean and give the porridge a good stir.

The porridge heats up in just a couple of minutes on the stovetop. I enjoyed mine with some sliced banana, honey, and chopped roasted hazelnuts.

chiahot

I also enjoyed eating it cold with some sliced mango.

chiacold

It has more of a pudding-like texture when eaten cold. I think it will make a fantastic breakfast in the summer months topped with some sweet and juicy fresh berries.

I am also testing a “to go” version, perfect for office workers or teens with early morning sports training. I made a quarter recipe of the porridge in a jam jar, then added bananas, honey, nuts and mango.

chiatogo

I am also planning to use chia seeds in some muffins I am working on, so watch this space.

Overnight chia seed porridge

1 400 ml can of coconut milk (or same quantity almond milk)

50 g chia seeds (I used white but black is fine too)

1 whole vanilla bean

optional toppings – any fruit, nut, seed, honey, maple syrup, etc

Serves 4 – portions may look small but the porridge is very filling

Combine the coconut milk and chia seeds in a jar with a lid or other closed container.

Slice the vanilla bean in half length-wise. Scrape out the seeds and add to the mixture, then add the pods as well.

Stir, or better yet close the jar and give it a good shake. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, remove the vanilla bean and stir well. Heat up in a pan on the hob or eat cold as is, with whatever toppings you fancy.

 

Side dishes

Hemsley + Hemsley’s “Quicker Than Toast” Courgette (Zucchini) and Pumpkin Seed Salad

courgette

One of the great perks of (mostly) working from home is … lunch! My favorite lunch is leftovers, and I often cook extra in order to have some tempting leftover food in my fridge. But I am also partial to a quick and healthy recipe I can throw together if the mood strikes me. And this courgette (zucchini) and pumpkin seed salad recipe ticks all of the boxes for me. Made with ingredients I usually have to hand, it takes barely five minutes to put together – yes, “quicker than toast”.

This is my favorite recipe from Hemsley + Hemsley’s stylish and appealing “The Art of Eating Well” cookbook Do try it next time you are about to have toast for lunch. It is one of those simple recipes where the result is more than the sum of its parts.

courgette2

“Quicker than Toast” Courgette (Zucchini) and Pumpkin Seed Salad (adapted from a Hemsley + Hemsley recipe)

1 medium courgette, rinsed and wiped dry

1 small handful of pumpkin seeds, about 25 g

a few drops of balsamic vinegar

about 1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Serves one lucky person

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan on the hob, giving the pan a shake from time to time, until the seeds are golden and crackling (about five minutes).

While the seeds are toasting, grate the courgette onto a plate. I use the coarse side of a box grater for this.

When the seeds are ready, tip them onto the courgette immediately – the heat from the seeds will soften the courgette slightly.

Toss with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Eat right away.

Breads and crackers

Cashew Nut Bread

cashewbread

One of the most common questions that I get asked by my GAPS patients is … “what about bread?”

I have been trying for months to develop a GAPS-friendly bread recipe. Finally, I remembered a delicious cashew nut bread that I made at a Gluten-Free baking workshop I took a few years ago at Leiths School of Food and Wine, taught by the delightful Adriana Rabinovich of glutenfree4kids. With a few adjustments and a bit of trial and error, I came up with this grain-free version. It is lovely with a bit of sliced avocado, or smeared with honey, or dipped in olive oil, or just eaten plain right out of the oven.

Cashew Nut Bread (adapted with permission from a recipe by Adriana Rabinovich)

200 g cashew butter

6 eggs

50 g ground almonds

50 g coconut flour

35 g milled seed mix (such as Linwoods milled flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin seed mix)

1/2 teaspoon salt (a bit more if your cashew butter is unsalted)

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Makes 10-12 slices

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Combine eggs and cashew butter in a large bowl and mix well.

In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Fold into the egg and cashew butter mixture, then transfer to a lined, greased loaf pan. I use a 25 cm silicone loaf pan greased with ghee (which is casein free), but you could also use a bit of sunflower oil to grease the pan. Smooth the top of the batter with a fork for an even surface.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes, then cool on a rack before removing from the loaf pan. This bread is best eaten within 24 hours.

Side dishes

Guest post: Quinoa, Cauliflower and Asparagus Salad

cauliflowerquinoa

Today I have a very special treat for you, a guest post from my dear friend Stephanie who is a great cook. I can’t wait to make her delicious-looking salad. Over to Stephanie…

We are always looking for new ways to increase our intake of vegetables, and salads can be a great way of achieving this. My daughter especially can be a little leery of your bog-standard green salad, so here is a delicious recipe I adapted from something I found on the Internet. The original is a Sicilian recipe made with farro, which contains gluten. I swap out farro for quinoa, and instead of raisins I use dried goji berries, as they are packed with nutrients and a bit less sweet!

Quinoa, Cauliflower and Asparagus Salad

Ingredients

200g cooked and cooled quinoa

1 cauliflower, cut into florets

250g asparagus, woody ends trimmed

Olive oil

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

40g dried goji berries

Handful of baby salad leaves

4 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and halved

For the dressing

1 tablespoon each of chopped dill, parsley and chives, or to taste

80ml olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Cook cauliflower in pan of boiling salted water for about 6 minutes, until tender. Drain and cool.

2. Heat a pan until quite hot, add a tiny amount of oil and lightly char the asparagus for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the asparagus to a plate and allow to cool.

3. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and test the seasoning.

4. In a serving bowl, combine quinoa, cauliflower, asparagus, pine nuts, goji berries and baby leaves with the dressing. Serve eggs as a side to the salad, or omit entirely if you are serving as a side dish to a meat-based meal.

Enjoy!

Snacks

Kale Chips

kale

Happy new year! Here’s wishing each and every one of you a wonderful 2014 filled with good health and delicious food.

It’s been a year now since I started the blog section of my website. Thanks so much to all of you who have supported me and cheered me on. My most popular post of the year was Slow-Roasted Duck Legs, with 261 hits! I have big plans to continue posting recipes and fact sheets this year. In particular I will be adding more GAPS-friendly recipes, as GAPS has been increasingly significant in my clinical practice.

Kale chips might be a little bit 2013 by now, but they are still easy and delicious. So if you have never made them, I urge you to have a go. I used curly purple kale, but any variety works for this recipe.

Kale chips (adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe)

1/2 of a head of kale (about 6 large leaves)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Serves four as a snack

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Wash the kale leaves and dry in a salad spinner. Tear the leaves into large bite-sized pieces, taking care to discard the tough central stem. Toss with the olive oil in a bowl, then arrange the kale on a baking tray in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy. Remove from the oven and put the kale on some kitchen paper to blot excess oil. Sprinkle very generously with sea salt, and serve as a snack.

 
Dips and spreads, Side dishes

Cranberry-apple chutney

chutney

This cranberry-apple chutney is one of my holiday staples. Every year I like to make a big batch just before Thanksgiving and pack it into jars, either to serve with festive meals at home or to bring to our hosts as an edible gift. I’ll be testing it out on Thanksgivukkah this year and I think it will go down a treat.

apples

The chutney is lovely with turkey, slow-roasted duck legs or really any roasted bird – and wonderful with leftovers.

chutneyjar

Cranberry-Apple Chutney (adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe)

700g Granny Smith apples (about 5 medium or 7 small), peeled, cored and sliced into bite-sized pieces

250g dried cranberries

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

a thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

350 ml apple cider vinegar

200g caster sugar

1 teaspoon tumeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons salt

Makes about 3 jam jars of chutney

Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan or dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a rapid simmer, stirring regularly, then lower the heat to a slow simmer.

Cook for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the apples have become soft and the mixture appears thick and jammy.

Transfer the chutney into clean jam jars and close the lids tightly. Once cool, store the chutney in the refrigerator until the holidays are over.