Oh So Fabulous Buckwheat Chia Bread (GF and Vegan) by Allison

I’ve tried my fair share of vegan and GF bread recipes, and most of them were “no bueno” and ended right up where they belonged…..the garbage can. This recipe however is amazing, especially right out of the oven. Forget about it cooling completely before you slice into it! It’s high time to break the rules, just don’t burn your tongue in the meantime! Even your gluten-loving friends will enjoy this delicious bread. One trick…. I bake it longer than the recipe states, 15-20 minutes longer. Make it and let me know what you think!

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Buckwheat Chia Bread
slightly adapted from The Healthy Chef

Makes 1 loaf
300 g (10 1/2 oz / 1 3/4 cups) gluten-free whole raw buckwheat groats (found at DM here in Prague)
60 g (2 fl oz / 1/4 cup) whole chia seed
250 ml / 1 cup water (use half to soak chia seeds and the other half to combine in the food processor or blender)
60 ml ( 2 fl oz / ¼ cup ) olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 160 C / 320 F. (fan forced oven).

Soak buckwheat in plenty of cold water for 2 hours until softened.

Soak chia seed in 1/2 cup cold water until gel like – this takes about 30 minutes.

Drain the buckwheat and rinse through a fine sieve. Make sure all the water is fully drained.

Place the buckwheat into a food processor.

Add chia gel, 1/2 cup of water, olive oil, bicarb soda, sea salt and lemon juice.

Mix in a food processor for 3 minutes. The bread mix should resemble a batter consistency with some whole buckwheat still left in the mix.

Spoon into a loaf tin lined with baking paper on all sides and the base.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until firm to touch and bounces back when pressed with your fingers. I bake it for 1.5 hours if I use one large loaf pan.

Remove from the oven and cool for approx. 30 minutes. Remove from the tin or loaf pan and cool completely on a rack or board. The bread should be slightly moist in the middle and crisp on the outside.

Cool completely before eating. Don’t do this….try it while it is hot!

Serve delicate slices only when cold with a serrated knife. Nah….you don’t need to follow this advice!

Store wrapped in the fridge for up to 1 week. (This bread can be frozen for up to 3 months)

Delicious lightly toasted in a cast-iron pan.
Serves 12

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Coconut milk + Chia seeds + Lemon zest = a yummy, healthy treat!

The ingredients for a lovely treat!

The ingredients for a lovely treat!

Life has been very busy these days. It happens every Spring. There is more light in the day, sunny afternoons meant for beers and laughing with friends. There are weekend getaways with friends who will shortly be moving on from Prague. And there is the Elementary School musical that I have been working with all school year. On Friday, we have show number one so this week is all about marathon rehearsals and very little time for creating in the kitchen. But I like a little something sweet when I am tired. Instead of turning to chocolate or other bad calories, I am preparing my healthy treats for the week.

1 can of coconut milk, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1 tablespoon honey- that is all this recipe needs. Of course you can jazz it up how you want. I have thought about adding a little cinnamon or chocolate chips or even mango purée. Today I was feeling the sunshine and decided to add lemon zest! All you have to do is put the ingredients in a bowl, mix until whipped and then leave in the fridge overnight. I prepare portions in small jars and as my Kindergarten learners would say- easy peasy.

Sweet, zesty, and yummy

Sweet, zesty, and yummy

 

Thanks to my Twinsie for serving this at brunch. My sweet tooth thanks you…

Zucchini Flowers in Town! by L

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Spring is here! Well, almost. After an Easter holiday full of snow, sleet, sun and gusts of wind, it has almost arrived in Prague. Bursts of yellow and purple flowers have begun to pop up around town and even my favorite edible flower has found its’ way to our golden city. Zucchini flowers are here!image

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I am all for the farmers markets, but there is another market that I head to when I want to get serious about Italian food. It’s called the Wine Food Market, located in Prague 5. Once upon a time, I lived in Italy and I ate well, very well. After that experience, I feel like nothing can ever compare to the Italian dishes I dined on for years. But… the Wine Food Market comes pretty close, especially their pizza!

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This amazing eatery not only serves up lunch, dinner and homemade gelato, it also houses a market full of fresh vegetables, fruits, dry goods, a bakery and more! Local Prague friends, if you haven’t yet been or if you are someone planning a trip to Prague and may want to take a break from Czech food, this is the place to go. On my last visit, I found my beloved zucchini flowers and for dinner that night I cooked them up in my favorite style… fried.

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Fried Zucchini Flowers stuffed with Mozzarella (Fiori di Zucchini)

12 zucchini flowers

1 large ball of mozzarella, cut into 12 small rectangles

Batter:

50 grams/2 oz flour

100ml/3 1/2oz beer

oil for frying

salt

Directions:

Wash your flowers and remove the pistils.

Gently place a slice of mozzarella cheese inside each flower and twist the tips of the petal to close.

For the batter, add the flour and pinch of salt into a bowl.

Then whisk in the beer until the batter is smooth.

Heat the oil in a deep-frying pan.

Quickly dip the stuffed zucchini flowers in the batter and drain off the excess.

Add batches of the flower to the frying pan, turning gently, until brown.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

GF Pavlova with a Twist by Allison

I tried making pavlova two times before with my hand-held “immersion blender/tool” but it was an epic fail. The egg whites just never got stiff enough and my “Tesco special” was not making the grade. So I gave up…..until I pulled my cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer out of my top cupboard. Why yes, I had a KitchenAid mixer but couldn’t ever get it to work properly as my voltage converter I had wasn’t working properly. A friend was getting rid of hers so whallah! I knew where all of the fuse boxes were and had access to all of them in case I blew any fuses, which I did, but I got my prized KitchenAid mixer to work! This definitely called for a re-do of the pavlova as I knew my KitchenAid would be able to get the job done. You see, I was such an avid baker that I decided to carry my KitchenAid mixer back with me from the U.S. to Prague in my carry-on bag several years ago. Oh you should have seen the looks on the security personnel’s faces! They were pulling each other towards the screen and shaking their heads in disbelief! One gentleman pulled me aside and said, “Mam, is this mixer yours?!” I replied, “Yes it is sir….” with a smile of course and he said, “Oh, well Mam, we haven’t seen a KitchenAid mixer come through here before! It is quite an unusual item to carry with you but everything is fine from our side, hope it makes the journey for you” and that was that! I knew it was a questionable item to take on the plane but I did have my Mom wait before she left the airport in case they wouldn’t allow it so I could give it to her to take home. But I gave my Mom the thumbs up signal and waved goodbye before I headed towards my gate on the other side of security.
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Luckily I was flying business class on award miles and no one questioned the weight of my bag along my journey. In case you’re wondering, I was able to lift it into the overhead compartment on my own on two different flights as well! So you can imagine how rewarding it was for me to finally use it and to pull off a pavlova to serve at Easter brunch! The twist is the pavlova has cinnamon and vanilla bean in it…..and it is delicious, seriously delicious.

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Now I just need to work on preventing the cracking of the pavlova so next time I won’t cook it as long!

recipe for the pavlova slightly adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients 

For the pavlova:
6 egg whites
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 heaping teaspoon balsamic vinegar
seeds scraped from a vanilla bean

To assemble:

2 small containers or 1 large container of liquid whipped cream 40% fat
2 Tbsp. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups mixed berries for the top

To make the pavlova: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until satiny peaks form. Add the sugar, 1 spoonful at a time, and continue beating until the mixture becomes stiff and very shiny.

Using a spatula, fold in the cinnamon, balsamic vinegar, and vanilla bean. Spoon the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, forming a 10-inch circle that is about 2-inches thick.

Place in the oven, and immediately turn the oven down to 300°F or 150°C. Bake for about 1 hour . When the pavlova is done baking, it should look and feel dry on top. Remove from the oven, and let cool in a dry place overnight.

The next day, invert the pavlova onto a serving dish, peel away the parchment and reverse onto another serving dish. The pavlova shell can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Be sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap and keep it in a dry place until ready to assemble.

To make the whip cream: Use an electric whisk to beat the whipping cream until smooth. Whisk in the icing sugar and vanilla extract.

To assemble the pavolva: Dollop the whipped cream into the center of the pavlova, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the fruit over the cream. Enjoy with friends and family!