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

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!

 

 

Gluten-Free Blueberry Buckle by Allison

Blueberries by the basket you say? Yes indeed, I’ve been buying blueberries by the basket! Why not? Being from the Pacific Northwest I grew up with being able to have fresh berries at my fingertips. I can remember back when I was in college and seeking out “U-Pick Farms” and I got bucket loads of raspberries for 50 cents a pound! I made cartons of freezer jam that night until the wee hours of the morning! Now I’m in the Czech Republic which is also “Berry Land” and I’m lucky to be able to have access to local farmers who grow the berries. They just taste better than the kind you buy in large stores let me tell ya! So here’s one way to get some more antioxidants in your system, eat blueberry buckle!photo (4)

This is my Mom’s recipe and it is certainly a family favorite. You can use frozen blueberries as well just be sure to thaw them out before-hand and make sure they are without extra moisture. My crumbly topping sank to the bottom as I used a bit more butter than needed but they turned out great and they were very delicious!
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Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake
slightly adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free flour ( I like Schar Mix C gluten-free flour)

¾ cup sugar

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. butter

¾ cup milk

1 egg

2 cups well-drained blueberries

 

Topping:

½ cup sugar

1/3 gluten-free flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup soft butter

Mix and sprinkle over batter in pan.

 

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease round layer pan, 9 ½ inches or square pan, 8″ x 8″ pan or pour into a muffin tin.  Blend all ingredients except blueberries and topping.  Beat for ½ minute.  Spread in pan.

Sprinkle topping over batter and bake for 45 to 50 minutes if baking it in a pan or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. My muffins baked about 20 minutes.

 

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Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Bake by Allison

There are so many beautiful cafes in Prague to enjoy breakfast in while you sit, savor and soak in your surroundings with friends or family. But sometimes a homemade breakfast in the comfort of your own home is what you’d like to offer your newly arrived guests from overseas after a long journey. Aromas of steaming hot double-shot coffee brewing in the french press and a pot of black or green tea steeping in a beautiful Polish pottery teapot await for thirsty guests.  The egg bake is cooking away in the oven while we enjoy greek yogurt with homemade granola and fresh fruits of the season, apricots, cherries and strawberries. One word, delicious.

 

There’s nothing like farmer’s market eggs or homegrown eggs in your own backyard. They taste better, they are fresher and it feels good to support local farmers at the same time. I try to only buy my eggs from the farmer’s market and especially for this recipe.

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Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Bake by Allison

Ingredients

Fresh mushrooms (1 large container or approximately two 1/2 to three cups of sliced mushrooms)

200 grams of fresh spinach

2 Tbsp. butter

2-3 cloves garlic

2 small onions

fresh thyme springs

12 eggs

2 cups grated cheese (can use cheddar or gouda or a smaller amount of parmesan)

1/2 cup of milk or cream

1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 185 degrees Celsius.

First melt the butter in a large frying pan/wok, then add the chopped onion and cook on low until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add garlic to the pan after cooking onions for 10 minutes and stir frequently to prevent from burning. Turn up the heat to medium and add mushrooms, thyme leaves and salt. Cook until the moisture in the bottom of the pan has cooked off, about 10 minutes or so. Then add fresh spinach in 2 handfuls at a time until it wilts and cooks down, continue to turn and stir. Remove from heat and in a large bowl crack 12 eggs and add in the milk and grated cheese. Beat mixture with a whisk until blended, be careful not to over beat. Add in the mushroom, onion and spinach mixture and stir gently. Pour into a large 9″ x 13″ pan and bake uncovered for the first 25 minutes, check frequently to see if the top is getting brown and cover with foil when you’ve reached the desired color on the top of the egg bake. Total baking time should be around 40-45 minutes depending on your oven. Serve warm and enjoy!

Gluten-free Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins by Allison

This muffin recipe is a keeper, let me tell ya! I remember tasting these muffins at dear friend’s home when I was in Elementary school way back when. This recipe has withstood the test of time. One of my Mom’s best friends, CW, used to make these for camping trips, snacks after her kids (my dear friends then and now too) and I got out of the pool, post softball games and for breakfast. I loved them then and I loved them now (gf of course) and they have that same taste I can remember from way back when. I needed to make some food for some friends of mine here in Prague who just had a baby and these muffins popped into mind! I whipped up a batch and placed them into two bags, one for the freezer and one for them to eat right away. These are a yummy, anytime kind-of-a-treat!

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GF Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins
 slightly adapted from Cindy W’s recipe

3/4 cup margarine (Hera here in Prague)

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

8 oz. plain yogurt

2 cups GF flour (I use Schar Mix C)

1 tsp. GF baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

 

Cream together margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add yogurt and blend well. Combine dry ingredients, then add yogurt mixture (stir only until all dry ingredients are moistened). Fill greased muffin tins or cupcake liners half full. Combine 3 Tbs. sugar with 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; sprinkle half of this mixture over batter in each cup. Fill with remaining batter; sprinkle muffins with remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 14-17 minutes. Enjoy! 

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies by Allison (GF, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free)

While these cookies don’t taste like my Mom’s chocolate chip cookies, they taste really good when you’ve cut out all the nuts, dairy and grains on top of the gluten! By the way, nothing can beat my Mom’s cookies. Really truly. I’m serious. She has a gift, well many gifts, but one of them being the ability to make amazing cookies. Her sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, molasses crinkles, peanut butter blossoms, and oatmeal raisin cookies are all off the charts fabulous (and I’m not the only one who thinks so)!

I haven’t always been gluten-free, but the last three years I have and I don’t miss much as far as food or treats go, but I do miss my Mom’s incredible cookies. These coconut chocolate chip cookies can’t be measured against your cookies Mom, they are not even in this same world but they are interesting. They are a totally different kind of cookie than you’ve ever had before but I still think they are worth the calories! You can buy everything you need right here in Prague as well! Whip up a batch and have it with a glass of coconut milk and tell me what you think! Enjoy!

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free – but not taste free)

recipe adapted from The Lemon Bowl

 

Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed plus 3 Tbsp. water (mix and let sit)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (melted )
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup coconut milk (I use homemade as coconut milk has a lot of additives in it)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup + 2 Tbsp coconut flour (gf )
  •  ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips (I use Lifefood 80% sugar-free chocolate)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius and line a baking sheet with baking paper or foil
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax seed and water, then set aside for a few minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl mix melted coconut oil, date sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, stir in coconut flour, chocolate chips and flax seed mixture.
  5. Scoop cookies using a large tablespoon and form a ball, flatten with the palm of your hand and place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes or until slightly browned.
  6. Let cookies cool completely before removing from pan. Enjoy!

 

Two Nut Chocolate Torte and it is Gluten Free! by L

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If you are looking to indulge, this is the cake! I found this recipe in a hand-me-down copy of Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef (thanks C.M.) It calls for a favorite combination of mine: Chocolate and Nuts. Although the recipe says you can substitute any kind of nut, I followed Jamie’s instructions to a tee. For my next round, I might try it with hazelnuts or pecans.

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Besides having a fantastic dessert to look forward to, another sweet thing to come out of this baking experience was the chance to reconnect with my ol’mixer. It is a powerhouse of a kitchen gadget, something like a Kitchen Aid, but I think this one really rocks the house. I pulled out my Bosch MUM out of the pantry, dusted it off and gave it a quick whizz. After sitting idle on the shelf for over 2 years, it was still in perfect condition. Before the children were born, this machine had a very important place on my kitchen counter and was used very often. When the twins arrived, good ol’ Bosch got shoved aside by the Avent bottle sterilizer.

Well, it’s back and I can honestly say, it’s getting a lot of use again.

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Two Nuts Chocolate Torte (from The Return of the Naked Chef, by Jamie Oliver)

(Note: We enjoyed the torte more the day AFTER it was baked. It seems like the flavor and texture could use a bit of settling in time. If you are looking to really indulge, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche. SOOOOO good!)

150g of ground almonds

150g of finely ground walnuts

300g of your best quality cooking chocolate

1 teaspoon of cocoa powder

255g butter

100g caster sugar

6 large eggs, separated

salt

Preheat the oven to 190C

Line or grease the bottom of your spring form or baking tin.

Place nuts, chocolate and cocoa in food processor and whizz for 30 seconds to break up the chocolate.

Put aside in a separate bowl.

Add the butter and sugar to the food processor and beat until pale and fluffy.

Keep the processor running and add the egg yolks, one at a time, then mix together with chocolate and nut mixture.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks.

Gently fold in the egg whites into the chocolate, butter and nut mix.

Pour all the mixture into the tin.

Bake in the oven for around an hour.

To test if the torte is cooked, insert a toothpick or tip of a knife in center of the cake and hold for 5 seconds.

When it is removed, it should be clean.

Enjoy with some ice cream, whipped cream, greek yogurt or creme fraiche!

GF Almond Butter with Vanilla and Sea Salt by Allison

Almond butter shouldn’t have to contain a long list of ingredients but often it does unfortunately. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want hydrogenated oils mixing with my almond butter! My friend M has made almond butter and said it was delicious so I thought I’d give it a whirl! It was remarkably easy and well worth the time. I would recommend making this when you’re in the kitchen making other things as well as you have to let the food processor motor rest in-between processing times. First, gently roast 2-3 cups of almonds on baking paper in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 5-7 minutes. Place warm almonds in the food processor and begin to process for about a minute each time. My food processor is 1,000 watts full of power but it is a good idea to let the motor rest for short periods of time between grinding and mixing the almond butter. So I usually wait a few minutes and start it up again, let it cool down and repeat about 12-20 times depending on the food processor you’re working with in your kitchen.

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By the third or fourth round the ground almonds will start to stack up against the sides of the food processor. Then you’ll have to scrape the inside of the bowl with a spatula and start again. Here’s where a good dose of patience comes in handy…..good things come to those who wait right? After a few more times, add in some sea salt flakes (two-to-three pinches should do the trick).

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Then it starts to look like it is pulling together, keep processing……..

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Split and scrape the inside of a vanilla bean and add the vanilla pulp to the almond mixture. You can’t go wrong with adding a vanilla bean or two into the mix!

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And finally, you reach the texture in the picture below! It is time to taste-test it now….add a bit more salt to taste if you’d like and enjoy!

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GF Almond Butter with Vanilla and Sea Salt by Allison

Ingredients

2-3 cups of almonds

1/8-1/4 tsp. of sea salt flakes (I like to use the brand Morton which can be found at : http://www.trms.cz)

1 or 2 whole vanilla beans

tools needed

Food processor

rubber spatula

GF Korean Beef Ribs with a Fabulous Sauce by Allison

While searching online for some happening things to do, see and explore, I came across some articles in the fall about “The Real Meat Society” butcher shop on Naplavni here in Prague. I paid a visit to TRMS in early January and what a gem it really is – stocked with hormone free quality beef and pork and knowledgeable butchers who obviously have a passion for tasty protein. I’ve been doing it all wrong, buying meat from the larger grocery stores and expecting good results. No longer. My weekly visit to TRMS often results in trying new recipes and methods as I learn how to cook high-quality beef with various methods and techniques. I thought I’d start out with Nom Nom Paleo’s Award Winning Korean Beef Short Rib recipe, as I’d been eyeing it for awhile. You just can’t go wrong with this dish, well unless you’re vegetarian or vegan, but if you’re a meat eater, you’ve gotta try this and soon!

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Nom Nom Paleo’s Korean Beef Rib Recipe

I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe as it is just brilliant!

Enjoy!

Allison

GF and Fabulous Jalapeno Bites with a Sweet and Spicy Dip by Allison

Well let me tell you first off that I don’t have a picture of the final product unfortunately, these yummy bite-sized delights just disappeared too fast for me to even grab my camera! True story! This recipe all started when my Mom and I stopped at a bistro after a day of running errands for a bite to eat in the early afternoon. It all started with the Jalapeno bites and they were good, but we both decided we could make them even better! So we tried it out and I’ve made them many times for friends since the summer and they are always a big hit. I roast the halved jalapenos at 175 degrees Celsius for about 10-12 minutes, then I take them out of the oven and place a thick chunk of sharp white cheese down the center and wrap it with 1/2 a slice of gluten-free prosciutto. Then pop them back in a slightly cooler oven (130 degrees Celsius) oven for 8-10 more minutes until cheese begins to melt and prosciutto begins to crisp up a bit. You can make the dip while the jalapenos are roasting the first time!

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jalapenos, sliced in half and deseeded (however many you’d like, I usually like to roast at least 10-12)

sharp white cheese

gluten-free prosciutto (can be found at Tesco in the packaged meat section)

For the Sweet and Spicy Dip

adapted from food.com

Ingredients:

1/3 cup  Hellmann’s light mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

2 tsp honey, warmed slightly

jalapenos (however many you’d like, I usually like to roast at least 10-12)

sharp white cheese

dip

Enjoy!