Freedom Bites by Allison (GF, DF, and Refined SF)

I shared this new concoction with good friend Michelle who is a guest blogger on the Prague Basket at times and asked if she would like “a gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free lemon almond cookie) and she said, “Oh, I’d love a freedom bite!” Free from  grains, white sugar and dairy products that is……I laughed out loud and said, “I love the name ‘freedom bites’, that just might have to stick!” So you too can whip up these delicious freedom bites with just about 10 minutes to combine the ingredients together.

I made my own almond flour my placing almonds in my coffee grinder that I only use for nuts and seeds until processed. There still ends up being little chunks of almonds which resembles more of an almond meal of sorts unlike a finely processed almond flour. Try it however you’d like it! I purchased my coconut oil at DM here in Prague but you can also pick it up at Country Life as well. They freeze well and you can pop them out of the freezer when you’re ready for a lemony sweet treat! Enjoy!
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Freedom Bites

recipe from The Vedge
Yield: 13
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups almond meal/flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp organic lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 175°C / 350°F.
  2. Combine almond meal, baking soda and salt in a food processor, and process until fine.
  3. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest, and process until a dough ball forms.
  4. Scoop out about 1-2 Tbsp of dough, roll into a ball and place on baking tray.
  5. Gently press down.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes (mine took about 7 minutes), until just golden brown (after you remove them from the oven they will continue get darker).
  7. Let cool for 15-30 minutes (or they will fall apart).
  8. Yield: 13
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Gluten-Free No Bake Lemon Cheesecake by Allison

So I’ve been experimenting with tvaroh here in Prague which is a high protein low-fat dairy curd type cheese, kind of like cream cheese without all of the fat (well at least there is some choice when it comes to tvaroh cheese and you can choose which type of fat content you’d prefer). It doesn’t have any sweetness, so I livened  it up with some powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and some cream! I made mini frozen cheesecakes for a get-together and they were delicious! The crust is not crunchy or crumbly like a typical cheesecake but more of a tasty slightly sweet and nutty surprise combined with the tartness of the lemon makes it a great combination. I happen to have mini cupcake molds and those worked great as the recipe filled two small pans and it made 24 two-bite sized delights. This recipe goes together fast and after you set the pans in the freezer, they are ready to enjoy in just a few short hours!

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Ingredients:

No-Bake Cheesecake filling:

Tvaroh, 2 packages, 250 grams each (I buy the .8% fat content)

about 6 Tbsp. powdered sugar – moucka

1 tsp. vanilla

1 small container of cream – 190 grams (I used 19%)

juice of 2 lemons

Crust: 

1 cup of almonds, crushed or pulsed in a coffee grinder or in a food processor

4-8 pitted dates

pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Pulse almonds in a food processor or coffee grinder until you can see chunks of almonds and combine with pitted dates and pulse until combined. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and pulse again. Press into mini-cupcake molds with the back of a wet spoon for best results. Prepare cheesecake mixture by combining all ingredients and pour over the crusts and fill the molds up to the top rim. Cover pans with foil and place in freezer! Pull out and use a knife to loosen the edges away from the pan and let set a few minutes before serving. It will be a frozen delicious treat at most anytime of the day! Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Lemon Polenta Cake by Allison


Polenta in a cake? Whaaaaaat? I’ve had polenta in restaurants, tried it in the cooking class in Tuscany two summers ago but was frightened away by the amount of butter the chef put in it. I mean, of course it tasted like dynamite but yikes, I could not eat it prepared that way on a semi-regular basis, would just feel too guilty. I tried it in a wonderful Italian cafe in Berlin in a vegetarian “lasagna” type dish where the lasagna noodles were replaced with thin slices of polenta. It was amazing and flavorful and the chef assured me it was healthy.  I had polenta in my cupboard as I’ve been meaning to experiment with it for quite some time so I just thought, hey why not? Worth a shot! Sooooooo….I ground my own almonds in my coffee grinder (thank you Tesco for the good deal on that coffee grinder). Only a few ingredients to whip this cake up and all of which I seem to have in my cupboard or refrigerator most all of the time! Could this be a new “go-to” cake? Well yes it indeed is! Wait until you taste it! It is tart, sweet, nutty and fabulous! I didn’t want to change a thing after the first, second or even last bite. Try it and let me know what you think…. IMG_0101

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Lemon Polenta Cake

This recipe is from Nigella Lawson and can be found on her website here

For the cake

  • 200 gram(s) unsalted butter (soft (plus some for greasing))
  • 200 gram(s) caster sugar
  • 200 gram(s) ground almond(s)
  • 100 gram(s) Polenta (or cornmeal)
  • 1.5 teaspoon(s) baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 3 medium egg(s)
  • 2 medium lemon(s) (zest – save juice for syrup)

For the syrup

  • 2 lemon(s) (juice)
  • 125 gram(s) Icing sugar

Directions:

  1. Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment and grease its sides lightly with butter.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar till pale and whipped, either by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon, or using a freestanding mixer.
  4. Mix together the almonds, polenta and baking powder, and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
  5. Finally, beat in the lemon zest and pour, spoon or scrape the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
  6. It may seem wibbly but, if the cake is cooked, a cake tester should come out cleanish and, most significantly, the edges of the cake will have begun to shrink away from the sides of the tin. remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack, but leave in its tin.
  7. Make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and icing sugar in a smallish saucepan.
  8. Once the icing sugar’s dissolved into the juice, you’re done.
  9. Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester (a skewer would be too destructive), pour the warm syrup over the cake, and leave to cool before taking it out of its tin.

Green Bean Gossip by L

Montserrat

July 15th marks the huge exodus when Valencians leave the sweltering city and head off to the beaches or mountainous regions to cool off. For our family, our refuge is my father-in-law’s hometown of Montserrat, just 40 kilometers from Valencia’s city center. Although the region is quite dry, many people in our town have farms just ten minutes outside of the city and are able to grow a variety of vegetables and fruits.

When you take a walk around Montserrat, you can easily spot the farm owners by the baskets of produce displayed outside their front doors. The summer is the time for grapes, melons, watermelons, peaches, plums, pears … and a big variety of greens. One day, we came back with a huge bag of green beans and I discovered something new about our family!

As we were paying for the beans, the senyora asked my husband who his parents were. Our town is so small, that usually you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone you know and having a quick chat. The senyora didn’t recognize our faces. She quickly became curious about our whereabouts. My husband told her who his father was by giving her his first and last name, but it didn’t seem to ring a bell. Then he told her which street we lived on and the color of our house. These details began to click and soon she recalled a face. She described the color of my father-in-law’s hair and the roundness of his face and then she immediately said “Aha! Tomateta!”

My husband nodded as soon as she said the word tomateta. She smiled and nodded back and then started naming all of his relatives. As we left her doorstep, she told us to make sure to give her regards to Tomateta.

Our little Tomatetes..

..the next generation

Tomateta in Valencian, stands for little tomato and I had no idea why this woman was calling my beloved father-in-law a tomato. When we returned home, I told my in-laws what happened with the green beans lady and they chuckled. I quickly found out that in our town and like most other small towns in Spain,  every family is known by their nickname and these nicknames are inherited and passed down from generation to generation. It seems that some generations ago, someone in my father-in-law’s family had a very round face, so round that it resembled the shape of a tomato, and that is how the nickname of Tomateta was born. Now I know that when I walk down the street, I am the daughter-in-law of Tomateta and my daughters are Tomateta’s granddaughters. It’s good to know your place.

Green Bean Salad

 (I have seen some Farmer’s Markets in Prague selling green beans more often, hopefully you’ll get lucky and find some!)

1 bag of green beans

½ red onion, chopped

juice of 1 lemon

1 can of tuna

¼-1/2 cup of olive oil

Wash beans and cut in half.

Boil in lightly salted water for 25 minutes or until tender.

Drain and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, tuna and onions.

Mix well.

In a small bowl, add the lemon juice and olive oil.

With a fork, blend the liquids together.

Add some salt if needed.

Pour the dressing over the beans and gently mix together.

Serve at room temperature and enjoy!