Tag Archives: Gluten free

Clementine Cake

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Last weekend Christoph and I spent our Saturday night in, which is usually how we spend our Saturday nights anyway. We get up to a lot during the week so we’re usually pretty tired by the end of it. Plus, we’re lazy and it’s winter here in Toronto. As usual we tried to find something good on Netflix and this time it was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Usually, I’m not much for Ben Stiller movies since most of them tend to be goofy comedies. Not saying that I lack a sense of humour but I’m more into the dark comedy types. If you’ve seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty then you’ll know for the most part that the movie isn’t a typical Ben Stiller flick but instead has a lot of great shots and scenes as well as a pretty great story. You’ll also know that this clementine cake plays an important role in the movie.

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Ever since I was a child I found that food within movies or stories has always stuck with me. Even if I can’t remember a plot of a movie I always remember the food. As in the chocolate cake from Matilda, a bavarian cream cookie from Stranger Than Fiction, or even the donuts with goose livers from Fantastic Mr. Fox. Yes, I’ve thought about eating donuts with goose livers.

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But back to the cake. This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake which is made from whole clementines and almond flour. It’s naturally gluten free and oil free. To be honest the cake wasn’t exactly what I was looking for and doesn’t exactly match the cake seen in the movie but it’s definitely close. It’s extremely simple to make, has a lovely damp texture, and a very interesting slightly bitter note from the clementine skins. It also gets better the longer you keep it.

Clementine Cake (gluten free, oil free)
Recipe found here

Clementine Icing
Makes enough icing for one cake

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 TBSP fresh clementine juice
pinch of salt

Mix ingredients together until smooth and quite thick. Smooth on top of the cooled cake and gently push over the sides.

Candied Clementines

1 medium clementine
3 TBSP caster sugar
1 TBSP water

Slice the clementine into thin slices and lay flat in a medium sized pan. Sprinkle over the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until the sugar and water has thickened. Take off the heat and let cool.

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Strawberry Shortcake, not just for Dessert

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It’s been a while.

The past 7 months has been a busy time for me. Starting a new job, moving to a new place, and of course school. It was a stressful time for me to say the least.

Unfortunately, within those 7 months I really let go of my healthy eating habits and started to eat a lot of processed foods. It’s hard to plan and cook meals when you’re so busy with other things and I probably had a lot more instant ramen noodles and Korean Chocopies than I’d like to admit. However, it’s no excuse for poor eating habits since I know a lot of people manage to eat healthy while leading busy lives.

Hopefully getting back into the blog will help me with getting back on track!

For this post I decided to health-ify strawberry shortcake, a common dessert that’s full of fat, processed sugar, and gluten. My version, however, has none of these things. The biscuits are gluten free, sugar free, and sweetened with apples and blackberries. While the whipped cream is replaced with greek yoghurt and out of season strawberries are improved with a little vanilla and maple syrup. It’s delicious, in it’s own healthy way, without making you feel guilty and without making you feel like you need to take a nap.

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Healthy Strawberry Shortcake (gluten free, low sugar)
Makes 5 servings

Scones (gluten free, sugar free)
Makes 5 scones
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories Apple and Oat Biscuits

100g Oat Flour, made from ground oats
75g Light Buckwheat Flour
2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp organic coconut oil, hard, and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened, greek yoghurt
1/4 cup organic homo milk
1 small apple shredded
About 10 blackberries, chopped roughly

Preheat oven to 425˚F

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in coconut oil and using 2 knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the oil until it is evenly distributed in small pieces. Add in the rest of the ingredients except blackberries and bring into a dough. If too sticky add more flour and if too dry add more milk. Gently fold in the blackberries. Lightly dust your work surface with buckwheat flour and pat out evenly to about an inch thick. Cut into squares with a knife or whatever shape you like. Lightly score the top of the biscuits from corner to corner.

Bake on a parchment lined sheet for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bottom is browned and crisp and the inside is slightly moist.

Strawberry Compote
Makes about 1 cup of compote

1 1/2 cups of ripe strawberries, chopped
1 tbsp of maple syrup
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of lemon juice (optional)

In a small saucepan, cook strawberries and syrup on medium low heat until thick and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Add vanilla and lemon juice.

Yoghurt “Cream”
Makes 1 cup

1 cup of plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp of maple syrup
1/4 tsp of vanilla

Mix ingredients together and keep refrigerated

To assemble the shortcake, break biscuits into triangles and layer with cream and compote. The biscuits are best served warm with the cold cream and warm compote.

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Summer Sweet Fry Salad

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Lately I’ve been noticing how expensive it is to go out and eat. Here in Toronto it seems to be common place that a regular salad will cost you anywhere from $9 for a plain garden salad all the way up to $20 for a “fancy” one. Really? $20 for some lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, and maybe some sort of protein. It’s really quite amazing how much food is marked up in restaurants compared to how much you can make it for at home. But, I’m not really complaining since I do know how much labour costs and everything else that goes into running a restaurant costs. After all, you’re not really just paying for the food when you go to a restaurant. There’s the service, ambiance, experience, etc.

However, just yesterday I went for afternoon tea with my sister in one of the “high end” areas of Toronto. I put high end in quotes because I really just think all the people that frequent those places just like to pretend they’re high end and better than everyone else. They’re not.

Anyway, my point is, I’ve been for afternoon tea a few times before at a bunch of different tea rooms and I’d say that this was one of my worst experiences. You’d think that $100 would get you some nicely prepared sandwiches, some properly brewed tea, and hopefully some really great service. Unfortunately, the service and the quality of the food was incredibly similar to the whole vibe I get from that area in general.

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So, back to salad.

I don’t have much of a recipe today but this is just a salad that I like to eat when I want something filling with lots of different textures, flavours, and colours. It’s a really good meal for a hot summer day when the thought of eating hot food makes you break into a sweat. I never really make it the same way every time but I try to keep a few main ingredients such as sweet potatoes, pecans, and apples in there and then add whatever else I have on hand at the time.

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Sweet Potato, Apple, and Pecan salad
Makes 1 large salad (approximately)

About 2 cups of mixed lettuce greens (spring mix)
Sweet potato fries (recipe below)
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 a medium apple (something crisp such as a honey crisp works well), sliced
small handful of bocconcini cheese or about 2 tbsp of goat’s cheese, chopped or crumbled
about 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
good aged balsamic vinegar, about 2 tbsp
extra virgin olive oil, about 1 tbsp

First prepare the sweet potato fries. Lay out the greens on a plate and top with fries, apples, etc. drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil or top with your favourite dressing. I like this Wild Ginger one from Fresh Restaurants.

Note: this is just a rough recipe and the amounts aren’t exact. Feel free to add more, less, or omit or add ingredients.

Sweet potato fries
1/2 medium caribbean sweet potato (the one with a reddish skin and yellow/white on the inside)
1 tbsp cold pressed coconut oil or any other high heat cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Wash and cut the sweet potato into about 1cm x 1cm x 10cm pieces. Melt the coconut oil in a large bowl and toss the fries in the oil. Lay out evenly onto the tray and bake for 15 minutes and then flip the fries and bake for about another 15 minutes or until golden.

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Lemon Basil Granita

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I know, I know I’ve been neglecting this blog and yes I feel bad. I swear I had a whole post planned out for last week and it was going to be awesome, I could picture it in my head. I was going to post a step by step on how to make a layered vegan chocolate raspberry cake with moulded chocolate sides, chocolate ganache, raspberry preserves, and a chocolate plaque on top. But, somehow even after successfully making multiple layered cakes and actually learning how to make cakes in school I managed to create this. Seriously, right?! The cake was for Christoph’s birthday and how much did he eat? Half a slice. Yes, half a slice. He doesn’t like sweet things. Weirdo.

Don’t worry though, the cake didn’t go to waste. My aunt ended up taking it away to feed the poor. Hopefully they didn’t reject it like everyone else did.

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So instead of my failed attempt at making a vegan layer cake I decided to post a recipe that’s easy, delicious, and dependable. Granita is a great dessert for a hot summer day since it’s light, refreshing, tangy, and sweet; if you’ve never had it before it’s like an italian version of shaved ice but much less sweet and probably a little healthier for you. It takes a bit of planning before hand but you really only need 3 ingredients for this dessert and a bit of time. The original recipe doesn’t call for basil but since I had some on hand I thought it would be a nice addition. It actually adds a great herbal quality to the granita and makes it just a little more interesting.

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Lemon Basil Granita
Makes about 4 (1/2 cup) servings
Adapted slightly from Gourmet Magazine

3 large lemons
1 cup filtered water
scant 1/2 cup of caster sugar*
1/4 cup basil leaves and stems, torn

Using a peeler, remove the zest from the lemons in long strips. The night before you wish to serve the granita, heat the water and sugar in a small pot until the sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer the sugar syrup into a heat proof bowl and stir in the lemon zest and basil. Cover and chill overnight.

The next day, strain out the zest and basil and add in 1/2 a cup of fresh lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to a large flat bowl. I used a large flat metal bowl but a pyrex baking dish would also work. Place the mix into the freezer and after about 45 minutes stir with a fork to incorporate the ice crystals that form. Keep doing this about every 30 to 45 minutes until the mixture is evenly frozen and looks like crushed ice. About 4 to 5 hours.

Once you serve it, make sure to eat it immediately as it melts very quickly.

*You could probably substitute the caster sugar with something healthier such as concentrated fruit juice, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Just make sure to adjust the quantity of sugar and taste the mixture before freezing.

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Truffles…The Raw, Vegan Kind

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This past week has been a little bit stressful for me. No, I’m not over worked or tired from studying. I’m actually pretty busy doing nothing. I’ve been stressing myself out with the fact that there’s not much for me to do now that I’ve finished my studies for the time being and I’m only working a part time (very part time) job. Is it really possible that I’m able to stress myself out more than when I was super busy working a full time job and going to school full time? Oh yeah, and I’m sure the driving lessons aren’t helping. Nor the fact that my driving instructor always reminds me not to kill him.

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Anyway, I’ve taken to meditation to try and relieve some of the stress and anxiety I’ve been having. The problem is that I’m only able to go for about 10 minutes without wanting to fall asleep or…eat something. Luckily, I’ve come across some studies where chocolate, the dark kind of course, is said to lower stress levels as well. Though, you’d think that with the vast amounts of chocolate I eat I’d be the most care free person in the world.

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These dark chocolate truffles are a take on a recipe from Vegetarian Everyday, the new cookbook from Green Kitchen Stories. They’re a perfect healthy snack with no added sugar and an additional healthy boost from spirulina. I changed up the original recipe a little bit by making a few different variations. One is filled with syrupy balsamic vinegar and rolled in coconut sugar, another is mixed with a little bit of cayenne for some heat and rolled in cocoa, and the last is the regular truffle rolled in dried coconut. I’m sure there are a million different possible variations that would be delicious. Maybe some peppermint extract or some fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary, or lavender would be great. These truffles are also really beautiful and would make a great gift since they’re vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, and raw. They could also be made caffeine free if you’re into that sort of thing (just use carob instead of the cocoa).

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Cocoa Date Truffles with 3 variations (raw, vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free)
Makes about 20 – 30 truffles
Adapted from Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl from Green Kitchen Stories

20 dates, pitted
2 tbsp extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil
2 tbsp raw cacao or regular unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp spirulina, or substitute with more cocoa
a good pinch of pink himalayan sea salt

Variations:
Cayenne pepper, to taste
about 1 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
extra cocoa powder
dried shredded coconut
coconut sugar

In a food processor, combine the dates and coconut oil. Blend on low until smooth. Keep scraping down sides of the bowl. Add cocoa, spirulina, and salt and pulse until thoroughly combined. This can also be done in a bowl by using your hands to knead everything together. Refrigerate mixture for about 30 minutes or until cold and firm. Divide the mixture into 3 equal pieces.

Cayenne Truffles: add cayenne powder to taste and knead with a fork or by hand. Start off with about an 1/8 tsp and taste for heat. Roll into balls and roll in cocoa powder.

Balsamic Truffles: remove about 2 tbsp of mixture from the second piece and mash in about 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar. The mixture should be very sticky. Divide the rest of the portion into balls. Flatten each out and place a little bit of the balsamic mixture into each one. Fold up the edges of the truffles and roll into balls. Roll in coconut sugar.

Basic Truffles: roll into equal sized balls and roll into coconut flakes or whatever else you would like

Truffles are best kept in the fridge.

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