Braid with tarragon

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It follows the basic recipe for Easter braid. I’ve just added some tarragon to the dough.

Ingredients:

  • 500 g wheat flour T400
  • 40 g honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30 g fresh yeast
  • 80 g softened butter
  • 1,8 – 2,2 dl warm milk*
  • 1 egg + 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp rum
  • peel of 1 organic lemon
  • egg yolk + 2 Tbsp of milk for brushing
  • 15 g finelly chopped tarragon

* The quantity of milk depends largley on the quality of the flour. Plus if using honey, you will need a bit less liquid. Add milk gradually!

Preparation:

  1. Mix fresh yeast, 50 ml warm milk and one tablespoon of honey. Let double in volume.
  2. In a big bowl combine the two flours and salt.
  3. In a seperate bowl mix softened butter using a hand mixer. Gradually add eggs, rum and lemon peel.
  4. Mix the rest of the milk and the rest of the honey so it dissolves evenly.
  5. Add yeast, chopped tarragon and egg mixture to the flours. Add milk gradually, not all at once. Mix with wooden spatula. When the ingredients start to combine, start kneading. Flour the working surface. It takes something like 8 – 10 mins for gluten to activate, so you’ll be probably kneading for about 10 mins. The dough should be firm and silky.
  6. Let rise. When doubled in volume, divide in three equal parts and knead once more. Make three rolls and braid. Let rise once again.
  7. Before baking, brush with mixture of egg yolk and two tablespoons of milk.
  8. Preheat oven at 200°c and place in a baking tray filled with water to create steam. Bake for 10 mins, than lover the temperature to 180°c and bake for another 15 – 20 mins.

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Wreath with sundried tomatoes and goat cheese

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I have first fresh herbs at my garden, so I was thinking, why not a savoury braid with a hint of summer. Wholegrain challah with sundraied tomatoes, fresh herbs and goat cheese.

Divide the dough in three equal parts, roll them out lenghtwise. Than add some filling in the middle, close up and braid.

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Ingredients:

  • 250 g wheat flour T400
  • 250 g wholegrain flour
  • 1 – 2 tsp salt
  • 30 g fresh yeast
  • 80 g softened butter
  • 1,8 – 2,2 dl warm milk*
  • 1 egg + 3 egg yolks
  • egg yolk + 2 Tbsp of milk for brushing

filling:

  • 60 g crumbeled feta or goat cheese
  • 50 g chopped sundried tomatoes
  • dried or fresh herbs (rosemary, oregano, basil)
  • small finely chopped garlic clove

* The quantity of milk depends largley on the quality of the flour. Add gradually!

Preparation:

  1. Mix fresh yeast, 50 ml warm milk and one tablespoon of honey. Let double in volume.
  2. In a big bowl combine the two flours and salt.
  3. In a seperate bowl mix softened butter using a hand mixer. Gradually add eggs.
  4. Add yeast and egg mixture to the flours. Add milk gradually, not all at once. Mix with wooden spatula. When the ingredients start to combine, start kneading. Flour the working surface. It takes something like 8 – 10 mins for gluten to activate, so you’ll be probably kneading for about 10 mins. The dough should be firm and silky.
  5. Let rise. When doubled in volume, divide in three equal parts and knead once more. Make three rolls and roll them out lenghtwise. Than add some filling in the middle, close up and braid. Let rise once again.
  6. Before baking, brush with mixture of egg yolk and two tablespoons of milk.
  7. Preheat oven at 200°c and place in a baking tray filled with water to create steam. Bake for 10 mins, than lover the temperature to 180°c and bake for another 15 – 20 mins.

Chocolate coconut wreath

babka

Here in Slovenia, or at least in my family, we have an Easter tradition. There’s alway potica on the table. I think there’s no accurate translation for it but it’s something like north Italian gubana or like poppy seed stollen. It’s a rolled cake, usually filled with walnuts, hazelnuts, tarragon or poppy seeds. I would dare to say that almost every family has its own recipe. So, meaningless to argue the grand masterpiece.

There was a time when I was really into babkas. I especially like how you cut and bride the dough. I made couple of them, but the best was the one with coconut butter, chopped chocolate and pistachios. Coconut butter can always be replaced with some other nut butter, like walnut or hazelnut. More on coconut butter, how to make it and other, here.

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Ingredients:

dough

  • 100 g wholegrain spelt flour
  • 200 g wheat flour T400
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 10 g fresh yeast
  • 15 ml milk
  • 50 g softened butter
  • 45 g agave syrup or honey
  • ⅓ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp rum
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • peel of 1 organic orange

filling

  • 130 g coconut butter or any other nut butter
  • 120 g chopped chocolate
  • handfull of chopped unsalted pisachios (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Prepare coconut butter: mix coconut flakes at high speed using a blender. It takes about 3-5 mins to make it. You will need at least 300 g of coconut, but definitely more info in the link! You can use hazelnut or walnut butter instead.
  2. Prepare yeast: mix 15 ml warm milk, tablespoon of agave or honey and fresh yeast. Let double in size.
  3. In a big bowl mix both flours and salt.
  4. In a seperate bowl mix softened butter using a hand mixer. Gradually add eggs, agave syrup, vanilla, orange peel and rum.
  5. Add the yeast and the egg mixture to flours and mix with wooden spatula. When the ingredients start to combine, transfer to work surface and start kneading. Knead for 10 – 15 mins. Starch needs some time to soak up. You should form a compact silky dough ball.
  6. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume.
  7. Knead once again than roll to 0.5 – 1 com thick.
  8. Spread coconut butter and sprinkle with chopped chocolate and pistachios.
  9. Roll and cut lenghtwise. Bride the two ends and form a wreath. Let rise.
  10. Bake in preheated oven at 170 to 180 °C for 30 minutes. After first 15 mins cover with damped baking paper and bake for another 15 mins.

This recipe was created as a part of a project for Spar Slovenija and their magazine Dobro zame.

Torta Pasqualina. Kind of.

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When I asked my friend what I should prepare for Easter, she was like, please do something to use those cooked eggs. I never know how to use them. There’re just too many…

Torta Pasqualina is a tipical Ligurian Easter dish. Mine is a bit fake. Somewhere in between my quiche recipe and spinach strudel. Normally the recipe uses filo pastry made of flour and olive oil. And there are artichokes, marjoram, onions and of cours lots of grana added to the base. Oh, and usually it’s a round tart. But hey, have fun playing with this one!

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Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 pack puff pastry (rectangular)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g ricotta
  • 150 g feta
  • 400 g fresh spinach
  • 1 big garlic clove
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cooked and pelled eggs
  • nutmeg
  • pepper
  • egg yolk/white for brushing

Preparation:

  1. Finely chop garlic clove. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and quickly saute garlic (be careful not to burn it). When it starts to smell nicely, add fresh spinach. Cook until the most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer into a strainer. Let cool and drain the excess liquid.
  2. Crumble feta using a fork, than mix with ricotta and eggs. Add spinach, season with nutmeg and pepper.
  3. Roll out puff pastry. Divide it in three parts lenghtwise, but don’t cut in.
  4. Put spinach mixture and cooked and pelled eggs in the middle part.
  5. Diagonally cut 2 cm wide stripes on both outer parts of the pastry.
  6. Fold the left and the right stripe towards the middle and press to stick. repeat lenghtwise to close up the pie.
  7. Brush with egg and bake at 200ºc (ventilation) from 20 to 25 mins.

 

This recipe was created as a part of a project for Spar Slovenija and their magazine Dobro zame.

Oeuf cocotte and gluten free walnut buckwheat bread

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Oeuf cocotte, a french classic and probably one of the easiest things to do. I won’s say you don’t need the right technicque to get it cooked to the point where the egg white hardens and the yolk stays liquid, but one way or another, I should have this more often, because it’s soo good and easy to prepare. Choose whatever topping you like, but mushrooms go perfectly with buckwheat.

Gluten free bread is a story on its own… I tried number of recipes, but no matter what flour I used and no matter how much oil I added, it always turned out too dry. So I did my homework and found a solution: psyllium seed husk.

Psyllium seed husk contain soluble and insoluble fibers. It is probably one of the nature’s most absorbant fibers, so this means it will bind all the ingrediends together and will prevent the bread from drying out. Plus, it is really good for digestion.

oeufcocotte

Oeuf cocotte with mushrooms

Ingredients (serves two):

  • 4 eggs
  • 150 g mushrooms
  • 1/3 tsp garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp liquid cream or crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt
  • pepper

Preparation:

  1. Finely chop the mushrooms. Sautee on a tablespoon of olive oil. When the liquid starts evaporating, add garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for anothe couple of minutes.
  2. Grease the molds with butter. Add mushrooms and reserve some for garnish.
  3. Add two eggs in each mold, top with some cream and the rest of the mushrooms.
  4. Put the molds into a baking tin filled with hot water that rises to the middle of the molds.
  5. Bake at 170ºc from 6 – 10 mins. Keep an eye on it: ideally the egg white should harden and the yolk should still be liquid.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

Buckwheat bread with walnuts

Ingredients (makes 4 buns):

  • 70 g buckwheat flour
  • 70 g corn flour
  • 20 g corn starch
  • 12 g fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp honey or agave syrup (for yeast)
  • 20 ml milk (for yeast)
  • 250 – 300 ml milk or water
  • 15 g flax seed
  • 40 g walnuts
  • 25 ml olive oil
  • 20 g ground chia seed
  • 20 g psyllium seed husk
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the yeast: mix 20 ml of warm milk (not hot), fresh yeast and tablespoon of honey or agave syrup. Let double in size.
  2. In a big bowl mix the flours, corn starch and salt. Add flax and walnuts.
  3. Using a cofee grinder, grind chia (you can also grind psyllium, but that’s optional). Than mix chia, psyllium, olive oil and milk or water. Let soak at least 3 mins.
  4. When the yeast and chia mixture are ready, add both to flour mixture.
  5. Mix with wooden spatula until all ingredients combine. Add flour if too sticky or water/milk if to compact. Keep in mind that psyllium soaks up a lot of liquid. Flour the working surface and kneed into a ball. Dough should be soft, but not sticky. Let rise.
  6. When doubled in volume, knead once again to let rise for the second time. If you prefer little buns, now’s the time to divide the dough.
  7. When second rise is done, cut the crosses on the top of the buns. Bake in preheated oven at 220ºc for 30 – 40 mins. The bread is done when it sounds hollow  if knocked on the bottom side.
  8. IMPORTANT: always put some water into a baking tray underneath the  bread rack to create steam. This is how you will get a moist inside and crunchy crust.

 

This recipe was created as a part of a project for Spar Slovenija and their magazine Dobro zame.

Cashew, banana and coconut smoothie bowl

morningsmoothie

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. There’s been just so much going on lately. I finished my blog project I’ve been working on – I’ll let you know all about it very soon 🙂 And it felt great! After stressing about deadlines and everything, the satisfaction of finishing on time and turning in my work was priceless. That actually gave me the energy to started working on my Master’s a bit more seriously. So yes, that’s what’s been keeping me away from my computer… And there was another crazy thing going on in March… Ljubljana Sweet Swing Festival. I’ve been dancing for years, but haven’t been really that active recently. It reminded me how I love dancing, going to festivals and meeting new people. With all this on my mind, I realised the time has come to finish what I’ve started and move on!

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Also, I went off gluten and lactose for a while. It’s been just a little cleanse before the Easter hits me… Well, I’m guilty. I just can’t resist those sweets and Easter bread…

So the first thing I did was to change my breakfast routine. Instead of fruit, rolled oats and yoghurt I had pancakes or smoothies and other things (that I will hopefully post in the next days). I replaced cereals with seeds, nuts, coconut flakes, bee pollen and cocoa nibs. And instead of cow’s milk I used plant based milk. Not bad at all.

That actually sounds very easy and delicious, which it was. But being a diabetic, I know what it means if you have restrains in your life. My condition is not that easy, but I’m grateful that I don’t have any severe allergy to gluten or lactose. So a brief pause won’t do any harm. But life without cheese? Or bread? No. I could go crazy with all this new food trends I see lately. But I won’t. I love trying out new things, but I always say to myself: be smart and don’t limit yourself if there’s no need to. Life offers great things, so take take them with a big spoon!

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Cashew, coconut and banana smoothie bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 handful cashew
  • 3 tsp maca powder
  • 2 tsp lucuma powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 100 – 150 ml water
  • 150 ml coconut milk

to garnish:

  • 1 tsp cocoa nibs
  • 1 tsp hemps seeds
  • 1 tsp bee pollen
  • strawberries, raspberries or bluberries

Preparation:

Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Add more or less water depending on thickness you prefer. Garnish with fruits and seeds.