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.

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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

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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.

Hello sunshine!

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This morning I woke up with the smile on my face. I pulled up my window blinds and let the sun come in. It was bright and the colours were amazing. Birds singing. Not cold at all… Almost as if it were spring already. I went to the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee. Cozy. I couldn’t be happier! Then I realised that a glorious morning deserves an equally glorious breakfast. I took my time. And a second coffee. I had coconut chia with roasted blood orange compote.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 4 big Tbsp chia seed
  • 1 big Tbsp finely grated coconut flakes
  • 100 – 150 ml coconut milk (depends on the consistency you prefer)
  • sweetener of your choice (I used sucralose)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1,5 Tbsp rum
  • 1 tsp bee pollen

Preparation:

  1. Peel and cut oranges. Preheat oven at 170ºc and bake 30 – 40 mins. Turn once in between. Let cool.
  2. Mix chia, coconut milk, sweetener of your choice, vanilla extract and coconut flakes. If necessary, grind coconut flakes in a coffee grinder. Let sit. If after 10 mins the mixture does not have the consistency you prefer, add some chia, coconut flakes or milk.
  3. Using a fork, mash the cooled baked oranges, reserving one or two pieces for garnish. Add rum.
  4. Assemble in a jar, putting the compote on the bottom, topping with chia pudding and garnishing with a piece of orange and some bee pollen.
  5. And you can always multiply the ingredients and prepare couple of jars for your next breakfast (or late night snacks and desserts as I did 🙂 ).

Roasted beet and avocado dip

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Lately I’ve been going nuts about beets.  It’s probably one of the most amazing vegetables. There are so many things you can do with it, be it sweet or savory. And I just love that color!

There’s more on its health benefits in one of my older post. Anyway, raw, cooked, steamed or oven baked. Everything goes. So here it is, my favorite dip/spread.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 medium size beets
  • 1.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1.5 cumin seeds (Cuminum cyminum)*
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  • some roasted hazelnuts to garnish

Preparation:

  1. Cut beets in quarters, sprinkle with olive oil and bake on low temperature (at 180ºc) until it softens. Cool and peel off the skins.
  2. Finely grind coriander and cumin seeds.
  3. Using a hand blender mix all the ingredients.
  4. Serve with corn tortillas or crackers. You can also use it like this.

 

*more on cumin – carvi – black cumin here.

Green pancakes with quick avocado & beet spread – gluten free

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I started writing this blog because I wanted to give a healthy twist to those traditional dishes. Of course, since I got diabetes, I was mostly trying to find a neat solution to avoid sugar or at least finding an alternative for it. But in the end, everything is sugar. During digestion the food we eat will eventually turn into sugars. The question is how fast? My answer to this is balance. A meal that’s rich in fiber and protein, not only carbs, will rise your blood sugar level much slower and will make you feel full longer. And protein intake can sometimes be a huge problem for vegetarians. I say chickpea, people!

Chickpea is one of those superfoods for me. It has quite some carbs, to give you the energy, but also lots of fiber and protein. Chickpea flour has around 60% carbs, 20% protein and 15% fiber whereas cooked chickpeas will have round 30% carbs, 9% protein and 8% fiber.

When I first heard of Socca that funny word immediately caught my attention. For a reason. Farinata or Cade, as it is also called, is a chickpea pancake brought from Genoa to south of France, Nice and Toulon to be more precise. It’s a street food and there are some variations between the three, but the basic recipe for socca is:

300 g chickpea flour
500 ml water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
pepper

The batter is poured into a large iron skillet and than baked in the oven at a really high temperature until golden brown.

So, I mixed a bit and came up with this broccoli chickpea gluten free pancakes, that are way better and certainly way healthier than the regular ones using plain white flour. The batter is less liquid so the pancakes will be slightly thicker, but they sure look nice and make a great contrast with the beet-avocado spread.

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Ingredients:

for the broccoli chickpea pancakes:

  • 100 g broccoli
  • 75 g chickpea flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 140 ml milk of your choice (I used oat milk)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • salt, pepper

quick beet and avocado spread
(or if you have more time)

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 medium size cooked beet
  • 1,5 tsp coriander seed
  • 1,5 tsp cumin seed
  • juice of half lemon
  • salt

tahini sauce (optional):

  • 1 big Tbsp tahini
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 – 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp water
  • salt

handful of spinach
goat cheese
roasted walnuts or hazelnuts

Preparation:

  1. Put all the ingredients in the blender an mix well. Let rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
  2. Finely grind coriander and cumin seeds.
  3. Using a hand blender mix all the ingredients for the spread.
  4. Bake the pancakes at medium heat in non-stick frying pan of 20cm in diameter until golden brown. Do not expect paper thin pancakes, they should be slightly thicker.
  5. Spread the beet and avocado on half of the pancake, fill with spinach, goat cheese, tahini sauce and some roasted nuts.

Green dream smoothie

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It’s a wonderful day today. I haven’t seen a sun like that for some time now. Blue sky and warm light. Looking through my window, big grayish trees. Naked. Behind them, on the other side of the street, some colorful table cloths drying on the line and playing in the wind.

I remember my life from Paris… Everything was way too often so black and white. And gray. In the metro, on the street, people… Maybe that’s why I loved so much going to the african or indian quarters. And maybe that’s why I bought some colorful african fabrics that still hang from my wall today.

Life should be colorful. One way or another. I had my smoothie blender for couple of years now, but I think it was never in use as much as it is right now. I guess this Ljubljana’s gray screams for colors.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 2,5 dl coconut-rice milk
  • 1 Tbsp hemp protein (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seed
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flakes

Preparation:

  1. Blend. Blend. Blend. 🙂

Red DETOX smoothie

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After a busy end of the year and all that feasting and festivity the time has come to start a new chapter. New year – new beginnings, they say. And to start well, mind, soul and body need to be free. And clean. So, for the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to detoxify my body, do more sports and just breathe that fresh winter air. I left out a party or two and switched from wine to smoothies. Since I’ve got this diabetes thing I learned how important it is to listen to my body. Once you do that, you start acting differently and you feel great.

This smoothie has been replacing some of my breakfast lately. It’s really boosting and nourishing. In the morning I sometimes mixed it up with oats and hemp seeds and it was definitely my favorite 5 o’clock thing.

Beet is a great source of folic acid and potassium. It also contains high level of antioxidants and supports detoxification. It has a slightly higher level of carbs than other vegetables (5g carbs/75g), but that’s not much of a problem since it is also a good source of fiber. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Also, and that is something I did not know, leaves were highly appreciated in ancient times. That’s no surprise since they contain up to 25% magnesium. They can be prepared the same way as spinach. Superfood.

Carrot A, B, C, E, K. Nuff said.

Orange is the best winter fruit. I’ve got an orange tree in my apartment and it just started blooming (don’t know how that’s possible), but the smell…it’s amazing. Of course, a super source of vitamin C that will boost your immune system in those harsh winter months and hydrate your body. Just make sure it’s heavy when buying. That means it will be really juicy.

Strawberries are a good source of antioxidants, folic acid and vitamins B and C. They have a high water content and are beneficial for digestion. They also have low glycemic index, so go for it!

Green tea is said to have more health benefits than the black tea which is most widely used. This is due to un-oxidation process which retains more antioxidants and vitamins.

Chia seed has high fiber and slows down digestion. It’s also rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, minerals like potassium, calcium and iron. It has high protein content so it is perfect for balancing fruit or vegetable smoothies.

Ginger is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It is considered a medicinal plant in alternative medicine. It’s said to have beneficial effects on digestion, respiratory system and nausea, but its recommended daily amount is between 3 and 10 g. It has a nice lemony, but very sharp taste. When grated and used with fiber it will gradually become even sharper. If you want milder taste, use squeezed (grated) ginger juice only.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 beet (raw or cooked)
  • 100 g strawberries
  • 1 orange
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp chia seed
  • 1 cup green tea

Preparation:

  1. Make 1 cup of green tea and let cool.
  2. Wash and peel all the fruits and vegetables and cut into bigger pieces.
  3. Put all the ingredients into smoothie maker and blend on the highest speed.

 

 

Baked cheese with cranberries, pecan and maple syrup

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These days we had our first snow this winter. If the Christmas wasn’t white, at least New Year will be. It will be cold they say. It doesn’t really matter. I managed -40ºc in Montreal last year. I fear nothing!
And this will be the first New Year after four years I’ve been spending it away from home. I am really happy and excited about it!

It’s funny how I never had the idea of organizing a good dinner before going to France couple of years ago. I like the idea of organizing a New Year’s dinner at home before going out. But the last thing I want is to spend my evening in the kitchen cooking, preparing plates and serving. So, do it yourself/themselves convivial dishes are a must.

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Baked soft french cheese such as Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers, Pont l’Evêque, Neufchâtel served with some good french bread (aka sourdough) is simple and cheap solution that needs only a trick or two to turn it into a most luxurious dish. And it will keep you away from kitchen, being able to hang out with your friends while spreading the soft cheese over your slice of bread, splashing it down with some good red, being in the middle of the action.

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It’s a recipe you can use in every season. Put on some mild olive oil and rosemary in the summer. Top it with figs and honey. Stick in couple of garlic cloves and thyme in the autumn. Or do as I did, being inspired by my travels to Canada: cranberries, pecans and maple syrup.

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Ingredients:

  • whole soft french cheese like Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers, Pont l’Evêque, Neufchâtel…
  • handful of dried cranberries + water to cover them
  • 3 Tbsp roughly chopped pecans (you can also replace them with walnuts)
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup (or use agave syrup instead)

Preparation:

  1. Roughly chop cranberries, cover them with water and cook over a medium fire to get a jam consistency.
  2. Unwrap cheese, put it on a sheet of baking paper. Top with cranberries, chopped pecans and drizzle with maple syrup.
  3. Bake in preheated oven at 180ºc for 8 – 10 mins.
  4. Serve with some good grilled bread and a glass of red wine.

Chocolate coconut nutella

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A healthier vegan nut free nutella. Coconut milk and chocolate. No added sugar. That’s about it! Love it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 400 ml coconut milk (emulsified, I used Vegalife)
  • 4 tsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 80 g milk chocolate (I used Balance Stevia by Klingele)

Preparation:

  1. Melt chocolate over water bath. Gently whisk in cocoa.
  2. Heath up coconut milk. Do not overheat. It just needs to have the same temperature as chocolate. Mix in the chocolate.
  3. Pour into jars, let cool and store in a fridge overnight. It will harden get spreadable consistency. Voilà!

Cranberry and pistachio oat cookies

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Cranberries and pistachios. Red and green. Christmas par excellence.

Ingredients:

  • 150 g rolled oats
  • 50 g butter or coconut oil
  • 1,5 tsp baking powder
  • 70 – 100 g water
  • 30 g peeled salted pistachios
  • 50 g dried cranberries
  • chocolate to garnish

Preparation:

  1. Roughly chop cranberries and pistachios.
  2. Finely grind rolled oats into a flour consistency.
  3. Mix oats and baking powder. Add butter (or coconut oil fi using) and evenly mix with hands. Add nuts and cranberries.
  4. Add water, mix and let sit. Oats will soak up. It it gets too dry, add a bit more water.
  5. Make small balls and form a thin cookie. Bake at 180º for 20-30 mins depending on thickness. Let cool and garnish with melted chocolate.

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