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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Chocolate, dried fruits and nuts. And it’s vegan.

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Panforte di Siena: the italian medieval energy bars. That’s what I read somewhere. It really made me laugh and I said let’s give it a try.

Its origins date back to 12th century. It’s a really sweet dessert made with candied fruits, almonds and spices with couple of variations. Traditionnaly, it’s serverd at christmas time. You can read more about it here, but the site’s in italian.

Christmas or not, my recipe’s an all timer. No sugar, dates and honey instead. Dried fruits and nuts. Some spices and that’s it. Bake it, let it sit 2 or 3 days and you’ve got yourself some yummy energy bars or a great cake to serve along coffee.

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Ingredients:

  • 120 g almonds
  • 75 g unsalted peeled pistachios
  • 75 g roasted hazelnuts
  • 75 g candied orange peel
  • 75 g dried apricots
  • 120 g dates
  • 45 g agave syrup or honey
  • 25 ml vode
  • 230 g chocolate (vegan)
  • 75 g spelt flour
  • 35 g corn starch
  • 30 g coconut oil
  • peel of one orange
  • 1,5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1,5 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven at 180ºc. Oven roast the hazelnuts for about 10 mins or until golden brown (hazelnut peels should be cracked). Let cool and remove the peels.
  2. In a bowl mix all the nuts, candied orange peels and roughly chopped apricots. Add flour, corn starch and all the spices.
  3. Make date paste by using hand mixer or a mortar: roughly chop dates, than add water and honey. Mix into a smooth paste.
  4. Melt chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler. When melted, add date paste and orange peel.
  5. Add chocolate mixture to the nuts mixture and combine.
  6. Lin cake tin with baking paper and bake at 180ºc for 20 – 25 mins. Cool down and let sit for 2 – 3 days.
  7. Garnish with dried fruits, nuts, chocolate or cocoa.

 

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

Chocolate coconut wreath

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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.

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 🙂 ).

Oven baked orange pistachio donuts

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Since I remember, working with materials, transforming the mass and creating new shapes was my thing. Probably that’s why I was so hooked by ceramics. I was doing it for quite some time and enjoyed it a lot. I always liked that magic feeling when you get to transform your idea into something concrete, real, into a form that has a new meaning… But at a certain moment I actually stopped doing that. That was a mistake, but I haven’t yet said the final word! That’s for sure.

Maybe that is why I like working with dough so much. I actually didn’t realize this until I got myself a new oven. Yes, I’ve had it for two weeks or so now 🙂 Dough is an absolutely amazing thing! It all begins with a messy sticky shapeless something, but then you fight it, you stretch it, you knead and eventually you get a nice and soft shiny ball. Not to mention the final result… 🙂

Mardi gras and carnival time in Slovenia are somehow special. Actually, the only time I did not celebrate it was when I was in France. We always do masks and there is a huge party. Oh yes, and donuts.

So this is how I got myself into this business. I haven’t really eaten donuts for quite some time now. My gran, who makes like the best ones ever (!!!), lives a bit too far away to have them fresh, and a day old, well, they’re not quite the same anymore.

I wanted to make a healthier version of her recipe which goes like this:

500 g flour
5 egg yolks
50 g sugar
50 g butter
40 g fresh yeast
1,5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp spiced rum
peel of 1 organic lemon
1 vanilla sugar
250 – 300 ml milk
oil for frying
apricot jam for filling
icing sugar for garnish

After preparing the dough, which is pretty much the same as described in my recipe, make 60 g balls and let rise. Heat the oil at 60ºc – 70ºc. Fry 3 mins on one side with the lid on, than turn the donuts and fry another 3 mins with the lid off. Warm up the apricot jam and fill the donuts using a confectionery bag or a syringe with a long nozzle.

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I did not want to fry them, so I tried the oven option. The donuts turned out just great, but had more of a brioche texture. But as far as the taste goes, I got it right. And filling them with clementine jam was like heaven!

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Ingredients:

dough

  • 200 g white flour T400
  • 125 g wholegrain spelt flour
  • 110 g pumpkin puree (from hokkaido)
  • 20 g fresh yeast
  • 25 g agave syrup
  • 50 g soft butter
  • 30 – 50 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1,5 Tbsp spiced rum
  • 3 egg yolks
  • peel of ½ organic lemon
  • 1/3 tsp salt

garnish

  • 100 g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • unsalted pistachios
  • peel of 2 organic oranges
  • clementine or orange jam

Preparation:

  1. Cut pumpkin in half, drizzle with some neutral oil and bake at 200°C 30-40 min or until softened. Let cool and puree using a hand blender.
  2. Prepare the yeast: mix 20 ml warm milk, 1 tsp of agave syrup and yeast.
  3. In a large bowl mix the two flours and salt.
  4. Using a hand mixer, mix softened butter at the highest speed, than gradually add agave syrup and egg yolks. In the end, add lemon peel, vanilla extract and rum.
  5. Pour the egg mixture, pumpkin puree and yeast into the flours. Mix with a wooden spatula until combined. Add more milk if needed.
  6. When ingredients well combined, start kneading. The dough should be firm, but flexible. Add more flour or milk if needed. The starch needs some time to get activated, so in this first phase the dough will be pretty sticky. It should start getting the right texture after 8 mins of kneading. If it still is too sticky and too soft, add little flour. Flour your work surface and now knead as you would any other dough. In the end you should get a firm and silky ball of dough.
  7. Let rise and when it doubles in size knead once more. Form small balls of 40 g each and let rise. Turn once while rising.
  8. Preheat oven at 180°c (classic heating up+down) and bake 20 – 30 min.
  9. Using a confectionary bag or a syringe with a long nozzle fill the donuts with a warm jam as soon as you get them out of the oven.
  10. Melt the chocolate and the butter over a double boiler. Pour over the donuts and sprinkle with some crushed pistachios and orange peel.

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.

 

 

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!

Kissingers: a healthier version

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Kissingers. My grandma has been making them since I remember. There isn’t Christmas without them. No one in our family actually knows where my grandma got the recipe or why they’re called that way. So as far as I managed to find out, they’re originally from Bavaria, Germany.

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Anyway, this is my healthier version, but for my grandmother’s sake I’m also adding an original recipe:

150 g wheat flour (white)
150 g ground hazelnuts
150 g sugar
100 g butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg

apricot jam
chocolate and hazelnuts to garnish

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Ingredients:

  • 185 g wholegrain spelt flour
  • 150 g ground hazelnuts
  • 60 g agave syrup
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g dried apricots
  • juice of 1 big orange
  • 60 g dark chocolate (70%)
  • ground hazelnuts to garnish

Preparation:

  1. Mix flour, hazelnuts, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add butter and combine evenly with your hands. Whisk egg and agave syrup. Add to flour mixture. The dough will be rather soft. Form a ball and let sit for 20-30 mins in a fridge.
  2. Roughly chop apricots, pour over orange juice and mix with hand blender to get a jam consistency.
  3. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it in-between two sheets of parchment paper to 4 mm thick. use a round cookie cutter or a jar to cut out circles.
  4. Bake at 180ºc for 12 mins or until golden brown.
  5. Let cool. Make cookie sandwiches by spreading apricot jam in-between the two cookies.
  6. Melt chocolate and dip in the edges. Immediately roll in ground hazelnuts.
  7. Leave cookies in a tin box for at least two days before serving & eating.

 

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