Autumn, falling leaves and vibrant colours

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The last thing published was some half year ago. I was gone for a while, trying to finish my studies. I was too close to quit, but just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s when a friend whom I haven’t seen for ages told me “you’ll make it, but you’ll really have to work your ass off this summer.”

I gave up all my hobbies (and of course accidentially got into some new ones) and finished my both masters. I did it. I was happy, but there was a bitter taste of that feeling of time lost. Winter turned into spring, spring into summer, summer into fall. I suddenly had no memory of things that happened in between. I did not feel, I did not see the beauty of the change. I was lost.

Few days ago I was walking down the street and realized that trees have dropped all of the leaves. Looking at the gray misty sky, I felt a soft, colourful, leafy carpet under my feet. I made a deep breath. I could smell winter. And I realized I started to feel myself again.

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Sweet potato and pumpkin soup

Ingredients (serves 3 – 4):

  • 1 sweet potato (400g aprox.)
  • 1 big hokkaido squash
  • 2 big shallots
  • 500 ml milk
  • 150 ml cooking cream
  • water or vegetable stock as needed
  • salt, pepper
  • oil for baking
  • nutmeg
  • 400g oyster mushrooms
  • half garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 200g tofu (I used ginger carrot tofu from I Like Tofu)
  • 100g buckwheat noodles
  • fresh parsley
  • pink peppercorns

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven at 220ºC. Wash, peel and cut sweet potato, squash and shallots. Transfer on a baking tray, sprinkle with salt and oil. Bake until soft (aprox. 40 mins).
  2. When baked, combine all the vegetables, milk and cream and blend until smooth and creamy. If needed, add some water or vegetable stock (depending on the thickness you prefer). Transfer on stove and heat up by stiring. Add some nutmeg, ground pepper and salt, if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, cut tofu and mushrooms. Heat some oil in two seperate pans. Stir fry both separately. Add some salt, pepper and chopped garlic to the mushrooms.
  4. Heat the water and cook the noodles.
  5. Serve the soup in a bowl, topping it with some noodles, mushrooms and tofu. Sprinkle with pink peppercorns and fres parsley leaves.

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Chocolate pancakes and the best homemade nutella ever

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Woop Woop! Happy new year people!

The end of the year’s been really busy. But the more the end is approaching, crazier it gets. And December has been mad. Studying, visiting Astoria vineyards and Italy (more on that soon with some great local recipes!!), sparkling festival in Portorož, Christmas with my family and NY’s with best people ever!
This year started crazy good 🙂

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And this year also started with snow… So my promise of making a december giveaway winner’s favourite chocolate recipe came in handy. Chocolate pancakes, coffee and white snowy mornings. Perfect.

 

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Chocolate pancakes

Homemade nutella + hazelnut butter

Ingredients:

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oven at 180°C vent. Put the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for couple of minutes, until the skins are cracked and darken.
  2. Take out of the oven. Rub the hazelnuts in between two kitchen cloths. The skins should get off easily. Transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth and liquid.
  3. Divide the hazelnut butter in two jars. Here you are: you’ve just made a jar of hazelnut butter. Proceed with the other jar to make nutella.
  4. Melt both chocolates, mix with cocoa powder and add to hazelnut butter. Mix well to combine all ingredients.

Pancakes (makes aprox. 5 – 6 pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 15 g buckwheat flour
  • 30 g brown wholegrain rice
  • 20 g coconut flakes
  • 25 – 35 g of any milk
  • 9 g butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sweetener of your choice (I used Perfect Fit)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Preparation:

  1. Using a coffee grinder, grind wholegrain rice and coconut flakes. Mix all the dry ingredients. Whisk egg and milk, than mix in. Melt butter and add to the pancake mixture. Let rest in the fridge for 15 mins.
  2. Meanwhile,  take chocolate nutella. Place a sheetof baking paper on a cutting board. Make six nutella discs (1 tsp each) and put into the freezer.
  3. Take the pancake mixture out of the fridge. If it’s too thick, add some milk. Take the frozen nutella discs out of the freezer.
  4. Heat the pan to medium, grease with oil and add a tablespoon of pancake mixture. Immediately add a chocolate disc and cover with some more pancake mixture. Repeat with the others.
  5. Eat right away and if desired, add some hazelnut butter.

 

Sometimes all you need is a piece of pie. And not the best photo.

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There are days when you’re just an emotional wreck and the only thing you wish is to stay in bed for the whole weekend. Well, this is what my weekend looked like. It was slept over. And in those rare moments of awakeness, all I was longing for was a good piece of pie. Chocolate pie. So I made the pie. And I didn’t care a bit about taking any proper photos. Sorry. Sometimes it’s just more important to get your hands on that pie.

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As I’m about to publish this, all my worries away, I’m guessing this chocolate therapy has really helped. I’m celebrating. Sipping a glass of chilled bubbles. Enjoying the last piece of pie. Smiling. I’m not done with my studies yet, but I just made a huge step forward. Cheers to that!

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CHOCOLATE CHESTNUT PIE WITH PEANUT BUTTER AND SPECULOOS CRUST

Ingredients*

for the crust:

for the filling

  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 300 g chestnut puree
  • almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
  • 5 Tbsp cognac
  • 1 Tbsp sweetener (I used sucralose)
  • 100 g dark chocolate (60 % min)

for ganache

  • 65 g dark chocolate (60% min)
  • 50 g liquid cream or coconut milk
  • 1 big Tbsp raw cocoa powder

* By using any vegan cookies and replacing butter for coconut oil, and liquid cream for coconut milk you will get yourself a VEGAN version! 🙂
** You can also use speculoos cookies instead. I used Balance cookies because they are sugar free. And if you replace them with any gluten free cookies, you will have a GLUTEN FREE pie.

Preparation:

  1. Crumble the cookies in the food processor. Add butter or coconut oil for vegan version. Pulse until well combined then gradually add some almond milk (just to get the dough sticky enough to combine all the ingredients). Place in a pie mold and spread evenly. The best would be using a mold with removable bottom.
  2. Chestnut chocolate cream: mix chestnut puree or peeled cooked chestnuts, 1tablespoon of cocoa powder, 5 tablespoons of Cognac (at least!), sweetener of your choice and some almond milk into a smooth puree using a food processor. Add as much almond milk as needed to obtain a smooth and solid (not liquid!) cream.
  3. Melt chocolate over a double boiler and add to chestnut cream. Mix well using a food processor.
  4. Spread peanut butter over the pie crust. Add chestnut chocolate cream and spread evenly.
  5. Melt some chocolate and liquid cream or coconut milk plus one big tablespoon of cocoa powder over a double boiler. Add on top of the pie.
  6. Let cool and place the pie in a fridge overnight.

Buckwheat pie with beets and red onion – GF

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Buckwheat pie with beets and red onion

Ingredients:
dough:
• 375 g buckwheat flour
• 125 g butter
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp baking powder
•5 to 6 Tbsp water

filling:
• 4 to 5 red onions
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• salt
• 2 Tbsp butter
• 2 Tbsp balsamic glaze (or aged balsamic vinegar)
• 2,5 dl red wine (like cabernet, merlot)
• 400 g raw grated red beet
• 1 big garlic pod
• 3 eggs
• 40 ml cooking cream
• 70 g feta
• fresh thyme
• salt, pepper
• handful of walnuts
• feta, fresh mint and thyme to garnish

Preparation:

  1. Dough: mix flour, salt and baking powder. Add cold butter cut in cubes. Mix evenly with fingers. Add water. Kneed and form a ball. Place in the fridge for at least an hour.
  2. Chop onions. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil, add chopped onions and stir fry for 1 – 2 mins. Add salt and continue stirring. Than add butter and balsamic glaze. Cover for couple of minutes and continue cooking. Start adding the wine, but not all at once. Keep sauteing until wine has evaporated and onions softened.
  3. Grate raw beets. In a big bowl mix grated beets, sauted onions, chopped garlic, eggs and cooking cream. Add feta and thyme. Salt and pepper according to taste.
  4. Take the dough out of the fridge. Roll out in between two sheets of baking paper. Remove the upper sheet of paper and transfer the dough to a pie mold. Bake in preheated vent oven for 5 mins at 190 °C.
  5. Take the dough out of the oven, add the filling and garnish with feta and walnuts in the middle. Put back in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 mins at  190 °C.
  6. When baked, garnish with fresh mint and thyme.

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This recipe was made 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.

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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 🙂 ).

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. 🙂

Three ingredients, three cakes

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Every year round the first of November I pack my bags and head to Budapest to a swing dance event called Lindy Shock. This one has been 6th in a row for me! Unfortunately I don’t get to see the city that much because I’m mostly going through a cycle dance-eat-sleep. What I do get to see is that mysterious part of the day when the sun has not arisen yet, but it’s bright enough to see those grayish mists rising from the river up the city walls. There is something magical in those early morning hours when the city is waking up and all you see are those lost souls from yesterday’s party returning back home… suddenly I realize I smell winter. Clean. Sharp. Cold.

So yes, I’m in need of something cosy and warm. From Italy. And I run by this classical italian (or should I rather say Piemontese) dessert. It’s called Torta di nocciole:

  • 200g toasted hazelnuts
  • 200g sugar
  • 4 eggs

Three ingredients. Minimalistic. Simple.

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No butter needed and I’m replacing sugar with mashed bananas. It’s lightly sweet, but I find it just perfect. I’m making two versions of this. One is with almonds the other with roasted hazelnuts. Both work well, it’s up to you to decide. The one with almonds has a mild taste and is perfect for spreading some cinnamon butter on top. Thanks to roasting the nuts, the hazelnut version has more pronounced and rustic taste and topping it with some coconut cream is pure delight. Or, you can always try the original recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 200g almonds or roasted hazelnuts
  • 200g bananas (without peel)
  • 4 eggs
  • vanilla pod (optional)

Toppings:

  • butter + cinnamon + maple syrup
  • coconut cream & roasted hazelnuts

Preparation:

  1. For hazelnut version, put hazelnuts on a baking sheet and oven roast at 200ºc until lightly brown (If you want, you could do the same with almonds, but that’s optional).
  2. Ground the nuts into flour consistency using a food processor. Add bananas and pulse several times. Than add egg yolks and vanilla and mix on the highest speed until you get a smooth consistency.
  3. Beat the egg whites, than add one third at a time into the banana mixture. Do not over mix.
  4. Bake at 180ºc until lightly brown (it took me aprox. 25 mins, but the time depends on the oven).
  5. Let cool and top with cinnamon butter or coconut cream and sprinkle with some roasted nuts.