Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rasberry Glaze

I am always looking for quick, delicious substitutes for frosting! If I hadn't already mentioned it, I have an innate dislike of creaming butter and sugar. It started when I started baking, around 12 years old as far as I can remember. As the years went on, I just left off the frosting and cooked with oil.. NOw, with French husband who loves pastry & baked goods, kids and party cakes to make, leaving it off just doesn't cut it!

So when I was making a huge heart cake for the end of the school year party I stumbled across a most excellent idea... GLAZE. Thank you Fanny Farmer, my Gramma's and Mum's cookbook standby. Yes, sugar, but no butter. And SO EASY.

Confectioners powdered sugar (I make sure to have a whole box on hand to adjust viscosity)
hot water or juice or espresso of choice

Basic Method:
Heat the water or juice, take off heat before boiling.
Add in small amounts to however much confectioners sugar you choose. I usually start with about 1 cup for a regular sized cake. Until you reach the consistency you like. I prefer my glaze a bit thicker, but not spreadable, otherwise it al just ... glazes off and gets too thin.

If you get it too thick, add some more warmed water. If it gets too thin, just keep adding sugar!

In this instance I used raspberry juice. Usually I defrost about 1 cup of raspberries. Then smash them through a sieve so all the seeds stay in the sieve.
Heat the juice. Add slowly into the confectioners sugar as described above.

I have used this glaze on a HUGE heart cake, on 36 cupcakes decorated with sprinkles and one fresh raspberry. Usually on chocolate cake, Next time, I'll try and espresso version.... MMMMMmmmm

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pasta Risotto?

Yes, its true. Making pasta as if you were making risotto, but in 20 minutes, and without the cream. Although, it is pretty creamy. This is one of those magical recipes that tasted even better than it sounds. Where the sum of the ingredients is so much more than they are separate. It is , of course, from my favorite scientific cooking mag- Cook's Illustrated. Read on for the perfect spring feast.

3 medium leeks, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2 inch (5 cm), slices (about 5 cups); 3 cups dark green arts roughly chopped and put aside

1 pound (450gr) asparagus, tough ends snapped off, chopped coarsely and reserved; spears cut on an angle into 1/2 inch (5 cm) thick pieces

2 cups baby frozen peas, thawed
2 large clove garlic (or more if you love it!), minced
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
2 TBL (soupspoons) chopped fresh mint
2 TBL (soupspoons) chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp (coffeespoon) lemon zest PLUS 2 TBL juice from 1 lemon
6 TBL olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
1 pound pasta - with a shape- spirals, bows, squiggles, etc. the recipe calls for campanelle
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese, about 1/2 cup

Place dark green parts of leeks, asparagus tough ends, 1 cup baby peas, 1 minced garlic clove, and water into pot with vegetable broth, bring to a boil on high heat, then turn down and let simmer. Mince herbs and zest lemon into a bowl, mix.
Place sieve over a large bowl/cup and let drain while you prep the veg.
Make sure you have 5 cups, add enough water to get to 5 cups.

Heat 2 TBL olive oil in a dutch oven or large frying pan. Add sliced leeks and a pinch of seasalt. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown. Add asparagus tip until crisp, 4-6 minutes, then rest of garlic. Then last cup of peas. Warm through. Place veg mix on a plate.

Wipe out pan. Add 4 TBL olive oil, heat until shimmering. Add in all the pasta, and cook stirring often until all pasta is covered with olive oil and begins to brown. About 5 minutes. Add first cup of broth and stir until absorbed. Add rest of hot broth. Cook, stirring often until liquid is mostly absorbed. About 8 minutes, more if you are using whole wheat or whole spelt pasta.

When pasta is al dente, or cooked as you like it, take it off the heat. Stir in lemon juice, half of herb mixture, Parmesan cheese and veg mixture. Salt & pepper to taste. Serve right away, passing the Parmesan cheese and remaining herb mixture.

MMMMM... it's like eating a creamy veg pasta primavera without the cream, but with the creamy sauce sensation...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Best Black Beans - EVER

I have a history of loving black beans- Cuban style, Mexican style, you name the bean, I love it.
This week I finally decided that it was time really eat Mexican food again, and since I can't buy it in France, I'd have to make it. In the spirit, I decided to use a new recipe to see how it turned out. Rick Bayless' Everyday Mexican, is the MAN. I twisted one of his recipes to suit my ingredients and cooking options. It ROCKED! Even the kids were asking for more. Next time I will double the batch.
I am sure this recipe will work with dried garbanzo beans (chick peas), pinto (burlotti) beans or dried fava beans too.

Oven-Cooked Black Beans

2 1/2 cups (400grams) black beans, soaked overnight or all day, change the water whenever you rememeber.
2 Tbl vegetable oil
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
2 bay (laurier) leaves or dried avocado leaves
2 inch (10 cm) piece dried Kombu seaweed

Large Dutch oven (large cocotte)

Soaking and changing the water of the beans helps thier hard cover open and cracrack, getting thenm ready for sprouting. Doing this, and cooking with them with kombu greatly increases thier digestibility. No matter what anyone else says to me, this is years of my personal experience.

Pre-heat oven to 275F/140C

Place Dutch oven on stove on medium heat. Add oil. When hot, add chopped onions. Fry until transparent. Turn off heat.

Place kombu under the onions. Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Place on top of the onions and kombu. Fill with water until water level reachs apprximately 1 inch (5 cm) over the beans. Add the bay(laurier) or avocado leaves.

Place on stove at high heat and bring to a boil.
Cover and turn off heat.
Place in pre-heated oven.
Let slow cook for 2-3 hours. I always go out!

Remove from oven and taste a bean to make sure it is soft. Season with seasalt.
Note: NEVER add the salt before the beans are soft. If you do they will stay hard no matter how long you cook them!

Serve with creme fraiche or sourcream, chopped onions, chopped cilantro (coriander), fresh salsa or just some chopped up tomatoes and cucumbers!
You can have these as a meal, or as a side dish with chicken or pork, if you eat it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla-Coconut Frosting

This is by far been my best dairy free, sugar free chocolate cake recipe ever. And the frosting! To die for. No more too sweet, to rich buttercream. I knew there had to be a filler, a bit like a flour-milk base is the thickener for soup or salad. Full credit goes to me finally really looking at a book I bought years ago, The Vegan Cupcake, by I.C. Moskowitz & T. H. Romero. Two of the original cupcake heroines, before it became so trendy. I love this book as it still using the basic ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
Makes and Frosts 12 cupcakes.

Simple Chocolate Cupcakes

2/3 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup agave syrup
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use de-aromatized Sunflower Oil, or melted coconut oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour (I use white spelt, you can use whole spelt)
1/3 cups cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Mix soy milk with Apple cider vinegar in a large bowl and let sit 5 minutes to curdle.
TIP: If you are doubling or tripling the recipe DO NOT increase the vinegar in the same fold. DO NOT exceed 1 tsp vinegar. It works the same and won't make the cakes asidy tasting)

Meanwhile, line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Pre-heat oven to 325F/160C.

Into milk/vinegar mixture, beat in oil, agave syrup, and vanilla extract.
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Mix until smooth.

Fill liners 2/3 full.
Bake 20-22 minutes until a knife or toothpick put in center comes out with a very few crumbs on it. DO NOT over bake or they will be dry. If baking more than 1 tray at a time, be sure to switch the trays top/bottom-bottom/top after 12 minutes.

Let cool FULLY.

Vanilla-Coconut Frosting

This frosting is not quite as fluffy as a real buttercream, it has a creamy, custard like consistency. Make sure you cool the milk/flour mixture FULLY to ROOM TEMPERATURE, not cold refridgerator temperature, before you add the coconut oil, or you'll get... soup. If the mixture is cold from the fridge, it won't blend into the coconut oil properly and will look a bit curdled. Although it won't be curdled and tastes fine, and you will have a few small lumps of pure coconut oil in there. It happened to me today, and I could not get them out. I sent them onto my daughter's Pony Club anyway! Covered with a few sprinkles...

2 TbL white flour
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup margarine or butter or coconut oil (the margarine or butter makes it creamy-er, I usede all coconut oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup superfine sugar or castor sugar

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together flour and soy milk. Stir constantly until it starts to thicken, about 3-4 minutes. If you under cook or your frosting will taste like raw flour. Remove from heat and let cool 2 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap so the custard doesn't get that skim on top. Let cool FULLY, at room temperature. Do not refridgerate. It will take time. Therefore, I did this before I started making my cupcakes!

With a mixer, as coconut oil is pretty hard, cream together coconut oil, margarine/butter, vanilla and sugar. Watch out! When you taste this mixture it becomes addictive!

Then beat in the COLD custard. Beat with electraic mixer for 4-6 minutes. It should get lighter in color and have a very creamy texture, similar to very thick whipped cream.

Frost on cooled cupcakes and decorate as you love!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quinoa - The Super Grain

I have been eating quinoa, much to my joy, for around 15 years. One New Year's Eve we were celebrating with dinner at a friend's house in Amsterdam, they served "quinoa-the super grain" and ever since, those 4 words will forever be linked.

It is indeed a Super Grain. Higher in protein that other grains. No gluten. Delicious, Fast cooking. Can't beat that right? It even looks 'out of this world" as it looks like lots of little Saturn's... planets with rings! Well, so how can you cook and use it?

Cooking Basic Quinoa

1 cup quinoa, white or red
1.5 cups water

Place quinoa in a seive. Rinse long a well under cold water, swishing the grains around until the water runs clear. Quinoa can have a powder on it that tastes bitter and is acid causing. Nowadays I find the quinoa to be "cleaner" that 10 years ago, so I don't have to rinse it as long.

Place in a medium sized pot. Add water. Ratio is always the same so you can use any sized "cup" you have handy.
1cup quinoa : 1.5 cups water.

Add 1 tsp of seasalt.

If you have time, let soak as long as possible. If I remember I put this together at lunch or afternoon snack time when I am serving it at dinner, it can even soak overnight or all day. So you could prepare it before you leave for work and cook it when you get home (it only takes 15 minutes to cook!). And if you don't have time to soak, don't, just cook it. Flexible right?

Cooking: Bring to a boil on a large burned, high heat, uncovered. Once boiling, place on smallest burner, on low heat, covered. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Turn off heat. Let stand for a few minutes. Take off cover. Serve.

Serve with what?!
Any dish you would serve with rice- chili, curry, lentils, stews, etc.
Serve with sauteed spnch or swiss chard.
Serve mixed up or topped with with feta, tomato, avocado.
Just eat alone with olive oil and/or soy sauce, and a green salad.
With Olive Oil, seasalt and broccoli! (That makes a gret breakfast too!)
For a sweet feast, mix it up with some coconut oil/butter and/ or mash a banana into...

It really is that flexible, that magical, that easy....
Quinoa- The Vertible Super Grain!

This one's for you Sharon and Corbin! Happy New Year!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stir Fried Kale!

A meal of wild salmon and stir fried kale has to be one of my all time favorites. Cooking that meal always reminds of golden days in Golden, CO cooking with my brother Jeff.

Since I moved to France, kale has been pretty hard to come by. I found some for the second time in 3 years, of course the local organic farmer's market. Even they didn't have a name for it! Inspired, I will offer you my favorite cooking method.

As much kale as you can stuff into a paper veggie bag! It cooks down.
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
fresh ginger root
french tumeric (cucurma) root
garlic (optional)
1 medium onion. chopped small (optional)

De-stalk kale. I turn the laves over one at at time, and from the back side, cut down both sides of the stalk. You can do this step the night, morning or afternoon before to save time during that high demand dinner hour.

Heat a large frying pan, with high sides if possible, over medium high heat. Add 2-3 Tbl of sesame oil. Right into the sesame oil, add onion if using. Then grate a 1 inch (4cm) piece of ginger root, or more if you love it, and around the half that amount of the tumeric/cucurma root, as much garlic as you like, if using (I don't). Let simmer of a few minutes until it just starts to turn color.

Add all the kale, pack it into the pan. Let it fry a little and try to turn the pieces around moving bottom to top, etc. This can be a messy step. Don't be too picky about it. Add about 1/4 cup of water. Cover for 4-5 minutes. Check now and then, and stir. You will see that the kale starts to change color and gets really bright green.

Add 3-4Tbl of soy sauce. Less if you have a serving for 1. Let simmer, cover off, stirring for a few minutes. Taste. Add more soy sauce of necessary.

Serve as a bed for salmon, cod....
Even my kids loved it ... Well OK, one of them did...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Let's Talk About OILS & FATS.

In almost all my recipes, especially the baked ones, you will find that I almost exclusively use COCONUT OIL. For me, it is a magic fat. It bring the fullness of butter with a slight hint of nuttiness, sometimes making the end recipe even better than the butter version!. But why did I start using it? Which one to buy? How do you substitute it for butter?

Besides remembering all the whoo-haa around movie popcorn made in coconut oil when I was a kid, I was more recently introduced to coconut oil by The Cleansing Diva. Oh yes, she is that, and oh so much more. On my first cleanse in some years, she sorted me out about coconut oil. Not only is it NOT bad for your heart, it actually assists your body in pushes out the "bad" fats, the ones that "make you fat." So we were sauting in it and putting it in soup and smoothies. Finally, off the cleanse (Yes!) I could bake with it!

Coconut Oil is a saturated fat, so it is solid at room temperature. What got a bad rap those years ago was processed, hydrogenated coconut oil. "Hydrogenation" is the process that turns vegetable oil into a solid at room temperature. Whenever any kind of processing has taken place with a fat, it alters the molecular structure of that fat. As such it makes it near impossible for your body to process this odd molecular element. Thus you have the problem with all the negative publicity around "transfats." They are an unnatural molecular structure and , in thier case, seriously compromises the body's functioning. So, when eaten, the body covers this odd structure in fat and stores it on your body somewhere... hips, belly, thighs, love handles... you get the picture.

Seek out UNREFINED coconut oil. It is in its natural state, hard at room temperature, and a bit tropical smelling. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid whic also facilitates brain function and boost the immune system. It is this component that makes it different than other saturated fats. They are not all created equal.

Yo can substitute coconut oil for butter or vegetable or olive oil in any recipe. Just use 25% less as it has less water so is more concentrated. Also, you will have to melt it to use it. As it states in all the recipes here.

I haven't seen many pre made baked good using coconut oil .. YET. I imagine they will come, if we are willing to pay for them. It is highly stable. All my cupcakes, muffins, etc can last a whole week... when I hide them! When you are buying pre-made baked goods- READ TEH LABEL. Transfats are not labelled as "transfats." They are labelled as "hydrogenated vegetable oil," "rapeseed" or "canola" oil or "margarine". IF I buy a pre-made baked good, I look for butter.

Love Your Body*Know Your Mind!
Healthyfully Indulge.... everyday!

By the way, if you want to check out The Cleansing Diva, you can find her at
For other internal and external uses of coconut oil look at

Monday, March 14, 2011

Poached Pears

A simple, healthy dessert that sounds and looks... special.
You can upgrade it to an adult version by using red wine or Muscat wine.

500ml/2cups red or white grape juice/ or wine as above!
100gr/1/2cup raw sugar or maple syrup
2 Tbl/soupspoons lemon juice
4 Conference pears (if possible, but really any hard-ish pear will do) peeled, cored & halved
1 stick cinnamon (optional)
3 cardamon pods (optional)
2 anise stars (optional)

In a heavy sauce pan, bring grape juice or wine amd sugar/syrup to a boil. Add which ever spices you are using. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add lemon juice and pears. Cook for 10 minutes over medium low flame.
Cool and refridgerate.
Bring to room temperature. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or ice cream.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Extreme Banana Bread

This isn't just any banana bread. Its like eating a banana split, with out the ice cream of course. Then again, you could add that on the side! Its the intensity of the banana flavor that sets it apart, and the lack of sugar and cream and butter that make it actually light enough to eat, well, to eat alot!

The way the banana flavor is formed is a tip from my favorite cooking/baking authority- Cook's Illustrated. They test recipes as if they were in a science lab, tell you waht happens at each step so you can USE the knowledge elsewhere, adn then inject thier passion for flavor.

The trick is in the banana prep I will describe. But as I do not have, nor will ever have, a microwave, I freeze bananas in bags of 4-5. Then I defrost them in the bag, so to keep the juice that comes out, in a bowl of hot water. Quick and easy. The microwave version is below.

Extreme Banana Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour (I use spelt)
1 Tabl baking soda
1/2 tsp seasalt
4-5 large very ripe bananas (if possible, frozen then thawed)
1 large ripe banana for topping
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (cooled a bit)
1/2 cup agave syrup or maple syrup or rice syrup
2 eggs
1 Tbl vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips or nuts or both! or none!

Pre-heat oven to 325F/160C.
Prepare pan. Use either loaf pan or a 6 inch round spring form. "Paint" with some of the melted cocnut oil and dust with flour.

In large bowl whisk flour, baking soda and salt.

If you are not using frozen then thawed-in-the-sink bananas as described above.
Place 4-5 large bananas in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and poke in some steam vents. Microwave on high until bananas are soft and havce released liquid, about 5 minutes.

Now you who used frozen-thawed bananas can rejoin us...
Saving the liquid that has come out, place soft bananas in a sieve OVER a bowl and let the liquid drip out of them for 5-10 minutes. Then smash them down & stir around to get anymore liquid out. You should have 1/2 - 3/4 cups) Just use whatever you have.

Place bananas in another mixing bowl. Transfer liquid to a small sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup. About 5 minutes. Now mix that liquid into the smashed bananas, smashing some more until fairly smooth. Whisk in coconut oil, eggs, agave/maple or rice syrup and vanilla.

Pour banana mixture into the flour mixture. Stir just until all flour is wet. You can even still see a few streaks of flour in the batter. Gently fold in chocolate chips and /or walnuts of using. Pour into prepared pan. Shingle banana slices on top as you like. For a treat I sometimes put a bunch of chocolate chips on top too.

Bake 1 hour. until wooden toothpick comes out clean, but rememebr to poke all the way down to the bottonm-center.

Spicy Rice Pudding

As is often the case, I was in the mood for rice pudding one recent evening. I usually start cooking it just after dinner so it is ready when the kids are just in bed! They get their fiar share the next day!
In this version, I use the spices most often found in December baking. Others might recognize this as Pepernoten Rice Pudding. In anyway, it WOWed me.

For you Busboom-Maitland family.1 cup whole grain brown rice, rinsed (and if you think ahead, soaked as long as possible)
1/2 cup whole grain sweet rice, rinsed (ditto)
1 inch (5 cm) piece of konbu dried seaweed, optional
(this aids digestibility and adds lots of minerals)
1 can of coconut milk
equivalent of 1 can of soy milk
(or use another can of coconut milk or water if you don't want soy milk)
dash of seasalt
1/2 cup agave syrup or rice syrup or maple syrup (or more to taste)
1/2 - 1 vanilla bean

Spices- all are optional and should be used to your taste. You can add more during and after cooking but you cannot take any away! But be bold, the strenth wanes as it cooks.
3 Tbls cinnamon (canelle)
2 Tbl nutmeg (muscat)
1 tsp cloves (girofle)
1 Tbl ginger
1 tsp cardamon
1/2 tsp anise powder

Place medium size pan on smallest burner on lowest heat.
Place all rice & can of coconut milk in pot. Refill can from the coconut milk with soy milk, add to pot. refill again with filtered water, add to pot. Keep can on side to add liquid as you go if needed.
Then stir in all spices.

Keep on the low heat and stir in thre milk scum that rises to the top as often as you think about it. The less it is there the better. It creates a seal and cooks the rice as if it were in a covered pan and this is NOT how you get the right consistency. SO keep stirring it in.

After about 1/2 hour, check the spices and see if there is enough. Add if necessary. Watch the liquid level. You want it to stay with a "sauce" as when it cools it soaks back into the rice.

It takes a good hour or more to cook, be patient. Keep stirring off and on and keep tasting. It is done when the rice is soft.

To reheat, place in a pan with a bit of water. Stir it up and heat. The fat from the coconut will melt and go back into the rice pudding.

If it doesn't work out, write me!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Let's Talk about Health, Calories and Weight

So I was talking to a friend of mine today about weight. It was a discussion including adults and children. I mentioned that I hadn't weighed myself in over 25 years, and she said "Wow, you're lucky."

Funny, in relation to my weight or body size, I never thought so. Since my teens, I have always thought of myself as "the-chubby-one." But actually, right now, I am not, and haven't been for the last 8 years or so.

Back to our conversation. As we continued to talk she said that a nutritionist once mentioned that a child's snack should be around 50-70 calories. Again, I mentioned that I never count calories

So, what's changed since I was a teen? What's different on our experiences? Our stories?
It's true that I never look at the calories on a label, but I sure do spend time reading labels. So do my kids (8 and 5 years old) What do I read?
I read what is actually IN the product. Where is "sugar" listed because the closer it is to first the more sugar is in it. Are there any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils? Or vegetable oils (a tricky code for transfats)? Or soy lecithin?
What is the ratio between things that I recognized as food and others that I don't. It all seems daunting and impossible, but when you take the time, even ask your kids to look for some of these items, you WILL find brands, or products within brands, without all that, OK, I have to say it, CRAP.

When you eat food that is as close as you can, in that moment, come to a food in its natural form, you don't need to count calories. Your body knows what to do with the food you are putting into it. That means, it will tell you when you are full, and you will hear and eventually listen. Your body will tell you when a food isn't agreeing with you, and you will hear it and eventually you will cut down or not eat that food anymore because you won't desire it. I bet if you pay attention next time you eat someth8ing like that, you'll discover that it tastes great for a few bites and then slowly, you start to feel a bit, icky, then tired and sad... Try it and see.

Why? Our bodies are not fabricated by us. We are not 'man-made". So what our body knows how to process best is not 'man-made" but nature made. Personally, I go as far to bring this belief to my skin, the largest organ in our bodies. Anything that goes on it, goes through it, and goes in it. So almost exclusively, whatever I put on my body, if pressed, I could eat.

Fat is one way our body protects us from things it can't handle. It wraps it up in fat and puts it somewhere- hips, belly, legs, chin, etc. Take out part of the need for that protection- "man-made" food, and take away your body's need to make fat.

If you think about most 'diets," you spend your time simplifying what you eat. Usually down to clean proteins, vegetables, maybe some fruits and nuts. All nature made food.

Think about what you are reading for. Look for the real food. Eat your way to feeling great.

I'd love to hear your comments.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Onion, Mushroon and Feta Tarte Tatin

Basically this is a main course dinner version of the French upside down apple pie.
It can be vegan based on the kind of cheese you use, or if you use any at all. It can be "cheesed-up" is you use Stilton or a strong blue cheese.

As I retired vegetarian, I loved this dinner. My family... well, I recommend you serve it to older children with more varied tastes! I think I will keep it a a starter or for lunch with my girlfriends!

Onion, Mushroom, Fennel and Feta Tarte Tatin

1 puff pastry, defrosted and rolled out if necessary or made of GF recipe or use spelt
3 onions
2 large fennel
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups/12oz/200gr chestnut mushrooms
4 Tbsp/50gr roasted pine nuts
1 cup/250gr broken up feta or blue cheese
1/2cup/125gr ricotta cheese (optional)
sea salt &     pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180C/375F.
Line a large quiche pan with baking paper.

Slice onions into 6 wedges.
Take branches off fennel and slice of bit of the bottom. The slice into 6 wedges, like the onions.

Place olive oil in a large frying pan, saute onions and fennel, until onions are softened and lightly colored. About 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, break up your cheese into to smallish chunks. If using the ricotta, mix it with the chunks.

Add the mushrooms and salt. Saute for 5 more minutes, stirring now and then. Taste to adjust salt & pepper. Pour into the prepared quiche pan. press to flatten a bit. Spoon cheese over onion mixture. Cover with pastry, tucking edges inside/under.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until pastry in golden. I checked mine around 25 minutes and had to cover the pastry with a piece of foil as it was already golden brown.
let sit for 5 minutes before you turn it upside down on a large plate/platter.

Serve with a green salad....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chocolate Chip Brownies

Sounds decadent? INDULGENT even? It is! That's what this blog is all about. LOVING what you eat in all the senses of the word Loving it during the making, loving the eating, and loving how you feel after you have eaten it. This is a no-sugar, no egg, no dairy recipe!


Chocolate Chip Brownies

2 cups flour (I use spelt/epeautre)
1 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp seasalt
1 TBL + 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup soy milk
2 Tbl liquid vanilla extract
1/4 cup espresso or water

1 cups chocolate chips
1 cup roasted walnuts or almonds (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 325F/165C.
Oil a square baking pan.
In large bowl, combine all DRY ingredients.
In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together all WET ingredients.
Pour WET into DRY.
Mix until just blended.
Blend in chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

Pour into pan. Shake pan to make flat.
Bake for 20-30 minutes. Check at 20 min, when you really smell the chocolate. Then add on baking minutes slowly. They can easily go to overcooked.

Leave in pan to cool throughly. They longer they stay in the pan the more brownie-lke dense they will get.

Oh yes.... Sometimes, when i am in a really festive mood, I add a "Rocky-Road" kind of topping. In a small bowl I mix up chopped nuts, coconut, and cut up marshmellows and sprinkle on top after 15-20 minutes of cooking.

Gingerbread (Pain d'Epice) Muffins

This is an adapted recipe from on of the original whole gain baking books from the 80s - Uprisings. I have been inspired by their recipes for years, indeed I think I understood the art of recipe adaption from the wisdom I learned in this book.

Gingerbread Muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour (I use spelt/epeautre)
1/2 cup dry milk powder (I use soy milk powder)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 TBL ground ginger (more or less to taste)
2 tsp cinnamon (kanel)
1/2 tsp ground cloves (girofle)

2/3 cup molasses (sirop de melasse)
1/3 cup honey or agave syrup or rice syrup or barley syrup
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use de-aromatised sunflower oil)
1 egg
1 cup water

Heat oven to 350F/170C.
Line muffin tins with muffin papers.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Whip molasses, honey, oil, egg and water in another bowl or large measuring cup.
Stir wet ingredients into dry. DO NOT over mix.

Fill muffin tins 2/3.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. When you will smell their gingery wonderfulness, check them. Check them by touching one of the middle ones to see if they spring back.
Let them cool halfway in the tins, take out and finish cooling on a rack.

Great with Chai or Rooibos or well, anything.
Last time we made them my 8 yr old daughter sold them at the local park with lemonade! She made 14euro/$ that afternoon!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Chip Muffins

These are a AWESOME dairy free, sugar free, wheat free snack.
Makes 12-13 large muffins!

DRY Ingredients
1.5 cups whole flour (I use whole spelt)
2 cups white flour (I use spelt)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp baking powder
1+ cups chocolate chips

WET Ingredients
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup barley malt or rice syrup or maple syrup or agave syrup
3/4 cups soy milk
3/4 cups fresh pure water
2 Tbsp liquid real vanilla

PreHeat oven to 325F/165C.
Line muffin tins with paper liners or brush with oil.
In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients except Chocolate Chips.
In a seperate deep bowl or very large measuring cup blend all wet ingredients together.
Pour into dry and blend until just mixed. Do not over mix!
Then add the chocolate chips, blend barely.
Fill muffin tins until almost full.
Bake 20 minutes until golden brown.
Let muffins sit in pan until cool.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mexican Baked Eggs

I know this is straying from my typical ingredient list. But it is a great cold day,
I-want-to-cook easy and delicious recipe! I use it as a dinner food as we eat bread & avocado for breakfast.

Best is to use free range, organic (bio/AB) eggs. Yes, they do make a difference. You can even use only EGG WHITES to drastically cut down on fat and cholestral. Actually, I think it's better this way! If you do, substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg. I plan 2 eggs per person, including kids.

You can also substitute a jar or 2 of pre-made salsa for the tomatoes and green chilis for a truly simple, 10 minute prep meal.


1 large red onion, diced small (yellow or any other kind of onion works too)
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced or grated (optional)
2 Tbl olive oil for cooking
1/4 cup chili peppers sliced thin (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes or 6 fresh tomatoes, diced small
1 TBl cumin powder
6-8 whole eggs or 12-16 egg whites
salt & pepper to taste
1- 1.5 cups Monetrey Jack or Emmental grated cheese (to your liking)

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grease a 10inch/30cm baking pan. I like to use a glass Pyrex pan.

Heat pan on medium heat. Add olive oil. Saute onions and garlic until soft. About 5 min. Add cumin, chilis if using and tomatoes.
Pour into prepared baking pan.
Crack eggs on top, keeping yolks whole.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Top with grated cheese.

Bake for 15-25 minutes. Keep watch after 15 min as egg yolks can quickly go from soft adn gooey to hard and over cooked.

Serve immediately with a large green salad.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Moroccon Veg Stew

Serve with couscous.


2 Tbl olive oil
2 med-lg red onions
4 lg carrots cut in 1 inch/5cm pieces
2 large potatoes cut in 1nch/5cm pieces
1 small butternut or "potimarron" pumpkin squash cut in pieces
1 small eggplant/aubergine, cut in pieces
1 med courgette/zucchini, cut in pieces

4 Tbl ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp ground coriander or cardamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground anise (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Salt & Pepper

3 cups veg or chicken broth (low/no salt)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chick peas, rinsed well

In a large Dutch oven (Cocotte) or heavy-bottom pot, heat oil over med-high heat. Saute onions until soft. Stirring occasionally. 5 minutes or so.

Add spices and cook until you can smell them, about 1 min.
Add carrots, potatoes and pumpkin/squash, salt & pepper. Stirring until the begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add broth and tomatoes until veg are just covered. Taste and season with salt & pepper.
Bring to a gentle simmer & cook, uncovered for 20 min.

Add eggplant/aubergine and courgette/zucchini. Stir to combine. Cook about 20 min until tender.
Stir in chickpeas, taste & seasona gain with salt & pepper if needed. Cook until chickpeas are warmed through, about 5 min.

Serve with couscous or rice. Top with freshily chopped coriander if desired.