Gluten Free Granola

April 3, 2015

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I love having a healthy breakfast in the morning. Generally, how it works with me, how I start my day food wise will determine what the rest of my day will be like. For instance if I start the morning off with a croissant I’m screwed, if I start the day off with a healthy juice I’ll end up having chicken and veggies for dinner instead of pasta. Therefore a healthy breakfast is of upmost importance to me.

Buckwheat is a wonderful gluten free seed with a lovely crunchy texture. It is full of important nutrients like B vitamins, iron, magnesium, boron and calcium, and is highly alkalizing.

This mixture lasted me a week and I loved combining it with yogurt and fresh berries or simple snacking on it straight from the jar during the day.

xxx
Enjoy EJ

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unroasted buckwheat. (Not toasted kasha buckwheat.)
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 raw, sliced almonds
  • 1/4 raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberies
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of raw honey
  • 3 heaped table spoons of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

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Method: 

1.) Soak you buckwheat for 5 hours. You don’t want to soak it for more then 7 hours as it tends to get mushy and won’t roast nicely.Once soaked drain your buckwheat in a baking sieve.

2.) Once you’ve soaked and drained your buckwheat preheat your oven to 150 degrees celsius.

3.) Next mix your buckwheat, walnuts, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds and cranberries together in a big mixing bowl.

4.) In a separate bowl melt your raw honey and coconut oil. (This step is only necessary if your honey and coconut oil are hard.)

5.) Pour your melted coconut oil and honey over your buckwheat mixture and mix well.

6.) Once mixed add the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix in.

7.) Spray your baking tray with some Cook n Bake to preheat your granola sticking to the tray.

8.) Spread your mixture evenly over the tray and place it in the oven to bake for 10-20min.
I highly suggest staying nearby to watch your granola as it can burn very quickly depending on your oven.

9.) Once it looks like your granola has turned a little golden, place it under the grill for 3min to get a little crunchier.

10.) Once cooked take out it out the oven and allow it to cool down.

TIP: Consol/Mason jars make the best storage containers for this delicious granola.

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Photographs by me.

LEMON POUND CAKE WITH LEMON POPPY SEED BUTTERCREAM

January 2, 2015

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I baked this cake for the first time for last years Mother’s Day and have been wanting to share it on the blog since then. This cake is pure perfection!

I love simple cakes, cakes that don’t try too hard and that’s what’s so great about a single layer cake that’s only frosted on the top and not the sides. No fuss. Just a deliciously lemony pound cake with a thick layer of creamy frosting. Don’t hold back on the frosting!

Little warning, it’s called a pound cake for a reason. The base shouldn’t be light and fluffy but rather dense and moist. Careful not to over bake as it’ll dry out fast.

Afternoon tea anyone?

xxx
EJ

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FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod discarded (or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • splash of milk or cream as needed for consistency
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

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DIRECTIONS: 

1.) Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Grease a 25cm non-stick pan. Make sure that the cake pan has high sides.  Set aside the greased pan.

2.) In the bowl beat the butter until pliable and soft, about 1 minute. Preferably for an electric beater. 

3.) In a small bowl toss together sugar and lemon zest using the back of a small spoon.  The sugar will become moist and super fragrant.

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4.) Add the sugar to the butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Mixture will be pale in colour.

5.) Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Beat in the vanilla extract once all of the eggs are mixed in.  The batter may look curdled.  That’s ok!

6.) Add the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Beat on low speed until almost incorporated.  Add the lemon juice and beat to combine.  Stop the mixer and finish combining the batter with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Scrape down the bottom of the bowl to make sure you’ve completely incorporated all of the ingredients.

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7.) Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth.  Allow to bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

8.) To make the frosting, cream together the butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Add a splash of milk or cream for a thinner consistency.  I prefer my buttercream not too thick as to not tear the cake when frosting.  Once you get your consistency where you’d like it, beat in the poppy seeds.  Add a touch of yellow food die if you’d like.

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9.) Spoon and spread the buttercream over the completely cooled cake.  Don’t worry about frosting the sides.  Leave them bare.  Allow the cake the rest in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.  

TIP: Cake will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.  

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The Best Cupcakes in New York City

November 6, 2014

On my three-month stay in New York City I made it a mission of mine to discover and try as many different cupcakes as possible. From Downtown to Uptown you name the bakery, I’ve tried it.

I judged the cupcakes on the following criteria:
– Texture: Was it moist or crumbly.
– Frosting: Was it smooth and fluffy.
– Flavour: Not too sweet.
– Appearance: Does the cupcake taste like it ‘reads’

These were my top picks 🙂

George Town Cupcakes:
If cupcakes were sex, these would be them! Georgetown Cupcakes hit a home run in all criteria’s: Fresh, firm and moist cake. Creamy, smooth, fluffy icing which wasn’t too sweet and a selection of classic and adventurous flavours. Not to mention every day they give away 100 free cupcakes, all you got to do is follow them on twitter and see which flavour they giving away and name it. Simple. Yes the queue is long and it’s kind of touristy but a definite must try never-the-less, cupcakes cost $3.00.
111 Mercer Street, New York NY

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Little Cupcake Bake Shop:
The Little Cupcake Bake Shop was the first place I had cupcakes at in New York and I loved it. Though after trying a couple of other spots I’m not that impressed anymore. The cake was a little dry and crumbly though the frosting was something exceptional and so was the ambience. A cupcake will set you back $3.50.
30 Prince Street New York, NY

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Molly’s Cupcakes:
I happened to stumble upon Molly’s at midnight with a couple of girlfriends one Friday night. Instead of trying the simple vanilla cupcake the staff recommended I try the creme brûlée cupcake. I wasn’t 100% convinced by this boring looking cupcake but I love creme brûlée so I went ahead and ordered myself one and was pleasantly surprised. The top layer of the cupcake was crispy and made a crunching sound when I bit into it and the centre was filled with a gooey vanilla bean flavour exactly like a creme brûlée dessert. I’m not sure about their other flavours but this one was pretty damn good. Prices range from $2.25 to $3.75 for a cupcake.
228 Bleeker Street, New York NY

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Sugar Sweet Sunshine: 
A cupcake from Sugar Sweet Sunshine tastes exactly like a homemade cupcake from your childhood, nothing fancy but pretty tasty. Some may say the frosting is a little too sweet. Though I will say their banana pudding is delicious! Also if you looking for a bargain cupcake look no further, $2.00 for a large, $1.00 for a small.
126 Rivington Street, New York NY

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Buttercup Bake Shop:
A friend of mine and I cycled up to Buttercup after brunch one Sunday for a little treat. I was pleasantly surprised by this humble little bakery. It opened in 1999 and has been around way before the ‘cupcake craze’ started. Simple and delicious. Though $3.00 for a cupcake was a little too steep for my liking.
973 2nd Ave, New York NY

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Tribeca Treats: 
Tribeca’s cupcakes were, mostly speaking, tasty but nothing to get excited about except for their red velvet. It had a proper cheesy cream cheese frosting which many red velvet’s seem to lack. A cupcake costs $2.00.
94 Reade Street, New York NY

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Amy’s Bread: 
Another cupcake that reminded me of my childhood. Tasty with very unassuming flavours. For $2.95 I’d rather try somewhere else.
Multiple locations

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Spot: 
One of my favourite dessert spots in New York City. Noting simple and unassuming about these cupcakes, even the simple vanilla cupcake has a twist. The taro and green tea flavour are definite winners. I do suggest skipping dinner and heading straight to this Japanese dessert bar and ordering a mix of cupcakes and a chocolate green tea lava cake. $2.75 is definitely worth it for one of Spot’s large cupcakes bursting with flavour. I was even caught chewing my cupcake wrapper I enjoyed the flavour so much.
13 St. Marks Place, New York NY

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Magnolia Café:
What a let down. With everyone raving about Magnolia’s and declaring them the best cupcakes in New York City a visit to them was definitely on the list but boy was I disappointed. They are by far the worst cupcakes I had in New York. Not only were they the worst but they were also the most expensive cupcakes at $3.50! The cake was crumbly and could barely keep together and the icing tasted like pure margarine. I went back a second time hoping I’d just got a bad flavour the last time and was let down yet again. Sex in the City may of made this place famous back in 2000, but 14 years later it definitely ain’t the same.
401 Bleecker Street and W. 11th Street New York, NY

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Butter Lane:
Butter Lane was the second place I tried and highly recommended by my boyfriend, Justin, from his previous visits to New York City. I enjoyed being allowed to choose my cake base and icing topping. The icing is smooth and fluffy and not too sweet. A cupcake costs $3.25.
123 East 7th Street, New York NY

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Chikalicious Dessert Bar:
When I say best vanilla cupcake ever, I mean it! This cupcake was fluffy was a spongey texture to complement it… not to mention the perfect amount of sweetness. A cupcake her will set you back $2.50.
 203 E. 10th St., New York NY 10003

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All in all I loved my cupcake adventure around New York but I’m really sad I never got to try Baked in Brooklyn. Apparently they take number one spot and the queen of all cupcakes… Guess I’m just gana have to plan another trip to New York and find out myself 🙂

xxxx
EJ

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Guilty Free Banana Muffins

October 15, 2014

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I have two major food weaknesses, one sugar and two carbs. I love carbs so much so that my family eventually nicknamed me the “Carb-Queen”.

It’s because of my addictions that I am constantly trying out new gluten free recipes, this way I get to satisfy my carb craving without the bloating.

I had some overly ripe banana’s lying around so I decided to try out a new banana muffin recipe. They came out super tasty for a gluten free, sugar free treat.

Sneaky tip, the muffins are great with your morning tea/coffee or take them to work for a guilt-free treat.

Enjoy!
xxx
EJ

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INGREDIENTS: 

  • 3 overly ripe bananas. As in almost black bananas.
  • 1/4 cup honey or rice malt syrup.
  • 2 TBS melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup COOKED quinoa
  • 1/2 gluten free flour. I used coconut flour.
  • 1/2 shredded coconut
  • 1/2 ground, gluten free oats.
  • 1/4 chai seeds
  • 1/4 ground almonds
  • 1/4 ground walnuts
  •  1 tsp baking powder

DIRECTIONS

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. 

2.) In a large bowl mash up the bananas and mix in the honey/rice malt syrup, coconut oil and vanilla essence.

3.) Next add all the other ingredients and mix together well. If the mixture is too dry add a little milk/rice milk.

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4.) Spoon the batter into a greased  muffin tin or individual cupcake holders.

5.) Add any additional toppings to your muffins. I added banana slice and cacao nibs.

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6.) Bake them in the oven between 15-30min. Depending what consistancy you what you muffins to be. Just make sure you check them every 5min with a toothpick so they don’t burn.

7.) Allow them to cool down and enjoy with a cup of tea or milk… guilt free.

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Photo’s by yours truly…

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