Well I can't believe that the summer holidays are over and the kids are all back at school! It's not been much of a summer, although we have made the most of it! We are now the proud owners of an old classic VW Camper Van called Bruce and I just love him. Its so much fun, its like camping but all nice and cosy with a pull out cooker, a really comfy bed, an excellent cool box and loads of storage for all our stuff.
I have decided to extend my holidays until October to make the most of Bruce before the weather changes and the nights are shorter! I'm so good to myself!
We are going to a 3 day Festival in Inveraray at the beginning of September which I'm most excited about!
I'm also heading back to Wales to another Vegan Cooking Retreat run by my cool dude buddy Lee Watson of Peace & Parsnips fame, my favourite vegan cookery book!
So lots to look forward to and enjoy, lucky me!!
I have a blessed life indeed.
So back to sharing some healthy recipes with you lovely people!
Another of my healthy obsessions is cookery books and the latest addition to my collection is;
Veggie Desserts and Cakes by Kate Hackworthy
so for my first blog post in a while I thought I'd share a really simple recipe from her book.
I love veggies and eat shed loads of them so this book appealed to me big time!
I think we are all familiar with Carrot Cake, but this book takes the use of veggies in cakes to new levels! Parsnips, beetroot, cauliflower, kale, peas, sweet potatoes, aubergine, spinach, swede, and sweetcorn all get a mention!
I'm all for using sweet veggies in cakes but I'm yet to be convinced by cauliflower and kale!!
I once made a chocolate and cauliflower cake for the BBC Kitchen Cafe Programme which I was a guest on. The very smell of it was awful and was not improved by the most luscious chocolate frosting. I couldn't even try it, the cauliflower smell was so strong and off putting! Maybe I just used a particularly strong cauliflower but I thought at the time that some things are just wrong and cauliflower and cake is one of them!! So needless to say I won't be trying that again!
On the plus side, there are many lovely recipes to try, so I thought I'd start with these Beetroot Seedy Squares! I'm a big fan of beetroot and always have a few vacuum packs in the fridge.
I adapted the recipe a bit, I used half the amount of beetroot and rolled them into balls instead of cutting them into squares. Beetroot although sweet has a strong earthy taste which can be overpowering and I didn't want to make a whole batch then discover that no one liked them! I can't stand waste so I played it safe and I'm delighted with the results. These wee bites are a lovely colour so I decided not to roll them in seeds or coconut. I like them bare!! The beetroot flavour is very subtle and perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the dates. Mixed seeds, ( I used sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and linseeds ) add texture, loads of good fats, protein and minerals, oats contain soluble fibre and dates are just packed with everything a body needs!
So these wee nutrient dense power bites make a delicious healthy snack at any time of day or when you feel in need of an energy boost!
Also great for packed lunches and hungry kids!!
So overall verdict for these wee bites is a big thumbs up! Next on my list are Pea and Mint Cupcakes, Sweet Potato and Pecan Blondies and Cucumber and Lemon Cake with Gin Icing!! I was sold at the Gin icing!!
Kate also has a blog which is well worth checking out.
So here is her recipe, slightly adapted...
BEETROOT BLISS BITES
Makes 25 wee bites
Happy Pancake Day everyone! I've been busy recently running healthy eating sessions and Big Cook Little Cook sessions with parents and kids at St Bartholomews in Castlemilk.
It's so rewarding seeing kids excited about cooking classes and to be honest kids are far more likely to eat something if they have made it themselves!
I've been trying out lots of new fast, simple, kid friendly recipe ideas. The limitations are we only have an hour to prepare, cook, eat and clear up, the school have very limited cooking equipment and we have 7 kids with a parent at each session, all keen to do some hands on cooking!
A big saving grace was a couple of mini ovens I bought from Aldi for £10 each, they are so good and perfect for wee mini pizzas!
I have to do a fair bit of the old Blue Peter, here is one I made earlier!!
So far we have made Lentil Soup, Soda Bread, Mini Face Pizzas and Berry Smoothies!
Next session is tomorrow and I'm contemplating either mini filo pastries with apple and cinnamon and veggie fillings or these rather awesome pancakes!
I did an earlier banana pancake post using only banana and egg but for most kids its a bit too eggy, so when I came across this recipe I was immediately excited to try it!
This one has the addition of oats and the eggs are separated, the whites are whisked which makes these light and fluffy.
Anything which avoids added sugar and white refined flour gets my vote, as do these lovely pancakes!
These would be fun to make with your kids at the weekend when time allows for a more leisurely breakfast! Added sliced fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey adds a lovely natural sweetness. These would also be lovely served with some ice cream! These are also a great way to use up over ripe bananas!!
So without further ado, here is the recipe!
BANANA OATY PANCAKES
Ingredients - makes 8 pancakes
....your health in your hands....
Mince pies are odd things. You wouldnt be alone if you believed they actually had mince in them! The mincemeat is actually diced dried fruits and peels mixed with spices and often some brandy.
This a lighter take on the classic. Why add sugar to dried fruit when it is already very sweet?! The filling is very simple and tastes like christmas in a bowl! I chose to make a gluten free oat crust which is very lightly sweetened with maple syrup. Its a bit fiddly but has a lovely crisp texture and doesnt feel like a stodgy lump as many pastries do!
If the pastry is a bit too faffy you can easily use ready made shortcrust pastry or follow this recipe for a simpler non-gluten free option.
makes 12 tarts with a bit of filling to spare. Keep in a jar in the fridge and try as a decadent festive porridge topping!
200g dried fruits (I used apricot, fig and cranberries but really any dried fruit would work)
50g nuts (almond, apricot, brazil, pecans, walnuts etc.)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 small pear, chopped very finely or grated
1 small apple, chopped very finely or grated
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
optional: 2 tbsp chcoclate chips
note: pastry is rather crumbly but very nice and crispy!
180g jumbo oats (certified gluten free if necessary)
20g dessicated coconut
4 tbsp oil (rapeseed, sunflower or neutral tasting olive oil)
4 tbsp cold water, more as needed
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
Place a heaped tbsp of filling into each case then top with a star. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool in the muffin trays before carefully loosening each pie with a knife and sliding out on to a plate or into your mouth. Up to you. Heat them up in the oven again before serving if you like, for extra crunch. Dust with icing sugar for extra festive cheer.
...your health in your hands...
Gingerbread biscuits just remind me of Christmas! When the girls were young, they all loved baking and biscuits are just the best fun to make. From mixing and rolling the dough to choosing what shape to cut, we always had a huge selection of cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes which we have collected over the years, and still use.
The brilliant thing about home made biscuits is they just taste better and you can have fun decorating them with icing and faces and patterns.
This recipe makes a small army of delicious festive figures, probably around 50 but they will keep very well and make lovely gifts- everyone loves home made biscuits!
You can easily halve the recipe if you would like to make less.
The dough is very soft and its way easier to work with if you chill it overnight in the fridge, although a few hours will suffice, if you are short of time!
The biscuits are lovely and crisp with a nice gingery flavour so go and get your festive pinny on and have some fun in the kitchen!
Here is the recipe....
I'm very honoured that Laura, my 15 year old daughter and awesome vegan baker, is allowing me to share her recipe for the most delicious carrot cake ever!
She made this one for her dad for Fathers Day, at his request, its his favourite cake!
I've always been a fan of carrot cake but sometimes its just dry and unappetising, but not this one!
Its deliciously moist, sweet, flavoursome, packed full of nuts and seeds for a bit of crunch and oodles of minerals, good fats, vitamins and antioxidants.
The wholemeal flour provides fibre and minerals. The carrots also provide fibre and lots of vitamins.
The flavour is enhanced by mixed spice and cinnamon, which helps insulin do its job of mopping up sugar from your bloodstream so you don't end up with a sugar rush. The fibre and protein from all the nuts, seeds and carrots also slows the rate at which the sugar hits your bloodstream.
So all in all this cake has a lot going for it!!
I do think that putting veggies in cakes is a genious idea, courgette and lime, beetroot brownies, sweet potato and chocolate cake! These are all great but I did make a cauliflower and chocolate cake a few months ago for the BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe and that was just wrong on every level! Cauliflower is just bitter tasting and totally overpowers any other ingredient. It also smelled awful, just like cooked cauliflower! Why anyone thought it was a good idea is beyond me!
Anyway back to the totally right on every level carrot cake!
Admittedly it is a special treat cake and not one we have regularly and yes it does contain sugar but in my opinion that is balanced out by all the good stuff!
The recipe makes a large cake which you can cut into 10 slices but we are greedy so usually cut it into rather big slices, 8 is our normal!
I do hope you give it a go the next time you have a celebration coming up or just fancy treating yourself or impressing your friends!
I'm convinced it will become a family favourite!
Please let me know what you think, if you try it, by leaving me a comment! It's lovely to know that folks are trying out my recipes and I value any feedback!
Here is the recipe..
BEST EVER VEGAN CARROT CAKE
2 cups (300g) of plain wholemeal flour
1 cup (150g) of brown sugar
3 cups of grated carrots, about 4 large ones
1/2 cup (50g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (75g)raisins or sultanas
1/4 cup (35g) of pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup (35g)of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of nuts (35g), chopped, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts all work well
1 teaspoon cinammon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup of sunflower or olive oil
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g icing sugar
100g vegan spread
zest of an orange
1/2 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
.....your health in your hands.....
There is nothing nicer in my opinion than a nice slice of delicious home made cake with your afternoon tea and this one fits the bill perfectly!
It's another recipe from the awesome Lee Watson of TheBeachHouseKitchen and one of the many delicious cakes we sampled on the Vegan Retreat!
Gluten free cakes tend to be more dense and flatter than cakes made with wheat flour, especially when they are also egg free, but with so many folks sensitive to gluten then this cake is a perfect treat without the associated digestive issues!
This cake is Almond and orange but I'm just not a big fan of almond flavour and I detest marzipan! I used to be horrified by those wee baskets of marzipan fruits when I was a kid, just uugh...
However I do love almonds for their texture, flavour, versatility and health benefits, of which there are many so I'm not averse to using flaked almonds as decoration on my cake! If you love almond flavour then go ahead and add almond extract to the cake as well. Seems to be another love it or hate it flavour!
On the other hand, I love oranges and orangey flavour so I added a whole big orange AND some orange extract. On our recent holiday to Portugal there were orange groves everywhere with the most delicious, sweet and largely seedless oranges falling by the roadside! The photo in this post was one of our morning haul of oranges and wild flowers for the table. Foraging for food just makes me happy, delicious food for free and no pesky plastic packaging to dispose of!
Laura made the most delicious wee sponge cakes on holiday with foraged oranges and local honey and eggs. They were neither gluten free nor vegan but they were moist, delicious and just yummy!
I love using local and seasonal ingredients, its so much fun. We also had loads of fresh rosemary growing in our garden and Lee did suggest that dried rosemary would be an interesting flavour to add to this cake, so if anyone tries it could they let me know. 1 teaspoon was the suggested amount!
A few interesting ingredients in this cake you may not have used before in baking. If you are gluten intolerant or coeliac then you may have used gluten free flour, Doves Farm do a good selection but they are quite expensive, in comparison to.......
Gram flour which is made from chickpeas, one of my favourite foods and packed with all sorts of nutritional goodies! Its also known as Besan.
Its really cheap, I bought a 2kg bag from Asda for £2 and its really versatile.
Apart from being gluten free, its extremely high in protein and fibre. 1/2 cup contains 10g protein and 5g fibre.
It has all the associated health benefits of chickpeas, contains calcium and magnesium in perfect ratio, high in folate, essential for healthy pregnancy, loads of B vitamins, iron and selenium along with a good array of other vitamins & minerals, so its definitely worth using!
Here is another way to use it in a Savoury Pancake
The other unusual ingredient in this cake is Polenta which is made from corn and a lovely yellow colour. Its also gluten free and contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals. I also use it instead of breadcrumbs as a crunchy coating on veggie burgers.
Again most supermarkets sell it, mine is from Lidl. make sure you buy the quickcook polenta, not the readymade one which is sold in a block!
The glaze is optional but gives the cake a lovely sheen and makes the flaked almonds stick so fairly essential in my opinion!
This cake has a fairly dense texture so you can serve it with some soya cream or whipped coconut cream to lighten it up!
So here is the recipe Enjoy......
ORANGE & ALMOND POLENTA CAKE
Ingredients - makes 8 to 10 slices
60 g polenta
130g gram flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
large pinch salt
100g light brown sugar
50 ml olive oil (or other mild tasting oil like sunflower)
90 ml non - dairy milk (soya is good)
1 large orange (peeled and blended to a liquid)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or honey
1 tablespoon orange juice plus some zest
......your health in your hands.....
I love bread fresh from the oven and this bread is delicious. It's so simple and doesn't involve any hanging around for hours waiting for the dough to prove and its yeast free, so all good!
I made this for lunch at the weekend. I had just made some lovely watercress and pea soup and wanted some bread to go along with it, so this fitted the bill perfectly.
It's all mixed in the bowl and only requires 5 minutes of kneading and 35 to 45 minutes in the oven. I just slashed the top of the loaf into rough quarters which I then served in big rustic chunks! You can just shape the loaf into a round shape, then serve it in slices if you prefer!
I buy all my flour from Locavore and I used a mixture of organic rye flour and strong white flour and the bread turned out perfectly, with a wonderful texture.
Wheat is heavily sprayed with pesticides so its most definitely worth buying organic flour for your home baking. See organic blog post for more details here
This bread was one of the many we tried at the Vegan Cooking Retreat so again big thanks to Lee Watson at the beach house kitchen for the recipe.
The recipe is vegan and uses soya milk but you can use organic dairy milk if you do dairy.
I'm off to Portugal for a wee family holiday tomorrow, with hopefully lots of sunshine, great food and moderate amounts of exercise! We have our own pool although I don't think its heated so not sure how much swimming I'll be doing. but I'll be doing some yoga and possibly running!
I will return feeling wonderfully relaxed and raring to go with new workshops and lots of new ideas for the blog! That's positive thinking right there!!
If you haven't made bread before then this recipe is a great place to start. I hope it becomes a regular part of your repertoire!
So here is the recipe
SIMPLE SODA BREAD
500g strong wholewheat flour (use 200g strong white flour and 300g wholewheat flour for a lighter loaf)
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
150 ml plant based milk ( soya is good)
2 teaspoons vinegar
200ml warm water
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
I love Easter, its a time of new beginnings, lighter nights, gardening, wee lambs, snowdrops, crocuses, and of course lots of yummy food!
What's not to love....?
Easter is a great time to get together with family and friends. Most folks have some time off work and students return from Uni for a wee rest and some decent food ( well most of them do! )
Personally I love any excuse to spend time with family and friends and as anyone who knows me, knows that good food is a big part of any gathering at our house!
I'm sharing the recipe for the most delicious, decadent, chocolatey, gooey, fudgey, chocolate cake and its vegan, so egg and dairy free!
We had this cake, along with countless other delicious sweet treats at the Vegan Retreat and I will get around to sharing more of the recipes, as I try them out!
I can't pretend its healthy but hey we all need a treat every now and then and this cake fits the bill brilliantly and it is a celebration cake after all!
A perfect way to impress your family and friends this Easter with a fabulous home made cake, which I'm sure if you try it, will become your go to recipe for a celebration cake!
This recipe makes a large cake and it's very rich, and will keep for around 5 days in a covered tin, though I seriously doubt anyone would have the willpower to resist a second slice of this so be warned, it's seriously moreish!!
I would have decorated my cake with edible flowers if I had any but sadly I only have one pansy at the moment! On second thoughts I will put it in the middle of the cake and put mini eggs around the edges, though feel free to decorate yours whatever way you want! Grated chocolate, chopped nuts, orange zest would all work well.
So to recap this cake is sooo good we could hardly wait for it to cool so we could devour it! That's why the mini eggs are a bit skew-wif, the icing was still a bit warm!
It's moist, chocolately, gooey, fudgey, intense, moreish, and did I say chocolately, yes very chocolatey.........
Yum, yum, yum.........! Please give this a go, its seriously the best chocolate cake I have ever tried, vegan or not.
Happy Easter everyone and big thanks to my twitter buddy Lee Watson over at TheBeachhousekitchen for this fantastic recipe! In my haste to make this cake, I read the directions wrong and added the chickpea flour to the dry ingredients, instead of the wet ingredients. Luckily it didn't seem to make any difference and the cake was absolutely delicious, so don't fret if you do the same.
Note to self, read the recipe before you start!!
Here it is.
DECADENT CHOCOLATE CAKE
Ingredients makes 1 large cake (10 to 12 slices)
225g white flour
2 tablespoons chickpea flour (gram flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
80g cocoa powder
300g dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
375ml hot water
75g non dairy spread or coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
150g dark chocolate
75g coconut oil
50g light brown sugar
60 ml cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
....your health in your hands....
I've just returned from a fabulous trip to Krakow with my brother David. It's such a cool city, beautiful buildings steeped in history, lovely friendly people with so many bars and restaurants and its so cheap!
Well worth a visit!
After spending the previous week at Trigonos in Wales at a Vegan Cooking Retreat stuffing myself with the most delicious vegan food, thanks Lee! I didn't have high hopes of finding any decent plant based food in Krakow, a big meat eating country!
But I'm very happy to say I was wrong!
After a bit of research I discovered quite a few vegan restaurants and a few offering a decent selection of vegan food.
Our favourite was Krowarzywa Vegan Burger Restaurant, so good we went twice! Such a simple concept, they only sold vegan burgers, five different types with a choice of two rolls, 5 different sauces, all served with pickles, sprouted seeds and crisp organic salad leaves!
The restaurant was really busy both times we went, not surprising since the burgers were absolutely delicious and only cost about £2.75!
Admittedly David and I were the oldest there, the clientele was mostly cool student types! Although I did tell everyone I met in Krakow to go there!
They also had the most delicious chocolatey, fudgy vegan brownie which I had to sample twice, just to make sure it was as good as I thought it was, it was!!
So on my return I decided to make my version of those wonderful burgers. This is rather a long post since I decided to go the whole hog and make my own rolls too and vegan mayonnaise to go along with them and I have to say they were damn good!
Forgot to mention I discovered I really like gherkins, which are small lightly pickled cucumbers with dill which are delicious and add another flavour dimension to the burgers. They are fairly high in sugar and sodium but since you only need a few slices, I reckon they are well worth it. They actually contain fibre, are a good source of Vitamin K and have small amounts of other vitamins and minerals so there are a few benefits. I also served homemade sauerkraut with my burgers which is a great source of probiotics and sweet potato is a great source of food for gut bacteria so its a great prebiotic. So that pretty much covers all the bases! Some caramelised red onions and some lovely relish or beetroot slices and coleslaw would also be great accompaniments.
Had my good friend Elaine and God daughter Chloe over for lunch on Sunday and they declared the burgers the best they'd ever had!
I hope you try them, you can cheat and just buy rolls but the vegan mayo is well worth making, its delicious and so easy!
Happy cooking and baking.....!
SWEET POTATO ROLLS
I've made these rolls a few times and they are just lovely, a beautiful colour, lovely texture with a hint of sweetness from the sweet potato.
Admittedly making bread and rolls can be a bit time consuming and a bit messy, with sticky dough and flour everywhere (well maybe that's just me, I am a bit messy in the kitchen!)
Anyway its well worth the effort to make these and impress your friends and family. You need to allow an hour for the dough to rise and 30 minutes to bake them so it's a good idea to make the rolls first, then you can get on with the burgers and the mayo!
The next time I make these I'm going to use Laura's Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook!
Spelt flour tends to make the dough a bit stickier so although I needed the dough for about 10 minutes it was still a bit sticky so I just added a bit more flour and left it to rise. I left mine in the oven on a low setting and it doubled in size in about 45 minutes.
A good tip for kneading dough is to put a tiny bit of oil on your hands to stop it sticking to you! ( thanks Lee for that very useful tip!)
So here is the recipe
SWEET POTATO ROLLS
Makes 12 small rolls or 8 bigger ones!
SWEET POTATO & BEAN BURGERS
I have a bit of an obsession with sweet potatoes, I just love them. I mean what's not to love?
They are delicious, they are on the Clean 15 List so low in pesticide residues, packed with fibre, a great food source for our gut bacteria, great for our skin due to the high levels of beta carotene and offer anti inflammatory benefits too. They are also so versatile and simple to cook. In fact one of my favourite meals is a baked sweet potato with hummous and caramelised red onions with a big green salad!
Anyway I digress, back to the burgers! You may have guessed that one of the main ingredients is sweet potatoes! Kidney beans and veggies are the other ingredients with flavour provided by tamari, tahini, tomato paste, paprika, garlic and sea salt! I have made these burgers for so many people, they are one of the dishes on my Back to Basics workshop and I have yet to come across someone who doesn't love them!
I generally steam the sweet potatoes which takes around 10 to 15 minutes depending on how small you cut them up. If you are making the rolls as well then you can just cook all the sweet potato at the same time.
You can either use breadcrumbs or polenta, for a gluten free option.
The burgers are baked in the oven so no faffing around at the last minute with hot oil and a frying pan (not a good combination in my opinion!)
You can make these in advance and just keep them in the fridge or alternatively you can cook them and then freeze them. I often serve them with oven roasted potatoes with a few salads or steamed greens. They also make a great filling for pitta breads or wraps.
Here is the recipe
SWEET POTATO & BEAN BURGERS
Makes 8 medium sized burgers
I'm all for reducing waste so this vegan mayo recipe uses the bean water, which otherwise would be thrown away. Its known as aquafaba and has similar properties to egg, I've used it to make deliciously light and airy chocolate mousse, recipe here.
This mayo just tastes like standard mayonnaise and is great for vegans or those with an egg allergy. I added crushed garlic and some mustard to mine which gave it a delicious flavour and it was so creamy. I used my hand blender and a jug and just gradually added the oil to slowly emulsify it, as you would do with normal mayonnaise. Don't be tempted to add all of the oil at once as it probably won't work and you'll be left with a thin oily dressing instead of thick, creamy mayonnaise!
Wee point to note, if you cook your own beans and chickpeas and use bicarbonate of soda in the water, that liquid won't work in this recipe.
Lee tried it on the retreat and it didn't thicken. Also sometimes the liquid from tinned beans can be a bit thin, you really want it the consistency of egg whites. All brands are different but I've tried beans from Lidl and Asda and they have been fine.
Here is the very simple recipe!
Makes about 3/4-1 Cup
Our lovely burgers from Krakow!
I don't know anyone who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked bread!
Any bread will do and it always tastes better than shop bought stuff, which is generally full of additives and does nothing for your health!
I bought some lovely organic Ciabatta flour from Locavore a few weeks ago, along with organic rye flour and spelt flour. I'm always full of great intentions of baking bread every day but reality kicks in and sadly I don't get around to it as often as I'd like.
Now I'm no ace bread baker and like the majority of us, I like a nice simple recipe that doesn't involve lots of kneading, proving and rising time, but these resting times are actually essential and lots of things start happening, given some warmth and time, all important for the flavour and texture of the finished loaf. . Kneading is a vital step in bread making as it develops the gluten in the flour which gives the bread structure. You can however cheat and just use a mixer with a dough hook if you are fortunate enough to own one!
Commercial breadmaking is all about producing the cheapest loaf in the shortest possible time. Time means money after all and the more loaves that can be produced, the happier the producers are.
So more salt gets added for flavour, which would develop naturally given enough time! More yeast gets added, along with flour improvers, assorted enzymes, emulsifiers and preservatives to achieve the desired rise, texture and shelf life.
Again these things would happen naturally, given the right conditions and enough time, without the need for added chemicals!
Interestingly I came across an article a while ago about gluten and its effect on the gut, which can cause bloating, IBS type symptoms and general discomfort.
A questionnaire asking people with gluten sensitivity found that the majority of them could eat bread on holiday without symptoms, especially in Mediterranean countries where the bread is generally baked fresh every day, without additives or preservatives, and given enough time to prove and rise naturally.
So it could actually be all the additives in commercially produced bread which cause digestive issues. Have a look at the label the next time you buy bread, the list of ingredients is shocking!
So, on that note, if you always suffer with digestive issues after eating bread, then try making your own with good quality natural ingredients.
Always use organic flour for baking since wheat is one of the worst crops for pesticide residues,, check out my organic blog post. Also spelt flour has gluten with a different structure so its generally easier to digest and worth switching to.
So back to the baking, this Foccacia bread is delicious and since I've been craving a bit of sunshine, warmth and signs that spring is coming, I decided to add some Mediterranean flavours to the bread, to remind me of summer!
A wander round the garden yielded some lovely smelling rosemary and thyme so along with some dried oregano, sun dried tomatoes and a good dollop of pesto, my recipe was complete.
You could add some sliced olives, fresh basil, caramelised red onion and garlic or some chopped walnuts. I'll definitely be making this again and will share any good combinations I try.
I guess this bread would be just as nice with just some coarse sea salt and herbs and along with some quality oil will taste delicious.
Jenna made this bread with all ciabatta flour and used the mixer with the dough hook, resulting in light and fluffy bread.
I used 2 cups ciabatta flour and 1 cup of Spelt flour and kneaded mine by hand which gave a denser loaf which was still utterly delicious. We scoffed it last night with some lovely pasta!
So whatever method you choose, and whatever flour you use, your bread will smell and taste delicious, especially served warm straight from the oven and is sure to impress your family and friends!
I really hope you give this recipe a go, it's really possible to make the most delicious bread without too much effort and its miles ahead of shop bought bread! A perfect treat for the weekend!
I will be sharing lots more bread recipes as I try them so watch this space...
I have a brilliant simple flatbread recipe which I'll share soon...!
So here is the recipe...
Makes 1 large loaf
.......your health in your hands.....
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.