Buckwheat banana snacking cake: A one-bowl wonder

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One of the most challenging things to adjust to when embarking on an elimination diet is having to avoid gluten. It’s used in everything and found everywhere. Baking at home can be a bit more challenging as you will need to incorporate several extra ingredients to compensate for the lack of gluten. Extras may include xantham gum, arrowroot powder, potato starch, etc. The chemistry behind it can be challenging to even the most seasoned pastry chef.

For this recipe, the ONLY flour you will need to use is buckwheat. That’s it. No sifting, and mixing of compatible flours to create moistness and integrity. It all comes together nicely without having to use 4 different flours. No lie. It’s easy-peasy and I really love the wholesome flavour that buckwheat imparts on baked goods. The bananas in the recipe add moistness, without making the cake too sweet. The flax “eggs” that I used in lieu of the eggs, also create a lovely textured cake that is neither dry nor crumbly. In essence it’s a cake that I plan to make again for it’s simplicity and delicious flavour.

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Gluten-free banana buckwheat cake (adapted from powerhungry.com)

1  1/2 cups buckwheat flour

3/4 cup coconut sugar (or whichever sugar you want to use)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1  3/4 cups VERY ripe bananas, mashed with a fork or pureed in a food processor ( I placed my bananas in a mini food processor and whizzed them to create a creamy consistency)

2 tbs flax meal & 6 tbs water to make flax “eggs” (or 2 whole eggs)

2/3 cup sunflower oil (or a neutral tasting oil)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans – if using (Toast pecans on baking sheet for approx. 5 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep a careful watch as they can burn quite easily).

(Note: you can also add chocolate chips to this recipe if you like. I skipped the chocolate because for me it’s an inflammatory ingredient).

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square pan. I used coconut oil.

Mix all the dry ingredients together  in a bowl (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt)

Add in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, one at a time starting with the oil, then the flax eggs, the vanilla extract, then the mashed bananas and finally the chopped pecans. (You can also reserve a few chopped pecans and sprinkle them on top of the cake.) Mix everything in the bowl well until incorporated.

Pour the cake batter into the greased pan. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon or a spatula. (At this point you can sprinkle a few pecans on the top of the cake if you like.)

Pop the pan into the oven for approx. 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick or a skewer comes out with only a few crumbs. Remember this is a moist cake so it will show crumbs on your toothpick. That is totally ok. Don’t continue to bake the cake thinking it is still raw.

Remove the cake pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut into squares and enjoy! It tastes equally nice as a warm cake or as a cold cake the next day. I had a piece for breakfast the next day and it was sublime.

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Coconut Split Lentil Stew: kick that deep freeze in the butt

The weather has been exceptionally COLD lately. Like really, REALLY, painfully cold. I get it. We live in Toronto, Canada. It’s supposed to be cold during winter. The best way to counteract the cold weather is to dress warmly, with layers and layers of clothing, thick socks, a winter coat, snow boots, a hat, a scarf and gloves or mittens. It’s not rocket science. Another way to deal with this extreme cold is to eat warming foods like this creamy, coconuty, gingery split lentil stew.

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Just as an aside, I  didn’t follow a recipe. I sort of made this stew up as I went along and I added things that I already had in my kitchen. Feel free to use what you like in terms of vegetables and also what you have on hand. You can add diced potatoes, zucchini, peas, whatever. I’m following an anti-inflammatory diet so I chose ingredients that I know will agree with me.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups orange split lentils (rinsed)

3 – 4 carrots sliced into coins

3 – 4 stalks celery sliced

2 – 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 small purple onion, roughly chopped

small knob of fresh ginger about 1 tablespoon, roughly chopped

3/4  to 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (plain)

1/2 cup of coconut manna or 1 cup coconut milk

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 tsp sea salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 to 3 cups boiled water for cooking lentils (I find cold water slows down the cooking process)

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, carrots and celery together with the olive oil. Cover with lid for a few minutes to sweat.

When the vegetables have sweated after about 4 – 5 minutes, add the ginger and the pumpkin. You may also need to add some (about 1/2 cup) of the boiled water to this mixture to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the base.

Continue to cook, gently stirring. At this point you may also add the salt and turmeric. Also,  lower the heat a bit. Now proceed to add approximately 3 to 4 cups of hot water and add the lentils. The lentils will absorb much of the liquid in the pot so you want to make sure there is enough water for them to cook completely.

Put the lid back on your pot and continue to boil the stew at a slightly lower temperature than earlier to avoid scorching the base of your pot. I find that things can stick very easily once the lentils have been added.

Allow the lentils to turn mushy and then add your coconut manna or your coconut milk. You can use whichever you have on hand. The manna melted like butter into the stew and developed a creamy consistency. Note: If you add coconut milk, you may want to refrain from adding too much water to your lentils in the earlier step (above). You don’t want your stew to get too soupy.

And that is it. Take a spoon to taste a bit of the stew when you feel it is finished. Make any flavour adjustments. Add more salt if you like or more coconut milk. Give everything a good stir. Remove from heat when the lentils have turned mushy and the veggies are soft.

Enjoy the warming and nutritious effects of this hearty stew.

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cuckoo for coconuts: triple coconut granola

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A few months ago, as I was browsing the aisles of a gourmet food shop I discovered coconut sap sitting on the shelf in the baking section. I was so intrigued by it, I brought a bag home with me. … Continue reading

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forgot to take a photo: the best chicken & rice dish ever

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This is one of those times where I have to apologize in advance for the lack of food photos. I made a saucy chicken dish with sticky Japanese rice the other day and was so riveted in shoveling the food … Continue reading

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in search of freshness: baked fish, the Greek way

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Living in Toronto means having access to all kinds of great food and fresh produce, both imported and local. The only issue I have is with accessibility to fresh fish and seafood. We are landlocked and because of this we … Continue reading

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unpretentious baking: raspberry jam thumbprint cookies

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I’ve been hearing about Gwyneth’s book on the blogosphere for a while and resisted the urge to reserve it from the library.  I thought it was another ‘celebrity-come-cookbook-writer’ trying to put themselves on the map after years of disappearing from Hollywood to … Continue reading

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when life gives you corn, make corn tortilla pie

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This past week I embarked on a new diet regimen. I started eating gluten-free. You see, I have been experiencing a myriad of body aches with muscle and joint pain, along with fatigue and brain fog. Numerous sessions of physiotherapy, … Continue reading

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