Friday, 30 May 2014

Almond butter!

I have a thing for nut butters. I feel that the taste is enhanced and the smell, oh, it is amazing!

Following my very very favourite homemade peanut butter, I wanted to experiment with other nuts (well, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes, but you know what I mean...).

Almond butter

2 cups almonds roasted (bleached, with skins, whatever...)
a pinch of salt
2 tsp stevia

* Put everything in your mixer and blitz.
* It may take some time and it will look coarse before the oils start being released.
* Hang in there...
* When it is creamy, stop and taste. Adjust for sweetness and blitz a little more.
* Put it in a jar.
* Don't look for excuses to open the jar...

(Imagine adding a little melted chocolate to this mixture.....)



Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Daring Bakers - May 2014!

Our host this month was Renata from Testado, Provado & Aprovado!. As she is from Brazil, she chose a traditional recipe for small cheese bread bites: PÃO DE QUEIJO.

The best part? They are gluten free!

The recipe calls for tapioca starch or potato starch, both of which I couldn't find here in Athens. So, Renata suggested that I could use potatos.

I played around with the idea and I followed the recipe for fake Pão de Queijo, using dried instant potato mash and corn starch.

Fake Pão de Queijo
recipe adapted by me

50ml milk
45ml water
15 gm butter
100 gm corn starch
100 gr instant dried potato mash
3 gm baking powder
salt, pepper and paprika to taste
70 gm grated graviera cheese
1 egg
3 tbsp olive oil

* Preheat oven to 180°C.
* Boil the milk, water and butter together.
*In a bowl, mix the potato mash, the corn starch, salt, paper, paprika and baking powder.
* Pour the hot milk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir.
* Add the egg, olive oil and cheese, stir until well combined.
* Make little balls with lightly oiled hands and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
* Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes.
* Serve warm or cool.

 They have a nice warm color. Underneath they are baked a little more, so the bottom is crunchier.

I kept some dough and warmed the toaster, made a dough pattie and baked it for a minute or two.
Fantastic, because it is even crunchier!

Soft little balls of cheese heaven with a litlle bit of crunch and spice (from the paprika)! My husband loved them so much, I had to make another batch!

I wonder, though, how we could make them sweet!? I do have a sweet tooth...

Really great challenge Renata! Thank you!


Monday, 19 May 2014

Almond flour!

I generally try not to throw away food. I am careful on what I buy and when I will consume it, so that it won't rot in my fridge. I also try to use leftovers.

When I make my almond milk, there is a good amount of coarse almonds that are left in the cheesecloth. Never throw this away! Make almond flour!

It comes in handy for me because I try to eat gluten-free whenever possible and that means that I have to make my own gluten-free foods, at least most of the time.

It is very simple to make!

 It is very coarse. Half the job is already done!
 I have a little helper!

* You must put it in a pan lined with foil, so that you can remove it easier.
* Also, try to straighten it because it needs to dry very well! If you leave any lumps, then there will be moisture left, which you do not want.

* Place it in a preheated oven (100oC) for minimum 1 hour. After that keep checking to see whether it has dried through out.

* Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely.

If you want this coarse texture of almond meal, stop here. However I do one more thing.

* I grind the almond meal in the coffee grinder, so that the final result resembles the thin texture of regular flour. I do this purely because I like the texture and I am more familiar with it.

* Store it in a glass jar in the fridge or in your cupboard. I do the latter with no problems at all.

I have used it in these Flourless Brownies and in this Orange Almond cake. Both gluten-free!



Monday, 12 May 2014

Late spring garden!

Spring is already here in Athens.
But up in the mountains, it is running late. The flowers are just starting to bloom!

 This is a lovely lilac tree my mom has in the garden!

 Poppies and chamomile!

 These are some sort of purple chrysanthemums, but I cannot be sure...

 Apple tree flowers...

Peach tree flowers...

I love this time of year, when you actually see Nature's beauty!


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Homemade Almond milk!

I am trying to follow a more healthy diet.

So, in that spirit, in the mornings most days I have protein shakes for breakfast, using almond milk, not dairy.

I was a little sceptical at first, the idea of non-dairy milk was too strange. But I liked!

Almond milk is expensive and also sweetened with sugar, so I had to do something for that.....

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup almonds
3 1/2 cups water
1 vanilla bean

* The night before put the almonds in water.
* Next day, when you are ready to make your milk, rinse the almonds very well.
* Put them in the blender along with the water (I use filtered water) and the vanilla bean chopped.
* Blitz, don't be afraid of it!
* Take your cheesecloth and lay it inside a large bowl.
* Pour the almond - water mixture, gather the cheesecloth carefully on top, lift and start squeezing.
* You want to strain as much milk as possible.
* Pour your milk in a glass bottle and store in the fridge!

 (excuse the light...)
 It is frothy.


It is, perphaps, the easiest thing you can make yourself and without all the preservatives found in the store bought ones.

Oh, delicious, too!