Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Chocolate Brownie Cake - Allergen free!!!!!!!!!!!

I HAVE DONE IT!!! It took until my 33rd Birthday (after over 2 years of a crazy restricted diet!) to succeed at making a sucessful cake!

It has it all; an amazing cakey texture, moisture, sweetness...and it actually, genuinely (no I am not just fooling myself for once) TASTES GOOD!!!!! Woo!!!
*** I Have updated this recipe, all changes are in this colour :) They're deliciously brownie-like now!!! Have basically added chia seeds into the mix and ground the flours more finely! ***

Here's the recipe and method:

100g cocoa powder (unsweetened, not cross contaminated!!)
1/2 cup oil (I used grapeseed - prob best to use olive oil if you can find one that's not got a strong taste)
100g Xylitol (natural sugar substitute- extracted from birch trees)
1 heaped tbspn agave syrup
100g flour - made up of: 60g buckwheat flour, 25g ground pumpkin seed,15g ground linseed -All ground finely
A tablespoon and a half of chia seeds, ground
1 egg (or linseed/flax 'egg')
1 tspn bicarbonate
1 tbspn raw apple cider
apple juice as needed for more moisture in cake mix....

Beat the egg and sugar/xylitol. Mix in the agave syrup.
Pour oil into a bowl that's sitting in hot water (to slightly warm the oil). Mix the cocoa into it.
Incorporate it into the egg and sugar mixture.

Loosen the mixture with apple juice if necessary, either before, during or after adding the flour - whatever makes it manageable.
Fold in the flour and bicarbonate.
I grind my own pumpkin seeds, linseed and chia seeds in this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Martin-Wahl-ZX595-Grinder-Stainless/dp/B000HEZ98C/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1390252900&sr=8-6&keywords=grinder
I now grind the seeds more finely which adds to 
When fully mixed, splash in some vinegar to activate the bicarb. This is what will make the cake rise a bit.
As I said, you may need to add a bit of juice.
LET it stand for a minute, then go back to it and you'll see that it's got stiffer, it's absorbed the liquid and got 'airier'. Splash in some apple juice until it returns to a thinner mixture again. Again let it stand and go back. I do this two or three times, then when it's a really good thick gloopy but not spongey mixture, go for it with the next stage:
The mixture should be VERY sticky, difficult to smooth into a (paper-lined) baking tray, as it won't want to let go of the spoon or spatula! It shouldn't be too liquid or too dry. I spread it into a layer nearly 2cm thick. Admittedly with my fingers at times lol. It rose to about an inch.
I call them chocolate brownie cake, as it may resemble a brownie and taste like a brownie - but the texture is more cake-like. THESE modifications have made it amAZingly cake-like but beAUTifully moist like brownies, without being heavy. I am SO pleased with them!! Will put up a new picture... if any of them ever see the light of day, they tend to get made and scoffed in an afternoon/evening!!

Enjoy!!! Must be eaten rapidly (within a day or two) or they go a bit dry (my all time FAVOURITE excuse lol!!)

Fish pie!

Well, it seems to me that we are a little over-complicated with our food at times!
'The simpler the better' is what I am learning!
But people do have their pre-requisites, habits and their expectations about things... so I hope you will not harshly judge my humble and very very simple but very tasty fish pie!!

This is TGF safe if you omit the beans.

I simply do the following:

Fresh or frozen wild white fish
onions, preferably red.
White beans/ kidney beans or any veg you can have, in chunks (I have done it with cubes of courgette before...peppers or aubergines maybe? I am off nightshade personally! Have also done it with olives- surprisingly good!)

Slow fry the fish gently, breaking it up as it cooks and flakes naturally. Season well and add onions a few minutes before the end. I use the lid to sweat it for the last few mins. Take off heat when cooked and add fresh herbs as desired. I normally just use parsley or coriander. I then stir in some drained and rinsed white beans or kidney beans or green beans...or whatever you fancy. I have also added tuna or salmon from a tin to it before just to bulk it out (not very glamorous, I know, but easy and it worked a treat!)

2 medium to large sweet potatoes
olive oil
sea salt

Boil or steam in large chunks until soft. Mash with olive oil and sea salt. Leave aside.

2 Leeks,
olive oil,
fresh nutmeg,
salt + pepper

Cook the leeks in a heavy bottomed pan, in olive oil with freshly grated nutmeg and black pepper and the lid on. Cook, shaking or stirring occasionally, until soft and deliciously melty, mmmm.........  :p

In a large oven dish (I use an ex-terrine, deep dish) put the first layer in the bottom: leeks!
Then the fish, onion and bean or veg mix.
Then spread over the mashed sweet potato! I fluff it with a fork to get crispy bits on top! I also sometimes sprinkle over ground linseed with a drizzle of oil, or slightly oiled whole pumpkin seeds.

It is all cooked, so I just put it in the oven until hot through - depends how freshly put together it is - but generally it has cooled quite a bit by then for me, as I make it in a million stages - so I put it in the oven for about 20 or so minutes, until the potato starts to colour a bit round the edges...

Et voila! It really isn't dry, I promise! It's succulent, sweet, herby, spicy and tasty - all at once! Tweak it to please yourself - add in your preferred ingredients. But it's dead simple and even easier if, like me, you do it in stages whenever you get a few minutes here and there in the day...

Will come back to add a picture if I ever take one before gobbling it all up!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Thought a useful post would be about what cosmetics to use. It's a minefield out there! Everything is poisonous and I have such a hard time just trying to find the odd product that won't make me ill and will at least keep me clean and presentable to a bare minimum!!

Here are the products I use. I am OPEN TO ANY SUGGESTIONS!!! Please SHARE your recommendations - chemical free of course!!

Just PURE white clay for gentle cleansing. Simply rub the bar of clay onto wet skin,
massage and then  rinse away thoroughly. Feels so good :)

 I use the following:
White Clay bar - above.

Yaoh Hemp Shampoo. This still contains tocopherol (show me a shampoo that doesn't!!!!) and citric acid - probably both corn-derived *sigh* but it is the purest shampoo that actually leaves your hair feeling clean and soft, that I have found.

Oliva soap - this is all I use for washing my face - I am someone who has always had a terrible complexion - until I knocked chemical cosmetic use on the head and stopped eating allergens! Now my skin is better than ever!!! I sometimes use the witch hazel below after a good facial scrub. 

As deodorant, I have no choice other than to simply use an Alan Stone. You just have to wash partway through your day and re-apply (it won't keep you stink-free for 24 hours unlike all the other bizarre and poisonous underarm products!) but it's not bad - particularly when your body is not having to throw out toxins through your sweat constantly!! I find my sweat smells less and less by cutting out allergens :)

For my teeth, I use this Meswak toothpaste - it's organic, it tastes GOOD (!!!) and it WORKS!!! Hallelujah! Took a while to find this, I can tell you. I buy it locally so cannot advise on suppliers!
I mouthwash with Tea Tree oil - Two drops in a little water and swish around for about 30 seconds (if you can stand it!) Keeps Candida at bay.
So there you have it - this is my extensive cleansing regime lol!!

And I occasionally use a clay mask - 100% pink clay. Has an instant effect on my complexion, love it... 

I am a new customer to Bare Minerals Make-up - it has been recommended to me, and although quite pricey, it is worth it for the quality and the knowledge that it is not FULL of crap!! It is made with: Bismuth oxychloride, titanium dioxide, Iron oxides and Mica. So although it is pure and natural, I wouldn't plaster it on everyday of my life!
There :)

As I said, ANY recommendations appreciated but here are my conditions:
Chemical free,
citrus free, (a real problem in natural cosmetics!!)
corn and grain free,
nut free (no almond oil! ANother v difficult one to avoid!)
preferably sunflower oil free
coconut free

(good luck finding ANYTHING without the above in! But feel free to try!!)

Meswak toothpaste blurb: (it's indian and really cute!)
"Imagine a toothpaste that's a rare combination of ancient wisdom and modern science, containing a natural herbal ingredient recommended in renowned ancient scriptures and providing 70 different health benefits for the entire body. Imagine a toothpaste that  is scientifically  proven to help strengthen gums, prevent tooth decay, eliminate bad breath and ensure strong teeth all at once. There is only one such toothpaste in the world - and you're holding it right now!"

Calcium carbonate, sorbitol, aqua, silica, sodium lauyol glutamate, parfum, carragheenam, salvadora persica, sodium hydroxide, eugenol.

I don't know about all these ingredients but it was certainly the best I could find compared to all the other toothpaste I've looked at! (BLOODY LIMONENE in EvERYTHing!!!!!) and I seem to be ok with it :) admittedly, "parfum" is a bit vague for a start...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pumpkin Seed Butter!! 'Av it!!!!!

YES! I have finally made some pumpkin seed butter! Raw seed butter. I will also experiment with roasted, must also be delicious!
It's great and very easy to make if you have a way of grinding seed.

Raw Pumpkin seeds
Sea salt
Olive oil or grape seed oil.

I simply ground some organic pumpkin seed, into what we call fluff (flour!), added fine sea salt, then put this flour into my food processor (it was only a small amount so I was quite convinced it would not work!).... I made a judgement call based on common sense only (I am wholly inexperienced with food processors etc!) and put in the "emulsifying disk" (used to whip-up mayonnaise and the like apparently). Bottle of olive oil at the ready, I switched it on and drizzled away until it reached the desired consistency. Et VOILA! It was dead easy and dead quick :) Success!
Here is my peanut butter .... er, I mean pumpkin seed butter (!) in pictures!
My advice is: make sure you add enough salt! Also, if you can have natural sugars, I would say it would be all the more delicious with a bit of honey/agave/sweet freedom! The amount of oil you use depends on the consistency you would like - you could make it creamier and softer than I did if you prefer...
Déguste and enjoy!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Seed Buns!

 Well here is my first attempt at making the seed buns I have been thinking about making for ages now!
I now have my own seed grinder (this coffee grinder) and so make my own ground linseed and ground pumpkin seeds.

And the result is delicious! The texture is really good, grainy, nutty (but no nuts!) and surprisingly bready (for someone who has been deprived for a long time!)

The recipe is as follows:

1 cup seed flour (I did a bit more linseed than pumpkin)
1 tsp bicarbonate
3/4 tsp salt
a dash of raw apple cider vinegar (a tsp?)
1/5 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
nearly a tspn of aniseed and fennel spice

Mix the seed flours, chia seeds, bicarbonate and salt. Pour in the olive oil and work with fingers to make a breadcrumb type mixture. Add spices, vinegar and water and mix well with a wooden spoon. The mixture seems dense and spongey at the same time! Very strange, but have confidence!
Spoon into a muffin tray or whatever you have available! I sprinkled fleur de sel onto each one, pressing it down a bit into the dough. You could try to make a focaccia style thin bread - and I reckon it'd make a great crackerbread (guess what I'm doing tomorrow? Experiments!!)
Pre-heat the oven for a few mins then whack them in and cook on high heat for about 15 mins (keep an eye out that they don't burn on the outside). I then continued to cook them on medium heat for about 5 minutes, then turned off the oven and left them in there for about 10 mins more.
This worked out fine for me but EVERY oven is different! They came out beautifully moist (but not wet or squidgy, don't worry!) and did not dry out atall.

I have eaten them with tapenade, on their own (proof that they actually DO TASTE GOOD!!), am confident they would be delicious even with jam despite the spices (delicate flavour) and my 2 year old just ate one with tuna - he had a BIG grin on his cheeky chops :)

So this is a real success and I will be making them again and again, without a doubt!

Hope they work out for you! Enjoy! And let me know your variations/tweaks/ideas!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Linseed Pumpkin seed crackers!

This is a good one. Oh my, this is so tasty, it's one of those things that makes you want to build a machine that does nothing but cook these all day long...Mmmmmm...
Unfortunately, it is something you can only really make in small amounts (unless you have several hours, several ovens and a lot of patience of course).

This recipe calls for the left-over seed 'mulsh' as I call it, from making 'Pumpkin seed Milk'

I am usually left with about 300g of said 'seed mulsh'. I split this in half and this half will make one batch of crackers. It can be kept for a couple of days in the fridge so needn't be made straight after a batch of milk!

150g pumkin seed mulsh
about 50 or 60g linseed, whole
about 100g grated onion
olive oil (big long lug)
salt and pepper
curry spice blend (check no additives!!)
curcuma (or whatever spices or herbs you fancy!)
(I imagine fresh mint would be really good!)

I mix all of the above thoroughly, then spread onto greaseproof paper on an oven tray - I am not going to pretend I do this perfectly with a spatula - no, I get very messy and spread it out with my hands, nice and even and nice and thin. I cook this is the oven for about 10 minutes - medium heat, then turn it down for another 5 mins or so. I then switch of the oven and leave them for a while. Say half an hour. At this point, I take it out, see how soft or crispy they are - they usually need more drying to crisp up (remember, those seeds came form making milk so there is a lot of moisture in there that needs to gently come out).
So I put out another sheet of baking paper and turn the giant cracker out onto it, the origanl piece of paper should peel away nicely in one piece. I then cut it into squares and pop it back into a low heat oven for about 10 mins. Keep your eye on them. Turn the oven off and lift the crakers off the tray....leave to cool on the side for a while...and you will soon have crispy seed crackers! Mmmmmm.... I also sprinkle fleur de sel onto them, which makes them all the more addictive!

Bon appetit!

Milk - non dairy of course!

Have I still not posted about "milk"?
As you may know, I am dairy intolerant and also allergic to nuts... the only seeds I eat are chia, linseed and pumpkin (or any other squash or melon seeds). So I was quite excited when Micki Rose of Truly Gluten Free pointed me in the direction of her article in Foods Matter about making your own dairy free milk. She said she had never tried it with pumpkin seeds, but why not?!
So I gave it a go a couple of months ago - and now make it quite regularly.
I was never a fan of milk, always liked the idea of it but hated the taste - probably because my body knew it was bad for me! But it comes in handy for anything resembling cereal, at breakfast and also for making curry sauces or soups creamier and the like. I have not tried to cook fish in it - not so sure how that would be but I'll get back to you on that!

So what I do is simply soak a bowlful of pumpkin seeds for at least 24 hours. Change the water once in that time if possible. I then drain them and rinse well (the aim of this soaking and rinsing is to render the seeds more easily digestible by getting rid of 'enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid'.). The seeds then go into a blender. I do a ratio of about 1 cup of seeds to 2 cups of fresh water. With pumpkin seeds, any more water makes the milk too watery for me. Blend! I blend it well so as much milky goodness as possible is released.
Then the milk needs to go through a seive/ muslin to separate the seed mulsh from the "milk" liquid. 


The resulting milk is refreshing and full of goodness. As I said, it is a help in cooking and an alternative to fruit juice on cereal, for anyone avoiding too much fructose. It does not taste like dairy milk - it tastes like... well, pumpkin seeds to be honest! But I like them so that's fine by me :)

Don't forget, you can flavour your milk exactly as you wish to! See the article by Micki for more ideas of what to make fake milk out of and inspiration on what to add to it. 

Happy milking!