Monday, February 23, 2015

Apricot Oat Walnut Bars

Here is a first time recipe - using 
some favourite ingredients always in my pantry:
dried apricots, walnuts, oats.

These apricot bars are sugar free, egg free, dairy free, wheat free.
Perfect "breakfast on the run" providing 
complex carbohydrates, fruit, nuts and healthy fats.

This recipe is a "work-in-progress
future makings may include additions and alterations to this recipe.

However, for now, these apricot oat bars 
are great for our long distance walks, 
providing some essential slow release energy.

Ingredients needed:

1 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped 
3 tablespoons pineapple juice
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1.5 cups oats
3 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup whole tahini
1/4 cup honey


Preheat the oven to 160C (320F).  Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place chopped apricots and ginger in a bowl.  In a saucepan bring the pineapple juice to a simmer, and pour over the chopped apricots and ginger.
Mix well, set aside and allow the apricots to absorb the juice.

        1. Apricots and ginger, chopped;                           2. Walnuts chopped;                                        3. Dry ingredients

In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients:  walnuts, oats, coconut flour, flax seed, cinnamon, sea salt, mix well.

To the bowl of apricots and ginger, add the oil, tahini and honey.  Mix well.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture.

Stir until well combined.

When combined transfer the mixture to the baking paper, and spread out evenly, approximate size 8" by 8".

Press a few extra chopped walnuts to the top.

Bake on middle rack for 25-30 minutes.

Cool, and then lift with the baking paper to cutting board.

Using a sharp knife cut into squares.

Keep in airtight container at room temperature for a week.  Or in fridge for longer. (unfortunately ours don't last a week - they get eaten really fast !)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Grandma's Gluten Free Bread Recipe


This recipe is my very first gluten free bread recipe, last time I made this wheat free, dairy free and egg free bread was thirty (30) odd years ago, when my son was diagnosed with food allergies and we had to eliminate wheat, dairy and egg from his diet.   

I can tell you honestly, in those days shopping for wheat free, diary free and egg free was a huge nightmare!

Unlike, today where you can find a good range of "free from" products available, in health food stores and supermarkets.  

So, you may well ask - Why am I baking "gluten free" bread today?

Recently I returned from Australia, where I spent close to 3 months residing with my daughter and grandchild.  They are both eating gluten free and dairy free, and the little one also has egg issues. Therefore during my stay, it was easier for me to join in their eating habits.  

I must admit I am not at all surprised that I found the gluten free diet suited me.  I have always had issues with eating bread, so only ever ate very small amounts of it.  Sometimes it takes sixty (60) years of living to realize you have an intolerance to gluten.

So now I am back in England and hunting down gluten free breads, and disappointed with the texture of the bread available.  

Although gluten free is available in my local supermarket, it is so light and fluffy, made to resemble normal bread, which I never ate anyway.  I prefer my bread to be solid, crusty and filling.  Like a good Italian ciabatta.  

That is why I have been searching the internet for gluten free, dairy free bread recipes, I want to make and bake my own, because I want a bread with solid texture and weight.  

Also, I want to bake with ingredients which are easy to find and purchase, and most of all, I want to control what goes into my bread.  

So here is my recipe for a loaf of bread which is gluten free, dairy free and egg free.

It has flavour and texture and is my preference for every day gluten free bread eating.

This recipe makes one loaf.  I always cut the loaf in half and wrap in baking paper and then place in plastic zip bag. One half in the fridge and one half in the freezer, we don't eat more than a couple of slices a day, so the freezing helps to keep the other half loaf fresh.

Left:  Bowl with wet ingredients and bowl with dry ingredients.  Right:  Bread batter in loaf pan before rising.

2 teaspoons organic coconut palm sugar
2 cups warm water 
4½ teaspoons DRY YEAST
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1½ cups GF plain flour (Rice, Potato, Tapioca, Maize & Buckwheat)
1½ cups sorghum flour
1 cup rice flour 
½ cup flaxseed (linseed) ground
2½ teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons sea salt


Using an 11 x 5 inch loaf pan, grease with oil, and line with baking paper, and grease the paper too.  This is to make sure the bread comes out.  I had the horrible experience with my first trial of the bread sticking to the pan, I did use a smaller sized loaf pan, but that was enough for me to make sure it doesn't happen again.

In a small bowl, ADD the coconut sugar and the warm water, STIR to dissolve sugar, then ADD the dry yeast and STIR again.  Allow the mixture to STAND in a warm, draft free place for approx. 10 mins.

In the meantime, in a large bowl, ADD all the other dry ingredients - GF plain flour, sorghum flour, rice flour, ground flaxseed (linseed),  ADD the xanthan gum and sea salt.  Give it all a good stir with a wire whisk, to combine all the dry ingredients.

ADD the honey and the oil to the yeast mixture, stir with wire whisk.

 ADD the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir with the wire whisk, just to combine the ingredients. 

You will need to SWITCH to a wooden spoon to continue stirring the batter.  ADD some extra warm water, up to ¼ cup, if batter seems too thick.  I always do.

The whole process of mixing from start to finish, should only take a few minutes.  

TRANSFER the batter to the lined and oiled loaf pan, forming a loaf shape.  The batter does not fill the 11 x 5 inch pan.

ALLOW the loaf pan to stand in a warm, draft free place, for approx. 1hr.  So the bread can rise.

BAKE in a preheated oven 175C (350F) degrees for 50 to 55 mins.

LET the baked bread stand in the pan for about 10 mins, then remove and COOL on wire rack.  DO NOT CUT the bread before it has cooled completely.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spaghetti Meal with Salmon

This recipe is my quick spaghetti meal after a good day 
out walking.
It is amazing how many calories you burn during a 4-6 hour walk. 
Even though we take snacks and lunch on our walks,
we still find ourselves starving when we get home.

For peak performance, we found out that muscles 
need carbs and protein 
for the recovery and repair process after a workout,
so this explained why my husband and I 
both craved the extra calories.
Now we happily allow ourselves to indulge in the extra carb intake, 
prior to and after our 10-14 mile walks.

Spaghetti with Salmon and Veg (serves 2)


1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
4 medium portobello mushrooms 
2 baby courgettes
2 large ripe tomatoes
handful broccoli
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
120-150g fresh salmon fillets
100ml white wine
fresh basil
2 tablespoons capers
dash of tamari (for salmon)
200-250g dried spaghetti
olive oil
grated parmesan cheese


Start by cooking your spaghetti in the usual way,
and whilst it's cooking,
prepare your vegetables,
into a large non-stick fry pan add a dash of olive oil
add chopped onion, saute for 3-5 mins, add cubed mushrooms, 
fry for 2 mins, then add cubed courgettes and tomatoes
Add capers and 30ml white wine to keep it moist.
Keep adding the wine as the liquid evaporates, 
then add the broccoli, chopped basil and cannellini beans, 
cover with a lid and turn down the heat.  
Allow the vegetable mixture to simmer gently without drying out, 
the juices from the tomato should form a nice sauce.  
In a separate non-stick fry pan, add a dash of olive oil, 
add sliced salmon pieces,
sprinkle with tamari, and cook quickly 2 mins on each side.
Apart from flavour the tamari helps the salmon 
achieve a char-grilled look.

Strain the spaghetti, divide into bowls 
and top with the vegetable mixture and salmon pieces
sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Enjoy, buono appetito....

Friday, April 26, 2013


Here is my quick recipe for those times 
when I need a good hit of energy.

Usually when doing a long 10-15 mile walk.  

Honesty, my only reason I make them, 
to take with us on our walks/hikes 
through the countryside or along the coast.

These balls are gluten free, dairy free, wheat free, egg free.

Makes approximately 22 balls
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
3/4 cup ground almonds (or almond meal)
1 cup dried apricots, chopped 
OR 1/2 cup dried apricots 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup dark tahini
1/2 cup honey
1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder 

Mix all the dry ingredients well.  Then add the wet ingredients, honey and tahini.
Stir through well.
With a tablespoon for measure, roll into balls between the palms of your hands.
Coat with dessicated coconut, and store in air tight containers in fridge.  
Sprinkle coconut onto bottom surface of containers before placing balls.
Sprinkle a bit more coconut on top.


Warning:  High energy balls = high calorie count
Only to be taken when burning calories

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mushroom and Spinach Roll

I love my meatless meals and this recipe is one of them.
I used to make loads of these rolls, (back in the 90's), 
I made them smaller as individual rolls
so my daughter and I could take to work for lunch.
Today, I am lazy and make just two large rolls
which my husband and I cut in half and share.
One roll for dinner and the second roll for lunch on another day.

All you need is a few simple ingredients
and be ready for a little prep work. 
However, the recipe itself is relatively easy 
and once baked can be frozen for future quick meals.

Mushroom and Spinach Roll - Makes 2 (serves 4)

1 medium leek
200gr chestnut mushrooms
300gr frozen spinach
200gr cottage cheese
2 small eggs
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon cornflour
dash of white wine (optional)
500gr Fresh or frozen Puff Pastry

Into a non-stick frying pan, dash of olive oil, saute sliced leek and mushrooms, add nutmeg, salt, and a dash of white wine (optional).
Remove from pan, next saute defrosted spinach with crushed garlic.  Make sure you saute until all liquid has evaporated.

Allow the mushrooms and leek and spinach to cool.

Place all ingredients into a large bowl.   Add eggs, cottage cheese and cornflour, and mix well.

Roll out half the puff pastry, add half the mixture, and brush beaten egg around the edges, fold over pastry and pinch edges to seal.  

Brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake in hot oven 210C for 30 minutes.  

Rest for 20 minutes then serve with a salad.  
Perfect accompaniment - sweet chilli sauce or if you don't like the heat, good old tomato ketchup will do as well.
I like mine without any sauce.

Baked Rolls can be frozen.  Allow to cool completely, wrap in foil, and refrigerator or freeze for another day.  
To Reheat:  If frozen, allow to defrost in wrapped foil and place in hot oven for 15-20 mins to heat through.  
Open foil for last 5 mins to  allow the pastry to re-crisp.

INDIVIDUAL ROLLS:  Divide the pastry and the mixture into four, and make four (4) individual rolls in the same manner.

bon app├ętit !