Saturday, 15 March 2014

How to 21: Make Four-Seed Sprinkle

Clockwise from left: golden linseeds (flax), pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds
Four-Seed sprinkle is really useful to have in a jar in the fridge; you can add it to smoothies, sprinkle it on granola or salads or even put it in soup, breads and biscuits for some extra nutrition. Chia seeds contain 20% protein, loads of vitamin C and calcium and tons of omega 3s. Flax has omega 3s too, plus B vitamins and minerals. Whole hemp seeds have a perfect balance of omega 3s and 6s plus protein, iron and vitamin E in abundance. (Did you know omega 3 oils are harder to source in veg foods than the much more common omega 6s, but that you need a balance of both for optimum health? See here for an article which explains about balancing omega 3s, 6s and 9s.) Pumpkin seeds are renowned for their high protein, vitamins E and K, zinc, iron and other mineral content. Who needs a bottle of vitamin pills when you have all these? 

1: Take equal quantities (I use 1 or 2 tabs) of each seed and grind individually. You can use a coffee grinder or a seed and spice grinder. Get them to a fine powder, and don't bother shelling the hemp seeds.

2: Mix it all together and store in a glass jar with the lid in the fridge. Use as soon as you can- keep it for about a week.

We want to know your superfood secrets: which do you think are the most versatile, and how do you incorporate them into your daily diet?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Recipes Revisited : Gluten Free Frangipane Fingers #2- vegan

They may look plainer than before, but they taste even better!
If you only ever bake one gluten free cake, it should be this one: it's easy and delicious and everyone (not just vegan, coeliac, sugar free people) will love it. This recipe has truly evolved: first, there was agave almond slice and its cousin, chocolate agave almond slice. Then it went gluten free and more nutty and became frangipane fingers, which has been very popular since it was first posted back in  March 2012. The main difference to this latest version is that it uses less ingredients (ie: just agave rather than agave and xylitol). There are also a couple of other tweaks, like using Dove's Farm Gluten Free Brown Bread Flour rather than buckwheat flour to make it easier to source ingredients, and adding a little less baking powder to get that slightly more dense frangipane texture.I would have decorated the top with flaked, blanched or chopped almonds like last time but I didn't have any, nor did I have time to make any; I have added them to the recipe here anyway.

I added less baking powder to make the texture denser and less spongy, but the agave ensures it is still light. The brownish colour is from grinding my own almonds and leaving the skins on.
300g ground almonds
300g Doves Farm Gluten Free Brown Bread Flour (if you use another brand, add it gradually in case the mixture gets too dry/ wet.)
4 tsps baking powder
400ml your favourite plant milk, unsweetened
200ml agave nectar
150ml coconut oil
2 tsps natural almond essence
Some flaked almonds for decoration
  • Mix all the wet ingredients together.
  • In another bowl mix the dry ingredients.
  • Add the wet to the dry and beat together for about 1 minutes (by hand will do). Should be dropping consistency.
  • Put into a prepared tin or mould, about 1.5 -2cm deep, scatter top with flaked almonds and bake for 20 minutes or so (do the skewer test) until cooked through and golden brown on top.
  • Serve warm or cold, alone or with fruit/ cream/ icecream.

Served with a scoop of Swedish Glace (vegan icecream) and some berries, it makes a yummy dessert.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Tapenade (olive pate)- vegan, gluten free

Couldn't resist adding it to some pink stripey beetroot pasta salad for the colour contrast!
Tapenade is a pate from Provence, France, which traditionally contains anchovies and capers (spicy little berries) as well as olives. ("Tapenade" comes from the Provencal word for capers.) In fact, it dates back to Roman times! Of course I wasn't going to put anchovies in, but I didn't feel like going out and buying capers either so I made this plainer version. It was great mixed in with salads and it was also a bit of a lunchbox star in sandwiches with slices of avocado. I added plenty of black pepper, but I'd love to try it with capers too, for that extra bit of va-va-voom, so that's what I'm going to do next time.

Makes a jar:
300g (drained weight) pitted black olives
a pinch of seasalt
1/3-1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
12 tsp compound hing
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tab lemon juice
  • Blend all the ingredients together (I put the olives in first.)
  • It will keep for at least two days in the fridge.
I love how quick and easy spreads and dips are, don't you? What's your favourite?

A more conventional use for tapenade, on crackers.