Monday, March 31, 2014

Gluten-free Orange Chocolate Marble Muffins


Gluten-free Orange Chocolate Marble Muffins

The genesis of these muffins was quite some odd process.
It actually started with the plan to make Chocolate Covered Katie's healthy hummingbird cupcakes for our Sunday brunch.
I've wanted to make Hummingbird Cake for some time now and decided that this was a good moment.

But then I realized that one crucial ingredient was missing - pineapple!
I had oranges, though.
Why not use an orange instead of the pineapple?
Well, no.
It wouldn't be Hummingbird Cake.
Also I realized that actually I wanted something chocolate.
So the logical way to solve this was to use the oranges I had and marry them with the chocolate I was craving.
You can never go wrong with orange and chocolate, right?

I ended up with these beautiful marbled muffins which are, according to my taste testers, extremely yummy.
The best part: They're healthy, too!



Why healthy?
No sugar except for the chocolate, if you use erythritol or xylitol, lots of healthy flavonoids from the dark chocolate and cocoa powder, whole grain from the brown rice flour, and low fat.
I don't usually believe in low fat, but in taking in good fat such as mono- or polyunsaturated fatty acids from olive oil, flax seed oil, non GMO canola oil, deep sea fish like salmon and tuna.
But mostly we get in enough fat anyway, and a sweet treat does not necessarily have to be rich in fat, right?



My best guinea pig for sweets is my sister-in-law. She is incredibly sweet toothed but wouldn't eat any rubbish no matter what as long as it's sweet enough. Things have to be sweet and flavourful, and luckily she abstains from counterproductive politeness when it comes to telling the truth about a muffin or other sweets that I might serve her.
Her comment on these muffins was: "Boy, are they yummy!"



Of course you can also use white or brown sugar in place of the erythritol or xylitol.

Ingredients:

  • 70 g brown rice flour
  • 30 g cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum or 1/4 tsp. guar gum
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 heaped tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 30 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 30 g white chocolate (I use dairy free or my own home made)
  • 1/2 cup erythritol, divided
  • 1/2 cup non dairy milk (any kind works), divided
  • 1 egg or egg replacer for one egg, see instructions
  • 1 tbsp. yoghurt (I use Greek sheep's yoghurt, but cow's milk yoghurt or soy work, too) or 1 tbsp. unsweetened apple sauce or 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • zest of 1 orange
  • filets of 1/2-3/4 orange

Preparation:

  • Heat oven to 400 °F
  • Prepare 6 or 7 muffin tins (the recipe is supposed to make 6 muffins, but my tins were smaller, so I got 7)
  • Combine 70 g brown rice flour, 30g cornstarch, xanthan or guar gum and baking powder, then divide the mixture so you have 2 bowls with 50 g flour each.
  • Grate orange zest and filet the orange, chop the filets into small pieces and let sit in a small colander or sieve to drain.
  • In a double boiler, over low heat slowly melt the white chocolate in 1/4 cup of milk, set aside to cool.
  • Crack the egg into a small bowl, whisk until smooth and then divide between two bowls. Or: Place 1/2 teaspoon of powdered egg replacer with 1 tbsp. water each in two bowls.
  • To one half of the flour mixture, add 3 heaped tbsp. cocoa powder and the chopped dark chocolate.
  • To one half of the egg or egg replacer, add 1/4 cup erythritol or xylitol, 1 tbsp. yoghurt or applesauce or oil, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 cup milk and whisk until frothy, then add the cocoa mixture and combine well until no flour pockets remain.
  • Spoon the cocoa mixture into prepared muffin tins.
  • Add one tbsp. cornstarch to the remaining flour mixture, combine well.
  • Combine remaining half egg with grated orange zest, 1/4 cup erythritol or xylitol and 1 tsp. vanilla, then slowly pour cooled milk/white chocolate mixture in, whisking constantly until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture and dripped orange pieces, combine well and spoon on top of the cocoa part in the muffin tins.
  • With a wooden skewer, swirl through each muffin tin once .
  • Place muffin tins in the preheated oven and bake for 30-32 minutes.
    There should be no liquid bubbling at the edges anymore, but the tops should still be very soft to the touch. Don't overbake, or the muffins will get a bit tough.

Cool in the muffin tins until the muffins feel solid to the touch and are only just warm, then remove from tins and let cool completely on a wire rack.



I let mine cool completely in the tins and it was totally okay.

Enjoy!

What do you prefer? Dark chocolate and orange or white chocolate and orange?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dairy Free Milk Chocolate Pralinés


Dairy Free Milk Chocolate Pralines

Yesterday I looked at the calendar and realized that this year, I have a 20th anniversary.
The 20th anniversary of my exam at the university. On November, 24th in 1994.
That's why March, 24th in 2014 rang a bell in my mind.
Exactly 20 years back, I had one of the most awful spring seasons in my life.
My mom kept being ill, I desperately tried to catch up with the third subject I started the year before, in the back of my mind I had all the stuff which I still had to read for the exam in November, and I frantically typed my exam thesis into that stone-age steam-engine of a computer. A monstrous thing with an Intel 80286 (called two-eighty-six), running on MS-DOS and having a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive.
Yep, floppy disk.
Bad enough, but 5 1/4 inch - ! Prehistorical.

On the good side, those months were the only time in my life - before I went gluten free - that food didn't make me sick.
Odd, but true. No matter what I stuffed into my mouth, it didn't make me sick.
And the main thing I stuffed myself with, was chocolate.
Not the dark chocolate I usually prefer, but milk chocolate. 7 ounces per day average, in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I literally burned my way through chocolate, and to keep me going until 2 a.m., I topped this nutritional fiasco with at least two or three mugs of instant vanilla cappuccino each night. Yuck.



In a moment of nostalgia, I decided to make some 20th anniversary mock milk chocolates. Without all the bad stuff like artificial vanilla, cow's milk and tons of sugar.
I was pleasantly surprised by the result - nothing I had twenty years back was equally good, in fact!



The carob powder is the secret ingredient; due to its natural sweetness, it deepens the chocolaty flavour without adding more bitterness. On the contrary, you can decrease the amount of sweetener and still have that milk chocolate feeling!



Here you go:

Ingredients:

  • 50 g cocoa butter
  • 50 g white smooth cashew butter (mine wasn't quite smooth, but I don't mind nut bits in my chocolate)
  • 1/8 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. carob powder
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

Preparation:

  • In a double boiler, over hot water, melt cocoa butter and cashew butter.
  • Stir until smooth and add agave nectar.
  • Add carob and cocoa powder, stir until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  • Pour into candy molds, or you can also use paper lined muffin tins, if you don't mind larger disks.
  • Chill in the fridge for one hour or until firm.
You can store them at room temperature for some days or in the fridge for some more days, if they last that long. At room temperature, they will be soft, and they might become a bit more fudgy, but that only affects the consistency, not the taste.
I got 12 nice pralinés.

They didn't make it long in my presence.
Do you remember the days of MS-DOS and the computer stone-age?
Well, if you don't, don't mind. In fact, better forget them...
But I'm quite sure you *do* remember chocolate, right?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gluten-free Starbucks Oatmeal Cookies Copycat


Gluten-free Starbucks Oatmeal Cookies Copycat

I have been to a Starbucks coffee shop once, several years ago, in Duesseldorf.
It was about two weeks before Christmas, the city was horribly crowded, people running around with tight faces, totally stressed out and always in a hurry. And the weather was gray, chilly and wet.
And then I detected the first Starbucks coffee shop I'd ever seen. Excitedly I grabbed DH's sleeve and dragged him to the entrance, crying: "Look, there, a Starbucks, let's go in!!"
Luckily, he's a huge espresso and cappuccino lover and was as curious as I was.
We squeezed ourselves through the door into the equally crowded shop and made it to the counter.
Stupefied by all the noise and the impatiently pushing and elbowing folk we just ordered a cappuccino each, finished it and gladly escaped that stuffed place.
Afterwards, I wanted to kick my own butt because I didn't take a look at all the fantastic stuff they have: Lattes, mochas, cookies, donuts ...
Okay, I wouldn't have been able to try the baked goodies, but at that time I still consumed cow's milk, so I could at least have tried a fancier drink than plain old cappuccino!
But no, I didn't, and that was my last visit to that place so far.
A girl can dream, though, so I keep dreaming up fancy coffee drinks which actually are yummy and much healthier than the "real thing".

When I looked for oatmeal cookie recipes the other day, I happened to stumble over this Starbucks Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies copycat recipe and decided to make it gluten free.
If I may say so myself, it turned out great.
But then you can hardly make anything wrong with oatmeal cookies, right?



Just make sure you tolerate oats and your oats are certified gluten free!
By the way, I made this with rice flakes and buckwheat flakes (both look like rolled oats), too, and it was just as good as with oats.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, gluten free
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 5 finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine or coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I used muscovado sugar; feel free to use more to taste, if you are really sweet toothed; the original recipe says 1/2 cup, but I think it doesn't have to be that sweet, because the raisins and apricots add a lot of sweetness, too)
  • 1/4 cup erythritol or xylitol
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C
  • Blend oats, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and soda, salt, raisins, chopped apricots and cranberries.
  • In a separate bowl, beat margarine or coconut oil with sugar and erythritol until light and fluffy, add egg, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined.
  • Add oat mixture to margarine mixture, combine well.
  • Drop dough 2 inches apart by either rounded teaspoons or tablespoons onto lightly greased cookie sheets (I make my cookies smaller, so I used teaspoons and got about 50 cookies, with tablespoons you will get 24 cookies).
  • Bake about 12-16 minutes, until cookies are golden brown (mine were brown after 11 minutes) and still soft.
  • Cool completely before serving.


Enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Healthy White Chocolate Latte



Healthy White Chocolate Latte

You just met my mid-morning snack.
Right on my desk, a spot of white light on a rainy, gray day.



White chocolate usually is one of those things nobody really needs. Nothing but fat, sugar, milk and flavouring.
I'm not convinced by the dairy free white chocolate either, because I think it's sickeningly sweet.
What's the point in stuffing my mouth with something that is just fatty and so sweet that you can't detect any other flavour?
Getting in as many calories as possible, maybe.
But that doesn't make sense to me, somehow, if those calories don't even really taste good.



White chocolate basically is sweetened cocoa butter. The fat of the cocoa bean minus the brown stuff.
And as fat is a carrier for flavourings, the cocoa butter has a lot of the chocolate flavour in it.
So why not use the real thing to indulge in some guilt-free creamy white mocha goodness?



Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used organic soy because it gets so wonderfully frothy)
  • 1/2 ounce cocoa butter, food grade
  • 1/2 tablespoon erythritol or xylitol
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or scrape out 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 espresso shot (or 1 1/2 - 2 fluid ounces other coffee)

Preparation:

  • On low heat, gently heat milk, chopped cocoa butter, sweeteners and vanilla until cocoa butter melts.
  • In a small cup combine 1 teaspoon milk and 1/2 teaspoon starch.
  • Increase heat and slowly bring milk and cocoa butter mixture to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the espresso shot or coffee.
  • As soon as milk mixture boils, remove from the stove, whisk in the dissolved starch and pour into a blender.
  • Blend on high until you get a creamy, frothy mix.
  • Pour into tall latte glass or a large coffee mug.
  • Slowly let the hot coffee run down the side of the glass.



Enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Turkish Coffee


Turkish Mokka

May I introduce my Romanian grandmother.



And this is her demitasse cup for Turkish Mokka.



I never met her, because she passed away when I was 2 years old, and there are only two material things she left me: this Mokka demitasse cup, and another, bigger cup which will make appearance at another occasion.

What she really left me, are a lot of genes, which make me love drinking Turkish Mokka and eating Mediterranean and Romanian dishes.
If you visit someone in Romania, you'll be greeted with a cup of Mokka and some dulceaţă, which means "something sweet". My dad told me this used to be either sesame halva or just a teaspoon of jam.
My dad's memories were of the first half of the 20th century; when I stayed with an old lady in Bucarest in 1993, though, she still served her visitors Mokka with a teaspoon full of jam on the side.
I have no idea if this tradition lives on with the young people, but I still love the memory, and I still enjoy making Turkish Mokka the way my dad taught me to do it.

Normally, it is made in a small pot called "ibric".



You can get it in oriental stores, and at least mine was much less expensive than my DH's sophisticated espresso machine.
My parents didn't own such a thing, back in the 1970s and 1980s, and they just used a small sauce pan.

Turkish coffee is a method of brewing, not a kind of coffee, as you will read in wikipedia.
I won't repeat these excellent instructions - you can follow them step by step to get your own fantastic Turkish coffee.

I have been making Turkish coffee for many, many years now, but funnily, when I wanted to make the shots for this post, either my coffee or the photo didn't turn out as well as I intended.




So, instead of wasting more time with brewing, shooting, brewing, shooting, I'll go ahead and serve you a cup with some awesome almond crescent cookies which I made gluten free (see my review of the recipe).
Meanwhile, I also make them with erythritol instead of sugar.


Oh, and did I mention that you can have sweet Turkish coffee without sugar? I make mine with xylitol, and it tastes just as good as with plain old white sugar!



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cranberry Pecan Oat Cookies


Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

For those who can have oats, this is an oatmeal cookie which I made up long before I went gluten free.
Our local grocery stores use to have specials once a month or so, like "Spanish Week" or "Italian Week" - or "USA Week".
Nowadays, "USA Week" means muffin mixes, jelly beans, microwave popcorn, frozen burgers, pancake mix, pancake syrup ... nothing but processed food which nobody really should eat.
But ten years ago, "USA Week" meant pecan and cashew nuts on sale and dried cranberries, and of course I stacked my pantry with them.
That's when I came up with a chewy oatmeal cranberry pecan cookie which everybody loved.
Then, for several years, no oatmeal cookies for me because there were no gluten free oats available, and I wasn't sure if they would agree with me if there were any.
Now they are avaliable, and I can have them, so I tranformed the recipe to gluten free and happily make them again.
They're way too sweet for me the way I first invented the recipe, but I'll write it down as is because that's what most people seem to like. If you want them less sweet, the amount which I use for myself is 1/8 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup erythritol.
The original version used muscovado sugar, not erythritol, but even though raw cane sugar may be healthier than refined white sugar, it still is sugar which we don't need.
Feel free to decide for yourself whether you prefer erythritol or raw brown sugar.
Also I use to make small cookies, one heaped teaspoon full per cookie. That would make 60 cookies. But you can also make them into 30 larger cookies, of course.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup certified gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 1/2 ounces pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup erythritol or raw brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (or butter, if you eat it), softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F or 180° C.
  • Chop pecans and cranberries.
  • Cream together margarine (or butter), egg, erythritol or sugar and syrup.
  • Combine flour, oats, xanthan, salt and baking powder.
  • Combine flour mixture with wet ingredients.
  • Fold in pecans and cranberries.
  • With a teaspoon, drop dough onto greased or baking paper lined cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake about 10 minutes or until they just start to brown and get fragrant.
  • Let cool on a wire rack and store in a jar.


If there are enough left to store...





Friday, March 7, 2014

Apple Pie Lava Cake for one


Apple Pie Lava Cake for one

Don't say it.
I know apple pie is a fall and winter favourite.
Not what you'd be up to when daffodils are popping from the ground.
But I'm an apple cake addict. I eat apple cake in every form and shape, at any time.
One of my favourites is British apple crumble.
And I love molten lava cakes.
So I decided to marry molten lava cake and warm, spicy apple cake.



And it turned out to be a most harmonious marriage!
Think of spice cake with warm, gooey apple filling.
Is there any sensible reason why something that good shouldn't be eaten all year?



Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstach
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon erythritol or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (or up to 1 teaspoon, depending on how much spice you like)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup
For the filling:
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla pudding powder (not instant! I used organic unsweetened vanilla pudding powder, but you can also use 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation:

  • Grease a small soufflé dish.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C
  • Combine first 7 ingredients in a cup.
  • Combine remaining ingredients except for the filling ingredients in another cup.
  • Combine liquid and dry ingredients.
  • Combine ingredients for the filling in another cup.
  • Pour half of the cake batter into the greased soufflé dish.
  • Pour filling in the middle of the batter.
  • Cover with remaining batter.
  • Bake at 350°F / 180°C for 15 minutes.
  • Let sit for about 10 minutes.
  • With a knife, loosen the sides of the cake from the dish and dump the cake onto a small platter. Carefully turn the cake over.
  • Enjoy hot or warm.


Good for all seasons, right?


How about you? What seasonal dish would you eat any time?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Trail Mix Truffles


Trail Mix Truffles

In Germany, trail mix is called "student food". Dating back to the 18th century, this was the name for a mix of almonds and raisins, an expensive snack for wealthy students, named amygdala cum uvis passis mixta.
Later, there were added other nuts and dried fruit, and today it usually is a mix of raisins, blanched and non-blanched almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts.
There are many uses for trail mix or student food, and today I decided to go chocolate.



Care for some healthy, easy to make fun truffles?

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces (200 g) trail mix (unsweetened dried fruit and nuts only, no M&Ms or other candy added!)
  • 1/2 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preparation:

  • Place the trail mix in a food processor and process until trail mix resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add cocoa powder and continue to pulse until mixture starts becoming a paste with tiny freckles of nuts in it.
  • Add melted coconut oil and maple syrup and pulse a bit more, until the paste comes together.
  • Scrape paste into a bowl.

This is what it will look like:

  • Shape into 1'' balls.
  • Roll balls in sprinkles (I used organic sprinkles), cocoa powder or unsweetened coconut flakes.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Healthy "Snickers" Kind of Snack

At the age of 14, I had a time when I completely stopped eating because it made me too sick for words, and I was totally fed up feeling sick all the time.
At first, I felt great, as do most people when they fast.
But after some time, I realized that eating nothing wasn't an option for the rest of my life, unless I wanted my life to be a very short one ...
So I tried to figure out what was safe to eat, and ended up living on raw fruits and vegetables and nuts. My favourites were apples, carrots and peanuts.
Not a long term option either.
I'm far from this weird kind of diet now, but carrot sticks with natural peanut butter still are one of my favourite snacks, and inspired by the famous "ants on a log" I created my personal healthy "snickers" snack.

It's more of a concept than a recipe, but there you go:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 tablespoon natural smooth or chunky peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon brown rice syrup (or more to taste; honey and agave syrup work well, of course, too)
  • 1/4 ounce dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon almond or soy milk
  • 1 dash coconut oil (just the tip of a knife)

Preparation:

  • Slice the carrot in half lengthwise and flatten the rounded side slightly with a mandolin.
  • Combine peanut butter and syrup.
  • Slather onto carrot halves.
  • In a small pot over very low heat, slowly melt chopped chocolate with almond milk and coconut oil, whisking constantly until completely smooth.
  • Spoon chocolate ganache over peanut butter filling.
  • Put the sticks into the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Latte



Healthy Pumpkin Pie Latte

As I said, I love sitting in a coffee shop, sipping some nice plain cappuccino or latte. But would I be willing to pay an insane amount of money for an insane amount of empty calories?
Nope.
I don't actually know why anybody should want coffee to taste like pumpkin pie in the first place. But I like it, and as my father-in-law used to say: You may eat everything, but you need not know everything.
No need to know why I like coffee which tastes like pumpkin pie. I like it, period.
So, would I be willing to spend, say, ten minutes to have a wonderful, unexplicable thing like healthy pumpkin pie latte?
Yup.
But would it really be yummy, being healthy and all?
Well, why would I spend time making something healthy that is as yummy as cod liver oil before the invention of capsules?
You guess it. I wouldn't.


Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or other milk)
  • 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup, to taste
  • 1 espresso shot or 1 espresso cup of strong coffee
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup almond, soy or rice cream (or any kind of milk or cream that can be steamed)
  • one dash cinnamon

Preparation:

  • Slowly bring pumpkin puree, milk, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice to a boil, remove from heat.
  • Make espresso or coffee.
  • Pour pumpkin-milk mix into blender and blend on high for some seconds, until creamy.
  • Pour pumpkin milk into a latte glass or large mug.
  • Add coffee, letting it run down the side of the glass or mug.
  • Steam cream or milk and pour on top.
  • With a long spoon, carefully stir, until you get this:




You can even skip the coffee. I did it once, accidentally, and it tasted great!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dairy free Café au lait

Dairy free Café au lait





My first and favourite invention in the field of dairy free coffee beverages was dairy free café au lait.
In fact it was the reason why I started creating other latte clones at all.

My dad was Romanian and had the French habit of having a large bol of café au lait for breakfast.
I'm more the tea with bread-and-cheese or eggs-and-bacon breakfast type, but later in the day I love having some café au lait, too.
When I stayed in France or in Italy, though, of course I had it for breakfast, dipping some white bread into it.

Going cow's milk free, I tried goat's milk, but honestly, as much as I love goat's cheese, café au lait au chèvre ... come on.
I love cappuccino or latte macchiato with soy milk, but not café au lait.
Rice milk has its uses, but not in café au lait.
Nor has almond milk.
I don't mind things tasting different from the real thing, generally, but not café au lait.
Am I being picky?
Yes, when it comes to café au lait...
A girl should have her principles.

And then one day, I was desperate for a quick sweet coffee fix. Without even thinking much, I just combined one teaspoon of smooth white cashew butter, half a teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of instant espresso. I blended them together to form a smooth paste, poured hot water over and stirred with a small whisk, until I had something that remarkably resembled ... café au lait.





Many of the afore mentioned variations do that, too, without tasting it.
But this one - caught me cold.
The first sip exploded on my tongue. Café au lait.
The real thing.



I still don't know why on earth the combination of smooth white cashew butter and honey makes coffee taste like real café au lait, but it does.

I've also made it with brewed coffee. Just blend together as much cashew butter and honey as suits your taste, pour freshly brewed coffee over it, and - voilà.

Feel like sitting in the famous Parisien Parisian Café de Flore, minus the ridiculous price for one cup of coffee and milk. Of course there you pay for breathing the air that Jean-Paul Sartre and Pablo Picasso breathed, but, hey. Your everyday coffee can taste great without meeting Karl Lagerfeld, right?






Saturday, March 1, 2014

Welcome!

Hi!


I'm Mia, a German who loves going on virtual journeys through the world's cuisines.

My maternal grandfather was a "Konditor", pâtissier - or confectioner - how you would say in English. He owned a beautiful old fashioned little café and confectionary shop ("Konditorei") until he retired in 1964.
That was quite some time before I was born, but the café lived on in the stories which my mom told me. So I kind of grew up living in a virtual café.
This, supposedly, is the root of my senseless love for cafés and coffee shops. Yeah, I managed to adapt to modern times, and developed an equal love for places like Starbucks.
Unfortunately, I happen to be gluten and cow's milk intolerant.
No problem for drinking coffee. Not even for cappuccino or latte, thanks to said modern coffee shops which offer soy milk variations of their beverages, too.
But then there is cake.
And cookies.
Which is not offered in gluten free versions. At least not in Germany.
There's no place like Starbucks close to my small village at the Dutch border either, so visiting a café has its limits: Black coffee.
Sure, I could have waffles with hot cherries instead of cake, as my dear old mother-in-law suggests, not quite getting the concept of "gluten"... It still ends with me saying: "Naa, don't worry, I'm not hungry anyway. Black coffee is great, I'm perfectly happy, really."
That's true, I'm perfectly happy with black coffee. I'm even perfectly happy with plain water. Life would be miserable, if happiness depended on cake.
BUT you still can increase happiness, can't you?
To increase happiness in the gluten free world, I decided to create a blog with gluten, guilt and cow's milk free desserts and coffee drinks.

I'm neither vegan, nor vegetarian, raw, paleo or anything. On my way to figure out the perfect diet for myself, I found that no single diet perfectly matched my needings. So, with a lot of trial and error, I made a patchwork quilt of diets to suit my body's requirements, and the only thing which I have mostly banned from my menu, apart from gluten and cow's milk, is processed food. I'm making nearly everything I eat from scratch, and I love doing that! It's so much fun.
My final conclusion: Educate yourself about your body's basic requirements like carbohydrates, proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and phytonutrients, and then Listen to your body.
A completely raw diet may be good for one person, but not for another. The same may be true for a vegan or vegetarian diet and so on.

The ingredients which I use usually are organic. You may do so, too, but you can also use conventional produce. It's up to you.
I don't use white sugar because that's something we definitely don't need in any diet.
Also I don't use cow's milk. Even though I can have goat and sheep milk, there won't be recipes using them.
For fat, I use virgin coconut oil, organic canola and olive oil, and non-hydrogenated margarine.
And that's about it.


Welcome to my virtual café!