Spelt Oat Bread with Walnuts

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I find it really hard to find some real good bread in stores these days. Since I don’t eat wheat or buckwheat or corn, that eliminates quite a lot of options, most options to be exact. What I can choose from is mostly spelt and oat bread. But the problem is that the stores that claim to be selling spelt or oat bread are actually selling spelt-wheat or oat-wheat blend breads. There are a few bright exceptions, but not many. So making my own bread really is the best option if I want to get some diversity. That’s, in my opinion, the best option for anyone, since (a) you get to choose the perfect flavor combination and (b) you know exactly what ingredients are in your bread.

There are so many bread recipes out there that I could probably make a different bread every day just by replacing the all purpose flour with spelt flour. Most of them require yeast, though. Not that I have anything against it, I love it, actually, but I usually don’t have fresh yeast just lying around my fridge. And in situations like that, using baking soda is the perfect alternative. Not to mention that it takes a lot less time to make the bread without all the waiting for the dough to rise at least once if not twice. So for those of you who either don’t have fresh yeast in the fridge right now or don’t have much time, this is the perfect recipe. Continue reading

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Whole Grain Mini Spelt “Croissant” Bread Rolls

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I really love the smell of homemade baked goods in my kitchen. There is something really special about your home smelling of freshly baked bread in the morning. These mini rolls here are perfect for a Saturday morning treat with some butter or just for a quick bite when you don’t have time for a proper snack. They might take an hour all together to make, but they are really worth it!

Ingredients:

250g spelt flour (I used half whole grain and half regular)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 package fresh yeast (21g)

1 cup warm milk

1 tbsp olive oil

pinch of salt

Gauda cheese, grated

Poppy seeds

Instructions:

1. Mix fresh yeast with warm milk and sugar and let sit for about 10 minutes to activate it.

2. In a large bowl, place a tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom, add a pinch of salt and then cover it with the flour. That way you will prevent the yeast from getting in contact with the oil before you mix it with the flour, which would prevent the dough from rising properly.

3. Once the yeast has been activated, transfer it into the bowl with flour and knead into a smooth, firm dough. Add some warm water or flour if needed, to reach the desired consistency. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about 30 minutes. It should be double in size in the end.

4. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

5. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each piece into a thin circle on a floured surface. Cut each rolled dough circle into 8 pieces and roll each into a croissant like roll. Place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper.

6. Cover each roll with some water and sprinkle generously with grated cheese or poppy seeds.

7. Bake for 20 minutes and serve warm.

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New Year’s Eve Feast

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Happy New Year everyone! The longest night of the year is behind us and we are starting a new year with a clean slate and happy full bellies. With our Christmas Dinner not being that far away and the memory of us eating way too much with the four course meal I’ve prepared being still pretty much alive, I decided to only prepare a few snacks and spreads and skewers and breads for our New Year’s Eve Feast in hopes of us being able to eat a bit less. But since I wanted to prepare (and did prepare) so many different dishes, I may have gone a bit overboard again and prepared so much food that our not-so-small table ended up being way too small.

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Lets start with the selection of breads that were on the menu. I believe that there’s nothing like the taste and smell of freshly baked homemade bread. And there is something special and really pretty about its braided version. I’ve never made bread using fresh yeast before but I’ve always wanted to. There’s no better timing for delicious homemade bread than a New Year’s Eve feast, when all your family gets together and enjoys a great time and meal to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the new one. These little Braided Spelt Breads (for the recipe follow the link) were so delicious and went great with the beef tartar, prosciutto and raclette.

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Another kind of bread that I served to go with the spreads and cheeses was the Cheesy Garlic Bread, which is also really simple to make but makes such a difference when compared to just serving regular bread.

Ingredients:

3 mini spelt loafs (I used store bought)

butter

3 garlic cloves, halved

1 tsp dried parsley

grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

2. Cut slices down the length of bread loaf at 2 cm intervals, without cutting all the way through.

3. Mince garlic and combine it with butter, parsley and Parmesan. Spread butter mixture between bread slices and on top of loaf.

4. Wrap bread in foil leaving top partially uncovered. Bake until heated through, about 12 minutes (you can bake them at the same time as you bake the stuffed mushrooms – I suggest making both last minute before your guests arrive so you can serve them warm).

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Last but not least on the carb side of the feast were the spelt grissini of which I already wrote in my Christmas Dinner post. I decided for a little twist on the usual grissini and turned half of the dough into these beautiful pretzels.

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For the meaty part of our meal I prepared the Ham-and-Cheese Skewers which are really simple to make but they make such a difference as opposed to serving just slices of ham and cheese on a plate. And the sweet and sour flavor of the apple really adds a lot to these little bite size treats.

Ingredients (makes 15 skewers)

15 1,5 cm x 1,5 cm cubes baked ham

15 1,5 cm x 1,5 cm cubes goat Gauda

1 large apple, sliced into 15 cubes

lamb’s lettuce

Instructions

Thread cheese, apple, lamb’s lettuce leaves, and ham onto skewers. Stand skewers upright, ham ends down, on a serving plate.

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For a lovely transition between the meaty and vegetable dishes of the night, I prepared some Arugula, Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Dried Figs Salad. The saltiness of the arugula and prosciutto, the sweetness of the dried figs and balsamic vinegar and the mild taste of mozzarella are a perfect combo!

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Another vegetable dish with just a hint of ham for all the meat lovers I’ve come up with the Millet, Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms. 

Ingredients:

15 medium champignons

½ cup cooked millet

30g goat cheese, grated

30g baked bacon/ham, cut into small pieces

Thyme

2 tbsp melted butter

1 tbsp cooking cream

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

2. Wash the champignons and remove their stems. Grease an oven safe tin with some butter and place in the mushrooms, top side down.

3. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and place a generous amount of it into each mushroom.

4. Bake in a preheated oven for 12 minutes and serve warm.

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Since I really love the taste of smoked salmon, I decided to make two different dishes that use smoked salmon as one of the main ingredients. They both take just about 5 minutes to make but will leave your guests asking you for more and wanting to get the recipe. The first one is the Smoked Salmon Dip on the photo below. Follow the link for a recipe.

IMG_1071Another simple dish that includes smoked salmon is the so called Cucumber Salmon – you simply cut the cucumber into 1 cm thick circles and remove some of the seeds in each so that you create a well. Mix 2 -3 tablespoons sour cream and 1 tablespoon horseradish in a cup and place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture in each well. Top it with a strip of smoked salmon and you have a quick and simple appetizer to serve at a dinner party for any occasion.

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Allegedly French Salad is a must for New Year’s Eve dinner parties in Slovenia along with beef tartar which we spread on a toasted bread with butter (unlike the French who eat it with a knife and fork). Since I love making things from scratch and since it seemed easier than to make my own beef tartar, I decided to give it a try and make a homemade french salad. I found the recipe on one of the Slovenian recipe pages and got right into it. My father, a big french salad lover, gave it a green light, so I encourage you to give it a try, it really is worth it.

Ingredients

300 g potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (about the size of green peas)

100 g carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes (about the size of green peas)

150 g green peas (fresh or frozen)

150 g pickles, cut into small cubes (about the size of green peas)

2 eggs

Mayonnaise

Mustard

Salt to taste (I did not use any)

Instructions:

1. Cook the potatoes, carrots, green peas and eggs, each in a separate pot of salted water. Drain the vegetables, allow for them to cool down and mix them in a bowl with pickles.

2. Cut the cooked egg whites and add them to the vegetables and place the cooked egg yolks in a separate bowl.

3. Add mayonnaise and mustard to the egg yolks and mix until combined. I ended up using about 300ml mayonaise and 1 tbsp mustard but it really depends on the taste.

4. Chill the salad before serving.

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I also made Quiche Lorraine using spelt flour for the pastry. Ever since I’ve been to Paris, I wanted to make a proper homemade quiche. My brother made Quiche Lorraine a few times before and it was really delicious so I decided to just substitute the regular flour with spelt flour and gave it a try. It turned out really delicious and it’s great because you can serve it either hot as a main dish for up to 5 people or as one of the many snacks for a dinner party because it tastes just as amazing cold. In my case, since I needed the oven for the Cheesy Garlic Bread and Stuffed Mushrooms in the last minutes before the dinner started, I made it in advance and served it at room temperature. Just divine!

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For dessert we had some Potica, Homemade Raw Chocolate Pralines with Dried Fruits and Nuts (for a non-raw but a really delicious alternative, add a few teaspoons of instant coffee in the mixture following this recipe) and mixed fresh fruits with chocolate fondue. Yum!

IMG_1057Some peach flavored sparkling wine and a jump into the new year at midnight rounded up our amazing evening. It was a great ending to a great year and a start of, what I think will be, an even more amazing year! Happy New Year 2015 everyone!

 

Braided Spelt Bread

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There’s nothing like the taste and smell of freshly baked homemade bread. And there is something special and really pretty about its braided version. I’ve never made bread using fresh yeast before but I’ve always wanted to. There’s no better timing for delicious homemade bread than a New Year’s Eve feast, when all your family gets together and enjoys a great time and meal to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the new one. If you are the first one in your family to get up in the morning, baking this bread on a Sunday morning for your family to wake up to is also a great idea. The recipe I’ve found was for one big braided loaf of wheat bread but I decided to make small spelt versions of it. They looked and tasted divine!

Ingredients:

500g spelt flour

1 tsp Himalayan salt

90g sour cream

1,2 dl warm water

1,3 dl warm milk

21g fresh yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

0,5 dl warm water

Milk for glazing

Instructions:

1. Mix 0,5 dl warm water, sugar and fresh yeast to activate the yeast (it should take about 10 minutes).

2. Place the flour in a plastic bowl for dough raising and make a well in the center. Place the salt on the edge to prevent it from getting in contact with the fresh yeast mixture in the beginning. Once the yeast is activated, pour it in the well and add the sour cream. Mix well, then slowly start adding the warm milk and water and knead until soft dough is formed. I highly suggest using a stand mixer with a dough hook in which you should knead the dough for about 5 minutes. It really makes a huge difference and I would not suggest you skipping this step.

3. Allow the dough to raise for 1 hour in a covered bowl in a warm place. The dough will raise to double its size. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Divide each peace into three pieces and roll each one into long strips. Braid them and place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Cover with clean cotton cloths and let raise for additional 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

4. Once the breads have risen, uncover them and brush them with milk. Place the tray in the heated oven and bake for about 25 minutes, reducing the heat to 180 degrees Celsius for the last 5 or 10 minutes.

Banana Almond Flour Waffles

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There are almost no limits as to what you can make your waffles from. These delicious and healthy banana and almond flour waffles are the proof! Yes, you heard correctly. Just like you can use bananas to make pancakes, you can use it to make waffles too. And since a ripe banana is so sweet, you don’t need to add any sweeteners to the batter which means they are even healthier.

Recipe by Food Babe.

Ingredients (serves 1, makes 2 Belgian waffles):
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 mashed ripe banana
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/16 cup rice milk/water
1/4 cup almond flour
1/16 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/16 cup walnuts chopped
Instructions:
1. Preheat waffle iron.
2. Whisk together the egg, banana, rice milk and vanilla.
3. Add almond flour, walnuts and baking soda into the egg mixture
4. Grease preheated waffle iron with a tiny bit of butter.
5. Spoon batter onto hot waffle iron and cook until golden (took my waffle maker around 3 minutes).
6. Serve with the other half of banana, plum jam, fresh fruit, maple syrup…
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Light Spelt Flour Protein Rolls

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The smell of homemade bread is one of the best smells in the world. Baking your own bread, especially in the colder autumn and winter days, is one of the biggest joys I can imagine. These rolls are so simple to make and so delicious. You can mix in any kind of seeds or herbs you like, but just plain rolls also taste amazing. I found the recipe on one of Slovene healthy food pages and decided to share it with you in English.

Ingredients (makes about 8 or 9 rolls):

500 g spelt flour

500 g cottage cheese

Pinch of Himalayan salt

Baking powder

1,5 dcl milk (I use rice milk but any kind will work)

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. In a bowl, mix together the flour and cottage cheese. Add salt, baking powder and milk. Knead into firm dough and form rolls. Place on a tray, lined with baking paper, and bake for 25 minutes.

3. Serve fresh or freeze the rolls and use them later. They freeze great.