easy

Paleo Almond Pancakes & Quick Blueberry Compote – GF

Take two!

I have a confession to make…

These pancakes didn’t turn out as I’d planned and that was a problem for me because I’m still unlearning being a perfectionist. It wasn’t a disaster, not even close, they were delicious. They just didn’t look exactly as I’d expected and this bothered me, at first. So I tried again and although they came out neater, plumper and cuter, guess what? They still tasted the same, they were still delicious, they weren’t a failure, they were just flatter and randomly shaped.Bleberry almond pancake

Just two simple things, less milk and a little baking soda, resulting in a thicker batter second time round. I remember now, I poured in a tad too much milk, this is what happens when you’re hungry and making delicious pancakes! The hand shakes, the concentration slips, you get the picture. It’s actually a good thing I made these again because now I know not to make pancakes when you’re really hungry! At least I got to have a double helping pancakes, every cloud all. The thing is though, I don’t actually like perfect, or neat and tidy either.  This wasn’t the problem. My perfectionist brain was the problem,  they were NOT how she had pictured and she wasn’t amused. Eventually she got lost!

Blueberry almond pancakes second time lucky!“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”  Salvador DaliImperfect pancakes

You can tell the difference, right? These darn almond pancakes aren’t supposed to be perfect and they weren’t, by any stretch of the imagination. These are perfectly imperfect Paleo pancakes. Perfect isn’t welcome here anyhow. But the taste, the taste was delicious and this is the important part because delicious and healthy is the aim of the game.

A bit about the pancakes. Made from almond flour, these are perfectly Paleo and although I’m not a Paleo girl myself, I do see the benefits of going a little easier on the grain. Almond flour like coconut and peanut flours is ideal for baking these low carbohydrate recipes. Almond flour is a favourite of mine because I adore almonds with their sweet, fragrant creaminess- the main reason why I was a cherry bakewell and marzipan fiend as a child.. So making pancakes with flour and milk from the delectable almond is quite exciting for me and if it turns out that I have a few less grains, that’s just a bonus.Almond pancakes & blueberry compote

Another thing about these pancakes is they’re super filling but not in a lead brick afternoon slump full but more a light, energised ‘I’m super productive’ way! What’s more is they’re fluffy, nutty and sweet with a blueberry compote that’s way too delicious for just 3 ingredients. Just perfect.

It all gets messy in the end.
It all gets messy in the end.

Paleo Almond pancakes & quick blueberry compote

(serves 2)

1 cup almond flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
coconut oil for frying
extra maple syrup for serving

For the blueberry compote:

1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon of stevia
3 tablespoons water

Method:

1. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a measuring jug whisk the milk, egg & syrup. Combine the wet & dry ingredients, whisking thoroughly.
2. Heat the coconut oil in a griddle pan over a low heat. Ladle a spoonful of batter into the pan & cook until golden brown and just set. Flip & repeat until batter is all gone.
3. Serve warm stacked pancakes with blueberry compote & extra maple syrup.

Blueberry compote:

Heat all three ingredients over a low heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until desired consistency.

Easy vegan smokey fennel sausages

Smoked fennel vegan sausage

Easy & meat-free!

Supermarkets are chock a block with nicely packaged veggie sausages, both fresh and frozen, so why bother making them yourself? Well, in my opinion the flavours are usually pretty dull, the majority are over processed and I just don’t think shop bought sausages are that good. Anyway, this recipe is really easy, with a professional looking end result so I had to give it a shot. Oh and I’ve been looking for a tasty filler for my lunch rolls and these looked like they could be a contender.

Apparently, the key to homemade sausages is the vital wheat gluten which binds the recipe and is the main ingredient in seitan. I purchased the powder from Ebay, 100 grams at first because new ingredients scare me! When it arrived I noticed it was sold by a fishing bait company……..ummmm slight confusion and worry. After sending an email to the company my mind was put at ease – apparently they buy this stuff to sell on as bait! I’m no fisherman so who am I to question?

I used the Post Punk Kitchen’s recipe for inspiration but being short on vital wheat gluten and lacking nutritional yeast and soy sauce there’s quite a deviation. I also formed 6 sausages rather than 4 as the mixture went quite far. I would have preferred to use white beans but completely forgot to buy them so subbed these for kidney beans which were ok. So after confirmation that the key ingredient is meant for human consumption I got to work on this ridiculously easy recipe (pretty much a throw it all in and mix it up). I had no idea what to expect from the vital wheat gluten but it really is quite……..well weirdly wonderful I guess. It’s stretchy, glutenous and snaps into any shape formed pre-steaming! During the mixing stage it starts off pretty sticky and then becomes stretchier,  forming a workable sausage ‘meat’. These don’t look the most appetising in the formation stage but once steamed they take on a smoother,  sausage like appearance.

Vegan sausage collage

Vital wheat gluten is fantastic for carrying strong flavours and is pretty robust stuff so it can take a beating in the pan or steamer. These are also a great base for adding other flavours instead of the paprika and fennel. Apricot, apple and sage would work really well in these.

The end product is quite chewy but not in an unpleasant way, I’d make them again! These were enjoyed sliced in a chunky roll with salad, mustard and pickles.

DSC_5020

Smokey Fennel Vegan Sausages

(makes 6-8 sausages)

1/2 cup beans, pre-cooked (cannelini, haricot, kidney)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 garlic clove, grated
100 grams Vital Wheat Gluten
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
A healthy twist of cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Cut out 4-6 square tin foil sheets to set aside. Meanwhile get steaming apparatus ready.
  2. Mash the beans in a bowl so that no whole ones are left. Then add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll into sausage shapes and roll into the foil squares. Be sure to secure them at each end by twisting.
  4. Place in the steamer for 40 minutes.
  5. Unwrap and enjoy straight away or chill for later use.

Beer Bread

Perfect with a pot of tea.
Perfect with a pot of tea.

Introducing beer and bread.

Bread making looks like such a lot of work and this always puts me off making my own. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking but not only is there already a huge variety of bread pre-made, packaged and all set for my trolley but there’s always something I’d rather make more than a loaf.  So I’ve never actually made bread and this needs to change  for several reasons. Here are three of them: 1)We all know the shop bought stuff is full of unnecessary additives. 2) I’ve heard bread making is therapeutic, who doesn’t want free therapy? 3)I just want to get good at bread!

I’m starting basic though. I thought I’d give beer bread a shot as it’s one of the few breads I can’t  find in the supermarket. Also, this beer loaf is not like those other bread recipes. No kneading, no resting and no yeast involved. How divinely simple. Sometimes you just don’t want complicated and time consuming but rather, easy and quick. Isn’t everything already complicated enough?

Easiest recipe ever, no concentration needed.

There are lots of beer bread recipes out there and most use three basic ingredients but I decided to wing it a little and came up with this. It turned out pretty good and is delicious with savoury and sweet things. Using wholemeal flour not only increases the fibre content but adds a nutty flavour too (I don’t much like white bread anyway). I brushed the top of the loaf with butter and topped with seeds mid way through cooking for added crunch and protein.  Oh, and of course I used a bottle of strong beer. I love beer and I love bread so I’m wondering why it’s taken me so long to make this easy peasy loaf!

Enjoy slathered in butter, jam or honey with a hot cup of tea.  Alternatively, serve as an accompaniment to a hearty soup.

Bread and jam collage

Now I’ve got the bread making bug. Next time I might get involved with yeast and kneading.

Beer Bread

(makes 12 slices)

375 grams wholemeal self raising flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
330 ml of BEER (I used IPA extra strength)
1/4 cup of seeds (optional but recommended!)
butter & extra seeds for coating 10 minutes before the end.

  1. Place the flour, sugar & salt in a mixing bowl and stir through the beer until well combined. If using add the seeds at this point.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a greased loaf tin and bake on 180 º C for 50 minutes. If desired remove from the oven 10 minutes before the end and brush lightly with melted butter and top with extra seeds.
  3. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

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