Millet salad bento

This simple grain salad has made for a couple of great lunches this week.I roasted two sweet potatoes and an onion, which I tossed in powdered chipotle pepper, cumin, paprika, salt and a bit of oil,for about 20 minutes. I mixed that with some cooked millet (about 3/4 cup dry) and some black beans (the equivalent of about a can – the beans were home-cooked in the pressure cooker and had been frozen). I then squeezed in the juice of one lime. Good balance of flavours, and nice and filling!

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Orange sesame muffins

These muffins are adapted from a cake in the book Healthy by Lesley Waters.

Orange sesame muffins

- one large orange
- one banana
- egg replacer for one egg
- 2/3 cup polenta/fine corn meal
- 1/2 cup sesame flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder

Quarter the whole orange and boil the whole thing for 25 minutes.
Add boiled orange (zest, pith and all) to food processor and blend thoroughly with banana and egg replacer.
Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the food processor; whiz to combine.
Bake at 175c for approx 15-18 minutes.

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Potato crust tart

I recently downloaded the app version of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. He has these neat tart recipes in there with a potato crust, which just happen to be gluten free.

This is a riff on such a tart, with a ricotta filling (eggless), topped with caramelized onion, roasted cherry tomatoes, chèvre and basil.

Pretty, eh?

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Sunday breakfast

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I have been thinking I would like to come back to this blog for some time.

To start light – my Sunday breakfast of steel cut oats with banana, raisins and maple syrup, coffee, orange juice and a side of Monocle.

Effortless Apple Cake

A slightly different version of this cake has appeared in these pages before, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to redo it with these pretty pictures. This is a gluten-free and veganized version of one of my mother’s recipes, which is different from most apple cakes I have eaten in that it really mostly consists of just apples. The original recipe is flavored mainly with cardamom, but here I use our magic ingredient of the moment - apple pie spice. It contains cinnamon, fenugreek, lemon peel, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, and can take any oatmeal or apple dessert to a whole new level. Yum!

Gluten-free, vegan, effortless apple cake

  • 3 small/medium somewhat tart apples, chopped into smallish chunks (No need to peel, unless you really want to)
  • squish of lemon juice
  • 200 ml flour – I used half gluten-free flour blend and half sweet rice flour
  • 150 ml sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar (if using liquid, then mix it with the melted butter)
  • generous sprinkling of apple pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum (you can omit this if using a gluten-free flour blend which already contains some)
  • 60 ml melted butter/butter alternative
  • 3-4 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce, or as needed

Chop the apples into small-ish chunks. It should add up to approximately 1 liter of apple chunks. Squish some lemon over them to prevent browning.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add apples and stir to coat.

Melt “butter” and pour over the apples. Stir. Add apple sauce until you don’t see dry specks of flour anymore and you have a bowl full of apples coated in a relatively thin layer of smooth batter.

Spread into a square pan, flattening the apples into the pan with the back of the spoon. Bake for 45 min or so at 190C, until knife comes out clean and the cake is golden brown. Enjoy!

(sorry, by the time it was done the good natural light was gone..)

Pumpkin seed butter.

I used to envy people who weren’t allergic to nuts for being able to eat almond butter. It seemed so satisfying. Then, in Toronto, I discovered that I need not pine for almond butter – I could eat pumpkin seed butter instead! Canadian health food stores stock pumpkin seed butter from a company called “Nuts to you”. It had a somewhat odd brownish-green color, but is totally addictive. When I served it to out-of-town guests, they invariably ended up bringing a jar home, and personally I went through literally a jar of this stuff every week, eating it for breakfast on rye bread, with honey on top, and eating it by the spoonful out of the fridge as a snack.

I’ve missed it sorely here in Norway, now that I have gone through the stash I brought from Canada. But no more need for that – because pumpkin seeds + food processor = pumpkin seed butter :)

Pumpkin seed butter

  • 350 g pumpkin seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • <1 tsp sea salt

I find that raw pumpkin seeds have a slightly unpleasant bitterness to them, so I prefer to toast them first. (The Nuts to You version that I used to buy was also made from pre-toasted seeds.) Thus, the first step is to spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking dish and toast them for 15 minutes or so at 150C. Then, you let them cool.

Once they have cooled, you put them in your food processor, and just let it run for a LONG time. First, they will turn into an increasingly fine powder. Then, the powder will start to clump. Around this time, I would add the coconut oil, while the food processor is running. Throughout, you will need to stop the food processor at regular intervals to push the stuff back down, as it tends to get pushed to the side and out of reach of the spinning blades. Eventually (maybe 7-10 minutes? I didn’t keep track), you will have pumpkin seed butter, which you can scoop into a container. It will initially be quite runny, but it will set in the fridge to a relatively solid, but still spreadable, texture.

Eat on bread, with honey on top (this picture features my home-made gluten-free bread):

Snowy Sunday cooking projects: bread and oxtail.

So I am making up for months without blogging by making a bunch of things at once. We’ve been doing some work to our kitchen, but mostly I have just been busy and uninspired, and light is so bad here in the winter for photos. Anyway, just bad excuses.

So I made a gluten-free bread today, which is based on this bread mix from Schär:

I am generally a bit sceptical about these pre-made mixes, because they are often so starchy, but at the same time the bread I made from this recently, just with some added seeds and fibre, turned out so great.

So I decided to mix it with some wholegrain flour and see how it acted. Instead of the 500g of breadmix suggested in the recipe on the bag, I used 250g, and then added 100g teff flour, 100g of this other mix that I had on hand. Added yeast according to the instructions and some flax seeds and fibre supplement and psyllium. (I am not really putting a recipe here since these products are quite Norway-specific, and since I was just mixing stuff somewhat at random).

Somehow the bread didn’t brown on top, but it is otherwise very good! Great texture and taste. I had some with quince paste and goat cheese and froze it in slices. Looking forward to toast!

Braising oxtail

I had a kilo of oxtail on hand, which is something I have never cooked before. It needs a low and slow braise, so that’s what it got.

First, I dried off and seasoned all the bits of oxtail with some oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika and chili flakes, in a vaguely  Mexican twist.

Then, they went into the Dutch oven with half an onion, two ribs of celery and a few carrots (classic mirepoix mix), and water enough to almost cover the bottom oxtail bits (big ones at the bottom, small ones on top).

This got to simmer at a 150C oven for about 4 hours, at which time all the collagen and cartilage and whatnot had mellowed out and it was all starting to fall off the bone. I picked out the oxtail pieces and took the meat off the bone and shredded it with a fork.

I served the shredded oxtail on a sort of open-face arepa (I figured I wouldn’t be able to make proper tortillas – not quite the right masa and no tortilla press), with some onion and coriander on top. I served it with the braising vegetables (I think carrots and celery taste by far the best after several hours of cooking with the fatty meat… too good to throw out!)

The remaining juices/cooking liquid from the braising will go into lentil soup later in the week, I figure. Should make it rich and delicious.
Stay tuned!