Banana tea loaf -Banaaninen teekakku

photo (51)I got an inspiration for this recipe in the book called The Busy Mum’s Vegetarian Cook Book. I came across with it in our local library, started to glimpse it through and the book gave an impression of being super good. The recipes are rather quick and easy. The pictures look delicious and ingredients seem to go well together. It has a big range of recipes from cooking to baking.

Regarding the British libraries by the way, I have to tell you something. They are fantastic. I praise them as they do offer a wide range of amazing cook and baking books, surroundings are nice, staff friendly and what is even better, they have this one amazing invention from which we could benefit in Finland too. In addition to the library card you get the key ring that has the same bar code as you library card so in case you forget the library card at home you can always pop into the library and borrow books if you just have your keys with you. I think it is a great invention and we should adopt it in Finland too! Libraries here offer story times for babies and toddlers  and in general I think the facilities are great. The council area we belong to seem to be exceptionally good. You can even return to books to any library within the council area and you can also get so called baby library card which gives you free delay policy regarding children books. This means that despite the week overdue you don’t have to pay for the delay. How amazing is this? As a new and young mother I do appreciate this, my brain seems to have deteriorated during the pregnancy and I am so absent minded that I hardly remember to put clothes or make up on in the morning :)! This free delay policy helps significantly otherwise I would be paying the overdue charges almost every week! Anyway from libraries back to the tea loaf I baked. Here below you find my own adaptation of the recipe.

One loaf:

150ml rice milk (or regular milk)

1/2dl (1/4 cup) cranberries

1/2 dl (1/4 cup) raisins

3dl (1 1/2 cup) gluten free self-raising white flour (regular self-raising white flour suits too of course, if you use non-self raising flour add extra teaspoons of baking powder)

1dl (1/2 cup) oat flour (you can of course use regular flour too, I just wanted to get more oaty flavour)

3/4dl (almost 1/2 cup) rolled oats

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground fine cardamom

50g dairy free margarin (of course regular butter works as well)

3/4 dl (almost 1/2 cup) dark soft sugar

3 tbsp dark rum

2 tbsp pear puree

1tsp no-egg+2tsp water mixed or 1 regular egg beaten

2 ripe bananas mashed

1. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius degrees. Oil the loaf tin.

2. Put raisins and cranberries to soak in rice milk.

3. Mix the flours, baking powder and cardamom.

4. Add margarin and rub it such as it starts reminding bread crumbs.

5. Add the rolled oats.

6. Stir in the sugar, rum and pear puree.

7. Add the rice milk mixture with raisins and cranberries.

8. Stir in the no-egg mix or beaten egg.

9. Add the mashed bananas.

10. Bake in 180 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Gluten Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies -Gluteiinittomat Amerikkalaiset Suklaakakkuset

photo (35)I have this funny habit to send recipes to my email and store them in one particular folder called food recipes. The folder is so full of recipes that I wish to go them through eventually. The problem with this approach is that I cannot remember where I have found the recipes originally so forgive me if I use a recipe that is given somewhere else. I usually do my own version anyway so the main reason to store the recipes is to get an inspiration or basic measurements for my cooking and baking. This is the story of the whoopie pies I made today.

My brother-in-law is visiting us in London so I wanted to make sure he enjoys everything he eats in our house so we have lovely fresh seafood paella for dinner and whoopie pies for dessert! These whoopie pies are gluten free and vegan too. Of course if you don’t have these diet limitations you can use butter when dairy free margarin mentioned and use regular flour instead of gluten free. This recipe was so tasty that I got sugar high first after eating the dough from the bowl after baking them..and now attacking to pies when they are finally baked and filled.

So here you are the recipe for these US goodies 🙂

This recipe makes approximately 8-10 whoopie pies:

150g dairy free margarin

2 1/2 dl ( 1 1/4 cup) sugar

1dl (1/2 cup) pear puree

1 1/2dl (3/4 cup) rice milk

2 tbs Maizena

1dl (1/2 cup) coco powder

1/2tsp salt

1/2tsp vanilla powder

a few drops of vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

4 dl (2 cups) gluten free flour

Filling:

75g dairy free margarin

2 1/2dl icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

a few drops of vanilla extract

1/2dl coco powder (You can leave this out if you prefer vanilla filling.  You can also add 1/2 tsp cardamom to have a bit different vanilla filling.)

1. Whisk margarin and sugar until creamy and foamy.

2. Add all the other ingredients and mix well.

3. Pour scoops (5cmx5cm) of dough on the baking tray, trying to shape them like balls.

4. Bake in 175 degrees 12-15minutes. Test with the small stick to make sure they are fully cooked.

5. Let them cool down.

6. Whisk margarin and icing sugar together. Add the vanilla powder and extract and coco powder and whisk.

7. When whoopie pie halves have cooled down add the filling and build the whoopie pies!

ENJOY!

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Zucchini vegan cupcakes -Kesäkurpitsa kuppikakut

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Oh my dear! These are one of the best cupcakes I have ever baked!!! Ok, prepare yourself for the cupcake extravaganza as these are heavenly, I am not talking them up, they are just phenomenal. Literally I am on my second one now and cannot stop eating more..so I thought I’d post the recipe now until I have no cupcakes left! These are vegan and gluten free too!

For six cupcakes:

1/2dl rice milk

1dl vegetable oil

1 1/2 dl sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

1/2 tsp salt

a few drops of vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbs pear puree

3 dl gluten free white self-raising flour (regular white flour)

2dl grated zucchini

1. Mix oil and rice milk together.

2. Add all the dry ingredients except the grated zucchini.

3. Add the grated zucchini last.

4. Mix well and pour into the cupcake tins.

5. Bake in 180 celsius degrees for 20 minutes.

Icing:

50g dairy free margarin

1/2 dl rice milk

approximately 3 dl icing sugar

a few drops of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

1. Mix all well together and decorate the cooled down cupcakes.

Enjoy! Zucchini works just perfectly!

Healthy biscuits for little ones -Superkeksit taaperoille

ImageI am not a big fan of super sweet biscuits. I like to taste the flavour of the ingredients not sugar or chocolate. During my student years I used to do all sort of biscuits savoury and sweet ones. I loved to munch them whilst writing essays or studying for exams. The more butter the better the cookies..at least I thought so. In fact I thought I could not make biscuits without decent amount of oil or butter in them but I guess I was wrong. The following recipe is my own modification from one cookbook recipe I came across. If you cannot use oat you can always replace rolled oats with millet for example. These are perfect busy snacks for both toddlers and mums!

125g pear puree (baby pear puree pot is perfect for this)

2-3 tbs browns sugar

2-3  tbs white sugar

1 1/2 dl ( 1 1/4 cup) white flour or gluten wheat white flour

1 dl (1/2 cup) rolled oats or millet

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1dl (1/2 cup) raisins or you can use small pieces of dates  too 🙂

1. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius degrees.

2. Mix together pear puree and sugars. Add the flour and other dry ingredients.

3. Form the biscuits and bake them for about 8min until golden brown.

These are healthy snack, not too sweet, no butter but lots of energy. Of course they are not like oaty butter biscuits but they’ll do 🙂

Orange chocolate cake -Appelsiinisuklaakakku

ImageMy friend had a BBQ party and I wanted to bring something special like a cake. Everyone else was bringing savoury things so I thought after the tasty grill food something heavy and sweet would be good. I love cakes and of course wanted to make sure I am able to eat the dessert too so I made again dairy, egg and gluten free cake! I was very happy with it and wanted to share the recipe with you. You can obviously do it with dairy too, this is just the version I used. Also all of you who maybe already bored with my special diet recipes I guarantee when the situation is over and I manage to get some special formula for my baby and reduce breastfeeding I will start adding amazing ”normal” recipes again. I, however, think I may need to do these special diet ones on the side if my baby girl’s allergies won’t pass quickly.

It has been a crazy roller coaster and I feel it just gets worse. Now when she is feeding huge amounts of breast milk the allergens pass through in bigger amounts too. Again yesterday I ate something unsuitable (my guess is lentils…) and today she woke up with the horrendous rash everywhere in her body. Therefore I am leaning towards quitting breastfeeding and moving to formula. I know they say ”boob is the best” and I totally agree if the child is not as allergic as mine. At the moment I feel ”boob is the worst”, there is always some new food that causes reactions and poor little thing suffers. Anyway, I hope things will change soon as we will see the specialist in a week’s time. Until then…special diet continues..

Cake base:

5dl (2 1/2 cup) gluten free flour or normal white flour if possible

2dl (1 cup) sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

100g grated dark chocolate or alternatively dairy free rice milk chocolate

2 orange zests grated

150g margarin (dairy free if needed)

1 tbs cashew butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

250dl (250ml) rice milk

1/2dl (50ml)  orange juice form the oranges

Filling:

Apricot marmelade/jam

Oat cream mixed with sugar, vanilla sugar and vanilla extract

Icing:

1dl (100ml) oat cream

1dl (1/2 cup) dark brown sugar

1 tbs Cointreau orange liquor

6 pieces of dark chocolate

1. Mix together dry ingredients.

2. Melt the margarin in the pan, add cashew cream and vanilla extract.

3. Pour margarin mix and rice milk into the dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Bake in 175 celsius degrees for 40-50min.

5. Let the cake cool down. Cut it in half.

6. Spread the jam on the base and oat cream mix on the top of it.

7. Prepare the icing.

8. Boil oat cream and sugar in the pan 5-7min until thick. Add Cointreau and chocolate pieces. Spread the icing on the top of the cake.

9. Decorate the cake with some orange.

TIP: If you want to have a moist cake use rice milk on the base and top and brush it and let it absorb.

Dairy, egg and gluten free chocolaty banana rum raisin cake -Pian suklainen rommirusina banaanikakku

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1 dl (100ml so 1/2 cup) raisins

1/2dl (50ml so 1/4 cup) rum

150g dairy free margarin

2dl (1 cup) sugar

2 bananas mashed

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 dl gluten free flour preferably self-raising

2 tsp baking powder (if you don’t have self-raising flour use double amount of baking powder)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

50g grated dairy free dark chocolate

3 tbs coco powder

2dl (200ml so 1cup) rice milk (or soy milk)

1. Soak raisins in rum.

2. Whisk margarin and sugar.

3. Mix the dry ingredients.

4. Add mashed bananans and vanilla extract to the margarin sugar mix.

5. Add dry ingredients into the mixture together with the rice milk. Mix well.

6. Cook in a cake tin for 30min in 175 celsius degrees.

I coated the cake with vanilla flavoured oat cream (1 pack of oat cream, 1 tbs sugar, 1 tsp vanilla sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract) and it was tasty but you can also use the avocado chocolate mousse recipe found in my blog and have that as an icing on the cake. Alternatively if you can use soy, whip the soy cream or serve with the soy custard, they would go lovely with the cake as well! Oh and almost forgot to mention..I cut the cake half and mashed banana and miz it with a small amount of oat cream and put it in between the cake to give some moist!

Home Made Vanilla Oat Ice Cream – Kotitekoinen kaurajäätelö

ImageOk here it is the recipe for the most amazing oat ice cream you can ever imagine. I would say this is better than Oatly’s one that you can find from supermarkets and all natural well as natural as it can be :)! You need an ice cream maker, but if you have it, this is the ice cream of your dreams. The best thing is that using this basic recipe you can do all sort of exciting ice creams cookie dough style by crushing cookies and chocolate pieces in it, honeycomb ice cream, raspberry or strawberry ice cream, mango ice cream..anything.

You need following:

500ml,  so two and half cans of Oatly oat cream. Remember to have them fridge cold.

1/2dl (1/4 cup) sugar

1 tsp vanilla powder (just pure vanilla no sugar added)

1 tsp vanilla sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix all the ingredients together.

2. Pour the mix to the ice cream maker and mix 15min and you have your oat vanilla ice cream ready!!

3. Add some extra bits after 5min after starting the freezing process if you want to have some extra flavours in.

Bill Granger’s breakfast loaf -gluten, dairy and egg free

photo (23)I bought an amazing cook book yesterday. It has all the recipes of my favourite chef Bill Granger. The book was only four pounds in our local second hand book store and I didn’t even have to glimpse it through as I knew I would want it. I have been watching Bill Granger’s TV show where he is touring around UK and I absolutely love his recipes. He is so health conscious but recipes whilst being healthy are always mouthwatering. So if you need a good cookbook I warmly recommend Bill Granger’s Every Day. I am planning to cook it through and will drop some of the recipes to this blog.

I baked the breakfast loaf yesterday following Bill Granger..Well..I almost followed the recipe but not quite so here is my version of it.

50g rolled oats (1/2 cup = 1dl)

300 ml oat milk (Granger uses regular milk)

240g (2 cups =4 dl) plain white gluten free flour (Granger used regular self raising flour or wholemeal)

2 tsp baking powder

150ml (approximately 175g) dried fruits and nuts (crushed walnuts and hazelnuts, small pieces or dried apricot, raisins and dried cranberries, Granger used 125 dried cherries and 50g dried apple, 3 tbs crushed almonds)

75g (1/3 cup+3/4dl) soft brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

3 tbs honey (I used Acasia)

1 tsp Orgran No Egg + 2 tsp water (Granger used 1 egg  lightly beaten)

on the top some rolled oats

1. Soak the rolled oats with the oat milk for 30minutes.

2. Preheat the oven in 180 celsius degrees. Grease and line the bread tin.

3. Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl.

4. Stir in rolled oats with oat milk, dried fruit, sugar, cinnamon, honey, No Egg mix and mix together well.

5. Pour it to the bread tin and bake for 35-45 minutes.

I can guarantee this is tasty!!! Bear in mind that when not using regular wheat flour the dough does not raise a lot but the flavour is amazing!

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Dairy free Anzac biscuits

KuvaI know it probably have become self evident that i love Anzac biscuits. My biggest challenge has been lately to replace all the dairy products with something else. I guess I have already mentioned my baby girl’s allergies. Well, whilst being on holidays in Finland which by the way has one of the most amazing health care systems you can possibly imagine, I got my baby allergy tested. It turned out that she is allergic to milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, sesame seeds plus something was detected regarding wheat and oat. This means that my diet for the following half an year whilst I am still breastfeeding should be dairy, egg, soy, gluten and nut free. Of course an occasional consumption in small amounts can be ok but still I wouldn’t risk it as if she gets a reaction nobody sleeps in our household.

Sadly I have noticed that UK does not provide the same level of replacements products as they do here in Northern Europe. We have such a fantastic selection of oat and rice replacements products for milk. We have oat and rice ice cream, we have several different flavoured oat yoghurt (even home brands produce these!!!!). I have gone through all the UK online stores and haven’t found oat yoghurts, rice creams or ice creams!!! Also in Finland we have lots of allergy friendly baby food otherwise like in the UK. So if anyone of you have an idea where I could get these please give me a hint!

I also have to admit that first time in my life I have seriously questioned my choice of living in the UK. Number one reason being health care, number two special dietary products for me and my tiny baby girl. I will always remember one of my clients who said to me just before I went on my maternity leave  ”Pia, I have visited Finland. It is the most amazing country in the world (this gentleman had traveled EVERYWHERE!). Before you can go and start your maternity leave, please explain to me what an earth are you doing in the UK? is it the bloody husband of yours who brought you here?”. Well as much I have enjoyed living in the UK health care and good quality food have become rather important to me lately. I still don’t know the answer to my client. Finland is amazing and I am so proud to be a Finn, somehow I just ended up in the UK. My husband did not drag me 🙂

I guess after my baby’s allergies have become milder and I can eat normally again I will be happy in the UK again. At the moment I, however, feel that it is a compromise not the best option I could have chosen if I am purely honest. I just have to make most of it now.

So, I placed an Ocado delivery with all the special products I was able to find (not many, but enough). This is quite tough time for me as I love good food. Giving up from all the things I love to eat has made me rather down. I have lost so much weight too and it does not seem to go up as easily as when eating pasta, cheese, cream and butter. Luckily here in Finland I have been eating so many berries and gotten nice carbs from there!

Below you can see my previous Anzac biscuit recipe modified for dairy and gluten (low gluten) free diet.

2dl porridge oats

2dl desiccated coconut

1 3/4dl  dark rice flour

1dl caster sugar

100g dairy free margarin

2 tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Heat oven to 180 celsius degrees. Mix oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the margarin in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup.

2. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and margarin mixture.

3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.

4. Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until golden.

THE SECRET IS When taken away from the oven pour golden syrup on the top of the each biscuit to add the flavour!!

Strawberry tart -Mansikkatorttu

ImageWhat do we Finns love in summer -berries. Our forests and fields are full of berries. Wild forest blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, lingonberries, cloudberries…planted blackcurrants, redcurrants, strawberries, raspberries..All these amazing treats just a hand pick away. My little daughter tasted blueberries for the first time and loved them, who wouldn’t. Wild blueberries are so tasty, drastically different from bush blueberries as I have noted before.

I will continue to add raw food delights to my blog. I know, you must think I have lost my mind being so excited about  raw food. I want to highlight that I am interested in ”raakaruoka” not ”elävä ravinto” as we distinguish those two in Finnish. In English I don’t know whether there is such a clear distinction between ”raw food” which is uncooked food and delights made of mainly nuts etc. to replace flour, eggs, dairy and so on, whereas ”living raw food” is more about growing your own stuff and eating sprouts and all sort of greenies, I am not into that 🙂 I love good food so much so for me something that does not taste good even though being healthy is useless!

The recipe below is a fantastic alternative for strawberry cake. It is gluten, egg and dairy free so perfectly suitable for people with these allergies (of course nut allergic cannot eat this!!). This recipe is also from the book called ”Raw food delights”. Even my carnivore Aussie man loves these kind of raw food treats and that is a win!

Base:

7 dl (700ml) almonds

5 tbs honey

3 tbs vegetable oil

Filling:

3 pureed bananas

1/2 litre of strawberries

Topping:

5 dl (500ml) cashew cream (see the recipe in this post )

Decoration:

1/2 litre of strawberries

1. Crush almonds in a blender.

2. Add honey, oil and salt. Blend more.

3. Press half of the mixture in a cake tin or on the plate.

4. Pour half of the banana puree on top and half of the sliced strawberries on the top of them.

5. Add the half of the rest of the base mix on the top of banana puree and strawberries.

6. Add the rest of the banana puree and sliced strawberries.

7. Pour and press the rest of the base mix on top.

8. Pour cashew cream on top and decorate with strawberries.

Enjoy on a beautiful summer day!!!