Monday, 14 January 2013

No-Grain-ola




Since our babies we have been giving Hand made Christmas gifts to family. Each year I like to try something new and change things up a little with what we've learnt over the year and this year just gone was no different.

Sometimes I feel as though we are being tight, but when I actually calculate the budget and time it takes to make, I know there's a whole lotta love going into each parcel.
This year I have been asked by a couple of people for the how to on the the no-grain-ola we made this year.

It was easy, yet time consuming, so be prepared to make a day of it-and some!

This year I found out about activating your nuts. Apparently if you consume activated nuts your body is easily able to digest all their goodness. However if you just eat them straight up (without activation) you are not getting nearly all they have to give (and all that is just passing through- so to speak!).

So do it! get them activated.

Instructions for Soaking and Dehydrating:

Raw Almonds*, Macadamia Nuts, Peanuts, or Pecans

- Mix 4 cups of nuts in a bowl with 2-3 teaspoons of unrefined sea salt and enough water to cover the nuts. Soak for 7-12 hours.

- Strain the nuts, then spread them out on a large pan and dry in a warm oven for 12-24 hours.

But don't worry too much if they're not completely dried out, because you'll be drying the whole lot out after you mix it all in together.
Ingredients:
Photo: Who like granola?
About 8C Activated Nuts
(I used macadamias, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pistachios- I needed a little green reference, it was Christmas after all).

100g pepitas

110g sunflower seeds

1.25kg quinoa flakes

200ml of coconut oil

100g honey or your choice of sweetener (sweeten to taste, this might be a bit much for you, or not enough- it was just right for us)

To be stirred in after toasting:
400g dried cranberries (I used these for Christmas colour, they gave a nice tart/sweet balance, but you can use any small dried fruit like blueberries, or sultanas or mix it up)

Method:

In the biggest bowl you can find (or do two batches), mix together the activated chopped nuts (I put mine in a snap bag and beat them with a rolling pin- satisfying and gets the job done quickly. This was the part my kids loved the most!), the seeds and the Quinoa flakes (also a seed) until well combined.

next melt the coconut oil (I did mine in the microwave) and mix in the honey while it is still warm. Stir the nut mixture as you drizzle in the honey coconut oil mixture (I did this easily using my stand mixer and paddle attachment, but this can be done by hand).

Once completely combined (it should be a little sticky/ clumpy- but not too much, if it's not to your liking, repeat last step until you get the texture you desire) spread evenly over lined baking sheets (I needed 4 large) and pop them in the oven again. Depending on how toasted you like your granola is how long to leave in.

Put the oven on fan forced with the door slightly ajar to let any steam left in your nuts out- and to fill your house with the delicious smell of freshly roasted No-Grain-ola!
Photo: Me like granola... umm I mean No-Grain-olatotally grain, gluten, dairy free and you can make it easily vegan tooRecipe and how to coming on Twolicious.blogspot
Fill your sterile pint sized jars and share the love with your family and friends too (just make sure there are no nut allergies!)

This is a totally open ended recipe. Feel free to make substitutions wherever you like!

From my kitchen to yours, go forth and make this No-Grain-ola yours!
Photo: Um.. Who's in for a light morning tea break?
Parfait! Everybody loves Parfait (name that movie!)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Bread review #4 & Mother Recipes

Happy New Year!!


I have been reading lately, or trying to.

Me reading consists of doing another task while reading (or trying to absorb some information).

So I'll be cooking dinner- while reading, baking- while reading or vacuuming- while reading, or doing washing or ironing- while reading. It is fragmented reading, but I have to think of it in a positive light. With each new fragment I have read, I have mulled over the last piece ready to process more and hopefully with new understanding.

Actually I'd have to say my best reading time is while I eat breakfast with my children, It is only about 5 minutes, but they are so hungry from growing all night, they don't want to chat- just eat. So I read a little while they eat a lot!

So getting back to what I've been reading.

I have been reading about mother recipes. These are the base or foundation recipes that you build from. Using mother recipes you can build almost anything. The worlds foods are based on mother recipes. Look at any cuisine you'll find mother recipes at work. For example Lasagna uses two in their basic form.

We mostly find 'mother sauces'. And while I never had heard of them ( Mother Sauces) before (clearly self educated/ uneducated food wise!) I found I'd been using them my whole cooking life.

Think Bechamel, Tomato base sauce, stock based sauces (Velouté , Espagnole) Hollandaise.

This kinda follows through into other foundation pieces in cooking, (Total disclaimer follows...) and I am no professional, and have had no culinary training, so this is just my take on the idea behind the mother recipe.

So for example I have a great GF/DF pasta dough recipe, it leaves a lot of open creation, once you've made the dough.

And I have been working on a simple yet effective bread dough recipe. I am so tired of having 35 ingredients and an egg- just to make some bread!

I just wanted a dough that was a few simple ingredients, readily available, that everyone could eat,  that makes a good bread, and leaves itself open to make other dough based recipes, like a pizza base, a calzone, a pull a part bread, a sweet bread, a cinnamon bun, etc, etc...

Was I really asking that much? Well yes, but that's what makes a good mother dough ;)

I had a friend a while back tell me about a mythical gluten free pane di casa, which in the end was non existent. This is what sent me down this trail in the first place.

I spent some time in collaboration with a fellow etsian who has developed some great bread recipes.


Rice Bread (gluten free, no dairy, no gum)
This is Chris' original bread photo
His recipes are copyright so I cannot provide one here. However I would recommend popping over to his etsy store (recipes @ $3!!)

His bread recipe is what I have based my 'mother dough', I made a few changes just for ease of use, taking a step out here and there (typically for effeciency), and plus I use my stand mixer to knead the dough silky smooth.

One thing. Onece baked- Be sure to let your bread cool completely, it is still cooking as it cools, and that last step is crucial to a great loaf

It makes a nice bread and ticks all the boxes.


Rice Bread (gluten free, no dairy, no gum)
This was one of my attempts at Chris' recipe. I rolled my dough in oil and flour before I baked it to give it a little bit of an artisan look.
Seriously delicious, my kiddos kept asking for more, even after their fourth slice- I had to cut them off, they weren't even hungry they both had only just had lunch right before the loaf finished cooling!
Time to rate the bread:

10/10- Would I go back for more?
YEP!
Have and will continue to. This is because it makes great pizza,  foccacia, calzones, croissants, bagels, anything bread based, etc..

Look at that calzone! My kiddos affectionately call them pizza pockets.
(I actually believe it makes a better everything else than the bread itself, that's not saying the bread isn't nice... just that My family's fave pizza base is now this dough, etc, etc)
cost:
9/10- Approximately (depending on where you source your ingredients) $3 per recipe which yields a regular loaf (or 2 regular for GF sized loaves) , 4-5 pizza bases depending on the size and thickness you prefer, 8-10 calzones/ croissants.

Making this loaf is quite reasonable considering a comparable (regular small GF sizing) loaf in your grocery store is approximately $7 these days. It is not as cheap as the dollar loaves of gluten full bread, but it is the least expensive I have found so far.

Longevity: 4/10 The day of baking is really the best day to consume this bread.
Day 2 was still good for sandwiches, day 3, 4, 5 and 6 needed refreshing, I have still not had mould grow on this bread and have tested as far as 8 days, even then after refreshing it was still good to eat (immediately- after cooling it went slightly rubbery).

Freezing: 7/10 This bread is awesome from freezing, not exactly back to day 1 texture but definitely good enough to use from frozen for sandwiches that day. Like any bread slice before freezing and just use what you need.

Toasting: 7/10! This is some pretty good toast. Not quite as good as Japanese milk toast, but next on the list
Overall rating: 7.5/10

This dough provides a great all purpose mother dough. Making it is easy with only about 7 ingredients, and so an easy choice when it comes to what to make. The simple ingredients and similar to traditional dough making method make it an easy transition from regular bread making or even (like me) a novice.

Check out Chris's recipes on his etsy page recipes for living