Tag Archives: food

Almond pancakes- low carb, high protein for gestational diabetes

low carb high protein gluten free diabetic pancakesWhile I’ve complained to everyone I know, I don’t think that I’ve mentioned here that I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes a few weeks ago and have to test my blood glucose six times a day, so no biscuits for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to control it with exercise and diet so far, but I have been really borderline for medication as any carbs (even the plain porridge and bran flakes the NHS diet sheets recommended) have sent my blood sugar soaring- especially first thing in the morning.

This means that for the past few weeks I’ve been stuck in some kind of Atkins/Paleo diet hell. I exaggerate, lunch and dinner aren’t too bad, but pretty much the only thing I’ve been able to eat for breakfast which hasn’t upset my blood sugar is eggs- with or without a side serving of a different type of protein. And yesterday I’d had enough. I know how important it is to keep my blood glucose controlled because of the side effects for the baby, but I was so sick of eggs I spent the day searching for high protein, low carb breakfasts and while they were mostly Paleo focused, I did find these little gems on PopSugar that I just had to try today.

I adapted the recipe slightly to reduce quantities, account for what I had in the house, take into consideration some of the comments on the article and to make sure that the toppings weren’t going to trigger a blood sugar spike (no maple syrup for me!). I was actually really pleased with how they turned out. I’d definitely make them again and they are a god send for anyone who wants a “fun” breakfast that is a healthy option at the same time.

Ingredients for 3 pancakes

  • 1 cup ground almonds (see notes)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup semi-skimmed milk
  • Half teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Coconut oil to grease the pan, but any vegetable oil would do really (see notes)

Topping

I used Yeo Valley natural yogurt because it’s the lowest in sugar that I’ve been able to find. I mashed up six raspberries to make them go further, but if you don’t have sugar issues you could probably go wild with these.

Method

Because of the small quantities I was making, I added all the ingredients at the same time and whisked them up with an electric mixer. If you are making a larger batch, I would combine the eggs and dry ingredients before gradually adding the milk.

Heat the oil in a frying pan so that it’s hot and add about a quarter of a cup of the mixture to make each pancake, turning when the base is brown and the mixture set.

Notes

The ground almonds worked well for me, but some people have said they found the texture grainy. You can buy almond flour, but I think the price of this is extortionate. In the past when making macarons, I’ve used the grinder feature on a food processor to turn the almonds into dust which might work well here.

The biscuity smell of the coconut oil made the pancakes seem sweeter to me without actually adding any sugar, but you could probably use any vegetable oil depending on your plans for topping eg. something like sunflower oil would be fine if you were going to add a savoury topping like creamed cheese and smoked salmon.

If you do decide to go for a savoury topping- omit the vanilla essence!

Effect on blood glucose

Before breakfast I had a reading of 3.7 which was below my fasting limit of 6.0. An hour after eating these I had a blood glucose of 4.8 which is well below the threshold 7.8 after food that my diabetes nurse has set. I feel like I could have afforded a few more raspberries now!

Frothy Coffee Sponge Cake

frothy coffee cappuccino cakeI hate coffee, but I couldn’t help but be impressed with this Frothy Coffee Cappuccino Cake my boyfriend made as his second ever cake for Mother’s Day (he made his first cake last year).

He adjusted this recipe from Good Food magazine to skip the walnuts for extra froth and used Tesco Finest Costa Rican coffee because of the chocolate and spice notes of the blend. The Good Food recipe calls for light soft brown sugar, but in future I’d be tempted to mix this with muscovado for a richer coffee colour on the cake. The recipe as Jon made it is below:

Ingredients

  • 250g pack butter, softened
  • 250g soft brown sugar plus 5 tbsp extra for drizzle and icing
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 200ml strong cold coffee (Tesco Finest Costa Rican worked well)
  • 500g tub mascarpone
  • cocoa powder or drinking chocolate to decorate

 Method

  1. Pre-heat the fan oven to 160c
  2. Cream together the butter and 250g of sugar before adding the eggs, flour and half the coffee. Divide this evenly between two greased and lined sandwich tins and bake for 25 mins.
  3. Mix the left over coffee with 3 tbsp of sugar and when the cake has cooled, drizzle 2 tbsp of the mixture on each half of the cake.
  4. Cream together the marscapone, left over coffee and 2 tbsps of sugar, using half the mixture to sandwich the sponge layers and half to top the cake before dusting with the cocoa powder for a frothy coffee look.

 

IMAG0250

Almond and Pistachio Biscuits #SundaySnack

Almond and pistachio biscuits with chocolate sauce and pistachio ice cream- a delicious but grown up summer sundaeI am a bit obsessed with pistachio nuts- served straight, in ice cream, souffles, macarons… I can’t get enough of them. These almond and pistachio biscuits are a grown up choice which is great for a coffee morning without being excessively sweet, though like my rose petal biscuits from last week, though dough can be tricky to handle if you want to make a decorative shape. I like to use them in ice cream sundaes in place of wafers- I can highly recommend these with some pistachio ice cream and dark chocolate sauce.

Ingredients

  • 225g salted butter
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract

Decoration

50g finely chopped pistachio kernels

Method

Cream together the butter and sugar using an electric whisk then mix in the yolk and almond extract.

Once these are combined, stir in the flour and ground almonds until everything is evenly stirred in.

As with the rose petal biscuits, this dough can be quite tricky to handle, especially if you’re making it on a warm day or in a warm room. The easiest way to manage it is to make circular biscuits by shaping the dough into a sausage and chilling it in the fridge or freezer until it’s fairly solid before cutting thin slices (about 3mm thick) from the sausage. If you want to use a biscuit cutter for a heart shape as I have here, I would chill the dough until solid, roll out to 3mm thick between sheets of greaseproof paper and then freeze that before cutting the shapes out and placing quickly onto your baking sheet.

When the biscuits are safely on the sheet in your desired shape, lightly sprinkle over the chopped pistachio kernels and press these gently into the dough. I wouldn’t add them before as it makes everything trickier if something goes wrong and you need to reshape.

Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes in an oven which has been preheated to 190°C until they are a light golden colour, then allow to cool on a cooling rack or fresh greaseproof paper.

 

Rose Petal Biscuits #SundaySnack

rose biscuits rose flavoured cookiesI made these rose petal biscuits for midsummer’s evening last week using the crystallised rose petals that I made at the same time because I thought they had a very Midsummer Nights Dream vibe- I could easily believe that they are fairy food. They are really pretty and perfect for a fairy themed or romantic look, though you could just as easily leave the rose petals off or use another decoration.

Ingredients

Biscuits

  • 225g salted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Decorations

 

Method

Cream together the butter and sugar using an electric whisk then mix in the other wet ingredients.

Once these are fairly smoothly combined, stir in the flour and baking powder until everything is evenly stirred in.

This dough is quite tricky to handle, especially if you’re making it on a warm day as I was. The easiest way to manage it is to shape it into a sausage and chill in the fridge or freezer until it’s fairly solid and then cut thin slices (about 3mm thick) from the sausage which will bake into the biscuits shown. If you want to use a biscuit cutter for a heart shape or similar, I would chill the dough until solid, roll out to 3mm thick between sheets of greaseproof paper and then freeze that before cutting the shapes out. This dough makes a lovely biscuit but is very difficult to handle.

Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes in an oven which has been preheated to 190°C until they are a light golden colour, then allow to cool on a cooling rack or fresh greaseproof paper.

When the biscuits are completely cool, beat the egg white with the water or rosewater (this depends on your individual preference, I find that the additional rosewater in the icing makes the biscuits a bit too perfumey, but if you like them strong add it to the icing in place of the water) before using an electric whisk to mix in the icing sugar so that it has a light, fluffy texture. Add in food colour very gradually until you’re happy with your shade. Then spread on the cool biscuits and sprinkle with crystallised rose petals.

As the icing contains uncooked egg whites, be careful feeding to people with weakened immune systems and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Crystallised Rose Petals

crystallised rose petals

This weekend I spent a lot of time hanging out in my garden, chilling out with my guinea pigs, weeding the borders and checking out how my crops were coming along. I decided to make some rose petal biscuits to celebrate midsummer, and thought that crystallised rose petals would make a lovely decoration. If you’re an organic gardener, they are really easy to rustle up. All you need is a rose, some greaseproof paper, an egg, a paint brush and some caster sugar.crystalised roses step by step

 

 

Pick your rose, and gently pull off the petals, abandoning any that are torn or spotted.

 

 

 

 

 

Gently paint each petal with some lightly beaten egg white, I add a tablespoon of water to my egg whites for a thinner and a finer glaze.

 

 

 

 

 

Gently sprinkle caster sugar all over the rose petal, shake off the excess and then lay on a sheet of greaseproof paper to dry for a few hours.

 

 

 

 

Triple Chocolate Cookies #SundaySnack

triple chocolate cookies biscuits trippleI used to buy double chocolate cookies from the supermarket as a treat but they’ve either changed the recipe or the baking method recently as they’re just not as chewy as they used to be. Once you get into crunchy territory, I think you’re talking biscuit not cookie.

So after a bit of playing around with quantities of ingredients, I came up with my recipe for this triple chocolate cookie which uses white, milk and dark chocolate instead of cocoa powder for more chew and chocolate. You can make the dough in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours if you need to.

Ingredients

  • 125g lightly salted butter
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium egg
  • 60g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 60g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 60g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 240g plain flour

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and egg using an electric whisk if you have one (it saves a lot of effort) then add in the salt and sugar until all the ingredients are well mixed and combined.

Stir through the chopped chocolate, I like a mix of sizes so you get some chunky bits but flavour well-distributed throughout then knead together to form a solid dough.

Chill for at least two hours to allow the dough to settle, then split into about 16 equal pieces and cook on non stick baking trays for around 15 mins, maybe a bit more if you like  bit of crunch in your cookie.

 

 

Boyfriend’s First Ever Cake

Victoria Sponge with a twistThis weekend, at the age of 28, my boyfriend made his first ever cake for Mothers’ Day. He used this easy Classic Victoria Sponge recipe, but switched the butter cream filling for a cream cheese icing on my recommendation as butter cream can be a little sickly and his mother doesn’t have a very sweet tooth.

To make a cream cheese icing whisk together 300g of Philadelphia with 125ml of double cream, then whisk in 150g icing sugar. Obviously it’s much easier to make this simple twist on a Victoria Sponge with an electric whisk. He made this without any physical help from me, clearly his obsessive tendencies have paid off.

Victoria Sponge

The Vintage Tea Party Year

I’m a sucker for an afternoon tea, and though I am fundamentally too disorganised to even consider hosting a tea party, I love to look at the recipes for dainty little afternoon snacks. To this end, I’ve been saving up points for the PG Tips Cuppa club and was so excited when this little beauty was waiting for me when I got home…

the vintage tea party year angel adoree

Isn’t it cute? It’s got loads of really exciting recipes, craft ideas and (a bit left field here…) hairstyle ideas… I may not be able to tie my own hair in a ponytail with any degree of success, but I am pretty good at eating, so can’t wait to try making these cute little picnic pies in the summer.

picnic pies

Best Lasagne Recipe EVER?

This is a Sunday recipe. It is not an after work recipe. It is certainly not an after work on Pancake Day when you have plans to get your sizzle on recipe. Nonetheless, this is when I found myself cooking it, with my inner former teacher whispering in patient yet despairing tones, “It’s not that you’re bad at life, but you do have a tendency to make poor choices which sometimes complicate matters…”

Still… after a few hours stirring and cackling away at the giant saucepan my boyfriend insists I only bought so I could pretend to be a witch at a cauldron, I think I may have discovered the best lasagne recipe ever.

Try it yourself (cutting down the 1.5 litres of milk in the sauce to 1.2 litres) and see.