Translate it …

Flourless Lemon-Almond Cake

Flourless Almonda Lemon Cake

It’s no shock to anyone who has visited this blog for more than 5 minutes that I love making gluten-free baked goods, not that I don’t use spelt, wheat or rye flour, I sure do but I absolutely love the delicate taste and texture of ground nuts in cakes and cookies. Knowing this, my mom told me about this cake and she highly recommended it, there is no fat added, it’s dairy and gluten-free. It sounded intriguing, so I tried; I was pleasantly surprised by how good the combination of lemon and cinnamon was and the simplicity of the cake. Despite requiring three separate bowls to make the batter, the cake comes together very quickly and bakes in under half an hour.

This cake is commonly served with almond ice cream, upon doing some research about this Majorcan specialty; I found recipes for the almond ice cream. I think this cake would make a fantastic dessert paired with almond ice cream over the hot summer months.


Adapted from: Bon Appétit

  • 5 oz. whole almonds
  • 7 tablespoons sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375F, line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, finely grind the almonds and 2 tablespoons of sugar, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon until pale and slightly thickened.

In another bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks, slowly add 3 tablespoons of sugar and beat them to stiff peaks.

Mix the almonds with the egg yolk mixture; stir in half of the whites, then fold in the remaining egg whites working quickly to avoid deflating the batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan, bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

[print_link]

Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla

Spain is famous for its tapas, hot, cold, spicy, sweet, salty, tangy little bites that accompany drinks before dinner. I am a huge fan of tapas and the tortilla Española happens to be my absolute favourite. I like it piping hot out of the oven, at room temperature or even cold from the fridge. It makes a great appetizer or a very filling vegetarian lunch, it also makes a light but delicious dinner when served with a salad.

The potatoes and onions are traditionally deep fried at low temperature so that they don’t take on a colour, and then mixed with eggs and cooked on the stove-top. I prefer using less oil and baking it in the oven like a frittata.

  • 1 1/2 lbs potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly groun black pepper
  • 7 large eggs, at room temperature

Spanish Tortilla

Preheat the oven to 350F, grease a baking dish with oil, set aside.

Peel and slice the potatoes and the onions, in a large shallow pot, place the potatoes and top with the onions, season with salt and pepper (do not mix the potatoes with the onions), pour over the oil, cover with a lid and cook over medium heat until the onions have wilted and the potatoes are almost cooked, turn off the heat and let the potatoes cool, at this point some or most of the oil can be drained before mixing with the eggs.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the potatoes and onions, season with salt and pepper and transfer it to the prepared baking dish, bake for 45-50 minutes or until the tortilla looks golden brown on top.

If you prefer cooking it on the stove-top, instead of using the baking dish, transfer the mixture to a hot skillet, cook on one side until it starts to set and flip it using a large plate, cutting board or a lid, cook on the other side. Serve hot, warm or cold.

Spanish Tortilla

[print_link]

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

Ever since discovering the health benefits of quinoa, I started using it instead of rice or bread crumbs in meatballs and stuffed vegetables. Not only is quinoa gluten-free, it’s also rich in protein and contains all the amino acids that make it a complete protein.

Packaged quinoa sold in supermarkets are rinsed thoroughly to remove the saponin but I like to rinse and soak it not only to remove some of the remaining saponin but also to activate the natural enzymes, so if you have time, soak quinoa for about an hour or rinse well before adding to the meat mixture.

Baking the meatballs in the oven at high temperature makes cleaning a breeze and to save some time (and energy) I use a cookie scoop for appetizer size meatballs and larger ice cream size scoop for serving as a main course but they would be equally delicious pan fried too.

  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp sea salt or to taste
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 28 oz. diced tomatoes or 3 cups peeled, diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the quinoa with ½ cup of water in a small saucepan, let it cool.

Preheat the oven to 425F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a bowl, combine the ground beef, quinoa, parsley, onion and the seasonings, form into meatballs and place on the baking sheet, bake until they are cooked and browned, almost charred around the edges.

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce; finely chop the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in a food processor. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, sauté the vegetables until tender and start to take on a light colour, add the tomatoes and the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and let it simmer over low heat until thickened.

Serve the meatballs with the dipping sauce on the side or add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for a few minutes or so right before serving.

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs


[print_link]

Flourless Pistachio Cookies

Flourless Pistachio Cookies

I tried several new Passover recipes last week but since it was a busy time, we didn’t get a chance to photograph them all, though they were all delicious, the one that got the most attention were these almond pistachio cookies. The recipe is from one of my favourite food blogs, Baroness Tapuzina. I knew I had to try the recipe as soon as she posted it; she actually posted two flourless cookie recipes that are kosher for Passover but I thought I would give our pancreases a break before making the second one, I really highly recommend that you take a look at the fudgy chocolate-walnut cookie recipe and all her other delicious recipes as well of course.

The dough for the flourless cookies is made with just a few ingredients, nuts, sugar, egg white and a little orange blossom water. They are not too sweet and although optional, the orange blossom water adds a delicate dimension of flavour to the almond and pistachio cookies. The contrast of textures also makes it difficult to stop after just one cookie; they are soft on the inside and very crunchy on the outside.

  • 225 grams roasted and salted pistachios
  • 100 grams sliced almonds (or almond meal)
  • 120 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
  •  

Preheat the oven to 325F, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, finely grind 90 grams of the pistachios and the almonds with the granulated sugar. Chop the remaining pistachios coarsely, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground pistachio mixture, egg whites and orange blossom water, if using. If the mixture looks too soft, add about a tablespoon of almond meal.

Flourless Pistachio Cookies

Form the cookies using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop and drop the cookies in the chopped pistachio bowl, coat them all over with pistachios and place on a cookie sheet, bake for 10-13 minute (depending on the size of the cookie) and let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Flourless Pistachio Cookies
 

[print_link]

Maple Mousse in Pecan Crust

Maple Mousse in Pecan Crust

This month was my second Daring Bakers and when it coincided with the one week in the year I cook and bake the most, I ended up being a lot less creative than I would have liked.

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

So, the challenge was to make an edible cup and fill it with a maple syrup mousse and since we do not eat a number of ingredients that were listed in the recipe, I decided to use nuts for the edible container part, and for the ‘mousse’ filling I mixed mascarpone cheese with maple syrup and whipped cream.

Crust:

  • 1 cup pecans, lightly toasted
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Filling:

  • ¾ cup mascarpone cheese
  • ¼ -1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup whipping cream

In the bowl of a food processor, finely grind the pecans, add the coconut oil and the maple syrup and divide evenly between 4 5 inch tart pans or the mould of your choice, refrigerate for at least half an hour.

To make the filling mix the mascarpone and maple syrup with an electric mixer until smooth. In another bowl, whip the cream and fold it into the mascarpone mixture using a spatula, divide amongst the prepared tart pans, refrigerate until ready to serve.

[print_link]