Grain free bakes from against all grain cook book

I had a go at making two grain free bakes from Danielle Walkers book Against all grain, this was Danielle’s first book from 2013 . The book is packed full of delicious bakes and meals that are grain free

I needed to use up some ripe bananas and I spotted Danielle’s Allergy free breakfast cookies. Made using apple sauce, dates, coconut flour, coconut raisins and bananas I knew they would taste good.

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The recipe was easy to follow in fact I just popped it on in the food processor and made a perfect cookie dough.

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I expected them to be quite firm but theses cookies I thought were more like the texture and taste of a date bar or raw paleo bar, a soft cookie . Saying this I still really liked them and preferred them to shop bought bars and would definitely make the again. They freeze well so I froze in bags of two for those moments when you are desperate for a sweet treat. they would make a good quick breakfast on the go. Here is the recipe Allergy free Breakfast cookies

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Secondly I made the world-famous sandwich bread   ( this recipe took Danielle’s blog global )

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With a very strange list of ingredients I did have my doubts . Eggs, cashew butter,honey, almond milk , coconut flour etc didn’t sound much like a bread recipe but I thought it was worth a go. The recipe used apple cider vinegar but as I’m yeast free and avoid vinegar I guessed lemon juice would do the trick and fortunately it worked well.

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I was so pleased with the result. The bread tasted very nice with a springy texture. It was time consuming to make and quite messy with lots of washing up. But well worth the effort. Very different from a regular gluten filled loaf but still suitable to make a sandwich or toast the slices are quite small but it does the job well .

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For me, having a bread I can slice and make sandwiches yet still stay grain free is amazing!

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Danielle was diagnosed with ulcerated colitis , like Crohn’s disease this is an inflammatory bowel disease. She is on a grain free diet to improve her health and control the disease. Danielle hasn’t had a flair up since 2011. She is now following a Paleo diet and staying well and free from IBD symptoms . Story’s like this encourage me to continue grain free.

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You can follow Danielle on Twitter  @againstallgrain

Her website is packed full of recipes and inspiration –  againstallgrain.com

The book is available on Amazon for £21.24

Book 2 – Against all grain meals made simple is available too

3rd book – Against all grain Celebrations will be released on September 27th

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My Anaemia journey so far

The last 6 months have been very testing health wise. On the 24th November last year I received a call from my GP to say my haemoglobin level was very low, down to level 7.1. I was asked to go directly to the surgery for more tests before admitting me to hospital. This blood test came after months and months of feeling fatigued with shortness of breath after the lightest of exercise ( walking the dog ) and a burning sensation across my shoulder blades.

The surgery visit concluded I was safe to go home and take it easy. Amazingly my body had become accustomed to being Anaemic as it had happened so slowly, I had naturally been reducing what I could do. I now felt like an unfit 80yr old!

Unfortunately eating iron rich food doesn’t improve my condition although I still continue to eat lots of iron rich food. Having Crohn’s disease and possible Coeliac disease ( have classic Coeliac history but been gluten free too long to be tested now ) and Leaky gut my body just can’t absorb it. Iron tablets normally prescribed make me very sick.

Plans were finally made for me to have a ferinject an iron intravenous drip in the middle of December. I was offered a late January 2016 NHS appointment but felt that was too long to wait so I went privately and used my health insurance. I’d never needed to use health insurance before . I had to work really hard to push for appointments, plenty of phone calls etc not easy when you are feeling incredibly fatigued, brain fog at the time was at its worst.

I had my IV at Gatwick park hospital which went well, although I hadn’t been warned how tired I would feel for the next week or so. I expected to come out feeling like I had been recharged! Instead I slept for days

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I finally did start to feel a little better. A blood test in January found I was now at level 10 for my Haemoglobin . I continued to feel fatigued with continued brain fog.

It was decided I needed another Ferinject IV I was finally booked in for 17th March . In the mean time the fatigue grew worse again and the strange pain across my shoulders increased. I couldn’t get to the hospital quick enough.

After the second IV , I slept again like crazy for a few days.

At the beginning of March feeling dreadful I decided I needed to look more carefully at my diet. I knew that my healthy diet had gradually slipped over these months and gluten free grains were slipping back along with some refined sugar and cows milk. When you feel tired all the time you long for a creamy latte and a gluten free sugar filled brownie! Lots of comfort food like rice , GF dough balls and gluten free cheese scones. My love of baking didn’t help .

But it did me no good at all. It took me to feel This rough to realise this wasn’t a short term healthy diet choice. This grain free, low refined sugar, no cows milk needed to be forever.

So now I can report after the two Ferinject’s and being back on my healthy diet I am feeling so much better. My energy levels are rising. I managed two long (6 mile ) for me Dog walks and feel sharper and keen to get back to blogging etc. I do still over do it. Easy to think I’m super women when I’m most definitely not.

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As my GP reminded me, I’m living with a life long chronic disease and I’m very grateful that apart from the Iron IV , I take no medication . Crohn’s effects people in different ways and I know I don’t have some of the very nasty symptoms which I am very grateful for. I was only diagnosed a couple of years ago in my late 40’s as I was always told it was irritable bowel syndrome Rather than IBD.

My haemoglobin level is now 11.7 ( Average level for an adult is 12 )

I still know very little about Crohns disease I guess a part of me would rather not know and  using Google isn’t always a good idea.

I now write down lots of healthy menu ideas and bake grain free regularly so I always have something in the freezer, then I’m not tempted to cheat.

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I’ve swapped rice for cauliflower rice, I make flaxseed buns which are yeast and grain free, I make a grain free fruit bread and cheese scones. It takes time, but well worth it .

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I know I have a long way to go to get back to full health and strength but I’m determined to give it my best shot.

If you have any experiences of being Anaemic I would love you to share them with me. Any grain free ideas are always welcome too.

 

 

 

Simple gluten free banana bread

I always buy more bananas than I can eat before they start going brown and over ripe. So banana bread is a favourite to make, to use up this over soft extra sweet fruit.

Usually I make a grain free version for me, but this recipe is just gluten free and you would be hard pushed to tell this apart from its gluten filled version. Perfect for an afternoon sweet treat. I made this for my Son’s birthday

Recipe

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Banana bread

100g unsalted softened butter ( you could also use coconut oil  )

175g sugar ( I used Coconut sugar which I prefer )

2 large free range eggs

2 large over ripe Bananas

225g gluten free self raising flour ( I used Doves Farm )

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

2 tbsp milk ( I used almond milk )

Method

Really simple

pre heat oven fan 160c

I used a hand blender and mixed everything together, the blender mashes the banana really well and helps to cream together the sugar and softened butter.

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If you don’t have a hand blender or processor you can use a potato masher to mash the bananas or a fork and elbow grease to mix together the other ingredients.

Top tip – make sure you use a mixing spoon that is not used for making gluten bakes especially if it is a wooden spoon as gluten loves to hide in them.

I lined a 2 lb loaf tin and spooned in the batter

the loaf then goes in a pre heated oven at fan 160c for 1 hr

leave to cool, then turn out on to a wire cooling rack.

As mine was for a celebration, I added icing and chocolate shavings.

slice and enjoy with a cuppa!

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Grain free Easter fruit cake

The perfect Easter cake for those not keen on Simnel cake the traditional Easter cake made with marzipan .

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If you miss Simnel cake and are living grain free, you could use this recipe and add a thin layer of golden marzipan to add to the centre of the cake mixture about 1/3  and then once baked and cooled add warmed apricot jam and a top layer of marzipan, crimp the edges and use the remaining to make 11 balls to place around the edge on the top. This can be brushed with beaten egg and popped under a hot grill for a moment. A good alternative to a traditional Simnel cake.

This really is a treat cake packed with lots of dried fruit, high in sugar but for a special celebration cake this is perfect and I think it will become a new tradition in my home.

You will need

140g raisins/sultanas

30g chopped dried apricots

80g chopped dried cherries

80g pitted finely chopped medjool dates

130g ground almonds

100g finely chopped walnuts

1 heaped tsp mixed spice

zest of one orange

1/2 heaped tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp squeezed orange juice

15g coconut sugar

4 large eggs

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

Method

Mix all the dry ingredients together and the fruit

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add the coconut oil, beaten eggs, orange juice

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mix well

line a loaf tin or round tin with greaseproof paper

spoon in the cake mixture

sprinkle a little coconut sugar on top

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bake for 40mins in pre heated fan oven 170c

Allow to cool

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remove from the tin and continue to cool on a wire rack

decorate with mini Easter eggs or leave as it is .

This cake freezes well.

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Happy Easter  x

Grain free Hot Cross Buns

This Easter I am determined to stay grain free through the festivities,  with this in mind I set about trying to make myself some Hot Cross Buns, for me an essential taste of Easter. Just to make this more tricky for myself I could not use yeast as I am intolerant to it.

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I decided to use Ugg chia seed and nut bread mix as my starting point and added spices and fruit to get as near to this classic as possible

1/2 pack – 175g of UGG Foods chia seed and nut bread mix ( I buy mine from natureshealthbox.co.uk  )

3 eggs separated whites and yolk

2 tbsp coconut oil ( I used Lucy bee )

1/2 pint almond milk

3 tbsp maple syrup

110g a mix of raisins, sultanas

1 tbsp chopped dried apricots

1  heaped tsp cinnamon

1 heaped tsp mixed spice

add more spice if you prefer

zest orange/lemon

 

low sugar Apricot jam for glaze

For the cross- 2 tsp coconut flour add water until you have a smooth paste

or use icing sugar

Method

I put the dry ingredients in a bowl

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I then beat the egg white until stiff peaks

I beat the egg yolks and added the maple syrup and melted coconut oil

then added them to the dry ingredients

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I mixed well and then folded in the egg whites

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This makes a very wet dough

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I sprinkled ground almonds on the surface

I used my hands to mould each bun shape

You should be able to make six hot cross buns

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I placed these on a baking tray with greaseproof paper

I found the cross the hardest to achieve. I mixed coconut flour and water until it formed a smooth paste. I used a icing syringe to make this cross.

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You could wait until the buns are baked and cooled and add pipped icing sugar to make a cross.

I put the buns in a pre heated fan oven 170c

for 30- 35mins

Straight out of the oven I brushed warmed sieved low sugar apricot jam over the buns

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I was quite pleased with the over all look , will try harder with the cross next time.

The taste was very close to I remembered, obviously the texture is slightly different. going to make another batch very soon.

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If you have any other ideas to make the cross do let me know

 

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Delicious as they are or toasted with plenty of butter.

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

 

 

Grain free chocolate brownies

I have been looking around for a grain free chocolate brownie recipe. I’m trying very hard to stay grain free, I find I stay almost symptom free this way. There are plenty of gluten free recipes but I wanted something with no grains just nuts and if possible no refined sugar. I still need sweet treats !

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I came across a recipe from Elana’s Pantry. New York Times best selling author . I use many of her delicious recipes .

Here is her recipe for  Paleo Brownies there are lots more recipes on her website Alana’s Pantry

follow her on Twitter @elanaspantry

I liked the recipe but wanted to change a few things

Grain free Chocolate Brownies

100g ground almonds

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

110g gluten free dark chocolate I used 85% Green & Blacks

12 medjool dates

3 large eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil

to decorate

walnut pieces

assorted gluten free dark chocolate drops I used Sainsbury taste the difference dark chocolate drops and Montezuma dark chocolate buttons

 

Method

Firstly I soaked the dates in coffee, you could just use boiling water

make sure the stones have been removed

I put the ground almonds, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a processor

then I added squares of the chocolate into the ground almonds etc and processed until fine power

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I drained the dates and added them to the food processor

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whizzed up the mixture again until smooth with the other ingredients

added the coconut oil , soften slightly if very hard

processed again

added the 3 beaten eggs whizz up again

check everything is well mixed together using a palette knife

The batter should not be to thick

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I spooned the batter in to a 8×8 prepared tin

decorated with chocolate buttons and drops and walnut pieces

pressed the chocolate and walnuts down slightly

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popped in the oven 170c for about 20 -22 mins

until cracks appear on the top.

 

leave to cool for as long as you are able!

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cut into squares and enjoy.

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these are not a healthy treat as they are still high in fructose from the dates and small amount of sugar in the dark chocolate.

But we all need a sweet treat sometimes.

The brownies were dense and delicious not crumbly or overly sweet. its along time since i’ve eating a regular gluten filled brownie so I can’t compare. I certainly prefer the sweetness level of these treats to a gluten free sugar filled version. Although I might add even more chocolate buttons next time.

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Enjoy!

 

 

Review of Flaxseed buns from Hemsley & Hemsleys new book

Today I had a go at making a recipe from Hemsley and Hemsley’s new book Good and Simple.  The flaxseed buns really intrigued me , an unusual list of ingredients but all things I can eat. Not being able to tolerate regular gluten free buns and trying to avoid grains these looked perfect for me.

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I mixed the dry ingredients together then added the beaten eggs etc. Before my eyes I could see the mixture change after 5mins it had thickened up and was ready to mould into buns.

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I baked them for 20mins in a fan oven and they came out looking very like little bread rolls. I have to admit I had my doubts about these. But I was very pleasantly surprised . After cooling I cut one in half and filled it with salad and grated cheese.

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If I had a blind fold on, I don’t think I would have known that this was made from flaxseeds! Good bread like texture and not crumbly something that is often hard to find with gluten free bread.

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I will freeze the majority of these ready sliced and they will be perfect for a quick lunch.

definitely worth giving them ago especially if like me you are intolerant to gluten and yeast and avoid grains.

Flaxseeds are not a cheap ingredient ,but if you are grain free then I feel its worth spending the money .

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follow on twitter here @hemsleyhemsley 

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website hemsleyandhemsley.com

Natures health box sells flaxseeds for £3.19 for 200g or £4.99 for 425g

Holland and Barrett  425g are £5.99 offer buy one get one half price

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