Update & a Lactose and Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Hi everyone!

it’s been almost three months since I last posted something but I’m determined to give you more. This summer has been very fascinating in various ways. First of all… I GRADUATED! After years of hard work I now have completed two programs at the University of Groningen. This time, I graduated as a Master of Science (MSc) in Business Administration and I specialized in Organizational Change. After graduating, I moved from the north of The Netherlands (Groningen) to a slightly smaller town in the middle of the country, called Zwolle. To be honest, I do not know that many people in this town, so I’m starting all over again. I’ve been living here for two months now and I’ve been working part time and I enrolled in a photography course. Now, the course has finished, and I am thinking about taking part in a photography course which focuses on food styling and photography and I started ballet classes last week. Altogether.. a lot is going on. And, all of this happened while the Mr. was away (he’s an officer on a cruise ship). He’ll be back for about ten weeks as from the 21st of September, so I’m ms. impatient at the moment.

And what’s happening with the blog? I want to focus more on simplicity. From now on, I will only post recipes or informational posts related to eating habits, health and nutritional issues. Today, I want to share a recipe for a lactose and gluten free carrot cake I found on Lucy Bee’s website (slightly adapted by me). I started the search for a recipe like this after I had a gluten and dairy free carrot cake at a friend’s birthday. The bakery’s cake was very very very good, but this one … is a good contender. I hope you like it.

CARROT CAKE – LACTOSE & GLUTEN FREE
(photo credits: my photography teacher Gerben Rink)

  20140904-DSC_0067 20140904-DSC_0069

WHAT YOU NEED (yields 6-8 servings)
For the cake
– 190 gr coconut oil (room temperature)
– 200-250 gr sugar or replacement (caster sugar is advised, but do take a look at the infographic in this recent post)
– 160 gr (gluten free) plain flour
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 large egg
– 1 egg yolk
– 60 gr walnuts (chopped)
– 50 gr desiccated coconut
– 150 gr carrot (coarsely grated)
– 2 egg whites

For the icing
– 175 gr (lactose or dairy free) cream cheese (room temperature)
– 60 gr coconut oil (soft, but not liquid)
– 40 gr sweetener of your choice (icing sugar is recommended)
– 1 tbsp liquid honey (or agave syrup)
– walnuts for decoration

– a 20-22 cm loose bottomed cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper
– mixing bowls (multiple)
– mixer
– sieve

THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO (procedure exactly like Lucy Bee’s)
For the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 170 C, 325 F, gas mark 3.

2. Place the coconut oil and caster sugar together in a bowl and beat together with a fixed head or hand held electric mixer on a medium speed for 5 minutes until very well incorporated.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together into a bowl and set aside.

4. Beat the large egg and egg yolk together with a fork and slowly beat them into the caster sugar and coconut oil mixture on a slow speed.

5. Fold in the walnuts, desiccated coconut and grated carrot.

6. Lightly fold in the sifted dry ingredients.

7. Whisk the 2 egg whites at high speed until stiff. Take one tablespoon of the whisked egg whites and stir this into the cake batter to soften it. Then carefully fold in the remaining whisked egg whites until well incorporated.

8. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, approximately.  Insert a skewer into the centre of the cake to test it – it should come out clean if the cake is cooked.

9. Leave the cake in the tin until cool.

For the icing
1. Beat the cream cheese until light in a mixer and set aside.

2. Ensure that the coconut oil is very soft but not liquid and beat it together with the icing sugar and honey (if the coconut oil is too firm it will not incorporate fully with icing sugar. This will also happen if the honey is not liquid enough).

3. Now lightly fold the cream cheese into the coconut oil mixture.

4. Remove the now cooled cake from its tin, place it on a serving plate and spread the top with the icing and decorate with walnuts.

NOTE: if you prefer, you can substitute either the walnuts or desiccated coconut with sultanas.

Aragula salad with balsamic strawberries and toasted walnuts

Lunch time. I look at a plastic bag in the hallway, given to me by my granddad. The plastic bag is filled with fresh walnuts. Beautiful, delicious walnuts from the walnut tree in my grandparents’ garden. While I am thinking of a way to use them for lunch, I search my kitchen cabinets and the fridge for ingredients to combine them with. This salad is the delicious result of my granddad’s gift and my search for ingredients to combine the walnuts with.

[Klik hier voor het Nederlandse recept]

ARAGULA SALAD WITH BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES AND TOASTED WALNUTS

20140527-DSC_0409

THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED (yields 1 serving)
– a handful of aragula/rocket
– a handful of a lettuce mixture of your choice
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
– some basil leaves (cut
– 5 strawberries
– 5 walnuts (cracked)
– a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

optional ingredients
– 1/2 red onion
– some grated parmesan cheese (for the non-vegan version of the salad, obviously)
– 1 tsp honey (don’t use it if you don’t like the salad to be sweet(er) or if you want it to be vegan)

– small bowl
– medium sized bowl
– skillet

THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
1. Take the small bowl and mix the balsamic vinegar, honey and basil leaves.

Strawberries and basil leaves 20140527-DSC_0393

2. Slice the strawberries and add them to the small bowl with the balsamic vinegar and honey mixture.

20140527-DSC_0397

20140527-DSC_0399

3. Toast the cracked walnuts in the skillet, over medium heat, for about 3 minutes. Do not let them get burnt!

4. Take a handful of aragula/rocket, and a handful of your other lettuce mixture and put it in the medium-sized bowl. Mix well and sprinkle with olive oil. Also add a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

5. Optional: slice the red onion and add it to the salad.

6. Add the balsamic strawberries and walnut to the aragula/lettuce mixture and mix well.

7. Optional: add grated parmesan cheese.

20140527-DSC_0404 20140527-DSC_0411

Frozen cranberry almond tarts with a banana coconut filling

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on writing my thesis, which leaves me with little time to cook, bake and create. Unfortunately. But, even without a trip to the supermarket I managed to make a delicious dessert for a family gathering. I might’ve mentioned before that I have a lactose free diet, and my dad has a gluten free diet, so you could say desserts are a challenge. However, this dessert is gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, and therefore it suits our whole family. Perfect, right? Seen the fact that this was just an experiment I was rather… preserved, but it turned out really well and I got some lovely comments as well. I hope you’ll like these (raw) ice cream tarts with cranberries, almonds, banana and coconut as much as we did!

[klik hier voor de Nederlandse post]

FROZEN CRANBERRY ALMOND TARTS WITH A BANANA COCONUT FILLING (yields 9 tarts)

Frozen Cranberry Almond Banana Coconut Ice Cream Tart 

THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED
For the crust
– 125 gr dried cranberries
– 100 gr raw almonds
– 35 gr coconut oil (melted)
– 1 tbsp agave syrup (or honey)

For the filling
– 2 ripe bananas
– 40 gr coconut oil (melted)
– 35 gr coconut cream (melted)

– food processor or blender
– muffin tin (for at least 9 muffins)
– sheet of baking paper (cut in strips)

THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
1. Put the raw almonds in the food processor or blender and process for about a minute.

2. Add the cranberries to the almond grains and process for another minute or two.

3. Add the melted coconut oil and agave syrup and process shortly.

4. Take the muffin tin and add one strip of baking paper to each hole. This will help you to take the tarts out of the muffin tin when they are done.

5. Put about 1 (heaping) tbsp of the cranberry and almond mixture in each hole of the muffin tin and form cups with the back of a spoon or just use your fingers.

Frozen Cranberry Almond Banana Coconut Ice Cream Tart Frozen Cranberry Almond Banana Coconut Ice Cream Tart

6. When you’re done, put the muffin tin in the fridge.

7. Next, put the bananas in the food processor or blender and process for half a minute.

8. Add the coconut oil and coconut cream to the banana puree and process shortly.

9. Take the muffin tin with the cranberry almond crusts out of the fridge and divide the banana coconut mixture over the nine crusts. I actually had too much of this mixture, but I’d suggest you put it in the freezer and you’ll end up with some nice ice cream as well!

10. Put the muffin tin in the freezer and let them chill for a few hours.

 Frozen Cranberry Almond Banana Coconut Ice Cream Tart

Frozen Cranberry Almond Banana Coconut Ice Cream Tart

Alternative Lunches (2) Quinoa salad with avocado, tomato, pine nuts and lime

Quinoa is hot and happening right now. Over here, in The Netherlands, it was even sold out for a while and the constantly growing demand is driving up its price (which makes me unhappy). But what exactly is the reason for its popularity? … Continue reading