I am have been a  fan of Elana Amsterdam from Elanas Pantry for a while now – since 2009 when I realised that I (especially my stomach) felt so much better without sugar and wheat. I have her three books and they helped me make and put together a whole dessert table of goodies for our wedding two years ago.

I must admit thought that I haven’t been that good at trying the recipes in her latest book (Paleo cooking from Elanas Pantry) but now I’m running out of ideas of good dinners and we haven’t tried anything new in a while.
You know when you get in to a rut of making the same dishes over and over again and somehow you can’t seem to break the cycle and try something new? That’s where I am at the moment. One of my dear friends is moving away from Boston and decided that she certainty did not need her huge collection of  The Food Network magazine and donated them all to me. I have made it my project to go through them all and tear out the recipes I want to try and donate the rest to someone else who could need some inspiration. My thoughts are that this will get me in to some new (and American) recipes and we will get some variation!

Anyway. As I had most of the ingredients for Elana’s Bacon & spring onion (scallion) tart i decided to give it a try! I changed the tart crust to give it a bit more flavour and added more almond flour to it to make it slightly drier. The content of the tart changed as well with a bit more ingredients – get her book for the full recipe!

Tart crust

1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup Spectrum all-veg shortening
1 tsp ground garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika powder
1 tsp dried oregano

Mix all ingredients, but leave the egg to last. The dough should not be sticky but turns more in to a hard ball and is easy to press out in a tart pan. Don’t forget to prick the crust with a fork before putting in to a pre-heated oven (350F / 175 c). Mine was in the oven for about 10 min, until it got a bit of colour. Remember that almond flour browns quicker than regular flour – don’t leave it in there too long. One of the eggs for the tart filling was already whisked up and brushed slightly on to the bottom of the tart (to act as a sealant so that the crust won’t go soggy).

While the crust was in the oven, I cut the bacon into small pieces with a pair of scissors directly into the heated frying pan until almost crisp. I removed most of the fat from the bacon and cut down the spring onions in to the pan along with the garlic, onions and spices and fried until it all had browned nicely.

I removed the tart from the oven to cool down and whisked the other eggs, together with the salt & pepper, in to a big bowl where I then poured in a bacon/spring onion/red onion/garlic mixture. Before pouring it all in to the tart crust, I mixed it together as much as possible, instantly had a thought about topping it with some grated cheese but decided against it in the end.

The tart went in to the oven for about 30 min before I let it rest for 15 min and then served it with the tasty left-overs from the salad we had the night before. The salad was filled with spinach, romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, feta, olives, avocado with a balsamic dressing.

All in all – a very successful new meal!

My simple goal of the day was do try the coconut frosting from Elana Amsterdam’s book “The gluten free almond cookbook”. My idea was to incorporate the chai spices I have at home as I think that Chai and orange seems like a smashing combination.
As usual, I looked at the recipe but didn’t actually follow it. It started well but as the recipe called for 1 whole cup of agave nectar, I decided to put in half to start with and boy was it sweet! This meant I had to add the rest of the can of coconut milk and therefore decided to double the recipe and see how it went. So, the recipe is:

Chai Coconut Cream Frosting

1 can (400g) coconut milk
½ cup agave nectar
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 tablespoon water
2 ½ cup coconut oil
chai spice mix or

2 small sticks of cinnamon
10 cloves
small piece of ginger
a couple of cardamom seeds

Heat coconut milk, agave, spices and salt in a pan and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Combine the arrowroot with the water to a smooth paste. It will be a bit tricky getting it smooth, but work that past – it will get there.
Pour the arrowroot mixture in to the simmering pan and this is when you need to start stirring it good as the paste will make the liquid solid up quite quickly. If you’ve got a hand blender, use that – I just used a good whisk in this stage.
Once it’s gone smooth, remove the pan from the heat and very gradually, blend in the coconut oil. You need to be careful as the combination of a hand blender and the oil will probably get some oil on the front of your top…
Whisk and whisk and whisk until the liquid has cooled down a bit, then pour it in to a bowl that will fit in to your freezer. I used my bowl for my kitchen aid mixer as I don’t have a hand blender.
I left it in the freezer for about 30 min, until the liquid had almost solidified and had gone paler and then put the bowl back in my machine and turned it on. This is a slow process and many times throughout, I thought I had messed up. At some point, it looked as if the frosting had separated but I left the machine to it for about 20 min whilst I went upstairs and sat in front of my computer for a while.

When I came down, the frosting was ready and I could make the cake pretty! I still think the frosting turned out very sweet, but then – I don’t eat sugar so my tolerance level is a bit lower than others. I thought it worked out well though as the orange cake I made was a bit more tart!

Here is the finished beauty with some cinnamon dusted on top!

I saw the two lonely oranges in the fruit bowl and thought I’d have some mercy on them and make a cake! Of course, it was the succulent and dense Orange cake from Elana‘s website that was on my mind again and this time I would make it like a cake instead of muffins. I might even make a frosting or some sort of topping tomorrow to make it prettier, but I’m not making any promises!

Voilà – the recipe (sneakingly stolen from here)

Gluten Free Orange cake

2 oranges
4 eggs
¾ cup agave nectar (I reduced the agave and added liquid stevia)
2 cups blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Wash the oranges and boil them whole (peel and all) for 1 ½ hours, or until soft. Place the whole oranges (peel and all) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Process in eggs, agave, almond flour, salt and baking powder until well blended. Pour batter into a greased 9-Inch round cake pan. Bake at 190°c for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 2 hours.

There are also suggestions of making it with other citrus fruits such as lemons or limes which would be interesting. Will post some pictures later on when the cake is done and more photogenic!

The other day I felt like making the wonderful orange cake which I made before Christmas. It was dense but succulent and was from a recipe on Elana’s website. Unfortunately, I was too lazy to grease up a 9″ pan so I just made orange muffins instead and they went like a house on fire. Think I might have one left downstairs.
Or, well, it wont be there much longer…

Me and R have our birthdays straight after each other, him first on the 17th and me on the 18th. Every year I bake a Swedish Princesscake but this year I thought I’d try something different.
As I was given Elana’s cook book “The gluten free almond flour cook book” I thought I’d have a go at one of those recipes and decided on the chocolate cake (recipe here) with marshmallow frosting shown on the cover of the book.

Of course, it didn’t turn out as well as her cake, and next time I might add some apple sauce to the cake for moisture (and for using less agave) and double the amount of frosting (frosting is always well appreciated!). I followed the recipe but only poured in about half of the recommended amount of agave nectar and added a mix of ethyritol and stevia. Unfortunately, I forgot that as I was reducing the wet ingredients, it might become a bit dry – and it did. It was still a nice cake but next time I will definitely add some more liquid, perhaps an extra egg or some apple sauce.

Previously, I’ve tried Elana’s Flourless chocolate banana cake which I turned in to nice sticky muffins and the Banana cupcakes as both R and L refuses to eat bananas as soon as they start to get spotty.
Can’t wait to try more of the biscuit type of recipes to have with tea in the afternoons.