Oops, that turned out to be a much longer break than I planned it to be, especially when I’m only a few posts in. It’s amazing how life gets in the way sometimes, although to be honest there was a bit of laziness involved too! Anyway, I am back and plan to post much more regularly this year.
As anyone who cooks for people with special dietary requirements will tell you, sometimes you need to be a bit adventurous. Substitution and experimentation are the name of the game and whilst those experiments aren’t always successful (ok, I’ll be honest – rarely are those experiments successful the first time around but perseverance is your friend!). There is definitely a mad scientist element to coming up with recipes that work for dietary restrictions but that feeling of achievement when you hit on the right combination of ingredients is pretty great.
Gluten free, dairy free, grain free, egg free, paleo, vegan – the list is endless! Luckily, there are loads of creative people out there conducting experiments and the internet has made it so much easier to find recipes. When I have an idea my first stop is Google to see what kind variations already exist, after all, why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to? There is loads of information out there and after Google some of my favourite websites to look at for ideas are Quirky Cooking and The Healthy Chef. Not only do both of these sites have some delicious recipes, they also have loads of great health information too.
For someone who is grain free, bread seems to represent a major challenge. A soft and fluffy loaf that can eaten without toasting seems to be the holy grail and anyone who has eaten gluten free bread can tell you, it is most certainly NOT the same as a lovely fresh loaf of bread, particularly if it’s still warm and spread with lashings of butter and vegemite. Ok, so not everyone is going to be into the vegemite thing, but you get my drift…
Sometimes, the best option is to go in a completely different direction and not try to produce a faithful replica. Like this Seed & Nut Bread (or Budgie Bread as it’s known around here!) for example, it’s not light, fluffy and delicate. It’s hearty and filling. Luckily, it’s also absolutely delicious.
I first heard about this recipe on a web forum and it was getting rave reviews from everyone who tried it. So off I went to visit the post Life Changing Bread on My New Roots, and life changing it was indeed. Turns out all those internet strangers were onto something and I too was giving it rave reviews after I baked it for the first time. It’s become part of the regular rotation at my house because it makes a great portable snack. Something that is particularly important for people like my sister who are constantly on the go and can’t just pop into a shop and purchase a quick snack. Being grain and dairy free basically eliminates all convenience foods, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Apart from being delicious, another reason I love this recipe is it’s flexibility. Provided you keep the proportions of ingredients roughly the same you really can use pretty much anything, just make sure you include the psyllium husk as that’s what holds it together. Without it, you have an excellent nut crumble that makes a lovely topping for salads. So I’ve heard anyway… The psyllium husk means it’s not quite completely paleo but it’s pretty close, it’s also grain free, dairy free and vegan so it ticks a few boxes.
It’s lovely by itself, but works really well with loads of different toppings. Personally, I’m a sucker for tomato with some sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, but avocado and poached eggs is equally good, but my sister assures me all you really need is a slice of bread with lashings of a good organic butter for tastebud nirvana.
Check out the comments on theLife Changing Bread post if you want some ideas for variations on the recipe, or just get into the kitchen and have yourself an afternoon of mad science experiments!
- 1 cup watermelon seeds
- ½ cup flax seeds
- ¼ cup almonds
- ¼ cup macadamias
- 1 ½ cups rolled oats or quinoa flakes
- 2 Tbs chia seeds
- 4 Tbs psyllium seed husks
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbs golden syrup (you also use maple or rice malt syrup)
- 3 Tbs melted coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 ½ cups water (you may need a little more if using quinoa flakes)
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix well
- Add golden syrup, oil and water and stir until ingredients are well combined
- Pour the mix into a loaf pan lined with baking paper, pressing it down firmly
- Put the mixture aside for 30 minutes to an hour to set
- Pre-heat your oven to 180°C / 350°F
- Place the loaf pan in the oven and bake for 25mins
- Take the pan out of the oven and turn the loaf out onto another tray, return it to the oven for for another 30 minutes, the bread is fully baked if it sounds hollow when you tap it