Quick Coconut and Lemon Muffins [diabetic friendly, gluten free, lactose free, no added refined sugar

COCONUT MUFFINS 1

Quick healthier coconut muffins, photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘these muffins have a deep and  intense coconut flavour from coconut oil, coconut paste, shredded coconut and coconut flour.  They are gluten free and perfect for lunch boxes or a healthy snack to take to work and eat at your desk.  The taste of these muffins improves the next day’

You will need:

50ml coconut oil
50g coconut paste
4 eggs
100g self raising flour [I used gluten free flour on tv but you can use regular self raising flour]
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100g coconut
50g coconut flour
vanilla
a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon stevia or 2 pellets stevia

COCONUT MUFFINS 1A

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Sieve the self raising flour, baking powder and coconut flour twice into a mixing bowl.  Add all the other ingredients and combine them with an electric mixer for one minute and not any more.  This is quite a thick batter.  Use two spoons to place the batter in the muffin cases.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool before serving.  These muffins taste better the day after they are made.  They remain moist and dense, very much like coconut macaroons.


 

Quick Chocolate Muffins with no refined sugar and no added fats

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Quick Chocolate Muffins with no added sugar and no added fats.  Photography CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘quick and easy chocolate muffins sweetened with dates.  They contain no added fats and are moist and delicious’

You will need:

250g dates
200ml warm water
250g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vinegar
4 eggs
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of coffee powder
a pinch of salt
vanilla
4 tablespoons chocolate powder
3 tablespoons cocoa nibs [optional]

Soak the dates in the warm water. Prepare a muffin tin with paper cases.
Use a hand blender to bind the dates with the water until they form a smooth paste.
Sieve the self raising flour,chocolate powder and baking powder twice. Add the vanilla, salt, cinnamon and coffee powder. Mix the ingredients together until the mixture is consistent. Beat the eggs and add them to the blended dates. Add the vinegar and mix well to get a consistent mixture. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and use a large metal spoon to fold in without over mixing. If you are using the cocoa nibs add them. Pour the batter into the Pour the batter into the muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before taking the muffins out of the tin.

I topped my muffins with a mix of fresh berries.

I use ingredients by Good Earth

Healthier Salted Caramel Bars

caramel biscuits 3

Healthier Salted Caramel Bars, photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘these biscuits are gluten free, lactose free with no added refined sugar.  They can be stored in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for 3 months.  Today the feast of St Gregory is celebrated and I enjoyed the phone ins from our viewers in this morning’s show as they narrated their memories and shared the history of this feast day.  thank you x’

caramel biscuits 1

For the base layer you will need:

100g oatmeal or ground oats
25g ground almonds
50ml agave  [if not vegan you can use honey]
4 tablespoons coconut paste

Heat the oven to 180C.  Prepare a baking tray by lining it with baking paper. Place the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until it is consistent.  Bring the dough together with your hands and place on a clean surface.  Press and use a rolling pin to roll out then cut into rectangles [either 12 pieces or 18 smaller ones].  Place on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.

For the salted caramel layer you will need:

200g chopped dates
1 tablespoon nut butter [I used hazelnut butter]
2 tablespoons coconut paste
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan with 50 ml of water.  Use gentle heat and stir until the dates are broken down.  If necessary add some more water.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Roll the mixture into small balls then press them down on to the cooled down biscuits.  Use a teaspoon to smooth it down.

And you will also need to coat the biscuits with :

250g melted chocolate to coat.  [I used lactose free, sugar free]
1 tablespoon olive oil

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or in the microwave.  Mix in a tablespoon of olive oil and stir until the mixture is smooth and shiny.

Gently dip the biscuits into the melted chocolate until they are fully covered.  Place on a dish covered with baking paper and allow the biscuits to set in the fridge for an hour.

Trade Enquiries: Coconut Paste by Govinda and Chocolate Valor both from J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Nourishing comfort food in today’s Sunday Times

laxpudding

Healthier Lax Pudding and other comfort food in today’s Sunday Times  Photo C J Baldacchino during a live tv show

In the cold winter, we all want warm and healthy food that is comforting and nutritious, yet still quick to prepare. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the term ‘comfort food’ first appeared in the 1970s and we associate it with home-cooked meals that are nostalgic and foods that boost our mood…

Source Sunday Times: Nourishing comfort food

Easy and healthier blueberry muffins

blueberry muffins 4

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins using pumpkin flour, lactose free with no processed sugar

‘ These blueberry muffins are made with a mix of pumpkin and coconut flour and brushed with warm maple syrup.  They are also lactose free.  The pumpkin flour gives them an orangy colour and crumbly and light texture.  Do not overmix, that is the secret, just fold in using a large metal spoon until barely mixed and definitely no electric mixers.’


You will need:
200g pumpkin flour
100g coconut flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cornflour
a pinch of cinnamon
vanilla pod
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of salt
equivalent of 100g stevia
4 eggs
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
50ml coconut milk
1 apple
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
300g blueberries

Preheat oven to 160C.
Sift the pumpkin flour, the cornflour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and stevia.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, use a hand held blender to beat the eggs, olive oil, coconut milk, apple and apple organic vinegar.  Blend until the mixture is smooth.

Prepare a muffin tin with muffin cases.  Use a large metal spoon to quickly and gently fold in the liquids into the dry ingredients.  Do not overmix.  Then add half the blueberries.

Pour the batter into the muffin cases.  Do not fill it to the top to allow room to rise.  Put into a hot oven to bake immediately after topping each muffin with some more blackberries.

Bake at 160C for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and before they cool down brush lightly with some organic maple syrup.
blueberry muffins 3

Rock Cakes with no butter and no sugar

rock cakes goodfoodeveryday july

Rock cakes as seen on tv, photo taken by George during a live show

Reducing butter is one of the principals of the Mediterranean Diet. Rock Cakes were the first home economics lesson for most of us. Their simplicity makes them a bake that anyone can make very easily. There is nothing better than home made; fresh, quick and delicious.

For my rock cakes with no butter and no sugar you will need:

350g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Stevia, the equivalent of 100g in sugar of stevia
3 tablespoons honey for mixture plus one spoon for glazing the surface after baking
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
200g ricotta
150g mixed fruit of your choice (on tv I used glace cherries and pistachios for a change)
3 eggs

Enough water to achieve a dropping consistency

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Rub the ricotta into the sifted flour, bicarbonate and baking powder as you would with butter. Add a pinch of salt.
Add the spices and stevia.
Mix the honey with the eggs and fold it into the flour mixture. Add a few spoons of water if needed to achieve dropping consistency.
Use a baking spray lightly on a baking dish. Use 2 forks to form irregular heaps on the baking sheet.

Bake near the centre of the oven for 18 minutes or until golden. Before they cool coat the surface with some warmed up honey using a baking brush.

rock cakes goodfoodeveryday july 2

Quick rock cakes as seen on tv, photos taken during a live show by George Aquilina

I use flour and glace cherries by St Georges Brand, nutmeg and spices by Schwartz, baking spray by Pam, eggs by Big Fresh Mosta, stevia by Tate and Lyle, disposable kitchenware by AMC, ricotta by Zappala, kitchenware by Tescoma, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda by Doves Farm at Good Earth

Bright skies, blue seas and Anton’s ricotta flan

Bright skies and blue seas, this is where so many visitors stop by for a few days. But for some lucky ones, this is life every day, breathtaking and nearly unreal …

Anton’s recipe for this ricotta flan is delicious and he was my guest during our show last week. I adapted it and used Stevia instead of sugar.

You will need:

1 ready made Sponge and I found a sugar free one
800g ricotta
100ml yoghurt
100g Stevia
300g candid peel and chopped dark chocolate (ratio according to your preference)
A handful of almonds and hazelnuts, chopped up and dry roasted in a pan
Grated zest of a lemon
Liquor of your choice, a couple of teaspoons to moisten the flan
A pinch of nutmeg
Glace cherries and grated chocolate to decorate the flan

Prepare the filling by placing the ricotta and yoghurt in a large bowl. Mash it up and then use a hand blender to whizz it to a smooth consistency. Add the candid peel, grated chocolate and dark grated chocoate as well as some chopped up cherries and nuts.

Mix and then add the grated lemon zest and nutmeg. Mix well until the consistency is smooth and even.

Place the flan on a large plate and drizzle the liquor to moisten it. Fill the flan with the ricotta mixture. Do not pipe it, Anton tells me that it must look causal and informal. Decorate the top with more nuts, cherries and grated chocolate. Place in the fridge for a few hours before serving

For the recipe in Maltese, click here 🙂

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Happy Hummingbird for Easter

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We featured another sugar free cake with no butter on TV this week and the result was a Hummingbird with strawberries instead of pineapple.

You will need to mix together in a large bowl:

350g sifted self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Tip of a teaspoon vanilla powder or a couple of drops of vanila extract
50g pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon cornflour
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g coconut

In another bowl, mix together theae ingredients then use a handheld blender to liquidze them until the mixture has a smooth consistency:

125 ml olive oil
125 ml yoghurt
200g golden raisins
3 ripe bananas
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vinegar
250g strawberries

In a third bowl beat together unti, they form a firm meringue consistency:

4 egg whites
Half a teaspoon cream of tartar

Use a metal spoon to fold in the dry ingredients into the liquids. do not ocermix. Gently fild in the egg whites. m
Pour the batter into a prepapred tin (23cm) and bake at 170 C for 35 minutes. Decorate with strawberries and i also used dried rose petals on the surface.

Happy peaceful Easter dear readers. We are still experiencing colder than usual weather here in the Mediterranean and I so much yearn for the summer to come in full swing soon.

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With Alfred and The Honourable Dr Toni Abela

Cakes without butter and refined sugar

I love baking, especially when I develop new recipes and try to perfect them. It takes time and patience but over the past few years I have developed a range of cakes and bakes with no added butter or processed sugar.

Cakes should be fluffy and light. The bulk of processed sugar and the flavour and consistency of butter is often needed to achieve the right consistency in cakes. I am sharing some of my favourite ones this week. I featured them first on television last winter and, to my delight, they were such a success with the audience that many who never made cakes before were sending us photos of their results.

The big secret to achieving that light and fluffy texture is not to overmix. You will not need any electric mixers or gadgets. Simply sift the flour and dry ingredients into a large bowl and the liquid ingredients into another bowl. Then, gently fold in the liquids into the dry mix and fold in firmly, yet gently, as though handling something very fragile, until the batter is barely mixed.

Then just pour the batter into your cake tin and place in the middle shelf of a preheated oven immediately. I use a 23cm cake tin. I have included some recipes using cup measurements… it speeds up preparation and it is a great investment to your baking equipment at home.

Chocolate Rose Cake

250g self-raising flour
2 tbsps cocoa powder
1 level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp oats
1 tsp corn flour
A few drops vanilla essence

You do not need a mixer for this cake, gently fold in the dry ingredients into the liquids and, after baking it, pierce all over with a skewer and sprinkle with rosewater.

Sieve the flour and mix all the dry ingredients together until the appearance is consistent.

In another bowl mix:
4 eggs
1 tbsp apple organic vinegar
250ml ricotta
1 medium, cooked beetroot, peeled and chopped

200g dates chopped into small pieces, or stevia (check the jar for conversion and add equivalent to 200g of sugar)

Use a hand blender or liquidiser to bring the mixture to a very smooth paste. Fold in the dry mix into the liquid mix, gently, a little at a time and work fast. Pour the cake batter into a prepared cake tin. Bake in a preheated oven ay 160ºC for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and, while still warm, pierce the surface all over using a skewer or a toothpick and sprinkle 5 tbsp rosewater. Allow to cool before removing from the cake tin.

Carrot Orange Cake #goodfoodeveryday

Carrot and Orange Cake

Mix these ingredients together in a large bowl:
200g self-raising flour
100g oats
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix these ingredients together in another bowl:
180g grated carrots
Grated zest of 2 oranges

Blend these ingredients together until the mixture is smooth and consistent:
100ml olive oil
200g golden raisins
4 eggs
Juice of 2 oranges

The cake is moist, sweet with natural sugars from carrots and oranges and laced with the flavour of cinnamon, it is simply divine.

Method

Preheat oven to 160C. Prepare a 23cm cake dish and grease it, if necessary. Add the carrot mix to the flour mix and combine making sure that the carrots are covered with the flour. Add the blended liquids. Fold in using a large metal spoon.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 minutes without opening the oven for the first 25 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer and, if required, bake for a further five to 10 minutes.

Banana Coconut Cake #goodfoodeveryday

Banana and coconut cake

3 cups self raising flour
2 cups coconut
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Few drops vanilla extract or half a vanilla pod
1 cup ricotta
4 eggs, separated, egg whites beaten until they stand in peaks
4 bananas
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp corn flour

Instead of processed sugar, use 1.5 cups golden raisins soaked in just enough water to cover for a few hours or overnight.

Then, simply use a hand blender to process to a pulp.In a large bowl sieve the flour and cornflour.

Add the bicarbonate of soda and coconut; mix.

In another bowl, use a hand blender to process the bananas, lemon juice, egg yolks, vanilla, ricotta. Add the puréd golden raisins.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time and mix in using a metal spoon. Finally, add the beaten egg whites. Fold in gently.

Immediately pour the cake mix into a prepared cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170ºc for 35 minutes.

Granny’s Fruit Loaf #Goodfoodeveryday

Granny’s Fruit Loaf

250g self-raising flour
100g ricotta
1 spoon olive oil
1 spoon cornflour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 apple, peeled and roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
3 eggs separated
6 tbsp stevia or 150g golden raisins soaked in water overnight and pureed
250g dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, candid peel, cherries, currants)
A few drops good vanilla extract or half a vanilla pod
Grated zest of a lemon
Grated zest of an orange
A pinch of mixed spice

Sift the flour. Add the ricotta chopped into pieces and olive oil and use the rub in method as you would do with butter. Add the vanilla, the citrus zest and mixed spice. Then add the dried fruit. Puree the apple with the egg yolks and lemon juice. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Add the bicarbonate to the ricotta and flour mix. Then add the apple and egg yolk mix and finally fold in the egg whites using a metal spoon. Pour the batter into a cake mould or loaf tin. Bake for 40 minutes at 170ºC.

I use ingredients by Good Earth Distributors

Converting processed sugar to natural sugar: banana coconut cake

I featured a new cake on TV this week that proved to be a great success, not only in the taste and texture but also in the response from our audience.

In a Mediterranean Diet we go back to old traditions to the days when processed food was not around.  I have been testing a line of new recipes for the last 5 years and here is one of my favorite ones.

For the banana and coconut, nearly-all-in-one cake with no butter and no sugar you wil need:

3 cups self raising flour
2 cups dessicated coconut
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a few drops good vanilla extract
1 cup ricotta
4 eggs, separated, egg whites beaten until they stand in peaks (optional, you can also add the eggs as they are)
4 bananas
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon cornflour (optional but adds firmness to the cake texture)

and instead of the processed sugar:
1 1/2 cups golden raisins  soaked in just enough water to cover for a few hours or overnight.  Then simply use a hand blender to process to a pulp.

Method:
in a large bowl sieve the flour and cornflour.  Add the bicarbonate of soda and coconut.  Mix.
In another bowl use a hand blender to process the bananas, lemon juice, egg yolks, vanilla, ricotta.
Add the flour mixture a little at a time and mix in using a metal spoon.
add the beaten egg whites.  Mix in gently.
Immediately pour the cake mix into a prepared cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170c for 35 minutes.