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Bread, Breakfast, Lunchbox, Sides, Treats & Snacks, Videos, x For Freezer x

Gluten-free focaccia with rosemary and lemon

Rosemary ain’t just a pretty fragrance. Its medicinal properties – appreciated by herbalists and Granny Joan for hundreds of years – are now being confirmed by modern science. Yes, a daily round of Sudoku (or brushing your teeth with your left hand) helps to keep brain rust at bay. But so too might rosemary.

This woody herb contains several groovy compounds shown to inhibit the nasty breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a very important neurotransmitter for optimum brain function. Some of the drugs available for Alzheimer’s disease work similarly by interfering with acetylcholine breakdown. Mother N! You clever beast!

 

rosemary and lemon flaxseed focaccia_edited-1

 

A few other racy compounds, caffeic and rosmarinic acid, contribute to rosemary’s health-buffing reputation. These acids, along with vitamin E and assorted flavonoids from the plant, may be helpful in reducing inflammation in the body and the brain (hangover anyone?)

If Sudoku doesn’t tickle your brain cells, this bread should sort you out. Don’t forget flax is nature’s richest source of plant-based omega 3s. Body. Slam.

 

 

Paleo & gluten-free focaccia with rosemary and lemon

What is paleo? It’s a screamingly trendy caveman menu of fruit, nuts, meat, dairy and eggs. Disciples are not so fond of grains or carb-rich foods.

Being a giddy herbivore for 90% of my day, I’m not an acolyte but I appreciate the appeal. Paleo bread recipes have been cantering across restaurants and cookbooks from Dehli to Dunlaoghaire. This one is the best of them all, and freezes exceptionally well.

 

3 teaspoons dried rosemary
240g milled flaxseed / linseed
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
185ml regular or plant milk
2 tablespoons black strap molasses

½ unwaxed lemon, juice and zest
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Handful golden sultanas or mulberries
Sea salt flakes, to dust

 
Preheat conventional ovens to 180 degrees, gas mark 4, fan assisted 160. Line an 8×10 (20cm x 25cm) with greaseproof paper. This will look like a focaccia rather than a loaf, that’s why we use something bigger than a bread tin or a brownie tin. Size is really important.

Let 2 teaspoons of the rosemary, the ground flax and your baking powder party in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, molasses, zest and juice of your small lemon and olive oil with a fork until happily glossed up. Parachute your sultanas into the mix. Dried mulberries are also awesome but are dastardly expensive.

Now add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl, and immediately pour into your pre-lined tin. Spread evenly, and sprinkle the remaining rosemary on top with a flurry of sea salt flakes. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and its tin. Allow to cool for 25 minutes on a wire rack. Tickle with smashed avocado, black olive tapenade or hummus. This kale pesto is particularly good smothered over a slice, even 3 days old.

 

p.s. I know some of my terribly clever readers are bound to ask why I use 3 eggs here, and not 4 like the last paleo flaxseed focaccia. Smart question! This recipe requires less hold, becasue it does not have the addition of olives and tomatoes. Ta dahhh!

 

 

 

Bread, Breakfast, x For Freezer x

New Video: The Best Paleo Bread Recipe

Omega-3 are to hormones what Dolce is to Gabbana. Indispensable. 

Our bodies cannot make omega-3 itself, so we need to regularly include them in our diet. As always, food sources are preferable to supplements. You’ll find a truckload of omega-3 fatty acids in this bread.

Here’s the vid …

 

 

 

Flaxseeds are also said to be one of nature’s highest sources of cancer-protective plant lignans. These groovy compounds are linked to happy hormones, lower blood cholesterol and giddy antioxidant behaviour. Quite the hat trick for a tiny seed.

If you know someone who is gluten-intolerant, please email them this recipe or cookery vid. They’ll go bonkers for you. It contains no flour or grains, making it perfect for Paleo disciples too. But you don’t have to be a Paleo geek to appreciate this bread – it’s incredibly good for you and seriously tasty.

 

Flaxseed Focaccia Bread with sund dried tomatoes and olive

 

Sun Dried Tomato & Olive Focaccia – a paleo bread

This recipe is from my first cookbook, The Extra Virgin Kitchen (erm, my second cookbook is almost here, talk about a publicity whore!) 

Next week, I’ll be posting the rosemary and lemon version we make at demos and talks. We’re also toying around with a beer and seaweed version too. Stay tuned.

 

2 cups milled flaxseed / linseed (approximately 220g)

3 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 eggs

½ cup regular or plant milk (125ml)

2 tablespoons of black strap molasses or honey, warmed until runny

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive or macadamia oil (60ml)

Handful of black olives, stones removed

10-12 small sun-dried or sun-blushed tomatoes 

 

Preheat conventional ovens to 180 degrees, gas mark 4, fan assisted 160. Lightly oil a small baking tray, a few inches smaller in height than an A4 page. a 10×8 inch is poifect (but an 8×8 square brownie tin will also do. Just leave some mixture behind in the bowl).

Combine the ground flax, oregano and baking powder together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk, molasses and oil until thoroughly united. I prefer to use black strap molasses instead of honey for three reasons. Firstly, it gives the best baking results. Secondly, it’s super rich in iron and B vitamins for energy. And thirdly, it’s much cheaper.

Chop up the olives and sun-dried tomatoes, adding them to the wet ingredients. Now add wet to dry, and immediately pour into your pre-greased baking tray. Spread evenly, and sprinkle a little more dried oregano on top if you fancy. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and its tin. Allow to cool for 25 minutes on a wire rack. Tickle with black olive tapenade, some super-garlicky hummus, or serve alongside your favourite bowl of soup. This bread freezes exceptionally well, ready to grill when there’s nothing in the cupboard. Nifty, huh?

 

 

 

 

Bread, Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, x For Freezer x

Rye Banana Bread with virtuous Nutella

Another recipe from The Extra Virgin Kitchen cookbook my friends …

 

Rye is traditionally associated with those beautiful Nordic folk. The Danes love it too. As I fancy the arse off both populations, I’ve been playing with rye recipes over the winter in a futile attempt to lure them into my orbit. I think this banana bread will do the trick. You’re welcome.

What makes rye so attractive?

Aside from its ability to lure Danes, this grain is rich in B vitamins, which act as spark plugs for energy ignition. Rye is also thought to have a higher concentration of cancer-protective lignans than any other cereal crop. Studies show that plant lignans can behave like anti-oestrogens in the body, particularly useful in the fight against hormone-related cancers. Winner!

Even more interesting, rye is the grain of choice for body-builders. Its unique amino acid profile can help build muscle mass. But don’t worry – nibbling away on Ryvita won’t leave you looking like a Transformer.

Instead of dairy in this recipe, we use extra virgin coconut oil. Don’t be put off by coconut oil’s saturated fat content. These fats are in the form of Medium-Chain Triglycerides. MCT’s readily convert to energy, in contrast to longer-chain triglycerides such as sunflower oil. This is done through our cell’s mitochondria – the gateway to our body’s fuel. No wonder sporting stars choose this oil over any other. What a shame no one told Lance Armstrong.

 

(I use British cups, 1 cup=250ml)

For the bread:

Just over 1/4 cup / 25g coconut flour (we used Dr Coy’s)
Just over 1/4 cup / 25g rye* or teff flour (gluten free choice)
Palmfull of dried dates
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
3 small eggs, beaten
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
5 tablespoons melted extra virgin coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple or date syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

*add a handful of oat flakes too if you have them, for extra texture

 

For the virtuous ‘Nutella’:

1/3 cup hazelnut butter (about half a small jar)
3 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
2 tablespoons maple or brown rice syrup

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan /350°F. You’ll need a small to medium bread tin, lined and ready.

To make the ‘Nutella’, whip the ingredients together in a cup using a fork.

For the banana bread, get two large bowls. In the first one, stir the flours, dates, cinnamon, baking powder and salt together. In the second bowl, add the remaining ingredients and blend well. However tempted you may be, please don’t add nuts to this particular recipe. The beastly things like to misbehave with the coconut flour.

Using a balloon whisk, beat the wet mix into the dry mix and transfer to your pre-lined loaf tin. If you have banana left over, a few thin slices on top works well. They also turn sweet and squishy in the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the bread from its tin and cool on a wire rack for 25 minutes. Smother great big slices with your virtuous Nutella (or reverence). A side of Ricky Martin works equally well.

 

 

Here’s how I got into healthy eating …

you can listen to this podcast from Ray D’arcy’s show on Today FM