heavenly cinnamon rolls

gluten-free cinnamon rolls

The last cinnamon roll I can remember having was from a tin. You know, one of those cardboard tubes where you peel off a layer of paper, press along the seem & the whole thing pops open. Icing included.

I do enjoy a nice, warm, gooey, freshly baked cinnamon roll straight out of the oven though. I had kind of written them off all together once the gluten was cut from my diet. Except for the odd occasion where I found myself lovingly looking through the glass display cases at CinnaBon trying to remember the extent of how good they could be.

Still, the only time that would ever happen was when I was on my way to the movies (since the store was conveniently located at the mall, and I never frequent the mall unless it’s for viewing pleasure), & by the time I was at the movies, the only thing on my mind was popcorn & beer. Well, not beer any more.

Back to the case in point. The only reason I’m even thinking about cinnamon rolls now is because my boss at work has asked that I come up with a homemade croissant for the hotel… being as I can’t work with wheat flour, I’m going to have to achieve something that I thought to be impossible…

One thing lead to another in my train of thought & all of a sudden I was making a list of all the bread-like items that I’d written off permanently as a fond memory. There you have it. My list comprises of gluten-free: bagels, cinnamon rolls, croissant, doughnuts, french toast & more.

I’m doing the cinnamon rolls first since now they are stuck in my head. I’ll save the croissants for when the hotel gets the ingredients in.

As for these gluten-free cinnamon rolls, they are heavenly. They have this moist, warm, chewy texture. Traits that I think are excellent since from what I remember, the majority of cinnamon rolls out there always got dry & more like cardboard. They are just delicious!

I’ve popped a few of them in the freezer before they had a chance to rise or bake. I want to see how they defrost & bake up so I know if they can be stored. Will let you know how that works out…

P.s. the photo is on suspension, the weather is like crap & I can’t get the lighting right to reflect the sheer awesome power of them.

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cinnamon & raisin bread

cinnamon & raisin bread - gluten free

Cinnamon & raisin bread will forever remind me of my grandmother, May.

Now there was a woman who gave in to my every food craving… more often than not I craved crap like those fake chocolate croissants that come in plastic, foil packaging. Or cookies. Or fast-food from a Greek chain called Goodies. (my mum didn’t let me eat any junk at all, so my summers with May I really went overboard)

Actually, thinking about it, the woman couldn’t cook worth a damn. And for the most part, she fed me a lot of junk food… or force fed me the gross concoctions she called meals. Man, I really appreciated my great grandmother Nania & my great aunt Lila back then. They lived in the apartment above May & they used to bring me down home cooked food. Soutzoukakia & pastitsio were my favorite.

cinnamon & raisin bread - gluten free

In fact, one summer May sent me home so fat, my mum called her up & threatened that if I ever returned home that porky again, she’d never be allowed to see me unsupervised.

Still, not all my memories of food with her are bad.

Case in point, raisin bread.

On the weekends, May would take me on a long drive through the mountains so that we could go to the amazing beaches in Sounio. Every time we took that journey, we’d stop at the same bakery along the way where she would buy us a loaf of freshly baked raisin bread… and by the time we’d made it to the beach, the whole loaf had been polished off.

I loved & hated going to the beach with May. The woman used to make me wear floaties until I was at least 6, even though I’d clearly been a water baby since the day I was born. I was mortified every time.

It’s funny the things we remember.

She was a peculiar woman, but I loved her very much, and I know she loved me, that much I never doubted.

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Champagne Thursdays: chili, peach & brown sugar martini

Did you notice it was Thursday? More importantly, did you notice that we’re finally back up & running?

This is a very big moment. You see, being as it’s Thursday & we’re back, that also means that Champagne Thursdays are officially reinstated.

Ooooooh YEAH!

I did it again though, I’ve made a combination that needs time for the flavors to meld. It’s not that I want to torture you, it’s just I prefer infusing my vodkas (or any other booze) with the flavor rather than making a sugary syrup like most cocktails use. Personally it’s because you end up using half the sugar & get double the flavor. But that’s just my two cents worth.

You see, right about the time that Whatever’s Left went offline, I started looking for things around the house that I could make to keep myself occupied. This is what happens when Lauren gets bored…. a shelf full of flavored vodkas. I’ve even got a lavender one up there.

Here’s what I suggest, seeing as it’s Thursday & we’re supposed to be having a drink together, I think it’s time you strain the zest out of your limoncello that we made a little while back because it ought to be good & ready by now. Pour it over some ice & put your feet up with me.

I know, I make things so complicated. I’m sorry. Really though, I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t worth the wait. & if you really just don’t feel like waiting, stick a whole chili & a tablespoon of brown sugar in the blender along with your peaches & vodka & you should get the same effect. Well, not the same exactly, but it will do whilst your chili infusion is taking its time to become marvelous.

Marvelous, what a lovely word.

Cheers!

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banana buttermilk pancakes

I know I promised everyone Champagne Thursdays. Really. I’m not changing that, I’m just skipping this Thursday is all.

I blame pancakes.

Warm, buttery, fluffy gluten-free pancakes with maple syrup.

I couldn’t shake the craving. I woke up with a hankering for them that was undeniable & I just had to fulfill it.

I’m sorry. I know I said we’d get a little light headed & enjoy a break from the mid-week work load together, & we will. Just not today.

You can’t blame me when it comes to buttermilk banana pancakes.

I haven’t had a pancake since before I found out that there would be no more gluten. I didn’t dare allow myself to dream that there could ever be pancakes again! But this morning, this morning I couldn’t take it any longer. I made what I had previously thought to be impossible, possible.

I’m in heaven. Maple syrup & warm banana heaven.

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strawberry, pistachio & mascarpone tart – gluten free

gluten free

I’m really trying to embrace the gluten-free thing. Some days are a piece of cake (not literally unfortunately). Others are torturous. And some just really seem unfair. Still, we make the best of what we’ve got, right?

Here has what being gluten-free has taught me so far:
1. eating out is a pain
2. no more beer (this has to be the hardest to deal with yet)
3. always read the label
4. gluten-free pasta tastes like rubber
5. gluten free pizza is extra crispy
6. and gluten-free tart shells? Well, they are kind of fantastic.

For the first time in my baking career, I had the pleasure of working with black pastry dough. Of course it baked up much lighter, but the initial colour was this very dark, greenish-black that was flecked with tiny specks of light green, pinkish-red, and creamy yellow flecks of butter. I have to say, I think I really enjoyed it.

gluten free

In Greece, we aren’t very clued up on the whole “without gluten” concept just yet. Luckily for me I was able to find a single brand of flour in the grocery store that I could eat… but YIKES, it was 6 euros!!! For flour that’s just a joke. What am I going to do though, just put nuts every where? That gets really heavy.

In all fairness, I’ve been missing baked pastry so much that this was really worth the money.

…and the tart? Oh my goodness! Mel & I ate nearly the whole thing as soon as it was ready. He says he prefers the almond, ricotta & pear tart from earlier this week. Me though, I prefer the lightness of this one. Also, you can’t beat the combination of strawberries & pistachios together. It’s almost like magic.

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