my blueberry birthday

blueberry birthday cake with a light cream cheese filling

This is my birthday cake.

I am absolutely, 100%, not ashamed to say that I baked my very own cake.

Mel’s been making fun of me since last week. He keeps telling me that a person absolutely should not be making their own cake. He might be right.

I on the other hand absolutely insist that it’s not a birthday unless there is cake. Which presents me with a problem. There are no gluten-free bakeries on the island, & other peoples ovens make me nervous. I want a reaction-free cake. Then there’s the problem that Mel’s no baker. Which leaves me with my one & only options of….. You guessed it… ME!

I had wanted a cherry & amaretto cake since I’m absolutely addicted to the combination at the moment…. but I’m a moron & forgot that cherries were out of season. Didn’t want chocolate. I feel like all I ever do it use chocolate. Carrot cake I’ve made countless times. So, what else? Banana? No, Eirini doesn’t like banana. Vanilla? Too boring. Fruity. But not peach.

Lucky for me, I love the colour purple & always have blueberries in my freezer. Problem solved. Blueberry cake for Lauren.

Don’t make fun. I put my age on it too. Yeah, I’m a bit of a strange one. Enjoy the recipe!!!

As for me, I special ordered the harvest moon tonight & it should be arriving here in an hour. How’s that for a birthday present!

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new & improved carrot cake

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-free

I used to have a carrot cake recipe that I would use to woo people with. It was delicious & perfect, and completely stolen from Ottolenghi…. Yes, I confessed to this a few years ago in this post.

If it had been up to me, I would have gone on for another decade using the same tried & tested recipe. Not everything in this life is within my control, however.

You know how they say that good things come from bad situations? I’d like to think my new recipe is one of those good things.

I had a failed attempt where I’d simply tried to convert the old Ottolenghi recipe to gluten-free… my cake literally fell apart. Pieces. There were pieces of cake just sliding off & landing in a pile of crumbs. Disaster doesn’t even begin to cut it. Once I scrapped the conversion of his recipe & decided to start afresh with my own, things started to come together nicely.

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-freePleased doesn’t even begin to explain just how thrilled I am with the results. So that’s the moral of this little story… a change in circumstance led me to write my very own carrot cake recipe & branch away from the theft of someone else’s. I guess I became a better person for it.

Make it. Love it. Thank me later.

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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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sour chocolate ganache on banana cake cupcakes

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I have this thing where I think that if I make cupcakes instead of a full sized cake… I’ll control the quantities I consume. Theoretically, it should work. Practically, it rarely does.

Surprise, surprise though, this time I’ve managed it. Possibly because I found some very willing taste testers to give the excess to.

See, theoretically, my idea is genius. It’s so much easier to give cupcakes away than to show up to someone’s house with a cake that has chunks missing & dig marks from your fork left all over it.

Still…. can’t say I wanted to share these. The creamy sour chocolate ganache & rich banana cake was just so delicious. The quinoa flour used was also an excellent compliment in both taste & texture.

Folks, we have a winner. xxx

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cabbage & caramelized hazelnut salad

Let me share with you all a problem I have been facing the last few years. I have developed an amazing craving for nuts & seeds that is bordering on an obsession. I put nuts in my salads, my rice, I eat them with honey & I put them in pastry bases. My favorite way  lately is using funky nut butters like almond or cashew as spreads on anything I can find… the other day I was dipping walnuts in cashew butter! However healthy they may be, they are still on the top of the list for the most fattening foods you can eat.

Example:
100gr of almonds = 600 calories
100gr of sugar = 400 calories
100gr of ice cream = 200 calories.

This explains why I can’t lose any weight when all I eat are “salads”. That being said though, I’m not gaining any either…. and if we’re taking into consideration the type of calories begin consumed, nuts are amongst the healthiest forms of calories you can get. See, it’s all about which is better for you.

This recipe today is an amazing combination of flavors & very healthy in the modified way I present it here…. instead of eating the whole thing myself & just sprinkling some cabbage on top of a bowl full of nuts

– mel

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