Castagnaccio with orange juice

Castagnaccio with orange juice

I have a confession to make: I hate castagnaccio!
I’ve always thought it tasted like cardboard… not that desirable! But this is a traditional cake from Tuscany and it is the quintessence of cakes for people suffering from celiac disease like my dad. As I did not like it, I made a few adds, like sugar and orange juice… purists will certainly argue about that but I think it is supertasty, so why not!?
It is also quite simple to make and bake, so let’s go.
Ingredients are:
250 grams of chestnuts flour
5 tbs brown sugar (it is about 50 grams)
1 tbs candiade orange zest
20 gr pine nuts
20 gr raisin
10 gr nuts
15 gr EVO oil
300 ml water (room temperature)
100 ml orange juice
1 pinch of salt
Rosemary to decorate
Soak to soften th raisin and the put the pint nuts into a non stock pan to toast them. As soon as they start to exude the oils turn the heat off and let them cool down.
Take a bowl and sifts the chestnut flour into it, then pour the water in and then the orange juice, and stir well to prevent lumps. Then add the sugar, the oil and a pinch pof salt.
Whisk well until it reaches a batter-like consistency.
Then add the pine nuts, the raisin and the candied orange zest.
Put the batter into a greased baking tray (about 18 cm diameter), decorate it with the nuts, some other pine nuts and rosemary, and then into the convection oven, preheated at 180 degrees and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes.
Check the cake with a toothpick (start some 10 minutes before the baking time is due) as every oven bakes differently.
The flavours of chestnuts and orange are so good together and they’ll surprise you!
It’s the perfect vegan and glutenfree cake!

Glutenfree cookies

Glutenfree cookies

After a while I’m back into my glutenfree cooking with these biscuits, whose recipe is quite traditional (you can find the ordinary version on the Il Cucchiaio D’Argento website). I had it changed a little because I wanted to use the glutenfree Mix C by Schaer, and I wanted them to be lighter (no butter in this version). Of course you can add butter, and in this case the proportion is Always 80/100 (i.e. 80 grams of oil for 100 grams of butter):

280 gr Mix C flour
75 gr brown sugar
100 gr vegetable oil
80 gr cold water acqua almeno ambiente (non calda o tiepida comunque)
the zest of half a lemon
half teaspoon of baking soda
a pinch of salt
icing sugar for decoration

Put all the dry elements into a bowl, plus the lemon zest, and whisk, then add the oil. Whisk again until everything is amalgamated and then add the water in small quantities. The water should make the dough soft and relatively crumbly. So pay attention to this passage, if you use too much water you may end up having a sticky dough instead.
Put the dough into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes in wrapping film (form a ball).
Once the time has passed, gently knead again for a few minutes and then using a rolling pin roll the dough out (about half centimeter thick).
Use the dough cutter you prefer to cut the biscuits, then put them on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake them in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about ten minutes.
Once they’ve cooled down, cover them with icing sugar.
You may want to cover them with chocolate (in this case melt the chocolate bar into the microwave and then dip the cookies into it) or use the jam the way I did in the picture above.
These cookies are delicious with tea.
…….. and they’re fit for vegans too!

Vegan muffins with carrots and nuts

Vegan muffins with carrots and nuts

Yesterday was World Vegan Day, so I thought to celebrate it with those who embraced this lifestyle I am so curious about.
Last Tuesday I had a delicious vegan dinner prepared by Chiara Canzian, a young and talented vegan and vegetarian chef, to whom I promised (well I threatened her for what matters) to steal a few of her recipies. So I think the day is just the one to start this stealing.
You may want to visit her blog
This recipe is not on her blog yet, you can find it on the book she wrote with her dad Red Canzian (he’s the bass player of the most famous and longlasting Italian pop group), called “Sano Vegano Italiano” (ed. Rizzoli). I write it down here for you, in her version (as I made some small adjustments, as I always do)
300 gr wholemeal flour
200 gr brown sugar
200 gr soy milk (I used Almond milk)
8 gr cream of tartar
8 gr baking soda
150 gr nuts (weight them without shell)
150 gr carrots
80 gr sunflower oil
a pinch of cinammon
As first thing, mince the carrots and the nuts in a blender (the carrots must be cleaned beforehand).
Then take a bowl and whisk together oil, milk and sugar.
In another bowl mix the baking powders and the cinammon with the flour.
Then start pouring little by little the mixture of liquids into the flour, and whisk it well to avoid lumps. After you have incorporated the entire liquids, mix the carrots and nuts, and whisk everything until the dough is smooth and without lumps.
Put the dough into the fluted baking cases and then bake them into a ventilated oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Once they’ve cooled dowm, sprinkle some icing sugar.
Tasty and easy to make!

Vegan carrot cake

Vegan carrot cake

I am not vegan, I am not vegetarian. But I love to experiment. I found this recipe in a magazine and I wanted to try it. Besides, I have this thing with wholemeal flour – whwnever I use it, something goes wrong. But I keep on trying, hopefully one day the fate will me in my favour!
The cake is not difficult at all. The ingredients are somehow many though. I did not find coconut oil, so I used vegetable oil. Probably it lacks some taste, but it’s quite peculiar anyway.
The banana frosting gives it a kick too, so it was a surprising experiment after all.
And it’s 100% vegan!
300 gr carrots
300 gr wholemeal flour
200 gr brown sugar
2 dl apple juice
1 teaspoon of freshly grounded ginger
5-6 spoons of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Peel the carrtos and then put them in bits in a mixer. Blend them. In a bowl put the flour, the sugar, the baking soda, the ginger, the apple juice, the oil and the lemon. Once it is all well amalgamated, add the carrots and whisk again. Put the mixture in a mold (24 cm diameter) covered with baking paper (better moist the paper and squeeze it first). Bake it for about 20 minutes in the oven preheated at 180 degrees – you’d better check the cake, I had to leave it a bit longer because it was still raw.
Whilst it cools down, you may prepare the banana frosting with
3 bananas
5/6 spoons of maple syrup
4/5 spoons of coconut oil
5/6 spoons of cold coconut milk
cinammon
Put the bananas in a mixer and whisk them with the syrup, the coconut oil and milk, and a teaspoon of grounded cinammon. Put the frosting onto the top of the cake, and decorate it with a julienne carrot.