Gluten-free Amaranth Crackers

These pseudo-cheesy pseudocereal crackers with their crumbly texture and a delectable eathy-nutty flavour are surprisingly easy to make. Crackers strike me as the type of pantry project that is seemingly way more high-effort than it actually is. I suppose it’s because picking up a pack at the grocery store feels easier than everything else.

You will be able to make these with untroubled ease even if you’ve never baked anything in your life. Unlike other pastries, this one does not intimidate. The dough is mixed up in the processor and rolls effortlessly. And I re-squidge and re-roll to the bitter end. A fork can be used to make quaint dotted perforations on the crackers and very satisfying work it is, too. But should you want to skip it, they will turn out just as good.

What you will need – (for 24-26 crackers )
  • Amaranth flour – 120 g (1 cup)
  • Olive oil – 3 tablespoon (45 ml)
  • Baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon (or use 2-3 fresh cloves, grated)
  • Onion powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh Rosemary – 2 sprigs (about 1 tablespoon leaves), roughly chopped
  • Fresh Thyme – 3-4 sprigs, picked
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
  • Nutritional yeast – 1 tablespoon (optional)
  • Water – 3 tablespoon
Method –
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse to combine. The mix will be clumpy and will likely not come together into a ball. Take the mixture out and knead gently for 2-3 mins. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Add a little more flour if needed.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to roughly 0.5cm thick, use a sharp knife or a cookie cutter to cut out the crackers. This dough, unlike all other pastry doughs, does not change characteristics once rolled. So resquidge and re-roll till the wee end. Waste nothing.
  4. Prick lightly with a fork to prevent them from puffing up.
    (You might be able to tell from the photograph that I completely forgot to do this, but the puffy ones tasted just as good)
  5. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12-14 mins or until lightly golden around the edges.
  6. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.

Storage notes –

Store in an airtight container for up to a week. (They’ll be eaten way before that)

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

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Passionfruit Curd

I thought I was going to exhaust the culinary possibilities of passion fruit but turns out I have great capacity for eating greedy, grateful spoonfuls of it; slurping away at the cuppy shells, sucking even the last droplet of juice left; I even licked a few of them if I may embarrassingly add.

The last few went into this gorgeous curd which is wonderful slathered on fresh bread (yes, even the ones with a hint of garlic). It is also exceptional dolloped over crumpets and pancakes or added to oat cups. The addition of brown sugar makes it duller in colour, but it is much more vibrant in flavour. If you want, by all mean, use caster sugar.

If you don’t have a passionfruit Santa in your life or can’t get hold of them, there’s nothing to stop you making this with grapefruit or lemon or orange.

What you will need – (for approx 300-350 ml curd)
  • Passionfruit – 10 + 1
  • Eggs – 2 large
  • Butter – 70 grams (cultured butter preferred)
  • Brown sugar – 60 grams (sub with caster sugar)
  • Cornstarch – 1.5 tablespoon (mix with 30 ml water)
Method –
  1. Add the pulp of 10 of the passionfruit into a processor and blitz for no more than 4-5 seconds, just enough to loosen the seeds. You don’t want to crazily blend them to mush. Strain into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together.
  3. In a heavy pan, melt the butter over a low flame. When melted, stir in the sugar-egg mixture, the passionfruit juice and cornstarch slurry.
  4. Keep cooking gently; stirring constantly. Don’t be tempted to increase the heat unless you want sweet scrambled eggs. until thickened.
  5. In about 6-8 mins the mixture will thicken into a curd like consistency. When it does, off the heat, whisk in the pulp – seeds and all – of the remaining passionfruit.
  6. Let cool completely, pour into an airtight glass jar and refrigerate.

Storage notes –

Keeps in the fridge for a week.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

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Aana’s Jewelled Soda Bread

When someone asked me for an easy bread recipe a few days ago, I picked up a dusty old journal of my mum’s – an assortment of recipes she unfailingly enjoyed. A cursory glance at my grandma’s soda bread recipe sent my eyes a-twinkling. I was transported back to the time when I would hurriedly run down the stairs, following the fruity fragrance of this bread emanating from the kitchen as my mum baked, often in the middle of the nights. I’d stare at the oven; cupping my hands around my face over, the oven door to catch a better view and then impatiently tear through the bread as soon as it was ready. All just to eat that first slice, warm, with a generous slathering of butter.

I must admit, though, this bread had almost completely evaporated from my memory.

And to rectify that I just had to make it.

Aana’s Jewelled Soda Bread Recipe

Storage notes –

Store in an airtight container for upto 4 days.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram. Use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Coconut Almond Oat Cookies

This cookie is an ode to my childhood favourite coconut macarons dredged in throat-catching desiccated coconut. For close to a decade now, I’ve been impelled towards reproducing artifice by more natural and plant-based means. This recipe is hardly troublesome to make and once made, I assure you, will become a regular of homely accomplishments.

What you will need – (for roughly 20 cookies)
  • Rolled Oats – 1 cup
  • Almond flour – 1 cup
  • Desiccated Coconut – 1 cup (make sure it’s good quality, not too old or too dry)
  • Coconut or soft brown sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Light olive oil or coconut oil – 1/4 cup
  • Maple syrup or honey – 2 tablespoon
  • Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Water – 2-5 tablespoons
Method –
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add oil and stir to combine.
  4. Add water 2 tablespoons at first, mix and check the mixture is damp and gooey.
  5. Squeeze a spoonful in the palms of your hand, the water should ooze out. Add more water if needed.
  6. Shape into roughly 20 balls, flatten to make cookies and lay on a prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 25-30 mins or until lightly golden.
  8. Allow to completely cool and enjoy.

Storage notes –

Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram. Use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Plant-based Carrot Cake

This plant based adaptation of the classic carrot cake sends citrus juices permeating the sweetness of carrots. The input from you is minimal. Culinary self esteem – and festive spirit – never came at so low an emotional cost.

What you will need – (for a 2 layer 9 inch cake)

For the carrot cake –

  • Olive oil – 1/2 cup
  • Brown sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Flax eggs – 2 (2 tbsp flaxseed powder mixed with 5 tbsp water)
  • Carrots – 3 large (2 cups when grated)
  • Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  • Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
  • Zest of a whole orange
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Walnuts – 1/3 cup, chopped
  • Golden sultanas – 1/3 cup
  • Dried Cranberries – 1/3 cup (optional)

For Plant-based Cream Cheese –

  • Raw Cashews – 1 1/2 cups (225g) (soaked in hot water for 1 hour)
  • Lemon Juice – 2 Tbsp 
  • Coconut Cream – 1/2 cup (120ml)
  • Salt – 1 tsp 
  • White Vinegar – 1/4 tsp

For Plant-based Cream Cheese Frosting –

  • Vegan Cream Cheese (from above) – 225g
  • Vegan Butter – 1/4 cup (56g)
  • Powdered Sugar – 2/3 – 1 cup (65-120g) (adjust as per your preference of sweetness)
  • Vanilla Extract – 1/2 tsp
Method –

You will need 1 x 9-inch round cake tin

  1. To make your vegan cream cheese, soak the raw cashews in hot water for 1 hour. Then drain the cashews and add to a blender jug with the lemon juice, coconut cream, salt and white vinegar. Blend until you have a smooth texture. Transfer the cream cheese from the blender to a storage container.
  2. Mix flaxseed powder with water and keep aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180℃. Grease your cake tin with oil and lightly dust with flour and keep aside.
  4. Meanwhile, grate the carrots in a processor (for ease) or with a coarse grater, taking care not to to squeeze out liquid from the carrots. Set aside.
  5. Whisk the sugar and oil – I use my electric mixer, but it wouldn’t be much of a faff by hand – until creamily and airily mixed.
  6. Whisk in the flax egg. When well-whisked, add the orange zest and lemon juice and finally, the dry ingredients and grated carrots. Ensure the batter is not over-mixed.
  7. Now fold in the cranberries, walnuts and sultanas using a spatula.
  8. Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is risen and golden and a toothpick comes out sticky but more or less clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in its tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes before taking it out of the tin and leaving it on the rack to cool.
  11. Weigh out 225g of the cream cheese and place it into a large bowl. Then add softened vegan butter, sift in the powdered sugar and add the vanilla extract. Starting at slow speed gradually increase speed until the frosting is thick and smooth. I prefer it not so sweet and 65g sugar is perfectly sweet by my standards. Taste the frosting and add more sugar if you so desire. (If the frosting is a little on the soft/runny side, place the bowl of frosting in the fridge to firm up)
  12. Remove the cake to a plate; slice in half horizontally. I insert toothpicks at the halfway mark on 4 sides of the cake and use dental floss to slice it through.
  13. Add half of the frosting on the first layer, followed by the next half of the cake and another layer of frosting. Tumble over a handful of cranberries, walnuts and mint leaves. Serve.

Storage notes –

Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram. Use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Mushroom Pie with Cacao and Parsley

Much as chocolate makes the ‘power couple’ in desserts, when incorporated in small quantities, chocolate lends silkiness and complexity to a plethora of savoury dishes too. Originally, cocoa was consumed, crumbled, in some drinks which were anything but sweet, in fact, they were enriched with chilli pepper. ⁣⁣⁣
This mushroom pie features a complexity of flavours like no other. The crust is delectably flakey and crumbly while the filling is the perfect mingling of umami notes from the mushrooms and bitter flavours of cacao.

I really do hope you will try this recipe and it will prod you further in the direction of culinary experimentation.

What you will need – (for a 9 inch pie)

For the stock –

  • Olive oil – 3 tbsp
  • Onions – 2 large, sliced 1 cm thick
  • Coconut sugar – 1 tsp
  • Carrot – 1 large, roughly chopped
  • Mushroom stems/trimmings – 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Bay leaf – 1 large, torn
  • Rosemary – 1 sprig (sub with dried rosemary)
  • Water – 1 litre

For the mushroom & cacao filling –

  • Mushrooms – 400g, stems removed and divided. (Use part of the stems for the stock mentioned above)
    (highly recommend using a mix of Button, Shiitake, Portobello and Oyster)
  • Butter – 20g, or use vegan butter if preferred
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Onion – 1 large, chopped
  • Garlic cloves – 5-6, finely chopped
  • Fresh red chillies – 1, minced
  • Black pepper – 1 tsp
  • Stock – 300ml (from above)
  • Lime juice – 2-3 tbsp
  • 100% unsweetened Cacao – 10g, grated or use unsweetened cacao/cocoa powder
  • Soy sauce – 2-3 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
  • Cornstarch slurry – 1 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • Flat-leaf parsley – 3/4 cup, chopped, or use fresh coriander

For Pastry –

  • 500g of pie dough (I use 1 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat, 1/2 cup all purpose, 150g frozen butter, 2-3 tbsp ice cold water and salt to make mine)
Method –
  1. To begin, make the stock. Remove stems from about 100 g mushrooms and finely chop them. Slice the onions 1 cm thick. Heat olive oil in a large pot, add the onions, sugar and salt. Fry over low heat until they are very brown and caramelised. Take care not to burn them as this will make the stock bitter
  2. Add all the remaining stock ingredients along with cold water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to simmer till the liquid is reduced to about 300ml (roughly 1 hour). Strain and set aside.
    (Add dried mushrooms, if using, to this hot stock. Cover and allow to rehydrate)
  3. Next, prepare the filling. Remove stems from all mushrooms, finely chop and set aside. Chop heads either in half or into fat chunks, depending on shape and size. Leave the smaller mushrooms whole.
  4. Divide chopped mushroom heads into batches (depending on the size of your pan). Cook each batch over medium heat until soft (don’t overcook or you will lose the individual flavours of the mushrooms). Set aside and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms.
  5. Heat olive oil in the same pan, add the chopped onions and fry until they are a nutty brown. Add finely chopped mushroom stems, garlic, chillies and black pepper. Pour in the prepared stock, then add the cooked mushrooms, cacao, soy sauce, lime juice, cornstarch slurry and salt. Bring to a boil and cook gently over low heat until thickened, about 5–7 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. (You may want to add a tsp of sugar if the filling is too salty or bitter). Stir in the parsley and allow to cool completely.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  7. Divide pastry dough in half. Roll out one half to a thickness of about 3mm. Add to a prepared pie tin. Blind bake for 12 mins. Meanwhile, roll out the remaining pastry dough to 3mm thickness. Then add prepared filling to the tin and lay the sheet of rolled-out pastry on top. Press down firmly along the edges to seal, then trim off any excess. Cut a few slits in the pastry topping and glaze by brushing with beaten egg.

    (If you are a pastry beginner, I highly recommend baking hand-pies instead. Roll the dough out to an even thickness and use a small circular bowl to cut out discs. Spoon 1 tbsp filling onto half of the discs, cover each one with another dough disc. Firmly press down the edges with a fork to seal the pies. Use a knife to make a tiny slit on top of each hand-pie. This method does not need any blind baking. Reduce baking time by 5-8 mins)
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Storage notes –

Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven, microwaving will make the pastry go soggy.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

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Whole Wheat Bagels

Making bagels at home can seem daunting, I know, I’ve been there. It does require some patience but i promise you it is worth your time. This bagel recipe produces wonderful chewy and delicious bagels with the toppings of your choice.

What you will need – (for 12 bagels)
  1. Warm water – 1 1/2 cups (and a little bit more, maybe)
  2. Active dry yeast – 2 1/4 teaspoons
  3. Whole wheat flour – 4 cups
  4. Pure maple syrup/honey – 2 tablespoons
  5. Salt – 2 teaspoons
  6. Sugar – 2 teaspoons
  7. Sesame seeds, poppy seeds or sea salt for topping (Optional)
Method –
  1. To a bowl of lukewarm water, add yeast and allow to dissolve completely. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, honey, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture, use a spoon or your hands to turn it into a shredded/couscous like texture.
    (If using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, mix on low for about 2 mins)
  3. Use a little more water if needed and knead till you get a smooth, stiff, elastic dough
    (For stand mixer, increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for about 8-9 minutes).
  4. Form the dough into a ball, coat with oil and place it in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set it in a warm place for it to rise. This will take about 20 minutes.
  5. You’ll know it’s ready when it gets slightly larger and the dough slowly springs back when you press it with your finger. It won’t double in size!
  6. Preheat your oven to 220°C and place a rack in the middle.
  7. Fill up a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium low so that the water is at a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid until you are ready to boil the bagels.
  8. Get a wire rack ready where you can place boiled bagels and allow excess water to drip. Also prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Turn the dough onto a dry surface and divide it evenly into 12 equal pieces. While you work with one of the 12 pieces, keep the rest covered with a damp towel so that it doesn’t get too dry.
  10. Roll each piece of dough into a 9 inch log. Then dampen the ends with a little water, overlap them by about 1 inch and press to join. Make sure the dough is securely joined together before placing the bagel on a plate or baking sheet. Cover the finished bagels with another damp towel and repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough until you have 12 bagels.
  11. Once you have finished forming all of your bagels, boil them 3-4 at a time. Do this by placing them into the simmering water and let them cook on each side for about 30 seconds. They will sink to the bottom of the pot at first and slowly begin to rise in about a minute. Don’t forget to flip them over after 30 seconds!
  12. Remove the bagels with a fine-mesh strainer. Place the boiled bagels onto the wire drying rack and press your desired topping onto the top of the bagels while they are still wet. Continue this process until all of the bagels have been boiled and garnished with optional toppings.
  13. Place the bagels onto the parchment lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart and bake for 15 minutes. Then rotate the pans and continue baking the bagels until they are golden brown on top, about 10 more minutes.
  14. Remove the bagels from the oven and let them cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes so that the inside can finish cooking.

Storage notes –

Store in an airtight container for a week or freeze for up to a month

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram and use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Coconut Lime Banana Bread

Overripe, squishy, spotty bananas are just banana bread that you haven’t made yet. And since everyone seems to have over ripe bananas at the moment, I thought it’s the perfect time to add a slightly different banana bread recipe.

What you will need –
  1. Bananas – 4 medium, over-ripe
  2. Egg – 1 large
    (For Vegan option – mix 1 tablespoon flaxseed powder with 2.5 tablespoons of water)
  3. Light oil – 2 tablespoons (vegetable/canola)
  4. Light coconut milk – 1/2 cup
    (Sub with any other milk for non-coconut version)
  5. Zest of 1 lime
  6. Lime juice – 3 tablespoons
  7. All purpose flour – 1 cup 
  8. Whole wheat flour – 1/2 cup 
  9. Oat flour – 1/2 cup
  10. Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
  11. Baking soda – 1 teaspoon
  12. Salt – 1/4 tsp
  13. Honey – 1/2 cup (Adjust to taste)
Method –
  1. Preheat oven for 160°C.
  2. Mash together the 4 bananas in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk egg, oil, coconut milk, lime zest and juice, and honey (if you like your bread on the sweet side) into the mashed bananas. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Slowly mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until completely incorporated.
  6. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with oil/butter. Pour batter into pan. Slice a banana length-wise and top the batter (optional).
  7. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from middle. Let cool on a rack before slicing.

Storage notes –

Once cooled, store in an airtight box in the fridge for up to 5 days.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram and use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Vegan Chocolate chip muffins

Baking is my therapeutic answer to all boredom and anxiety related troubles. If this lockdown is making your kids restless, this is a great activity to get them involved in. This simple recipe requires only a few ingredients and is ready in under 30 mins.

These are made with oat flour and are gluten-free. Peanut butter is the only fat in this recipe and is easily replaceable with coconut or sunflower oil. These delicious muffins are great for breakfast or for an afternoon snack.

What you will need –
  1. Ripe bananas – 3 (or 4 if they’re small)
  2. Vegan egg (1 tbsp flaxseed powder mixed with 2.5 tbsp water)
  3. Coconut/brown sugar – 1/2 cup 
  4. Peanut butter – 1/2 cup
  5. Plant milk (almond or oat) – 1/4 cup
  6. Vanilla extract – 1 tsp 
  7. Oat flour – 1 3/4 cups
  8. Baking soda – 1 tsp 
  9. Baking powder – 1 tsp 
  10. Salt – 1/4 tsp 
  11. 1 cup dark/semi-sweet chocolate chips
Method –
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Make vegan egg by mixing ground flaxseed and water. Set aside to thicken for 5 mins.
  • Meanwhile, mash bananas in a large bowl.
  • Add peanut butter, flax-egg, sugar, plant milk and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  • Sieve oat flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl.
  • Add dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients a little at a time. Whisk till fully incorporated.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips. (or try dried cranberries/raisins/fresh blueberries for a fun variation)
  • Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, divide and add batter to each and bake at 180°C for 25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture and tag it #theslowkitchen on Instagram so I can see!