Monday, 14 March 2016

Gluten and sugar free jam/no jam doughnuts or Beliner Doughnuts

This particular type of doughnut is known under so many names: Berliner, Krofna, Turte, Krapni, Krapfne, etc

So many of us these days have food intolerances and gluten is no exception. I was recently diagnosed with an auto immune illness called Hashimotos. Like so many others I went into panic mode and ventured on the net to find the cure, only to find out that the words “could, should, and might” are all carefully used to basically tell us that it is a condition that will never go away. 

There is plenty of advice on what to do and not to do - everyone seems to be an expert, mainly based on their own experiences - and this helps us newbies to extract the details most pertinent to us.  It is fair to say that I was relieved to have found out what was wrong with me after almost 5 years and numerous trips to the GP but in the same time frightened that I will never get well.

So at this point you probably think this is the saddest doughnut making recipe you have read, and you wonder what is the connection with gluten and sugar in all this! 

Well apparently the thyroid cells see the protein in gluten as an enemy and start to defend themselves, which is not good for me, even though for some reason the cells think they are doing me favours! So in an attempt to improve my health I have decide to test the theory to see if it is applicable to me and remove gluten from my diet.

This is how the adaptations of my favourite recipes begun and gluten free bakes and cakes was born!

Back to the doughnuts. My favourite dessert of all time. Growing up in Western Romania, the cuisine is heavily influenced by the German, Austrian, Serbian, Mediterranean and Hungarian cuisine, doughnuts were regulars at our dinner table, especially on a Sunday or Bread Making Day.

The Berliner dough should be somewhat softer than normal yeast dough, however it must not be sticky. Before you start gathering the ingredients together read the Tips section at the bottom of the page.

Here is what ingerdients you need to make gluten free  and sugar free doughnuts:
·         500 grams(g)f gluten free self raising flour
·         3 egg yolks 
·         200-250 millilitres(ml) of  warm milk 
·         1 tsp of yeast or 25 gr of fresh yeast
·         60 g of butter
·          1/4 tsp of vanilla essence
·         2 1/2 tbsp of xylitol natural sweetener
·         1/4 grated lemon or orange peel (no juice)
·         100g of icing xylotol (blitz the granules the food or coffee processor to obtain the fine texture)
·         1/4 tsp Xanthum Gum
        ·  750 ml of oil for deep frying

Firstly mix the warm milk (200 ml initially) with yeast and a pinch of sugar and a sprinkle of flour on top (so you can see how much has the yeast risen) and let it rest in a warm place for about 10 minutes. 

Seperately, mix the flour with the remaining sugar, salt and xanthum gum, now make a hole in the middle and add the wet ingredients: eggs yolks, vanilla essence, soft butter and the fruit peel, followed by the risen yeast (now that the flour has bubbled up)! Pour it over and knead to a smooth dough, it should take about about 5 minutes.

Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, knead a second time  for 3 min and let it rest for another 15 min. 

Roll  the dough in a circle/square, about 3cm thick and cut the round shapes using a flour dusted glass or cookie cutter. Now place the circless on a floured surface or non stick baking paper  and cover, keep in a warm place an wait until the dough has doubled in height(appox 20min).

Before rising


Heat the fryer to 160 °, and add the dough pieces, no more than three at a time. Always put them top first in the hot fat until they turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side. 


If you choose to add jam then follow this step:

Fill a syringe with a long cream attachment with jam and inject each doughnut with a small portion of jam. 
Now roll it, the doughnut(not you) in icing sugar and enjoy!


The jam must be the consistency of thick double cream, not too liquid or too thick. 
Excessive kneading is not necessary as there is no gluten to activate, so homogenise the ingredients and you are done.
Suitable for diabetics or insulin resistant due to the fact that xylitol is a natural sweetener with a very low GI index around 7 and very low in calories 4kl for 1 tsp.

To find out more about xylitol, follow the link:

Make sure the room is warm if not it will not rise much, which is what happened to mine. If the room is cold, start the oven on 50 degrees and let the door open  so the heat can rise to you near by doughnuts.They tasted yumm!

This can be adapted using the same ingredients less xanthum gum for standard flour but no sugar or all together the traditional way. 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

4 Inspirational ways of putting colour back into you house with Fimo polymer clay

I started working with  polymer clay, the brand I use is Fimo, a few years ago when I decided to make some unique beads for my jewellery making hobby. Although it was supposed to be a trial, make a few beads, ruin them in the curing process and give up but some years later, I am still working with Fimo. The difference now is that after burning  few batches, it's worth mentioning it was not my fault :)... I still don't use an oven thermometer and I no longer make just beads but rather anything that I need around the house.

Usually when I tell people what I do and what the various things are made of, I get the same reaction; "I used to use Fimo to keep the kids busy for an afternoon or hmmm how interesting!" They are quite right, but how about we change the game a little bit.

Have you ever wanted to do something for you and not for the children  but never got around to do it or didn't know where to start? Well in this blog I will list a few things to inspire you and hopefully you will have a go at making something with Fimo clay or any other polymer clay brand. I ill be showing you a range of craft projects that I did to put some colour around the house.

Will start we the basics of Fimo, which is no longer just a kid's play dough but more of a craft material which provides unlimited fun for many adults around the world!

1.Make a range of beads in different shapes and colour combinations:

2. You can decorate door handles to give personality to otherwise simple handles. 

3.Put some colour in the kitchen by changing the look of your doors and kitchen cabinets with knobs covered in polymer clay. 

4.You can make decorative buttons which you can then use in various projects around the house.

Other easy to do ideas:
& Decorate your light cords with cured beads;
& Make different pots and tubes to store your make up, make up brushes etc;
& Use Fimo to embellish vases or other pots which you can use as utensil holders.

Good Day!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Easy and quick relish receipes

The other day I came back from the allotment with a lot of root veggies and to be honest I didn't know what to do with all of it, plus my mother in law gave me 2 baby butternut squashes. 

For many years I stuck to receipes from preserving books, don't get me wrong all very tasty but today I like experimenting too,so here  today I will share with you how  I discovered these amazing new combinations,  colours and ended up with 3 amazing new flavours!!!

Now, if you never had a go at making relish, you must give it a go right now! So delish with crackers and cheese or spread it on your lunch sandwich. 

Now, whichever one you choose the process described below is the same, for each one of them. 

Prep work:
Check your cupboard for all the necessary ingreadients;
With soapy water clean, rinse and place in a tray/s your jars and lids;
Begin with peeling and washing the veggies;

Basically I had all these veggies from the allotment and did not have enought time to cook them all, so I got all the veggies chopped and in separate cooking bawls, then begun pairing them until I found  the ingredients that will work well together. 

White beetroot and Red Goosberries Relish 
Delicately sweet with a goosberry tang, pairs well with shaper, strongly flavoured cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Stilton or any other blue cheese. 

You need:
1kg White or yellow beetroot 
300g red onions
200g of Demerara sugar
1table spoon of salt
200ml of Cider Vinegar 

Green Tomatoes and Apple Relish
Rich, flavoursome relish that brings out the best of smoked and vintages cheese. 

You need:
750grams(g) Green tomatoes
500g Gala Apples(or any apples you have)
400g White onions
2 gerkings 
100g Demerera sugar
200ml Cider vinegar
1 table spoon of salt
1 table spoon of carraway seeds
1 tea spoon of all spice 
1 tea spoon of ginger

Spicy Baby Butternut Squash and Carrots Relish  
Crunchy, fresh and moderately spicy complements any intensely flavoured cheeses, we recommend caramelised onion and thyme extra mature cheddar, but any other similar will work well. 

You need:
2 Young butternut squases(total about of 1kg)
400grams (g) of carrots
150g of Demerera sugar
200g of Stawberry Vinegar
200ml water
2 yellow peppers
300g of red onions
1table spoon of sweet paprika
1 table spoon of salt
1teaspoon of chilli flakes

To Do:
Dice your veggies either by hand or in the food processor(I used the food processor).
In a non stick saucepan add your sugar, vinegar and spices,stir gently and bring to boil. Once in boil add the diced veggies and stir bringing it to boil again. 
Reduce the heat and cook for further 30 min, sityring  occasionally. 

Whilst your veggies are cooking, get your your jars cleaned and on a metal tray. 
Pre heat the oven to 150degrees Celsius  and put the jars and lids in the oven for about 25min. 

By this point a you are nearly ready! 

>Make sure that you spoon the relish in the jar whilst still hot. 
>Put the lid(if no lids available you can put a wax disc and cellophane, tie it with string or elastic band). 

Lastly, be sure to leave some aside for tasting!!!!!!

It will store for 6months or more if in a cool aired space. 

Most importantly enjoy it! 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Decorating a lamp shade with vintage postal stamps.

It has been a week of induldging in crafting of all sorts, from sorting out my craft room to decorating lamps shades, to up cycling a stall and many more. 

Anyway, today I am going to share with you how I decorated the lamp shades. This is an easy and cost effective way to change the look of a tired looking lampshade.( mine was just plain metal). 

You need:
* crafting glue;
* artist's paint brush(medium size);
*lamp shade of your choice;
*stamps, lots of them! I got mine from a local charity shop for next to nothing. 

I chose to work with a mix of stamps rather than one type or one size to make the project look a bit more quirky.  

When you buy used  stamps, usually have part of the envelope or post card stuck to the back, if you can, remove it but it is not a must, I removed some but not others,  as some of the stamps were a bit 

 Start with:
The lamp shade is clean and dust free;
Then dab the brush in glue;
Apply the glue generously to the back of the stamp(do about 10) this is because the glue makes the stamps softer and easer to apply. 
Finally apply the stamps in the chosen order, be sure the go over with the brush so all those corners are glued on and any are bubbles removed. 

Leave to dry, I left mine overnight and then spay it with some clear varnish either sheen or mat, depending on the look you wish to achieve.  Give a couple of coats to seal the paper, trust me it will make it easier to dust!

E Voila! 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Drying your own herbs

I have been drying my own herbs for a long time now. Before the allotment I always foraged through the supermarket's Sale corner, usually late in the afternoon for fresh bunches of herbs that were sold due to the expiring date:).  I found it outrageous that you can pay over 85pence for a few grams of dried herbs, yet a fresh bunch would cost anything up to 20pence,when on sale of courseand even if not on sale it would be about 75pence. Each bunch would supply around 2-3 52gr jars.  

However if you do have a herb box/ bed regular cuttings  is a must to promote new growth so the excess can be dried. 

So if you want to build your own herb collection, here is what you need to do! 

Source the herbs, either use my supermarket tip from above or if grow your own, dry the surplus. Also in the UK the Etnic Fruit and Veggies stalls, markets provide a good supply of fresh herbs. 

Get some string or elastic band and wrapp it around the bunch, allowing some for hanging. The herbs must be hung to dry evenly and prevent from going yellow. Hang the in a dry, aered space, I do mine in the kitchen. 

If I have small bunches you ca dry it in a fabric bag where it can dry slowly. You can use it at anytime during the drying process. When fully dry herbs crumble at a gentle touch. If you rub the between your palms you get lovely flakes of herbs! 

Here is my latest collection. 


For fun I am drying some rose petals too.