Before I found out that I was coeliac I LOVED the occasional slice of Stollen (I’m a sucker for marzipan in cakes). It’s been a decade since I’ve eaten stollen. Most commercial gluten-free ones are loaded with energy-sapping ingredients like sugar, corn, vegetables oil and emulsifiers. So this year I went on the hunt for a decent GF recipe.
I made this last week by slightly adapting the lovely www.rosielovestea.com recipe by Cindy Jarvis (hope you don’t mind, Cindy, your photo was better than mine so I borrowed it!). A few changes like avoiding palm shortening and sugar-laden marzipan and adjusting the oven temperature to the traditional 160C for fan oven. It’s big and gorgeous but nonetheless two of us demolished in over 5 days.
Get your fancy flours in and your marzipan made in advance. I didn’t. So the whole thing became a bit of a production on the day.
Prep time: 90 mins Cook time: 1 hour
300g Bobs Red Mill Paleo Flour or make your own easy flour blend by mixing 2 cups almond flour (or finely ground almonds), 1 cup arrowroot powder, ½ cup coconut flour and ½ cup tapioca flour)
240g (1 cup) tinned coconut whipping cream (Biona and Amaizin are toxin-free)
50g coconut oil at room temperature (use butter if you’re not dairy-free)
2 large eggs
2 tbs of Honey/agave/maple Syrup
2 tbs grated lemon zest
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract (PS “vanilla essence” contains gluten!)
Pinch of salt
55g flaked almonds
225g marzipan – for recipe see https://www.annacollins.ie/almond-paste-marzipan/
1 cup of no added sugar jam (Follain/St Dalfour raspberry is good) or home-made raspberry chia jam like this one https://www.annacollins.ie/10-minute-chia-seed-jam-raspberry-strawberry-blueberry-or/
Optional (for a glistening snow-like effect on top):
1 tbs melted coconut oil + 2 tablespoons of arrowroot Powder
In a food processor, combine coconut whipping cream, 50g coconut oil, eggs & vanilla extract.
Next, add paleo flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until well combined and pastry-like. You want it firm enough it will hold its shape when you roll it out and roll up with the fillings inside. If your dough is too runny, sprinkle a little more flour in.
Add the lemon zest, sultanas and flaked almonds and gently combine.
Turn out onto a plate or bowl, cover and place in the fridge for around 1 hour
Preheat oven to 175C/fan 160C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.While the oven is heating, take the dough from the fridge. Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough to roughly 1/2 inch thick.
Cut the marzipan into 3 pieces, roll into sausage shapes and lay evenly on the dough.
Spoon out the jam in between the marzipan pieces.
Carefully roll up the dough, tuck in the edges and gently place onto your baking sheet. Put in the oven for 60 minutes. Keep an eye on your stollen so that it doesn’t brown too quickly. If this is the case, cover with foil for the remaining time.
The stollen will be ready when golden brown and an inserted skewer will come out clean.
Melt your 1 tbs coconut oil, brush over the top and then dust with arrowroot powder for a glistening snowy effect.
Leave too cool completely (overnight preferably) before cutting into and serving.
Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Why this is better for you: OK so you know that raw nuts are better for you than cooked. And that most of our food should be vegetables and some fruit. But sometimes you just WANT CAKE! Because this is high protein (almonds) and sugar-free so won’t derail blood sugar and immunity like sugar and refined flours do.
I got this fantastic recipe from www.quirkycooking.com.au/ and its lovely. You can do the fruit cooking and soaking the day before if you like. Makes 10-12 mini puddings, depending on the size of your moulds
80g dried sour cherries
100g currants or raisins, whichever you prefer
30g activated or raw blanched almonds, roughly chopped
200g freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 orange
40g ground almonds
20g coconut flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
55g coconut oil, melted but not hot
40g cooking apple, peeled & cored
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (bread/baking soda)
Weigh dried fruit and almonds into a large saucepan and add the orange juice. Cover and cook the fruit gently on stovetop for 20 minutes until everything has plumped up and absorbed the juice. Remove to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
Peel and grate the cooking apple to yield 40g. In the food processor or a large bowl blitz or beat orange zest, almond meal, coconut flour, spices, salt, bicarbonate of soda, grated apple, eggs and coconut oil until amalgamated. Add the cooled soaked fruit and nuts back to bowl
Scoop mixture into small ramekins or miniature pudding basins, fill about ¾ full, cover with greaseproof paper and string, or tin foil, and steam as per traditional Christmas pudding method.
Allow puddings to cool, covered, and store in fridge until needed.
Serve with :
Whipped coconut cream infused with a drop of vanilla extract (organic tinned coconut cream is free from gut-damaging emulsifiers).
My super-easy 3-ingredient cashew cream https://www.annacollins.ie/cashew-nut-cream/
I love this! First tasted at Christmas in 1989 in Italy while I worked (briefly) as an au pair. So many interesting new foods and flavours. This one was a keeper. If you are a foodie you will definitely enjoy…
Makes 600ml stuffing (enough to stuff the body cavity and neck of a 1.8kg bird) with about 1 cup of leftovers which you can use to make my delicious stuffed mackerel fillets for another dinner. Another thing I like to do at Christmas is add a little bit of chicken bone broth to the leftover stuffing and bake in a parcel in the oven for around half an hour. Give that similar gorgeous meaty flavour and moisture.
250g cooked peeled chestnuts
130g dried peeled chestnuts , soaked overnight, then boiled til tender, drained
1 heaped dsp fresh thyme leaves (or a 1 level tsp dried, but fresh is much nicer)
1 rounded dsp chopped sage
2 heaped tbs chopped parsley
A few good grinds of black pepper
1/4 level tsp Himalayan or Atlantic sea salt
60g onion, finely chopped so it cooks properly (1/2 a medium onion)
1 dsp virgin avocado oil, clarified butter, ghee or at a pinch light olive oil (all suitable for dairy-free diet), or regular butter if you eat dairy.
Process or mash thoroughly the chestnuts until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs, tip into a bowl with the onion, herbs and seasoning.
If using butter, melt it gently. Add your butter or oil to the bowl and mix well. This stuffing can be stored for a couple of days in the fridge before using
Why this is better for you: Chestnuts are lower glycaemic index (lower sugar) than bread so are a much healthier alternative. They also contain potassium, which helps your body neutralise the effects of eating too much meat at Christmas. Fresh herbs are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, support friendly gut bacteria and are anti-ageing – good news especially at Christmas!
This is perfect for your SC diet if you want to make a delicious pastry-based dessert. I’ve adapted it for metric from the original Us recipe. Thank you to Jen Brown for her original recipe at https://www.alifeofhappenstance.com/easy-almond-flour-pie-crust/
This case can be pre-baked up to two days before planning to fill it. Simply cover with tinfoil or eco-friendly wrap and store in the fridge.
If your system can handle dairy, butter (or better still, clarified butter) can be used in place of coconut oil.
240gblanched finely ground almond flour (I blitz ground almonds for a few minutes in the food processor to get it nice and fine) ½teaspoon salt 55g melted coconut oil(make sure it’s not hot) 1large egg
9″/23cm tart case/pie dish or deep pyrex plate (+ extra coconut oil to grease)
1. Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan and grease a 9 inch/ pie dish. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl whisk together the melted coconut oil and egg. In a large bowl whisk the almond flour and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and use a rubber spatula or your hands to combine.
3. Form the dough into a ball and place in the center of the greased tart case. Use your hands to evenly press the dough into the bottom of the tin or dish.
4. Evenly press the dough up the sides of the tart case. If it seems a bit thinner in certain areas, simply take some dough from the thicker areas and press it where needed.
5. Once the dough has been pressed into the bottom and sides of the tart case, use your fingers to make sure the edge of the pastry is even all along the top. Then you can use a fork to press decorations into the crust or use your fingers to make a fluted design with the edge.
6. Use a fork to poke holes along the bottom and sides of the crust before placing on the middle rack of the oven and baking for 12 to 15 minutes. The case should be a very light golden brown.
Don’t know about you but I’m really looking forward to Christmas and have started my baking already. This recipe is the nicest mincemeat and doesn’t boil over during baking. It’s adapted from Rose Cousin’s recipe but I’ve adapted specially for the SC diet. I’ve been making this for years because I love it. Somehow high sugar gloopy mincemeat stopped doing it for me. Store this mincemeat in a sterile glass jar. If you intend to store for more than a week or two, allow the mincemeat to cool a little before adding a tablespoon of brandy/whiskey. Mix well just before bottling. You can sterilise jars by boiling the lids in water and heating the jars themselves to around 80C in the oven for 15 minutes.
Organic where possible:
450g peeled cored eating (not cooking) apples – Cox’s are fantastic for flavour
225g unsulphured sultanas
225g unsulphured raisins
110g currants or chopped unsulphured apricots
Rind and juice of 1 orange (if avoiding citrus, use apple juice instead)
1/2 level teaspoon allspice
1/2 level tsp Ceylon cinnamon
¼ tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
A little cloudy apple juice
1. Mix together all the ingredients in a large cooking pot with lid
2. Simmer very gently ½ hour
3. Taste and adjust the spice levels – I often like to add a bit more more cinnamon and allspice.
SCD pastry is hard to work so its best make 1 large pie base, pre-baked, then filled with your mincemeat and a lovely crumble topping before being baked again for a short time. You can also treat the mincemeat just like a crumble – that is, put it in a pie dish or deep ovenproof plate, liberally sprinkle over the topping, bake until golden and serve with shipped additive-free coconut cream (from health shops).
If you don’t like coconut oil but are sensitive to dairy then you can use clarified butter for the pastry. Make this by very gently heating the butter, skim off the foam on the top and chill in a tall drinking glass or jug, then allow to solidify. You will use only the solid part to make your pastry. Discard the white liquid part underneath and rinse off any that’s clinging to the solid butter fat. This white liquid is where the problematic milk proteins and disaccharide sugars are found. Most people with IBD can tolerate SMALL amounts of normal butter but large amounts (found in pastry) can just be too much.
When baking your mince pies
Bake 20-25 mins at 185C fan/200C until golden
Put a baking try over the next rack in the oven so the pies cook evenly through.
Why this is (somewhat) better for you: While I’d love to say this is a health-giving recipe I can’t really because its very high in natural sugars. Although it doesn’t contain refined sugar it IS very high in natural sugars from the dried fruit. BUT this mincemeat is free of low grade oils (like vegetable suet or sunflower oil) and refined sugar – both of which fire up inflammation in you. If you choose organic dried fruit you avoid sulphur dioxide (preservative) that wreaks havoc on so many peoples digestion around Christmas time. This preservative is converted by pathogenic bacteria in your bowel into irritating sulphites, which can cause gas, bloating and general unwellness in your gut. Non-organic grapes (raisins etc.) are also very heavily contaminated with herbicides that cause your gut to leak toxins and undigested food into your bloodstream.(increased intestinal permeability). This process predisposes to and perpetuates inflammatory conditions from autoimmunity to mood issues and many more besides. Pesticide residues in grapes damage the nerve supplying your gut and are linked to a range of neurological diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s, Motor Neurone). Choosing food free of undesirable contaminants is a great step towards better health. Here’s to a happy and a healthy Christmas. I will certainly be enjoying healthier mince pies – probably far too many.
I love this crumble which I make often for apple crumble. This quantity will top one 9 inch (23cm) diameter tart made in a pie dish or pyrex plate with possibly a little left over. You want the topping to mostly cover the mincemeat so it doesn’t burn. PS Sometimes I cheat on the topping, adding a few chopped hazelnuts or walnuts to the mix…
If this is for individual mince pies (rather than one big one) there’s no need to prebake the pastry base.
Pinch of Ceylon cinnamon (optional)
50g virgin coconut oil (or clarified butter, if you want dairy)
25g (teaspoon) runny honey
50g ground almonds
50g flaked almonds
1. If you have a food processor but the ingredients except the flaked almonds in a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Empty into another bowl and stir in the almonds.
If you don’t have a food processor, rub the ingredients together (except for flaked almonds) by hand then stir in the almonds.
2. Sprinkle evenly over pie case/s you have already filled with mincemeat and bake at 165C fan/180C until golden, taking care the topping doesn’t burn.
Why these are better for you: Because these pies don’t contain refined sugar (if you use my mincemeat recipe) they don’t immediately start to drain your body of nutrients like magnesium (for mood) or selenium (needed for fat-burning thyroid hormones). The nuts, although cooked (and therefore no longer containing much in the way of healthy oils!) do contain protein, which helps prevent the dips and peaks in blood sugar that can make you feel tired or narky. Coconut oil is not damaged by baking so its still healthy in the finished product. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil are useful for energy levels as they are used directly by your body instead of being stored as fat in your cells. Virgin coconut oil rules!! Ceylon cinnamon (but not normal cassia cinnamon sold as “cinnamon”) helps your body regulate blood sugar. This helps reduce the risk of peaks and troughs in energy, brain function and mood throughout the day. It also helps reduce your likelihood of developing diabetes possibly because it modifies your gut bacteria. Yes, your gut bacteria control EVERY aspect of your health from blood pressure, heart health to mood and immune function – not just your digestive health.
I made this on Sunday and its delicious (I did a taste test). It also happens to be gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar free. Do buy organic ingredients where possible especially for *raisins and sultanas.
I didn’t have the specified 10” tin so I used a 9” (23cm) one. The cake was a bit taller and needed a little extra baking time.
350g ground almonds or almond flour
1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
80ml date syrup (I left this out as I felt the cake mix was plenty sweet without it)
4 large eggs
5 tbs (75-80ml) runny or slightly warmed honey (so its liquid but not hot)
137g (150ml) coconut oil
5cm fresh ginger, peeled
Zest of 1 orange, organic if possible
1 medium cooking apple
6 tbs (95ml) whiskey (+ optional 100ml to “feed” the cake).
200g dried unsulphured apricots (these are brown, not bright orange)
100g flaked almonds
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract (not essence, which contains gluten)
2/3 level pink salt
1 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
1 rounded tsp ground ginger
1 level tsp ground allspice
½ level ground cardamom
½ level tsp ground cloves
75g blanched almonds
25cm/10” diameter cake tin with removable base
Brown paper + greaseproof paper + extra coconut oil to grease
Prepare your tin. Line the base and sides of tin with brown paper and greaseproof paper (oil the greaseproof with soft/melted coconut oil) allowing the brown paper to come at least 2” above top of tin. Wrap an outer collar of brown paper around the tin to come up as high above the tin as the tin itself. Secure with pins or paperclips. This outer collar and all the layers inside stops your cake burning at the edges before it’s cooked at the centre.
Roughly chop the dried apricots and dates. Mix the chopped fruit with the raisins and sultanas and cover with the whiskey. Leave to soak while you prepare the rest of the cake.
In a separate bowl, mix together the ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ground spices.
Add the honey, eggs, vanilla extract, date syrup and the zest of the orange to a food processor. Blend until combined.
Making sure the coconut oil is liquid (melt to lukewarm if it isn’t) add this to the food processor and blend again thoroughly.
Add the dry ingredients, mix till combined then empty the mix into a large mixing bowl.
Peel the apple and ginger and grate into the bowl (use the fine grater for the ginger).
Add the flaked almonds, the whiskey soaked fruits and stir until everything is evenly combined.
Spoon into the tin and flatten the top. Tip: wet the side of your hand and use this to smooth the top to perfection.
Decorate the top with blanched almonds embedded into the cake in a pretty pattern
Bake in the oven for around 1 hour until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted.
Allow to cool in the tin after removing the outer collar of brown paper.
Once cool, remove from the tin leaving on the greaseproof paper.
Place in an airtight container and optionally “feed” with whiskey every few days – about 5 times in all (I personally prefer my cakes without this additional feeding but it’s up to you).
Why this is better for you This cake is free from refined sugars, toxic refined oils and other undesirables. Did you know that when gluten (in “normal” cakes) hits your intestine it causes leaking of intestinal contents into your blood. This happens to everyone, even people with no gluten sensitivity. Toxins, bacterial cell fragments and undigested food spills into your circulation. This causes increased inflammation (always present in anxiety, stress, mood issues, brain fog, skin issues, heart disease). It also has negative impacts on your immune system. Sugar in “normal” baking also increases inflammation and suppresses immunity. Your body will thank you for ditching it.
While this cake is “healthier” its still high in (natural) sugars. Unlike normal cake it does contain some protein (ground almonds) which helps slow down your body’s absorption of the sugars. Amazingly, the sugars in dried fruit affect your blood sugar less than eating wheaten bread. Whoever thought a piece of cake could be healthier than a piece of toast! Take it handy though because too many sweet foods, even “healthy” ones, cause metabolic issues.
This is gorgeous Middle Eastern style dressing – creamy, tangy and moreish. Drizzle it over a salad or grilled/roast fish or chicken. If you want you can use a little less water or kefir to make this thicker and use as a dip.
1 rounded tbs light tahini (raw brand if possible, e.g. Carly’s)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbs lemon juice + 125ml cold water OR (instead of lemon + water) 150ml home made kefir
5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Generous pinch Himalayan/sea salt
Flavour + health boosters: 1/2 tsp ground spice: sweet paprika, cumin or coriander.
In a mini food processor blend all the ingredients till blended. If you are doing this by hand get a decent size bowl, add the garlic and tahini and mix in just 1/4 of the liquid at a time. You are aiming for a consistency about the texture of double cream. You may need to add more water as you go to achieve this. The tahini will clump initially. Just keep mixing, and adding more liquid if needed.
Why this is good for you: Garlic and lemon are fantastic supporters of detoxification, a critical function for all aspects of your health. Extra virgin olive oil keeps you fuller longer and aids weight loss (yes that IS correct) and is also rich in gut-helping immune-regulating vitamin E and polyphenols. Kefir is tolerated by most dairy-sensitive people because its a pre-digested food. The friendly bugs that manufacture kefir from milk break down the dairy sugar (lactose) and dairy protein (casein) that are the main trigger for dairy sensitivity reactions. Tahini, if its raw, is a good source of healthy omega 6 oils. Omega 6 is found in all raw nuts/seeds.
I love this and I’ve made it so many times now I don’t need a recipe. Make it as cauliflower “steaks” or florets (a bit faster).
If you prefer an Indian vibe use a spice blend of 1 level tsp each of ground cumin, coriander and turmeric alongside the pepper and salt.
1 whole cauliflower, green leaves removed
1 heaped tsp ground sumac or sweet paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
Pink (Himalayan) salt
Extra virgin olive oil (about 2-3 tbs)
Roast cauliflower “steaks”
Preheat oven to 215c/200C fan
With the cauliflower standing on its stalk, slice it downwards into 1.5-2cm slices. You’ll get 4-5 good “steaks” and some shards.
Brush the roasting tin with extra virgin olive oil lay the cauliflower slices on top rubbing them around a bit to coat with the oil without breaking them up.
Brush the tops with olive oil, sprinkle with the sumac/paprika, lots of freshly ground black pepper and a generous pinch of salt.
Roast 15-20 mins at 200C. It’s done when the edges are starting to char.
Roast cauliflower florets
Take out central thick stalk from the cauliflower and break into small florets.
Put in the roasting dish, drizzle on extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle on your spices, pepper and salt and toss to coat.
Roast 10-15 mins at 220c/fan 200c.
Its done when the edges are starting to char.
If you feel like a fancier recipe with a delicious middle eastern dressing go to my blog post https://www.annacollins.ie/oven-roasted-cauliflower-green-bean-salad/
I can’t remember the cookbook these come from but my thanks to the amazing Emily and Patrick at Madawaska who produced these gorgeous bites using gluten-free oats. They didn’t last long. If you have the time and like a nuttier flavour, you can toast the oatflakes first like they did. I don’t bother. People really love these and they are super-easy. I did replace the bad-for-your-health margarine in the original recipe for a far healthier virgin coconut oil though.
Using non-dairy milks in these gives a much longer shelf-life in the fridge. The best plant milks have no toxic emulsifiers (carageenen, polysorbate-80, sodium carboxymethylcellulose) and no added sugar.
Makes 36 (enough to feed a small army!)
2½ rounded tbs cocoa powder
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup unsweetened non dairy milk (e.g. almond, coconut, hemp)
1/3 tsp vanilla extract (avoid vanilla “essence” unless you are OK eating gluten)
¼ cup virgin coconut oil
1½ cups fine gluten-free oatflakes (you can use normal porridge oatflakes if you eat gluten)
¼ cup no-added-sugar almond or hazelnut butter (if you are in peak health with no autoimmune conditions then no-added-sugar smooth peanut butter is OK to use)
1¾ cups dessicated coconut (divided into 1 cup and ¾ cup)
1. Mix the cocoa and syrup together in a saucepan, add the milk vanilla and coconut oil. Heat gently until liquified and stir to mix well, scraping the sides, being sure not to let it boil or burn. Cool mixture.
2.In a separate bowl combine oats, peanut butter together using your hands. Pour in tht cocoa mixture and add 1 cup coconut. Mix well with your hands.
3.Roll dough into 2.5cm balls. If the mix is too wet you can add more oatmeal or roll the balls into the remaining coconut. They will be somewhat sticky but will harden as they cool. Put on a try and store in the fridge.
I wanted to make them stick really well together so added some more oatflakes I had whizzed to a flour in my mini food processor. Oat flour is stickier than oatflakes. I probably didn’t need to do this but liked the result.
Why these are better for you: Although these contain carbohydrate (sugars) from oats and maple syrup they are healthy when you eat them in moderation. Raw cocoa is full of antioxidants. Virgin coconut oil is a great source of easy to digest medium chain triglycerides that can be burned by your body directly for energy instead of being stored as fat. Oats contain soluble fibre that feeds beneficial bacteria. Maple syrup is essentially sugar, but it does contain some minerals – unlike refined sugar, which is just empty calories. The protein from peanut butter and the fat from coconut keeps you fuller for longer, reducing the tendency to binge you can get from eating low fat low protein high sugar products.
Cocoa is a spice with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers – hurray!!
Like gluten grains, peanuts are high in “lectins” – proteins that are hard to digest and can overstimulate your immune system if you have an autoimmune condition (e.g. hypothyroidism, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, arthritis),