Saturday, 23 January 2016

Hello from the other side!

Hello all!

I just realised my last post was in may 2015! I am so sorry for not being around but I have been rather busy in my latest adventure! I am currently studying Montessori Pedagogy Early Years - 0-7! It has been a great challenge so far but I am loving absorbing all this new knowledge!

My baking and cooking has been limited/basic lately as I do no have much spare time between my full time job as a nanny and course work. However I am keeping the blog opened so you can have a look at my recipes and also check my Instagram pages where I have been posting snaps of my new adventure in education.

To help my brain work, I have been trying a lot of Deliciously Ella's recipes which I absolutely adore!
Also Nigella's new book "Simply Nigella" is just brilliant and I have been cooking a lot of her recipes ( please try the corn flake chicken and the oat pancakes!!!).
I will have a small break from college soon and I am hoping to lock myself in the kitchen and just cook!
Until then, enjoy good tasty food!

Lots of love,

Monday, 18 May 2015

Swiss Roll - Torta - Gluten Free

Woke up late this morning and, as I was cooking my porridge, had a weird urge to bake a swiss roll. Hm... what a great way to start a post... this doesn't happen all the time I assure you!
Swiss Roll, or Torta, as we call it in portuguese, brings me back to lovely memories of Sunday evening, my mum baking a torta. I had this idea in my mind that it was the easiest and simplest and quickest cake to bake as my mum was always very busy.
Sundays growing up were awesome -  if it was sunny and warm, I would stay home with my dad and help him wash our car ( and later on my BMX). If it was cold and rainy, I would go to the hair dresser with my mum. My mum has always been very glamourous and has always taken good care of helself. Every Sunday she would go to the hair dresser and do her hair for the week. Ever so beautiful, she was often photographed for the salon's catalogues! She would also pay a visit to the beautician and I would get the latest moisturiser samples that I would later apply on myself and all of my dolls (this was my post Tom-boy phase).
After our trip to the salon, we would get home and watch either Alf or The Knight Rider and once the show had finished we ate dinner which as usually vegetable soup, sandwiches and Torta!
I guess the thought of making Torta came to my mind as it's my mum's 60th birthday on 9th June! My mum had a tough battle with cancer 8 years ago and is now healthy and very happy! So I have been thinking a lot of her achievements and how much she inspires me- she is proper GIRL POWER!

Para ti, mummy!


 4 free range eggs
100 gr self raising gluten free flour ( I used Doves Farm)
100 gr caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons raspberry or strawberry jam

Pre-heat the oven 220 FAN or gas mark 8 and line a swiss roll tray (33x23cm) with grease proof paper.
Beat the eggs, the sugar, flour and vanilla extract together for a couple of minutes. Add the mixture to the tin and spread evenly so it covers the entire tray and bake for 10 minutes.
While the cake is baking line a sheet of parchment paper on a clean surface and sprinkle with sugar. One the cake is baked lay it in the prepared sheet and let it cool for a few minutes. Make a small cut in each corner or the cake and spread the jam. Roll gently. If the cake absorbed some of the sugar, sprinkle a little more at the end.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Roasted Rainbow - Gluten Free

No I'm not trying to be cutesy with the title of my recipe, I have my first hay fever of this Spring and I am feeling dreadful! Haven't stopped sneezing since last Friday and my nose is more of  a trumped... a red trumpet...
There's not much I can do to stop my hay fever apart from taking anti histamine tablets but I feel better when I eat lots of colourful foods with hugh vitamin C content and super mega spicy.
Here's what I made for my lunch today.

(serves 2)
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
3 cloves of garlic - skin on
1 medium white onion
2 teaspoons of sweet smoked paprika
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven on 200 degrees or gas mark. Chop all vegetables into cubes and mix the spices together on a baking tray. Bake for 45 minutes.
Serve with grated beetroot and steamed broccoli.

I also made a grapefruit juice using one white grapefruit, 1 medium navel orange and one large carrot.

Hope it helps!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Red berries, oats and yogurt breakfast muffins - Gluten Free

Good morning Spring! Woke up with the beautiful Spring sunshine on my face and felt inspired to make some summery muffins. I think I might take these for a picnic with the kids later! Super healthy, super yummy, super super super!

3 eggs - separate egg whites
1 cup of frozen red berries (I used black and red currants and blueberries)
1/2 unrefined caster sugar plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
180 ml of vegetable oil
1/3 cup rolled oats plus 1 tablespoon to sprinkle
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
2 cups of self-raising gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm)
1/2 strawberry yogurt (I used Yeo Valley)

Preheat the oven to 180 C or gas mark 4.
Line a muffin tray with colourful cases (imperative!)
Beat the egg whites and set aside. on a different bowl beat the eggs, sugar,vegetable oil, flour and oats.Mix well for a couple of minutes with an electric whisk. Now fold in the egg whites gently. This will make your muffins light and fluffy. Lastly fold gently the berries. Save about a couple of tablespoons of berries to decorate.
Mix the sugar left and oats together and sprinkle the muffins. Bake for 35 minutes.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Gluten Free Madrid

I found these two amazing gluten free places in Madrid that I really wanted to share with you.

Celioso is an amazing bakery with lovely cupcakes and sandwiches as well as good coffee: great atmosphere and excellent customer service  - Cl Hortaleza 3, 28004 Madrid. Check their website here
I tried their chcocolate and peanut butter cupcake and thought it was divine!
I also tried the vegetarian and vegan restaurant Yerbasbuenas - Cl Borbadores n3. I had vegetarian paella and also loved their falafels. Check their site here.

I've been Glutened!

I have been on a gluten free diet for the past 2 years and have noticed a drastic change of quality of life. I have been reading a lot about so called healthy diets and how being gluten free is somehow on trend, but believe me, if you suspect it doesn't work with you, just stop eating it! It's not that difficult to be gluten free and you will have such a terrific change in your quality of life that it will be worth it.
I am most definitely not on a gluten free diet for fashion - I am intolerant. It's a sad realisation but it's the truth.
For easter I went to Portugal to spend some time with my family. I took some gluten free bread and porridge oats from the UK as here our selection is much better than in Portugal. However, Lisbon...well Portugal in general is inundated with amazing bakeries and all full of gluten! Temptation is in every corner (literally!).
The day before I went to Lisbon, I visited my GP for something else and as we were chatting, I mentioned I had been on a gluten free diet for the past 2 years and that I felt great but wanted to get tested. Perhaps I could eat the odd bowl of past while on holiday? I also mentioned the history of bowel cancer in my dad's side of the family. My GP advised me I should definitely be tested for Celiac disease as well as IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) and vitamin B12 deficiency.
Next day I traveled to Lisbon and thought it might be a good idea to try a bit of gluten before I get tested...just in case...I was on holiday and thought my body had healed itself and I no longer had to be on this diet. Perhaps I could eat |"just a little bit"?
On my first day back home I tried an almond cheese cake (queijada de amendoa). According to my research, the recipe doesn't normally require wheat flour however some bakeries use a small amount.
Next day started feeling very lethargic and kept telling my family I was feeling exhausted... I thought It might be due to my early flight and change of rhythm of life ( on average I walk about 15 km a day everyday and nanny 2 little babies).
I kept trying foods that had a tiny bit of wheat flour in them and kept feeling weird... I felt so lethargic and slightly moody I started thinking something was definitely wrong with me!
I had already planned a trip to Madrid with my best friends and thought that would "cheer me up". I was having a great time and even considered trying the famous Churros with hot chocolate! On our last evening together, me and my friends decided to have a traditional spanish meal, and of course, what's more spanish than good old calamari!
I was determined I could eat a little bit of gluten so went all in and had 4 whole calamari! Man that tasted good! I was so excited you can't even imagine!
On our way back to the hotel my tummy started having a monologue... in my hotel room my tummy started ballooning and I started getting more and more uncomfortable. Spent a good hour in the toilet... our "cool girls weekend away" was starting to me more of a "Raquel's solo gig in the toilet".
Don't want to get into much detail, but next day I visited pretty much all toilets in central Madrid and had to dope myself in the spanish version of Immodium to be able to fly back home. Yes, my gluten free home!

I will do my test this week...

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Chocolate and oats cookies - Gluten Free

I love winter but I have to admit, I am ready for Spring! Flowers blossoming, days getting longer, hay fever... all that... I really don't mind!
As a nanny I think it's essential kids play outside, even in Winter. I wrap them up, make them a big bowl of porridge with extra cinnamon, and off we go. This means, of course, that I spent my Winter wrapped in my woolly jumpers and extra thick coats, not to mention the hats... I just saw my hair for for the first time last week... and it's back in the beanie as the weather is pretty grim outside!
So for that reason, my skin has been dry and I have been feeling run down in general.
So for that reason, I got myself some gluten free porridge oats and have been working on various recipes. Oats are full of soluble fibre and and contain B vitamins and Iron; great when you spend a lot of time outdoors. Also reduces the risk of heart-disease. You can read more about oats here.

These cookies work wonders as a mid afternoon snack!


125 self raising flour ( I used Doves Farm)
3 tbs coco powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 bicarbonate of soda
sprinkle of sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
110 unsalted butter
150 dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 gr porridge oats
100 gr chocolate chip ( I used 75% cocoa)
handful of raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
Pre-heat the oven 180 degrees/170 FAN.
Prepare 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Measure all dry ingredients in one bowl. On a different bowl, add the butter and sugar and mix together for a couple of minutes or until creamy. Next add the egg followed by the dry ingredients.
Roll the dough into 5 cm balls and lay on the tray.
Bake for 15 minutes.