This is a variation of my favourite carrot cake.
I wanted to prepare some bite-size sweet treats for a friend’s visit one evening, so opted for muffins rather than a cake.
Another variation was less planned, but turned out very well. At the very last minute I realised I had no walnuts in the cupboard, so I decided to replace them by hazelnuts.
And here we are, time for some tea to accompany these lovely wholemeal muffins packed with veg and nuts.



This sugar-free version can be enjoyed in the latter stages of anti-candida diet.

Ingredients

Makes 12 muffins

200g wholemeal flour, sieved
150g xylitol
75g hazelnuts, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
0.5 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
210ml rapeseed oil
250g carrots, grated



For the Greek yogurt buttercream
75g butter, softened
30g xylitol, powdered
150g full fat Greek yogurt
finely grated orange and lemon zest
12 whole hazelnuts

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4.



Grease a 12-hole muffin tin and line with muffin cases.



In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: the flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, xylitol and chopped hazelnuts.



In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and rapeseed oil together. Pour into the flour mixture and fold until combined, without overmixing.



Stir in the grated carrot.



Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases.



Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.



To make the frosting, beat the softened butter and half of the powdered xylitol until creamy. Beat in the Greek yogurt and orange zest. Gradually add the remaining powdered xylitol to achieve desired consistency.



Divide the frosting between muffins, spreading it over the top of each. Top with the hazelnuts and sprinkle with lemon and orange zest.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Carrot cake muffins (sugar-free)
Carrot cake muffins (sugar-free)




Fresh.
Cool.
Crisp.

Finger-licking.
Mouth-watering.
Moreish.

You.
Have to.
Try.

Ingredients

165g desiccated coconut
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1 egg yolk
7 tbsp of xylitol
150ml full fat Greek yogurt
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
Butter for greasing
Berries to garnish

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180 C / gas mark 4. Grease 4 loose-based tartlet tins.

In a bowl mix together the coconut, 2 egg whites and half of the xylitol until combined and sticky. Press the coconut mixture firmly into the base and to the sides of the tartlet tins. Place in the fridge and cool for 30 mins. After this time, place in a preheated oven and bake for 5-8 minutes.

To make the filling, beat together 3 yolks, half of the xylitol, Greek yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Remove the tartlets from the oven and pour in the filling. Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the custard gets firm and golden.

Leave to cool on a wire rack completely before removing the tartlets from the tin.

Decorate with fresh berries.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Lemon tartlets with berries
Lemon tartlets with berries




I found inspiration for this recipe in a beautifully illustrated book by Celia Brooks ‘Low Carb & Gluten-Free Vegetarian’. I like referring to it for healthy no-fuss recipes, whether it’s for a special occasion or just a simple ‘something’ without any particular reason, just because I fancy it.
This recipe uses canned tomatoes and canned or jarred artichokes, so it’s an all-year-round formula.

Ingredients

Serves 2

2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 jar of artichoke hearts, drained
2 eggs
Fresh parsley leaves
0.5 tsp chilli flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove the lid, add the chilli flakes and fresh parsley leaves and simmer for another 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make two hollows in the vegetable mixture and break the eggs into them. Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt. Cover the pan and let the eggs poach.

Serve warm with cooked millet and salad greens.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Tomato and artichoke stew
Tomato and artichoke stew




Quick post, with quick coriander flatbreads. Fresh coriander added to the dough transforms these flatbreads, giving them a truly aromatic, Mediterranean touch. And they go so well with the baked aubergine dip. A Mediterranean feast in the making. This is just the beginning…

Ingredients

200g buckwheat flour
100g rice flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
200ml water



For the aubergine dip
2 small aubergines
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Start by preparing aubergine dip.Preheat the oven to 200 C / gas mark 6.



Prick the aubergines with a fork and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour until the aubergines are wrinkled on the outside and soft inside. Set aside to cool.



Cut the baked aubergine in half, lengthways and using a spoon take out the flesh and roughly chop. Place the aubergine flesh and the other ingredients for the dip in a food processor and mix until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



Chill in the fridge before serving.



To make the coriander flatbreads, sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the coriander, oil and water and mix together to make elastic dough.



Divide the dough into six parts and shape into small balls. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into round shapes.



Preheat a griddle pan to very hot. Fry the flatbreads for about 1-2 minutes on each side until firm and golden.



Serve warm coriander flatbreads with chilled aubergine dip.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Coriander flatbreads with aubergine dip
Coriander flatbreads with aubergine dip




I first tried this salad when I was visiting my friend last year, in the early phase of my anti-candida diet. As usual, we started the meeting in the kitchen, as the kettle was on and she was preparing dinner for her little baby girl. As I was telling her about my past troubles with candida and the new diet I embarked on, she seemed a little confused to start with.

‘Oh, it must be so complicated to move onto such a strict elimination diet. I’m not sure if there’s anything I can offer you to eat… All I’ve made is this crunchy salad which my daughter just loves. We will have to stick to our fragrant teas.’

I was impressed by how quickly she assembled the salad. Well, being a mum, you haven’t got unlimited time to prepare the dinner. Seeing what goes into the salad, I could only notice healthy ingredients allowed on the anti-candida diet. And it looked and smelled so nice! Finally, seeing how the little girl devours the salad with a big grin on her face, I decided to try a little. And soon, we were in the kitchen again, as my dear friend prepared some more salad for all of us.

Turns out, it’s a pretty simple diet and it’s a pretty delicious salad.

Ingredients

1 small cauliflower (about 350g)
1 bunch of radishes, sliced
50g sunflower seeds
50g pumpkin seeds
Fresh parsley leaves (or dill or chives, if you prefer), finely chopped



For the sauce:
200ml natural yogurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and remove the core from the centre. Separate the florets and then cut them through the base to make smaller florets. Place in a large bowl.



Place a dry frying pan over small heat. Put the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds onto the pan and roast it for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.



Add the radish slices, roasted seeds and chopped parsley in a large bowl with the cauliflower.



Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients and pour it over the vegetables mix.



Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Raw cauliflower salad
Raw cauliflower salad




Have you heard of cauliflower crust pizza? I’m sure you have! They get quite popular on blogs and social media networks every now and then. And I’m so glad for it, as it’s such a great way of swapping a floury dough for more veg!

I’m not the biggest fan of cauliflowers. Much as I liked mum’s version of cooked cauliflower with buttered bread crumbs, and recently fell in love with my friend’s raw cauliflower salad (oh, I certainly need to make a blog post with it, soon!) there isn’t an endless list of ideas in my head for the cauliflower. Yet. Perhaps I need to explore it more and find more ways of making this winter vegetable appear more often on our table. Watch this space!

For today, we’ve got our cauliflower crust pizza. Don’t expect it to be like a traditional pizza. It’s different. It’s better, if you ask me. No yeast, no gluten, just healthy veg. You can cut it into slices and they’ll hold well in your hand. And you can have fun and experiment with various toppings too.

Ingredients

For the cauliflower base:
1 cauliflower (about 750g)
100g ground almonds
2 eggs
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 tsp salt

For the tomato sauce:
3 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 garlic clove, crushed
Freshly ground pepper

For the topping:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways into long strips
1 small courgette, thinly sliced lengthways into long strips
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
0.5 red pepper, cut into slices
0.5 yellow pepper, cut into slices
1 red chili, sliced
A few fresh basil leaves

Vegetable oil for greasing

Preparation

Preheat oven to 200C/ gas mark 6.

Cut the cauliflower roughly into large pieces. Place in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.

Heat a large frying pan (don’t add any oil), tip the chopped cauliflower onto the pan and dry-fry it for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, so that the cauliflower softens and some of the moisture evaporates.

Transfer the warm cauliflower onto a clean tea towel. With your hands, squeeze the tea towel and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the cauliflower, then transfer back to a bowl. Add the ground almonds, eggs, dried herbs and season to taste with salt.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and grease with oil. Place the cauliflower mix in the centre of the tray, then use a spoon and your hands to spread out into a 30cm round pizza base. Bake for 15-18 minutes in a preheated oven until golden brown and starting to crisp a little at the edges.

Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan, brush each aubergine slice and courgette slice on both sides with a little of the olive oil, and cook for 5-6 mins, turning once, until softened and slightly charred. Transfer to a plate and cook the remaining slices – you’ll need to do this in batches.

Griddle the onion wedges and pepper slices for 2-3 minutes.

To make the tomato sauce, in a small bowl mix the tomato purée, garlic and the oregano, adding a little water.

Once the cauliflower base is cooked, spread the tomato sauce over the base.
Arrange the vegetables on the top and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Take out from the oven and cut into slices, using a pizza cutter.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Cauliflower Crust Pizza (gluten free, diary free)
Cauliflower Crust Pizza (gluten free, diary free)




This is my absolutely favourite Great British cake: the great carrot cake.



I literally fell in love it it from the first bite. What’s not to like? Moist, indulgent and so flavoursome. Ten years ago, when I first tried it, it was a pretty new concept to me to use carrots in a cake. Cake with vegetables? Interesting. And seems pretty healthy too, as the grated carrots and apple add plenty of volume, meaning you don’t need to add so much flour to it. And the addition of spices make it seem sweeter, so you can also reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener in the recipe (I use xylitol in this sugar-free recipe). And let’s not forget the healthy, crunch walnuts. Abundant frosting makes it look even more decadent, but as it’s based on Greek yogurt, it makes it a pretty clean and innocent dessert.



Perfect for the spring celebrations of Easter.



This sugar-free version can be enjoyed in the latter stages of anti-candida diet.

Ingredients

150g wholemeal flour, sieved
75g polenta, sieved
150g xylitol
75g walnuts, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
0.5 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
210ml rapeseed oil
250g carrots, grated
2 apples, grated



For the Greek yogurt buttercream
125g butter, softened
75g xylitol, powdered
300g full fat Greek yogurt
finely grated orange zest
12 walnut halves
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4.



Grease and line three 18cm round bottom-less cake tins with baking paper. If you haven’t got three cake tins, you can bake the cakes one by one.



In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: the flour, polenta, spices, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, xylitol and chopped walnuts.



In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and rapeseed oil together. Pour into the flour mixture and fold until combined, without overmixing.



Stir through the grated carrot and apple.



Divide the mixture between the three lined tins and smooth the surface.



Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top feels springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.



Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out and allow to cool.



To make the frosting, beat the softened butter and half of the powdered xylitol until creamy. Beat in the Greek yogurt and orange zest. Gradually add the remaining powdered xylitol to achieve desired consistency.



Divide the frosting between the three cakes, spreading it evenly over the top of each. Stack the cakes one on top of the other.



Top with the walnut halves and sprinkle with cinnamon.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Sugar-free carrot cake
Sugar-free carrot cake




One more recipe this month with quail’s eggs. Here the soft-boiled eggs spill gently over layers of vegetables that separates them from the blini. Perfect finger food. Good for any time of the day. Not much to add. Just have a look at the photos and get cooking!

Ingredients

Makes 12

For the blini:
1 egg
80g buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
150ml almond milk
2 tbsp rapeseed oil


For the topping:
6 quail’s eggs
2 avocados
2 red peppers, deseeded and quartered
6 black olives, pitted and sliced
150ml Greek yogurt
4 radishes, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180 C / gas mark 4.

Place the quartered peppers on a baking tray and roast in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, turning on the other side half way through, until they’re soft and start to brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

To make the blini, in a bowl whisk the egg until frothy. Mix in the flour, baking powder and almond milk, and beat quickly to make a smooth batter. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently pour tablespoons of the batter to create round blinis. Fry for a couple of minutes until the underside is golden then turn over and cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter and set the blini aside.

Boil the quail’s eggs for just over 2.5 minutes, then rinse under plenty of cold water and then peel and halve.

Peel the whole avocado and cut round slices from both sides of the stone.

To prepare the yogurt topping, mix the Greek yogurt with grated radishes and crushed garlic clove and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the blini on a serving plate. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt dressing, add a slice of avocado, then roasted pepper and top with quail’s eggs halves. Add a couple of slices of olives on top.

Serve cold.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Quail’s eggs blini
Quail’s eggs blini




Quail’s eggs don’t feature on our menu too often. Lovely as they are, the price versus the size comparison means they’re far from being a daily staple. And that is fine. There’s something incredibly nice about having some particular types of foods only on special occasions. Even more so now, when most of the food even fruits and vegetables are readily available all year round. I always aim to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, as they taste best in the season, plus there’s something enjoyable in waiting for best asparagus in May or raspberries in July. And there are some special dishes meant for special occasions too, like the entire Xmas Eve dinner that tastes even better as the dishes appear on our tables only once a year (excuse the out-of-season comparison). And so, I’ve made the quail’s eggs a special treat too. And what better time to enjoy the tiny eggs than Easter? Even better if they are accompanied by some fresh spring vegetables of the season.

The salad is wonderfully simple and colourful. The secret lays in using fresh, high quality produce.

Ingredients

Serves 2

6 quail’s eggs
100g mix of green leaves – I used ruby chard, lamb’s lettuce and watercress
120g green beans
120g baby broccoli
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

In a pot, bring salted water to a boil and shortly for about 3-4 minutes cook the green beans and broccoli. Drain and rinse under plenty of cold water, so that the vegetables stay firm.



To soft boil the quail’s eggs, bring water to boil in a small pan. Place the quail’s eggs gently onto the boiling water and simmer for 1.5 minutes, remove from the heat and keep the eggs in the hot water for another minute. Rinse in plenty of cold water and then peel.



On a plate (or in a bowl) place the green leaves, top with cooked vegetables, halved tomatoes and halved eggs. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Quail’s eggs spring salad
Quail’s eggs spring salad




Quail’s eggs are just perfect for special occasions. They are so delicious (I like them best soft boiled) and their miniature size makes them so pretty and presentable. It would be a shame to just simply use them in an omelette or scrambled eggs, unless you happen to have heaps of them. As we don’t eat them too often, I like to make the most of their appearance and make sure they are play the main character on the play a starring role on the plate. In this dish, we have nice little mounds of green courgette rounds, aromatic Greek yogurt with lemon rind and fresh thyme, cherry tomatoes crowned with quail’s eggs.

Ingredients

Makes 12
12 quail’s eggs
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt

For the courgette rounds:
2 courgettes, roughly grated
1 egg
3 tbsp buckwheat flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

For the Greek yogurt dip:
300g Greek yogurt
Grated rind of one lemon
Bunch of fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

To make the courgette fritters, in a bowl, combine the grated courgette, egg and flour. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well, so that all the ingredients come together. Heat the olive oil on frying pan over a medium heat. Using a table spoon place a spoonful of courgette mixture onto the frying pan and flatten a little. Fry the courgette rounds for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Set aside.



To prepare the yogurt dip combine all the dip ingredients in a bowl.



Heat a little olive oil on a small frying pan and break the quail’s eggs gently into it, season with salt and cook them sunny side up.



To assemble, top the courgette rounds with a dollop of Greek yogurt dip, add a slice of a cherry tomato and a fried quail’s egg.



Serve cold.



Bon appétit!
Lena x

Fried quail’s eggs on courgette rounds
Fried quail’s eggs on courgette rounds