Gluten Free Wholegrain Lemon Drizzle Cake

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Today post is a bonus post, just like the recipe that I am going to share is a bonus food. You might or might not be familiar with the concept “cheat meal” but this recipe falls under this category.

A cheat meal is one meal a week where you eat whatever you feel like. And I mean whatever, a treat of your choice, a cheeseburger with white bread and bacon and fries with mayo. A pint of Ben & jerry’s ice cream, a bit of both… doesn’t matter. The role of this meal is to “cheat” your body to avoid it from getting used to a) too low calories b) too low fat c) too controlled food intake (as in clean)

It is particularly important in the context of a body building or fitness diet, when the athlete or amateur has a strict calorie or macronutrient diet and eats clean and lean on a constant basis.

Fitness athletes and sports people that compete in body categories follow processes of “bulking” or “cutting” these are first a phase in which you over nourish your body so it creates lean muscle (with specific training for it) and then a “cutting” phase in which you reduce your calorie intake to be at a deficit and reduce your body fat percentage to the desired level (normally between 12 and 16% for women and 4 and 7% for men).

This principle also applies to people on a weight loss journey specially if they have been on a diet or on a calorie restriction for long period of time and their body could simply “adjust” and their weight loss could stop, what is called hitting a plateau.

Having one cheat meal a week will shock your metabolism giving your body the message that he will get big portions, high fat, simple carbs again, and therefore it is absolutely ok to burn some more fat, because there is more food where that came from! It will also impact your mentally, allowing you to have a social life a date, a celebratory meal and not feel like the journey doesn’t allow you to eat anything you crave. Also it can be a great way to replenish the glycogen (what fuels your muscles) on your body in low or extremely low carb diets, and you will work out with a lot of extra strength after it.

If I go out for my cheat meal, I will eat whatever I feel like in the menu, and it is fine, but if I am cooking it at home, I try to add something extra to it, in this case, I tried a new recipe for a Lemon Drizzle cake, which turned out to be delicious. It is a gluten free alternative, not because it is less fattening, because it’s not, but because I used wholegrain rice flour and almond flour, both full of fiber, which is great for your digestive system. The almonds bring a good amount of healthy fat to the mix as well, and I have observed that gluten free cakes usually have a moist and texture that makes them better than their traditional counterparts! I think it’s because of their higher fat content.

So please feel free to enjoy this cake but do it knowing that it is a treat.

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Ingredients:

200 gr. Butter (room temperature)

200 gr. Almond Flour

200 gr. Raw Moscovado Sugar (cane unrefined sugar)

100 gr. Wholegrain Rice Flour

½ tsp. Vanilla extract

1 tsp. Baking powder

3 Eggs

3 lemons

75 gr icing sugar (and 3 tbsp of water)

How to…

Heat up the over to 180C, beat up the sugar with the butter and add the vanilla extract and the eggs. Once this mixture is creamy and uniform, add the rice flour, the baking powder and the almond flour. Add the juice and the zest of one of the lemons and keep the zest and the juice of other two for the drizzle. Pour the mixture into a cake tin (18 to 13 cm diameter), mine is made of silicon so it doesn’t need to be greased but if your is metallic you will need to grease it to avoid it from sticking.

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Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. This cake takes a bit longer than others due to the consistency of the ingredients.

In the meantime, heat up the lemon juice in a saucepan with the water and the icing sugar and let it simmer for 3 to 5 minutes until it has the consistency of a light syrup.

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Once the cake is ready, let it cool down for 10 minutes and then pinch the surface with a toothpick all over the surface, pour the syrup on to the cake with the help of a spoon so it spreads out evenly. Let the cake sit for around 30 minutes to let the lemon drizzle set through the cake.

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So this cake is a reasonably healthier alternative than the classic version due to the higher fiber, higher protein and good fats (almond) and raw sugar, but it is still a cake, and it is still a treat, so enjoy in moderation as part of a healthy, well balanced diet.

The Miraculous Delicious Slimming Breakfast

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This is the ultimate slimming breakfast. Some might say that not having breakfast would be even more slimming, for those of you late to join the “how your metabolism works” wagon, this couldn’t be less accurate.

When fasted, your body naturally reduces your energy consumption, this is a survival technique that us humans have developed through evolution to make us as efficient as possible, if the fasting goes for too long, or if the caloric intake is too low for our needs, it also has the nasty habit of going into something called starvation mode which has a very serious way of messing with your weight loss, fat shredding or fitness goals.

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A healthy breakfast kick starts your day filling you up with long lasting energy and giving your body permission to burn energy on a continuous manner.

A breakfast should be composed of good fats, slow carbs (low GI) high in fiber as a good dose of protein.

This beauty today is a take on a traditional Spanish rice pudding but swapping the rice with oat bran, a much healthier and lighter alternative for those on a weight loss journey and all I have done is to substitute ingredients with their healthy counterpart in order to preserve the flavour as much as possible. I promise you, this breakfast is so delicious that you would feel like you are cheating, and it only has 180 calories.

If these were not reasons enough, it is dead easy to make and takes 5 minutes to make portions for a few days because I can be made and kept in the fridge for all week!

Ingredients (serves 3)

90 gr oat bran thick cut

600 ml. Alpro light soya milk (or an alternative of your choice)

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp sucralose sweetener (or your preferred non calorie sweetener)

1 Lemon rind

How to make it…

In a cooking pot, heat up the milk together with the cinnamon stick, the lemon rind and the ground cinnamon, on a kitchen scale, weigh the desired amount of oat bran, 30 gr is normally a good portion for ladies, so for 3 days, 90 gr.

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When the milk is hot, add the oat bran, stir well and bring to a boil, beware of the boiling milk since it is very treacherous. Turn off the heat and keep stirring for a couple of minutes. Remove the lemon rind and the cinnamon stick and add sweeter to taste together with a dash of cold milk if the mixture is too dense. Taste and correct the amount of sweetener.

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Sucralose loses the sweetening power when heated, that is why I prefer to add it a after boiling.

Distribute the mixture in individual containers and sprinkle with a bit of ground cinnamon for decoration and taste.

Cinnamon is also a fantastic spice for keeping your blood sugar levels under control so it helps control appetite and therefore maintain weight loss!

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I strongly recommend you change your breakfast for this for a couple of weeks if you are trying to lose weight and let me know how you go!

Guilt Free Vanilla Creams

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So it’s been a while since I treated myself to something sweet and every now and then we have to remember that a healthy diet not only can but should keep us fed and happy.

This is one of those delicious, super easy super healthy desserts to have on a week day without cheating, or feeling that we have stepped out of our limits.

It’s is carb free, super low fat high in protein so perfect to add a little extra to your meal.

Ingredients (serves 4)

3 large eggs

500 ml of non fat milk (I use soja milk but pick your favourite)

1 tbsp. of natural sweetener or 2 tbsp. of agave nectar

2 teaspoons of vanilla flavouring

1 teaspoon of sugar free caramel aroma (optional)

In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla, caramel and sweeter until smooth. Add the milk, taste and correct the sweetness to the desired level.

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Pre heat the over for 5 to 10 minutes to 180C.

Fill large over proof container (like a baking tray for example) one third with warm water and put 4 ramekin dishes inside (these will also be the serving dishes) the level of water should come up to 2/3 now, if it’s too high, it could spill and burn you when you take it out of the oven.

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Pour the mixture into the ramekins and put the tray in the over.

Let cook for about 15 minutes until it sets. You can serve it cold or warm and you can keep them in the fridge for a few days.

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Citrus & Berry Panna Cotta

PannaCotta2 So I would have not post this recipe here yet, simply because I wanted to wait until xmas is closer before starting to post compromise alternative desserts for those healthy conscious dieters that want to keep it under control in those dates, but last night I had some people over for dinner and they have asked me to share the recipe with them.

I thought that I might as well share it with everybody and send them the link 😉

This is a traditional Panna Cotta, for which I took the recipe from BBC Food but I added a couple of modifications to make it a bit more interesting.

( http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/vanillapannacotta_87907)

This is dead easy, and very quick to organize, and I promise you it’s delicious! It is vegetarian, gluten free, low carb but quite high in fat, so if you are in a restricted saturated fat diet, you might need to substitute the cream for a veg alternative, like Soya cream.

Ingredients:

3 leaves of unflavored gelatin

250 ml of cream

250 ml of milk

Splenda powder to taste

1 orange peel

1 Madagascar Vanilla pod

150 gr of raspberries

1/2 lemon juice

 

Instructions

Mix the milk and the cream in a pot and heat up to medium heat. Add the vanilla pod and the orange peel. Bring to a simmer and take of the heat. Take out the vanilla pod and with a knife, make a cut alongside and scrap out the black vanilla seeds and add them to the mixture then throw away the pod.

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Add Splenda powder, one tablespoon at the time and taste to your desired level of sweetness, at this time you should also be able to notice the vanilla and orange aromas.naranja

Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water until they are soft, and then remove the excess water and add the to the hot mixture, stir until they dissolve and then pour into the chosen serving containers.

Let them cool down and then put in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

While you wait, put 150 ml of water (roughly 1/3 of a glass) and add the raspberries and the lemon juice and bring to a boil, add Splenda or agave nectar and let reduce, tasting every now and then. The idea here is that you end up with a runny sauce that is sweet and retains the fruit’s natural acidity. Once it’s finished, keep in a pot until you are ready to serve the pannacottas and add on top before serving.

Serving suggestion: transparent little werk pots look really cute, you can get creative and use any small transparent pots you have at home for a more contemporary look!