Simple gluten free banana pancakes
Place the oats, quinoa flakes, baking powder and salt in a blender.
Pulse a few times until it resembles flour.
Add the banana, the egg, the almond milk and the vanilla extract, and blend until smooth. Pulse in the peanut butter or tahini.
Let the batter sit for 3 - 5 minutes to thicken slightly the mixture.
Heat and grease a pan over medium-low heat. Pour the pancake batter directly from the blender to form the pancakes
Cook the pancakes until bubbles start to form on the top, around 2 - 3 minutes.
Flip and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes.
Repeat until no batter remains.
Can be served with real maple sirup or a mashed ripe banana with a dash of lemon juice.
Fabrics, our health, the environment what are our options?
For the best part of our life, our skin is covered with fabrics from the garment we wear. Some parts of our body absorb what is on it more than others (our underarms and genitals absorb 100%). This alone should make us want to know more about what we are wearing.
The impact on the environment of fabric production, clothing manufacturing and the life cycle of our clothes are aspects that should concern all of us. Some fabrics are harder on the planet than others (non organic cotton alone uses 22,5% of the world's insecticides and 10% of all pesticides). Can you imagine that the textile industry is responsible for 20% of industrial water pollution?
Working conditions, low wages, lack of transparency on fabric sources as well as disposability of non quality garments are additional elements that should makes us purchase m more durable and environmentally responsible clothing.
A debate exist about which fabrics are really sustainable, are natural fabrics the only solution?
The following is an introduction to what is available on the market. There are many more options but it will enhance a few points to consider next time you go shopping.
Plant-based fibers with low eco-impact:
Linen is a plant-based fabric derived from the flax plant. It requires minimal water and pesticides and can grow in poor quality soil. Every part of the plant is used. It is strong, naturally moth resistant and when undyed biodegradable.
It is a very productive crop, yielding a far greater amount of fiber than cotton crops
The fabric has the benefit of being warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
The longer fibers are spun into fabric while the shorter fibers are being spun into bobbins It can also be blended with other fibers.
Conventional linen is processed into fibers from the raw flax crop through a process of water-retting not so eco-friendly but other methods of processing exist such as dew-reeting and enzyme-retting that avoid the water pollution linked to the water-retting process.
Organic linen helps to differentiate between the linen production leaving an impact on the environment, and the one avoiding it.
The fabric is scratchy at first but becomes softer and comfortable has is used. It also wrinkles easily.
Linen is biodegradable as long as harsh chemicals are left out of the process
There is a very important difference between cotton and organic cotton.
Cotton is one of the oldest fabrics used by mankind. It is comfortable, durable.
The fiber is obtained from the seed pods of the cotton plant.
Standard cotton is full of pesticides and is very water consuming. The good news is that cotton can be produced differently (rain fed and in crop rotation ) It is then usually grown in smaller farms.
Organic cotton also means that the seeds are not genetically modified.
The whole supply chain of organic cotton has a lower impact on the environment as it is all regulated (from processing to dying and finishing).
The cost of producing organic cotton is 20 to 30% more expensive than regular cotton.
Organic cotton does not contain harmful substances for the people cultivating and harvesting it but also for everyone wearing it.
Organic cotton will have softer fibers since it has not been treated with harsh chemicals and can be washed times after times.
Recycled, upcycled or reclaimed cotton
Another option is to use recycled or upcycled cotton. They are produced using post industrial or post consumer waste.
It is a more sustainable alternative to conventional cotton, it avoids landfill. However the chemicals and pesticides used remain in the fabric.
The largest amount of recycled cotton is generated through pre-consumer waste.
It is an excellent solution to reduce manufacturing waste.
The Japanese boro fabrics show a very ancient tradition of mending clothes where everything is used and nothing is wasted.
Hemp is also a very old and durable material. It is extremely sustainable crops. It is made from a specific type of cannabis plant. It is fast growing, does not exhaust the soil and does not need pesticides. It makes a strong fabric and durable material.
The fabric is very similar to linen and can wrinkle easy. It also gets softer the more you wash it
The undyed hemp has a natural color and only muted tones can be obtained when dyed with non-harsh chemicals.
Hemp is also grown all around the world making it one of the most sustainable fabric.
Some fibers have complex issues such as bamboo, wool, cashmere, silk….
Bamboo is made from the bamboo plant, the plant grows very quickly and easily, it doesn’t need pesticide or fertilizers and it grows new sprouts from the roots after harvest, however, the process to turn bamboo into fibers requires very strong chemical solvents that are harmful for the manufacturers and for the environment.
New processes are being developed to address these chemical concerns to make bamboo fabrics a truly sustainable option.
Bamboo is has a soft feel, natural antibacterial properties which allow the skin to breathe
Wool is another natural fiber that is renewable but unfortunately extensive sheep farming practices have had disastrous impact on the environmental as well as the treatments used on the animals and the shearing process.
Silk is natural fiber that can be cultivated sustainably. From its origin the fiber has been cultivated from silkworms which subsist completely on the leaves of mulberry trees. Mulberry trees are resistant to pollution and easy to grow. However, many criticize the production of silk for its harsh treatment of the silkworms. Most traditional manufacturing process boil the silkworms alive to gather the cocoons, which create the fiber. A less agressive alternative exist called Peace Silk (Non-Violent silk, Ahimsa silk) manufactured under the most stringent social and environmental standard in India as well a vegetarian silk or sabra silk derived from the cactus plant (sahara cactus plant of the agave family)
Innovative fabrics semi-synthetic
Tencel® or Lyocell
Tencel® is a brand name for a fiber also called lyocell. It is regenerated from wood cellulose. The feel is similar to bamboo or rayon
The fabric is sustainable as the supply chain is transparent. It is obtained from eucalyptus trees with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
Tencel clothing is comfortable, absorbant and cooling
Tencel fibers are spun into yarns and then woven into textiles that are soft, absorbent, very strong when wet or dry, resistant to wrinkles and drape well. Tencel lends these qualities to the fabrics with which it is blended. It is often blended with natural fabrics such as hemp, cotton and wool.
Lyocell garments can be recycled and the fiber usually degrades in only 8 days in waste treatment plants
However the methods used to transform these fibers into yarn, fabric, and finished products can vary a lot making the fiber less sustainable.
Other new fabrics exist like pinatex derived from the pineapple leaves (it is used mainly to replace leather),
It is a more sustainable and eco-friendly material compared to animal leather and synthetic leather, however, the resins used for the coating are currently not biodegradable but progress is being made to work with a bio-based coating.
Other semi synthetic fabrics exist such as rayon, modal and Cupro, they are all biodegrade but their environmental impact depends on the manufacturer and they use harsh chemicals.
Rayon fabric is also easily dyed and known in the garment world to be a comfortable wear. It is sometimes referred to as viscose. Rayon is most commonly made from cellulose extracted from beech trees, pine trees, and bamboo. Though these are renewable resources that can benefit the environment during growth, the process used to extract the cellulose to make rayon uses harsh chemicals.
Modal fabric was essentially developed to improve the weaknesses of rayon. It is most commonly made from the cellulose of beech trees. Modal fabric feels very similar in touch to cotton but is lighter in weight . Modal is a highly breathable fabric and does not trap perspiration or odors. When cotton and modal material are blended, the resulting fabric is lighter than an all cotton textile.
Modal is made from cellulose extracted from wood fiber however polluting chemicals to grow, harvest, and manufacture are often used
Cupro is produced from cotton linter a part of the cotton plant that was discarded in the past.... As with all cotton products and textiles treated with chemical processes, we need to be careful where we source Cupro.
We should also be careful with some of the treatments applied to fabrics:
How to sprout mung beans ?
You will need:
step 5 - On the 5th day, the sprouts will have grown 4 to 5 cm. It is time to harvest, cut the roots that have formed and wash the sprouts well to remove the green shells that fall off (some will stay attached and it is ok)
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
The seeds swell a lot when you soak them so no need to put too much at once. The roots grow thicker and the sprouts grow stronger if there are tight in the container.
You can blanched in boiling water the sprouts for a minute or steam them before you use them to kill any bacteria that could be present.
Sprouted mung beans are perfect added to a stir fry.....
* Mung beans are a legume (pulse) widely cultivated for the seeds or sprouts around the world. They can be eaten whole or made into flour, they can also be processed to make starch noodles (vermicelli, bean thread noodles, cellophane noodles). The sprouted seeds ("bean sprouts" in English, and incorrectly called "germes de soja" or "pousses de soja" in French).
Ancient grains exist since beginning of civilisation but where largely ignore by Western countries but things are changing. They are coming back to the front our nutrition.
They are more nutritious and are an interesting addition to our cooking.
What defines an ancient grain:
Ancient grains are sometime called heirloom grains, the term often refers to whole grains that are largely unchanged over the last few centuries. Ancient wheat like spelt, einkorn and emmer fall into that category. But sometimes barley and rye can also be considered heirloom grains.
They can be grains or pseudo-grains like quinoa or teff.
The modern wheat that’s commonly used today isn’t the same as the wheat our ancestors consumed for thousands of years and can not be considered ancient grains (corn, rice are the same)
Some of these cereals and seeds pre date our modern wheat by thousands of years.
Modern wheat has been selectively cultivated and is often heavily refined and hybridized.
Hybridization is the act of crossing two different species of plants with the goal of creating a new variety of plant. This changes the very makeup and structure of the new plant. This has been done to increase productivity. In that process modern wheat has lost nutrients.
Some are naturally gluten free, like amaranth, quinoa, millet and sorghum... but other contain different amounts of gluten like like spelt, einkorn, barley..... . The structure of the gluten is weaker than in modern wheat gluten
Ancient grains are considered to be more natural and healthier, bringing more vitamines, minerals, fibre and protein than modern wheat.
They also have complex flavours…. so don’t hesitate try a few.
Heirloom grains can be cooked and eaten as whole grains, or can be used as flour but whatever the way you use them, they are a good addition to our diet.
The principal ancient grains:
Naturally gluten free.
Grain like seed.
Contains all 9 essential amino acids and lysine (a protein missing in most grains)
Good source of iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
Very high in fiber (3 times of oats) throughout the whole of the grain (it is unusual). It is low in starch, which gives a low glycemic index (GI). High in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Grain like seed
A good source of minerals, manganese, magnesium, copper and dietary fibre. Minerals in cooked buckwheat are well absorbed as buckwheat is low in physic acids. It has a nutty flavour.
Whole buckwheat groats can be found raw or toasted (kasha), the later will have more flavour
For more details on buckwheat: buckwheat-a-pseudo-cereal.html
Ancient wheat originating from Mesopotamia. It contains fibers, antioxidants and minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc
Farro often refers to 3 different grains depending on regions and countries
Einkorn: farro piccolo (triticum monococcum)
Emmer: farro medio (tritium dicoccum)
Spelt: farro grande (tritium spelta)
The Khorasan (or kamut):
Ancient variety of durum (wheat) with a grain (x2 the size of modern wheat). Good sources of protein and dietary fibre and vitamin E. Khorasan wheat gives bread a mild, nutty flavour. The name Kamut is in fact a trademark.
naturally gluten free.
It is one of the oldest cultivated crops. Millet refers not to a single type of grain, rather to a group of small-seeded, annual grasses. Millet also grows very rapidly. Millet is tiny in size and round in shape and can be white, gray, yellow or red. It adds a mild flavour. It is high in minerals
naturally gluten free
grain like seed
contains essential amino acids, . The only plant food that contains complete protein (contains all the essential amino acids) Best grain source of potassium.
For more details: quinoa.html
Low gluten content
Is a grass grown as a grain. Before modern agriculture and transportation rye was the best option for bread baking in a huge swath of northern Europe, from Russia and the Baltic States, west through Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands and up into Scandinavia. Rye most often gets processed into flour for bread or fed to livestock.
A good source of soluble fiber, vitamin E, calcium, iron, and potassium
Ancient East African tiny size grain (less than 1mm diameter – similar to a poppy seed). Good source of fibre.. Has a high calcium content.
In Ethiopia, teff is usually ground into flour, but teff is more and more used as an ingredient in pancakes, snacks, breads, cereals and many other products, created for the gluten-free market
Other ancient grains sorghum, bulgur, freekeh, wild rice, oats (I will post soon an article on oat).... be adventurous, try a variety of them to eat the whole spectrum of the nutrients from nature....
A few words from Paola:
"I always liked to cook. After giving birth of my daughters I wanted to give more attention on our nutrition at home. Shopping at km zero and making almost all the food myself has become my daily goal.
Since then, my daughters have gained awareness on what they eat. Looking at such happiness on the faces on my family gathered at our table, enjoying the food served on their plate, repays me for everything! It makes you feel at home even if your home is 2,500 km away"
The step by step recipe in details
The proportion to use is 100g of flour for 1 egg for 1 person
Combine the flours, 80% spelt for 20% all purpose wheat flour (or gluten free flour) with the eggs. Add the olive oil.
Knead for a few minutes in a food processor
or by hands. Adding a spoon at the time of warm water to obtain a smooth dough. Not too sticky nor too dry.
Leave the dough to rest for 1/2 hour at room temperature
Use semolina (or semola) to flour your work surface. Roll the dough with a rolling pin or using a pasta machine if you have one.
You roll the dough only in one direction away from you, turning your work surface or your dough to roll the other side keeping the same direction. When the dough is large enough you can cut it in two pieces and start rolling each part separately until the dough is about 1-2 mm thick.
Cut into long 0.8cm wide strips to obtain tagliatelles with a bench knife or with a pasta machine
Spread the tagliatelle on a tray and let them dry for 15 to 30 min.
Boil a large amount of water adding a bit of salt and oil. Cook the tagliatelles for 5 minutes after the water has started boiling again.
Serve with the sauce of your choice
Combine the flour with the eggs for 1 minute, add the olive oil and knead the dough adding one spoon of warm water at the time until you have a smooth dough, not too dry nor too sticky.
Leave to rest for 1/2 h
Use semolina to flour the work surface
Roll the dough in one direction, away from you with a rolling pin, turning the dough or the board to rolling the other side.
You can use a pasta machine if you have one.
Cut the dough in 2 pieces and keep rolling each piece separately until the dough is 1 to 2 mm thick.
Cut in long 8mm wide strips using a bench or a knife.
Spread on a tray to dry for 15 to 30 min
Boil a large amount of water, add salt and oil.
Cook the tagliatelle around 5 minutes from the time the water started boiling again.
Serve with the sauce of your choice
How to prepare plant milk?
Plant drink is a preparation made from nuts or cereals. When homemade, it provides many benefits not only for our health but also for the environment.
First, plant milks available in stores often contain very large quantities of water (the proportion of nuts or cereals is only 2.3 to 8% whereas in homemade preparations the proportion of nuts or cereals is between 12.5 and 25%).
The ingredients list of commercial preparations also often shows the presence of additives (salt, emulsifiers, thickeners, guar gum, carrageenan ... and added sugars).
Among the plant milks, soy milk is the best known but I do not recommend it, especially for children. Soya is a very modified seed and we do not know all the effects of its consumption on the long term (Asians do not consume soya in the form of milk but in the form of tofu or fermented soya preparations).
The other main plant drinks are prepared from oilseeds (cashew nuts, almonds, hazelnuts...) or cereals (oats, rice).
Realization of a plant milk
Choose raw organic nuts, not grilled or salted.
The ratio to be used is 1 dose of nuts/cereals to 4 doses of water.
Soak the nuts for 3 hours to 12 hours depending on the type of nuts you are using. Softer nuts like cashews nut need to be soaked for a shorter time than almonds.
Drain and rince very well to remove phytates (check my article: why-and-how-to-soak-nuts-and-seeds.html)
Blend with fresh water for 1 minute using 1 cup of raw nuts to 4 cups of fresh water.
Line a container with a milk bag. If you don't have one you can use a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth as an easy alternative
Pour the preparation and squeeze the bag to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
The bag will be left with the pulp, the pulp can be used fresh in cakes, cookies, .... or dried for later use (cashew milk does not produce a lot of pulp and can be used.... without straining.
The fresh drink can be stored in the fridge for a few days.
Oat drink is prepared in using the same method. The oat flakes are soaked for about 12 hours and rinsed well.
To make the rice milk, soak the raw rice for about 12 hours, drain and rinse well before cooking it for 10-15 minutes in clear water, leave the preparation to stand for 1 hour, then blend and filter.
Each plant milk has different properties, so I recommend alternating their consumption.
In these days where we spend a large amount of time in the kitchen, we sometimes find it difficult to renew ourselves in our menus and we are looking for new inspiration.
I love discovering new flavours, new ingredients, new vegetables to influence my day-to-day cooking.
Ginger, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, pink peppercorns among many others... are flavours and spices that I have discovered through my various encounters and travels. I have also learned combinations of foods that I would not have imagined to use but which have become a classic at home: rice and lentils did not mix in French cuisine!!! (the combination is very interesting from a nutritional point of view because vegetable proteins become complete and contain all the amino acids by combining them with cereals).
Step by step recipe
Ingredients are gathered, carrot, onion tails, peas, white basmati rice, egg and chicken breast.
The rice is cooked in water, then spread out to cool down. It is seasoned with sesame oil, pepper and salt if no salt is added to the cooking water.
The chicken breast is diced and pan-fried with a little vegetable oil, a crushed garlic clove, and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce.
The eggs are beaten into an omelette, pan-fried like a thin pancake, then rolled up and cut into thin ribbon's like pieces.
The carrots are cut as small as possible as well as the chives. All the ingredients are put together.
In a wok or large frying pan, the carrots and peas are sautéed in a little vegetable oil for about 10 minutes.
The rice, chicken and chives are added
and sautéed for a few more minutes, add soya sauce to taste.
Egg ribbons last.
For the rougail, the tomatoes, onion and coriander are very finely chopped and seasoned with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.
Fried rice with chicken, egg and tomato "rougail"
For the fried rice
- 2 portions of basmati rice = 200g
- 1 chicken filet
- 1 carrot
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 eggs
- sesame oil
- oyster sauce
- soya sauce
- salt, pepper
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 3-4 tomatoes according to size
- 1 small onion
- salt, pepper
- a drizzle of olive oil
Cook the rice "al dente", spread it on a dish to cool. Season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of sesame oil.
Dice the chicken and fry in a pan with vegetable oil, 1 crushed garlic clove and 1 tbsp. oyster sauce. Set aside.
Beat the eggs into an omelette and cook them in the same pan in a thin layer like pancakes. Let cool and cut into thin strips. Set aside.
Finely dice the carrots and chives.
In a wok or frying pan, sauté the carrots and peas over low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the rice, chicken and chives. Continue to sauté, stirring regularly. Add the soy sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Add the omelette strips last.
`Chocolate and dates cookies (gluten free and lactose free)
I love this recipe as I adapt it to what I have available in my cupboard just keeping the same proportions
80 g cooking chocolate
10 soaked dates
2 or 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar (if needed according to your taste)
2 Tbsp of cocoa powder (optional)
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp olive oil
15 cl vegetal milk
80 gluten free oats or paleo cereals
80 g almonds, pistachios or hazelnut or a mix of your favorite nuts
140 g rice flour or a mix of almond and rice flour
Preheat the oven at 180˚C.
In a blender pulse a few times the chocolate and the nuts. Add the oats and pulse once. Transfer to a bowl. Blend the dates with the vegetal milk.
Combine all the dry ingredients together, chocolate, nuts, oats, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and sugar. Add the olive oil and the mixture of dates and vegetal milk. Mix. Depending on the oat flakes you might need to add extra milk
Use a spoon to form cookies and lay on a tray lined with cooking paper.
Place in the oven and cook around 25 minutes.
Rice Noodle Soup with chicken broth
This recipe is adapted from the Vietnamese Pho Soup..
Coriander, green onions, fresh vegetables and bone broth are part of the soup, making it very balanced and nutritive.
I have adapted the original recipe for a simplified version with chicken ...
What is Pho?
Pho is a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, either beef or chicken, rice noodles, herbs, vegetable and meat. Different style Pho depend on the region, some have a sweeter broth, different noodles....
Chicken bone broth preparation
I normally make my broth in a large batch to freeze extra broth in glass jars for later use, you can also keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Steam the chicken bones for 10 minutes to make them “sweat” and remove some of their toxins and fat.
In a large pot add all the ingredients and spices, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for a minimum of 3 to 4 hours adding water if necessary.
Strain the broth.
Soak the rice noodles in water for 1/2 hour, drain. Cook the noodles in boiling water for around 10 minutes, strain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
In the meantime, bring the bone broth to a boil, add the fish sauce and sugar.
Slice finely the garnishes and add to your individual soup bowls, with the rice noodles.
Chop the green onion, coriander, Thai basil … and keep on the side to add at the last minute.
Once the broth is boiling add the cut chicken and cook for a few minutes
Pour the boiling broth over the garnish. Add the coriander, green onion…. and a piece of lime
We are all concerned by our diet right now and we should be. We need to boost our immune system to face the exceptional situation we are living. The stronger the better to face viral and bacterial infections.
Eat food from the different food groups:
Get outside in the forest - Just walking can improve drastically our immune system
Good sleep is essential - Our organism regenerates our cells and fights infections while we are sleeping.