Dairy & gluten free pumpkin pie

After (too many) months i managed to update my blog and share a bit of what’s going on in my life right now.

As some of you know in July I moved from Canada back home in Italy. Italy has been my home for the past 16 years (more or less) before I moved to Canada from 2014 to 2019. I’m not officially Italian tho, I was born in Romania. But Italian is basically my mother tongue, I’ve embraced it fully, can still speak Romanian but on a very medium level. I only went to elementary and middle school in Romania. I’ve written 3 cookbooks in Italian, went to high school in Italy and even tho I miss some things from Romania I don’t think I could ever go back and live there.

Long story short..in August 2014 me and my boyfriend moved to Canada and in July 2019 we decided to come back to Italy. A scary decision indeed given the fact that the Italy’s economy is terrible right now, our parents were’t happy (at all) about our decision and we didn’t quite had a plan on how we were going to survive.

When I left Italy in 2014 I basically had 0 work experience, only worked a couple gigs as a singer and that’s about it. Everything I learned, i learned it in Canada. My first real full time job, discovered and developed my photography and cooking passion, discovered what an online business is, continued my singing passion and that’s where I also learned that i was not made to work for someone else and that if I didn’t follow my dreams, my soul would suffocate at some point.

Throughout these 5 years me and my boyfriend started an online business, making video recipes (in italian) for this diet that most people think it’s weird, the blood type diet. But tons of people follow it in Italy, we started too back in 2012 actually because we wanted to eat healthier. Only a few years later we saw a need, we saw that people needed help, needed someone to guide them, to teach them how to cook and so on.

So we started it. Each week 2 video recipes. At first we sucked, big time lol! But we got better with time and practice. That’s how my food photography started too. I wouldn’t never gotten into food photography otherwise.

Fast forward to today (started in 2016) we’re about to release our 3rd cookbook. It’s actually mind blowing.

The reason we decided to move back to Italy was to give it a shot. Our project was in Italy but we were living in Canada. It just didn’t feel right, nothing inspired me there, sadly. We wanted to have a connection with our people, to be on the same page as them. The food and the recipes I was making weren’t even inspiring me anymore because I know how the food is in Europe especially in Italy, and where the food comes from and I couldn’t have access to that, i didn’t feel any connection with nature, I missed the European wilderness and freedom that unfortunately i couldn’t find anywhere in Canada.

I am grateful though on a deep level because this experience changed my life. And all the things I didn’t know how to appreciate about Italy back then, I do now. I see the world with different eyes and for the first time in my life I don’t wish to be in a different place and that to me is crazy and unbelievable because all my life I was never happy where I was.

I hope I didn’t bore you but I felt like i needed to summarize this chapter in my life and get it off my chest, let you know a bit more about my life and myself and what I do because I always think there MUST be someone else out there who can relate to this or who’s lived a similar experience and maybe can benefit from reading this. If you do please let me know!

So…let’s get to the best part of this blog post!

Can you believe I've never made a pumpkin pie before?🙈 Even after 5 years of living in Canada, to be honest I probably only tried a bite once.

Well I guess only now that I don’t live overseas anymore it was time to try it. Life is funny and weird right?
I guess i got intimidated by the fact that it might be hard to make it gluten and dairy free but it actually turned out to be one of the easiest pies I've ever made.
My version is with buckwheat flour, homemade margarine (with cacao butter) and almond milk instead of cream. Well it doesn't look like your traditional pumpkin pie but it tastes DIVINE. It can be made with other gluten free flours of course, like quinoa flour.

If you try this version let me know!

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INGREDIENTS

For the pie crust:

200 g buckwheat flour

5 g psyllium husk

1 egg yolk

1 whole egg

100 g vegan margarine

20 ml water

For the filling:

500 pumpkin puree

3 eggs

60 ml maple syrup

1 tbsp ground cloves

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 pinch of salt

METHOD

Make the dough:

In a large bowl mix the flour with psyllium husk. Add the egg yolk and the whole egg and mix.

Add the vegan margarine, mix and lastly add the vegan margarine.

Mix all the ingredients with your hands, once the dough comes together turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pack it into a ball. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 20 minutes.

Make the filling:

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and 1 pinch of salt until well combined. Add the eggs and the maple syrup, mix well and set aside.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out to about 12-inches in diameter onto a piece of parchment paper. Lightly flour the dough if necessary.

Next, carefully transfer the dough, with the parchment paper, to a 9-inch pie plate (mine wasn’t too deep), gently fit it into the pie plate and trim any excess dough.

Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the pie crust. Bake the pie at 180C/350F for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is almost set (it should be a little wobbly). Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack for 2-3 hours to cool completely. Cover tightly and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

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Quinoa and tuna bites, gluten & dairy free

Quinoa and tuna bites, gluten & dairy free

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Finally feeling inspired to cook new recipes, photograph and share them!

Spring is in full bloom here in Ottawa and i’m excited to refresh my style a little bit, shoot brighter sceneries and just enjoy being outside a bit more.

In about 2 weeks and a half I will be moving back to Italy, unfortunately the immigration process didn’t go as we planned so we have to go back for now. Our file is still open tho so there’s a chance we come back to Canada next year.

But for now I’m just over the moon excited to go back home, leave a job that’s not what I want to do, see my friends and family, indulge in all the goodness Italy’s has to offer. And mostly, create content that’s true to me and go all in on what’s my “side project” right now D&A - Videoricette per i gruppi sanguigni

Am I sad to leave? Well, not necessarily sad but a bit nostalgic maybe yes. Because I’ve met a lot of great people here and moving to Canada almost 5 years ago opened my eyes and doors to so many things. I wouldn’t have started an online business if I didn’t move here in the first place and i wouldn’t be posting this right now either.

Well, enough ranting :) Today i am posting this recipe, quinoa and tuna bites gluten and dairy free as usual. I don’t eat a lot of quinoa in general, i use mostly quinoa flour. But when I do I like to get creative and make something that both tastes and looks good!

I suppose you can substitute quinoa with rice or other grains in this recipe, i haven’t tried yet so let me know if you’ll try it!

My next blog post will probably be in Italy, I will have a lot to talk about for sure so stay tuned for that!

Hugs! :)

Diana

INGREDIENTS

300 g quinoa

200 g grated carrots

1 garlic clove

1 onion finely chopped

80 g green olives chopped

200 g tuna

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp fresh thyme

salt, black pepper, paprika to taste

200 g gluten free bread crumbs

METHOD

Pre heat oven to 355F/180C.

Cook the quinoa:

Set a pot of water to boil. Follow a two-to-one water-to-quinoa ratio. That means for 300 g of quinoa you’ll need to use 600 ml water.

Rinse the quinoa under cold water and add it to the boiling water. Let it simmer in a covered pot for 10 to 12 minutes.

Once the quinoa is cooked, turn off the burner and let it sit in the covered pot for an additional 5 minutes. This ensures all the water gets absorbed and leaves your quinoa light and fluffy.

Cook the vegetables:

Heat about 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until shimmery.

Add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are slightly translucent but still opaque. Set aside.

Assemble the bites:

In a large bowl add the quinoa and lightly blend it with and immersion blender. This will make the quinoa stickier and easier to form the bites.

Add the rest of the ingredients: olives, tuna, oil, fresh thyme, salt, pepper and paprika. Mix together with your hands.

Once mixed thoroughly, begin forming balls tightly in your hands with the quinoa mixture, around the size of a tablespoon for each. Set them aside.

Dip the bites gently in vegetable oil or you can spray them (this helps them get crispy) them coat them with breadcrumbs.

Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes i put the oven on broil for an additional 7 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Serve with your favourite sauce!

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Dairy free white chocolate spread

Ever since I stopped eating dairy products I kept craving white chocolate. I didn’t know I could make it myself until I found out about cocoa butter. This is an amazing ingredient and it’s basically the main ingredient in regular chocolate, it’s what makes chocolate taste the way it does. Cocoa butter is basically made from cocoa beans, so it’s a natural butter, no additives or other weird ingredients.

My goal was to make actual white chocolate, but I kinda wanted something a could dip fruit in or spread on crepes.

And actually I did fail a bit when I was making it because for some strange reason I decided to add a couple tbsp of almond milk and that ruined my almond butter, it stopped the almonds to release their oil basically so my butter turned out really thick.. I manage to fix it in the end by diluting the butter with a bit of vegetable oil and at this point I had to add more almond milk to make it smoother.

Well, at least the taste was amazing and unexpected. Pair this spread with strawberries or raspberries and you’ll see what I mean!

Enjoy!

Diana

INGREDIENTS

200 g white almond butter

60 g cocoa butter

1/2 cup honey or more if you want it sweeter

2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

Start by melting the cocoa butter. I melted it in the microwave. When the cocoa butter is melted add it in a blender with the almond butter, vanilla extract and honey. Blend everything together until you obtain a smooth texture.

Your white chocolate spread is ready, you can store it in a jar, not in the fridge though because it will harden too much.

  • If you can’t find white almond butter, most stores sell only the regular brownish one, you can make it yourself. Add about 250 g blanched almonds in a high speed blender , make sure their brown skin has been peeled (you can use slivered almonds too) and blend them until the almonds release their oil and transform into a thick butter texture. If you need a little help you can had a couple of vegetable oil, it will speed up the process. Just keep in mind that yoy’ll have to blend them for about 10-15 minutes.

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Gluten and dairy free chickpea mini quiche recipe + a bit of story about me

As some of you know me and my boyfriend Alessio run an Italian food blog, Alessio is Italian, I’m Romanian but I grew up in Italy from age 15 until 24 (now 29). Italy is and will always be my home, it’s where my best memories happened and it’s the country that changed my life when I moved there from Romania.

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We moved to Canada tho about 4 years ago because unfortunately things are not that pretty in Italy, the economy is not the best there right now, if you live there you know what I mean.

So long story short, me and Alessio have an online business together, we make weekly video recipes and we also host a live cooking show every Sunday on our Facebook page. 

It’s not just a simple food blog, we basically make video recipes for people who follow the blood type diet. I’m not gonna explain here what kind of diet it is (it’s more a lifestyle than diet) but you can check here for more details.

We both have followed this type of diet/lifestyle since 2012 with positive results on our body and overall health. About 2 years ago we decided we wanted to create something that could help people who follow this diet, which is not so popular, it has a very small niche in Italy thanks to Piero Mozzi who is an Italian doctor and it’s the one who basically introduced people to this way of eating. 

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The basics of the diet is eliminating wheat (so everything that contains gluten), dairy (so no milk and no cheese) and also pork. But that’s not it.. besides eliminating all this every blood type is compatible with certain foods, for example blood type 0 can eat red meat while blood type A cannot. And it’s also important to pay attention on what foods you eat on the same plate, like for example foods with a lot of starch (potatoes, rice and so on) don’t go very well with sugars, fruit, legumes (beans), because this combination creates bloating, flatulence and more digestive problems in the long term.

Again, there’s more to it and mine is just a “bad” summary. For all the details and the why read more here.

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When we first started in 2012 it was hard for us to figure out what to eat, we didn’t really know how to switch to a gluten and dairy free diet, what kind of recipes we could make and so on. The main reason we started this diet was to get rid of fatigue, bloating, occasional heartburn, hair loss (me). Crohn’s disease and psoriasis (Alessio, my boyfriend). And we did get rid of these problems.

Occasionally, now, I still have my cheat days when I really crave something and I can definitely tell that my body notices the difference when I eat something i shouldn’t. Especially my hair, I’ve suffered from hair loss since I was little. It’s gotten better but i know when I eat bad foods, especially sugar, wheat, dairy, my hair doesn’t like it.

So in about 2 years we’ve built this community around the blood type diet. There’s a science behind cooking without gluten and dairy. I’ve written 2 cookbooks with easy recipes, mostly Italian but totally re adapted and every week I try to come up with new ideas, some borrowed from the Italian culture and some developed by me.

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Funny thing is I began taking food pictures when we started this video recipes project in 2016 because someone had to take the pictures for our Facebook page. I was always interested in photography in general like fine art photography, portraits but I never thought I would develop this passion into an actual project.

In case you are wondering what else I do in life, I do have a full time job in a grocery store besides my food photography side project and the video recipes in Italian.

I am also a singer and songwriter, I used to be a trance vocalist, sang in rock bands as well (yes I’m also a metal lover at heart) although I kind of abandoned singing because there’s only that much I can do in a day, maybe one day I will return because that used to be my main passion and the most fulfilling one.

So I just wanted to briefly talk a bit about myself and what I do because I don’t usually do it, I tend to be a little shy and keep everything to myself. I hope you enjoyed knowing more about me!

I’m also sharing a recipe for these gluten and dairy free Chickpea Mini Quiche that I think they’re a delicious appetizer for pretty much any occasion.

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GLUTEN & DAIRY FREE CHICKPEA MINI QUICHE

Ingredients for the dough:

340 g chickpea flour

120 g water

50 g olive oil

1 pinch Salt 

 

For the filling:

4 uova

15 g fresh spinach chopped

1 small onion

140 g almond or soy milk

Fresh basil

Salt 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven at 350.

Grease a 12-hole, round-based muffin tin.

Finely chop the onions and cook them in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are caramel coloured. Set aside.

Make the dough:

In a bowl combine the chickpea flour , water, oil and salt. 

Stir well then knead dough until smooth, adding more flour if dough is very sticky.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each half (don’t roll it too thin, at about 5 mm thickness) on a parchment paper sheet.

Using a 10cm-round cutter, cut 12 rounds from dough.

Press the rounds into a greased muffin tin. Use a fork to poke holes in each round. This will prevent the dough from rising in the oven.

Bake the rounds for about 9 minutes.

Make the filling:

Whisk eggs, almond or soy milk, cooked onions, chopped spinach and salt. Pour mixture into the rounds. Bake again for about 15-20 minutes or until golden and set. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.


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