Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blunders in the Kitchen

'You can't bake without breaking some eggs' is what H said to console me in my failed baking attempt this evening. It was one of those nights when a balance of things occurs; where one experiment succeeds & another one fails.

Earlier I'd decided that I was going to have a break from cooking today. I live with my boyfriend who works full time, & since I'm currently unemployed, I taken on the household duties as a way to even our work load. I make him lunch each day & cook us dinner, & also tackle the other chores around the house. Very much the traditional gender roles. Not something I plan to do long term, but it's fun to play it out for a while. Today I thought I would give myself a break; there's plenty of food in the fridge that's easy to gather when the hunger hits, so not having anything to eat wasn't a problem. After I got home from drum practice though, I felt the desire hit. Not so much to eat, but to create. So I decided to have another go at zucchini bread that I could this time consume.

My first & last batch contained flax seeds, an ingredient I recently tried to reintroduce into my diet, but discovered I still can't consume it. My stomach just really can't take flax. It continues to induce a massive cramping response in my stomach, & last time I baked this bread, I was on the couch in pain for hours.

So I made a new loaf, sans flax. All was going well at this point. The batter tasted fine, I'd made notes of the ingredients as I went along. It was looking pretty after I sprinkled some pumpkin seeds on top. As I placed the loaf into the oven, I considered remaking the Scandinavian thumbprint cookies for this month's SOS challenge, hosted by Ricki & Kim (the challenge ingredient being coconut oil, which I use in all my cooking, so I'm eager to put a recipe forward for the event). Even though my zucchini loaf contains coconut oil, the original recipe isn't vegan friendly (however it can be easily made so, & I've added these alterations to the recipe below), so I decided that while that was baking I would go on to my cookies. & this is where it all fell downhill.

Zucchini loaf looking pretty & ready for the oven

I had finally purchased some stevia the other day. It's white stevia, & I've never used it before. In Australia I could only find green stevia; this white stevia is 200-300 stronger than sugar, whereas green is 40-50 times stronger. So I placed 3 grams of it into my 130 gram flour mix thinking it would be enough. No, it was too much. Way too much. The taste of the stevia overwhelmed. Not wanting to waste any of my mix, I added more flour, more oil, more coconut milk. Just making a larger batch. I threw out my idea of making thumbprint cookies & just added some strawberries to the mix to give the batter more moisture & to absorb more of the flavour. This worked. I rolled the mix out & cut it up using some cookie cutters, then placed it into the oven after taking the loaf out.

I decided to turn the tray around after about 10 minutes of baking, so everything would bake evenly. I drew out the tray, & one cookie fell through the lower gap of the door. I placed the tray on the open door & grabbed some tongs, trying to retrieve the lost cookie. In a moment of thoughtlessness, I grabbed the door to close it, hoping the cookie would fall through. Forgetting I'd placed the tray of cookies on it. All but 5 fell through the gap, & down into the dirty shelf below. Oh man.

I placed the remaining cookies back into the oven, scalding myself for such a silly move, & gathered the lost cookies. What a waste. I hate waste. Hate it. It's something my mother instilled in me as a child. If you won't eat it now, save it for later. We always had leftovers in the fridge. 'Waste not, want not'. So I was a little disappointed when I had to throw away most of my batch.

To top it off, I've been experiencing die-off effects from all the coconut oil that I used in the cookie mix. As I am want to do while baking, I sample the batter as I go along to make sure that it all tastes right. In an attempt to keep them vegan, I only used coconut oil, no butter. Instead of milk, I used coconut milk. So there was a lot of coconut fat in the batter, which basically means a lot of coconut oil. Too much coconut oil. Coconut oil is used in healing Candida, as it's antibacterial & high in saturated fat, which has been proven to kill Candida overgrowth. But too much of a good thing is a bad thing. My gut isn't happy right now. But at least a lot of bacteria is getting killed off :P

So there you have it. Where one fails, one also succeeds. My bread came out great. H was happy with it. He was even satisfied with one of my failed cookies, saying that the stevia taste wasn't overpowering & it reminded him of licorice root, & that it tastes better than the liquid sweetener I've been using. So that's something. My first attempt with white stevia may not have come out as planned, but it's definitely been a lesson learned. Here's to a more successful attempt later.

But, enough wallowing. Here's my success of the evening: my version of zucchini bread. The taste came out great, it really reminded me of bread. The taste is simple, & therefore open to have any kind of topping added to it. It's moist & thick, & high in protein with good fats (yes, saturated fat is a good fat, despite what we may have been told over the years. A lot of research being conducted is finding its health benefits are much greater than the vegetable oils we've taken to consume, & is debunking former opinions of the detriments of saturated fat). I wanted to create something different from other people's versions of zucchini bread. I can't have dried fruit, & most nuts are out for me, & sometimes it's nice to have a simple bread. I've added some vegan alterations to the recipe, so everyone can give it a go. & I've decided that this will be my submission to this month's SOS challenge!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we are!

Zucchini Bread
1dl + 1 tablespoon (115g) coconut flour, sifted
1 tablespoon (15g) psyllium husk
1 tablespoon (15g) ground hazelnuts
1/4 large zucchini, grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 mls liquid sweetener/ 20g sugar / ½ml white stevia
25g butter, melted
15g coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
45 mls water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
pumpkin seeds

(For a vegan alternative, remove the eggs & double the amount of psyllium husk & liquids; replace milk with soy or coconut milk; replace butter with coconut oil)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
2. Sift coconut flour. Add psyllium husk, ground hazelnuts, cinnamon, bicarb, salt & nutmeg to the same bowl & mix well together.
3. Whisk eggs in a seperate bowl. Add the liquid sweetener (if using stevia, add to the dry mix), vinegar, milk & water & stir together.
4. Add the melted butter & coconut oil to the flour mixture & stir through. Add the rest of the wet ingredients & the grated zucchini, & mix well together. The batter should be sticky but it should hold together well.
5. Line bread tin with baking paper & place the batter in the tin. Top batter with the pumpkin seeds.
6. Bake at 180 degrees for 40-45 minutes.


  1. Hi Natalie,
    Thanks so much for submitting this and for participating in the SOS Kitchen Challenge. Sorry if it wasn't clear in my post, but we ask that all entries comply with the SOS Guidelines, posted here, and eggs and butter aren't included. If you'd like to include substitutions to replace the eggs and butter to make this vegan, please do, and then you can re-submit. Sorry for any inconvenience. :)

  2. Hi there! This recipe looks great, and I can relate with the trials and tribulations of success and failures in the kitchen. Thanks for submitting it to the SOS Kitchen Challenge. However, Ricki and I both state in our rules pages which are referenced in the challenge kick offs, it is a vegan recipe challenge (no eggs, dairy, or other animal products), and all recipes need to be vegan or provide reliable vegan recipe substitutions. In order to be fair, we need to remove your post from the Linky. If you update the recipe to fit within our rules, please add it again tot he Linky to be eligible for the giveaway. Thanks for understanding! Best-

  3. Looks Yummy!!
    Just read your list of no no foods.. and boy thats tough! I understand how hard it can be myself.. (though my list of avoid-ees is a bit shorter)
    I wanted to invite you to participate in a weekly event I host titled Seasonal Sundays! I created it to spotlight seasonal recipes each week :)
    xo, Brittany