Graduation!

A busy year studying has meant this blog has had to be put on hold. It has been a tough year but also very rewarding as now I have achieved a BSc in Nutrition and hope to put it to good use on this site!

Despite the rain it was such a lovely and special day with my Mum, Dad and Grandma and I couldn’t help but put up some photos!

 

 

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Ginger cake

After a busy few months there has been minimal time to experiment in my kitchen but I am happy to be sharing this recipe today!

This ginger cake was perfection the first time I made it. Spicy, molassey, cakey, moist and everything a ginger cake should be. I took my chocolate orange cake recipe as a base because it has the ideal texture. I made adjustments to it to come up with this ginger cake recipe.

This is a vegan, oil free, refined sugar free, almost fat free but not taste free recipe! If you love ginger cake flavours then you will love this recipe.

I hope you try this ginger cake and if you do please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Ingredients makes an 8 X 8 inch tin

125g spelt flour (1 cup)

66g oat flour (3/4 cup)

100g sugar of choice, I like coconut (1/2 cup)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp + 1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

90ml soya yoghurt (heaped 1/3 cup)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

180ml water or non-dairy milk (3/4 cup)

60g molasses (1/4 cup)

Method

Line an 8 X 8 dish with baking paper and preheat oven to 180 C.

Combine the flours, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.

Add the yoghurt, balsamic vinegar, water/non-dairy milk and molasses to a separate bowl and whisk until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and lightly whisk until well-combined.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes , until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool completely.

Ginger Cakes (1)

Fudgy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

After she had tasted one, I asked my mum to guess the ingredients in these cookies and it took her a while to guess the main ingredient but with a few obvious clues she finally guessed it. Clues included an alternative to butter, not low in fat, something you wouldn’t expect to be in a cookie and a fruit that she wouldn’t associate as a fruit! If you haven’t guessed it by now it is an avocado!

I had a lonely rather ripe avocado in the fridge that needed using before I moved out of my house at uni and as I had so many other fruits and vegetables to eat I thought I would try and bake with it to see what characteristics it gave. I came across this recipe for chocolate chip cookies using avocado and so I changed up the recipe a bit to come up with these mint chocolate chip cookies. The avocado gives a fudgy texture to theses cookies which I really like and definitely something I was hoping for.

I hope you try these cookies and if you do please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Ingredients makes 12 large cookies

200g oats (2 cups)

1 medium avocado (120g)

180g dates (1 cup)

60ml non-dairy milk (1/4 cup)

1 tsp peppermint extract (I might add more next time)

25g cacao/cocoa powder (1/4 cup)

1 tsp baking powder

40g sugar of choice, I like coconut sugar (1/4 cup)

60g dark chocolate chips (just under 1/2 cup)

 

Method

Heat the oven to 180 C and line a baking pan with baking paper.

Take the oats and blend into a flour, set aside.

Place the avocado, dates, non-dairy milk and peppermint extract into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Add the oat flour, cacao/cocoa powder, baking powder and sugar and process to form a sticky but not wet dough.

Pulse in the chocolate chips so there are visible chunks of chocolate in the dough.

Take handfuls of the cookie dough and roll into even sized balls. Place them on the prepared pan and flatten slightly, these cookies don’t rise or spread.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then flip them over and bake on the other side for a further 10 minutes.

Leave them to cool on a wire rack to firm up before enjoying.

Fudgy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Icing

I have somehow managed to get one of my housemates, Liz, on board the healthy baking train! I bought her a healthy baking book for her birthday and she was really excited to make something with me. A poppy seed cake caught her eye. Liz knows about my dietary choices and was asking how we could adapt the recipe so that I could have it too. The recipe asked for butter and eggs and yes I could have just used oil and flax eggs but me being me wanting to take it a bit further to make it oil free. I suggested using applesauce with the addition of some coconut butter because I didn’t want it to be too heavy. Well, all I can say is wow, just wow!

I don’t like using oil in baking because it is just pure fat which in my opinion is unnecessary. I don’t feel too bad about coconut butter because it is not just liquid fat but also contains the goodness of the coconut.

In Liz words: despite being low fat it is rich and moist with a soft texture. It is really tasty and has a slight crunch from the poppy seeds. The strong citrus icing offsets the sweetness of the cake which compliments it perfectly.

Well if that is not a compliment about a vegan cake from a non-vegan then I don’t know what is!

I hope you try this cake and if you do please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Ingredients makes an 8 X 8 inch tin

180g spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

60g poppy seeds

180g syrup of choice, I like sweet freedom

30g coconut butter

150g applesauce

2 flax eggs – 2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 4 tbsp water

Icing

1/2 cup cashews, soaked

Zest and juice of one lemon

1 1/2 tbsp syrup of choice, I like sweet freedom

Splash of dairy free milk to make it more spreadable, if needed

 

Method

Heat the oven to 180 C and line a pan with baking paper.

Make the flax egg by combining the ground flaxseed and the water and leave to thicken and gel.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl adding the flax egg to combine.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well but don’t over mix.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is cooking, make the icing by blending all of the ingredients together until a smooth and spreadable icing has been achieved.

Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool fully before icing the cake.

Poppy Seed Cake Sm

Carrot Cake

If someone was to ask me what me favourite cake was, carrot would be one of my top choices. I love everything about it: the moist texture, the spicy flavours, the crunchy nuts and of course a creamy frosting! Nearly every vegan recipe I know uses oil or a dairy free butter but these aren’t foods I choose to eat so I challenged myself to make a cake that met my dietary requirements. I was really happy with this cake and I managed to keep it sugar free too only sweetening it with dates.

I hope you try this carrot cake and if you do please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Ingredients make an 8″ sandwiched cake

210g spelt flour (1 1/2 cups)

132g oat flour (1 1/2 cups)

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground ginger

180ml water (3/4 cup)

360ml non-dairy milk (1 1/2 cups)

200g dates (1 heaped cup)

50g chopped walnuts plus a handful of walnut halves for decorating, optional (1/3 cup)

1 large carrot, grated (approx. 150g)

Frosting

1 can coconut milk, refrigerated overnight or frozen for at least an hour.

2 tbsp syrup of choice, I like sweet freedom (or more to taste)

Method

Heat the oven to 180 C and line two 8 inch sandwich tins with baking paper.

Blend together the dates and water until a smooth paste is formed.

In a large bowl mix together the first seven ingredients. Add in the date paste and non-dairy milk, mixing lightly to combine.

Fold in the grated carrots and chopped walnuts, if using.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for approx. 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Carefully remove the cake from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the frosting by removing the coconut milk from the fridge or freezer. Turn it upside down and open the can so that the water can be drained and the cream can be used.

Scoop only the coconut cream into a bowl and whisk with an electric whisk for a minute or two. Pour in the syrup while mixing until a smooth spreadable frosting has been achieved. Taste and add more syrup to taste but not too much otherwise it will be too runny to spread on the cake!

Once the cakes have cooled, spread an equal amount of the frosting on two sides of the cake (middle and top).

Decorate with walnuts halves if desired.

Store the cake in the fridge and enjoy.

2015-04-06 10.14.29

Chocolate Babka

Babka – not a very well known recipe but it is something I have made at this time of year for the past two years as it is traditionally baked for Easter Sunday. So, what is a babka? Well, it is a brioche type twisted bread filled with cinnamon, sugar and chocolate.

It is not overly sweet but that is kind of a good thing as it makes a perfect breakfast. I love it thickly sliced and then toasted under the grill so the chocolate is warm and melty!

Traditionally this bread is made with butter, sugar and eggs but that is not how I bake so I was definitely in for a challenge with this one. I used this recipe as a guide but did some tweaking so that it suits my preferences of being vegan and oil free. It does contain a reasonable amount of fat but that is entirely down to the chocolate. No other fat needed here!

My mum and I really love this bread and you wouldn’t even know it was vegan!

I hope you try this babka and if you do please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Ingredients makes a 2lb loaf tin

180ml non-dairy milk (3/4 cup)

1 tbsp sugar of choice, I like coconut sugar

7g sachet of dried yeast

25g ground flaxseed (1/3 cup)

80ml warm water (1/3 cup)

460g spelt flour (3 3/4 cups approx.)

1/4 tsp salt

50g sugar of choice, I like coconut sugar (1/3 cup)

90g applesauce (6 tbsp)

100g dairy free dark chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 tsp gound cinnamon

25g sugar of choice, I like coconut sugar (1/6 cup)

Method

Warm the non-dairy milk with the 1 tbsp sugar in a saucepan until approx. body temperature has been reached. Sprinkle the yeast on top, stirring just slightly. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes, or until frothy.

In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseed and hot water, whisking until combined to make a flax egg.

Combine the flour, salt and 50g of sugar in a large bowl until well mixed. Add the applesauce, flax egg and non-dairy milk yeast mixture and mix until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. If mixture sticks to your hands, add flour in small increments until this is no longer the case.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until elastic, about 6-10 minutes. Place back in the bowl and cover. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a 2 lb loaf tin and set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with flour. Punch down the dough and knead for 3-5 minutes. Return to the bowl, cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes more.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 25g of sugar, chocolate and cinnamon. Set aside.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a large 16-18” rectangle about ¼” thick. Brush the edges of the dough with water. Spread all but 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture evenly on the dough, leaving a ½” margin on all sides.

Place the rectangle so that the long side is in front of you and the short sides are on your left and right. Starting at the side nearest you, roll the dough tightly until reaching the other side. Pinch the ends in to seal. Using both hands, twist the dough several full times, like a rope. Fold the dough into a horseshoe shape, twisting the ends over itself so that it resembles a figure-8. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate mixture. Place in the prepared loaf pan and left rise for 20 minutes more.

Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.

Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature but I prefer it toasted!

2015-04-04 09.11.49

Hot Cross Buns

Mmm hot cross buns! I only make them once a year and they are always such a treat. I have made this recipe from the Vegan Village for the past two years but this year I wanted to create myself a challenge of making hot cross buns that are oil and refined-sugar free because that is my type of baking! I also used sultans in this recipe instead of mixed peel as my mum and I are not a fan of it but feel free to use peel if you would prefer.

I have only just considered actually making these at any time of the year because they are just like tea cakes with a cross on them. I might also try putting the dough into a loaf tin and making a fruit bread.

These went down so well with my parents and when they like it, it really is a recipe success!

I hope you try these buns and if you do please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Ingredients makes 12 buns

500g spelt flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

14g dried yeast

50g sugar of choice, I like coconut sugar

Zest of one lemon

175g raisins

175g sultanas

75g applesauce (room temperature or slightly warmed)

250ml dairy-free milk (slightly warmed)

Crosses

75g spelt flour

5 tbsp water

Glaze

3 tbsp sugar free apricot jam

Method

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and then add the applesauce and dairy free milk. Mix well to make a dough.

Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for up to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and give 4 or 5 kneads to knock out most of the air. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape them into balls. Place on a lined baking tray and flatten slightly. Cover again and leave for 45 minutes.

Mix the cross ingredients together to form a thick paste that will pipe. Pipe the crosses onto the buns.

Bake for 20 minutes in a moderately warm oven (approx 160 C) until golden.

As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them generously with the sugar free jam and leave to cool.

Best served toasted!Hot X Buns

Chocolate Orange Cake

I had a few oranges laying around and I wanted to make something chocolaty. The two flavours are a perfect combination, so cake it had to be!

The inspiration for this recipe came from Susan’s Chocolate Orange Cake and I played around with the ingredients to make something quite special. I was amazed at the texture, so spongy and moist you wouldn’t know it was vegan and nearly fat free!

077 Cropped

I first made this cake last week and had planned to share it then but I hadn’t quite achieved the right texture on the icing. It is so easy to add too much orange juice then the icing is too runny for the cake. This happened the first time I made it and the result was more of a drizzle cake (definitely not a bad thing, just not what I was trying to achieve).

This cake was demolished (all by myself) within four days! I saved my last orange to make it again and I am so happy with the results. I can see I am going to have a lot of fun with this recipe as a base to make lots of different cakes. I’m thinking lemon drizzle, Victoria Sandwich, coffee, carrot etc. It isn’t overly sweet but in my opinion the icing makes up for it, however feel free to add more sugar to taste.

I hope you try this cake and if you do please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Ingredients make an 8 X 8 inch tray

105g spelt flour (3/4 cup)

66g oat flour (3/4 cup)

100g sugar of choice, I like coconut sugar (1/2 cup)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

20g cacao/cocoa power (1/4 cup)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

90ml soy yoghurt (heaped 1/3 cup)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

180ml water or non-dairy milk (3/4 cup)

60ml fresh orange juice (1/4 cup)

Zest of one orange

Chocolate Icing

2 tbsp powdered sugar of choice

1/2 tbsp cacao/cocoa

1 tsp orange juice

Orange Icing

2 tbsp powdered sugar of choice

1/2 tsp orange juice

Method

Line an 8 X 8 dish with baking paper and preheat oven to 180 C.

Combine the flours, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cacao/cocoa, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.

Add the yogurt, vanilla, balsamic vinegar, water, and orange juice to a separate bowl and whisk until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and lightly whisk until well-combined.

Stir in the orange zest and pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes , until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool completely.

When the cake is cool, make the icings by mixing the ingredients for each icing in separate bowls.

One half teaspoon at a time, stir in enough extra orange juice to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle the orange icing over the cake, wait a few minutes for it to set, and then drizzle over the chocolate icing.

Cut into desired sized pieces and store leftovers in the fridge.

073

Homemade Granola

I love granola, especially with big crunchy clusters, perfect for snacking! I also love the crumbly granola, perfect for sprinkling! I’m thinking yoghurt, smoothies, banana ice cream and the list goes on. Add more oats to make it a more crumbly and less clustery granola.

Unlike granola you buy in supermarkets, this is oil free with no refined sugars. Apart from the almond butter I have kept this nut free as number one I didn’t have any and number two you can easily achieve the nutty texture with the help of buckwheat groats and grape nuts but other nuts can definitely be used if preferred.

This granola isn’t overly sweet so feel free to add sugar or more syrup to taste.

It is seriously crunchy and remains crunchy even after it has been drowned in my favourite oat milk! This is a keeper!

I hope you try this granola and if you do please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Ingredients makes one jars worth

40g nut butter, I love peanut (2 heaped tbsp)

4 tbsp non-dairy milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp sweetener of choice, I like sweet freedom

1 large very ripe banana (150g)

250g oats (2.5 cups)

50g buckwheat (1/4 cup)

35g grape nuts (1/4 cup, or chopped nuts of choice)

50g raisins, optional (1/2 cup)

1 tsp cinnamon, optional

Method

Heat the oven to a low temperature of 150 C.

Add nut butter to a saucepan and heat until softened slightly. Add the milk and vanilla extract to make a paste.

Mash the banana into the paste until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan (expect raisins, if using) and mix well.

Spread evenly onto a lined baking tray keeping some lumps to make clusters.

Bake for 15 minutes and give it a good stir. Place back in the oven and keep checking until desired crispiness has been reached. Mine took 50 minutes. Then turn the oven off and leave the granola in the oven to crisp up even more.

If using, add the raisins either 10 minutes before the end of cooking or mix through once fully cooked.IMG_20150308_153612