Fruity Almond Pulp Bars

 

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If you’re a fan of almond milk or any nut milk, I suggest you consider making your own (if you don’t already) for two reasons. One, its cheaper than buying from the supermarket and two (more importantly) home-made almond milk won’t contain additives such as Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum and Sunflower Lecithin that the shop bought varieties do. Although there seems to be some controversy about whether such additives are harmful for the body or not, personally I would rather play it safe and stick to making my own, besides, it’s so damn easy.

So if you haven’t before, try it!  You will find dozens of videos and recipes on the net or click on this link to get a heads up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeZCMNB2YO0

Right, so after you have made your amazing almond milk (it wasn’t hard was it?)  you will find that you are left with some almond pulp. Don’t throw this away because here is an easy peazy recipe for Fruity Almond Pulp Bars.  Speedy, hassle free to make and these vegan bars are baked without a trace of refined sugar.

I’ve been eating these little darlings for my breakfast…rather a lot!  They’re soft, naturally sweet, elegantly modest mouthfuls of fruitiness.  I really hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

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Ingredients:

  • 8oz Almond pulp
  • 6oz Oat flour (make your own my blitzing up organic porridge oats)
  • 2oz Dried apricots
  • 2oz Sultanas
  • 4 Dried figs chopped
  • 100ml Maple syrup
  • 200ml Melted coconut oil

 

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4 and line an 8 inch cake tin with parchment paper.
  2. Place the almond pulp, oat flour and dried fruit into a bowl and combine.
  3. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup and mix together.
  4. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin before removing and cutting into slices.

Sugar Free Vegan Mini Easter Eggs

On a recent shopping trip I came across some cute little Easter Egg moulds which gave me the idea of making healthier Easter Eggs that aren’t full of sugar, artificial sweeteners and E numbers.  I also thought this would be great for anyone on a dairy-free diet, as it’s cheaper than buying super market dairy-free versions (that still contain a lot of sugar).

I had so much fun making these little Eggs.  If you have kids, trust me they will love getting amongst the action too, although this runs the risk of chocolate finger prints all over the house – you’ve been warned!

The coolest thing about making your own, is that you can create a variety of different flavoured eggs using the same batch of chocolate mix.  I made Plain Chocolate Eggs, Bee Pollen Chocolate Eggs, Coconut filled Chocolate Eggs and White Chocolate Eggs.

The possibilities are endless, for example you could add peppermint or orange extract to either the coconut or chocolate mix. You could use goji berries or nuts instead of Bee Pollen or have one side of the egg white and the other plain…

You will get between 100 to 120 mini Eggs with this recipe. Once made place in little baskets, mini felt bags or in my case these adorable little pink rabbits. You will have some lovely little Easter treats that aren’t all that bad for you.

 

Sugar Free Vegan Mini Easter Eggs

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Ingredients:

Chocolate Mix:

  • 150g Cocoa Butter
  • 3 0z Cocoa Powder
  • 1-2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 6 Tbsp Maple Syrup

White Chocolate Mix:

  • 150g Cocoa Butter
  • 1-2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 6 Tbsp Maple Syrup

Coconut Mix:

  • 6 Tbsp Coconut Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

Directions:

Plain Chocolate Eggs:

  1. Melt the cocoa butter on a double boiler and remove from the heat.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (depending on your taste) and 6 tablespoons of maple syrup stirring until combined.
  3. Leave to cool for a few minutes before pouring the mixture into the egg moulds. Remember to reserve some of the chocolate mix for sticking the two egg halves together or if you wish to make different flavoured eggs.
  4. Place the moulds in the fridge until cooled and set (I left mine for an hour).
  5. Once set carefully remove the eggs from the moulds and set aside.
  6. You will need to reheat the remaining chocolate mix as it would have set hard. (Do this with the double boiler again)
  7. Spoon a small amount of chocolate mix onto the flat side of one egg, then carefully  stick the other half on top.
  8. Place back in the fridge for another hour to set, and that’s it…enjoy x

White Chocolate Eggs:

  1. Melt the cocoa butter on a double boiler, then remove from the heat.
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (depending on your taste) and 6 tablespoons of maple syrup, stir until combined.
  3. Leave to cool for a few minutes before pouring the mixture into the egg moulds. Remember to reserve some white chocolate mix for sticking the two egg halves together.
  4. Repeat as above.

Coconut Mix:

  1. Place the coconut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup in saucepan and slowly melt over a low heat.
  2. Leave to cool for a few minutes before pouring the mixture into the egg moulds.

 

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Happy Easter X

 

 


Mothers Day, Earl Grey Cake with Lemon Frosting

The smell of Earl Grey tea reminds me of my Mama, as far back as I can remember it has always been her choice of a tea blend. With this in mind, I thought what better than to bake her an Earl Grey Cake for Mothers day, finished with a light layer of fresh lemon frosting to perfectly compliment the delicate bergamot flavour of the tea. Try adding lavender or rose petals for a touch of femininity.

This is a delightful soft cake, that is vegan and wheat free.

Fingers crossed a slice will be saved for her number one daughter!?

 

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Ingredients:

  • 10 oz  Self-Raising Wheat Free Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 oz organic Coconut Oil, Melted
  • 8 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 3 Earl Grey Tea Bags
  • 8oz of mixed fruit
  • 8ml/220ml of Boiled Water
  • 2 Tbsp of icing sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 Unwaxed Organic Lemon
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 1lb loaf tin.
  2. Pour 8fl oz/220ml of boiled water into a jug with 3 Earl Grey tea bags and the mixed  fruit. Leave to cool.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and zest (reserving some if you wish to garnish the cake) into a mixing bowl and combine.
  4. Once the tea has cooled remove the tea bags from the jug and add the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  5. Combined the wet mix (tea mix) with the flour and baking powder and pour into a prepared loaf tin.
  6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the centre springs back when lightly touched. Leave to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.
  7. Meanwhile place the icing sugar into a small bowl or a cup and slowly add the lemon juice. You will only need a bout 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice.
  8. Once the cake has completely cooled, spread over the lemon frosting and garnish with the reserved lemon zest.
  9. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea and a smile.

Vegan Pistachio, Fig and Nutmeg Cake

This is a lovely tasty simple cake to bake.

I have experimented with both fresh and ground nutmeg and both work well but if you really want that aromatic flavour I would suggest using fresh nutmeg.

Unfortunately my photographs do not do this cake justice as the pistachios really give it a vibrant burst of bright green.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 5oz (¾ Cups) Unsalted Chopped Pistachio Nuts
  • 4oz (1 Cup) Wheat-Free Self-Raising Flour Blend
  • 3oz (5/8 Cups) Ground Almonds
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 5oz (1 Cup) Chopped Dried Figs
  • 150ml (2/3 Cups) Apple Juice
  • 120ml (½ Cups) Melted Coconut or Sunflower Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 5 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 180c/ Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tin with grease proof paper (I used an 8 inch tin).
  2. Place the figs in a pan with the apple juice, cover and gently simmer for 5 minutes until soft, then leave to cool.
  3. Place the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and grated nutmeg into a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and fig mixture.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and place into the prepared cake tin.
  6. Sprinkle with the pistachios and bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin .
  8. Serve with a nice cup of tea. X

 

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Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

Like many, I overindulged this Christmas.  I just couldn’t resist all the wicked desserts and mulled wine!

So I am starting 2016 off with plenty of good food choices but I still have cravings for cakes and biscuits!

To help with this small inconvenience,  I’ve made some delicious sugar free, vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies.

I keep them in the freezer, that way when I have the urge to bury my face in a bowl of chocolate all I have to do is open the freezer door and bingo, I will be saved from sin!

I adore these little cookie bites, so simple but deliciously mouth watering.

If you too have made resolutions to eat better this year, I hope these beauties will help you stick to your goals !

We can do this!

Happy 2016 Beautiful People x

Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

Makes 9

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Ingredients:

  • 8oz / ¼ cup of Almonds
  • Half a jar of 100% Peanut Butter (I used Merdian)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Raw Organic Coconut Oil

Chocolate Topping:

  • 2oz/ ¼ cup of Raw Organic Coconut Oil, melted
  • 5 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup or Honey.

 

Directions:

  1. Soak Almonds for a couple of hours or preferably overnight in water. Drain and place into a blender  with 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil and whizz until combined.
  2. Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into a ball then flatten. Place on greaseproof paper and repeat until all the mixture has been used, it will make approximately 9 cookies.
  3. Spoon Peanut Butter on top of the cookies and place in the freezer for at least an hour.
  4. Melt the Coconut Oil in a saucepan on low. Remove from the heat, add the Cocoa Powder and Maple Syrup or Honey.  Leave to cool for a couple of minutes (Don’t leave too long or the chocolate will harden.)
  5. Remove the cookies from the freezer and spoon over the chocolate mixture. Place back in the freezer for another hour.
  6. They can then be left in the freezer and taken out as needed or kept in the fridge.

 

 


Vegan Chocolate Orange and Cranberry Ice Cream Log

I don’t know about you, but for me this time of year always seems hectic. I’m the person rushing around on Christmas Eve in a flap because yet again I am not organised and ultimately Christmas Day could be ruined because of it.

If you’re anything like me, then I think you’ll appreciate this recipe because you can make it in advance. On the day all you will have to do is add fresh fruit and Ho Ho Ho you’ll have an eye-catching centrepiece dessert that will convince your family that you are in fact a domestic goddess!!!

It’s vegan, refined sugar free and totally delicious. You can adapt this recipe using berries of your choice instead of cranberries. Or leave out the orange if you prefer the chocolate to be plain.

 

Vegan Chocolate Orange and Cranberry Ice Cream Log

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ Oranges
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 340g (1 ½ cups) Cashews
  • 240ml (1 cup) of Soya Milk
  • 9 Tablespoons Maple syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 227g (1 cup) Almonds
  • 170g (¾ cup) Dates
  • 200g fresh or frozen Cranberries
  • 57g  (¼ cup) Coconut oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Line a small bread/loaf tin with cling film and set aside.
  2. Place the cranberries into a saucepan with 5 tablespoons of maple syrup, add a little water and gently simmer for 8-10 minutes. Continue to add more water if needed until you have a sauce like consistently. Then leave to cool.
  3. Mean while add the cashews and soya milk to a blender and whizz until nearly smooth.
  4. Halve the cashew mixture and place into separate bowls.
  5. Layer one: Add the orange zest and juice of 1 orange along with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to one of the cashew mixtures and combine. Pour into the prepared tin and place in the freezer until firm (approximately 30 mins).
  6. Layer Two: Add half the cooled cranberries to the remaining cashew mix and combine. Pour on top of the orange cashew mixture and place back in the freezer for another 30 minutes.
  7. Layer Three: In a blender whizz the remaining cranberries with a teaspoon of vanilla essence and pour over the cashew mixture, place back in the freezer.
  8. Base Layer: In a blender whizz together the almonds and dates. Press onto the cashew ice cream mixture and place back in the freezer. Leave to set for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  9. Chocolate Topping: Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan remove from heat, add the cocoa powder, 2 tablespoon of maple syrup and juice from half an orange, combine and allow to cool slightly.
  10. Remove the ice cream log from its tin by turning upside down (so the date base is on the bottom) onto a plate. Pour over the chocolate topping and place back in the freezer.
  11. Garnish with fruit when ready to serve and Merry Christmas!

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Vegan Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake Cups

At the weekend it was my Step Fathers birthday, aka The Fat Italian.

He gained the nickname from his slightly obsessive relationship with food and has even been known to get hostile at the threat of somebody eating the last piece of rocky road (I still have a bald patch where my hair never grew back). The fat Italian is actually half Italian – so you can see what we did with the name there!

My mother made a gigantic lunch for his birthday and true to family tradition at least 3 different desserts where on offer, one of which was my Vegan Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake Cups. Certain members of my family (who aren’t vegetarian or vegan) don’t understand the concept of sugar free desserts, with my younger brothers being my biggest critics. I watched contently as the pair of them greedily devoured my sugarless creamy vegan cups. The centre of these desserts were so incredibly moreish I promise you, you wouldn’t have realised you were eating tofu. The sweet nutty biscuit like base along with the rich chocolate topping and the fresh strawberries were enough to convince my brothers. I felt a point was made, that it’s not always necessary to add a tonne of refined sugar to enjoy your dessert.

Vegan Strawberry and Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

Makes 6 Cups

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Ingredients:

  • 4oz (½ Cup) Dates
  • 7oz (¾ Cup) Whole Almonds
  • Half a Vanilla Pod
  • 698g Firm Tofu  (I used 2 boxes a Silken Tofu)
  • 5 Tablespoons Honey (or Maple Syrup if vegan)
  • 2oz (¼ Cup) Cocoa Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
  • Punnet of Strawberries

Directions:

  1. Place the tofu in a colander to drain off any excess liquid.
  2. To make the base, chop the almonds and dates and place into a blender. (If you’re using a high-speed blender there is no need to chop before adding.) Blitz for a few seconds with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. Spoon the base into 6 glasses and place in the fridge to chill.
  3. With a sharp knife cut along the edge of the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Place into the clean blender along with the tofu and honey and blitz to a creamy texture.
  4. Take the glasses out of the fridge and arrange strawberries on the base reserving a few for decoration. Pour over the tofu mix and return to the fridge.
  5. Put the cocoa butter in a heat proof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Once the cocoa butter has melted add 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder, the maple syrup and mix well.
  6. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly before pouring over the prepared cups,  place a strawberry on top.
  7. Do not return to the fridge until the chocolate has completely set otherwise the chocolate could bloom. (the chocolate takes on a whitish coating that arises from changes in the fat in this case suddenly going from hot to cold)

 

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Wholesome Vegan Breakfast Bakes

Cake for breakfast. Sounds a bit weird doesn’t it…

but these tasty bakes are free from wheat, contain no animal fats/vegan, completely sugar free and are packed with vegetables (yes, vegetables) that are high in Vitamin A and C.  If that’s not a good enough excuse to eat cake for breakfast, then I don’t know what is!

These little morsels are handy if you need to eat on the go, or serve with a handful of fresh fruit and a nice cuppa for a comforting and wholesome way to start the day.

 

Wholesome Vegan Breakfast Bakes

Makes 8

 

Ingredients:

  • 8oz (1 cup) of grated Carrot
  • 8oz (1 cup) of grated Courgette
  • 8oz (1 cup) of grated Apple
  • 12oz (1½ cup) Wheat-free Self-Raising flour
  • 4oz (½ cup) Oat Bran or Oats*
  • 4oz (½ cup) Raisins
  • 8oz (1 cup) Maple Syrup or Date syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 4oz (½ cup) melted Coconut Oil
  • 2oz (¼ cup) Soya milk or water
  • Pecans to garnish

* Note: Pure oats and oat bran do not contain gluten, however many companies will state that there is a risk of contamination with wheat. If making for someone with Celiac’s Disease I would recommend using a trusted brand.

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 190c/Gas Mark 5. Arrange 8 cases onto a muffin tray with 12 cases.
  2. Grate the carrot, courgette and apple into a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and melted coconut oil and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl add the wheat free flour, oat bran (or oats), cinnamon, baking powder and raisins then mix.
  4. Fold the two mixtures together, adding the soya milk (or water) a little at a time. You want a sticky cake mix, if the mixture is too dry just add a little more soya milk.
  5. Spoon into the prepared cases.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, once cooked leave to cool for a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to avoid a soggy bottom.

Chai Latte – The Real Deal

Living in the depths of the South West & often only venturing as far as my daughters school, I was somewhat behind with the whole Chai Latte movement. Nevertheless I did eventually stumble across this fashionable Café trend. As I’m not a coffee drinker, I couldn’t help but feel a little smug at the thought of ordering a Latte. Sitting at my table and looking down into a mug of cinnamon dusted tea and slowly sipping my way to sophistication – I must say, I felt quite satisfied!

However as pleasurable as this experience was, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something unfinished about the Chai Latte. The taste had potential but it didn’t deliver the fragrant, spiced punch I envisaged. So once back home, I started playing around with spices and brewing up teas. I now have quite a few versions/recipes but I thought I would share this one with you first.

This does take a little time, but the combination of warming spices swirled in a soft cloud of creaminess and delicately sweetened is well worth it and far more aromatic than my first experience.

Chai Latte – The Real Deal

Serves Two

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • 10 Peppercorns
  • Generous grating of Nutmeg
  • 3 Cloves
  • 3 Teaspoons of Loose Black Tea*
  • 3-5 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
  • 200ml water
  • 400ml Soya milk (or milk of your choice)

*Note: I used a Breakfast Tea for this recipe as it’s strong and full-bodied and blends well with the milk. Assam would also be another good choice.

Directions:

  1. Crush the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar (if you don’t own one simply split the skin with your fingernail) then place in a saucepan along with the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, black tea and a generous grating of nutmeg.
  2. Pour the water over the spices and allow to simmer on a medium heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally. When it starts to bubble add the soya milk and continue to stir for 5 minutes until hot.
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like it add between 3-5 tablespoons – I have 5!
  4. Strain into a large jug and whisk with an electric milk frother. Pour into mugs or tea glasses for a really authentic look and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
  5. Kick off your shoes, sit back and enjoy x

 


Gluten, Sugar Free, Spiced Apple and Date Cake

I love Autumn it’s my favourite time of year. The change in colours, the shedding of leaves, the drop in temperature, bonfires, walks in Wellies and chunky knitted jumpers. Picking blackberries, stealing apples (only from my Dad’s orchard.. I promise!) and the harvesting of summer’s treasures.

There’s something magical about it, don’t you think?

With nights becoming noticeably earlier, I wanted to share with you a recipe that will prepare your taste buds for things to come – trust me this cake tastes like Autumn!

So put the kettle on, get cosy and chomp your way through this sugar free beauty.

 

Gluten & Sugar Free Spiced Apple & Date Cake.

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Ingredients:

  • 9oz Butter melted (or 1/2pint of Sunflower oil)
  • 8oz Date Syrup *
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 9oz Wheat-Free Self-raising flour
  • 1 Tbsp Mixed Spice
  • 2 Large Apples
  • Lemon juicer

*Note: If you can’t find date syrup, simply make your own by simmering a handful of dates with approx ½ pint of water for 5-10mins. Blend in a blender and leave to cool.

Directions:

  1. Heat Oven Gas 4/180c and line an 8inch cake tin.
  2. In a bowl mix the melted butter (or sunflower oil) date syrup and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the self-raising flour and mixed spice.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and gently fold in the eggs.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and set aside.
  6. Cut the apples in half, core and cut into thin slices (rub with a little lemon juice if starting to brown)
  7. Arrange apple slices on top of the cake mix and bake in the centre of the oven for 40-50mins. (If  apples start to burn before cake has cooked, place tin foil over the top)
  8. Once cooked, glaze with honey or a little date syrup while still warm, then leave to cool in tin.

Serve smothered with soya cream, yoghurt, ice cream or anything you wish. Enjoy x