Baked Spiced Apples with Date Sauce

“Blankets of fog hug the frosty morning.  My hands are buried deep into my coat pockets and inhales of cold crisp air rejuvenate my lungs.

I observe beautiful Devon, as she turns into her magical fairy-tale land, full of wisdom. She whispers her secrets, to those who choose to listen.”

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After a busy summer, I’m back in my kitchen baking.  The house is filled with the smell of baked apples, spices and sweet things.  It’s been over a year since I posted a recipe and today I actually managed to take some photos and find the time to share it.

My antiquated iPhone and my photography education [lack of], have not done this beautiful pudding justice.  Do look past the dodgy photos and I promise you, there is a scrumptious dessert to be had.

 

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Ingredients 

  • 6 Apples
  • 4oz Dried Figs, chopped
  • 7oz Walnuts, chopped
  • Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3oz Vegan Butter (or for home-made, follow this link Vegan Butter in a hurry)
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 4oz Dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Cut the tops off the apples (reserve if you wish) and scoop out the core, without cutting through to the bottom.
  2. In a bowl, mix the figs, walnuts and cinnamon with the butter. Then add the maple syrup. Stuff the mixture into the apples and put the reserved apple tops back on.
  3. Place the apples on a baking a tray and bake for 10-12 minutes, until they start to soften and the filling has melted.
  4. Meanwhile, place the soaked dates into a blender and blend until you get a sauce like consistency. Add a pinch of salt.
  5. Remove the apples from the oven and leave to stand for a few minutes. When ready, serve with the date sauce.

– ENJOY –


Like a plant, growing takes time

Recently I attended a Yoga and Meditation Workshop, at the very welcoming Lotus Loft, situated in the heart of Exeter city centre.

Arriving just in time, I hastily opened the door and the first thing I noticed was the beautiful fragrance of incense.  An attractive lady greeted me, she had long golden hair with the tips dyed a deep red.  She would be my yoga instructor for the day.

Her calm and authentic nature made unfolding the stresses of life seem simple, and I was happy to be in this space of Self.   As the session came to a close, the teacher kindly handed out a plant to each student to take home.

Her teachings were simple and sweet: –

Neatly seated on folded knees, we were advised that, once we established a good Self Care routine, our cup becomes so full, it freely over spills and we can become the best version of ourselves.  *Too often, this Self Care is over looked*

Putting other people at the top of our priority list is something many of us do daily.  While letting our own needs fall to the bottom. We often commit to helping those around us, clearing up others mess, cooking the food and eating last.  Serving ourselves the same love and compassion tends to be much more of a struggle.

Looking down at the small succulent plant in my hand, we were gently reminded that, like a plant, self-care practice would take time to nurture and grow.   It means – taking little moments, where we can, to invest in ourselves whole heartily.

To always practice refilling our cup.

Like nature, not everything is perfect and life rarely goes as we plan.  No matter how much we nurture it, it may not turn out just as we hoped.   We have to be gentle with the unexpected events life throws at us and be prepared (cup full) to roll with the punches.   When things get though, do not give up on yourself.

Allow yourself the time to develop a strong self-care practice and be graceful enough to forgive yourself if it doesn’t look like what you hoped for.

Most importantly, SHOW UP for YOURSELF.

Just like you would do for your plant or a loved one – a little each day.

  ~ Namaste ~


Barcelona

I stepped inside its colossal belly with reverential care – my mouth fell with admiration. I was not the only person left speech-less, the group of tourists behind me, who previously were yabbering loudly to be heard over the pandemonium of the city, also subsumed.

I hugged my best friends arm and pulled him tightly against my clammy dress. I stood still, apart from my eyes darting to every corner, desperately trying to absorb all the intricate details that were laden upon every pillar, wall, floor and ceiling.

The sweltering sun penetrated through the towering stain glass windows, rippling its heat into the church. Rose gold, turquoise, jade and indigo flirted with the gigantic pillars that stood erected, like a labyrinth of pastel candy sticks dancing in the light.

I am not a religious person but I felt a flicker of something within me that day. Maybe it was the Christ on the Cross, suspended above our heads under a umbrella of heavy gold, that looked like a parachute descending from heaven.

Or maybe it was the depiction of Saints, that were mounted high up, almost on the heads of the pillars, that from the ground looked like bright hard boiled sweets, with black inscriptions scribbled over them.

Or maybe, it was the magnificent construction and genus of configuration that felt so ‘God like’, all assembled so extraordinary; that it left everyone of its visitors astonished that such splendour could be man-made.

Whatever it was, I felt it. Along with a tremendous amount of gratitude for my dear friend, who bought me all the way to Sagrada Família.

 

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*Footer photo by Claudio Testa*

 

 

 

 

 


Dandelion Vegan Honey

If you love your lawn chances are you hate dandelions… nevertheless I’m pretty sure this  Dandelion Vegan Honey recipe could perhaps convert you?!

This is a wonderful activity to do with children.  Give them a basket and ask them to fill it right to the top with dandelion heads.  I suggest picking from a field that is not likely to have been sprayed with pesticides or used by dog walkers.

I have seen other recipes for Dandelion Honey that say to pick out the dandelion petals and discard all the green parts otherwise it will leave a bitter taste, I however don’t do this and just pinch the stalk with my finger nails which takes out most of the stem. This is faster, works well and won’t leave it tasting bitter.

 

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Ingredients 

  • 150g Dandelion heads
  • Half an unwaxed organic lemon, cut into slices
  • One vanilla pod cut down the middle
  • 1 Litre of water
  • 250g Organic unrefined Sugar

Directions 

  1. Discard the stem and stalk of the flower (see above)
  2. Place the dandelion heads in a saucepan along with the water, lemon slices and vanilla pod.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and let sit over night.
  4. Over a bowl or jug, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth and discard the dandelion heads.
  5. Place the liquid back into the saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil.
  6. Gradually add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  7. Lower the heat and let it simmer uncovered until it reaches the desired syrupy thickness and drips slowly off a spoon. This will take approximately 2 hours.
  8. Pour into a warm sterilised jar and leave to cool.

 

– ENJOY –


Gooey Vegan Beetroot Brownies

Recently I shared a photo on Instagram of these glorious gooey Vegan Beetroot Brownies, spread thickly with a ganache like topping (which is actually made from avocado) and garnished with bright pink beetroot powder.

A few of you wanted to know the recipe.  So as promised, here it is.  Oh and did I mention this recipe is also wheat-free?

When making the vegan ganache, make sure you pick a perfectly ripe avocado.  If you see any of those black stringy bits in it, then use it for something else.  It really makes all the difference.

If, like myself you are trying to cut down on the white stuff (I’m talking sugar) then you can skip using it in the brownie mixture. You will be surprised how great it tastes without any, however the choice of course is yours.

 

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Ingredients

Wet:

  • 1 medium organic raw beetroot (chopped into small chunks)
  • 125ml almond milk or milk alternative of your choice.
  • 125ml melted coconut oil
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp finely ground flaxseeds with 3 Tbsp of warm water. Let sit for 15 minutes before using )
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • *Optional* 3-5 tbsp of unrefined sugar (such as brown or coconut)

Dry:

  • 4 tbsp ground almonds
  • 100g cacao powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Ganache: 

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 3 heaped tbsp of cacao powder
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 6 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C
  2. Blend the chopped raw beetroot along with almond milk, vanilla extract, flax egg, coconut oil and salt in a high-speed blender until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the ground almonds, cacao powder and baking powder.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and pour into a lined brownie tin (I used an 8×8 inch tin) and bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 35-40 minutes. Be careful not to over bake!
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, before placing in the fridge.  *important* – the brownie must be completely cool before placing the ganache on top.
  6. While the brownie is cooling, make the ganache by putting all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until you reach a thick glossy consistency and you can no longer see any green avocado bits.
  7.  Spread the ganache evenly over the brownie, garnish with beetroot powder and place back in the fridge to set.
  8. Once set, I would recommend storing in an air-tight container at room temperature.

 

 – ENJOY –


Turkish Delight & Matcha Lattes

I have a small (border line, obsession) with making vegan lattes that do not involve coffee…

Since my first chia latte a few years ago, I have been *latte-ing* the shit out of everything. Spinach lattes, cauliflower lattes even banana lattes – not recommended. Anything you can add hot streamed soya milk too pretty much qualifies!

There is something quite feminine about the Vegan Turkish Delight Latte, with its adorable bright pink colour and floral fragrant notes. Great for the ladies, or anyone who loves turkish delight (boys welcome to, of course).

Then there is the (Mighty) Matcha latte, now where would I be without you…my first latte of the day. A gentle release of caffeine but without the ‘crash’ which you often experience an hour or so after drinking coffee.

I hope you have some fun making these vibrant lattes. Please feel free to share any latte making tips, I’m always keen to learn.

Peace, love and lattes

 

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Ingredients:  

Turkish Delight Latte: 

  • 1 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Soya Milk
  • 1 tsp Beetroot Powder
  • 1-2 tsp of Maple Syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • half a tsp of Rose Water

Matcha Latte:

  • 1 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Soya Milk
  • 1/4 tsp of Matcha Green tea powder (I use Ceremonial Grade A)
  • 1 tsp Wheatgrass powder *optional – I use this for colour*

Directions: 

Turkish Delight latte:

  1. Place the beetroot powder and maple syrup into a cup and mix into a thick paste, then add the rose water and mix again.
  2. On a medium heat slowly warm the soya milk, until just boiling.
  3. Remove from the heat and pour into a jug. Use a hand-held electric milk frother (or frother of  choice) for a couple of seconds – try to avoid to many bubbles. Once you have reached your desired consistency, pour over the paste. Alternatively if not using a milk frother pour hot soya milk straight over the paste.

Matcha Latte:

  1. Place the matcha into a cup and add a small amount of water, mix to form a lose paste.
  2. Follow directions 2 and 3 above.

– Enjoy –

 


Vegan Butter in a hurry

Lets face it, butter is an essential part of the kitchen and it can be tricky with out it when you are on a dairy-free diet.  This is why I’m excited to share this vegan dairy-free butter recipe, its like sooooo super easy to make and it takes no time at all.  You will most likely have the ingredients in the cupboard already, or you can easily pick them up in the supermarket.

I recommend using between 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt for this recipe, but play around with the amount and adjust it to your own taste.

Re-use an old butter tub for your vegan butter or find yourself a nice butter dish, charity shops are the perfect place for this… I picked mine up for a squid!

Soft, tasty and easy to spread, I don’t think this recipe will disappoint.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp ground almonds
  • 5 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1-2 tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 4oz of coconut oil. Melted
  • 3 Tbsp of good quality olive oil
  • pinch of turmeric – for colour

Directions:

  1. Slowly melt the coconut oil on a medium heat, then set aside to cool a little.
  2. Mix the almonds and almond milk into a thick paste, then add the salt and the apple cider vinegar.
  3. Pour the coconut oil over the almond paste, mix, then add the olive oil and a pinch of turmeric. Pour into your chosen butter dish and chill until set. Approximately 30 minutes.

 

Enjoy –

 


Vegan Autumn Spiced Breakfast Bowl

Woohoo!  It’s Autumn, my favourite time of year, I just love waking up to fresh crisp mornings.

I have been making this vegan ‘Autumn breakfast bowl’ recipe recently.  It is a mixture of walnuts, apples and spices.  Completely wheat-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and therefore a great option for a vegan/vegetarian breakfast or accompaniment for a vegan/vegetarian dessert.  I would say that it is similar to that of a smoothie but ‘heavier’, more dense, keeping you full for longer!  I like to eat it cold, but it is just as enjoyable warmed.  However, keep an eye on it when heating, as it can get very hot, very quick.

This recipe is made the night before.  So, with breakfast ticked off your to-do list, yon can gain some extra time snuggled up in bed. That is, if the dog doesn’t decide to jump on the bed,  joining the cat that has already jumped on the bed and is clawing at your face, claiming neglect and food!.

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Ingredients 

  • 80z Walnuts (soaked for an hour)
  • 8oz Prunes (soaked for an hour)
  • 3 Apples chopped (No need to peel)
  • 1 Banana
  • 6 Tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1tsp Cinnamon or spice of your choice.

Directions

  1. Place walnuts into a bowl and soak in filtered water for at least an hour. In a separate  bowl place the prunes and pour just enough water to cover them and soak for an hour.
  2. Once soaked, drain the walnuts and place into a blender, along with the prunes and their liquid, apples, banana, chia seeds and blitz. You may need to add a little more water as you go.
  3. Arrange into dishes and leave overnight in the fridge. Alternatively (if serving warm) pour the mixture into a jug (or saucepan) and keep in the fridge until ready to heat. Top with seasonable blackberries, maple syrup or some local honey.

 

– Enjoy –

 

 


Raw Lemon and Blueberry Cheesecake

It’s rare to have good consistent weather here in the UK and although normally I have no problem spending time in the kitchen I do find it particularly difficult on sunny days.

The beauty about this attractive Lemon and Blueberry Cheesecake is that you can freeze it. I suggest making a couple of them in advance, as it keeps well in the freezer and that way after a long days escapade soaking up some of the sun’s rays all you have to do is open the fridge door and wellah, dessert is done.

Bursting with fresh fruity citrus flavours, a charming soft body and crunchy biscuit like base – served in the garden with family or friends… a perfect end to a lovely summer’s day.

 

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Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 4oz chopped dates
  • 4oz whole almonds, chopped
  • 4oz quinoa
  • pinch of salt

Lemon Layer:

  •  2 cups of soaked cashews
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
  • zest of one lemon

Blueberry Layer:

  • 8oz of frozen organic blueberries, plus a handful of blueberries to garnish.
  • 1/4 of the lemon cheesecake mixture
  • 3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup

 

Directions 

To make the crust: process the dates, almonds, salt and quinoa in a high speed blender until it resembles a crumb base.  You may need to add a little water (but don’t over do it) until the mixture becomes sticky.  Press into the bottom of a spring form pan and put in the freezer.

To make the lemon layer: blend the cashews and honey/maple syrup in a blender until you get a smooth cheesecake consistency.  Reserve 1/4 of this mixture for the blueberry topping. Place the rest back into the blender and add the lemon juice, blend until combined then mix in the lemon zest. Pour onto your crust and place back into the freezer.

To make the blueberry layer: blend the blueberries with the reserved cheesecake mixture in your food processor until creamy.  If desired add a handful of whole blueberries and combine by hand. Spread this over your cheesecake  base and keep in the freezer overnight or for at least a couple of hours. I suggest waiting a day before serving,  as it will deepen the flavours of the fruit.  When ready to serve leave to thaw for about 20 minutes.

 

– Enjoy –

 


Chocolate Date and Peanut Fingers

We all have those days when we feel a little down in the dumps and it can be difficult to find motivation or even attempt to bake, right?

I tend to crave sweet things when I feel tired (and hormonal) and this is one of my ‘go-to’ recipes when I’m feeling a little low.

It’s quick, simple and the ingredients you will more than likely find in the cupboard. I use Medjool dates over regular dates as they offer that extra toffee like squidginess but both work well here, so use what you’ve got.

I recommend dusting with cocoa powder and cut into small finger slices as it’s fantastically rich.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 350g pitted Medjool Dates
  • 100g of melted good quality dark chocolate (I use Lindt 90% Dark)
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp 100% peanut butter (I use Meridian Peanut Butter)
  • 2 tbsp Coconut oil

 

Directions:

  1. Line a small cake tin (I used a 2lb loaf for mine), leaving excess parchment paper hanging over the edges to help with lifting out later.
  2. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and leave to cool.
  3. Blend the dates in a blender until you get a fairly smooth paste.  Add the melted chocolate, oats, peanut butter and coconut oil. Blitz together.
  4. Spread the mixture out evenly into the prepared tin and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  5. Lift out of the tin, dust with cocoa powder and cut into fingers. Served best with pyjamas, chunky socks and a movie.

– Enjoy –