Posts tagged bread
My Rawgust Experience... and Raw Avo & Tomato 'Toast'

'Rawgust' is over and we are rolling swiftly into September!

I thought I'd take a moment on this sunny Sunday morning to reflect on a few thoughts of my 'raw food' experience. As I mentioned in my previous post I didn't maintain a 100% raw diet, it was more like 85% as my view was to see it as an exploration and open my mind to new recipes and ideas, rather than a restriction which I may have felt had I been super strict.

>>> NOTE: see my previous post for tips and meal inspiration

This decision to go 'high raw' rather than fully raw was partly based on the fact I had a few family commitments and events I knew I would be attending which would have made life difficult. I decided that a 'high raw diet' would allow me to appreciate most of the benefits and enable me to broaden my raw food repertoire without it feeling pressured or frustrated.

Overall I really enjoyed the month, initially I did miss big hot bowls of porridge (yes, I still eat porridge in the summertime!) and I really missed beans and lentils- such a staple in my everyday diet.

That being said, I really threw myself into creating some amazing salads and lots of raw dressings and dips to go with them. For me, a good dressing can turn any salad from average to amazing :-) 

This is definitely something I'll be continuing, as I'd like to aim for at least 50% raw ongoing- basically, i'll be incorporating a smoothie and a big salad every day- pretty easy, right!

I'll post a recipe round up of loads of sauces, dressing and dips from my vegan community in a separate post- hopefully, there'll be lots to inspire you too!

My boyfriend, who took the challenge along with me- who also reminded me that it was his idea in the first place (credit where it's due!!) has, for the time being, decided to maintain a 75-80% raw diet, so we'll still be eating a lot of raw meals together. 

My downfall (if anything) was eating too many Bliss Balls, ha ha. I often get carried away anyway when I make them, but during Rawgust I fell into the trap of having even more excuse to indulge.

Bliss balls... soooo tempting!!

Bliss balls... soooo tempting!!

Many people I know who eat raw, typically follow a high-fruit diet. This is something I have never felt really suits me. When I've experimented with an 801010 (80% carbs, 10% fat 10% protein) style diet in the past I ended up feeling incredibly bloated with the ratio of fruit. I feel I need to incorporate more fats. Maybe that was why one of my favourite meals last month was avocado and tomato on dehydrated flax crackers.

That said, my digestion was, for the most part, really great this last month, even though I have had some tough personal challenges to content with (stress usually impacts my bowels- sorry TMI!) My tummy felt flat and I have lost a little weight. Maybe that's down to the lack of legumes and/or grains... who knows? It will be interesting to see what happens as I add them back.

I'm also not convinced that a fully raw diet is particularly suited to our UK climate during the colder winter months. I know the idea of a nourishing warm meal really soothes me and the abundance root vegetables help ground me. I wouldn't want to forgo soups and stews indefinitely regardless of any nutritional science. 

I know there are ways to create 'warmth' in the body whilst consuming raw foods by using ginger and other warming spices to 'fire up' the body, but nothing compares to a big bowl of soup in my opinion! :-) 

I also query the environmental angle. I like the idea of aiming to eat more seasonally and locally, (although i'll make it clear I'm not perfect at this by any means), so feasting on tropical fruits shipped from far overseas during our cold winter months, doesn't quite sit right with me. I want to enjoy our abundance of winter vegetable roots and brassicas from the ground during this time.

One final point of interest... I was scanning through all my old health and wellness magazines, as part of my declutter ahead of moving house in a couple of weeks and I found various articles on Ayurveda. I am definitely a Vata Dosha and interestingly one of the things it advised 'Vata's' against was to consume raw foods... how interesting!

I have not looked deeply into the reasoning behind this (but now I am curious to know more), but it did remind me that there is never a 'one size fits all approach' when it comes to food, and that we all need to be intuitive eaters when it comes to what we feel our bodies need.  

As an example, I would never directly advise others to eat animal products BUT I do appreciate that we each need to find out own way and tune into what really works for us away from societies expectation and the pressure from the media and those around us.

Most of all, I believe we need to become more curious, more self-aware, more confident and relaxed around food.

Short terms 'Detoxes' and Challenges' (such as Rawgust) create the perfect opportunity for shaking things up, trying new things, re-setting our bodies systems, checking in with any symptoms that might be showing up and reflecting on what we really need deep down.

To break the pattern of the autopilot mode that so many of us function on day to day when it comes to food and lifestyle.

So on that note, I am going to leave you with the recipe for my favourite avocado and tomato salad on raw flax crackers.... ridiculously simple, and definitely one I'll keep on weekly repeat.

raw avo tomato toast 1a.jpg

I'd love to continue this conversation...

Have you tried a raw diet? Maybe you loosely follow a raw-till-4 approach? Or something else... I'd love to hear your own thoughts, experiences and results. 


Recipe: Raw Avo & Tomato 'Toast'

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado

  • A large handful of cherry tomatoes

  • Dehydrated flax crackers (quantity to suit appetite!)

  • Fresh basil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Sprinkle of nutritional yeast (optional)

  • Salad leaves (optional)

Flax Cracker Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight

  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight

  • 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (including the oil)

  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt

  • 1-2 tsp mixed dried herbs (or other herbs/spices to suit)

  • a few tbs water to create the right consistency (add gradually)

Method for the flax crackers:

Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor, until thick and sticky, adding a little water add needed (I used approx 1/3 of a cup)

Spread the mix to a 0.5 cm thickness over teflex dehydrator sheets. 

Dehydrate at 45C for approx 10 hours, turn over and place onto mesh sheets and return to the dehydrator for another 4 hours. 

Cut into any desired slices. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. 

Method for the avo 'toast':

There is no real method.... just assemble everything on top of the crackers!

You can slice your flax bread/crackers into larger 'bread style' squares but because I make mine in a large batch I had pre-cut them into small squares for versatility. Either is fine.

NOTE: I originally made a version of this style of raw bread/cracker HERE. At that time I also tried a second batch and spread it out on a lined baking sheet at 'baked' it for approximately two hours on my lowest oven temperature (approx. 80ºC). I covered it loosely with foil after 1 hour to ensure the most even cook. It worked well so it's an option to try if you don't have access to a dehydrator.

raw avo tomato toast 2a.jpg
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Vegan 'salmon' cream cheese bagels

I saw this recipe on my friend Lisa's nutrition focussed Instagram account recently (well actually quite a few weeks ago now as it's taken me a little while to publish this post!)

Vegan salmon cream cheese bagels

It looked delicious and I was intrigued as to how she'd made it. When she said it was simply marinaded carrot ribbons I was hooked and invited her to share the recipe here on my blog. It's just the kind of quirky recipe creation I love :-)

You can keep it simple by using pre-made ingredients as suggested below. Or go all the way and make your own 'cashew cheese' or try a savoury version this cheese style spread I made using yoghurt and coconut flour. The bagels could also be homemade and gluten-free if needed. Or simply use lettuce cups for a light bite.

Now, take it away Lisa!

Recipe: vegan 'salmon' cream cheese bagels

Makes 2 bagels

Ingredients:

  • Bagels – I bought classic bagels from The Natural Bagel company (found in Sainsbury's) – worth checking labels to ensure no milk these had soya only.
  • Cream cheese – Again I went for convenience and bought the vegan original cream cheese from Sainsbury's free from range.  It’s a coconut base and a lot of my clients really like it as a dairy-free alternative. (There are also lots of recipes on-line for homemade cashew cheese or similar)
  • Salad – one of my staples is a bag of mixed watercress, rocket and spinach as these bitter greens are AMAZING for your digestion.

For the ‘Smoked salmon’

  • Liquid smoke (available on Ebay/Amazon and probably other places) quantity is personal preference but I put a good dessert spoonful in.
  • Carrots – I used two wide carrots.  Peeled the skin first and discard and then keep peeling.  I found a wide head peeler works best.  Peel the carrot so that it forms long ribbons.
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • Some recipes add apple cider vinegar and/or tamari but I like to keep it as simple as possible!

Method:

‘Peel’ the carrots into long ribbons into a bowl. Add a twist or two of the salt. Add the liquid smoke. Mix everything together (see note below for marinading).

Transfer to a foil-lined baking tray – you need to be able to fully cover the carrot mix with the foil and seal it.

Bake in the oven 200˚C for about 20mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool.  

Lisa's note: when I made these I couldn’t wait and basically toasted the bagels, slapped the cream cheese on and put the carrot on and garnished with the salad – and they tasted amazing.   I left the remainder of the carrot with my vegan pal and she reported that left overnight and chilled the flavours were even better!

Vegan salmon cream cheese bagels
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Want to know more about Lisa?

Lisa is 'The Nutritional Realist and has a holistic method of working, looking at every aspect of you and how it impacts your goal. Ultimately it's all about you. She’s the resource to enable you to get to your health goals and stay there! She’ll coach you to throw the pebble that will create positive ripples throughout your life.

Find more about Lisa and her work via her website, her Facebook page or on Instagram.


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Chocolate banana brownie bread

I called this 'brownie bread'... as it's shaped like a loaf, but with a beautiful dense and chewy sponge, best described as a cross between banana bread and a chocolate brownie!

The easiest, healthiest, allergy friendly but totally indulgent cake you'll probably ever find!

Chocolate banana brownie bread

Well this recipe was totally unplanned! Making recipes on holiday in Lanzarote in my hosts kitchen! I have been eating all my meals with them, it's so lovely to be cooked for, especially since they eat a plant based diet also... i'll admit I haven't even needed to leave their house! 

Since I happened to mention I write a food blog, I was offered the opportunity to come up with a healthy cake or dessert using 'anything I could find' in the kitchen. Wow, what an opportunity... though I was also pretty nervous and apprehensive in case it didn't work out! It's one thing wasting your own ingredients but anything things when it's someone else's food! Plus, I didn't have all my up ingredients and kitchen tools to hand.

Chocolate banana brownie bread

Of course I wanted it to be as low in sugar as possible, and ideally contain chocolate, since I hadn't had any all week and it was calling to me! I needed a foolproof recipe that I knew would stand the least chance of failure.... that's when my crazy chocolate courgette cake came to mind. That cake is loved by so many, uses simple ingredients and I knew it would be a winner. To change it up a little I swapped the courgette for banana. This was in large part so that I could get away from using refined sugars- in the courgette version I use dates and pure stevia, but since I had no stevia to hand, I used bananas (and a teensy bit of brown sugar just to be sure) to hit the sweet spot.

Flour was also another factor to work around. I usually use fine ground oats in the chocolate courgette cake recipe, but all I had to hand here were emmer grains (an ancient grain similar to spelt and einkorn). This is what my hosts mill to make their own bread, so we milled some for this recipe. It worked perfectly.... phew! I imagine any of the ancient grain flours (or even regular wholewheat) would make a good substitute, or use fine oatmeal as per my original recipe (I haven't tried with purely gluten free flours but buckwheat or a GF flour blend could be a good bet if you do experiment).

Emmer grains- pre milling

Emmer grains- pre milling

Emmer flour being milled!

Emmer flour being milled!

I also had to improvise with other ingredients too. Usually I use a combination of baking soda and baking power. But there was only soda to hand... a quick google gave me my solution. Baking soda needs an acid to react to, so I simply added lemon juice to the mix and it worked perfectly on its own.  

The banana pieces on top were beautifully caramelised and chewy... feel free to add more or even mix some chunks into the mix to vary the texture and make more of a dessert bread, which would be amazing served warm with vegan cream or ice-cream.... or a slathering of drippy peanut butter! Oh yeah...

This basic recipe has been tried so many times now with little tweaks, it is virtually foolproof I promise! The verdict... they all loved it! Even two year old Shakti!

P.s You'll find plenty more of my 'loaf' style recipes HERE!

Chocolate banana brownie bread

Recipe: Chocolate banana brownie bread

Makes 1 long shallow loaf (or equivalent of a large deep brownie pan)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup chopped dates (packed quite tightly)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water (may need to add a few tablespoons extra at the end)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or other mild oil of choice)
  • 2 tbs chia seeds (or flax seed)
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 4 medium bananas (3 to be pureed and 1 chopped for the top)
  • 2-3 tbs brown sugar (you could omit this or sub with syrup or a few drops of pure stevia)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cup emmer flour (or ground porridge oats or other flours as noted above)
  • 1 heaped tsp baking soda

Method:

Soak the dates in the 1/2 cup boiling water for a few minutes to soften ( I did this as I only had a small stick hand blender to use, soaking it optional for more robust blenders so you could just add water separately). Add the coconut oil to melt it. Add three rough chopped bananas, the chia/flax and the lemon juice to the date/oil mix and blend until very smooth. All the wet ingredients should now be mixed.

In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa and baking soda. Add the pureed mixture and stir through until fully combined. Taste and add the brown sugar (or sweetener of choice) to taste. I only needed to add two tablespoons.

The mixture should be a soft spoonable batter. Add a few extra tablespoons of water only if needed (I added a couple). Spoon the mix into a greased and lined cake tin/loaf tin of choice (or muffin cups). Smooth the top as much as possonle then press the chopped banana pieces on top to decorate.

Bake for approx. 35-40 minutes at 180C (this will depend on the depth on the cake pan and need less time for muffins). I loosely covered the top with foil after 20 minutes once the bananas were browned to prevent potential burning. Check the middle of a cake with a fork or skewer to see that it comes away clean.

Serve warm or cold as a healthy indulgent snack or dessert!  One easy cake- two ways!

 (P.s this cake freezes beautifully too!)

Chocolate banana brownie bread

This cake made it into PETA UK’s Great Vegan Bake Off final! If you like what you see, you can cast your vote for it here (and also know that you've made me a very happy girl!)


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'Life Changing' Muesli bread

I still have so many sugarfree recipes to share with you that I created to cut the cravings whilst  following the strict phase of the candida diet. However over the Easter weekend as phase one drew to a close, the rules relaxed a little (low sugar fruits and sweet vegetables could come back!!) so I had a go at re-creating a muesli loaf similar to the one I found whilst I was on holiday with my family last week.

It was a resounding success and I couldn't wait to share you on the blog… The other stuff can wait!!

This is a very lightly sweetened bread you could easily add a little extra dried fruit, some chocolate chips or syrup/stevia to suit your own taste, my taste buds are supersensitive to sweet at the moment so I played cautiously!

The base of this recipe idea came from the hugely popular 'Life changing loaf of bread' by My New Roots (hence my title!). This recipe has been in my Evernote clippings for months now and I'd not got around to making it, so this gave me opportunity to tweak the recipe to become my own in such a beautiful way.

Oh and by the way my new favourite ingredient is psyllium husk! It is what binds this bread so perfectly, and I have since used it in some other recipes, I will be sharing soon. It absorbs water and gels up in a similar way to chia seeds and so if you hate any kind of gelatinous texture then you may find you don't like pysllium. Pysllium is often taken as a supplement and used to aid digestion due to its high levels of soluble fibre and also as an anti-inflammatory. 

This bread is dense not fluffy (as you probably anticipated) it is rich with the benefit nuts and seeds...kind of like a handful of trail mix. I found it especially deliciously served slightly warm with a slather of peanut butter....just sayin' ;-)

Recipe: Muesli bread

Makes 1 8” loaf plan

Ingredients: 

  • 4 tbs flax mixed with 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tbs coconut oil melted
  • ½ cup each pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup un-ground flax seeds
  • ½ sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup oats (you could probably sub quinoa flakes but I haven’t tried)
  • 4 tbs psyllium husk
  • ½ heaped cup chopped dried fruit (I used a mix of dates and apricot)
  • ½ heaped cup roughly chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 heaped tsp mixed spice
  • approx 15 drops pure liquid stevia*
  • For choc cookies I added: ½ cup cocoa, 1 tbs syrup, ¼ cup water.

Method: 

Mix together the flax, hot water, coconut oil and stevia (or sweetener) and set aside. 

Mix the remaining ingredients and then combine with the wet mixture. Combine well- the mixture will be very thick and sticky. Ad have that gel like quality.

 Pack into a greased and lined loaf pan and let sit covered for min two hours or overnight. Bake at 189C for 20 mins and then remove from tin, flip over and continue to bake for approx 30 minutes until golden and sound shallow when tapped.

Make sure the loaf is fully cool before slicing.

The loaf can also be frozen (best to slice before freezing).

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Hot Cross Buns...gluten free!

I'm feeling happy...

Spring is here.

The sun in shining.

Easter is nearly here...

I want to be able to give you lots of healthy sweet treats to set you up for the holiday but it's been a little tricky since I haven't been able to eat anything sweet ...but hey i'm working around it! I made a birthday cake for a friend last weekend and spent the whole time running across the house with spoonfuls of batter asking my mum to taste taste... needless to day she was a willing participant! :-)

I have two more Easter recipes for you this week.... today we have gluten free hot cross buns and coming up I have a little quirky twist on the classic but you'll have to wait a couple of days for that one ;-)

I warn you now these buns do take a little while to make (yeast bread always does) and so it's more unusual for me to have a recipe of this nature with so many ingredients and steps to the process, plus I never usually have much success with gluten free bread recipes.

However I love hot cross buns and when I saw this post by Quirky Cooking on Facebook (as a teaser to the actual blog post) I wanted to create a vegan version. I had a chat with Jo and she gave me some idea to test for her, I opted for chia seeds as a substitute and it worked a treat. My mum and her fiends enjoyed them for the next few days. Though as Jo says in her original recipe, these buns are best eaten fresh which is pretty easy since you can keep the batter in the fridge for up to 5 days and just bake what you need in one go.

Thank you Quirky Cooking for the inspiration, the recipe and the help in creating a vegan version.

P.s go check her out she has some amazing things going on on her blog and a great community on her Facebook page- particularly for those with allergies of all kinds.

Recipe: Hot Cross Buns...gluten free!

Ingredients:

Buns

  • 150g brown rice flour
  • 110g sorghum flour
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 190g arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 40g coconut sugar or Rapadura
  • 1 Tbsp psyllium husk
  • 200g coconut milk or almond milk
  • 2 Tbs ground chia seeds mixed with 6 Tbs warm water.
  • 150g water
  • 40g light oil
  • 200g sultanas/raisins  

Crosses

  • 50g gluten free plain flour
  • 50g water

Glaze

  • 2 tbs sugar free marmalade
  • 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

Mix ground chia with warm water and set aside.

Place brown rice into mixing bowl with orange zest. Add yeast, arrowroot/tapioca starch, salt, cinnamon, mixed spice, sugar, and psyllium husk, and mix well.

Add chia mix, milk, water, oil, sultanas and mix well to form a wet dough. Pour mixture into a large container, place lid on, and leave to rise for 2 hours. 

Once mixture is risen, container can either be put into the fridge to be used the next day (best results, as flavours intensify and mixture thickens), or you can make the buns straight away. You can use half the dough one day and the other half another day if you like, as they are best eaten hot out of the oven, or within 24 hours.

When ready to bake:

Mix the flour and water for the crosses in a small bowl with a fork until smooth, then pour into a small piping bag, or a ziploc bag (seal, and cut a very small corner off the bag). Set aside.

 Using paper muffin cups or a silicone muffin tray, take the dough out of the fridge and scoop out heaped tablespoonfuls, and using a spoon and butter knife, drop a large spoonful into each muffin cup. Muffin cups should be 3/4 full. 

Cover muffin tray loosely with a plastic bag (so that plastic does not touch dough) and leave to rise for 1 hour, or until dough has barely risen to the top of the muffin cup. Towards end of rising time, preheat oven to 200C. Pipe crosses onto buns.

Once oven is hot, place tray inside on middle shelf, and cook for 20 mins, or until lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Glaze:

Melt the jam and mix in the spice. Generously glaze the top and sized of the buns.

Store cooled buns in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 days, but best eaten on day of baking.

Great texture for a gluten free bun!

Great texture for a gluten free bun!

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'Raw Foods For Winter' book review and recipe!

A few months ago I was sent a lovely e-mail asking if I'd like to review a book, when I looked into it more closely I realised that it actually ticked a lot of boxes in my own investigations.

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This is the book- 'Nourished' Comforting Raw Foods For Winter. by Tanya Alekseeva. Tanya is the founder of betterraw.com and is a wellness coach, chef, author, Reiki do Satori master healer, and a renowned raw food and detox expert. I think you'll agree a lady right on my wave length! :-)

Raw foods have always been intriguing to me particularly since we'd recently covered those areas as part of my Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching course and I was keen to get stuck in with experimenting further. However with the winter months fast closing in (yes, this was late autumn when the e-mail originally came through), I was worried that eating raw foods in winter would just leave me feeling cold inside. For many, raw foods often come to mind in the form of  'summer salads' and i'll admit that was what my subconscious mind was still thinking, so it was great to see a book that specifically catered for raw foods in Winter to challenge my view!.

I've had a couple of months now to have a play with the recipes, and there is a lovely wide variety, many of which do not require any special equipment. I do have a dehydrator and so was keen to try some of these recipes out too, but whenever I try a dehydrator recipe, where practical I also try and replicate it using a standard oven on the lowest temperature. The recipe taken from the book that I am showcasing below does exactly that and it worked perfectly! Note: the oven will not preserve the nutritional value of the ingredients to the same degree as the dehydrator (but it's just as tasty!)

See the slight colour difference- the truly raw bread is at the top and the 'baked' version is beneath and slightly darker. the taste difference was slightly different also- slightly more 'toasted' and 'nutty'.

See the slight colour difference- the truly raw bread is at the top and the 'baked' version is beneath and slightly darker. the taste difference was slightly different also- slightly more 'toasted' and 'nutty'.

The book has a few intro pages on ingredients, tools and how to approach raw food recipes to get you going. This is really useful if raw foods are new to you but not so detailed as to be overwhelming. Then it progresses to lots of recipes... around 45 in total covering Drinks & Breakfasts, Snacks & Sides, Meals and Desserts.

Since i'm more familiar with raw desserts I decided to focus my experiments on the savoury recipes. This was my favourite- 'Tanya's Onions Bread- perfect for an open sandwich, as a raw pizza base, with soups or dips etc. Complete versatility!  Yes it does take a while to make but most of that time is 'waiting' time not working time- it is not labour intensive at all (you know how much i like things to be quick and easy!). You could also easily make a double batch.

For pretty much the first time my life I actually followed the recipe exactly! Here it is below, courtesy of Better Raw.

raw bread2a.jpg

Recipe: Tanya's Onion Bread

  • 1 cup ground flaxseeds, soaked in 1/2 cup water overnight 
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight 
  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight 
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds, soaked overnight 
  • 1 cup celery, chopped 
  • cup raisins 
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped 
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • juice of 1 lemon 
  • 2 tbsp dried coriander/cilantro 
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt

Method:

Put the sunflower seeds, walnuts, celery, raisins and onion in a food processer and mix until well combined. 

Add the soaked flaxseeds and the remaining ingredients, process until smooth. 

Divide the mixture into two parts and spread each part to a 1 cm thickness over teflex sheets. 

Dehydrate at 110 degrees F for 10 hours, turn over and place onto mesh sheets and return to the dehydrator for another 6-10 hours. 

Cut into any desired slices and make yummy sandwiches or serve with soup. 

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


Jo's note: I followed Tanya's instruction above but I also made a second batch and spread it out on a lined baking sheet at 'baked' it for approximately two hours on my lowest oven temperature (approx. 80ºC). I covered it loosely with foil after 1 hour to ensure the most even cook. Just keep an eye of it and use your intuition as to when it's ready.


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Note- I was provided with the ebook to review, but all of the opinions and photographs are my own.

 

I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up foemails in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can also find me here:

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Pumpkin oat loaf

Is it a bread or is it a cake? Who doesn't love a little bit of a pumpkin loaf, or  even banana bread for that matter. But as much as I love my banana breads I've made it all too often and needed a new challenge.

pumpkin loaf 7a.jpg

 I can sense so many of you will think 'pumpkin- that's no challenge', ah, but you see to UK peeps like me canned pumpkin just isn't as readily available and actually making the effort to peel, chop and blend or cook regular pumpkin is just something that does not happen much in my kitchen.

But, since it is halloween season and pumpkins abound, I figured I'd get a little seasonal! I actually used the flesh from a halloween pumpkin for this loaf, but since then I've found some canned pumpkin and have had fun with many more sweet (and savoury) pumpkin recipes since then. 

This loaf is moist and dense, Don't go looking for a light and fluffy afternoon tea cake, here you've got a robust and autumnal slab of goodness perfect to spread some nut butter or smash a banana onto. Breakfast, brunch, afternoon snack, half way up a mountain- yeah you get it the idea.

Go on you know you want to… 

pumpkin loaf 4a.jpg

 

Recipe: Pumpkin oat loaf

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups oat flour (I used ground oats)
  • 1 ½ cup pumpkin flesh- packed (approx. 1 cup puree)
  • ½ cup dates
  • ½ buckwheat groats (or use nuts or seeds)
  • ¼ tsp pure stevia (extra if needed)
  • 2 tbs flax
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • optional- pumpkin seeds or cacao nibs on top.

Method: 

Blend the pumpkin, dates, spices and stevia together until smooth. Pour into a mediaum bowl and add the dry and mix through well.

Spoon into a small loaf pan pie dish and sprinkle with topping of desired.

Bake at 180C for approx 50 minutes, loosely covering the top with foil for the final 15 minutes if the top is already golden.

Best serve warm with smashed banana or nut butter. Tasted good stored in the fridge for up to a week.

 

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Double whammy banana cake (gluten free)

The past few days have flown by in a whirlwind!

As well as recovering from a compressed nerve in my spine (which totally obliterated any form of cooking opportunity for most of last week), I needed to somehow bake a big batch of various cakes for a stall I had planned at the Love Architecture event at the architectural company where I work…. It was touch and go whether I would recover in time.

As it happens the pain killers I’d be prescribed finally kicked in and I was up to the challenge.

So what did I bake?

I wanted a varied selection to satisfy all tastes. Yes, there had to be a lot of chocolate involved but also lots of other treats for the not-so-chocolate lovers!

I settled for chocolate orange and gingerbread smoosh bars…my favourites!  Toffee blondies which were closely based on m sticky toffee pudding recipe, raspberry almond chocolate torteplus a peppermint cream variation on that theme…and last but not least (at the request of my colleagues) banana cake.

I have made banana bread for the blo here before (way back in the early days) but until now I hadn’t attempted a gluten free version. 

I called this new version ‘double whammy’ because I used both fresh bananas and dried chewy chunks for extra depth of flavour and texture. If you can’t find dried bananas (they need to be the chewy natural dried ones not the crisp banana chips covered in sugar!) then you can just sub extra dates of you wish or simply omit altogether.

My usual gluten free flour combo also worked really well, everyone said that they would never have known it was GF which makes it a huge success! I baked the banana cake in 4 small loaf tins (approx 15cm long), but a larger loaf tin (note: I haven’t tested this so baking times will need to be modified) or muffin tins would also be fine.

The cakes sold really well and the few that remained I brought home to freeze as treats for me, so all is good! I also had some business cards designed and printed, hence why you may have noticed a few changes around here with a new colour theme and a new logo! I'd love to hear your thought's and feedback! I didn't know what my title on the business cards should be...so decided upon 'Cakemaster', quite fitting I think, ha ha!

Recipe: Double whammy banana cake

Makes approx. 4 mini loaves

  • 4 ripe bananas- well mashed
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup coconut butter- melted
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup agave plus ½ tsp stevia
  • 2 cups GF flour (1 cup buckwheat, ½ cup ground almonds, ½ cup tapioca flour)
  • ½ cup dried bananas- chopped
  • ¼ cup dates- chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon/mixed spice
  • Soy milk (or other liquid) as necessary (I used approx ¼ cup)

Method

Mix together wet ingredients in a small bowl. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix lightly but well with spoon. Add a little soy milk last as necessary to achieve desired consistency (not too stiff).

Once combined, pour the mixture into 4 small/2 medium greased and lined loaf tin or muffin cases and bake at 180C for approx. 20-30 minutes depending on pan size. Test with a toothpick to ensure the centre is cooked. If the top begins to brown before the centre is cooked through lightly cover the pan with tin foil.

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