Posts tagged ginger
Christmas Wreath Cheesecake! (with so many options!)

I recently took a trip to Spain to soak up some winter sunshine and do some work without the distractions of my kitchen. I have lots of travel plans for next year and this was something of a trial for a location independent work life.

That meant as soon as I landed back in the UK… I was straight back in the kitchen to unleash all that repressed kitchen creativity, ha ha

This was something of spontaneous unplanned creation, although the idea was triggered by a toffee wreath sponge cake in the Ocado Magazine. I veganized it, healthanized it, changed up the flavour and tuned it into a cheesecake. Nothing like the original really!

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What I love about this recipe is the pure versatility…

  • you can make your own plain cheesecake base or if you are pushed for time buy a plain one and focus on making the bliss balls decorations.

  • you can use any cheesecake recipe you prefer (if you have a tried and tested version you love- just go for that!)

  • you can make it any flavour you fancy - I went for gingerbread but any festive theme (or non-festive) would be awesome.

  • You can make the topping ahead of time and then decorate your cheesecake last minute for a super speedy show-stopping dessert.

So have I got your attention yet? :-)

Below, I have provided the cheesecake recipe I used if you want to try it, but as I mention above the main focus of this post is on the decorations, so you could literally use any plain smooth topped cheesecake base you like.

I kept my bliss balls plain for a ‘simple’ understated cake but after I made it I remembered my ‘bliss baubles’ from previous years- they would look absolutely epic on this cake! (Why didn’t I think of that at the time!!)

I developed the ‘baubles’ for a brand so I don’t think I showcase them on my blog at the time - but the concept is simple. Toss desiccated coconut in a little turmeric, greens powder and beetroot powder and roll the balls in it to get a pretty multi-coloured batch!

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Recipe: Christmas Wreath Cheesecake!

Makes an 8’ cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1 tbs coconut oil


  • 1 cup water (separated into 2 x 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tbs agar flakes

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight in cold water or for a couple of hours in hot water, then drained)

  • 1/4 cup syrup of choice (I used coconut)

  • 2 tbs coconut oil

  • 1 tbs lemon juice

  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger

  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice

*NOTE: I found my base to be quite ‘bendy’ so it wasn’t as easy to remove from the pan as I would like. (But maybe that’s just me being clumsy as most of the recipe I have looked at use a similar base type)


Add the base ingredients to a food processor and blitz together until quite fine and clumpy. Press firmly into the bottom of a spring form pan (lining it may also help- optional). Set aside.

Add 1/2 cup water with the agar flakes to a small sauce pan. bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, blitz the remaining ingredients together in a food processor until thick and smooth (you may need to scrape down a couple of times). By this time the agar should be ready. Add this to the food processor and blitz for a further 20-30 seconds until the mixture is as smooth as it can be.

Working quite quickly (because the agar will begin to set) spoon/pour the mix on top of the cheesecake base. Tap the tin gently to smooth the top and get rid of any air bubbles. Once cooler enough place the cheesecake in the fridge to fully set (an hour or so).

Meanwhile, make the bliss ball topping as directed below.

Bliss Ball Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup dates (use medjool dates if you haven’t got a powerful food processor)

  • 1 cup dessicated coconut (or nuts of choice- cashew/almond/pecan or a mix all work well)

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • handful of goji berries and pumpkin seeds for additional decoration.

*Remember you could use any flavour here or a mix of flavours - e.g orange, cherry bakewell, chocolate, vanilla would all work well depending on what base favour you opt for!


Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor. The mix should be soft and clumpy and easy to roll into balls. Using your hands, roll into balls of various (fairly small) sizes.

If choosing to decorate as multi-coloured ‘baubles’ - dust a little extra desiccated coconut with turmeric, greens power and beetroot power (plus blue spirulina if you can get your hands on it!- any other colours?!) and roll the balls in it.

Allow them to chill and firm up whilst the cheesecake base firms up.

Once ready to decorate, place the balls gently in a mix of sizes around the perimeter of the cake top. Sprinkle goji berries and pumpkin seeds as desired in the gaps as ‘foliage’.

NOTE: you could make these ahead of time as they will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. They transport well too if you needed to take them elsewhere to a festive party and decorate a cake there!

The entire assembled cheesecake will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

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Did you try it?

I’d love to see… tag @johodson on Instagram with your creation!! :-)

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Pear Porridge...with 'super boost' options!

This wasn't a planned post... so I apologise in advance that all the photos are shot on my iphone, not my pro dSLR I usually use for recipe posts!

I enjoyed this breakfast two days running this week with variations on each, so I spontaneously decided to share with you too.

Pear + Courgette + Ginger is always a winner for me! 

How about you- are you a fan of adding veggies to your porridge?

My favourites are courgette, carrot or sweet potato very finely grated and cooked in with the oats. There are loads (56 in total) porridge recipes and spin-offs in this recipe book I created in case you are interested!

On top of the pic below are my Wholeplus Toppers (relaunching with new eco packaging soon!), but you could use any topings you like... nuts, seeds, dried fruits, granola, a drizzle of nut butter... or nothing at all :-)

recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options

These photos also give a shout out to the book 'Thresholds' that I was featured in and have just had the hard copy delivered. Holding it in my hands was such a wondrous feeling. I contributed my story which tells of the most significant time of my life to date, I would love you to read it (it's in Kindle for only £1.49)... you can find more info here!

Recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options

Serves 1


  • 1/2 cup porridge oats (GF if desired)

  • 1/2 cup finely grated courgette

  • up to 1/2 cup boost options listed below* or more oats

  • 1 pear- half cut into tiny chunks and half sliced thinly (for top)

  • Large handful of small dried fruit pieces- such as chopped dates, raisins, cranberries, mulberries or my Wholeplus Toppers (see note above).

  • 1 tbs chia seeds or flax seed

  • 1 scant tsp grated ginger and/or ground turmeric (if using turmeric add a pinch of black pepper too to maximise nutrient absorption)

  • approx 1.5 cups non-dairy milk of choice - more or less for desired thickness as it cooks.

  • 1 tsp maca powder (optional)

  • Handful of sunflower or pumpkin seeds (optional)

*up to 1/2 cup of a mix of the following: vegan protein blend, almond flour, cooked quinoa, quinoa flakes, teff flour, shelled hemp seeds (less of the hemp) 


Finely grate the courgette and add along with all ingredients (other than toppings) to a medium pan on the stove top. Bring to a simmer and cook for approx 5 minutes, adding extra liquid as required for desired consistency.

Serve, decorate, eat!


  1. In the first two photos I added cooked quinoa to the oats and handful of pumpkin seeds, then topped with Wholeplus Toppers (Gingerbread, Super Seedy or Lemon Pie would be fab!)

  2. In the second two photos I added turmeric and black pepper then added 1/4 cup almond flour and 1/4 cup teff flour with a dusting of cinnamon on top.

recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options
recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options
recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options
recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options

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Ginger Pudding with gingerbread sauce!

It's already 5th December… Ahhhh, I have so many recipes I want to share in the run up to Christmas but getting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) has just not happened as much as I would have liked. But don't worry i'm back on it now!

I've been crazy busy behind the scenes getting all my final Wholeplus Christmas orders packaged and delivered to happy customers, as well writing the Real Food Source Christmas ebook AND gearing up for lots of new exciting things happening in the New Year.

I haven't even yet talked about my 'grain free' November,  I will do that tomorrow... promise! Plus loads more news in relation to my own health that I wanted to fill you in on in the spirit of full honesty and because hopefully it will help some of you too. 

...But for today I am excited to be featured on WellToDo London...  London's richest weekly edit of health and wellness culture.  

I created a ginger pudding with gingerbread sauce. It was inspired by this sticky toffee pudding recipe and this gingerbread sauce.

Perfect for the festive season and beyond!  

Go and check out the full recipe on WellToDo London HERE!

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. 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 always find me hanging out in these places:

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Cosy up with...pear carrot and ginger oatmeal

Just checking in with you all!

It's been ages since i've posted new recipe.... i've barely had time to experiment. My life has been consumed with website updates, Wholeplus production, coaching studies, book writing and seminar prep. I've barely ventured into the kitchen and smoothies and quick veg soups and stirfrys have pretty much been the norm for my meals of late.

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I couldn't stay out of the kitchen any longer (maybe that's procrastination trying to drag me away from 'scary stuff') so today I made two things- two super simple things!!

One I have for you today and the other hopefully early next week (thought you'll have seen it on my Instagram feed earlier today!)

After a hardcore spin session at the gym this morning I fancied something pretty substantial and full of texture instead of a smoothie. Oatmeal bumped up with veggies and fresh ginger for the anti-inflammatory kick. I often add a grated apple to my porridge but since I had a delivery of pears in the veg box this week the pear-carrot-ginger combo was born.  It was delicious, more so than I expected considering the amount of carrot I added for a single serve.

Add a drizzle of syrup to sweeten if you fancy- I used a tiny drizzle of approx 1 tsp of maple syrup for good measure. I also added maca powder as I like to add a little boost to breakfast or a smoothie during the day but again this is optional.

Back to website update! Hopefully they'll go live later tonight.... please let me know what you think, i'm feeling really nervous about this for some reason. Kind of like i'm putting myself out there before i'm ready. Though sometimes you never feel ready for the 'big stuff'.... you just have to get out there are start making your difference in the world and tweak as you grow, tweak as you grow...

...practice makes perfect!

Hope you are having an amazing weekend, whatever you get up to (I hope it includes eating this oat bowl!)

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Recipe: Pear carrot and ginger oatmeal

serves 1


  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (or other non dairy milk of choice)
  • 1 medium carrot- grated
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 pear- chopped
  • sweetener- optional
  • 1 tsp maca powder- optional for an extra boost


Add the oats, milk, ginger and carrot to a small pan on the stove. Simmer for 5 minutes  and then add the pear chunks, cook for a further few minutes until he carrot has softened and the oats have cooked, the pear should have also softened a little.

Remove from the heat and stir through the maca if using and serve immediately with a little drizzle of syrup if extra sweetness is desired.


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Gingerbread men... who like to be healthy!

It's Christmas cookie time!  

On Sunday, the first of December, I was in a baking mood. Of course it had to be a Christmas baking mood and we even had the Christmas music playing in the background... that was down to my mum!  

Though I will admit that I've now put the Christmas tunes on my laptop as I write this post- a 15 minute indulgence of Christmas tunes is a great start to the day, right?

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I've been trying to figure out an inventive 'healthified' gingerbread man recipe for ages.

I've made these gingerbread parcels in the past which were yummy but used wheat and were not of the crisp cookie variety.  I know when live made gingerbread men in the past (the first year i became vegan) i used non-healthy sugar and they were a perfect consistency, so i think this may have a large part to play (see also note* below).

y idea for this version was in large part inspired by Deliciously Ella's Gingerbread men, and true to style i simply mixed it up a bit (but I really loved the goji touch!)

I imagine these would also make great tree decorations, if you go that route i would bake them at a low heat for a lot longer to dry them our more. Plus if you follow me on Instagram, you'll see that yesterday I came cross another cool Christmas cookie idea that I will most definitely attempt in the next couple of weeks!

I have lots of other 'ginger' inspired recipes in my blog archives... i think this hot pear with gingerbread sauce may well be my favourite- and it only takes 5 minutes to whip up!  Oh and not forgetting my Wholeplus festive gingerbread balls (shame plus plug- ha ha!) I have a huge batch of those to make later for delivery to Saviour Snacks, plenty of lucky people will be getting those in their Christmas boxes ;-)

Tell me, what do you do to get in the festive mood? Oh and what is your favourite Christmas tune?

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Recipe: Gingerbread Men 

Makes approx 20 smallish gingerbread men

  • ingredients: 
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour (oat flour and brown rice flour should also work)
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 2 tbs ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • ½ cup date puree* plus stevia to taste (I used approx ¼ tsp vanilla stevia drops)
  • 2 tbs arrowroot
  • approx. ¼ cup fruit juice or no-dairy milk (to mix- add last)


Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate small bowl.

Add the wet to the dry, adding the liquid last to form a soft dough using your hands. Add the arrowroot with your hands to take the edge of the stickiness of the dough and help it bind together well, i find this makes a big difference. I also use it dust over the rolling surface.

Roll out the dough to approx. 3-4mm thick and cut into shapes of choice.  Bake for approx 15 mins at 180C keeping a close eye after 10 minutes to ensure they don’t burn. The exact length of time will depend how soft you lie your ginrgerbread- take out at closer to 10 minutes for softer.

Note: I added the decoration prior to baking BUT the goji’s burnt so I picked them off and re-positioned fresh ones using melted coconut butter to stick them in place. You could also decorate with piped melted cacoa liquor or dark chocolate if you fancied.

*I used date paste, however if believe that using a granular sugar (such as coconut sugar, rapadura/sucanat) would produce a crisper bite than these cookies. It depends on your cookie preference.

I always suggest you taste the dough as you go and add extra ginger, sweetness etc as you desire prior to rolling and baking.


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Apricot and ginger oat bake

I have been experimenting a lot with oats recently.... ha ha, no one needs encourage me there! 

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I've had a few exciting ideas on the 'oat' front, and I hope develop this into part of my Wholeplus range . But besides that I have also been experimenting with my oat bakes using the Real Food Source coconut milk powder in my pineapple coconut bake... it works! Winner! I'll be posting the updated recipe over there soon.

For now, this was another variations on the theme, using another of my favourite flavours...ginger! 

Okay so I admit this dish may not feature the most summery of flavours, but I wanted to make this oat bake for three reasons:

1- I love ginger and felt as though I haven't used it enough recently (cinnamon seems to get all the attention around these parts!).

2- I have been experimenting with different flavour combinations when it comes to my oat baked as they are a frequent  weekend brunch experience in my house!

3- many people around the world are not in the throws of summer so hopefully this recipe will cater everybody.... Even those with chilly mornings in need of a warming kick.

In a very similar theme to my apple and blueberry bake and the subsequent pineapple coconut bake this pretty much follows the same proportions. 

You could apple juice (or other juices) as the liquid component, I simply had orange to hand. Here I used ground ginger, but you could try using grated fresh ginger to taste. I also used a little crystallise ginger for some extra zing… but omit it if you prefer. I used organic canned apricots but you could substitute with fresh apricots or peaches if you have them to hand. Press them into the top of the bake mix so that they brown evenly and reduce the risk of burning before the bake is cooked through.

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Recipe: Apricot and ginger oat bake

Serves 2


  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 tbs ground flax or chia
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar sprinkled on top (or other sweetener of choice- optional)
  • 1 tbs finely chopped crystallised ginger
  • 1 small tin apricots- part chopped and part sliced (or substitute for fresh apricots or tinned pear)
  • ¾ cup orange juice (or use juice from the tinned fruit)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (use more or less to taste)


Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl, mix the chopped fruit through and arrange the sliced fruit on top of the mixture once spooned into the pie dish. Sprinkle a little sugar on top as desired.

Use a medium pie dish- approx 20cm diameter (the mixture should be approx 2cm deep). Bake at 180C for approx 30 mins until the top is golden and fruit lightly browned at the edges.

P.S I served mine warmed through with a splurge ginger spiced cashew cream.

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Sticky orange and ginger cake

You know how much I love a super simple two-minute cake, right?

Well, can you imagine how excited I was a week or so ago whilst wandering through the bakeware section of the supermarket, when these caught my eye….

That’s right, they are silicone ‘pods’ for poaching eggs… ah, but I don’t eat eggs. Confused?

…can you see where my thoughts are going yet?

They are the perfect way to create a perfectly domed single serving ‘mug cake’ that can easily be removed for serving on a little dish.  So much prettier than eating straight out of a mug (though nothing wrong with that either!), and so much simpler than trying the line a mug with clingfilm (as I did with my carrot cake) so that the cake can be removed.

Go on treat yourself!

I’ve already tried a few flavour combo’s out…and I have another recipe for another time, but for now how about a bit of sticky orange and ginger cake?

The magic ingredient in this cake is sugar free orange and ginger jam (you could easily use sugar free marmalade and add your own ginger). I use these ‘jams’ for all sorts of things… and they come in loads of flavours (I’d just run out of my blueberry). Great as a glaze, or as a juicy surprise centre like in these coconut tartsThey are sweetened with fruit only.

So onto the recipe itself, I have used white spelt flour but you could easily sub a GF mix (my usual one is equal measures of ground almonds, buckwheat flour and tapioca starch). Some of the jam is mixed through the batter or used as a surprise melty centre and the rest is melted over the top of the freshly cooked cake as a glaze. You will need very  little extra sweetener (if any) so go sparingly!

This sweet and citrusy dessert was the perfect pick me up for my Friday afternoon…and I certainly needed it after I’d given blood in the morning and then without heeding the nurses order of ‘rest and no strenuous activity’ for the rest of the day…I spent it on my feet for 5 hours in the kitchen, and as you know that is often a very strenuous activity. Ooops!

Resting with some cake now. All is better in the world.

Recipe: Sticky orange and ginger cake

Serves 1 (or double up for a sharing portion!)


  • 3 tbs white spelt flour (or GF mix)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Tiny pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbs melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp orange jam (for centre or mixed through) plus extra for glaze
  • 1 tsp agave syrup (if needed to taste)
  • Up to 2tbs  orange juice


Mix dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix well.  You can either add the jam to the mixture or reserve it to add as a melty centre.

In another greased/lined small microwaveable dish (or use a silicone egg poach!) spoon half of the mixture, add a dollop of jam to the centre (if preferred) and then spoon the remaining batter on the top.

Microwave for 40 seconds on full power. Test with a finger and if the sponge springs back you’re done. Cook for another 20 seconds if necessary.

Serve cake on a plate and spread a little more jam to glaze whilst the sponge is still hot. Decorate with mango or orange pieces, soy yoghurt/cream and a dusting of ginger.

(look at the gooooey melty centre peeping out at you....!)

(look at the gooooey melty centre peeping out at you....!)

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Gingerbread Loaf Cake

My second Daring Bakers Challenge reveal has arrived. 

This months challenge...Quickbread. 

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lis stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavour profiles.

You can see the challenge details hereIt was a very versatile challenge in which we had to come up with a recipe for a loaf, muffin or popover (i’d never even heard of that word before!) that didn't use yeast but instead used baking powder/soda as the raising agent. I fancied making a loaf, and as much as I love a good old banana bread (and was very tempted), that is something i’ve made many times before and my veganised banana plantain loaf was even one of the first recipes on my blog.

So, I had another think and a riffle through my folder of scribbles, notes, cutout, printouts of various recipes from all over.  I came across a gingerbread loaf that I had already written a few notes against with ideas for veganising.  I went a little further than this to bump up the healthy factor and used grated pureed carrot to sub most of the oil. The result was amazing, not at all dry but also not at all gummy as i’d sometimes found previously when just using agave nectar as the sweetener. It wasn’t too sweet and was a cross between a cake and a delicate bread with its fine texture.

I baked the ‘mixture in three mini loaf tins so I could vary the toppings. The other reason for this was to reduce the risk of any issue with the loaf browning on the top before being cooked in the middle. Judging by the texture of the loaf I think this may not have been an issue anyway, but I would still suggest using mini loaf tins or alternatively a shallower cake pan if you have them.  

For the tops I kept one loaf plain, decorated the second with chunks of crystalized ginger prior to baking (ok I accept that does have a little refined sugar), and covered the third in a thin sticky layer of chopped up crystalized ginger and agave syrup once baked but whilst the top was still warm.....all three options were delicious!

I served the loaf warm with a dollop of soy youghurt.

Recipe: Gingerbread Loaf

Makes 3 mini loaves (or 1 large)


  • 1 ½ cups wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tbs ground flax/chia and 2 tbs hot water
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • ½ cup agave syrup and ¼ tsp stevia
  • 1 tbs freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp oil (I used rapeseed)
  • 2 carrots grated/pureed
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • Chopped crystallized ginger for top- optional


Mix together the wet ingredients. Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to the wet. Mix through lightly and then pour batter into three mini greased/lined loaf tins (approx. 15cm length).

Sprinkle finely chopped crystallised ginger over the top of the loaf if desired.

Bake at 180C for approx. 30 mins. Check with a skewer to see when done.

Note: I used 3 mini loaf tins to eliminate any potential issue of undercooking/gumminess in the centre. In the past when I have used larger loaf tins the centre has not cooked before the top begins to brown.  This cake crumb was very light and so may not present any problem with a larger pan.

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