Posts tagged slices
Summer Berry Crumble Bars

I made this oat crumble as a surprise 'bressert' for my boyfriend last weekend. His favourite fruit is rhubarb and I had a few stalks in the garden that I wanted to use up.  I wanted a super healthy breakfast crumble that was indulgent enough for dessert (hence bressert).

I had planned for this to be enough to last us for breakfast ABD dessert late in the day.... but we ate it all for breakfast ;-)

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I first made this oat crumble recipe for my 'Not Just For Goldilocks' book, so I won't share it in full right here, BUT I will share with you a great spin-off in the form of these bars. I made the bars in the photos below initially for Real Food Source last year and using the same principle as the crumble I made them again.

These bars are quite soft and cakey with a crisp top, which is how I love them. I used a combination of oats, ground almonds and tiger nut flour for the topping, but other flours in place of tiger nuts and almonds would also work.

They also have a great nutritional boost by way of chia seeds which are also used here to thicken and bind the base and fruit layer.

These are perfect served hot with some vegan for a little indulgence or with a dollop of plain vegan yoghurt for a breakfast option.

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Recipe: Summer Berry Crumble Bars

Makes approx 12 squares

Ingredients:

Crumble:

  • 1 ½ cup oats

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds

  • 1 cup tiger nut flour (or other flour such as wholemeal, spelt or a gluten-free blend)

  • ½ cup coconut oil– melted

  • approx. 2 tbs coconut syrup (to taste)

  • 2 tbs chia seeds and 3 tbs warm water (mixed to gel)

Berry Layer:

  • 1 heaped cup stewed fruit (I used a combination of apple, rhubarb and raspberries)*

  • approx. 1 tbs maple syrup

  • 2 tbs chia seeds

  • ½ cup rough chopped nuts of choice for topping (optional)

*I used approx 2 small/medium apples, 2 medium stalks or rhubarb and a large handful of raspberries (I didn't measure precisely but it equated to a good cup of fruit once cooked down)

Method:

Mix the oats, ground almond and tiger nut flour dried with the melted coconut oil and syrup. Set aside approx. 1/4 of this mixture for the topping (or more for a thicker topping).

To the remaining mix, add the chia ‘gel’ to help bind. Press the crumble mix firmly into an 8” square pan- it should be approx 1cm deep.  Bake for approx 15 minutes at 180C until just golden.

Meahwhile stew the fruit in a saucepan, adding a little syrup to taste as the rhubarb and raspberries are tart. No extra liquid is required as the fruit will release it's own. Add the chia seeds during the last few minutes to help thicken.

Remove the base crumble from the oven and spread the fruit layer evenly over the top. Add the reserved crumble mix, plus extra chunky nuts if desired.

Bake for another 5 minutes or so until the topping is golden and the fruit bubbling.

Serve hot or cool (note: the bars slice better when cool)

 

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Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

So here's a super simple recipe that I first made a month or two ago and I think I have now made at least 4 times since! It's a great one to make with or for kids too.

They are soooooo moreish it's unreal.... a soft and chewy 'bliss ball' texture with loads of crispy flakes mixed through.

The added bonus with the high proportion of flakes mixed in is that it helps lighten up an otherwise dense snack... that's the only problem with bliss balls/energy balls- they are very dense for their size and if like me you have a tendency to 'eat with your eyes' - it's very easy to overdo it!

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Guilty admission- as I sit here writing this post, I have a box of these bites beside to take on a road trip with a friend this afternoon, BUT I have already munched through the about four of them! Oooops.... ;-)

This most recent batch I made had protein powder added instead of the coconut flakes. This really helps bump up the protein count, if that's your thing for for it. One tip- I found they flavour was so much better the following day- on day 1 I could slightly taste the protein powder but by the second day onwards it had pretty much disappeared as the flavours had time to meld.

You can use any type of crispy flaked cereal you like, but for extra nutritional value I used these amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat cornflakes by RealFoodSource (amaranth is shown in the photos here) 

You can press the mix into a square pan and cut into squares/bars or roll into balls, both work great. They freeze well too, and can even be munch o straight from the feeezer (mind your teeth- you may prefer to defrost a little!)

Add any 'mix-ins' you fancy, some other dried fruits, nutty chunks or an extract such as peppermint, orange or almond always go down well. If using an extract- about 1/2 tsp should do mixed in at the start, with other ingredients pulse through at theed for a chunky texture.

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Recipe: Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped dates

  • 1/2 cup cocoa (or raw cacao)

  • 1/4 cup ground flax (optional but I like the hidden nutritional boost)

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or any ground nut)*

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 cup flakes cereal

handful chocolate chips or cacoa nibs- optional for extra crunch and chocolateyness

* for the protein version I swapped the ground nuts for defatted almond protein powder- you favorite neutral protein blend would also work here.

Method:

Place the dates, cocoa, flax, nuts and salt in a food processor. process until you have a soft-ish, sticky and clumpy mix- you will likely need to add 2-3 tbs water to create the right consistency.

Add the cereal flakes and choc chips (if using) and pulse through to mix in evenly.

Press firmly into a tin or roll into balls, Chill for an hour until firm.

Will keep for a week or two in the fridge or you can freeze them.

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'Golden Bars'... Turmeric Granola bars (perfect 'back to school' snack!)

So turmeric is kind of a big deal at the moment in the health and wellness world... turmeric lattes and golden milk is now pretty much mainstream!

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I first made these bars a few months ago (when the photos were taken) and have since made them so many times with slight tweaks to the mix-ins depending on what I have to hand... they are perfect for festival food and camping trips, full of good nutrition, great sustenance for a mini meal or snack that keep you going for ages, and robust to pack!

I also realised they would be perfect for lunchboxes or after school snacks now back to school season has hit. Equally, they'd be great for breakfast-on-the-go, or a healthy mid morning/afternoon snack at work.

These were actually a spin on these amazing chocolate banana squares... featured in my 'Not Just For Goldilocks' ebookThey taste more dessert-like than snack like.

As all of my favourite recipes the variations really are endless- just be mindful to keep the proportions of wet and dry the same.

Tell me... what are you favourite 'back-to-school' or breakfast-on-the-go snacks?

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Recipe: Golden Granola Bars

Makes approx 12 squares

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 large mashed bananas
  • ¼ cup nut butter of choice
  • ¼ cup ground turmeric*
  • 2 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 packed chopped dried fruit (I find cranberries, dates, apricots best)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper (don’t omit as this activates the turmeric)
  • 2 tbs ground ginger or cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts and seeds
  • ½ cup cacao nibs or dark chocolate drops (not shown in this photos but are a great addition)

*or equivalent fresh turmeric root blended into the water

Method:

Blend the water with the bananas, nut butter and fresh turmeric (if using) until very smooth.

In a separate bowl mix together the remaining ingredients and then add the banana mix slowly, making sure the everything is fully coated (it’s easy to get pockets of dry pieces if you are not careful!). If the mixture is too thick, add a touch more water.

Note: taste test the mix before baking and add a little syrup/coconut sugar only if needed.

Spoon the mixture into lined and greased brownie tin so that it is approx 2cm thick. Press firmly and smooth the top. Bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

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Easy raw chocolate brownies

Guess what... it's national chocolate week! Time for a little celebration with a new recipe I think! 

I wanted to give you an indulgent chocolatey classic, yet something easy to whip up in minutes.

I have just the thing.  Actually it's a spin on these chocolate balls which are always a winner with people whenever I make them and so  a pressed a sliced version was a nice alternative. For some reasons changing the format of things always makes them taste different! I always remember when I was younger how much more I loved Maltersers in the cardboard box compared to in the regular packets! (anyone agree or am I just a weirdo!!)

You could add walnuts here for an even more authentic brownie if you fancy. I dusted the top with a raw cacao and coconut sugar blend.

Eve though they are not baked, these slices have a beautiful cake like quality to them, deeply rich, slightly crumbly and melt in the mouth. Keep them in the fridge and they'll stay more robust. They also freeze very well too not that they'll be around for long enough!

Easy raw chocolate brownies

Recipe: Easy raw chocolate brownies

Ingredients: 

Makes approx. 12 slices

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup almond or cashew butter
  • 2 tablespoon coconut syrup
  • 12 pitted dates( based on deglet noor dates but if using larger medjool dates reduce to 7 dates)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup raw cacoa powder (plus extra raw cacao to dust- optional)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (optional)

Method:

Soak the dates in hot water for 5 mins and then drain. In a food processor, process all the truffle ingredients together to form a thick paste, it should be sticky but not to sticky to handle. Add the walnuts to the mix last and stir through by hand (or a couple of pulses) so they don[t break up too much.

Press the mix firmly into a lined 8" square pan. Dust the top with cacao if desired. Chill until firm before slicing. Keep in the fridge.

Easy raw chocolate brownies
Easy raw chocolate brownies
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Toffee granola bars

For me, the best granola bars are lovely and dense with a great chunky texture to really get your teeth into… I also love a granola bar to be slightly moist and cakey rather than hard and crisp like a biscuit. Most of the granola bars sold in stores seem to be of the ‘hard’ variety.

A lightly sweetened, moreishly moist, healthy, fill-you-up cakey bar to grab on the run… yeah I think that pretty much sums it all up!

I have saved a number of different ‘granola bar’ style recipes from various sources across the net and I’ll be sure to try them out (with various tweaks and modifications) over the coming days and weeks.  However, the recipe for today comes from an original experiment I did a few months back when I wanted to make my own date syrup to act as alternative sweetener. The bar is based on this recipe by Oh She Glows, I loved it’s description indicating a healthy yet more cakey style bar. True to form I had to go changing things round a bit and so this is my take on the concept.

This is the second time I’ve made these bars, pretty much sticking to the same ingredients each time. The bars are fairly soft inside and slightly crumbly to bite into, but I really like them that way- a great contrast to the firm exterior. Wrap them up in foil or clingfilm to hold them together and they are good to go to the office or to be popped in a handbag! These store well in an airtight container for around 1 week.

I have used homemade date syrup as the main source of sweetness and as the main sticky ingredient binding everything together. Dates naturally have a caramelly, toffee like flavour so made the perfect complement for creating a natural toffee-like granola bar.

Recipe: toffee granola bars

Makes one 8” pan. Approx. 12 bar

Ingredients

  • ½ cup date syrup (homemade see note) or brown rice syrup- or a bit of each
  • 2 tbs ground flax
  • 1 ½ cups oats
  • ¼ cup buckwheat flour (or other similar textured flours could be used)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts- I used cashews and hazlenuts
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp stevia
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup  cacoa nibs or dark chocolate chunks

Method

Mix the date syup and flax together and set aside. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl (excluding cacoa/choc chunks). Add the remaining wet ingredients (coconut oil, peanut butter, vanilla) to a small microwaveable bowl and microwave on medium power for approx. 2 minutes until the coconut oil has melted. (alternatively melt in a saucepan over the hob) stir in the date/flax mix last.

Spoon wet mixture over the dry and mix well- use your hands as the mixture is quite stiff! Add cacoa nibs/chocolate chunks last, making sure mixture is cool so the chocolate doesn’t melt (if using). 

Line an 8” pan with baking parchment and spoon the mixture in pressing it down as level as possible with  the back of a spoon. Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until the surface is beginning to go golden. Allow to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack for approx. 30 minutes before attempting to slice with a very sharp knife, as otherwise the edges have a greater tendency to crumble.

Note: To make date syrup, soften dates with an equal amount of boiling water. let stand for 30 minutes or so until soft and then blitz in a blender/food procesor until smooth. you can also add a little vanilla extract if desired.


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Christmas Day…done! (and Chocolate Cream Cranberry sponge)

So how long did you spend in your jammies Christmas day morning?

This year I was actually pretty good and got dressed well before lunch…but not until I’d opened my stocking (which usually includes some underwear and socks!)

Christmas day was spent at home with my family- mum, dad, brother and sister. All the presents were piled under the tree and every year that still seems so magical to me! We spent quite a few hours in the run up to lunch giving out the gifts, interspersed with trips back and forth to the kitchen to manage proceedings.

This year I packaged my gifts in brown paper with a minimal amount of sticky tape to help the recycling process! …but I do love lots of ribbon- it’s not Christmas without lots if ribbon! Part of the gifts to my family were bottles of my homemade  vanilla extract.

I also decided it would be a novelty to give homemade ‘vouchers’ so they could choose they own personalised cakes from my growing list of recipes. It will be interesting to see what they choose!

We all pitched in to help with Christmas lunch.  My main task was the brussel sprouts …so…many….sprouts…to…peel! I blanched them and then pan fried them with shallots and chestnuts. 

My other self-appointed roll was as ‘dessert creator’. I wanted to provide a lighter healthy vegan alternative to go alongside the traditional Christmas pud. It needed to be something pretty fool proof and easy to put together (no dramas on Christmas day thank you!).

I decided upon a combination of many of the recipes I have posted in recent days. The ingredients list may look long but the method is actually so simple.

…light fat-free chocolate sponge (based on this recipe)

...chocolate chestnut frosting (previously mentioned here) or you could use your own favourite.

…cranberry compote (based on this recipe) or any berries could be used.

…all layered up to create one fruity luxurious Christmas chocolate cream sponge! 

I really love the tart berries combined with the sweetly smooth and creamy frosting, topping the light and springy sponge base.  The perfect end to a sumptuous satisfying dinner…even those who claim they ‘couldn’t eat another thing’ could squeeze in a pieces of this!

Recipe: Chocolate cream cranberry sponge

Makes one 10x15 inch pan (or a thicker sponge for a slightly smaller pan)

Ingredients

Sponge base: (this can be made a day in advance)

  • 10 1/2 oz. firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup rapadura
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract 
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water (see egg replacer note below )
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1 tbs ground flax mixed with 2tbs hot water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Chestnut cream frosting: (Can be made in advance). I used a two-layered approach with mychocolate frosting smoothed directly over the sponge (I had some reserved in the freezer) and then this chestnut frosting over that.

  • 100g silken tofu
  • 20g agave or brown rice syrup plus ¼ tsp stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chestnut puree (I used canned puree)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder

Cranberry compote:

  • Approx. 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3 tbs rapadura (extra if you don’t like your cranberries too tart)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 10x15 inch pan with baking parchment. In food processor, mix the tofu, rapadura, agave, vinegar, water, vanilla and flax mix. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the blended tofu mixture into flour mixture; stir together thoroughly. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth batter evenly into pan and bake  for 10-12 minutes.

Allow to cool before lifting from the pan. The sponge can be made up to a day in advance.

To prepare the frostings, blend all ingredients listed together in a food processor until a smooth consistency forms. Layer the frostings up on top of the sponge.

To make the cranberry compote, add the fresh cranberries to a small sauce pan along with the rapadura, cinnamon and water. Simmer and stir every minute or so for 10- 15 minutes until the berries have softened and formed a thick compote.

Spoon the compote on top of the frosting and serve immediately.

The dessert can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.

P.S. I know I also promised a boxing day pasty recipe!  We made the pasties for lunch today and now I just need to get it all written up…I promise this is on its way! It maybe too late for your Christmas day leftovers but it is also the perfect recipe idea for any ‘roast’.


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