Posts in baked desserts
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 ;-)

vegan berry oat crumble .jpg

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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Mini Christmas Pudding Porridge... takes just 3 mins all in!!

This was my epic breakfast last weekend. It looks like dessert, to be honest it is totally worthy of 'bressert' status. For dessert use the juice as noted and sprinkle the coconut sugar. Job done!

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You could prepare the mix ahead of time too and just let it sit for an hour or so, possibly overnight, I haven't tried it that way but I don't see why it wouldn't work. 'Overnight Oats Christmas Pudding Porridge', ha ha! The best thing ever to wake up to on Christmas morning... with absolute minimal prep!

It literally takes three mins to make from start to finish! (if you use a microwave- see my notes below).

I make servings like this using a silicone egg poacher - so handy, the perfect size and they are flexible so the contents come out so easily. I highly recommend investing in one for you single serve cakes and such like (not eggs!) ;-)

What will you be making on Christmas day morning?

Are you more sweet or savoury?

I'm such a sweet porridge girl so that's been my go-to to make for my family these last few years. If you haven't already, I highly recommend trying these too- the bakewell pie and the classic festive baked oatmeal that kicked it all off!

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Recipe: Mini Christmas Pudding Porridge!

Serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats

  • 2 tbs ground nuts of any kind

  • 1/4 cup apple puree

  • 1/4 cup mixed dried fruit (a mix of some of these: raisins/sultanas/currants/cranberries/gojis)

  • 1/2 tsp spice or more to taste (I used a little of mixed spice & cinnamon)

  • 1 heaped tbs flax

  • 1/4 cup water (or juice for extra sweetness)

Method:

Mix everything together well in a small bowl.

Spoon into a small circular microwaveable domed dish- I use an egg poacher (so great for mini cakes!!) Press firmly and smooth the top.

Microwave for 90 seconds on high power. Carefully loosen and tip out onto serving plate and dress with vegan yoghurt or cream plus any extra fruits and spices, I used gojis, but a cranberry compote or some festive jam would be amazing! If you prefer an even sweeter porridge sprinkle a touch of coconut sugar, it was fine for me without.

*Notes: I rarely use a microwave these days but I didn't want to turn on the oven on for this tiny dish, I also find it crisps/dries up more in the oven and this works best when the moistness is maintained. By all means try the oven but don't overcook- cover loosely in foil and make sure middle is still very moist!

If you try the microwave option but are making multiple puddings- cook one at a time or increase the timing- I have only tried cooking one.

christmas pudding porridge 4a.jpg
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BEST EVER chocolate brownie round up!

Yesterday, the 8th December was #nationalbrownieday.... waahh, another day I missed. Any chance to celebrate chocolate and cake, right! 

So I am a day late to the party, but who cares. I figured this was a good excuse to share a brownie round-up with all the best brownie recipes I've created over the years. There are quite a few, and all very different too. Plenty to try out and inspire you to put you own twist on things.

This is the description taken from 'National Day Calendar (I can't guarantee how accurate this info is!)

"Brownies were created in the United States at the end of the 19th century.  A cross between a cookie and cake, they soon became very popular across the country. There was a request for a dessert for a group of ladies that would be attending a fair in the late 1800s.  They wanted a small cake-like dessert that could be eaten from a boxed lunch.  A Chicago chef, working at the Palmer House Hotel, created the first brownie for the ladies, which featured an apricot glaze and walnuts.  The Palmer House Hotel still serves their original recipe for brownies on their menu."

Brownies are the perfect platform for veganizing, healthanising, de-gluten-ing and hiding veggies and beans in. I love the fact that brownies are by their nature quite dense and a little gooey - this makes it easy to hide sight 'mistakes' too (a light airy cake is typically much harder to achieve when keeping the above objectives in mind!)

I consider brownies to be the perfect beginner cake when transitioning to alternative baking!

Click the text links below to for the original recipes and have a scroll through my gallery to tickle your fancy. 

One of my all time favourite recipes for ease, flavour and versatility is my award-winning Chocolate Banana Brownie Bread, so I have included a free downloadable recipe card for it below- scroll down and click the pic to download.

Enjoy the round-up and please do tag me on Facebook or Instagram if you make any of the recipes... i'd love to see them! :-)

1) Pumpkin brownies are a great way of packing veg in cakes (sweet potato works well as a swap as does courgette and carrot or even parsnip!)

2) A bit this year late for advent- but these festive advent calendar brownie bites were a very early recipe on my blog! (you could use any recipe and apply the same ideas as brownies freeze so well)

3) The carrot cake brownies follow a similar theme to the pumpkin brownies, served in cake-like wedges!

4) These raw chocolate brownies are packed with nuts for a rich an filling treat! A little goes a long way.

5) Raspberry ripple brownie slices... packed with tofu and black beans for a fat-free brownie variation!

6) For a non-chocolate version, you can try these double banana blondies.

7) This raw black bean fudge brownie is a spin on my 'worlds healthiest fudge' with added chunky nuts and dried fruits for a brownie vibe!

8) Last but not least... the chocolate banana brownie bread (great as a loaf, slice or muffins) scroll down for the recipe card.

There final two pics shown in my gallery were created for other publications/brands beyond this site... but you could replicate the same kind of thing with any of the recipes above.

For the protein brownies, swap in some of your favourite plant-based protein for some of the flour in any brownie recipe. Make the 'deconstructed brownie trifle' but slicing the brownie into small cubes and tossing with berries and yoghurt or coconut cream- makes an amazing super simple dessert!

Download the Choc Banana Brownie bread that was a 2016 PETA 'Bake Off' Finalist below...

 
 

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The healthiest ever... carrot, apricot & ginger cake!

It's been a while since I posted a new recipe... I've been busy working on the blog, but more behind the scenes- trying to sort my recipe index out (slow progress!) and also creating a book based on my mindset posts. I have also been coaching a lot more in recent months too and that hs been a priority.

That said I've missed creating sweet things and photography! Last weekend I was feeling in the mood to bake something... and put a post on my personal Facebook page asking what things people wanted 'healthanizing' ... billionaires shortbread got a mention (I'll try and get onto that before xmas) and so did carrot cake.

carrot ginger apricot cake.jpg

Well, it just so happens that a few weeks ago I did make a fantastic carrot cake, and the comment prompted me to get it up on the blog!  This is a blend of carrot, ginger and apricot for an indulgent twist on the classic.  It's super healthy- packed with fruit and veg, minimal processed ingredients and made with oats, I'm pretty sure it could be made entitely gluten free very easily. 

The carrot cake may not be particularly festive, but it's still great for a party of a gathering or bookmark it for a springtime treat :-)  If you love carrot cake BUT also love chocolate... you should definitely try this chocolate brownie carrot cake!

Final top tip before you go ahead and make it - this cake keeps well for a few days in the fridge, in fact I think it tastes even better the day after it's made- richer and cakier!

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Recipe: Carrot, Apricot & Ginger Cake!!

Ingredients:

  • 2tbs flax and 1/4 cup water- mixed

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil- melted

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk

  • 1 medium apple- cored

  • 1 tps baking soda

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • Pinch salt

  • 1 heaped tsp ginger powder

  • 1 cup finely grated carrot

  • 1 cup fine oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (you could probably sub a GF flour blend)

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds

  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

Method:

Blend the flax mix with the melted coconut oil, non-dairy milk and the apple until fully pureed. In a sperate large bowl mix together the dry ingredients then add all wet ingredients plus any remaining ingredients to it, stir through until well mixed.

Spoon batter into two 8" cake pans- the layers will be fairly thin. Bake for approx 30 mins at 180C, loosely cover with foil if tops are browning too quickly. Allow to fully cool before frosting.

Meanwhile, make the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy yoghurt

  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil

  • 1 tbs mild syrup

Method: Mix together and then allow to thicken in the fridge.

To decorate (optional), make the balls on top:

  • 1 medium carrot

  • 1 cup dates

  • 1 tbs ground ginger

  • 1/2 cup almond or cashew butter

Method: Blitz together all ingredients in a food processor and then make into balls. If the mix is a little too wet, allow to chill in fridge to firm up before forming.

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For some festive foodie vibes... I have a few treats planned for the coming weeks, feel free t leave me your ideas too!

In the meantime, I would love to share with you my top five festive recipes last year, I put them together in a mini book you can find here. 

 
 

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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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Carrot Cake Brownies (in time for Easter!)

This cake is a wicked cross between my all-time favourite courgette brownie cake and a carrot cake… I swapped the courgette for carrot and changed up the spices a little. I figured this would make fabulous Easter treat… Or any time of year (or week) really where you want to celebrate a little! 

Recipe: Carrot Cake Brownies

I have made variations of this cake (remember my PETA shortlisting!) so many times now and I know it works perfectly in a brownie pan, a round cake pan (this recipe is sized for an 8" pan), muffin trays or cupcake trays. You can leave the top plain or frost it. You can even add chopped nuts dried foods mixed through in the batter... so many possibilities!

This type of cake also freezes really well, some say brownies taste better once I've been frozen and defrosted- I'll let you be the decider of that. But I will say this is a great cake to always keep on standby in the freezer to satisfy a little chocolate craving when it strikes or if you have last minute unexpected company!

For other highly recommended easy Easter treats... have a look at these Easter nests I made for Real Food Source and also the Hot Cross cookies are a great non-chocolate option that I also love to make each year. Finally these 'cream eggs' from 4 year ago now (whaaaaat- 4 years!) are a little more fiddly- but fun ;-) 

What have you got planned for Easter treats?

Recipe: Carrot Cake Brownies

Recipe: Carrot Cake Brownies

Makes 1 x 8” round or square cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed dates (soaked then drained for easier blending)

  • approx 3 tbs coconut syrup (other other preferred syrup)

  • ½ cup water or non dairy milk

  • 1 cup finely grated carrot

  • 2 tsp cinnamon and/or nutmeg

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil- melted

  • ¼ cup ground flax seed

  • ¾ cup cocoa powder

  • 1 cup oat flour (I ground some regular porridge oats)

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder

  • 1 heaped tsp baking soda

Method:

Blend all the wet ingredients with the flax seed to form a smooth fairly runny paste. Allow to stand for a couple of minutes. Stir through the gated carrot (save a little for the top).

Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add the wet. Mix lightly but well to form a thick soft batter. Add a little extra water if necessary. Taste test for sweetness and add a little extra syrup if necessary.

Spoon the batter into a lined/greased muffin pan or round cake tin (you could also make cupcakes) and smooth the top as best you can. Add the remaining sprinkles of grated carrot and press down lightly to reduce chance of burning.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for approx 30 minutes, after 10-15 minutes it is advisable to lightly cover the top of the pan with foil to prevent the top browning before the centre is cooked through.

Allow to cool before slicing.  Store in the fridge for up to 1 week…this cake tastes even better the next day!

Here are my Hot Cross Cookies.... a bit like like a bun but sooooo much easier to make!

Here are my Hot Cross Cookies.... a bit like like a bun but sooooo much easier to make!

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NEW Workbook Launch.... and Sweet Potato Choc Orange Muffins!

Yesterday I finally completed something I have actually been working on for some years now!

As you will gather from the title of this website, and this little story I shared a few weeks ago... quitting refined sugar BUT still eating treats is a huge factor in optimising my own life! It's something of a mission for me to share with the world :-)

In my opinion it is in one of the BEST things you can do for your body and mind equally, regardless of what kind of diet you follow. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free etc ....everyone can benefit hugely from cutting out refined sugar from their diets!

A couple of years ago, after immersing myself in countless books, data, articles etc all about sugar, and even having this article published in the first ever edition of Vegan Life Magazine (huge proud moment!) I wrote the copy for an 8-week course I planned to run through a dedicated Facebook group in the lead up to summer. I created all the graphics and promo too.

It was literally all set to go.... but then 'life' for in the way and I didn't run it at all. All the wonderful content lay dormant on my laptop, even though I knew it had the potential to change so many peoples lives.  I feel a little embarrassed now admitting this to you all.

But I never forgot about it.

A few week ago I saw Star Kechara's passive income challenge to create a interactive workbook. It suddenly clicked.... all that wonderful copy I had written could be remodelled (and added to of course with all my new knowledge) into a workbook that people could fill in and work through at their own pace. A resource for life. It felt such a good fit!

So here it is! Now complete in all it's glory!  PLUS as an added bonus I have written a (pretty incredible) extended version of my 'sugar-free recipe book' as the perfect companion to the 4-week workbook challenge.

AND...I am offering this HUGE bundle (pictured above) for the price of the workbook alone until January 31st 2017!

You can find all the info with a sneak peak of what you'll get in the details here!

Or if you want to check out just the recipe book alone... details are here!


In the mean time I want to share a new recipe a from the recipe book with you... a little gift! This is a direct page grab from the book so you can see exactly how the recipes are laid out. 

These mini muffins are perfect for Christmas but any time of year really.... and it just so happens to be my favourite flavour combo (remember my little story!) True to nature they also pack some veggies in. I used sweet potato but this is a spin on my classic 'crazy courgette cake' so courgette or even carrot would work well here too!

I hope you make them, and enjoy them.... please tag me if you do! It always makes me smile. :-)

chocolate orange muffins
vegan chocolate orange mufffins
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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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