Blueberry muffins

Emmelou Green’s recipe for blueberry muffins looks delicious but I don’t like using butter in recipes since they’re already so calorie dense. So today I experimented by replacing the butter with courgette! Success! Enjoy these moreish and healthy treats.

Ingredients

200g rice or buckwheat flour

50g almond meal

50g raw cane sugar

100g finely grated courgette (mix it in the mixer so you get a mushy mix)

150g yoghurt

2 eggs

1 tsp psyllium

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Zest of 1 lemon

Handful of blueberries

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Line or oil a muffin tray.

Mix all of the ingredients apart from the blueberries together.

Add the blueberries. I chucked in a piece of chocolate in each muffin.

Divide the mix over the muffin tray and bake in the oven for 30 mins.

Syrupy blood orange cake

I’ve not had much time to experiment with baking recently, but when I saw @growforagecookferment’s Instagram post about blood orange cake, I just needed to see if I might turn it into something I might be allowed to eat.m

My son’s been eating so many blood oranges recently, it’s been exciting to do something else with the oranges rather than just devouring them raw!

Ingredients

Syrup: 120ml water, 90g sugar, and 60ml maple syrup, 2 blood oranges finely sliced

100g almond meal

140g finely grated sweet potato

80g buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

90g maple syrup

120g lactose free yoghurt

1/4 tsp psyllium

2 eggs

Rind of 2 lemons and some dried rosemary

Instructions

For the syrup, boil the water, sugar, and maple syrup for 5 minutes.

Add the blood orange slices gently, and leave to simmer for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, Pre-heat the oven to 175C.

Mix all of the cake ingredients to quite a dry mix.

Put one orange slice in the middle of an oiled cake tin with baking paper. Put more slices from the middle, overlapping until the touch the outside of the tin. Add some syrup on top.

Pour the cake mix on top of the orange slice.

Bake for 45 mins.

Turn the cake upside down and take out of the tin.

Pour some more syrup over the cake before you eat it. The rind is edible by the way.

Double chocolate & pear cupcakes

Pears and chocolate is one of my favourite autumn combinations. Since my boy needs snacks for school, these cupcakes seemed like a great option. They will keep moist for 5 days in the fridge because of the added pear.

Ingredients

2 eggs

150g raw cane sugar

220g peeled and grated courgette

100g buckwheat or rice flour

60g almond meal

60g raw cacao powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp psyllium (optional)

Pinch of salt

3 pears, peeled and diced

Handful of chocolate buttons

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Beat eggs and sugar together for 4 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients and mix gently until combined. Add the chocolate buttons and diced pear at the end.

Spoon the mix into greased muffin cases.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Delectable lunchbox caramel apple muffins

It’s starting to feel quite autumnal and a change in eating habits is slowly taking place: soup replacing salad, porridge replacing yoghurt with granola… I’ve got so any recipes in my mind with pear, squash, and other autumn goodies, but for now I had apples to use up that I’d bought for juicing which I hadn’t gotten round to. The addition of date caramel lends complexity to these muffins which kid will be taking to school and I to work. Can’t wait!

Ingredients

5 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small chunks

For the date caramel:

5 medjoul dates, pitted and soaked in water for 15 mins

50ml milk of any kind

Pinch of nutmeg and salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the muffins:

3 eggs

100g raw cane sugar or replacement

200g peeled and finely grated courgette

180g buckwheat flour

160g almond meal

2 tsp baking powder

1tsp psyllium

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Make the date caramel: mix all the ingredients for the caramel in a blender and pour over the apple chunks. Mix thoroughly.

Make the muffins:

Beat the eggs and sugar for 4 minutes.

Add the other muffin ingredients and mix carefully until combined.

Add the apple chunks with date caramel and mix thoroughly.

With an ice cream scoop, scoop spoons of the mixture into oiled muffin cases.

Bake in the oven for 35 mins. Leave to cool completely before removing from the muffin cases.

This mix makes 20 muffins. Enjoy !

Double chocolate and banana tray bake

I have an issue with sugar. I tend to seek it when I crave comforting, when my world’s in turmoil. And so my GP suggested I wait for 5 minutes before I eat chocolate and I ask myself which emotion I’m feeling and how it connects with my chocolate craving. I’ve found it really helpful to acknowledge when I’m stress-eating. I’m also trying to increase my baking, so at least I have something healthier in the fridge when I do give in to that sugar fix.

And so I whipped up this tray bake in five minutes last night. It’s chocolatey enough to soothe my cravings, but with bananas and eggs also has enough nutrition to not feel entirely like wasted calories.

Ingredients

3 overripe mashed bananas

2 eggs

100g olive oil

100g buckwheat or rice flour

50g almond meal

50g corn starch

1tsp psyllium

100g raw cane sugar (or other sugar), increase to 150 if you’ve a sweet tooth

50g raw cocoa powder

30g pecan chunks

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp gingerbread spice

Pinch of salt

Chocolate chips. I used the vegan ‘chocolates from heaven’

For the top: 100g lactose-free or vegan cream cheese mixed with 100g vegan coconut or almond yoghurt and a dpllp of maple syrup to your taste.

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Mix all of the ingredients and pour into a greased tray.

Leave in the oven for 30 mins.

Leave to cool entirely, then spread the cream cheese and yoghurt mix on top, sprinkle with some pecan chunks and enjoy!

Biiig cookie🍪

I can’t remember the last time I posted a new recipe. I’ve been so busy at work, and in early July also moved house. It’s been… a lot.

But I finally got some time to myself and since I’ve been baking this skillet cookie for months now, since it’s such an easy recipe, I thought it’s time to share the recipe! Great for when you have guests as you can just put the tray on the table and let them help themselves.

Ingredients

100g almond meal

80g rice or buckwheat flour

50g rapadura or other sugar

100g apple sauce, jam, or pumpkin purée (basically what you’ve got in the cupboard)

70g liquid coconut oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Then for filling I usually combine chocolate chunks and berries, but knock yourself out!

This doesn’t last long…

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 170C.

Mix all of the ingredients and pour into a pre-oiled skillet or tray.

Add the filling at the end: press chocolate chunks and berries randomly on the cookie.

Bake for 20 mins. Leave to cool for half an hour. Enjoy with ice cream!

Christmassy pear & minced fruit cake with home-made marzipan

If you read my previous recipe, you’ll know I made my own mincemeat a few days ago, for the first time ever. It’s delicious and I wanted to try using it in a few ways. So yesterday there were traditional mince pies (and people from outside the UK were like – wait, there’s no meat in these?! Bizarre how some cultural things don’t travel.) Today I baked a fancy fluffy christmas cake using up the mincemeat in combination with pear and some very quick marzipan balls which are hidden in the middle of the cake (surprise!). I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Ingredients

For the cake:

3 medium eggs

100 raw cane sugar or honey

200g very finely grated courgette

120g ground almonds

1,5 tsp baking powder

zest of 2 lemons

a pinch of salt

For the filling:

150g mincemeat

1 large pear, diced into fairly hefty chunks

80g almond flour

50g honey

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar/honey together for five minutes till very fluffy.
  • Add the other cake ingredients and mix well.
  • Add the diced pear and mincemeat.
  • Mix almond flour and honey in a blender until well combined. Then roll out small balls in the palm of your hand.
  • Pour half the cake mix into a 18cm diameter pre-oiled cake tin.
  • Put the marzipan balls on top, spread out over the surface.
  • Pour over the other half of the cake mix and flatten the surface.
  • Bake for 35 mins. Let cool entirely. Enjoy with cinnamon ice cream or something similar.

Healthy cranberry mince pies

I’ve had one busy term at work, and it made me very sad not to have time to bake. So I’ve been catching up in the past few weeks since my workload has eased (a little…). Strangely (or perhaps not strangely, considering these discomforting times), it took a while to get my creative juices flowing again: for the first few weeks I just used my existing recipes or other people’s. But while talking to friends in the UK and Ireland, I got so nostalgic (not to mention upset about not being able to travel there) about a British-Irish christmas, I just wanted to do something so I could at least feel I was there in spirit. So this mince pie recipe was stewing in my mind for a while (and no, this isn’t a meat pie for those of you unfamiliar with the Irish and British tradition of mince pies: though in Tudor times they had mince meat in them, it is now a supersweet dessert with dried and fresh fruit and spices).

The problem is that the bought ones have so many additives and sugar, not to mention (non-vegetarian) suet, that I wanted to create a recipe that’s completely gluten-free, lactose-free, low on (non-refined) sugar, alcohol-free, and vegetarian – yet still delicious for an allergy-prone person like me. (I took some recipes on the BBC Good Food website as a starting point – thank you BBC!) Just to warn you, this recipe does take some preparation, so don’t make these when you’re in a hurry. What I’ve enjoyed most about making these is the smell! While the mince was soaking, I went over every few hours to just go and just stand over the mixture and let the smells carry me to Wales and Kildare. It’s the smell of Christmas for me – delicious!

Update: I had my first one this morning and I didn’t have any reaction, so that’s great. I hope you enjoy these too! Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Ingredients

For the mince:

250g sultanas (I love the yellow ones, but use whichever you prefer, or raisins etc.)

70g dried unsulphured apricots

40g dried cranberries

zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange juice

40g coarsely grated apple

80g fresh cranberries

100ml of ginger ale

100g lactose-free butter

100g raw cane sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

For the pies:

120g lactose-free cold butter, diced

120g rice or buckwheat flour

60g almond flour

20g potato starch

1/2 tsp psyllium

zest of one lemon

60 mls of water

some extra flour for when you’re rolling out the dough

Instructions

  • A day before you want to make the mince pies, put all the ingredients for the mince (except butter, sugar, and the spices) in one bowl and mix well. Leave to soak up the beautiful ginger ale and juices of the lemon and orange.
  • Around 24 hours later, put the mincemeat mix with the butter, sugar, and spice into a pot, bring to a boil and then let simmer for around 5 minutes. You’ll see that the mixture starts to thicken. Put the mix into a sterilized pot if you want to keep it for longer. Let cool down entirely.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • Then, you can start making the pies: rub all the pie ingredients except the water together, and then add the water to knead into a flexible dough.
  • Put the dough into the fridge for at least 30 mins. Then roll it out to 1/3 inch or less than 1 cm thickness and cut circles out of it (it’s easier when you sprinkle your rolling surface with some extra rice or buckwheat flour first). Put the pie crusts into little tartlette moulds (such as these – no I’m not sponsored!), fill properly with mincemeat, and add little christmas shapes of the dough on top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes (keep an eye out because they can suddenly burn) and leave to cool. Top out of the tartlette moulds and sprinkle with e.g. stevia. Serve with, oh I dunno, some lovely vegan ice cream, or just enjoy on its own for breakfast as my kid did today!

Lazy-day rhubarb & courgette cake

Some days I don’t want fancy decorations or perfectly finished cakes. Just give me flavour and texture on a plate. Wasn’t sure what to do with my rhubarb bounty so this simple recipe was born for those lazy afternoons…

Ingredients

3 eggs

100g sugar

80g liquid honey

200g peeled and finely grated courgette

150g buckwheat or rice flour

50g almond meal

2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

About 100 to 150g rhubarb, cut into small chunks.

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Oil a 20 inch diameter cake tin.

Beat eggs, honey, and sugar for 5 mins till fluffy.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir till combined.

Mix the rhubarb into some extra rice flour before you also add it to the mix.

Pour the cake mix into the tin and bake for 45 mins. Put a sheet of baking paper on top so it doesn’t brown too much.

Enjoy!

Vegan strawberry tart… with a twist

#glutenfree #lactosefree #dairyfree #vegan

My cakes have so far been inspired by the great baking tradition of Ireland and the UK where I lived for 17 years. I still remember arriving in Ireland to start my Erasmus exchange – the first place where myself and my friends had dinner, we had the most divine chocolate cake. So cake and the British Isles for me go hand in hand.

However, since returning to Belgium, I’ve reacquainted myself with the Flemish/Belgian baking tradition and I can see it slowly starting to find its way into my own baking. It’s less easy integrating vegetables into tarts and pies rather than cake, but I’m up for a challenge (especially in these challenging times, baking is my haven). So here is a recipe I’ve been working on for a week now. It’s a bit more work than a regular cake which takes like an hour start to finish, but it’s worth it seeing the face on my kid’s face when he goes ‘moooore’!

Ingredients

For the cake:

110g boiled and mashed cauliflower (add a splash of water if it won’t mix well)

120g rice or buckwheat flour

25g cornstarch

20g tapioca starch

20g coconut milk powder (you can use regular milk powder here too)

1,5 tsp psyllium husk

120g sugar or substitute

110g coconut oil, melted and cooled

100g almonds

For the custard (recipe adapted from No Milky Way):

500ml nut milk (I make my own cashew milk)

40g sugar or substitute

30g corn starch

4g agar agar

1/4 tsp curcuma

For the decoration:

strawberries (or any other fruit)

shape cutter for the tart

Instructions:

Make the dough either early in the day or the day before, because this will have to cool.

Mix all the ingredients for the tart together and knead until it comes together into a sticky ball. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

When you’re ready for the next step, pre-heat the oven to 175C.

Take the tart dough out of the fridge and start kneading again until it’s supple enough to manipulate (you might have to take smaller chunks and knead those separately until you can put it all together again – coconut oil gets very hard.)

Roll out the dough in between two baking sheets until it’s about an inch (2,5 cm) thick. (Use whatever you have left to cut out shapes for decoration.) Put the pastry on a low round baking mould that you’ve prepared with oil and a baking sheet, and bake for 20 mins or until it gets brown. Bake whatever shapes you have made for about 10 mins – make sure they don’t get too brown.

Leave to cool entirely. The coconut oil will make sure it hardens and makes it easier to manage as it cools, so don’t be tempted to try to take it out of the mould when it’s still warm.

Next make the custard.

Put all the ingredients into a small pot and put it on a medium heat. Mix well until the mix starts to thicken. Add a bit more sugar if you’re so inclined.

When the tart has cooled down, pour the custard into it and put it into the fridge so it can set.

After half an hour or so, decorate with strawberries and the shapes you have cut out of the leftover dough – or decorate to your liking! Enjoy!

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