Lemon & dandelion polenta cake

My son has started asking me what witchery I’m cooking up today. After nettle picking for soup and dandelion leaf and rocket pesto, I also made a dandelion syrup from the flower petals. I call it basic witchery๐Ÿ˜Š and my son is very interested. I wanted to do something with my new dandelion syrup and this polenta cake I’ve been meaning to put together for ages was a match made in heaven.

If you don’t have dandelion syrup or can’t be fussed making it, not to worry: you can use a regular lemon syrup which doesn’t take long to make as well. But of course with dandelion you get the added bonus of extra vitamins a and B12, and delicious antioxidants.

Ingredients

For the syrup: about 2 handfuls of dandelion petals (pull a flower in 2 and pick the petals out from the middle, it’s easier than trying to separate them one by one from the green), 150ml water, half a lemon, and 300g sugar

For the cake: 2 eggs

160g sugar

200g carrot puree (boil and puree carrots, let them cool down)

200g ground almonds

100g finely ground polenta

2 tsp baking powder

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp psyllium

Pinch of salt

Instructions

Start making the syrup the night before: put petals and water in a pot on the fire to boil for a few minutes, then cover and let sit for the night.

The next morning, drain the liquid into another pot (make sure you squeeze the liquid out of the petals). Add the sugar, the juice of the lemon and the rest of the lemon cut into chunks. Let boil on a low heat for 2 hours or until it’s thick enough for your liking. Take the lemon chunks out. That’s your dandelion syrup!

For the cake, Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Beat the eggs and sugar for 4 minutes and add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into a lined and oiled cake tin and bake on 180C for 20 minutes and 160C for 40 mins. Check if a skewer comes out cleanish (crumbs are ok bit it shouldn’t be too sticky).

With a skewer, prick holes in the cake and pour some of the syrup over it. Let the cake stand for another hour (difficult, I know), finish with petals and sugar (I wouldn’t normally, but this cake is almost medicinal…) and enjoy! The texture of this cake is quite crumbly btw, that’s normal. Enjoy with some cream!

Lemon, ginger & honey cake

Anxiety, loss, threat… It’s difficult to remain optimistic these days. I cope with a mix of work (distraction!), mindfulness… and relaxation (more distraction). Baking keeps the wolves of anxiety at bay, and for that I’m truly grateful.

Yet while humanity struggles, nature is blossoming and spring is here. Hope springs! So here is a lemon and ginger cake to put a spring in your step, even if that is indoors or in other confined conditions. Lots of love and self care to you all.

Ingredients

200g boiled and mashed carrot

120g runny honey

2 eggs

Grated zest of 1 big lemon

Grated ginger, about 10g (but if you’re not a fan, take less)

60g rice or buckwheat flour

60g ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

For the drizzle: juice of 1 lemon and 3 tbsp fine sugar

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a bread tin with baking foil.

Mix eggs and sugar for 3 minutes and then fold in all the other cake ingredients gently.

Pour in the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the drizzle by mixing lemon juice and fine sugar.

Once baked, prick holes in the cake right through to the bottom and pour the drizzle over. Leave the cake to stand for 10 minutes and forget about your worries and strife! โค๏ธ

Apple & caramel breakfast muffins

I love the taste of caramel but it’s so bad for ya… So my favourite substitute is simply dried dates mixed with water. Delicious and nutritious!

I don’t usually start with a recipe but look in my cupboards to see what urgently needs using up. This time it was carrots, but do substitute for squash or pumpkin if you have any leftovers. Half of these have gone already as they’re so delicious!

Ingredients

2 medium organic eggs

100g raw cane sugar or substitute

200g peeled and finely grated carrot

100g brown rice flour

100g almond flour

17g protein powder (I use pea)

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

1 apple, finely diced

6 medjool dates

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Beat eggs and sugar for 4 minutes until well combined and then fold in the remaining ingredients except the dates. You’ll get a fairly firm batter.

Put the dates in the blender with about 100ml of water. Blend until well combined (you’ll get a finer consistency with a Vitamix but another blender will do too).

Fill the muffin trays halfway with the batter and then add a teaspoon of the date mix. Then add another 1/3 of the batter.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. They’ll come out with a crunchy top! Leave to cool in the muffin tray and take out when cool.

Jaffa muffins with gooey centre

What do you make when you’ve got leftover carrot and chocolate ganache? Kid needed a lunchbox sweet so the muffin format seemed like a logical choice. Kid also likes chai so I added some chai spices. Really happy with the result!

Ingredients

For the ganache: 100ml coconut milk from a can (only the hardened part) and 100ml melted dark chocolate

For the cake:

2 medium organic eggs

80g sugar or substitute

200g grated carrot

Zest of 1 orange and juice of half that orange

50g rice flour

100g almond meal

2tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt and a bag of chai tea. I used Yogi sweet chai

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180C. Use 2 muffin trays.

For the ganache, mix coconut milk and melted chocolate and put in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together for 4 minutes. Add the other ingredients and mix well.

Fill the muffin trays 2/3rds and then add a spoonful of ganache before you fill the rest of the tray with the egg mix.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes and leave to cool for half an hour before you take the muffins out of the tray. Enjoy!

Superhealthy cranberry & orange cake

I am crazy about cranberries. Normally I just turn them into jam and have them with nut roast or sprouts. But I wanted to try them in dessert too, but on the condition I could pack some veggies and protein in there too. This cake got applause from my son this morning, so it must be good! ๐Ÿ˜„๐ŸŽ‚

The recipe is easy and quick, and the combination of cranberries and soft cheese makes for a really fresh taste. I don’t put much sugar in my cakes, so add more if you prefer a sweeter taste. But I quite prefer the tanginess of the cranberries.

Ingredients

3 organic eggs

160g rapadura or other sugar (rapadura is unprocessed and I seem to digest it easier)

200g finely grated carrot (I put mine in the blender and pulsed until fine)

Zest and juice of 1 orange or 2 mandarines

100g almond meal

50g buckwheat or rice flour

30g tapioca or potato starch

20g chickpea flour

2 tsps baking powder

Pinch of salt

200g fresh, whole cranberries

For the frosting:

100g soft lactose-free or vegan butter

100g lactose-free cream cheese

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp orange juice

100g rice syrup or honey

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180C (fan-assisted).

Beat the eggs with sugar for 5 mins.

Fold through the grated carrot and mandarine zest and juice.

Sift the dry ingredients and add to the mix. Fold through gently until combined.

Add the cranberries and again fold in until combined.

Put into a round baking tin (I used a 10 inch I think, but use a bigger one for a lower cake).

Put the centre of the oven for 35 mins.

Leave the cake to cool down entirely. Then cut in half.

For the frosting, mix all the ingredients thoroughly.

Put frosting on the first layer of cake, then add the next cake and finish with frosting.

If you have some cranberries left over, put them in egg white and then white sugar. This gives them a frosted finish for decorating. Enjoy!

Carrot & choc chip cookies

I haven’t baked cookies in a while, but after my gorgeous yoga class this morning, I felt inspired! I always try to bake with food that needs to be used up, and today that was carrot. My first intention was to just bake carrot and oat cookies, but couldn’t resist throwing in some chocolate chips…

Ingredients

100g grated carrot

90g oats

90g buckwheat flour (you can use rice flour)

90g sugar (or xylitol)

50g cold butter, diced (vegan butter will work fine)

30g maple syrup

30g tapioca flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp psyllium husk (you can replace this with xanthan but psyllium is actually good for your bowels so I prefer using it when I can)

Pinch of salt

1-2 tbs milk of any kind

50g choc chips (optional – I used 80% cocoa)

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Put all the ingredients apart from milk and chocolate chips together in a bowl.

Rub the butter through the rest of the ingredients with your fingers until you have a sticky dough.

If everything doesn’t stick enough, add 1 to 2 tbsp milk.

Then add the choc chips so they’re well divided among the dough.

Turn the dough into a sticky mass and take little chunks out one by one to make the cookies.

Roll the chunks of dough into little balls and flatten them on a baking plate with sheet.

Once all the cookies are shaped, bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Autumn apple and cinnamon muffins (with secret veggies)

Part of my aiming for #zerowaste involves keeping an eye on fruit and veg that are going off and using those rather than throwing them out – even if onto the compost heap. So when I found myself with apples that needed using and a kid who needed a healthy lunchtime snack (hadn’t had time to make granola bars yet this week), the recipe for these nutritious muffins was born!

I’m sure the recipe will work equally well with pears, peaches or other fruit, and you can substitute grated pumpkin for carrot.

Ingredients

2 eggs

90g sugar (I used raw cane sugar this time, but I’m sure you can replace it with xylitol or other granule sugars)

200g grated carrot

100g gluten free flour (I used buckwheat this time)

100g ground almonds

30ml dairy free milk

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp xanthan

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

2 medium apples, cut into small chunks

For the crust:

50g lactose free or vegan butter

30g xylitol

20g cinnamon

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Instructions

This recipe makes about 12 muffins. You’ll need a muffin tray.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the muffin tray with paper cases.

Whisk the eggs with the 90g sugar for 4 mins. Fold in all the other ingredients carefully (apart from those for the crust) until well combined.

Fill the cases entirely.

Mix the butter, sugar, and cinnamon for the crust until it’s squishy. Crumble a bit on top of the muffins and press down a little.

Bake for 30 mins. Take the muffin cases out of the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack. These are yummy on their own for a school or work snack, or you can serve with some cinnamon cream at home.

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