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.
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!
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!
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!
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
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!
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’!
For the cake:
110g boiled and mashed cauliflower (add a splash of water if it won’t mix well)
120g rice or buckwheat flour
20g tapioca starch
20g coconut milk powder (you can use regular milk powder here too)
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!
I have to admit I’ve never been a fan of cakes with beetroot. Even though I don’t mind most other vegetables, beetroot seems to always come through flavour-wise. But since I had cooked beetroot lying around and was looking for veg puree to make cake, this chocolate and beetroot cake was an easy option. It doesn’t feature too much beetroot so that makes it tolerable. I built it up in 2 layers but actually I think it works better as a brownie in 1 layer with the cream directly on it.
400ml any milk
1,5 tsp apple cider vinegar
100g beetroot puree
200g almond meal
100g cocoa powder (I use raw cacao powder)
50g buckwheat flour
40g corn starch
1,5 tsp baking powder
1,5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp psyllium
For the cream: 400ml coconut milk (only the hard stuff), 50g sugar, pinch of pink pitaya powder or another pink colourant. Optional rose petals and Easter eggs…
Preheat the oven to 175C.
Put the milk and vinegar together and leave for 2 minutes.
Add all the other ingredients and mix till we’ll combined.
Divide the mix among 2 well oiled round baking tins and bake for 40 mins.
Leave to cool entirely. Then add cream on top and enjoy!
I don’t tend to make many vegan cakes as I need those eggs for protein. But I was excited to start experimenting for a birthday cake I was asked to bake, and my attempt to add courgette worked out beautifully. I baked the cake in 2 batches and then cut both cakes in two so I could add raspberries and chocolate mousse for added deliciousness.
130g buckwheat or rice flour
75g almond meal
75g tapioca or corn starch
1/4 tsp psyllium
120g sugar or substitute
75g cocoa powder
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
375ml any milk
125g finely grated courgette
3tbsp cocoa powder
400ml coconut cream (cooled in the fridge)
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Add flour, almond meal, starch, psyllium, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate, salt, milk and courgette in a bowl and mix well.
Pour half of the mix in two 14 inch cake moulds that have been lined and oiled. Set in the oven for 30 minutes, let cool and then put in the fridge.
Crush the raspberries.
For the mousse, add cocoa powder, sugar, and coconut cream (with the water) in the mixer and blend until combined.
Cut both cakes horizontally in half. Put the first bottom half on a plate, then spread half of the raspberries on top. Add the bottom of the second cke on top and then layer with half of the mousse. Add the first top of the cake and add the second half of the raspberries. Layer with the final top half of the second cake. Spread the rest of the mousse on top and around the cake. Decorate as desired. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes. Enjoy!!
I’ve not had much time for extravagant baking in recent months. No big decorations or crazy recipes. Kid’s start of secondary school has prompted a flurry of practical recipes to stop him from getting hungry during the day… Cos his motto these days is simple: ‘I’m hungry!’
These cupcakes were an instant hit. Inspired by The Virtuous Tart, I liked her flour combination but made some significant alterations to make them kid-friendly.
375 ml milk (any kind)
50 ml linseed oil
75 ml olive oil
2 tbs psyllium husk
Smidgin (a few drops) coffee extract
120g sugar (I use unrefined sugar)
50g raw cacao powder
30g protein powder (I use pea)
40g buckwheat flour (or rice)
50g almond meal
40g tapioca or potato starch
35g chickpea or teff flour
1,5 tsp baking powder
Sprinkle of salt
Dark chocolate drops
Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
Line 3 muffin tins with paper cases.
Mix all the wet ingredients. Stir them well with the psyllium.
Add all the dry ingredients and mix well.
Then add the chocolate drops. Isn’t this easy!
It’s a fairly runny batter. Divide it over the muffin cases. You’ll get somewhere between 12 and 18 cupcakes.
Put them in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Let them cool entirely before eating. Or just try!
I love this time of year! Experimenting with different ways of preserving fruit and vegetables is so exciting! I’m mad into pickling this year, and with so much to be got at market in bulk (and zero-waste) I’ve been spending time preserving most days in the past week. Here are some of my favourites – and they’re all so easy:
1. Beetroot: boil whole for 40 minutes in the skin (don’t cut into it). Then peel the skin off with your fingers – it’ll come off easily in your hands – and cut into dices. Put into sterilized jars (easiest way to do this is by pouring boiling water in the jars and leaving them be until you need them, obvs not too long) and add whole peppercorns and cloves. Then top up with vinegar (usually they recommend white wine vinegar but I used apple cider vinegar I made myself last year, it worked lovely too), close and leave for a week before eating. I’ve been told these last for 3 months but mine haven’t lasted that long yet before they get eaten… Great in salads!
Today was the first time I’ve ever pickled gherkins myself. It’s one of my go-to ingredients for salads and I’ve been getting annoyed at the amount of gherkin jars I’ve been collecting because of this, so I decided to make my own. I found unpackaged ones in Colruyt so this was a perfect match. This is for 800g of baby cucumbers (gherkins).
Wash the gherkins, put them on a tray, and cover with a fair bit of salt. Leave for 2 hours and then rinse thoroughly.
Boil water and pour that over the gherkins. Rinse with cold water. Repeat boiling and cold rinse once more.
Boil 280ml of alcohol vinegar with the same amount of water.
My gherkins were fairly chunky so I decided to cut them lengthwise, but you can leave them whole too. Put dill and peppercorns in sterilized jars (see above) and pack the gherkins in tightly. Push a spoon in the jars along the sides to get rid of air bubbles and close the lid. Leave for a week and then enjoy!
3. Tomato passata
I got more than a kilo at market for a fiver so came home delighted! I washed and blended them in my vitamix mixer (with the skins, I don’t like waste), and then brought them to the boil and left them simmering for 1 hour, until the mix had thickened. I added herbs and the juice of 1 lemon and poured into sterilized glass bottles (the passata bottles from Aldi and Colruyt are great for re-use).
I love making my own staple foods. Makes me feel I’m not entirely dependent on supermarkets for my food…
I’ve wanted to make elderflower cordial for like forever, but have always been concerned about the amount of sugar that’s used. So I finally had a go and made up my own honey-based brew. This stuff is so healthy, it’s practically medicinal🍯😊
Elderflower has traditionally been used against colds, flu, bronchitis, and as a diuretic. So have a try!
2l boiling water
30 elderflower stems (but a few of these were quite small so let’s say 20 big ones)
400g liquid honey
Juice rind, and skins of 2 lemons
Pick the elderflower stems. Pick out any bugs but don’t wash them as that removes the pollen which is what gives the cordial its flavour. Remove as much of the stem as possible as this makes the cordial bitter.
Add to a big metal or glass bowl with the remainder of the ingredients, stir to combine, and leave to steep overnight.
After 24 hours, strain and put in sterilized glass containers for use. I’m going to experiment with letting it reduce for a thicker consistency at that point – will report back here. Enjoy with sparkling water of wine…
I went to the local Monday Market today (one of my favourite things about my home town) and found 10 limes for €1! Couldn’t resist those, so I bought them with the thought of making marmalade. I wouldn’t touch supermarket brands with a barge pole but I’ve always loved tasting homemade marmalade at B&B’s… So many complex recipes online! I browsed through many and decided to chance it and make my own with some leftover oranges too. The result is divine! I love the pieces of rind particularly. Warning: make this when you can be around the kitchen for 40 mins…
600g orange and lime juice and pulp (I used 10 limes and 2 large oranges, but I’m sure you can vary the quantities) plus the rind of half of those, peeled off the fruit with a veg peeler and sliced finely (I used scissors)
300g liquid honey
50g raw cane sugar
1 tbsp pectin (I use pec plus)
First, peel the citrus fruits so you don’t take any of the white flesh, and slice the rind into fine slices.
Then juice the fruit and put all the ingredients into a large pot. Stir so the pectin combines with the rest.
Bring to the boil and then leave to bubble for 40 minutes. When the temperature reaches 104C, your mix is ready to set.
Leave to set in the pot for an hour or so (so the rind can set where it is and not all float to the surface) and then move to sterilized jars. This will keep for a year… But it won’t!
So my kid has been craving milk chocolate recently (well, in fairness he’s just hoovering up any food, he’s growing so fast and is continually hungry). I’ve been looking into healthier kinds, but even the supposedly healthy chocolates still have a ton of sugar. So I decided to try to make my own…
This recipe is raw vegan, and as long as you keep the same amount of cacao butter, you can vary the other ingredients (so I guess you could make white chocolate too if you only use the milk powder). I initially found it hard to find milk powder, but finally found coconut milk powder in Holland and Barrett – I also bought the other ingredients there. You also need some moulds. I’ve been gathering moulds over the years. I also just used ice cube moulds if you don’t have other ones. Finally, you do also need a very good blender. I used my trusty vitamix for this. Enjoy!
220g cacao butter
175g milk powder (I used coconut milk powder, rice will work too)
150g raw cacao powder
125g sugar (any non-liquid kind)
Pinch of salt
Melt the cacao butter in a pot.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the vitamix and blend in short bursts.
Add the melted cacao butter and blend for 2 minutes. The mix will be hot.
Pour into moulds (I added some granola to some for extra effect) and leave overnight to set (put them in the fridge if you want it to go faster).