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!


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


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.

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!


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!

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!


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


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!

Orange and chocolate surprise cake

It feels like forever since I last shared a recipe! But today it finally happened: that beautiful merging of time with inspiration. 😊 So my orange and chocolate protein bomb was born, with a secret veggie of course.


2 organic oranges

150g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

50g raw cacao powder (or you can, substitute cocoa powder if you prefer a stronger chocolate taste)

15g rice or buckwheat flour

5 eggs

200g raw cane sugar

Pinch of salt

200g pumpkin purée

1 can of coconut cream

70g maple syrup or other liquid sweetener


Preheat the oven to 170C.

Wash the two oranges and boil them for 20 minutes. Then process them in a food processor until they form a smooth paste. Add half of the pumpkin purée.

Beat the eggs with the sugar for 5 minutes until pale.

Add ground almonds, baking powder, cacao powder, flour, salt, and the orange puree paste and beat slowly until combined.

Pour into a 20cm diameter baking tin and bake for 55 mins. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Let cool down in the tin completely.

In the meantime, make the frosting by mixing the hard part of the coconut cream with the rest of the pumpkin puree and the maple syrup.

Spread on top of the cake and decorate. I used home made granola and chocolate flakes.


Healthy lime & orange marmalade

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)

500ml water

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!

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