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’!


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


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!

Vegan chocolate & beetroot brownie cake

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

200g sugar

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!

Vegan choc & liesberry cake

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

300g raspberries

3tbsp cocoa powder

400ml coconut cream (cooled in the fridge)

3tbsp sugar


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!!

Protein lunch box cupcakes

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!

What a pickle!

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!

2. Gherkins

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…

Healthy elderflower cordial❤️

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…

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!

Vegan milk chocolate recipe

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).

And that’s it! Well that was easy😊

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…


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)


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.


I-can’t-believe-it’s-healthy chocolate cake!

Finally, a lull in work, and so I can get back to baking. Kid’s been complaining about the lack of cake recently, so I’m glad to say there’s been a steady stream of them on our kitchen table in the past week😊

This recipe came about from some experimenting in the kitchen with ingredients I happened to have lying around. It’s super quick, super easy, and ridiculously moreish! If you only ever bake one cake, let this be it… It’s so healthy, it could easily be brunch.


90g brown rice flour

30g teff flour

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

100g xylitol (or sugar – this is very little and you can use 120 to 150 depending on your sweet tooth)

45g raw cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

240g any milk

60g water

80g lactose-free or vegan yoghurt

100g grated courgette (skin and all)


Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Add all the dry ingredients together and mix until there are no lumps. Then add the rest of the ingredients and again mix well.

Put the cake batter into a lined and oiled cake tin (I used a 16cm diameter tin) and leave in the oven for 30 mins for a gooey effect, 5 mins longer for a firmer effect.

Serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

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