Wholewheat Banana Bread

Banana bread was one of the first things I remember baking all by myself (That and chocolate  chip cookies, gosh they were good too).  I used to bake it a lot (A LOT) and It’s still one of my favourite treats to rustle up. It’s also one of the easiest things to bake so there is an excuse for a bad loaf .

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You might be wondering if the original recipe I used is so good then why change it? Well, I work with a lot of clients with food allergies. Genuine food allergies, often multiple. This can be incredibly difficult to manage particularly in children.  Though the  range of products available in the supermarkets is getting much better, they can come with a heavy price tag. So, I’ve set myself a mission to come up with some easy, delicious and low cost recipes that the whole family can enjoy, allergies or not.

This is also a great option if you are watching the waistline with it being free of added fat and  lower in free sugars then your standard recipe.  This does not mean eat it by the bucket load (though trust me you’ll want too). Like all sweet treats enjoy in moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet.

This recipe is dairy free, egg free, nut free and vegan (provided you don’t use honey)

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Wholewheat Banana Bread

Ingredients:

⅓ Cup Apple Sauce (Homemade or Shop bought)

¼ Cup Brown Sugar/ Honey/ Maple Syrup (40g)

¼ Cup Unsweetened Oat Milk (You can use any plant based or dairy milk)

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

3 very ripe medium Bananas, mashed

2 tablespoons of Milled Flaxseeds

6 tablespoons of Water

1 ¾ Cups Wholewheat Flour

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

½ teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon of Cinnamon

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Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 165℃
  • Grease a 2 litre loaf tin with vegetable oil and line with baking parchment.
  • Mix the milled flaxseeds and water together and set aside to form a gel- approximately 15 minutes.
  • Whist the flax gel is forming mix the apple sauce, brown sugar, oat milk, vanilla extract and mashed bananas together.
  • Once the flax eggs are ready mix them in with the above mixture.
  • Now add in the wholewheat flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  • Stir the mixture until everything is combined and pour into the prepared loaf tin.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes to one hour, test after 50 minutes- a knife should come out clean.

This is delicious just by itself but you could have it with some coconut yoghut, tahini or if you have no allergies some delicious nut butter! x x

 

Cashew,Brazil and Vanilla Butter

I’m a nut butter addict, it’s no secret. If I see a new nut butter on the shelves I have to have it, regardless of how many half eaten jars there are in my cupboard. I’d never really thought about making my own nut butter. I thought why bother when I can buy perfectly good peanut butter from the supermarket. Enter the influence of social media, I saw so many people making their own I just had to see what all the fuss was about. The great thing about making your own is you can really jazz up the flavours as much as you want, and I love jazzy flavours.

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Every time we go to the supermarket we buy bags of nuts and ultimately we end up with lots of half eaten bags. I wanted to use up what we had and thus Brazil and Cashew Butter was born. You could of course keep this raw and not roast the nuts at all, but roasting the nuts gives the nut butter a much more intense flavour which I personally prefer.

Cashew, Brazil and Vanilla Butter ( Makes 2 x 200ml Jars)

Ingredients:

2 cups of Cashew Nuts

1 cup of Brazil Nuts

1 Vanilla Pod, or equivalent of extract or paste, chopped into pieces

½ teaspoon of Sea Salt Flakes

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Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180℃
  • Toss the nuts onto a baking tray and spread out evenly.
  • Place the nuts into the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until they turn slightly golden, keep a close eye on them as they can easily burn.
  • Once roasted remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • When the nuts are cool place them in a food processor along with the vanilla pod and sea salt. Blend until a nut butter forms. This can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes depending on your blender. If it gets a bit stuck you can always add in some oil to help it along but I find cashews and brazil nuts blend quite easily.
  • Pour the nut butter into jars and hide in a deep dark cupboard to stop yourself eating the whole batch.

If you want to make this sweeter you can always add in some honey, maple syrup or other sweetener to taste. I like it just as it is 🙂

Tahini and Rose Fudge

I used to only ever have tahini with savoury foods- the usual suspects of hummus and baba ganoush. However,more recently I’ve been lobbing it onto just about anything, sweet food included. I don’t know what happened, if it was subliminal messaging or what but I just got a hankering for the stuff one day and decided to go with it. The bitterness of the tahini pairs so well with anything sweet, particularly fruit (fresh or dried), but it’s even better with honey.

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I decided to keep things plant based and pretty simple here. The addition of rose water gives a little something extra but be VERY careful you don’t add too much. Otherwise you’ll end up with soap flavoured fudge on your hands. Now I don’t like waste but even I wouldn’t eat that.

Yes it’s plant based but it’s still high in fat and high in sugar, full disclosure here. As with any sweet treat “free from” or not portion control will keep you right. Though I will admot it’s hard with these little fellows.

Tahini and Rose Fudge

Ingredients:

¼ cup of Tahini

¼ cup of Cashew Butter

¼ Cup of Coconut Oil

¼ Cup of Honey

¼ teaspoon of Sea Salt Flakes e.g Maldon Salt, plus additional to sprinkle on top.

A few drops of Rose Water

Optional: Rose petals to decorate.

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Method:

  • Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Place all the ingredients, except the rosewater, into a  heavy based saucepan. Put the pan over a low flame on the hob and let everything melt together.
  • Once everything is melted and combined, add in your rosewater. Start with a drop or two and then increase to your own taste.
  • Pour the fudge mixture into a loaf tin into the loaf tin, sprinkle on some additional sea salt and optional rose petals.
  • Put the fudge in the fridge and allow to chill for at least and hour until it’s set enough for you to slice.

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This fudge doesn’t like heat so try not to over handle it or leave it sitting at room temperature too long. II urge you to make this, such a tasty little treat to have waiting in the fridge, all made with minimal effort.

Rhubarb and Hazelnut Crumble

I said I would come at you with some more rhubarb recipes. I also said  I couldn’t resist making a crumble, so rhubarb crumble was an obvious choice. Fruit crumbles are one of my favourite ways to use up the gluts of summer fruit. I love love love a good crumble and rhubarb is one of my favourite fillings, giving the perfect tang to the sweet crumble topping. Here I’ve made a crumble topping using oats, not for any particular reason other than once again I didn’t have any flour in the house. Mixed with crunchy hazelnuts it’s the perfect topping in my eyes.

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You might be alarmed when you read the recipe and see both butter and sugar there. Surely these aren’t “healthy”.  Realistically though had I used honey and coconut oil the overall nutritional profile of this dish would be very similar. If you want to use either of those for taste great, go ahead but don’t fool yourself by thinking this makes it anyway superior in nutrients Sometimes you have to have a little of the good stuff to keep you sane. So take a breath, go buy some caster sugar and come to the dark side.

 

Rhubarb and Hazelnut Crumble

Ingredients

800g Rhubarb

¼ Cup (50g) Caster Sugar

1 Cup (100g) of Oats

¾ Cup (100g) Hazelnuts

¼ Cup (50g) Sugar

2 Tablespoons (50g) Unsalted Butter, straight from the fridge and cut into cubes

¼ Teaspoon of Cinnamon

 

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Preheat the oven to 180℃

  • Chop the Rhubarb in ½ inch long pieces and place into your dish of choice, I use a 23cm ceramic pie dish.
  • Sprinkle over the sugar (¼ cup).
  • Add the oats to a food processor and blitz until they form a flour. Now add in the hazelnuts,sugar and cinnamon  and pulse until the hazelnuts have broken down into small chunks.
  • Add in the cubes of butter to the food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a small to medium crumb. Be careful not to over mix it, a few pulses should do the trick.
  • Pour the crumble mixture over the rhubarb spreading evenly over the top.
  • Place the crumble in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The crumble will be done when the fruit is soft and the crumble is nice and goldenDSC_0952.JPG

Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream of some comforting custard. Delicious!

Rhubarb Compote

I came home from work the other day to be greeted with a rather large box of home grown rhubarb. We haven’t been very successful in growing our own. Possibly as we bought the plant in a reduced item sale and it was pretty much dead when we planted it. Anyway, there are two things I will always make with rhubarb, compote and crumble. It being mid week when I received my gift I had little time to be waiting on a crumble in the oven so compote it was. You could easily turn my peach crumble into a rhubarb crumble, that is definitely on the cards this weekend.

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Compote couldn’t be easier to make, a bit of chopping and that’s all the effort required. I made a huge batch  of compote during the week and have been enjoying it with oats, yoghurt and (even better) ice cream.

 

Rhubarb Compote

Ingredients:

800g of Rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch size pieces

1 Vanilla Pod, or equivilant of  vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

3 tablespoon of Honey

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Method:

  • Place the rhubarb into a medium size saucepan along with the honey.
  • Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds add these plus the leftover pod into the rhubarb.
  • Place the saucepan over a low heat  cover with a lid and allow the rhubarb to cook away for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly. If the rhubarb isn’t releasing much liquid just add in one  tablespoon of water.
  • Once the rhubarb is lovely and soft remove from the heat and allow to cool before serving.

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Do you have any good rhubarb recipes? Savoury ones? X x

Peach Crumble

Who doesn’t love a good old comforting crumble? I had a serious hankering for some the other evening and that,teamed with some sorry looking peaches, was enough to get me in the kitchen. Unfortunately with no flour, butter or sugar to hand I had to think on my toes. An industrial size bag of desicated coconut and some macadamia nuts came to the rescue , and boy oh boy did they do good.

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I’ll admit that I have never had a peach crumble before but I will certainly be making one again. My favourite part of this is the edges, where the juices of the peaches bubble up, caramelise and go deliciously sticky.  This isn’t just great as a dessert but  works for breakfast too. I’ve been enjoying it for brekkie this past week with some thick Greek yoghurt and honey, it works a treat.

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Peach Crumble

Ingredients:

6 Extra Large Peaches or 8 Standard Size Peaches,  skin on, cut into 1 centimetre thick slices.  I used a mixture of white and yellow flesh peaches.

1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup

1 1/2 cups of Oats

1/2 cup of Dessicated Coconut

1/2 Cup of Macadamia Nuts

2 tablespoons of Milled Flaxseeds

1/2 teaspoon of Salt

1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1/4 Cup of Coconut Oil or Butter, Melted

1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

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Method:

  • Place the sliced peaches into a medium size dish. I used a 24 centimetre pie dish.
  • Pour 1-2 tablespoons of Maple Syrup over the peaches, adjust this depending on how sweet the peaches you have are.
  • Place the macadmaia nuts into a food processor and pulse until you have a medium size crumb, some fine powder with a few chunks. You can also just chop the nuts with a knife which is a bit of a laborious task but strangely therapeutic.
  • Tip the ground macadamia nuts into a bowl. Add in the oats, dessicated coconut, milled flaxseed and salt. Toss together.
  • Now add in the  melted coconut oil, maple syrup (1/4 cup) and vanilla extract.
  • Stir all this together. I like to get my hands in there and squidge the mixture between my hands to form clumps.
  • Pour the crumble mixture of top of the peaches and pat it down slightly. Cover with foil.
  • Place the crumble in the oven 180°C for 30-40 minutes.
  • After about 30 minutes of cooking remove the foil to allow the top to become nice and brown.
  • The crumble is done when you can stick a knife through the middle and the peaches are lovely and soft.

Served warm with a big dollop of ice-cream you can’t really go wrong. It would be amazing with custard too. Unfortunately I only had an out of date box of Birds custard powder  and  thought that might not be the most aesthetically pleasing for you. Enjoy.

Chocolate Orange Tofu Pudding

There are times in life when chocolate is the only answer. My weakness is chocolate brownies, no news there to anyone who knows me,  but eating them on a daily basis would not bode well for the waistline.

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In search of a  healthier and satisfying chocolate treat I stumbled across a recipe for vegan cheesecake using tofu. I found it quite refreshing to find a dairy free dessert that didn’t have an abundance of nuts or avocados (I’ve tried avocado mousse, not a fan).  What makes tofu so great for desserts is that it is SO bland that it really is the perfect carrier for any flavour combination that you add to it.

I didn’t quite fancy a cheesecake, a chocolate pot was more what I was after. I set out on a mission to keep the calories relatively low without compromising on taste. With a certain chocolate orange being one of my childhood favourites it seemed a good flavour to start out with.

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It’s embarrassingly simple to make and doesn’t requires a million pots and pans, just a half decent blender will do the job.

Ingredients:

1 pack (400g) of Firm Tofu (I use Cauldron)

1/4-1/3 Cup Almond Milk, or any milk of choice

2 tsp of Orange Extract

4 tablespoons Cacao Powder

2/3 cup Dates

Pimch odf Salt

2 tblsp Cacao Nibs

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Method:

  • Place the dates in a bowl and cover with warm water. Soak for 5 minutes until they are nice and soft.
  • Once nice and soft put the dates into a food processor and blitz until they become a smooth paste.
  • Put the cacao nibs aside. Place all other ingredients into the processor with the dates and blend until smooth. You may have to scrape down the side of the blender a few times as the mixture starts off quite thick. Add as much or as little milk as you like until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Once the mixture is completely smooth throw in the cacao nibs and pulse until just combined, you want to keep them in relatively big bits to give a bit of texture.

I like to top mine with a little orange zest, more cacao nibs or  a few chopped pistachios just for more texture and colour.

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy the delights of this dessert. It’s a great way to enjoy a guilt free treat without any added nasties.

I urge you to try it and let me know your thoughts. x