Monday, 29 May 2017

CHOCOLATE MAYO CAKE



You can't beat a good chocolate cake and this one is both gluten and dairy free.
I used regular soft brown sugar here - you can use coconut sugar or another sugar replacement if you prefer.


preheat the oven to 150c

CAKE INGREDIENTS.

200g doves farm gluten free self raising flour  (or mix from this book + 1 teaspoon baking powder)
3 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
200g Mayonnaise
4 eggs
150g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

ICING
200g dark chocolate
125g soy cream

1. Line or grease an 8 inch cake tin.
2. Beat all the cake ingredients together & pour the cake batter into the tin.


3 Bake in the centre of the oven for about 55 mins. (All ovens vary - 55 mins is what it takes in my oven, and is a general guide.)
To know if its ready you want it to be firm but springy on the top and if you poke a skewer or a knife in the centre it should come out clean (ie no uncooked cake mix on it).
4 When ready, remove from tin and leave to cool (preferably on a wire baking rack.)
5 When the cake is cool it's ready to ice.
6 Break the dark chocolate into pieces and place in a heat proof bowl. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and then reduce the heat. place the bowl of chocolate over the top and leave until its all melted. remove from the heat and mix the soy cream (or oat cream or coconut cream) into the chocolate until its all mixed together. place in the fridge for about half an hour to cool and begin to set.
7 When the icing has cooled and thickened but is still spreadable spread it over the cake, decorate with anything you like (I used bee pollen and edible dried flowers here).
8. Cut into slices.


9. Eat!








Tuesday, 28 February 2017

GINGER & TAMARI TOFU



More & more people are cutting down on meat, whether they are turning vegetarian, vegan, or just including more plant based dishes. Tofu can be really bland and uninspiring if you're not sure what to do with it, but this Tofu dish is packed with flavour & will hopefully convert you if you've previously found it tasteless - as to be honest, I have!

SERVES 2
200g Firm tofu
4 dessert spoons light oil . I used light olive oil, you can use any other mild flavoured oil.
2 dessert spoons tamari soy sauce
1 level dessert spoon ground ginger

That's it. Just 4 ingredients!

1. Pat the tofu dry with a clean tea towel or paper towel. You want to get as much liquid out as you can. Then chop the tofu up into cubes as shown.


2  In a bowl, mix up the oil, tamari & the ginger powder to make the marinade.


3 Pour the marinade over the tofu and mix well to make sure all the pieces are evenly covered in the sauce.
4  leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.


6.  Place the tofu in a non stick frying pan & stir fry it for about 5 mins, over a medium heat until the outside starts to brown. (It's been marinating in oil so you don't need any extra oil to cook it this way.) Keep turning the pieces over so they cook evenly.

Served here with brown rice pasta, carrots, mushrooms and spinach. You can serve with rice, quinoa, any veggies you like.
Another extra finishing touch that I love (which I forgot here!) is to sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the tofu once its cooked.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

BEETROOT CHOCOLATE POTS



I think this is my favourite recipe in the book. I'm not a dinner party kind of person, but if I was, this is the dessert I'd make! They couldn't be easier & you can make them a day in advance if you're having friends over.
Beetroot in a dessert may not sound that appealing but I promise it works really well with chocolate - it gives the choc pots a really nice colour and makes them more nutritious as well as delicious. I've managed to get these past both my sisters who are not fans of vegetables lurking in desserts- the key is not to tell them :)

INGREDIENTS  makes 4 chocolate pots. 

200g of cooked, peeled beetroot flesh (allow 300g raw weight if you're not using pre cooked beetroot.)
200g dark chocolate
200g soy cream ( you could also use regular dairy cream or coconut cream)
50g white chocolate ( I used dairy free chocolate)

1. For the beetroot you can either use precooked beetroot (NOT the kind that is packed in vinegar!) or bake it yourself. To bake it yourself, take a sharp knife and pierce the uncooked beets a few times (as you might do with a baked potato). Place into the oven at 180c for 90 mins, or until the skin is starting to wrinkle and the beet feels soft & cooked when you poke a knife in.
2. Break the chocolate up into small squares. Place in a heat proof bowl.
3. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. place the bowl on top of the saucepan and let the chocolate melt.
4. Meanwhile, place the cooked beetroot and the cream to a blender & blitz. Depending on how powerful your blender is you may want to push the mixture through a fine sieve to get rid of any lumps.
5. When the chocolate is melted, mix it into the beetroot/cream mixture.
6. Divide the mixture into ramekins, or small bowls, or wine glasses, whatever you want to serve the chocolate pots in.



7. Leave the pots in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.
8. Take 50g white chocolate ( I used vegan white chocolate, you can use any you like). and melt in the same way as you melted the dark chocolate. When it's melted, using a spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over the top of the choc pots.



10. Return to the fridge for half an hour or so to set. Leave in the fridge until you're ready to eat them. Yummm!


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE YULELOG.




Is it even Christmas without a chocolate Yule Log? I always thought they were really hard to make, but it's something I missed at Christmas so I thought I'd give it a go & was pleasantly surprised.
It certainly didn't last long in my family, which is always a good sign (especially with my younger sister who seem to have a strong aversion to anything with a "gluten free" tag.)
Not everyone likes Christmas cake or Christmas pudding so this is a yummy, Christmassy alternative. It's really not as difficult as you may think, but always looks quite impressive. The great thing about making a yule log is that it doesn't matter if it cracks or falls apart - in fact all the better if it does - it will look even more like a gnarly piece of log!

SPONGE ingredients
125g plain gluten free flour  ( Free by doves farm or use the flour mix from this book)
130g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
1 level teaspoon baking powder

ICING
125g unsalted butter or to make it dairy free I use Naturli vegan block. If you can't get hold of Naturli use a margarine block like Tomor, rather than a spreadable margarine - otherwise the consistency won't be firm enough.
200g icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  Preheat the oven to 180c
1 Whisk the eggs and sugar together - until you get a pale fluffy mixture.
2  Fold in the flour, baking powder & cocoa.
3. Lay a sheet of baking paper onto a standard sized baking tray. Spread (or pour) the mixture onto the baking sheet.
4 Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. I know I'm a broken record, but all ovens are different so the timing is just a guide.You want it firm, but springy to the touch.
5 Lay another sheet of baking paper on a clean work surface. Flip onto the  paper and peel off the lining paper it cooked on.
6  Roll up the sponge (from its longest side - with the second piece of paper inside. Shown below) leave to cool. when cool, unroll the log.


BUTTERCREAM ICING

1 Beat the icing sugar, unsalted butter & cocoa together. you may need a little water if the mixture is too stiff (or to take it up a notch, a spoonful or two of brandy).
2 When the sponge is cool, unwrap it. Spread a layer of the buttercream over the flat surface and roll it up again (not in the paper this time).
3 Cut a thick, diagonal piece off the end of the log and place it at the side of the log (to make a branch, see main picture).
4 Cover the log with the rest of the buttercream. Use a fork to make a "bark" pattern. dust with icing sugar for a snow effect and decorate with Holly.

Happy Christmas!






Tuesday, 1 November 2016

VEGAN SHEPHERDS PIE



This is the perfect autumn/winter dinner. I came up with this recipe one cold November day- Kia the whippet wanted to hibernate and I did too!


serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS
175g vegetarian mince 
1 large carrot
50g mushrooms, chopped
75g finely chopped tomatoes
1 stick celery
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 tablespoons red wine
100ml vegetable stock.
1 dessertspoon sundried tomato paste (or regular if you can't get sundried tomato)
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce or tamari soy sauce (make sure it's gluten free) 
450g (peeled weight) potatoes
2 tablespoons dairy free spread
A little unsweetened soy or almond milk to get  the mashed potato to the right consistency 
Grated vegan cheese for the topping (optional.)

1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Chop up all the veggies. Chop the carrot up into really small pieces as carrot takes longer than the other veg to cook.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons light olive oil & 2 tablespoons of water in a frying pan, over a medium heat. Add the celery, carrots & mushrooms. Stir fry for 8- 10 minutes, until softened and starting to brown.

3. Add the stock, tomatoes, veggie mince and red wine. Stir well, then add the tomato paste and the Worcester sauce.

4. Cook over a medium heat for about 15 mins. ( You want it gently bubbling away.)

5. Meanwhile peel & chop the potatoes and place in a large saucepan. Cover the potatoes with water, add a generous pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat so that it's gently bubbling away, and cook until the potatoes are soft. (around 15 mins)

6. When your mince and veggies are cooked, transfer the mixture to a baking dish.


8. Drain the potatoes, mash with the butter (or butter alternative) and enough soy milk to get the desired consistency. Season to taste. Spoon the mashed potato over the mince.
9. Sprinkle with vegan cheese.
10. Bake in the oven for around 25 mins until the top is starting to brown.
11. Serve.




                                           

Friday, 30 September 2016

PLUM CRUMBLE CAKE


Every year I go to the local village fete. Last year Kia, my whippet, retained her title as fastest dog in the South East- beating other whippets and a greyhound in the doggie dash. Yes, my sister had to carry her to the start line & everyone was laughing, but who's laughing now?


At the fete they have a huge cake competition and one of the categories was an apple crumble cake, this coupled with the fact that my friend has a plum tree and makes tons of plum jam every year, gave me the idea for today's cake recipe. I used homemade biscuits for the topping - you can use any biscuits you like, or crushed nuts work well too.

preheat the oven to 180 c.

175g self raising gluten free flour (freee from doves farm or the flour mix from this book with an extra teaspoon of baking powder)
75g sugar free plum jam (or any other flavour you like)
75g date syrup
3 eggs
150g dairy free spread
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

topping     100g sugar free plum jam
                  50g gluten free biscuits crushed.

Mix the cake ingredients together in a blender until you have a nice smooth batter.
2  Pour into a prepared cake tin about 7 in diameter. I use a loose bottom cake tin, and line the base with some baking paper and grease the sides with a little coconut oil to make it super easy to get out of the tin.
3  Bake in the centre of the oven for about 45 mins
NB  A note about timings. I've baked in a few different ovens over the years & I find each one is a little different when it comes to timings -  so this is just a guide line. you want the top to be firm but springy and a skewer poked in the middle should come out clean (ie no uncooked cake mix)
4 When cooked, remove from the tin and leave to cool.
5 When cool, spread with the topping jam and then crumble the biscuits/ nuts over the top.
6 Eat!










Tuesday, 3 May 2016

CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING & CHIA SEED JAM



Food fashions, just like any fashions, come and go. Chia seeds have been a trend I've left well alone. I always thought the texture of chia pudding is horrible & the raw seeds just get stuck in your teeth.

That being said, I came up with the first recipe whilst away on holiday when GF supplies were limited to say the least, & I have to sheepishly admit that it was pretty good & i'm almost converted!
They are a useful addition to a GF diet, & apart from using them as an occaisional egg replacement, these are my 2 favourite ways to have them. I try & use ground chia seeds rather than whole ones to avoid the frogspawn issues!

First up Chocolate chia pudding. This is a great breakfast, because you're getting a good dose of protein in first thing.


200ml almond milk
25g scoop vegan chocolate protein powder.
3 tablespoons ground chia seeds
(decorated above with grated raw chocolate and a slice of orange)

1. Mix the vegan chocolate protein powder in with the almond milk (I use a hand whisk.)
2. Pour into a cup or small bowl and mix in the chia seeds. Cover and leave for a good few hours for the chia seeds to soak into the liquid.
That simple.

Ok, so chia seed jam.
I love nut butter & jam on toast, but this is a much less sugary version, and also so much quicker & easier than making your own jam, which involves using thermometers, and sterilising jars, and sealing them with wax or something.


1 cup blueberries
the juice 1 orange
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup.  (or honey)  

1 Blend all the ingredients together with a stick blender (it doesn't need to be super smooth, you just want the blueberries to be mushed up a bit.)

2 Transfer to a saucepan. Heat the mixture over a medium high heat until it starts to bubble, then reduce the heat to a very low heat (it should stop bubbling. leave on the stove for about five minutes, until it starts to thicken.)
3. Stir with a wooden spoon from time to time to stop it sticking to the bottom.
Then remove from the heat, place in a jar and store in the fridge until you want to use it.


     Nom.