Posts Tagged With: dessert

Quick Blackberry and Rowan Jelly Tart

 

Quick Blackberry and Rowan Tart

Quick Blackberry and Rowan Tart

Following on from the ‘Simple Blackberry Compote‘, we take the next reasonably logical step, the ‘Quick Blackberry Tart’.  The Beach House is beginning to resemble mound of blackberries at the minute, our garden and the neighbouring horse fields are a sea of green with many purple patches.  Forgive us for our bramble based indulgence, but they’re so tasty.  It seems that horse muck is the ideal breeding ground for giant blackberries, although horse manure seems to benefit all plant life, our tomatoes definitely appreciate it.  Even though our neighbouring horses are a little wild and aloof, we thank them for producing their fertile goods.

As with the compote, cooking rarely gets easier than this.  Three ingredients and minimal fuss make this the perfect last minute/ lazy moment dessert.  It is of course, greater than the sum of its parts and is one of those recipes that punches well above its weight (not sure if that analogy is particularly Beach House-ified!)  I use frozen puff pastry for very obvious reasons, any brave soul who attempts to make their own puff pastry cannot be described as ‘lazy’ in anyway.  Its quite a labour intensive process involving advanced folding and rolling techniques.  I have made a type of parantha that is similar, but a parantha is a very forgiving format (like a fat flaky chappati).  Puff pastry is something we have in the freezer and use when our folsk visit, they all seem to love a bit of crumbly dough.  Dad is here at the minute and he approved of this tart, eating the leftovers for lunch which is not a bad sign.

The rowan jelly has been kicking around our fridge for a while and this tart is the perfect home for it.  We have plenty of rowan berries and elderberries loitering around the Beach House and we are planning on a mass harvest very soon.  Hopefully next year we’ll have homemade rowan berry jams to sample and probably whack in a cake/ tart.

There are so many differing ways that you can take this tart.  The astringent rowan here works well with the sweet blackberries, our berries were very sweet and you may like to add a little more sweet jam/ jelly if you have a batch of more tart fruits.  Once you’ve made the base, you choose the toppings.  Something like a pizza desert.  This recipe is simply what was to hand, seasonal and looking good. We’ve had it with apples and marmalade, strawberries and cashew cream, plums and star anise, pear and cinnamon, banana and custard……the list goes on.  All of them simple and very quick to get together.

The pastry base is best blind baked, depending on the tart filling, the pastry may seem ever so slightly soggy in the very middle.  It is cooked and is just a result of the liquid wetting the pastry and having something like a steaming effect.  Think a Chinese dumpling as opposed to a pasty (like a Jamaican Pattie).  The combination of soft middle and flaky outside only adds to the textural fun.

The Beach House Potato Patch (looking a little sorry for itself after a serious blight infestation, theres always next year!)

The Beach House Potato Patch (looking a little sorry for itself after a serious blight infestation, theres always next year!)

The Bits – For 4

250g block of puff pastry (frozen is much easier)

6 big handfuls of blackberries (or as needed)

4 tbs rowan jelly (or other fruit jam)

 

1-2 teas vegetable oil

 

Do It

On a lightly oiled surface, using a rolling pin, roll out your pastry in a roughly rectangular shape.  Flipping it over a few times, whilst rolling, giving the  pastry a good even thickness and light coating of oil.

Place on a baking parchment and give it another few rolls.  Score a 1 inch border around the edge of the pastry by running the tip of a knife around.  Cut roughly 1/2 way through the pastry with a sharp knife.  Poke the base (not the border) a few times with a fork, this will lessen the rising.

Preheat an oven to 180oC and when warm, pop in the tart base bake for 12 minutes.  Until lightly golden and well risen.   Press the base of the tart down, leaving the border slightly raised.  Spoon in and spread the jelly/ jam and scatter over a good layer of berries, packing them in tightly.  Place back in the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until the border is dark and golden and the fruit is soft.  Leave to cool for 10 minutes and serve warm.  You know your oven, if its not a boss fan oven, then flip the tart around halfway through cooking to balance the bake.

The tart fresh out of the oven

The tart fresh out of the oven

Serve

Dad is here, we had custard!!!  There is hardly any difference between normal custard and vegan custard, try making custard with almond milk, its extra yum!

Jane and Dad getting stuck in!

Jane and Dad getting stuck in!

Foodie Fact

Rowan berries grow all over the UK and can be seen a mile off due to their vivid red colour.  These berries have long been regarded as fantastic for health; they boost the immune system, help the digestive system, prevent certain cancers and reduce bacteria infections.   They also make a very tasty jam.

These little red suckers are packed full of vitamin C and fibre and also contain a very powerful blend of antioxidants (aka disease fighters).

Do not eat rowan berries without cooking or freezing them for a decent period of time, they are quite toxic.  They contain what is called parasorbic acid, which is no good, but when heated or frozen this acid transforms into sorbic acid, which the body loves.  Rowan berries are technically a ‘superfood’ that lives on our doorstep.  They can also make for a potent and eye popping liqueur!  (Isn’t that what they call the best of both worlds!!!?)

Rowan berries are one of the many hedgrerow goodies that seem to be overlooked.  I don’t think it will be long until many more folk are out there at this time of year, harvesting the bounty of fruits and leaves that are springing out of our hedgrerows, many boasting fabulous health giving properties and a diversity of flavours and textures.

Categories: Baking, Desserts, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Gertrude’s Chocolate Cake filled with Dark Cherry Jam

Gertrude's Chocolate Cake filled with Dark Cherry Jam

Gertrude’s Chocolate Cake filled with Dark Cherry Jam

A quick one here that goes out to the Tasmania crew, Fran and Steve of The Road to Serendipity fame.  Fran has requested Gertrude’s (Jane’s Nan) recipe ever since seeing it on a previous post.  Well Fran, here it is, better late than later.  Soz…….

Just to rave about Fran and Steve for a moment, their blog is a massive slice of living off grid (with two cool dogs Bezial and the mighty Earl and bags of awesome looking food, nature, ideas, good livin’, love and plenty of peaceful vibrations).  They really are shining examples of living close to nature and Tasmania looks incredibly beautiful judging by their photos.  There can be few more dedicated and prolific bloggers than our Fran and we always appreciate her enthused feedback.  It is people like Fran who keep this little old blog rocking!  Cheers guys for your constant stream of inspiration and kindness.  You make the blog world a brighter place to be.

This recipe is taken from a scrap of paper written by Gertrude, who is no longer with us.  Gertrude lived to the ripe old age of 96 and dictated this recipe as Jane made it and Keith (Jane’s Dad) scribbled it all down word for word, quaint little sayings and all.  Goodness knows how many times this cake was made, Jane was brought up on it.  All of this means that this is a recipe we hold very dear and even closer to our hearts.  It also makes a lovely light chocolate cake and is ever so easy to make.

This will make one small sandwich cake, double the mix for a big ‘un.

The Bits

4oz margarine (good stuff), 4oz caster sugar, 1/2 teas vanilla essence, 2 eggs (beaten), 4 oz self raising flour (sieved), 1 heaped tbs cocoa (sieved), pinch salt, 1 teas milk (if needed)

Do It

Preheat oven to 190oC (360F)

In a mixing bowl, paste the margarine and caster sugar together with a wooden spoon.

Slowly add the eggs to the paste, stirring nicely.

Gently add the the flour and cocoa, fold into mix.

Add salt and milk if mixture is too dry, should be thick batter texture (that plops off a spoon).

Pour into two small round baking tins (6 inch) with marg rubbed on sides and bottom.  Use baking parchment if you don’t trust the non-stickness of your tin.

Clean out bowl with finger, give to Jane.

Get Nan to smooth it over.

Slam tins on table twice each.

Place in oven, 2/3 the way up.

Check in 1/4 hour with a wooden chopstick or skewer.  It should be clean when retracted.

Serve

We filled our with a fine dark cherry jam and grated dark chocolate on top. Although I hear Gertrude was quite partial to a little butter icing.

We Love It!

‘Cause Gertrude made it.

Foodie Fact

Eating cake makes you happy.

 

Categories: Baking, Budget, Cakes, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Thai Mango and Coconut Forbidden Purple Rice with Basil (Vegan)

Thai Mango and Coconut Black Rice

Thai Mango and Coconut Deep Purple Rice

Thai Mango and Coconut Forbidden Purple Rice with Basil (Vegan)…..quite a mouthful this wonder dessert, in more than just the name!

If you love this magical dessert, you have been to Thailand and probably savoured it in a hectic street scene with a plastic spoon and big smile on your face.  It’s one of those experiences that etches itself on your memory, your first taste of sticky coconut rice is not easily forgotten.

The very mention of this desert and I’m weak at the knee; one foot in dessert heaven, its full of unspeakably good sweet stuff and awesome flavour combos. As you may gather, I quite like this dish, it’s up there with my top desserts of all time (ever) in the world.

I’m not a huge dessert fella, but sweet coconut rice topped with mango is something I’d swim to Thailand to try again.  Jane brought it all the way to the Beach House and it was a very pleasant surprise.

Jane made this ‘Forbidden Rice’ for one of our date nights (in). We are some of the luckiest folks you’ll ever meet and get much good luck/ news/ people crossing our paths and we felt like celebrating it all. I opened something rose and fizzy and Jane disappeared into the bowels of the Beach House Kitchen to work her culinary magic spatulas, and what a feast we had. The Honey Corn and Coconut Korma (recipe coming soon) was something to write home about (even though we were already home) but the dessert…………..I do a lot of the cooking in the B.H.K. and I also work in a kitchen for my sins, so to have a dinner presented to you with such care is a recipe for a magic night.

Mango and Basil, Yellow and Green, well worth a photo.

Mango and Basil, Yellow and Green, well worth a photo.

Purple rice (sometimes called black rice) was deemed so special, fragrant and nutty, it was only served to emperors in ancient China, hence the ‘forbidden’ moniker.  It was also popular in the fascinating Indian region of Manipur, where it is still served on very special occasions to much fanfare.  It is believed that all of the strains of this rice lead back to the Manipur region.  It is a glutinous rice and is grown in many different countries now, it is exceptionally nutritious (see the Foodie Fact) and has a distinct, full flavour.  This rice also makes for a very funky porridge.

The only problem is getting hold of the stuff, the real deal is hard to find.  Jane picked some up in Glastonbury, which is the heart of all things obscure and nutritious foodstuffs within the UK.  I imagine if you live in California it grows on trees there!  But generally, it may take a while to track down.  Our advise, persevere and bring this dessert into your life.   Of you can’t get black, go white jasmine instead.

This is an easy dessert to make and is perfect for when you fancy adding something a little exotic to proceedings; mango and coconut are a legendary pair and the coconut pouring sauce, quite literally, tops it off.

We had some pouring sauce left over and its been making cheeky appearances on all sorts of things, mainly bowls of muesli.

You may like to add a little jasmine thai rice to the mix, it turns a wonderful purple colour when combined with the purple/black rice.

A word on coconut milk: there is some real rubbish out there.  We have managed to find a little sustainable Sri Lankan project that makes the finest coco milk, it cannot be compared with the stuff you’ll find clogging most supermarket shelves.

MORE BEACH HOUSE DESSERTS TO TICKLE YOUR FANCY:

Raw Coconut Lime Cheesecake, Bitter Chocolate Ricotta

Moist Almond and Olive CakeRaw Chocolate Brownies

Raw Strawberry Tartlets, Rhubarb and Custard Cake

Sweet Coconuts and Happy Days to you allXXXXX

Makes enough for two very lucky folk

The Bits

1/2 cup black rice (or any rice you prefer really), 1 handful of jasmine rice, 1 can sustainable coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar (we used brown), 1/2 teas sea salt, 1 ripe/ fragrant mango,

Non-Vegan addition – 1/3 cup single cream (for non-vegan fun), stirred in just before serving, and 1/3 cup added to the pouring sauce.

Garnish – 1/2 toasted dried coconut (desiccated coconut will do), 1 tbs toasted sesame seeds, several leaves of basil (we forgot the first two, but they would be amazing)

Do It

Soak black rice for four hours or overnight to get nice and tender.

Cook rice in a saucepan, cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil, simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until tender but still with a little bite.  Drain, keep warm.

Pour coco milk (make sure you get all the cream from the bottom of the can), sugar and salt into saucepan and bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly.  Reserve a cup for pouring at this stage (add cream for non-vegan fun)

Add your rice to the saucepan, heat again gently to a boil, then simmer for 10 mins until it thickens (again, add cream at this stage for non-vegan fun).

Cut mangoes, this can be quite a fiddle, so heres a little example of how its best done by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone (we loved the name).   This will give you cubes, for the thin slices, just take off the skin at  the cubing stage and slice thinly.  Any questions, we are here to help on the mango hotline, Wales.

Next up toast your coconut and seeds in a small frying pan, medium heat for 10 minutes will do and this can be done well in advance, although warm is better.

Forbidden Purple Rice gets a drizzle

Forbidden Purple Rice gets a drizzle

Serve

In lovely shallow bowls (small servings are best as this is a very rich dessert), spoon in your purple rice, lay on your slices of mango (fan shapes look brilliant here) and offer the pouring sauce in a small jug.  The general sweetness of the dish will be enough for most.

Sprinkle on your coconut, sesame and basil leaves and serve warm and immediately.

We Love It!

You’ve seen the pictures, you’ve heard me wax adulation, you imagine the flavours……..you know you’ll love it!

I could have taken pictures of this dessert all night, but it was getting cold.

Heart Shape Mango.  I could have taken pictures of this dessert all night, but it was getting cold.

Foodie Fact

Purple/ black rice contains all of the 18 amino acids, which means that technically you can live on the stuff.  Great for dessert islands (small joke there)!  It is also high in iron, zinc, copper, caroten and several great vitamins.

It also contains anthocyanins, which make it black and are also found in blueberries and peppers.  This chemical mops up bad molecules and is a poweful anti-oxidant.

Purple/ black rice has also be touted as  the new superfood against the big C (cancer).

Tunes

Because music and food are the same thing, one in your ear, one in your mouth……

Two tunes this time from Beach House radio and both relevant to this incredible dessert.  Deep Purple ‘Child in Time’ for the deep purple of the rice and because it reminds me of the dawning or rock music in my world (I was around 1o years old in the back seat of a car when it hit me like bolt, you can wail and not be told off or sectioned! IT’S ROCK AND ROLL)  If I could sing like Ian Gillan, I’d happily forgo my forbidden rice.

and a shaky clip from one of my favourite music bars in the world, the Adhere Blues Bar (just of the infamous and rubbish Khaosan Road) in Thailand (queue more wailing with a Thai accent).

Categories: Desserts, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Raw Coconut Lime Cheesecake (Vegan)

Raw Coconut Lime Cheesecake

TRY ME

This is just one of those recipes that comes along, out of the great blue yonder, that catches the eye and demands to be made.  This floated by via a recommendation from Yolanda at the wonderful Byzantine Flowers blog.  There are millions of recipes hovering around out there, but only a small minority grab me and really get my creative juices flowing.  I like something a little bit different, something challenging and new.  When I saw that this cheesecake had either kale, beetroot leaves or spinach in it, I knew I’d discovered a new dessert for me to play with.

We are in veggie heaven at the moment after helping chef strim his garden.  To be honest it was more of a wild field than a garden and due to our combined efforts in helping tame this jungle, chef gifted us a serious glut of amazing vegetables from his pristine veg garden (you can see where his priorities lie!).  Chef lives way up in the hills and has a fantastic garden that he and his Zimbabwean wife, Estele, take magnificent care of.  Estele is a natural with the good earth and can grow things that just shouldn’t grow in these temperate parts.  Chef is a proud frenchman and quite handy with a strimmer and mandolin.  Thanks to them we are now the proud owners of literally bin bags full of incredibly sweet spinach, fiery mint, intense chives, vibrant cabbage and some of the most vivid carrots.  You may be seeing more of these ingredients soon (maybe in desserts?!)  I have never tasted spinach this sweet (see below), it came from chefs sister in the Loire Valley in France.  Ideal dessert spinach.

Raw desserts normally have a lot of components, but they are easy to get together and require a lot less messing around than normal baking (its not going to sink, burn, crumble, split……etc), it just sits there on the plate looking sexy.  I’ve never used pumpkin seeds in a base before and I think they taste even better than nuts.  Less fat, more flavour.  Seed bases are a winner.  The filling is rich and bright green (the spinach doing its thing) and you won’t believe that cream cheese wasn’t added.  It’s so smooth and creamy.

Who needs flowers

In the future, we’ll all be eating these!

Heres the recipe with a few Beach House additions, makes enough for six nice little cheesecakes.

The Bits

The Crust

1 Cup Raw Shelled Pumpkin Seeds, 1/2 Cup Dates (Pitted and Soaked for 2 hours), 1/4 tsp. Organic Pure Vanilla Extract, 2 teas dark tahini (light is fine also), pinch of Sea Salt

Filling

2 Cups of Avocado, 1 packed Cup Spinach, Kale of Beetroot Leaves (without stems), 1/2 Cup Dates (Pitted and Soaked for 2 hours), 1/2 Cup Date Soak Water, 3 Tbsp Lime Juice, 2 Tbsp Dried Coconut Flakes, 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, 1 Tbsp. Raw Maple Syrup (or great Honey), 1 tsp. Lime Zest, Pinch of Sea Salt

The pumpkin seed bases

Do It

Using a food processor, pulse the pumpkin seeds, dates, vanilla, tahini and salt together until they start to clump into a ball.   Place in the fridge for an hour to cool.  On a chopping board, using your hands, press the ball down into a flattish sheet (approx 2cm thick).  Then take a cake/cookie cutter and cut circles.  Roll up the leftovers and make another smaller sheet, repeat this until most of the base mix is used (eat the rest.  Yum!)

In the mix

Get all of your filling ingredients in your food processor (give it a rinse beforehand) and blitz up until nice and smooth.  Place you cake/ cookie cutter over your bases and spoon in two tablespoons of mix, using the spoon, even out the mix and make sure it meets the edges (giving you a nice looking, clean edge).  Pull off the cutter, slowly but with purpose, your cheesecake should look splendid.  If not, be more careful with the next one! Repeat until your mix runs out.  As I mentioned, the base can be rolled up into little balls and snacked on at a later date, so no waste here.

Please feel free to play with sizes and shapes here.  We used this cutter as it makes for a decent dessert size.  The original recipe was more of a cupcake.

Raw Coconut Lime Cheesecake – YUMxXXX

Serve

They don’t last long, for many reasons, the avocado doesn’t help.  Serve them immediately with thin slices of lime, bits of coconut or as we did, a sprinkle of coconut flakes and a few pumpkin seeds.

We Love It!

People look quite disgusted when we tell them we’ve been making desserts with spinach in.  Hopefully they’ll read this post and have their minds changed, even better, they’ll actually try it for themselves.  Veggie desserts are the future, next week, garlic beer!

Foodie Fact

Coconut oil is an excellent substitute to cooking oils and especially butter.  It has been heralded as a ‘superfood’ and it certainly is.  The benefits of coco oil are many, for example, it can even be rubbed into your hair and skin giving amazing nutrition to both.  Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but they are mainly lauric acid, which actually helps repair the heart and arteries.  These fats also contain micro-biological qualities that fight bad bacteria and fungi in your guts, they also help you absorb many vitamins and minerals.  I could go on here……..I’m sure you get the idea.  Eat more cocos!

One last lingering look…….X

Categories: Desserts, Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Raw Strawberry Tartlets

Raw Strawberry Tartlets

This is a variation on our Raw Summer Berry Cheesecake that was SOOOOO GOOD we thought we would do it again… only adding some different ingredients to make it tastier and a little more interesting (and smaller!).  One for the sweet tooth and can be eaten on a raw food diet too.  Try it, it’s amazing!

It was a beautiful sunny day so I put on my shorts, went in the garden, felt super-summery, and then decided to surprise Lee with a beautiful treat for when he got home from work.  The strawberries were farm-fresh, juicy, and looked oh so irresistible in the fridge, and the result was a delightful delicate mix of this rich nutty sticky base with it’s thick creamy sweet fruity topping. Such sunny decadence!!!

I just love raw food preparation and cooking. It’s quick, there is very little mess or washing up, and I really feel like I am learning so much about how to combine the ingredients and flavours. It’s so incredible how tasty these blends of foods can be and how versatile these ingredients are – the topping in this recipe is unbelievable!  Tahini never tasted so good.

Raw Strawberry Tartlets

The Bits

 

Base

200g dates, 200g soaked almonds, large handful sultanas, large handful cashew nuts, a shake of cinnamon, a shake of ground (or chopped) ginger

The delicious creamy topping

1 large banana, juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons of tahini, 8 dates
with chopped strawberries for the topping

Do It

So here’s how it’s done!

Base – Blend the ingredients for the base in a food processor. Make little balls with the mixture and squash flat to make little round mini-bases. This took the longest out of everything because the mixture gets so sticky. Make as many bases as you want, any size or shape you want! Worth persevering with your sticky fingers for the end result :)

Topping – Blend everything together and smooth the lovely thick mixture on to your bases. Throw on some chopped strawberries, or any other fruit you may have that looks beautiful; and serve straight away.

You can keep the base and topping separate in the fridge and they will keep well for a few days.  Only add the fruit just before serving for the freshest taste imaginable!

Serve

We like it all left out of the fridge, at room temperature.  Served in the garden and eaten with teaspoons (to prolong the happiness).  Normally with a nice cup of Rooi-al (Rooibos tea with almond milk) or Rooi-soy (with soya milk).  The perfect little summer treat.

We Love It!

This is so simple.  The most delicious dessert and minimal effort…leaving more time for eating!!!

 

Foodie Fact

Strawberries are actually native to Europe, and technically a ‘creeper’.  Nothing evokes summertime in Britain more than the coming of the strawberry.  Strawberries are very high in vitamin C, our anti-oxidant friend and vitamin B. They also contain plenty of vitamin B and E and have good levels of mineral content.  They are also full of phyto-nutrients that are brilliant for the body, they fight diseases and other nasty things.  Oh, and they are low in calories.

Enjoy!! xxx

Jane x

Categories: Desserts, Raw Food, Recipes, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Vegan Chocolate and Almond Ice Cream

One big pile of Vegan Chocolate Nut Ice Cream

The Beach House Kitchen is definitely rustic.  Not in the manufactured ‘rustic’ sense of the word, I mean we have sheep invading our front garden and no coffee shop within a half hour drive.  The wind howls and we regularly have horses looking into our bathroom window (which can be quite a shock when you’re getting out of the shower!).  We live out here and it’s beautiful!

I try and convey this country feel in our pictures, I just don’t have the gadgets (and time) to make our food look so polished.  I am in awe of many blogs that manage to make any dish look like food of the Gods.  When it’s so grey outside, taking photographs of food just doesn’t do the dish justice.  One blog who constantly dazzles with its photographs and gorgeous food is 84th&3rd.  This recipe is inspired by their Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream recipe.   This is one of those food blogs that is so delicious and sexy, you just want to try out all of the recipes.

This is an amazing recipe that will blow anybody away.  Vegan or otherwise.  Even the hardest of hardcore Ben and Jerry lovers will be impressed with this ice cream.  It is a wonder, with purely natural and healthy ingredients.  Good fats and sugars ahoy!

The Beach House additions to this recipe were mainly nutty.  Almonds to be exact, although pecan and cashews would be lovely also.  We used soaked almonds here, the soaking brings out the nutrients and also makes them nice and plump and soft, ready for blending.  Soak your nuts!  It helps.

Cacao powder is a great investment, a little costly, but a small spoonful goes a long way.  It is surprisingly chocolaty and opens a doorway into much sweet experimentation.  Contrary to popular misconception, vegan ice cream can be rich and we’ve turned to the old favourite, avocado, to give things that creamy richness that diary normally would.

Cacao Beans

Cacao or Cocoa?

Cacao is not cocoa, cocoa is not cacao. They are very similar in every way, which can be confusing, but one way they differ greatly is nutritionally. Cacao is raw, meaning not heated to an extent that fragile enzymes and nutrients are destroyed, cocoa is heated (although still very tasty).  Raw chocolate is brilliant for the body (in moderation) and big slab of Cadbury’s just ain’t so great.

Try to buy organic with your cacao, they use a load of pesticides and bad things in cacao growing.  There’s no point going healthy and opting for a chemical cocktail, it will probably be the matter of a few pennies more.

Bananas (not ripe yet)

Bananas

The bananas here, and in general, should be getting towards brown.  Some brown spots and a nice soft banana is important.  They will be alot sweeter and better for you (I won’t bore you with the science of it this time, see the ‘Foodie Fact’ for that).  Most places sell bananas way to early, meaning we eat them far too early.  We try and buy bananas a week in advance so they are nicely ripened when we get around to them.  Bananas are an essential part of any healthy foodies diet.  They are so packed with sugar and can add super sweetness to all kinds of things.  No added sugar required when a banana is in town.  It  is a nice idea to keep some bananas (and fruit in general) chopped and ready in the freezer.  It keeps them fresh and is perfect for making smoothies etc.

This recipe is so easy to prepare, no need for an ice cream blender (which is surely a dust trap/ counter clutterer waiting to happen).  It just needs a little stirring and a freezer and you have a gorgeous, very chocolaty ice cream.

You may like to add even more chocolate to this recipe, just bash up a bar of your favourite dark chocolate or add cacao nibs for the healthier touch.  This adds some nice crunchy bits, as does the almonds.  If you like a smoother ice cream, just blend for longer.

Jane sneaks in

The Bits

1 cup soaked almonds (overnight), 1 ripe avocado, 2 large frozen bananas (chopped up), 1/4 cup cacao powder, pinch good sea salt (we use halen mon tahitian vanilla sea salt), 1 tsp maple syrup/ honey, 3 tbsp bashed up dark chocolate or cacao nibs (for serious chocolate fiends only)

Do It

Blend up the almonds first for a minute then add your banana, avocado and salt using a food processor until smooth.  Chop up the rest of the almonds into rough looking pieces and stir them through with cacao powder until well combined.  Add maple syrup/ honey. Stir through chocolate chunks/ cacao chips if using.

Pour into an old ice cream container, or something of those dimensions. Stir every 30 minutes or so, breaking up frozen bits and mixing until smooth. Do this approximately four times if you can.  You may also like to dust off and put into use your ice cream maker here.

Set out for 15 or 20 minutes to soften slightly before using, it is easier to scoop this way. Sharing is optional.

Serve

We had ours with blueberries and chopped banana, with a little more chopped almonds on top.

We Love It!

The texture of this ice cream is so rich and has a lovely smooth nuttiness.  We cannot believe how healthy and delicious it is, we will be making more of this.  Alot more.

Foodie Fact

When bananas ripen proto-pectin is converted into digestible, soluble pectin and starch is also converted into sugars of which 20% is glucose, 14% is fructose and the remaining 66% is sucrose.

Bananas give off a large amount of ethylene, which helps fruits ripen.  If you have any fruits  that need ripening, pop them in a bowl with the bananas and wait a day.  They use this ethylene to turn green oranges orange.  Many people don’t like the look of a green orange, even though they are ripe.  We do funny things with our food!

Bananas also contain our happy friend trytophan, that converts to serotonin and makes us shine.  See our ‘Mood Foods….’ post for more info on happy veggie foods.

Categories: Desserts, Recipes, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Raw Chocolate and Black Olive Torte

Raw Chocolate and Black Olive Torte

Now this one really blew us away.  An unusual sounding combo that works out in the most fantastic way.  The dark and rich cacao blends perfectly with the fruity flavour of the olive; which of course adds a beautiful, pureed texture.  This torte is moist and decadent and will convince any raw food sceptic, that raw food is not just about carrot sticks!  You can most definitely indulge.

One of the most surprising aspects of raw food has been the desserts.  They are a real knockout!  So full of goodness, you need to eat them in moderation.  The usual base ingredients of nuts and dried fruits means that  they are high in fats and sugars, but remember, they are all good fats and sugars.  Non of that processed and refined rubbish that is alien to our bodies.  These desserts are very, very good sources of energy.

The preparation of this torte is simple, but does take a little time.  We love using fresh coconut, but it can be a job getting into one (see the recent ‘How to dispatch a coconut’ post).  Once the coconut is sorted out, the rest is just an easy exercise in blending and enjoyment.

Psyllium husks are not your average larder stock, you may need to visit your local health food store.  They do make the whole mix set well.  I am sure it will be delicious without them, just a little soft around the edges.

This torte keeps well, even the banana in the crust seems to keep its colour and flavour.  We took it down to Pembrokeshire on tour and enjoyed slices of it whilst sheltering from the wind in our little orange tent.  These raw desserts are hardy.

This recipe comes from the brilliant ‘Eat Smart, Eat Raw‘ book by Kate Wood.   The recipe makes around 12 servings.

The Bits

Base – 200g fresh coconut, 125g ground cashews, 1 banana

Filling – 300g plain black olives (drained and pitted), 450g dates, 30g carob powder (or cacao powder), 1 tbsp grain coffee, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 180ml water, 2 tbsp powdered psyllium husks.

 

Our well used blender

Do It

Base – chop coconut in a food processor, add the ground cashews and process both until well mixed, put the banana in a chunk at a time until it binds together nicely (you may not need the whole banana).  Line the mix in a cake tin (around 9in).

Filling –  break down the olives in the food processor, add the dates and process until a paste is formed.  Then add the carob, grain coffee, cinnamon and vanilla and blend again.  Keep it running and add the water gradually, finally add the psyllium and after a minute turn off and immediately spoon onto the base before the psyllium starts to set.  Spread out evenly and leave in the fridge to firm for a few hours.

We Love It!

Yet another gourmet raw dessert.  At this rate we will be gaining weight on this raw diet (with big chocolaty grins on our faces).

Foodie Fact

Psyllium husks are portions of the seed of a plant.  They are mucilaginous, which basically means that  they thicken things up.  They are great for the colon and better blood circulation.  They can be used in vegan baking and help to bind mixtures together.   These husks are also used in a popular detox drink that involves clay, Bentonite clay that is volcanic and has many detoxing properties.

Raw Chocolate and Black Olive Torte

Categories: Cakes, Dairy/ Lactose Free, Detox, Gluten-free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Raw Chocolate Brownie with Rich Chocolate Icing

Raw Chocolate Brownie with Chocolate Sauce

This rich slice of brownie goodness just made my DAY!! Thank you to The Rawtarian for the idea!  After seemingly forever without any chocolate (it feels like a very long time ago since we did the Willies Cacao and Chocolate tastings – our favourite chocolate in the world!) Lee treated me to this yummy dessert. After all we couldn’t go on a raw diet without experimenting with a broad range of food including LUXURY puddings could we? J Hehehe!

Whilst munching our way through half a slab last night we concluded the only bad thing is the amount of sugar it contains (from the dates) and fats (from the coconut oil and the nuts…) It is unbelievable to think there is no butter, cream or chocolate in this recipe; it tastes just so rich.

But because it’s all healthy ingredients; it is still no crime to while the evening away with a delicious huge slab and a tasty cup of sweet vanilla rooibush tea to accompany it! And that’s exactly why I love this recipe – it’s naughty tasting healthy food!! Woo-hoo!

In the bits, we used soaked almonds instead of pecans and it worked out very nicely.  We were lucky to have a few coconuts hanging around, so we were privileged to used fresh coconut and shredded it in our coffee grinder.  The star of this recipe though is the salt (it is not often you say that!), Halen Mon Tahitian Sea Salt.  We’ve been waiting to use this since we tried it in a ‘Dark Chocolate Ricotta’ recipe a few months ago.  It really brings out the flavour of the chocolate and adds subtle hint of vanilla.

This recipe makes a great base for other desserts and can also be easily rolled up into dark chocolate truffles.

This is so packed full of energy, with the dates and nuts alone, if you planing on  running any marathons in the near future, we highly recommend this for dessert the night before.  You will break records!

The Bits

Brownie – 1 cup pecans (you can use walnuts in a pinch, but pecans are much better!), 1 cup dates, 5 tablespoons raw cacao (cocoa) powder, 4 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/2 teas Halen Mon Tahitian vanilla sea salt (normal sea salt is fine)

Chocolate Icing- 1 cup dates, 1/4 cup raw cacao (cocoa) powder, 1/4 cup cold-pressed coconut oil (also known as coconut butter), 3/4 cup water (or a tiny bit more if needed)

Do It

Brownie – Add the nuts to your blender and whizz until broken down, then add dates and blend for a minute, add all other ingredients and continue to whizz away until the mixture turns a lovely shiny dark brown, not too buttery (you should still be able to see bits of nuts).  You may need scrape the mixture from the side of the blender to ensure that all is blended nicely.

Press down into a suitably rectangular container (cake tin will do) and press down evenly so the mixture evenly covers the base.  Cover and refrigerate, this mix keeps its shape well and even looks like a brownie!

Chocolate Icing –  Could not be easier, soften your dates in the water for an hour before blending.  This makes them softer and easier going.  Then add all ingredients to the blender and whizz up. Start slowly and build up the speed, blend for a while, until the icing begins the shine and no dates can be seen (roughly 5 minutes).   If needed, turn off the blender and scrape the icing down from the sides.  Viola, a rich icing that would grace any dessert!

Raw Chocolate Brownie

Serve

We keep the chocolate sauce separate, in a sealed container, and spread onto the chunks of brownie when cut.  Both the brownie and the sauce keep well in the fridge for a while.   Otherwise, this needs no additions, just a few sweet teeth and a nice cuppa!

We Love It!

Deep, rich and velvety.  This is a stunning recipe that keeps well and only gets better with age.  It is incredibly dense and a little goes a long way, meaning more days of decadent brownie time, which is never a bad thing.  The icing is also very versatile and has an almost mousse-like texture that melts in the mouth.

Foodie Fact

To the Aztecs, the cacao bean was the food of the Gods.  Raw cacao is bitter ad is normally sweetened, it is the main ingredient of chocolate and boasts many health benefits.

Cacao produces much the same effect as caffeine, yet milder and non-addictive.  It stimulates the brain to produce a gentle euphoria via a release of endorphins.  It also contains very high levels of antioxidants.

Like much of the research on foods, the science is ever changing and the cacao bean seems to be a contentious topic.  The general opinion though is that it’s a superfood and dark chocolate, even when processed, contains many health benefits.

Categories: Desserts, Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Raw Apple and Peach Crumble

Raw Apple and Peach Crumble

Jane is out at ukulele club, so I thought I’d whip up a dessert for when she gets back.

This is a sweet thing that I didn’t imagine I’d be eating this month.  Apple Crumble was a winter special in my house, smothered with custard. Custard is also possible on a raw diet, but I thought it was step too far, it required more cashew nuts (plus dates, banana and vanilla extract, I may make it soon).

This is a rich and hearty dessert and the oats provide the crumble with some serious substance, add to that the nuts and you have a hearty topping fit for any fruity base.  The tantalising combinations are almost endless….

Many of these raw food recipes will be staying in our diets and this is one of them, we are both learning new techniques of cooking (or non-cooking) and of course, we are now ace salad makers!  This will be a key skill with the summer allegedly on its way/here.

We soaked our almonds and raisins overnight to make them softer and easier to blend, we then used the juice of the raisins to sweeten the crumble.  Walnuts or pecans would also be a great addition to this crumble.

Below is a picture of the kind of nutters we are!  Our nut selection of nuts and seeds is comprehensive, but essential for our playtime with this new lifestyle.  Jane and I both lost a little weight when we started the diet, but with all these gorgeous desserts filled with nuts and dates, we are filling out again in all the right places.

This recipe is a doddle as most of the measurements are the same, you can use any vessel (or hand) and just keep things consistent.  A great one to just throw together for a quick dessert.

The nut stash

The Bits
Makes enough for eight people (or four hungry folk)
Crumble – 125g almonds, 125g cashews (or walnuts), 125g oat groats (soaked overnight) or rolled oats with a glug of hot water added (if you aren’t a raw-er), 80ml of raisin juice (the soaking water)
Filling – 125g raisins, 1 kg apple, 2 peaches (de-stoned and chopped), 2 teas cinnamon

Crumble in the mix

Do It

Add all of your filling ingredients to a good blender and give it a whizz, we like chunks, leave a few in if you prefer.  Set aside in your serving dish.

Give the blender a quick wipe out and then add all of the ingredients for the crumble.  Blend until it has all come together and is nice and thick.  It should be a little damp, it will set when spread out.

Using a trusty spatula, spread out the crumble onto the fruit filling.  Be gentle here, it can get messy!

This will keep overnight in a fridge, but is best eaten on the day.  It won’t last long!

Serve

We had ours with a little soya yoghurt (greek yoghurt would be amazing also).

We Love It!

These amazing raw dessert recipes are coming thick and fast, I’ve just made some chocolate brownies that are a real knockout.  Whoever said that raw food was be boring!

Foodie Fact

An apple a day keeps the dentist away.  Apples won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing apples stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.

 

Categories: Dairy/ Lactose Free, Desserts, Gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Berry Cheesecake with Avocado and Banana Cream (Raw)

Berries

This sweet tasty little dessert only took about 20mins to make; a wonder!  Any fruit combination is good; summer fruits, tropical, and I’m imagining it tastes just as lovely with the good old British apple or pear come autumn.
We used a tasty selection of mixed berry fruits; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries for this special weekend treat.  I decided to make it to surprise Lee because he deserves a treat!

There are many variations of the raw cheesecake and this is probably the simplest method.  There is no way of recreating cheese, that type of creaminess is unique to our milky friend Mr Cow, but the banana, tahini and avocado make a brilliant attempt at a plant cream.  It’s more smooth and clean, as opposed to rich and indigestible.

We have really splashed out on fruit and veg at this time of rawness and our nut reserves are well topped up and we’re brimming over with seeds.  We have invested in a diverse range of ingredients in order to treat ourselves (primarily our bodies).   Some of these treats are not seasonal or local, which is a shame.  Next time we may try 100% raw in August/ September when the berries more abundant.  We hope that wherever you are in the world, your berries are ripe for the picking!

If you are a raw one, this is the rich, sumptuous dessert that you have been dreaming of.  It will also impress any guest, at any dinner party in the world!

You may like to half the filling, this will make more of a tart to a full on cheesecake.

The Bits

For crust
185g almonds (soaked 12-14 hours), 185g dried dates, 1 tsp ground cinnamon
a few drops of vanilla extract

For filling
2 avocado, 2 large banana, 8 dates, 4 tbsp tahini (light), juice of a lemon, berries (enough to cover, we used cherries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries).

Do It

Whizz up your almonds in a food processor until they are as small as they will go, and until they are starting to stick together.  Add the dates and blend again so that the crust mixture goes all sticky.  Add the vanilla essence.  If you think it needs to be even stickier add a couple of drops of water.  But not too much in case of sogginess.

Put it in a cake tin or bowl; something flat-bottomed and press it down lightly round the edges. Looking like a cheesecake base?  Mmmmmm!!

Then it’s time to make the filling. (It’s best made fresh because of the banana).
Blend the banana, avocado, dates, tahini and lemon together until you have a smooth non-lumpy sauce.  Should be nice a thick.  Spread onto base.

Chop up your fresh fruit and scatter it on, giving a good even covering.

Cover and leave in the fridge for an hour to set.  Then serve with big smiles and spoons.

Raw Berry Cheesecake – deconstructed and good to go….

Serve

You can deconstruct the cheesecake if you want to keep it over night, it saves the crust getting too moist.  Then you just tip the filling onto your own portion like a hearty custard.
I’m quite keen on the custardy option, especially since the sauce is much better eaten fresh and the crust looks like it will keep over night. If there’s any left…

We Love It!

It’s a fruity sweet treat, a healthy equivalent of feasting on a massive bar of chocolate!!!

Foodie Fact

Fruit (and lots of it) is bursting with goodness! Less is known about the almond – think of them like protector nuts – giving you supplies of all the protective minerals like calcium and magnesium for strong bones. They have vitamin E and many phytochemicals in them, which can protect our bodies from the big C. Dates have all kinds of minerals in them – quite unbelievable.  They are not just sugary, they also have a lot of fibre in them too and make for healthy bowels :)

This was the soundtrack to raw berry cheesecake times in the BHK, ‘Man on Fire’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros:

Categories: Desserts, Raw Food, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Nutter Cake with Almond Chocolate Ganache

Happy Nutter

This is a completely unique recipe.  I can safely say that nobody has ever made a cake like this before (and maybe never again!).

It was my birthday recently and I felt like knocking up a cake packed with all the good things I enjoy, and so was born the ‘Happy Nutter Cake’.  Probably not the greatest name for a cake, but it was made up on the spot, as was this recipe.  I decided to free style with this one and just enjoy myself, no recipes, it was my birthday cake after all.  By my baking standards it was actually like a cake and not a strange loaf-like experiment.  Most people actually enjoyed it!

We have relaxed our normally healthy eating ways here, it was treat time!  This is a rich, dense cake but crisps up nicely around the edges and should be golden and soft in the middle.  The nuts add great crunchy surprises and if you like, you could top with an almond chocolate ganache (see below).

As usual, I cannot bring myself to use white flour, so I use sifted wholemeal.  I like polenta and the texture it gives a cake. I use cups when baking, they seem easier.  This recipe will make one big cake.

The ‘Nutter’ Bits

The Bits 

1 1/2 cups of sifted wholemeal flour, 1 cup polenta, 1 cup of creamy yoghurt, 50g soft butter, 3/4 cup good brown sugar (I use natural molasses sugar), 1 banana (chopped), 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, 1 cup of dried mango (chopped), 2 teas bicarb of soda, 1/2 cup of almonds (roughly chopped), 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of almond milk (or milk of your liking).

In the mix

Do It

Sift flour, polenta and bicarb into a big bowl, add butter, peanut butter, yoghurt, sugar and milk and mix together well.  Then add the nuts, mango and finally the banana.  Make sure it is all nicely mixed and add to a suitable cake tin, buttered and lined with baking paper.

Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 oC.  Check that it is cooked in the middle, stick a knife in and it should come out only slightly sticky.

Allow to sit for 5 minutes in the tin and then carefully turn out onto a cake stand.

When cooled, put whole into a lidded container/ cake tin.  Slice wedges when needed, its stays fresher this way.

Almond Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate ganache is simple, in a bowl melt your favourite chocolate over a hot pan of water, take off the heat and slowly mix in double the chocolate quantity of double cream and a handful of roughly chopped almonds.  Allow to cool and then set in the fridge.

When needed, whip out of the fridge and lather on your cake.

Serve

I would recommend a few minutes in the oven before serving, then add the ganache to melt slowly.  YUM!

This is the last picture of the cake, it was devoured soon after.

We Love It! 

It has been several days since my birthday and the ‘Happy Nutter’ is long gone, which is a good sign, writing up the ingredients reminds me how tasty it was.  The ‘Happy Nutter’ is a keeper!

Foodie Fact

Almonds are full of calcium and phyto-chemicals, which help us fight off all sorts of nasties.

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Desserts, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Special Occasion, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moist Almond and Olive Oil Cake

Mary at her tiger pool in the jungles near the Ganges

Yesterday was Mary’s birthday.  A special day for great cake, wine and song (isn’t everyday!).

Mary is my dear friend who I met on the old Hindustan-Tibetan Highway, somewhere in the Himalayas, India.  She now lives in a cosy log cabin close to the end of Llyn Peninsula, Wales.

This cake went down a treat after a veggie banquet of salad, roast things and Mary’s ace chickpea stew.  We hardly had room for cake, but we soldiered on anyway and ate until we could hardly stand.  Hoorah for birthday excess!

People who know me, know that I am not into my frilly little cup cakes.  I like a dense cake that has some substance and is not packed full of white stuff and butter.  This fits this bill and then some….

I had been sitting on this recipe for a while, looking for an excuse to whip it up.  I liked the sound of almonds and olive oil (although the original had pistachios instead, see link below), the polenta is also an interesting addition.  I have made many changes to the original, no sugar, but honey and dates, brown flour instead of white (we didn’t have white in), cardamom added…..etc.

I also managed to use our goose eggs from Ernie (see ‘Ernie’s eggs’ article from Easter).  It was a beast, breaking into it required a lumberjack hack with my knife and the yolk was truly something to behold.  Vivid yellow.

Ernie's giant goose egg

The olive oil here keeps the cake moist and gives it a lovely fruity flavour.  It is quite a dense cake with a subtle orange tang.  I would recommend white flour here, as it will make the cake lighter.

This will make a large-ish cake, fit for around 12 good slices.

The Bits

1 cup polenta, 1 cup of white flour (sieved), 2 cups of almonds (ground), 1 goose egg (or 3 hens eggs), 1 teas baking powder (sieved), 2 cups of olive oil (mild), 100g unsalted butter, 1 cup dates (well chopped), 1 big teas good honey, 1 orange (cut into segments, little pith) and juice of 1 lemon, 2 cardamom pods (optional) zest of lemon, spare almonds, dried fruit and sunflower seeds for decoration.

I added cardamom to the recipe, because I love it with orange.

Do It

We ground our almonds in our little coffee grinder.  This is preferable as there are some nice lumps of nut left.

In a pan, melt butter in warm olive oil, take off heat, add your orange segments and cardamom.  Allow to cool and infuse for a while (outside on the step with a lid on works).

Gently mix polenta, almonds, flour and b.p. in a bowl.

Whisk egg, date and honey in a blender.  Add flavoured butter (remove cardamom pods) and oil slowly as you blend.

Empty wet ingredients into a large bowl and gradually add dry mix, stirring and folding in, then the zest and juice of lemon.

The mix should be quite wet and shiny with all that lovely oil.

Put into your favourite baking tin, preferably quite a flat one and grease well (I used more olive oil for this job).  Decorate in an ostentatious way using nuts, dried berries and seeds.

Bake at 160oC for 40 mins.

The cake should be a little underdone in the middle, it finishes off on the cooling rack.  Leave to cool for 10 mins in tin, before removing to the rack.

Serve

Preferably warm, we had ours with a rhubarb ice cream.  Then another time with local Welsh yoghurt and some of Mary’s spiced apple compote.

We Love It!

Definitely not your average Victoria Sponge.  The olive oil and almonds work a treat and the sweetness of the dates with the tang of the citrus makes this a very interesting, rich little number.  One for the cool Auntie Ji in your life.

Foodie Fact

Almonds are low in saturated fats and full of calcium and magnesium, good for the bones.  They are also an intense source of phytochemicals which battle against the big ‘C’ and keep your heart ticking nicely.

Almond and Olive Oil Cake (I lost the better picture, apologise)

This is a link for the original pistachio recipe on the ‘Welsh Rarebits’ site:

http://www.rarebits.co.uk/recipes-moist-pistachio-and-olive-oil-cake

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Desserts, Recipes, Special Occasion, Travel, Vegetarian, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Rhubarb and Custard Cake (Vegan)

One for now, one for later

I loved the cartoon, ‘Roobarb and Custard’, when I was a little nipper.  The very irritating soundtrack was like cartoon punk rock to my innocent ears.

This is not everybody’s idea of a cake, it’s not very sweet or rich.  But it is chewy and tasty, for those who want to ‘have their cake and eat it’ (from a health and nutrition point of view).

Mum used to make us rhubarb crumble using the wild rhubarb growing in and around our garden.  I must admit, I got a bit sick of it as a child, but now, I love the stuff.   Why is it now so expensive to buy?  I shall look into this.

Have you heard of the ‘rhubarb triangle’ Brits?  It’s in 9 sq mile triangle in West Yorkshire ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhubarb_Triangle), the heartland of all things rhubarb on our fair isle.  I think rhubarb season is up there in importance with asparagus season!

This is another vegan cake and can be easily made gluten-free, by swapping oats for flour (expect a nice chewy slab and less rising!).  Its super simple and once you know the method, the ingredients can be chopped and changed, with different combos of fruits (or vegetables), nuts, seeds, dried fruits etc.

The method is the same as ‘Abigail’s Pumpkin Cake’ from before, but this one has the lovely combo of bitter rhubarb and sweet banana.  Only when you give up sugar for a while, do you realise just how sweet a banana is.  If you normally eat sweet cakes, maybe add a few tablespoons of honey to the mix.

The cake is quite dense and moist and is a real find.  You can eat loads of it and feel great afterwards!  There are no hidden baddies here!  Its filled only with nutrition.

This amount will make one round cake and a loaf (we have a busy week of cake eating ahead).  Half the quantities if you would like just one decent sized cake.

We couldn’t get fresh rhubarb, so we used a can.  I would stew the rhubarb until soft, if using fresh.

These cakes are simple and wholesome, some would say, just like me!  It should be nice and crisp and brown on the outside and gooey in the middle.

The Bits

3 bananas (chopped), 3 stems of rhubard (chopped or one can, drained), 1/2 cup of coconut cream, 6 dates (pitted and chopped), 2 tbs flax seeds, 3 tbs roasted sunflower seeds, 2 teas vanilla extract (a nice one), 2 cups wholegrain flour, 1 cup of oats, 1 tbs tahini, 1 teas bicarb of soda, 1 teas baking powder, 1/2 teas cinnamon, 1/2 teas all spice, 1 cup soya milk.  Keep 1/2 banana and some sunflower seeds for the topping.

Do It

Heat oven to 180 0C.

In a small bowl mix the bicarb and b.p. together to make a paste, no lumps.

Add 2 bananas, 2 stems of rhubard (2/3 of the can), coco milk, almond extract, half the dates, tahini, bicarb paste, spices and soya milk to a blender.  Blend smooth.

In a large bowl add the rest of the ingredients (including the rest of the chopped fruit, these will form nice moist chunks in the cake), then the wet ingredients and stir until a sticky batter is formed.  If it’s too runny add more flour, too dry, soya milk.

Oil two baking trays, I used a loaf tin and a shallow round tin (like a quiche tin).  Make sure you oil the base and sides well.  Spoon in the mix and spread to the corners.  About 1 1/2 inch of mix (or a little more) is good, it will rise around double.  Decorate the tops of your cakes with some creatively sliced banana and sunflower seeds.  Press banana into cake to ensure it doesn’t overcook.

Cook for 45 minutes, checking after 30 mins.

When testing the cake, it has oats in, so it will be stickier than a pure flour cake.  If a pointed knife comes out just a little sticky, its ready.  Turn out of trays (gently does it) and cool on wire racks.

Serve

Custard might be a good idea!  We had it with a little greek yoghurt and some plum compote.  If you stick it in the microwave for a minute, it gets better.  Jane has even spread some butter on a hot slice, which I hear was rather pleasant.

We Love It

Unlike most cakes, there are no hidden baddies here, only hidden goodies.  The rhubarb and banana go really well together.

Foodie Fact

The redder the rhubarb the more Vitamin A, benefitting your skin, eyes and, the less than appetisingly named, mucus membranes.  It is also rich in complex B Vitamins and the rarely mentioned Vitamin K, which is nice to your brain and bones.

Stack 'em up

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Desserts, Gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bitter Chocolate Ricotta

We had this on Valentines, in tea cups.  It’s rich and velvety.

The pinch of salt really brought out the bitterness of the chocolate.  Jane and I aren’t really into very sweet desserts, so this was near perfection.  It’s not a choc pud for those with a super sweet tooth.  Try something new!

With few ingredients, you can’t skimp on quality here.  Use good chocolate and a nice ricotta.

I used ‘Halen Mon’ salt (http://www.halenmon.com/) with Taitian Vanilla.  They are a local salt company, based on Anglesey, who produce some stunning salts.  We don’t use much, so the little we use is important.

As usual with the B.H.K is easy to get together, with very little washing up!

Use 1/2 tub of ricotta and 2/3 bar of chocolate for two people.

The Bits

1 bar of quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), 1 tub of ricotta cheese, 2 pinches of Halen Mon Vanilla Salt (or good sea salt), dried fruits

Do It

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan with boiled water.  Stir.  Scrap out into a bowl with ricotta cheese, add a couple of pinches of salt, fold in until blended.  The chocolate should be enough to balance the flavour with sweetness, if you add too much salt add a little sugar or honey until its right.

Serve

We topped ours with some dried strawberries and Physalis (see GRAZE article), most dried fruits would be fine or some Amoretti biscuits would go nicely.

We Love It

A quick dessert, minimum fuss and maximum enjoyment!  The Vanilla Salt is a real star here, it adds so much.

Foodie Fact

Chocolate is packed with flavonoids, helping our cells and good monounsaturated fats that can lower cholesterol (if you only eat a few chunks!)

Categories: Cheese, Desserts, Gluten-free, Recipes, Special Occasion, Treats, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 693 other followers

%d bloggers like this: