Baking · Dessert

Linda’s Black Bean Carob Brownies with Tart Cherries

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My friend Linda came to visit me today. What a great lady, she’s always been very supportive of my cooking and you can blame her for this blog (haha). But on a serious note , I’d like to give her a big Thank you! Linda and I have alot in common but one thing on the cards to day was our allergies !  You could write a book between mine and her allergies ! So I wanted something that was a treat for both of us something sweet to catch up over , but still safe too. It had to be Dairy  Egg, Coconut and Chocolate  free for me, and no Grains and not too much Sugar for Linda. I’d spotted a grain free brownie recipe in a new cook book I had. So now it was time to adapt it to me too and I was more than happy with the results , accomodating us both was a tall order ! But here we have it. Fudgey, Carob Brownies. With a little kick from some Tart Cherries. I have Linda’s approval that these are a winner. I hope you like them too !

Recipe:
1 Pear
1 Carton Black Beans
1 1/2 Cups Ground Almonds
1 1/2 Cups Milk of choice (I use Almond)
1 Cup Carob Powder
1/2 Cup Sweetner – Honey or Maple work best here.
1/3 Cup Ground Flax seed
2 Tbs Oil (I used Avacado)
Sprinkle of Salt
1/2 Cup Dried Tart Cherries

Optional drizzle :
1 Tbs Maple Syrup
1 Tbs Carob
1 Tbs Hot Water.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×9 tray with Baking Paper and give it a good spray with oil.

Remove the Seeds from your Pear and pop it in the processor. Drain your Black Beans and add them too. Pop in your ground Almonds and Milk and blitz into a paste. Then add your Carob , sweetner Flax , Salt and oil. Give the processor another blitz. Then leave it to sit for 10 minutes. It’ll be pretty thick but this time just gives the flax it’s opportunity to bind everything.

After it’s resting time, pour into your Baking Dish. Then I poked the  Cherries into the batter lightly. But if you want to stir them in first go ahead.

Pop into the oven for 40 minutes or until set. It takes a good while so keep checking. They will still be squishy and fudgey though so don’t panic.

Leave them to cool in the dish completely before lifting out and cutting.. (It helps them firm up a little more.)

Once cooled I cut these up and drizzled with a little Carob and Maple syrup watered down. But that is completely optional as they were great without too!

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Piled them high and they were ready to go!

And a lovely afternoon catchup with a good friend really made my day !

Baking · Picnic

Lemon Meringue Tarts for my Easter Table.

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Ever since developing my Egg allergy, I thought my days of pillowy Meringues were behind me. Until I was introduced to Aquafaba. (Ok so my friend pointed out that it sounds like a Super Villain from a Comic book ) but it isn’t sorry to disappoint. It’s the goo your chickpeas come in. You know the stuff you rinse off… I know it’s not exactly appealing. But I assure you, it works its Magic! You’ve got to trust me on this one !
My Mam has always loved Lemon Meringue Pie , and I thought making them into a cute little Tart would be just lovely. Everyone loves a little tart…
This recipe is no bake and it’s gluten free so it’s a versatile little crowd pleaser. It’s has a few steps , but non are complicated .

So here we are!

Base Recipe :
1 Cup Oats
1 Cup Ground Almonds
1/3 Cup Earth Balance (melted )
1/4 Cup Sweetener. I used Agave , but Honey or Maple would work.
Oil
Baking paper

Blitz the oats in a processor till they’re fine , then add everything else. It should squish together when compacted.
Oil a little cupcake tray and add a thin strip of baking paper to each case to help you lift the tarts out later.
Then divide the mixture into the case and squish to create nice even cases. Mine weren’t perfect at all- just have to make sure they’re well compacted. Like this :

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Then pop those in the freezer to set whilst you make the Lemon Curd.

Lemon Curd Recipe :
1/2 Cup water
1/4 Cup Organic Raw Sugar
3 Tbs Corn Flour / Corn Starch
Juice of two Lemons (keep zest for Meringue)

Add water , Sugar and Cornflour to a small saucepan , and whisk constantly over a medium heat until it’s nice and thick. Then wishing is really important as the corn starch will lump up otherwise. Once the mixture is nice and thick whisk in the Lemon juice. It will set up pretty thick. If you are worried it’s too thin , pop it back over the heat again. Then remove this to a cool bowl and pop in the fridge.

Finally. The Meringue.

Meringue Recipe :
1 Portion Aquafaba(the fluid left from 1 Carton of drained chickpeas )
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp Vanilla paste
Lemon Zest (keep a sprinkle back for decor )

Ok. Add the Aquafaba to a stand mixer (or large bowl if using a hand mixer ) and beat pretty vigorously until it starts to form a cloud. At this point , slowly incorporate your Sugar , I added half a  cup at a time , in a steady stream until it was all in and the mix was starting to stiffen up. I then added my Lemon zest and Vanilla and let it go until I had stiff peaks. (When you lift the whisk out , the Meringue still keeps it’s shape).

Now we are ready to assemble !

Get the base from the freezer and gentley pop them out of thier moulds with the baking paper.
Fill each case with a spoon full of the Lemon Curd.

Then add your Meringue on top. Feel free to pipe it on if that’s your preference, I just swirled it on with a spoon to keep it rustic.

Give a final sprinkle of Lemon zest and I added some fresh Lavander flowers from the garden for a pop of colour against the clouds of white.

Hope you enjoy.

Happy Easter !

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Baking

Blueberry and Lemon Swirls. Easter is nearly here ..

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I’m so lucky to have such lovely friends. I got his beautiful tea towel all the way from Australia , just for me 🙂 . There’s something magical about an unexpected package or letter. I made a showcase of this one yesterday as another one of my lovely friends was popping in- this one all the way from Dublin! We’re a pretty international bunch!

So for an afternoon snack with my old friend, I embarked on some Lemon and Blueberry Swirls. Mainly because we had alot of each in.

I finally played with this dough to make it Vegan too. It’s very similar to the Cinnamon rolls recipe. But minus the Honey and I made this in one large tray to pull apart rather than rounds. If you need advice on the rolling etc, there are step by steps on the Cinnamon rolls recipe.

Recipe
3 Cups Flour
1 Cup milk of choice (I used Almond )
1 Packet Active Yeast
1 Tsp Sugar
1/3 Cup Oil (I used avacado )
1/3 Cup Agave
1 Tsp Vanilla
Salt

Filling :
1 Punnet of Blueberries
1 Lemon
Agave or Sugar to Sweeten

Topping :
2 Cups Organic Confectioners Sugar
2 Lemons Juice and zest
Splash of milk (I used Almond )

Ps : if refined Sugar isn’t your thing , topping these with a Vanilla Cashew cream would be great too .

To start the dough  warm your milk gently till its luke warm. Add  tsp of sugar or agave to the milk then add your yeast (just helps the yeast ) Leave this for 10 minutes while you measure out the rest of the ingredients for the dough. Pop the flour in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. (You can make this on a bowl but you’ll need to be good at kneading :). Add the salt , then start the mixer turning and add in your Milk mixture , Oil, Vanilla and Agave. Let this all incorporate to one large ball.

The dough will need to rest for an hour to puff up in size !  Leave it somewhere dark and warm.

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Whilst that rises you can make the filling , chuck the Blueberries and Lemon juice in a non stick pan bring everything to a boil and let it bubble for a few minutes add some agave or Sugar if needed. Then pop that to one side to cool. You want it cool when you fill the rolls , it will thicken a fair bit too- it won’t be jam though so you will get messy!

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Prep your baking pan with a good spray of oil and pop baking paper in the bottom . And put the oven on 350°.

Once dough is puffed up and filling is cool it’s time to get rolling .

Roll the dough into one large rectangle , and spread the filling on. Then roll along the longest edge. This will be messy I promise. Then slice into rounds ( I wiped my knife between cuts but im not sure if that actually helped the mess at all) and pop straight into the pan a little way apart as they will puff up.

Give them a few minutes to rest again before popping them into the oven for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them.

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Once they come out leave to cool until you can handle them then lift out to add the icing/frosting.

In a bowl mix Confectioners Sugar (icing sugar ) with the lemon juice. Then add enough Milk to make the consistency that you like. I like mine quite thick so didn’t need much !

Drizzle away!

Then I added a final adornment of some zest and some chopped Almonds , I always like to add nuts on top of an item that has almond milk in, just so people know it’s there incase of allergies.
These are lovely served still a little warm !

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Baking · Picnic

PB&J Flap Jacks- Valentines style !

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Confession. Peanut Butter and jelly was my first American love affair.  I was 6 and in Disney and I had always loved peanut butter. I took the plunge and ordered the sandwich. At the time being perturbed as Jelly is Jello in the UK. I remember it arriving, it had the crusts removed which was the first thing my 6yr old self fell for. But after that first bite, there was no going back to plain old Peanut Butter on toast. I’m sorry…

Anyway fast forward 20 year and  recently one of my girls has given up gluten and is missing her PB&J. And so a new challenge was put forward. Hope she likes them !

Happy Valentines , or in the case “Galentines” (still not too sure how I feel about this word…).

Recipe :

2 Bananas
1/4 cup Oil ( I used Avacado)
Heaped 1/2 Cup of your favorite PB.
1/2 Cup liquid sweetener (I used agave )
Salt
1/2 Cup Peanuts -chopped
2 1/2 Cup Oats
1 Cup of your favourite Jam/Jelly.
Spray oil

Preheat the oven to 375°.

I made these in little heart moulds to make them cute but I usually make Flap Jacks as one whole square. Oil your mould or line your baking pan 🙂

Pop the Bananas in a food processor , add your oil, sweetner and PB. ***tip here: spray your measuring cup with the spray oil so your sweetner and Peanut Butter doesn’t stick ***

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Give everything a whizz so it’s nice and smooth and combined. Pop your Oats into a large mixing bowl and pour your Banana mix on top add the your peanuts with a few left over to decorate. I add a fair amount of salt at this point too . Give everything a good mix.

Spoon your mix to fill your mould just under half way. Then do a big scoop of Jam/Jelly. Then top with the remaining mix, just like a sandwhich!

Once all your moulds are full add a few little dots of Jam ontop and a sprinkle of your remaining Peanuts.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Leave to cool in the mould before plating and enjoy !

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Baking

Carob , Pear and Hazelnut Cake!

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Today it was rainy. And cold. And windy. This isn’t what I moved to Florida for… But naturally you have to make the most of these things, and a day like today is the perfect day to experiment in the kitchen. This gooey little number was the outcome. Who needs a Valentine when you have a cake for two and great book ? Pass me the spoon.

Recipe :
1 1/4 cup Almond Milk
1tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/4 cup Spelt Flour (or regular)
2 Tbs Corn Flour
1/2 Cup Carob Powder
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/3 cup oil ( Flavourless)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbs Maple Syrup.
1/2 cup Chopped Hazelnuts
1 Pear peeled and cut in half

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine Almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Leave that to hang out. (You’re creating the Almond Milk version of buttermilk here. )
Put Flours, Carob Baking Powder and Soda in a bowl.  In a larger bowl add oil ,Sugar , Maple and pour in your Almond milk. Mix together and then sift flour mixture in bit by bit.
This mixture will get more solid and cakey as the Carob seems to absorb fluid. Stir in chopped Hazelnuts.

Grease and line with baking paper your preferred cake pan. I made two smaller cakes with this batter (5″) but I think a larger one would work fine too.

Pour half the batter in (or all if creating a large ) and neatly place your Pear on top.
Pop this in the oven for appx. 20 mins (longer for larger ) and keep and eye on it till its puffy and set.

Carob Sauce :
3/4 cup Almond Milk
2 tbs Maple syrup
2 tbs Carob
1tsp Corn Flour

Heat the Almond Milk and Maple Syrup till it steams. Mix flour and Carob in a heat proof bowl and whisk hot milk into them bit by bit. This thickened fine for me but if it’s a little thin return the sauce to the pan and give it a little longer on the heat.
You are now all set. These cakes are good for two but I’m not going to judge anyone ….. enjoy !

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Baking · Breakfast

Orangey Pecan Cinnamon buns!

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Bit of naughty baking whilst we have company…. I mean I’m just being a good host, right ? Everyone loves warm Cinnamon buns. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.. confessions of a Sugar addict . Besides everyone needs to be naughty once in a while. It’s how we find balance (am I convincing anyone ?). They’re just warm and gooey and cinnamonny ❤

So I’ve been playing with a recipe for this dough for a while. But I’m pretty happy with today’s effort. So here goes.

Nb: haven’t mastered a vegan version minus Honey yet. But hope to test this soon !

Recipe

Dough

1 Cup of Almond Milk
1 packet dry active yeast
3 Cups Organic Flour
1/3 Cup Oil of choice ( I used Sunflower )
1/3 plus 1 tsp Honey
1/2 tsp Salt
Zest of 2 Oranges.

Filling :
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup oil or Earth Balance
3 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Pecans chopped
Zest of an Orange

Icing :
1 Cup Organic Confectioners Sugar
Almond Milk
1tsp Vanilla Powder or paste.

Start by gently heating the Almond Milk till its luke warm , you don’t want it hot this is important, if it’s too hot it’ll kill the yeast. If you over heat it , cool it before continuing . Once it’s warm add the 1 Tsp of Honey  and then the packet of yeast. Then leave this to sit still for 10 minutes. Should froth up nicely a bit like this :

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At this point put the three cups of flour into a stand mixer or large bowl. Add the salt. Start stirring it as you add the yeasty milk (wow that sounds attractive ?) Once it starts to incorporate add the Honey , oil and orange zest and let in knead for a few minutes. If you’re doing this by hand it will need to be kneaded a bit long just to make sure the Gluten is activated. Then pop the dough in an oiled bowl somewhere warm for 1 -2 hours. ***again warm not hot , by a warm oven or by a radiator , not in or on them **

After a few hours your should come back to the dough being nearly doubled. Squidge all the air out at this point and give it 5 min to rest while you prep the filling.  Add everything except the Oil or Earth balance to a bowl and mix. Then roll the dough into a large rectangle. Give it a little brush with the oil or Earth balance and then sprinkle with the filling.

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It doesn’t have to be perfect. Once it’s at this point , get to rolling ! Roll along the longest edge. Once you have a long roll, nip the ends and seal it together. Then with a sharp knife , cut into 1 inch pieces. Pop these into an oiled cake pan lined with baking paper. Then give them another half hour to rise again. Whilst you heat the oven to 375°.

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Now we’re ready to bake ! 15 -20 minutes until puffed and golden!

When they’re ready , lift them out and leave to cool slightly.  While they’re cooling make the icing , add the icing sugar to a bowl and make it to you’re preferred consistency with the Almond Milk , some like it thick, some like it thin. I won’t judge. Then stir in the vanilla.

Once the buns are cool enough to handle but still warm inside , drizzle away my friends !

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Ps. I’d like to say that’s all the icing I used … but I’d be lying. Sorry .

Baking

Pumpkin pies. Oh. Pies. I love you.

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The Holidays are officially approaching when every shop is crammed with all things Pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is something I’d only been introduced to on my move to the US. But ooohhh what an introduction it was. Smooth , sweet creamy and sexy. A pie in all its glory. It took me a good while to perfect my  recipe. But this little plant based wonder finally hit the spot.

Now, I’m not going to go and tell you what crust to use. Everyone usually has a preferred crust, if it’s your Grandma’s, your own , the Goodhousekeeping one or if it’s one that comes pre-rolled from the freezer section at Walmart. I’m not going to judge. Just pick what you’d like. I’ll give you the recipe for what I use just incase though.

So . Confession time. I have to admit this pie turned out better with tinned Organic Pumpkin puree. Sorry. I know. If you want to make your own Pumpkin puree , I take my hat off to you! But I find they can be a little “hit n’ miss ” with reliability on flavor where as the tinned is more consistent …. excuses excuses. Forgive me ?

Ok. Now that we have that settled …..

Pie Crusts:
(this would make one big pie or three of the medium ones pictured above )

2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
2 tbs Corn flour
2 tbs Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup of Avacado oil
Iced water.

Put Flours, Sugar and Salt into a bowl. Whisk this slightly to remove any lumps. Pour in Avacado oil. Stir to combine , then add iced water 1tbs at a time till the dough comes together.
At this point give the dough a little time to rest before rolling.
When ready to roll go ahead, and pop into a non stick pie pan. At this point chill the dough in the fridge while you make your filling.

Pumpkin Pie Filling.

1 can Pumpkin.
1/3 cup Maple syrup.
1/4 cup Brown sugar (if not using proceeded sugars just double Maple Syrup.)
1 tbs Cinnamon ( use this as a guide we all have our own opinions on cinnamon )
1tsp ground Nutmeg
4 Tbs Ground flax seed.
Splash of milk of your choice (I used Almond )

Optional : a small shout of Bourbon works well here of you swing that way !

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to incorporate. Let this sit for 15 minutes to let the flax do its magic of combining everything.

Once this is ready , fill your pie cases , and place in a preheated 375 ° oven.
Cooking times will vary depending on what size pie you have made.
Keep an eye on it , and when edges are golden brown and filling is just set in the center, lift pies out to cool.

Tip: if the edges are getting too dark before the filling is set , cover them with foil or a crust protector.