Self saucing chocolate pudding you can feel good about … well, at least not so guilty ….

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It is my belief that the desire for pudding comes in direct correlation with the decrease in temperature. The days have gone from 44 to 24 degrees here so it’s time to let you in on a pudding recipe that ticks all the boxes – delicious, warm, gooey and chocolatey with a luscious sauce that forms magically under the cake. It also happens to be reduced in sugar, easily adapted to be gluten free or vegan and has the benefits of maca, cacao, flax and almond meal.

Saucy chocolate pudding 

* see below for details of products that can make things less complicated ūüôā

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup gluten free flour (you could also use wheat, spelt or coconut flour here)
1/2 cup almond meal     *
2 heaped tablespoons of flax meal      *
4 tablespoons cacao powder (you can use cocoa powder here)     *
4 tablespoons maca powder      *
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup apple sauce)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your milk of choice)

Sauce ingredients
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons white or coconut sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease a 20x20cm baking dish.

Mix together sugar, flour, almond meal, flax meal, cacao, maca, baking powder and salt.
Add eggs (or apple sauce), vanilla and milk and stir until combined.
Pour into baking dish and smooth surface with the back of a spoon or spatula.

For the sauce mix together sugars and cocoa powder and sprinkle over cake batter. Gently pour the boiling water over the top – it will look weird, don’t worry it will all come together beautifully.

Bake for 30mins.

* To make things easier I buy Power Super Foods Maca and Cacao Smoothie blend from the local health food/organic store. You can use this in baking, smoothies, to make hot chocolate as well as replacing the maca and cacao powders above with the equivalent amount of this product.

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*this flax and almond baking meal is available in the health food aisle of supermarkets and is a healthy and more cost effective way to include flax and almond meals into your baking. You can replace the flax and almond meal above with equivalent amount of this blend.

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Tahini biscuits…

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My eldest daughter Zoe has an obsession with tahini. She loves it in all it’s forms. I’ve been making tahini salad dressing, black tahini banana bread and now I’ve whipped up a batch of tahini biscuits.

Tahini is the paste of ground sesame seeds. It has a lovely nutty taste and is a fantastic source of calcium.

If you’re looking for a refined sugar free, gluten free, vegan and delicious biscuit to have with your afternoon cup of tea I urge you to give these a go.

Tahini Biscuits 

90mls maple syrup
90mls treacle (you could use honey, molasses or golden syrup here)
90mls tahini
zest of an orange
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups oat flour (this can be made by processing rolled oats in a food processor until your get a flour consistency. Alternatively, you could use plain or GF flour instead)
150g almond meal
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds or flaked almonds for dipping

How to..

With an electric or stand mixer blend together maple syrup, treacle, tahini, orange zest and vanilla. Beat for a few minutes until well mixed and fluffy.
Mix in oat flour and bicarb soda.

Roll into teaspoon size balls and roll in seeds or almonds. Flatten slightly and place on baking tray. Refrigerate for 30 mins.

Heat oven to 180 degrees. Bake biscuits for 10-15 mins.
Cool on trays.

Sticky, chewy date and nut bars …

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Looking for something to get you through the 3pm slump ? Look no further !
These easy to make, gluten free, vegan bars are just the thing. They come together in about 10 minutes and require no baking so are perfect when you’re baking on the run.

Sticky date and nut bars

1/2 cup honey, maple syrup or rice malt syrup
1/2 cup nut butter – this can be any nut butter or a combination. I like to use 1/2 peanut
and 1/2 almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats) – if you are gluten intolerant make sure your oats are GF
1 1/2 cups nuts – use what you like here – almonds, pecans, walnuts – if you have time toss them around in a frypan for a few minutes to toast them and bring out their flavour
2 cups dates, pitted
1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces chopped finely (optional)

Melt honey/syrup and nut butter together in a small saucepan over low heat. When melted remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Blitz dates in a food processor till it forms a paste. Don’t worry if there are still some lumps. Place date paste in a large bowl.
Place nuts in food processor and pulse till roughly chopped. Place in bowl with dates.
Add rolled oats and chocolate if using. Mix well. This is easiest done with clean hands.
Pour over butter/syrup mixture and mix well.

Line a slice pan with being paper and spoon in mixture. Top with another piece of baking paper and squash flat with hands or rolling pin till about 1 1/2 cm thick.

Chill in fridge or freezer till cold then slice into small bars. These are quite rich so small bars are best. Store in fridge or for longer term storage you can place in freezer and thaw as wanted.

Feel free to change the ingredients to suit your taste. Try replacing some nuts with seeds, dried fruit or rice puffs.

 

Anzac biscuits … vegan, GF and delicious…

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If you’re looking for something to have with a cup of tea you can’t go past Anzac biscuits.
This recipe has been adapted to suit vegans and those who are wheat intolerant without losing any of the traditional yumminess.

Chewy, wholesome, perfect for lunch boxes or to share around.

To up the nutritional content I’ve included some almond and flax meal and reduced the sugar. These are so easy to make and would be great way for kids to have a go at baking !

Recipe makes about 20 biscuits

1 cup rolled oats (check to make sure these are GF if intolerant)
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or cane sugar if you don’t have this)
2/3 cup coconut flakes (or desiccated coconut)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts (optional)
1/4 cup maple, golden or rice malt syrup
125g butter or butter substitute eg Nuttelex, coconut butter
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Method

Mix together all dry ingredients and stir well to combine.
Melt butter and syrup in *medium sized saucepan over low heat. When butter has melted turn off heat and stir in bicarbonate of soda.

*The butter mixture will froth up and bubble to about double its size when the bicarbonate of soda is added so make sure your saucepan is able to hold this volume of liquid.

Roll together dessert spoon sized balls of mixture and place on baking trays allowing some room to spread during baking. Flatten slightly and bake at 170 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes till lightly browned.

 

Amazing Vegan Pavlova. This is not a drill…

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Do you have a sweet tooth ? Crave a bit of pavlova every now and then ? Well do I have the recipe for you. This delicious mess of aquafaba meringue, creaminess and tart fruits is sure to have you swooning.

This pavlova is vegan and tastes amazing. Not just ‘that’s good for a vegan pav kind of amazing’ but truly delicious. ¬†It’s got all the necessary elements – crunchy meringue, your choice of creamy goodness ( I used a soy based whipped cream) and tart yummy berries and passionfruit.

A quick search told me that the average egg meringue and dairy cream based pavlova has whopping 50 grams ¬†(10 teaspoons) of sugar per small serve. This generously sized version has less than 10 grams of sugar and that includes the meringue, the fructose in the fruit and the small amount in the cream. This is one pavlova you can actually have and not feel like you’re heading for an insulin spike or a sugar induced coma.

The meringue is from a previous post and is super easy to make (especially when you have a new Kitchenmaid mixer woohoo).

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This recipe made enough for about 30 palm sized meringues and a tray of about 50 small meringue kisses which store well in an airtight container for at least a couple of weeks. Recipe link here …Aquafaba Meringue Recipe

I used Soyatoo Soy Whip because it’s quick and easy and and I didn’t have a tin of coconut cream in the fridge to make coconut whipped cream. This stuff is great when you are in a hurry and has the added benefit of having a lot less fat content than cream and less wastage than great big bowls of whipped coconut cream.

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To assemble I put a meringue nest on a plate, topped it with some soy cream,added a handful of berries and some passionfruit. I also mashed some raspberries to make a kind of coulis to drizzle over the top. That’s it ! Nothing to it. Once you have the meringues on hand the whole thing comes together in minutes.

I got my husband to take one for a test drive and it was gone in record time with a second serving  following close behind. My vegan daughters are pretty darn excited too. I think this could become a family favourite.

If you are liking these recipes or are interested in vegan, gluten free, allergy friendly baking head on over to my Quirky Cake Facebook page and have a look around.

 

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Vegan Meringues…. weird chickpea magic

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Before you freak out at the thought of using chickpea cooking liquid to make meringues can I ask you to suspend your disbelief and give these a whirl. Not only do they taste great (not a bit like chickpea), they also contain a much smaller amount of sugar than standard meringue and would be a fun thing to do with kids. Known as aquafaba in the business, this liquid is a great all round egg replacer.

I used these meringues recently for a vegan cake I made and the consensus was that they are the business for vegans or anyone who can’t have egg.

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Aquafaba Meringues       Makes 80 small meringues

1/2 cup chickpea liquid – the liquid drained from a standard can of chickpeas
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place chickpea liquid and vinegar in a very clean bowl. Any trace of fat will ruin this so I like to wash my bowl well with hot soapy water before I start. Beat with a stand or electric hand held mixer for about 5 mins until stiff peaks form. Slowly add sugar one spoonful at a time whilst continuing to beat. Once all the sugar is incorporated add in vanilla.
At this stage you could also fold in flavourings such as coconut or almond meal if you’d like to.

Pipe or spoon meringue onto trays lined with baking paper and bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours at 100 degrees c. Small meringues will obviously take less time to cook than pavlova sizes and will feel dry to touch when ready. Once cooked open oven door slightly and allow to cool for another 30 minutes.

*** If you want to get creative you can tint meringue mixture with food colouring, pipe into different sizes and shapes or, like the photo above, you can paint food dye (you can use natural colourings) onto the inside of your piping bag, fill with meringue and pipe stripy meringues onto trays.

Really good choc chip biscuits…and why it’s great they are wheat free

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If you can’t tolerate wheat, are vegan or lactose intolerant I have the biscuit for you.

This little gems tick all the boxes – chewy with crispy edges, sweet and nutty. ¬†Just because you have some dietary issues doesn’t mean you have to miss out.

These are not sin free – there’s sugar and chocolate and other wicked things but we all crave a treat now and then and these are so good.

Wheat has become a contentious topic. Lots of people find they cannot tolerate wheat without some nasty side effects like reduced nutrient absorption, bloating, pain, intestinal aggravation and headaches. For those living with Coeliac Disease it’s a total game changer.

About 50 years ago some serious modifications occurred to mass produced wheat making it a shorter, tougher grain. It certainly helped solve some issues of demand but left us with a grain that is much harder to digest and one that contains introduced proteins that were never originally there. Few of us have the enzymes necessary to break it down and this can lead to a situation where bloating and intestinal upset, inflammation, overactive immune responses and blood sugar spikes wreak havoc in our bodies.

If you are dealing with any autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s or Graves Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or inflammatory bowel disorders you should stay well away from wheat. It is not your friend and is, in fact, feeding the immune storm driving your condition.

On a happier note РCHOC CHIP BISCUITS !!!!   There are lots of options in this recipe so tweak it to suit your own situation, choices or tastes.

Makes about 40 biscuits

2 eggs or 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal mixed with 100mls of water.
125gr butter, vegan butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup nut butter – I use almond
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster or coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon each of bicarb soda and baking powder
2 cups of raw or roasted almonds
2 cups gluten free oats
2 teaspoons good quality salt
1 cup chocolate chips ( you could swap this for raisins, cranberries, nuts, crystallised ginger etc)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix together flax seed meal and water if using.

In a food processor blend the almonds till they become a fine meal. Pour into large mixing bowl. Process oats in same way to make oat flour. Mix in baking powder, bicarb and salt.

In a separate bowl use electric mixer to blend together butter and and nut butter. Add in sugars and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes. Add in flax seed mixture or eggs and mix till combined.

Mix together wet and dry ingredients then stir in chocolate chips. The mixture should be a bit sticky – if it’s too dry add a splash of milk.

Roll heaped teaspoons into balls and place on baking trays leaving plenty of room for spreading. Bake for 14-18 minutes at 180 degrees. Allow to cool on trays before moving to cooling racks.

If you don’t need 40 biscuits all at once you can roll mixture into balls and freeze. When ready to cook let them thaw for an hour or so then cook at usual.

 

Here is the ‘cheesecake’ you’ve been waiting for ….

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Like most of my favourite recipes this one cropped up kind of by accident in a moment of kitchen madness. I felt like cooking but not really eating (go figure) so thought I’d try to make a cheesecake that my vegan daughters could enjoy.

Inspired by the avocado chocolate mousse I made a while ago – https://naturocath.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/just-when-you-thought-you-couldnt-have-chocolate-mousse-anymore/¬† ¬†I¬†decided to tweak it a bit to make it more able to hold its own. The end result was decadent, chocolatey, smooth and creamy. It does have some maple syrup but contains no refined sugar, no wheat or dairy so it’s great if you are trying to move away from these things.

It’s so easy to make – all you need is a food processor. No baking or beating. It all came together in about 15 minutes.

Hold onto your hats ….here we go….

NaturoCath Chocolate Cheesecake

Base – You can make a standard biscuit base or this nut and date version.
2 cups whole almonds
15 medjool dates
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon each of coffee and cinnamon (optional)

Place nuts and dates in food processor and whiz till chopped. Add coconut oil, salt, coffee and cinnamon. Blend until this mixture forms a ball. Press this into a lined springform pan and place in fridge while you make the filling.

Filling

3 medium ripe avocados
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder – you can substitute in some raw cacao or cocoa nibs here if you want
Big pinch of good quality salt ( like Maldon)
1/2 – 3/4 cup of maple syrup ( or other sweetener – agave syrup, rice malt, honey – add gradually tasting to get the right amount of sweetness for you )

Blend all filling ingredients until very smooth – scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times – depending on your machine this should only take a couple of minutes.

Pour filling over base, smooth and place in freezer for a hour or so until stabilised. Remove from freezer about an hour before serving and top with whatever you fancy. I used freeze dried strawberries, bashed with a rolling pin to make strawberry ‘dust’. You could also use whatever fresh fruit you enjoy most. Store in refrigerator if eating within a couple of days otherwise leave in freezer.

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Jam that you can eat to your hearts content …

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I love this stuff ! I love it on toast, in a smoothie or straight off the spoon.

Forget about supermarket jam whose first ingredient is usually sugar. Most commercial, and even home made jams, have a ratio of one or two parts sugar to one part fruit РYUCK.  That equates to as much as 7 teaspoons of sugar per serve.

This clever jam has very little sweetener and relies on the fruit for its flavour. It has the added benefit of healthy omega 3’s from the chia and antioxidants from the berries. It takes about 15 minutes to make so give it a try.

Super Chia Jam 

3 cups berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or a mix. You can use fresh or frozen.
3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds – Use 3 tablespoons if you like a firmer set to your jam
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place berries and sweetener in a saucepan and allow to simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Lightly crush with a spoon. Stir in chia and keep cooking gently for 10 – 15 minutes. You will need to stir it regularly during this time. Take off heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour into clean, sterilised jar and keep in fridge.

Caramel Slice for Georgie

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By popular request I’m sharing this recipe. Whilst I try to keep the food on here healthy and easy I’ve had quite a few people ask for this so here you go…….

A couple of weeks ago my daughter Georgie had a craving for caramel slice. That was weird in itself because she is one of the most health conscious people I know. I think it had something to do with wanting what you can’t have. You see Georgie decided to go vegan a little while ago so slices made with butter, milk and chocolate aren’t on the menu for her anymore.
In the interest of keeping my weight in a healthy range and looking after ourselves we generally don’t have these kinds of food in our house but this is a cracker of a recipe and we all have to live a little sometimes !

Never one to back away from a challenge to keep one of my gorgeous kids happy I embarked on finding a recipe that would meet her craving but not blow our health out the window and this is what I came up with. Whilst not completely guilt free it is a huge improvement on your classic caramel slice which is full of condensed milk, butter, sugar, sugar and more sugar and topped off with chocolate. This is definitely a ‘sometimes’ food but interestingly it is quite rich so you only need a little bit to feel like you’ve had a treat. We sliced ours into 2cm cubes and even that little amount felt pretty indulgent.

So, with no further ado I give you …..

Georgie’s Caramel Slice¬†

Start by soaking 1 cup of raw cashews in hot water.

At this point you can decide between a couple of biscuit bases. Option one is healthier and option two is quicker. It’s up to you what you’d prefer. I think option 2 works better and at this stage it’s in for a penny, in for a pound. I’ll got to the gym more this week !

Biscuit base options
Option 1
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup dates
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Whiz up in the food processor and press into slice tray

Option 2
1 packet Choc Ripple biscuits (yes, they are vegan)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Whiz up in the food processor and press into tray.

Place in freezer to chill.

Filling

1 cup raw cashews ( that you have soaked in hot water for 30-60 minutes)
1 cup dates (medjool is best but ordinary dates will work too)
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons tahini
1/3 cup maple syrup

Whiz these in food processor till smooth and well blended. Depending on the power of your processor this can take a few minutes. Once done smooth over your chilled biscuit base and place back in the freezer.

Topping 

1/4 cup each of coconut oil, maple syrup and cocoa powder.

Place in saucepan and melt together stirring till smooth.
Spread over chilled slice and place back in the freezer.

When well chilled slice into small cubes. Store in freezer and allow to thaw for a few minutes before eating.

Try this… you can thank me later.

Yum !