walnuts

Wholegrain Vegetable Bread

It’s kind of cake, kind of bread. Maybe loaf cake….maybe not.

It’s kind of sweet, kind of savoury but let’s not label this beauty because it really is a gem. I love it for how adaptable it is, it really is a throw-it-together and use what ya got kind of bread……or cake….or loaf! I made this whilst Russ was on the nursery DIY duty listening to a bit of Regina Spektor. Music + baking = Bliss.

Wholegrain Vegetable Bread

I used half spelt and half almond flour because I haven’t used the good stuff for ages and it ramps up the nutrient level beautifully! But this would work with whatever flour you have to hand, same with the oil, you gotta use what ya got! On the other hand if you want to cut out the oil, double the sweet potato purée and ditch the walnuts for raisins. Likewise if you have carrot but no courgette or vice versa then just use what ya got. I had an abundance of sweet potato but pumpkin and apple purée can easily replace this. See it really is adaptable!

Wholegrain Vegetable Bread

I was having a bit of a dense carb craving and this defo hit the spot – healthy, hearty, easy and delicious. This is why I like wholegrain vegetable bread:

wholegrain
moist + satisfying
veggie packed
healthiest fats
ideal snackage

Wholegrain Vegetable Bread

I’m quite liking vegetables in my cakes, more please 🙂

Wholegrain Vegetable bread

1 cup almond flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup walnut pieces
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chia plus 6-8 water
1 tablespoon molasses (optional)
1/4 cup oil (I used coconut)
1 heaped cup courgette, grated + excess juice squeezed out
1 heaped cup carrot, grated + excess juice squeezed out
1/2 cup sweet potato purée (pumpkin or apple purée would be great too)
1/4 cup water, if needed

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 º Celsius + line a loaf tin with parchment paper. Prepare chia ‘egg’ by combining the seeds with water.
  2. Meanwhile add the first 6 ingredients to a large bowl + combine well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients along with the flax egg + add to the dry bowl.
  4. Combine very well + transfer to the tin.
  5. Bake for 80-90 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake

I love dried fruit so it’s no shock that fruit cake is one of my favourite cakes. Actually, it IS my favourite cake. Raisins, sultanas, dates, apricots, currants, cranberries, blueberries – all of ’em, I love them. So it was hard for me growing up with a sister who picked the raisins out of her muesli, the currants out of her buns, the dates out of her puddings and turned her nose up at a moist iced wedding cake! What is she mad!? It actually stumped me because there is nothing nicer than a thick slice of fruit cake, to me anyhow. A big statement but so true.

Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake

It seems that everybody’s Nan or Mum makes the best bolied fruit cake recipe ever so I’m not claiming this is the best by any means but it’s certainly free of any animal products (love that of course), is possibly a little lower in sugar, undoubtedly wholegrain too. This vegan boiled fruit cake is already a winner to me. Ok, this is better than your Mum’s and your Nan’s, sorry.

vegan boiled fruit cake

So why is this vegan boiled fruit cake better than your Mum’s?

It’s vegan- yippeee. I DON’T need cow stuff in my cake and nor do you!
It’s lower in sugar, dried fruit is pretty sweet already right?
Hello wholegrain. Spelt flour is pretty impressive when it comes to baking and much higher in fibre and lower in gluten than your average white flours. Spelt flour is a good friend.

So yeah it IS better than your Mum’s AND your Nans – so so sorry but it’s true.

vegan boiled fruit cake

Oh and another thing, fruit cake isn’t just for Christmas but all year surely. There is nothing better than a pot of tea and a wedge of fruit cake in the afternoon, or evening! Oh and the smell of freshly baked fruit cake is pretty hard to beat for me too.

Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake
Enjoy and get fruity.

Vegan Boiled Fruit Cake

120 grams vegan butter
1/2 cup raw brown sugar
400 grams mixed fruit
1/4 cup chopped cherries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1 cup almond milk
1/4-1/2 cup water
2 cups spelt flour

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160ºC + line a 7-8 inch cake tin.
2. Meanwhile add all the ingredients apart from the flour to a pan over a low heat + simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Allow to cool before adding the flour. Once the flour + fruit mixture is thoroughly combined transfer to the cake tin + bake for 1 hour or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
4. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Christmas Stuffed Peppers

christmas stuffed peppers

Ha ha ha! Christmas stuffed peppers, I know, I know! I did this months ago (like in DECEMBER!) but then I kinda got pregnant and I felt sick. Really really sick. Like all the delicious food I lusted after I suddenly hated! I lost all my energy, I was tired and let the blog slip. I went to India in December (yes, I did go to India with horrific morning sickness and it was hardwork! This is another story) and came back in January with a nasty bug which was making good friends with pregnancy nausea. Man, I felt like shit. I let the blog go more and I found my fleece blanket, a good book, salty potato anything and turned the heating up for weeks.

But but but but…….I am FIVE months nearly and I don’t feel sick, or tired but full of energy and my love of food has returned to me! Hence, I can now look at these peppers again. God, in no way are these just for xmas but they seemed like an appropriate thing to eat on the day in place of bird and sauce.

christmas stuffed peppers

What the heck is a Christmas stuffed pepper anyway? I’m not sure either but these are damn tasty and do actually contain walnuts and cranberries which are pretty Christmassy! Oh and just red and green bell peppers too – true Crimbo colours! When you don’t eat meat you need to be a little more creative but it’s sure worth it cos these are tasty, satisfying and miles better than any sliced meat I ever had. Of course I’m going to say that, I don’t eat meat – but it’s true. Any vegetarian or vegan would be happy to be served these if you’re ever struggling to cater for these fussy fellows 😉

christmas stuffed vegan peppers

I love stuffed peppers for how easy they are and you can stuff them with absolutely anything!
Here’s to many more recipes to come!

vegan stuffed peppers

Christmas stuffed peppers

(serves many)

6 bell peppers, tops cut off + cleaned inside
3 garlic cloves
1 small onion, diced
2 cups chestnut mushrooms, chopped roughly
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 cups cooked lentils/rice
1 teaspoon each of thyme + cumin
salt + pepper
2 large handfuls kale
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375 ºC. Prepare peppers + cook rice/lentils if not already cooked.
2. Fry onions, garlic + mushrooms until fragrant + softened.  Add tomatoes, lentils, seasonings, kale, cranberries + walnuts + gently simmer for 5 more minutes.
3. Spoon the mixture into the hollow peppers and replace the lids. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven + serve immediately on ANY day of the year, not just for Christmas.

Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal

carrot cake bake
I must admit I don’t at first think of carrots for breakfast but carrot cake, yes. Carrot cake in oatmeal form, yes oh yes. In oatmeal form topped with maple drenched salted nuts and seeds, yes, yes and yes. This breakfast is kind of a big deal for me. It tastes just like carrot cake but with all the nasties right outta there. See, it’s a big deal.A slice of carrot cake baked oatmeal

I ate this for breakfast warm and my it was sooo good. I also ate it cold the next day and it was even more delicious, cakier, sweeter, doughier, spicier. The great thing is you really don’t even need a plate and fork as it’s perfect for just picking up and eating on the go. Gosh, this kind of food is me food, me all over, in baked carrot cake oatmeal form!DSC_9363

The great thing is it’s pretty much as healthy as regular oatmeal or granola and packed full of healthy fats and protein. Plus you squeeze in a carrot first thing! This is the kind of breakfast that’ll keep you going until lunchtime, no blood sugar crashes in sight and packed full of delicious healthy ingredients. But then again this doesn’t even have to be brekkie as it’s way good enough as dessert. Amen. Delicious healthy ingredients

It was hard not to eat the whole tray. Severe restrain was exercised here. I wish I was more like Russ with his self control, maybe it’s a guy thing! Not that self control needs to be exercised as it’s so healthy but I mean I ate three pieces compared to his one………where’s the sharing eh?!! Not to worry as I’ll be making more of where this came from and might next time do an apple pie version, or pumpkin pie, or pineapple cake, chocolate brownie baked oatmeal……………………..A slice of carrot cake baked oatmeal

Here’s to having more desserts for breakfast and starting the day right with pudding!Carrot cake baked oatmeal

Baked carrot cake oatmeal

(serves2-4)

dry:
4 medium carrots, peeled + grated
1/4 cup raisins
2 cups oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg + ground ginger
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
pinch of salt

wet:
2 cups almond milk
2 tablespoons flaxseed combine with 6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla

topping:
1/3 cup each of walnuts, sunflower seeds + pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted vegan butter

method:

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Seperately whisk the wet ingredients together fully.
2. Add the wet to the dry + combine thoroughly. Transfer mixture to a baking dish, allowing to soak for 30 minutes.
3. Combine the topping mixture + spread evenly over the oats. Bake for 25 minutes or until set + browned on top.

Mocha Quinoa Truffles (GF + Vegan)

mocha quinoa trufflesI need chocolate. Everyday. I love chocolate in all it’s raw, unprocessed and darkest glory. I think we all need chocolate, it’s good for the soul. Seriously. A bowl of mocha quinoa balls

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M Schulz

See, this man is sooooo right. Love + chocolate = just perfect. Definitely a cup of coffee too. Or even some mocha quinoa balls!Making mocha quinoa balls

When I fancy some sweet in my life I go to these delicious chocolate, walnut and coffee infused balls of goodness. An immediate snack that’s so amazingly yummy but shockingly good for you, like really, eat these mocha quinoa bites for good health. Yes, real chocolate is good for us, always has been and always will be – dark and unadulterated cocoa. So thankful.A loada balls

The great thing about and date/nut balls are they’re beyond adaptable, just see them as your sweet, nurturing, flexible and friendly snack. Any nut would work, the quinoa can be subbed for oats, more nuts, almond flour, coconut flour, if you don’t like mocha then ditch the coffee, if you hate chocolate…….only kidding, who doesn’t like chocolate, right? You get the point though – put in what the hell you want and bust some serious balls. Mocha quinoa balls

I used quinoa to pack these out and up the protein content as I had a little left over from lunch and they added a nice nutty texture but brown rice would also be good. Have you noticed how there’s never ever, like never ever any leftover chocolate? Strange……

These sweets/truffles/power balls/bites are truly free. Free from dairy, soy, gluten and processed sugar. Enjoy the purest and loveliest of plant goodness.

Easy recipe for mocha quinoa balls

Mocha quinoa truffles

(makes 16 balls)

1 cup dates
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon maca
1 tablespoon espresso/coffee powder + 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the ingredients in a food processor + pulse to a dough. Scrape down the sides + redistribute if necessary.
Make 14-16 balls, place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes + enjoy straight away or store in an airtight container for later.

The Very Healthy Cookie (GF + Vegan)

The healthiest cookie there is!I’m not just saying it, these are very healthy, incredibly so. I wouldn’t lie to you. A cookie doesn’t need to be rammed full of sugar and trans fats to taste great and ‘the very healthy cookie’ is proof of that.

A creamy oat base with vanilla undertones filled with gooey chocolate and chewy walnuts. Yeah, they’re really good.A very healthy cookie

I’m so over shop bought cookies, biscuits and cakes and the ‘extras’ they seem to come with. These ‘very healthy cookies’ are pure living proof that plant powered health food does indeed taste better than processed, manufactured sweets and even white sugar laden home baked goods. So easy to put together, literally throw it all in the bowl, mix and make balls. Cookie balls!Cookie process

I love using oat flavour for the texture, creamy taste and heart healthy benefits plus humble old oats are great for stabilising blood sugar and warding off sugar cravings. There’s a little sugar in these but levels can be altered to suit your tastes, I could have actually used a little less but its entirely dependant on how sweet your sweet tooth is. Although these look like quite a dense cookie, they’re in fact pretty light and not too crumbly to bite into with a softer rather than a crisper crumbly texture. You’re not left with a lap full of cookie crumbs after munching on these. Just the way I like ’em.

Perfect gluten free, whole food snacking.Cookies + chocolate chips

The Very Healthy Cookie (GF + Vegan)

(makes 15-20 small cookies)

140 grams oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (I used dairy free)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons almond milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 195ºC. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the mixture, mixing thoroughly to form a workable dough. The oats will soak up much of this so add more milk if required.
3. Break small pieces off the dough and roll into balls, place on a baking tray + gently press down.
4. Bake for 10 minutes + leave to cool when removed from the oven.

10 Minute Fig, Walnut + Lemon Thyme Fusilli

The most delicious ingredientsSo I was gonna start this post by sharing those cherished italian memories forged during the year I lived and loved in Florence but then I realised I’ve never lived in Italy and this is but a dream! So naturally, I’m going to share information on smells and my love affair with garlic.

What is it about garlic that does this to me?! The aroma of garlic gently sizzling in olive oil has got to be my all time favourite smells. I joke with Russ that you could fry any inedible and gross food or non-food (don’t ask) in garlic and I’d eat it! We end up listing a load of rancid, disgusting ‘things’ whilst agreeing that garlic would more than likely make it irresistible! Sometimes I think we’re quite immature for our age.  There’s one smell I like more than just garlic and that’s garlic and white wine cooking together – oh my god, this does it for me big time. I’m quite the garlic fan which is just as well as when we lived in Korea we were served a lot of raw garlic and I got very involved.DSC_7068

This 10 minute fig, walnut + lemon thyme beauty has a good hit of garlic and is one of my favourite pasta dishes. I got out of the pasta habit for a while there and I’m wondering why this happened to me. Maybe it was pasta overload whilst at university because this was definitely my staple food. Or maybe it’s the wheat and gluten ‘cos I don’t like too much of that either. But really I think I just forgot how good italian pasta dishes can be with so few simple ingredients. It’s comfort food which can also be nourishing when combined with the right ingredients. I’m a big fan of spelt spaghetti (less gluten) and also brown rice varieties so I use these when avoiding gluten overload. This fig, walnut + lemon thyme dish is enough to get me back on pasta track though. The simplicity, the flavours and the aroma are so good;  sweet figs, earthy and  creamy walnuts mingling with white wine and garlic infused fusilli.Delicious fig, walnut, wine + lemon thyme fusilli

It’s healthy too, the walnuts and olive oil make this a pasta that’s packed full of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. A good fat that helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, lowers the risk of heart disease and helps to regulate our blood sugar and insulin levels. The figs are a great source of potassium and fibre and  help to reduce high blood pressure. But really figs are just beautiful, I think they’re one of the prettiest fruits around making this dish easy on the eye! Oh yes, another thing – if you use wholegrain gluten free pasta such as brown rice, whole wheat or spelt you’ll be getting an extremely fibre rich meal which will satiate, keep you full for longer and regulate blood sugar levels. This is a perfect lunchtime or evening meal with a little italian inspiration on the side.

So, what are your favourite cooking smells?Fusilli + wine = delicious

 

10 minute fig, walnut + lemon thyme fusilli

(serves 2)

150 grams fusilli
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small glass white wine
2 figs, sliced
50 grams walnuts, toasted
generous sprinkle lemon thyme
parmesan, to serve
salt & pepper

1. Place the fusilli in salted boiling water & cook according to packet instructions.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a low heat & add the garlic, cooking until fragrant. Stir in the figs & add the white wine, allowing to simmer until the alcohol burns off, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the thyme, walnuts & cooked pasta stirring through to fully incorporate.
4. Transfer to large serving bowls. Serve with a scattering of extra thyme & a generous sprinkle of parmesan