Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Sweet Icing (gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free)

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‘butternut squash pie cupcakes’ just didn’t sound right…

 

These delightful little cupcakes came about while I was trawling the internet looking for grain free, egg free bread. It’s harder than you’d think, which is bad news for my eldest unfortunately. I came across this pumpkin spice muffin recipe and adapted it based on the ingredients I had. They were a win with the girls, and I’ve been enjoying them too. They are very dense and fudgey, and make for a yummy moreish treat. So much so that I’ve made three batches in the past fortnight – well we have been entertaining lots…

Ingredients for 12:
250g butternut squash
100ml coconut oil
40g coconut flour
40g ground nuts
40g ground flaxseed
2 tbsp water
1-2 tbsp honey
Tsp cinnamon
Tsp vanilla
Tsp bicarb of soda
(for the icing) 100g cashew nuts
2-3 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 tbsp honey

 

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the batter should be very thick

Method:
– preheat your oven to 170c and line a cupcake tray with cases

– peel and deseed your squash (you could use pumpkin) and cut into small chunks. Place in a saucepan with the cinnamon and water. Bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat with the lid on for about 20 mins until it is fork-mashable

– tip the contents into your blender or food processor, along with all the other cake ingredients and whiz until well combined. One tablespoon of honey is enough for me, but you might want to add a little extra

– divide the batter between the cases and bake for 30 mins

– allow to cool completely before icing them

– to make the icing, put the cashews into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for two hours, then drain through a sieve. Blend with 2 tbsp of honey and 2 tbsp coconut oil, adding a little extra for taste and consistency. You are aiming for it to be thick but spreadable

– you’ll now be ready to ice the cakes. Serve immediately, or make in advance and store in a cake tin. They are particularly delish when they’ve been in the fridge 🙂

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Gluten, Dairy & Nut Free Carrot Cake

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The dreadful winter we had here in the UK has a lot to answer for including a distinct lack of springtime veg. However the seemly never ever ending cold snap also meant an endless supply of fab root veg. Carrots have made an almost weekly appearance in our veg box since way before Christmas, and after playing around with my trusty Vitamix I have finally conjured up a suitably tasty carrot cake.

I have a good friend who has a nut allergy, and this was inspired by having her over for tea last week. She loved it, and my hubby was so impressed I’ve had to make two more cakes since!

Ingredients (for 8 decent slices):
400g peeled and finely grated carrots
4 free range eggs
240ml coconut oil and extra for greasing
100g dried apricots – the dark brown organic ones are best as they will be sulphite free
100g raisins
50g desiccated coconut
Tsp cinnamon
Tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp honey

Method:
– preheat your oven to 170C fan/180C non-fan/350F/GM4 and grease a 20cm cake tin or silicone mould with coconut oil

– whisk your eggs and oil by hand or in your blender until really creamy, then add the cinnamon and vanilla incorporating well

– finely chop the apricots and place in a large bowl, add the raisins, coconut and grated carrot. Mix well

– pour your wet mixture over the top and give it all one last big stir

– pour into the prepared tin and bake for an hour

– remove from the oven, and prick all over lightly with a fork then drizzle over the honey

– leave to cool before serving with cream, ice-cream or yoghurt

– keep leftovers in the fridge

Apple & rhubarb muffins (gluten & dairy free)

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I had another fab local fruit & veg selection this week including crisp, sweet jangold apples and delicious rhubarb. I make a fruit compote to mix into plain goats yoghurt for my kids, and while making a jars’ worth I had an idea for these muffins.

I’ve used a large variety of fruit and nuts in the sponge which might seem like a lot of ingredients, but the flavour is definitely worth it. I buy dried goods in bulk either from Suma or Natural Choice, as the quality is far superior to what is readily available in the supermarkets, and the price is better too. I’d highly recommend doing the same if you make a lot of these type of recipes as the small packets can be extortionate!

Ingredients (for 10 large muffins, or 18 cupcakes):
2 large free range eggs
200ml olive oil
100ml water
100g dates
100g dried apricots
100g brazil nuts
100g cashew nuts
100g pecans
100g rhubarb (washed, top & tailed and cut into large chunks)
100g apple (peeled, cored and cut into large chunks)
Tbsp honey (optional)

Method:
– make the compote first: place the rhubarb and apple in a saucepan and turn the heat up high. When you hear sizzling a few minutes in put the lid on the pan and turn the heat down low

– allow to cook for 5-10 mins until soft, add the honey if you’re doing so, then tip the contents of the pan into your blender/food processor and whiz on high until smooth. Set to one side

– preheat the oven to 160C fan/170C non-fan/340F/GM3. Line a cupcake or muffin tray with cases

– either whiz together all the muffin ingredients in your blender/food processor until combined to form a thick wet batter

– OR finely chop the fruit and nuts and place in a large bowl, then whisk together the eggs, olive oil and water in another bowl. Pour over the top of the fruit and nuts combining well

– put a tablespoon of batter into your cases, top with a tablespoon of fruit, then top again with another tablespoon of batter

– bake for 35-40 mins until golden brown and cooked through

Herby lamb burgers on a bed of cavolo nero

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The monthly farmers market came to our local town yesterday, and I was there bright and early. Picked up some beautiful veg to top up our current supply, as well as freshly minced lamb. Everyone loves a decent burger, and with the horsemeat scandal still making the front page over here in the UK there has never been a better time to start making your own.

Minced meat tastes so much better if you add lots of flavour and fresh herbs and garlic are a winning combo. For these burgers I’ve used rosemary, mint and a teeny tiny bit of sweetness courtesy of a couple of dried apricots. I like the organic dark brown sulphur dioxide free apricots, aside from not containing any nasties they taste great and make for a delicious snack.

My fridge is crammed full of in season dark green leafy veg at the mo, so I served the burgers up on a bed of sautéed leek and cavolo nero. If you’ve not tried cavolo before do hunt it down this Spring as it’s packed full of good stuff. Although this was enough for me, my hubby insisted on chips with his and who can argue with his logic? Burger & chips = classic.

Ingredients (for four):
(burgers) 500g minced lamb
Large clove of garlic – minced
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaf -finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint leaf – finely chopped
2 dried apricots – finely chopped
(side) bag of cavolo nero – thoroughly washed, any tough ends removed, each leaf chopped in half
Small leek – thoroughly washed and sliced into chunky rings
Knob of butter or tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
(optional chips) potatoes, olive oil, salt & pepper

Method:
– if you’re making chips do this first: a med sized potato per person is a good rule of thumb, scrub and leave the skin on or peel depending on how you like them. Before you start prepping your potatoes, preheat your oven to 200C non-fan/190C fan/400F/GM6. Cut into thin matchsticks and coat in olive oil, salt & pepper. Arrange on a non-stick baking tray and cook for 20 mins

– place all burger ingredients in a large bowl and combine well with your hands. Form four equal sized patties, ensuring you’ve been firm so they keep their shape during the cooking process. Set them aside to allow the flavours to develop, you could also make them up to 24 hours in advance and store in the fridge or freeze for a super easy meal another time

– when your chips have had ten mins melt the butter or olive oil over a med heat in a large saucepan. Add the leek, season to taste and cover with a lid. Cook for a few mins until soft and add the cavolo nero. Turn the heat down low and continue cooking with the lid on while you fry your burgers

– put a large non-stick frying pan or griddle on the hob over a med-high heat. Once really hot, add the burgers and cook for 3-5 mins on each side until cooked to your taste (personally I like these nice and pink in the middle, but you may want yours brown all the way through)

– serve immediately pouring any lamb juices from the pan over the top of the burgers