Strawberry topped chocolate pots (dairy free)

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Avocado, cocoa and coffee may sound like an odd combination, but I promise you won’t be disappointed. I guess you could call this my version of a Gu pot, which is free from dairy and refined sugar. Topped with little slices of strawberry – the perfect flavour and texture needed to complete the desert. As I’m off chocolate and coffee it’s torture making deserts like these at the mo, but my hubby and guests really appreciate it which helps soften the blow 🙂

Ingredients (to serve six):
250g very ripe avocado
100g dates
100g pecans
50g cocoa powder
150ml coconut oil
50ml freshly brewed espresso
tbsp vanilla extract
tbsp honey
free range egg yolk
6 strawberries

Method:
– wash your strawberries and cut off the green tops. Slice each fruit into 4 pieces and set to one side

– blend all other ingredients until smooth then divide into bowls or glasses

– top with the slices of strawberries. Serve immediately or make in advance and store in the fridge

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Six Ingredient Chocolate Brownies (gluten, dairy & refined sugar free)

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After I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries in 2006 I did lots of research into coping with and counteracting the symptoms. One of which is insulin resistance so I did everything in my power to reduce my sugar intake, as it seemed a steady path to type two diabetes by the age of forty otherwise.

Over the years I’ve learnt to make the most of natural sugars and my deserts are always well received. Friends and family are amazed that they do not contain added refined sugar. Although I won’t get to eat these fudgey chocolaty brownies for a while, they are one of my favourite things to make and I wanted to share them with you. They are gluten and dairy free, loaded with vitamin D and iron and extremely yummy. Next time you’re in the mood for a sweet treat give them a try, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients (for 12 generous squares):
4 free range eggs
400ml tin of coconut milk
100g dates
150g cashew nuts
150g pecan nuts
50g organic cocoa/cacao powder

Method:
– preheat the oven to 170C/350F/GM4 and grease a 20cm cake tin

– if you have a powerful blender or food processor grind up the cashews, pecans and dates, then add the rest of the ingredients and whiz on the highest setting for about thirty seconds until you have the consistency of a thick shake

– if you do not have a powerful mixer chop the nuts and dates finely by hand

– in a separate bowl whisk the eggs for a full minute to get lots of air into them, add the cocoa incorporating well, then slowly add the coconut milk. Tip your bowl of nuts and dates into this bowl and mix together with a spoon

– pour your batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 mins

– leave to cool, cut into squares and store in the fridge for maximum fudge-like consistency

– for a smaller batch halve the ingredients, bake in a loaf tin and cook for just 20 mins

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recipe-of-the-week  tasty tuesday

Choco banana cupcakes (gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free)

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I’m not going to complain that summer is finally here, but the super bright mornings mean that my girls are up super early. Anything from 5am is fair game in our house. Fortunately baking always keeps my eldest entertained, and this morning we tried something new. This cupcake recipe is another chuck it all in the blender jobbies, couldn’t be easier. I let her divide the batter into the cases, which took ages but meant this task kept her occupied for a good half hour. Mission accomplished!

Ingredients for 15 cupcakes:
3 ripe bananas
2 eggs
200ml coconut oil
120g dates
80g pecan nuts
20g cocoa powder

Method:
– preheat your oven to 170C fan assisted/180C non-fan/325F/GM3 and line your tray(s) with cupcake cases

– whiz together all the ingredients until you have thick shake consistency – see here if you do not have a powerful blender or food processor

– divide the batter between your cases and bake for 20 mins

Gluten Free Caramel Slice

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Before we cut out refined sugar, caramel slice was my hubby’s favourite treat, and I have spent the best part of a year trying to recreate it. I’ve found it completely impossible without adding some sort of sweetener, and after trying to make the caramel with xylitol and honey, have settled on unrefined dark muscovado. It’s still sugar, but I figure it’s the best of a bad bunch.

The recipe below is for a fairly small batch of 6-8 slices, but you could easily double up on ingredients if you need to make more. Be warned this stuff is seriously addictive, I doubt highly you’ll manage to keep leftovers longer than a few hours!

Ingredients:
(base) 50g cashew nuts
50g dates
50g dried apricots
50g prunes
25g desiccated coconut
100ml almond oil
(caramel) 50g unrefined dark muscovado sugar
50g butter (I use goats)
50g double cream (I use goats)
(chocolate) 2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp coconut oil
Tbsp runny honey

Method:
– either whiz your base ingredients together in a blender or food processor until they form a firm dough, or finely chop all your fruit and nuts and mix with the coconut and oil until you have dough

– put a layer of grease proof paper on the bottom of a cake tin, dish or tupperware box. Tip your dough on top of the paper and press down firmly against until it  is covered. Put into the fridge for 2 hours to harden up

– meanwhile, melt the butter and sugar together over a med heat stirring continuously until they resemble syrup. Take off the heat and slowly whisk in the cream until thick and luscious

– pour over the base and place back in the fridge, leave for another two hours to set

– once the caramel has set, combine the chocolate ingredients in a small bowl until you have the consistency of melted chocolate

– pour over the caramel, and place back in the fridge. Leave for a further two hours (or longer)

– cut up into slices once you are ready to serve and store anything that’s left in the fridge

Birthday Cake/Chocolate Fudge Cake (dairy & gluten free)

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Something I have learnt recently is that especially when it comes to kids, you can’t please everyone and it’s best all round not to bother trying. Between keeping sugar intake to a minimum and the collective food intolerances of my little family, I have to be resourceful when it comes to catering en masse.

I made a lovely fudgey chocolate cake for my littlest’s birthday a few weeks back, and it was only rejected by two children out of a party of 25, complete success in my books! The cake itself is gluten and dairy free, and works well if you’re looking for a dense, fudgey chocolate sponge. With the added delight of sweet buttery icing, it’s a pretty yummy celebration cake. You could go one step further and decorate it too, and also double up the ingredients to make it two-tiered with extra icing in the middle… decisions decisions!

Ingredients:
(cake) 4 free range eggs
150g brazil nuts
150g pecan nuts
150g desiccated coconut
200g dates
60g cocoa powder
400ml coconut milk
Tbsp olive or coconut oil for greasing
(optional icing) 100g softened butter – I use goats
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp good quality honey

Method:
– preheat the oven to 170C fan/180C non-fan/350F/GM4, and grease a large cake tin or silicone mould with the oil

– whiz together all the cake ingredients in your blender or food processor on the highest setting for about thirty seconds, until you have thick shake consistency OR

– finely chop the nuts and dates, then add the cocoa powder. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs for a full minute until nice & fluffy, then gradually add the coconut milk. Combine well with the nuts and dates

– pour the batter into the tin or mould and bake for 40 mins

– when your cake is cooked and completely cool, mix together all the icing ingredients until smooth and spread over the top

Olive oil chocolate cake

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I really love to support the little guys, and was thrilled to be introduced to an independent supplier who sells small batch olive oil directly from the growers. Fincalink are a fab Spainish company offering amazing priced oil with very reasonable delivery charges to the UK. At just £11.50 for 2.5L and £6.60 delivery per order, you don’t need to spend huge amounts to instantly save on what you’d pay for equivalent products at the supermarket. I ordered 5 litres of their every day use extra virgin and it was less than £30 all up (which works out just under £3 per 500ml).

The look and taste of this stuff compared with a £3 mass produced bottle is phenomenal. Rather than being thin, greenish and bitter tasting (which is all you’re getting for this price) it’s a thick, merky yellow liquid with a subtle peppery taste that’s really smooth. If this is Fincalink’s every day oil, I cannot wait to try out their finer versions.

As I’m dairy intolerant I’ve been using oils in cakes for many years now, and actually prefer them to butter as I think they make the cake moister. Also the beauty of olive oil is that it can withstand high cooking temperatures without losing its health benefits (unlike most seed oils). Have a read of this article for more info. The end result of this desert is a not too sweet fudgey in the middle slice of pure yumminess.

Ingredients:
2 large free range eggs
150g pecan nuts
150g dates
50g cocoa powder
150ml olive oil
50ml freshly brewed espresso coffee

Method:
– preheat the oven to 170C/350F and grease a small cake or loaf tin

– grind up your nuts and dates so they are finely chopped. You can do this in a high powered blender/food processor or by hand with a sharp knife. Set to one side once you’re finished

– if you’re using a blender whiz up your eggs for a full minute until nice and fluffy, then add all the other ingredients. Whiz on high for about thirty seconds until a thick doughy batter forms

– if you’re making this by hand, whisk your eggs for a minute, then add the oil and coffee and give it another good whisk. Stir in the cocoa, nuts and dates and mix thoroughly to combine

– pour the batter into your prepared tin and bake for 20 mins. Leave to cool, slice up and serve with your fave accompaniment (mine is thick double goats cream, delish!)

 

Choc coffee flavoured liqueur

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My husband and I met and bonded over White Russians. We drank them daily in the throws of our courtship, whilst travelling around Asia. Oh my that does sound romantic 😉 Nine years, two kids and a dairy intolerance later, and unsurprisingly not many White Russians have been consumed! As a Christmas treat I made this coffee liqueur and we drank it with goats milk, tasted like an adult milkshake – divine.

Ingredients (for 750ml):
350ml vodka
500ml cold water
250g dark muscovado sugar
70g instant coffee
35g cocoa
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Method:
– bring the water and sugar to the boil, stir in the cocoa and coffee, reduce the heat and simmer gently for ten mins

– remove from the heat and allow to cool down

– stir in the vodka and vanilla and mix well with a small whisk

– pour into a sterilised bottle and store somewhere warm for a few weeks for the flavours to develop

– serve as is over ice or with full fat milk or cream for a delish boozy chocolatey coffee flavoured milkshake