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 🙂

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

Chilled Parsley Soup

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With the weather being as beautiful as it has been here in the UK lately, hot dinners have gone out of fashion. I’ve also been wanting to eat smaller meals rather than big ones, and this chilled soup has made a few appearances over the month. It started off as the base for a Thai curry sauce, and I enjoyed it so much while taste testing that hubby and I ate it as was. So yummy and too easy – start to finish you’re looking at less than ten minutes.

Ingredients (to serve four):
Tin of coconut milk
Bunch of parsley
Large red onion – diced small
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
Tbsp coconut oil
Tbsp freshly grated ginger
Tbsp Thai fish sauce
Tbsp sesame oil
Tsp peanut or almond butter
Tsp honey
Tsp tamari

Method:
– fry the onions in the coconut oil over a high heat until soft, add the garlic and cook for another minute

– tip the contents of the pan into your blender or food processor, along with the rest of the ingredients

– blend until smooth

– serve immediately or make in advance and store in the fridge

Turkey Thai Curry

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This dish is really simple and flavoursome. I’ve used the thigh which is my favourite part of the bird as it’s so juicy and delicious. Next time you go shopping, why not buy some of this wonderful under rated meat? It’s not just for Christmas after all.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients:
500g diced turkey thigh
handful of cooked cauliflower and broccoli florets
2 tbsp sesame oil
bunch of flat leaf parsley*
Tin of coconut milk
Med sized red onion (diced)
Fresh red chilli (for a fairly spicy curry use half a chilli with a quarter of the seeds, any more than that and you’re braver than I am!)
2 cloves of garlic (peeled)
Stick of lemongrass
2 inch piece of freshly grated ginger
Juice of a lime
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp peanut or almond butter

Method:
– fry off your onion and garlic in one tbsp sesame oil over a med-high heat until soft

– when this is done tip the contents of the pan into your blender or food processor, along with all the other ingredients except the turkey and florets. Whiz on the highest setting until smooth

– if you do not have a blender you will need to pound your ingredients to a paste in a mortar & pestle, slowly adding the coconut milk at the end to transform the paste into a sauce

– dice your turkey nice and small, and fry in the other tbsp of sesame oil over a med-high heat until cooked through (approx 5 mins)

– add the florets, pour the sauce all over and cook gently over a low-med heat for another five minutes

– serve immediately as is, or over cooked jasmine rice

TIP: double up on sauce ingredients and make a batch for now and a batch for another time. This will keep happily in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or freezer for a couple of months

*I like to use flat leaf parsley as it’s quite easy to come by here in the UK. Traditional Thai recipes would call for coriander which would work just as well in this recipe.

 

Creamy nutty chicken (gluten & dairy free)

chicken

I roasted a chicken over the weekend and made this dish with some of the leftovers for tea last night. It only took about ten mins to make and to be honest I wasn’t really expecting much, but it was so yummy I just had to share. Having wonderful seasonal veggies like asparagus, cauliflower and leeks readily available (and at their best right now) makes these types of meals really easy. I have a feeling this will end up becoming a regular mid-week feature for hubby and me over the coming months.

Ingredients (for two, could easily be doubled or tripled up for a bigger portion):
Handful of cooked chicken
Handful of cooked root veg
Large leek or two small ones – chopped chunky
Leaves from a large cauliflower – thoroughly washed and chopped fairly small (cabbage would also work)
6 spears of cooked asparagus – chopped in half
Tbsp coconut oil
Tbsp tamari
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
2 tbsp peanut butter (cashew or almond butter would also work)
160ml tin of coconut cream

Method:
– sautée the leek in coconut oil over a med-high heat until soft

– stir in the tamari, fish sauce and nut butter, mix well then add the cauliflower leaves/cabbage

– turn the heat down low and cook with the lid on for about five minutes until the leaves are soft and flavours have mingled

– add the chicken, asparagus and potatoes, give it all a good stir then pour over the coconut cream. Cook for a further few minutes until piping hot, and serve immediately

Chilled Apple & Rhubarb Crumble (gluten & dairy free)

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As the apple season is coming to an end and rhubarb is very plentiful at the moment, I thought I’d share my take on a British classic. The humble crumble has always been a firm favourite of mine; in fact I remember making a pineapple version in one of my first ever Home Economics classes. Times have changed for me and these days I like to find ways to keep sugar out my deserts instead of piling it in.

Rhubarb and apple are a match made in stewed fruit heaven. Although rhubarb is rather tart, if you use Jangold or Royal Gala apples, you shouldn’t have to sweeten it too much. I like to cook the fruit, allow it to cool down and add a tablespoonful of local honey during the blending process as you should need to use less of it this way (see here for some of the fab health benefits of the bee nectar). Rather than being served hot with custard, this is a chilled desert and can be made in advance.

Ingredients (for 6):
200g apple – peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
200g rhubarb – top, tailed and cut into small chunks
Tbsp honey (or sweeten to taste)
200g mixed nuts
50g dried apricots, plus two extra
Chilled cream of choice for serving

Method:
– make the stewed fruit first by placing the rhubarb and apple in a saucepan. Turn the heat up high and when you hear sizzling (after 30-60 secs) put the lid on the pan and turn the heat down low

– cook for 5-10 mins until soft, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the honey/sweetener until it is as sweet as you would like, then tip the contents of the pan into your blender or food processor and whiz on high until smooth. Set to one side

– finely chop the nuts and 50g apricots

– slice the two additional apricots into six pieces each

– when you are ready to plate up divide the stewed fruit into six dishes, then top with the nuts and apricots

– finally spoon a dollop of thick cream on the top, and in the centre place two slices of apricot across each other

TIP: any cream will work well, for those avoiding dairy try coconut cream

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