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 🙂

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

Linking up to the fab linkies below: 

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

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

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

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