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

Mini coconut & date cookies

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This is a slight adaptation of a previous recipe I did a while ago, a toned down version to suit younger tastes. This very simple recipe takes just a few mins to prep and the little cookies are always well received by the wee ones.

Ingredients for 20 mini cookies:
100g dates
100g pecans
100g cashews
75g desiccated coconut
100ml olive oil
Free range egg

Method:
– preheat the oven to 170C/350F and lightly grease a non stick baking tray with olive oil

– if you have a high powered blender or food processor, add all ingredients and whiz on high until a dough forms

– if you are mixing by hand, finely chop your nuts and dates, then add the coconut. Whisk the egg and oil together briefly then pour over the other ingredients and combine well

– using two teaspoons gather 50p coin sized pieces of dough and flatten into a cookie shape

– bake for 7 mins and leave to cool before serving

 

Olive oil chocolate cake

olive oil choc cake

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!)

 

Raw vegan chocolate crunch-cakes

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As if my three year old’s diet wasn’t restricted enough, we discovered this week that she has now become intolerant of egg. If it was me the news would have been the end of my world, as I strongly believe there is no better start to the day, but thankfully three year olds are more resilient when it comes to these matters. Although she did look at me the day of diagnosis, and with a rather concerned voice ask ‘but what will I eat now for breakfast’? Bless her.

As you can imagine I’ve been beavering away in my kitchen, conjuring up eggless delights. These lil vegan treats are very rich and very more-ish, totally fab with a drizzle of goats cream on the top. I’ll definitely be making several batches over the holidays. Not sure they are entirely suitable for a three year old however…

Ingredients (for 12):
80g pecans
80g dates
80g cashews
80g desiccated coconut
40g cocoa powder
100ml olive oil
50ml coconut oil
2 heaped tbsp mixed seeds

Method:
– line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases

– either whiz everything except the seeds together in the blender until combined, then mix in the seeds by hand OR finely chop the nuts and dates, and mix with the other ingredients

– divide into the cases and place in the fridge to set. They will be quite gloopy and need a good few hours. Serve with cream and store in the fridge