Firstly, an apology for being a little quiet recently. I’ve got loads of awesome posts to share with you in my head but with a holiday, horrible cold and this horrendous heat wave in the last few weeks I’ve not been able to get the ideas from my head onto the page. But last night I decided it was cool enough to cook and after a week or so of watermelon for dessert whilst on holiday (our waiter always trying to convince me to have something else) I was craving a good cookie.
I’ve always been a biscuit lover and could easily go through a pack of Tesco value Bourbons or shortbread despite how many times my dad’s cookie cop cookie jar telling me to ‘STOP!’ and ‘Move away from the cookie jar’ which normally ended up in me smothering the little snitch until I’d polished off the Jamie Dodgers 😛 Anyway, since cutting the refined sugar,
gluten and dairy I’ve been yet to find or make a good cookie. The ones I’ve made have been really nice, don’t get me wrong, but they are always end up being quite solid and difficult to get your teeth into. So I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and have a little experiment to make the softest, gooiest vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free cookies out there. And if I do say so myself, the result was pretty darn good. You’ll have to try it for yourself because I think mine are going to disappear pretty quickly with my brother loving their softness and mum calling them ‘the best biscuits you’ve made yet’. I’m using cups for this recipe rather than grams, I find it so much easier as it’s super lazy and you just fill up the cup instead of measuring everything out super accurately with scales, it really saves time and effort. If you don’t have cups you can get some from amazon from as little as £2 (they’re a seriously good investment with how Americanized recipes are becoming) but you can also do it by filling up a standard sized mug but obviously it’s slightly less accurate.
Gooey Chocolate Cookies:
Makes: 11 Cookies
Takes: 30 mins
Costs: approx 34p each (Total: £3.72). In comparison: Tesco Cookies 20p each, Tesco finest cookies 38p each, Millie’s cookies 58p each.
Allergens: Hazelnuts. I’ve added crushed hazelnuts, purely because I had some in the cupboards and you get a nice Nutella flavour, but you could simply leave these out or add Cacao nibs, different nuts, or try some dried fruit.
You should end up with a yummy caramalized shell and a gooey soft inside with a rich chocolatey taste and crunchy hazelnut pieces.I had one warm out of the oven and it was so good but please don’t burn yourself. You could also serve these warm with some ice cream (you can see my vegan chocolate ice cream recipe here) to make a great desert.
Doesn’t everyone love a good cupcake? Well the Alzheimer’s Society definitely think we do! Their new big fundraiser, in an attempt to defeat dementia, is #cupcakeday which is taking place across the country this Thursday (16/06/16). Now I heard about this a few weeks ago (thanks Magic fm) and it inspired me to get baking. But there was one problem… I couldn’t find a really good looking vegan cupcake recipe, let alone one that was gluten-free and free from refined sugar as well! This is fair enough as the main ingredients of cupcakes are butter, sugar, flour and eggs but it wasn’t good enough for me. So if, like me, you want to enjoy cupcake day and maybe raise a little money for charity but in a healthy and happy way I have created the recipe for you to spoil your friends and family with and they’ll never know it’s not got any of the normal ‘good stuff’ in (my housemates at uni definitely didn’t notice :P)
Cacao Crazy Cupcakes
I love chocolate so there was no question for me my cupcakes had to be chocolatey but I made sure they were full of goodness too. Raw cacao is full of calcium, iron, vitamin c and magnesium; flaxseed is bursting with fiber and omega 3; and, interestingly enough, there was a study in 2006 which showed that coconut oil can boost brain function in Alzheimer’s patients. I timed myself the second time I made the cupcakes and full prep and cooking time came to just under 30mins. The frosting is super simple and takes no time at all to whizz up and put top but the cakes also taste great without it. One thing I thought was important was that there were no nuts involved in my recipe as, although I love them and they’re really nutritious, I know a lot of people with but allergies so wanted to make something they could have too 🙂 Although for some of you that read my blog regularly you will be surprised to see banana pop up in the frosting but I doesn’t taste that bananay I swear.This recipe makes 12 cupcakes so if you’re having a little party double it and make 24! You might need that many, they really are that good 😛 They keep for about a week in an airtight container in the fridge but are best straight out of the oven. Total cost: £4.68, Cost per cupcake: 39p!
For the cupcakes:
For the frosting:
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe please consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Society in their attempt to raise money to defeat dementia and/or support your local #cupcakeday events.
To donate and find out more about cupcake day visit the Cupcake day website here.
If you donate let me know and I’ll owe you a hug and a cupcake 😛 Hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe 🙂
I’ve had a pretty bad day. I’ve been left stuck on the sofa paying for my long weekend visiting my uni friends in Norwich and I needed to make a yummy but super quick treat to get me away from watching It’s Me Or The Dog on repeat ( I love that show!) I’d got this recipe through on Livia’s Kitchen’s mailing list at the weekend and with her blog suggesting it took 29mins to make I thought it was perfect!
Olivia Wollenberg, the mastermind behind Livia’s kitchen, has recently published a book full of purely sweet treats which are all Dairy,Gluten and refined sugar free as she was diagnosed with severe food intolerances. She also has an amazing line of healthy, raw millionaire shortbreads which are an amazing treat stocked in Selfridges and other places. I found her after she was a guest Deliciously Ella’s blog and I’m very glad I did as her blog is phenomenal and, although she does do savoury recipes, she is my go to when I want something sweet but nourishing and free of refined sugar.
Before I quit sugar I did like a good biscuit. I’ve never had a massive sweet tooth but when I was a kid I could easily get through a pack of tesco everyday Bourbons despite the fact my dad’s biscuit tin ‘The Cookie Cop’ would shout at me every time I went back for more so these were something I definitely had to try.
Time to make: 31 mins (without cooling time then 5 mins putting together)
Servings Made: 8 double biscuits (well 7 & a half one broke and I couldn’t wait to eat them :P)
Total Cost: £4.51, 56p per biscuit
Accessibility to ingredients:
All these ingredients are staples for me and I often buy them in bulk from Amazon to cut costs. The only ingredient which I’ve never seen in the shops, one which Livia’s Kitchen use a lot, is Oat Flour. But I just used Buckwheat instead.
Already being Sugar free, gluten free and vegan there’s not too much adapting you need to do. I swapped the flour just because it was what I had in the house and you could do that very easily.
The only big allergen left is nuts and I have worked out a solution. For the nuts in the actual biscuits you can just cut them maybe add a little more flour instead (30-40g). For the filling I have created an icing which I will post the recipe for later in the week which would work very well and contains no nuts!
For the sauce I used Meridian’s peanut butter, which although is a great peanut butter was way too runny for this recipe. If I was doing it again I would used Pic’s (as suggested by Livia) or whole earth.
The recipe was amazing and easy to follow. She suggested it would take 29mins and including getting all the ingredients and weighing them out it took me 31mins! I left them to cool whilst I did my 9min physio bike exercise then put the biscuits together in about 5 mins. So all in all in took 45mins which was amazing. The re
cipe was well structured and all the ingredients had obviously been tried and tested.
The only tip I would give was that I decided to transfer them to a cooling rack to cool which was a bad idea as a lot of them broke as I moved them across. I would wait for them to cool as they are still on the baking tray as once they’d cooled and hardened they were perfect 🙂
The filling was super easy to make but it was very thin and runny so went everywhere and the biscuits taste great without it. I will definitely have to try it again with a thicker peanut butter. It also made way too much filling because you couldn’t fill it generously because of how runny it is so there was a lot left over. I would use half the recipe.
If you like chocolate, nutty biscuits this is definitely one for you to try for yourself as they taste amazing. So chocolatey and crunchy and tasty and I could easily polish them all off. They got the mum seal of approval too.
Although they are a little messy and maybe a little pricey they are super quick, easy and yummy. So worth it!
Find the recipe here:
I love making up my own recipes and/or making meals up as I go along but I also love learning recipes from various bloggers and writers. However, especially when making a recipe from a book I get frustrated when, after putting in a lot of effort, things don’t go quite right, especially when it comes to the time it is meant to take, the ingredients it needs or the amount of servings you get. So I wanted to start reviewing other people’s recipes so you can read a real life experience and see the real life image and decide if the recipe you think looks good is really for you. I’ll also give you some interesting little tips, tricks and information such as cost per serving, additions and alternatives to make recipe’s work for you.
So today I have made and am reviewing…
Fearne Cotton’s Cook Happy, Cook Healthy:
Now Fearne Cotton is one of my all time idols! I’ve
loved her since I was a little kid watching her on tv and when I got to meet her, and be on radio 1 with her, last year at Norwich’s Radio 1 academy before Big Weekend it was one of the best days of my life. Although Fearne is best known for her work on tv and radio she is incredibly talented and has turned her talents to many other ventures including art, fashion and beauty (her nail varnishes are THE BEST, and I told her so). Now she has turned her talents to cooking and, in eager anticipation, I waited, watching pictures of her food pop up looking sensational on instagram and seeing how much her famous pals such as Tom & Giovanna Fletcher and Denise Van Outen were enjoying her food so I just had to pre-order her cookbook ‘Cook Happy, Cook Healthy’ and was very excited. After seeing her instagram posts, and knowing she had also been a Veggie for a long time, I was looking forward to some good veggie, gluten free and sugar free recipes, however, the recipe’s are not quite as gluten free as I had hoped. In general, the book also has quite a few meat and fish recipes which don’t have an obvious veggie alternative with
them, which I wasn’t expecting. I do cook meat for my family but as an addition to a vegetarian or vegan dish, not the other way around. Anyway, before seeing what her recipes would be like with gluten free, rather than just wheat free( she uses a lot of spelt flour in her recipes), alternatives, I picked something that didn’t need the alternative. I also didn’t have any coconut sugar (I’ve now got some on the way; thank goodness from amazon prime) so there was only really 1 sweet recipe left for me to try: Mini coconut cherry tarts. Although I don’t have any cherries but, as these are just for a topping, I decided to make them anyway and below you will find the result of my attempts. This recipe is also the back cover shot for the book, so it should be good right?… 🙂
Accessibility of ingredients:
Pretty much everything on the ingredients list is readily available in your local supermarket although you may have to look in bigger stores for good quality coconut milk and maple syrup which isn’t full of other ingredients i.e added sugar. You may also want to shop around for your almonds and dates as they can be really expensive I got mine on BOGOF and 3 for 2 respectably and its a good idea to stock up whilst they’re on offer. I also buy my maple syrup, coconut oil and cacao powder and although you can get these in supermarkets they are much cheaper online.
These are pretty great as this recipe is already gluten and sugar free and can be made vegan very easily by simply switching the honey for maple syrup. The one big allergen in this is nuts in this case almonds. If you are just allergic to almonds then they could be easily swap for cashews or pecans etc but if you can’t touch nuts then sadly these aren’t for you.
If you simply don’t like cherries or pistachios , or, like me, just don’t have them in the house, they are basically just toppings so can swap them for whatever fruit and nuts or seeds you want. I used blueberries and pumpkin seeds which worked really nicely. I also used half of a proper vanilla pod instead of vanilla extract just as personal preference.
Also the bases for these tarts could be filled up with literally anything. I think they would work really nicely with any nut or seed butter (there are recipe’s for these in Cook Happy, Cook Healthy too) or even with a chia seed jam.
There was also a lot of base mix left so I decide to throw some on a baking tray in biscuit shape and bake for 12 mins (I did 15mins that’s why they’re a little burnt) and they turned out pretty nice too if you didn’t want to mess about with a filling at all.
For the most part, this recipe is fairly straight forward, It’s basically roast nuts, blitz base ingredients, freeze bases, blitz toppings then add the two together. However, it is written in a strange order which would take even longer than it did as it basically said to let the bases freeze then make the filling whereas its much easier and quicker to make the filling whilst the bases are in the freezer.
If you don’t like washing up this recipe probably isn’t for you. Not because there is a great deal of washing up more because you have to wash your food processor up in-between making the base and filling. And to me that’s way more effort than necessary.
A positive about this recipe is that in the book it reckons it only makes 6 tarts but I managed to make 12 plus made 3 biscuits with it too so you definitely get more for your money than first thought making it only 56p rather that over £1.00 each. and you definitely only need one can of coconut milk rather than 2 too!
The downsides to the recipe, however, for the base, if you use the suggested ingredients it is way too crumbly and not sticky enough to make into tarts at all so I added an extra 4 more tablespoons on coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup so they’d stick together, which is a crazy amount! (First picture when it was too crumbly the added oil and syrup for second picture much firmer and pliable). Really, I think, this recipe needs a lot more dates in it to form the base properly as similar recipes from Deliciously Ella and Livia’s Kitchen contain over double the amount of dates Fearne uses to make sure everything sticks together. I also found that even just using the coconut cream it really wasnt thick enough so i added a tablespoon of chia seeds just to thicken it up a little.
Also, I don’t know what kind of muffin tins Fearne Cotton used but mine look absolutely nothing like the picture as in the book they have really solid sides so the filling doesn’t fall out but mine are a lot more like Reese’s peanut butter cups in shape than the ones in the book which look more like shot glasses.
I was a little worried as I am not normally a fan of creamy things or coconut but these surprised me. For me the filling is a little too sweet but that’s probably just because I don’t normally have that much maple syrup in things from someone starting the transition to sugar free they would be perfect. First you get hit with a sweet and surprisingly refreshing hint of coconut then the base is really soft, nutty and chocolatey then the fruit adds another burst of freshness so they aren’t too heavy but just enough not to want to eat more than one. They are not my favourite thing but definitely tasty.
I dislike these because: by following the recipe it wouldn’t have stuck together well enough at all, I want to know how they make them look so tall and rounded in the book as I’ve never seen a muffin tin that deep, They are pretty time-consuming for not that much of a reward.
I like them because: they are pretty cheap, it makes more than it says in the book and they are pretty tasty.
Overall, I would make them again, but more for an occasional summer party, than an everyday treat.
Expectation Vs. Reality
Thank you for reading. I hope you find this useful. I’d love you to let me know if you’ve found it useful and want me to write more reviews like this or if there’s anything specific you’d like me to try making and review whether its your own recipe or one you’ve found 🙂
Wow, It’s been a busy three weeks! You know that feeling when time has completely disappeared and its suddenly June and you’re not really sure what happened to May? My inspiration for this post, and the reason I’ve not really stopped since my last post, is my Boyfriend has just bought his very first flat so we’ve been very busy painting, decorating and cleaning to make it into somewhere that can be called home.
Now, being so busy, we (I mean I) have had very little time to cook; we may have resorted to a couple of indians and a gluten free dominos before the cooker was installed. The main problem I had when trying to decide what on earth we we’re going to eat was finding things that were quick and easy and still delicious because many of my favourite recipe’s are amazing but take an extortionate amount of time, time I wished I had. So my recipe’s for you today are simple, yummy, comfort food that take less than half an hour whether you’re busy making your home sweeter, rushed off your feet or simply wanting to spend a little more time snuggled up on the sofa in an oversized hoodie which reminds you of someone or somewhere special with a bowl of tasty goodness.
Todays recipes include a super simple vegetable curry, the best baked sweet potato with ‘cheese’ and beans and vegan chocolate ice cream. And, of course, all these recipes are Gluten Free (I accidentally ate a hash brown at Ikea when going to pick up some furniture yesterday, lets just say it was a very, very bad mistake which I will not be making again.) , Refined Sugar Free and Vegan. My playlist for you this week is made up of some my favourite new music, as well as some great throwbacks, which are great for just chilling out, cooking and eating, or belting out tunes using a roller as a microphone (i.e me last week). These songs remind me of, and make me feel at home, wherever I am and I hope these, and the recipes, make you feel the same. 🙂
Super Simple Vegetable Curry
This was one of the first meals I made in the new flat. It may be mild but it’s so warming on a rainy day. I just made this with fresh veggies as I haven’t stocked the cupboards with my various tins yet but when I’m at home I normally add chickpeas, lentils or both to give a bit more of a protein hit. This recipe served two very hungry people but could probably have served 3. I would’ve frozen the other portion, if there had been any, for another time.
The Best Baked Sweet Potato with ‘Cheese’ and Beans
This has always been one of my favourite quick and easy dinners and when I first became a vegetarian, 8 and a half years ago, it was a dinner that my Nanna would always make me when I go round there. Since cutting down on the dairy and cutting out the sugar (why baked beans contain so much sugar I will never know!) I havent had it in a long time. So I decided, whilst I had a nice evening a home alone tonight I decided to adapt the classic so it would be healthier and make my poor little tummy (after yesterday’s
hash brown fiasco) a little happier. The recipe for the ‘cheese’ element of this is not my own and can be found at http://deliciouslyella.com/creamy-raw-cashew-nut-cheese/ . I used the recipe from Deliciously Ella’s app which also included a quarter cup of olive oil. I added a little extra water (about 30ml) and another tbs of Nutritional yeast. My recipe serves one but there’s a lot more cheese so you can have some the day after with some rice cakes or oatcakes (well at least that’s my plan for tomorrow, in between making furniture).
Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream
There were 2 reasons for deciding to make this ice cream. Firstly, my day job is to basically scoop ice creams, and not just any ice cream, but Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and although I’ve never been an ice cream lover, I prefer a sorbet or a lolly, but working around it so much and cutting down on dairy I’ve, of course, really fancied it. Secondly, I’ve been wanting to attempt to make Vegan Ice Cream with Bananas for a long time but since I really don’t like bananas (I never have, and although my mum thinks I’m changing, I don’t think I ever will) I’ve not had any around to try it out. But my boyfriend was given a big fruit basket as a house-warming gift and whilst we ate most fruit or turned it into smoothies neither of us can stomach bananas in normal or smoothie form so I decided to turn them into an unrecognisable form and if it would taste any good as I have tried eating it before and it has still been too bananay for me. This time was different and it was good! and so simple! and so chocolatey you didn’t notice the banana! This recipe makes one good-sized tub of ice cream. I don’t know whether it’s just my freezer but it was very solid baring in mind that I’m a professional scooper 😉 – so you might want to let it defrost a little before serving.
Here’s my Home Sweet Home playlist full of comforting and fun tunes, both old and new, which will hopefully make you feel at home, whilst you’re cooking or chilling, wherever you are as I know they do that for me 🙂
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy trying these out for yourself. Thank you for your lovely feedback from my first post and sorry that it’s been so long since my last post. Can’t wait to hear what you think of these & I hope they make your home a little sweeter 🙂
#Vegetable #Curry #SweetPotato #Cheese #Beans #IceCream #Vegan #SugarFree #GlutenFree #Food #Home #ComfortFood #Quick #Simple #DiaryFree
Wether you love it or hate it Eurovision is always a big, and controversial, event in anyone’s calendar. Although the UK are never going get very far, wether we’ve got Joe & Jake, bless them, or if we bribed Adele to get up there, Eurovision has always been a little guilty pleasure of mine and, occasionally, produces some half decent songs. And for a good night in watching Graham Norton taking the mickey out of every European country and, for some reason, Australia (No, I don’t understand either) it is essential to have some yummy treats to get you through and,in my family, this has always been pizza followed by an awesome desert (I made Deliciously Ella’s Chocolate Caramel Slices which I plan to review soon, recipe from her new book). But since I gave up gluten and refined sugar, and cut down on dairy (I’m really trying but no one is perfect) in order to help calm my medical conditions down I knew this year was going to be a challenge. But here’s what I did and how I did it to make sure this years Eurovision Pizza , or any saturday night pizza night up to scratch. This includes the recipes for a gluten free Pizza base, a tasty tomato sauce free from refined sugar and a nutritious and vegan Garlic and Herb dip all with my best of Eurovision playlist to get you through the 45-55 mins of prepping and cooking. Have fun and Enjoy 😀
First I made the pizza base:
Now my mum has just bought some fancy dough mixing machine which I struggled to get my head around, so if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty it’s probably much easier to use a spoon and your hands. This recipe will make two small thin pizzas. ( I made one big one and it was just too thick much better making two smaller, thinner ones)
I like to make some sweet potato wedges to go with my pizza (my boyfriend likes them with every meal). They take about 40mins in the oven so I would put them in at this point, before you start the sauce and your oven should already be pre-heated. After oiling a baking tray I cover the chopped sweet potato in a little oil, salt, pepper and herbs.
For The Tomato Sauce:
Now for the toppings:
If you can tolerate dairy and or can’t imagine having a cheeseless pizza I’m not going to stop you smothering the beautiful tomato sauce you’ve made with cheese ( I did for my boyfriend) but if, like me, you’re trying to cut down, you can either just put your toppings straight onto the tomato sauce or sprinkle some nutritional yeast over it. Nutritional yeast has become my best friend recently, not only does it have a really cheesy, nutty taste but, it is, also, vegan and gluten free and full of awesome health benefits such as folic acid and vitamin B12.
I like to top my pizza with chopped mushrooms, peppers, sweetcorn and spinach. but once you’ve got your base and sauce you can top it with whatever you want.
So now you’ve got all your elements and it’s only taken about half an hour, you can pop your pizza in your pre-heated oven let it cook for 15 minutes and enjoy 😀
You can also store any you don’t eat in an air tight container in the fridge and re-heat in the microwave for about 2mins the next day.
Whilst the pizza is in the oven I like to make a cheeky little extra. I used to adore Dominos’ famous Garlic & Herb dip and have found pizza crusts so bland since giving up refined sugar and cutting down on dairy. So with the Domino’s version being so full of rubbish, however yummy it is, I decided to make my own much healthier version. Now it might not be as good but I think it’s a pretty reasonable replacement to give a go.
For the Garlic & Herb Dip:
This does make quite a lot of dip so if you’re cooking for four or more who all love garlic dip I’d make this recipe but if it’s just for one or two I’d make a half batch. You could also probably use this instead of the tomato sauce if you wanted a garlic pizza bread.
Here’s my best of Eurovision playlist full of Uk classics, old favourites, memorable & half decent tracks and all my favourites from last night. It’s about 55mins worth of pure EuroPop so should get you through cooking all your pizza elements even if you have to skip a few songs.
If you’re interested the costs of this whole meal which would serve 2-4 people would be:
This makes a total meal cost of £5.77 which makes it very reasonable and shows gluten free, vegan and sugar free food doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Thank you very much for reading my very first blog post. I hope you enjoy it and would love your feedback 😀
#Eurovision #Pizza #GarlicHerbDip #Vegan #GlutenFree #SugarFree #DairyFree #Food #Blog #POTS #EDS