#CupcakeDay

Doesn’t everyone love a good cupcake? Well the Alzheimer’s Society definitely think we 13410567_10153904834054900_29400407_odo! 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 could13453491_10153904834134900_1338620889_on’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 13451253_10153904833869900_352683296_nmade 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 13453312_10153904833934900_851178718_oand 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!


Ingredients:13446383_10153904834139900_1700409775_o

For the cupcakes:

  • 130g coconut sugar
  • 130g coconut oil
  • 2 tbs milled golden flaxseed (mixed with 6 tbs of water)
  • 130g buckwheat flour
  • 40g cacao powder
  • 2ts baking powder
  • 5-6tbs water

For the frosting:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 5 tbs cacao powder
  • 4 tbs maple syrup
  • 4 tbs coconut oil

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place 12 cupcake cases in a muffin tray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the coconut sugar and coconut until it’s well combine and you can’t see any white of the oil.
  3. Add in the flaxseed and water mixture and stir well.
  4. Sift in the buckwheat flour, cacao powder and baking powder and combine well.
  5. Add in 5-6 tbs of water until the mixture looks like chocolate mousse.
  6. Half fill each of the cases with the mixture. Place tray in the oven and bake for 13mins.
  7. Whilst the cakes are in the oven mash the banana then put all the frosting ingredients into a food processor (or mixing bowl of you don’t have one) and whizz (or mix) them together until smooth.
  8. Take the cakes out of the oven. Leave to cool on a cooling rack for 10mins before topping with frosting and enjoying.

 

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 🙂

Recipe Review: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bourbons

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 13467346_10153902501294900_1700463694_omillionaire 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.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bourbons13446345_10153902485569900_1021022367_o

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.


Alternatives:
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 a13461288_10153902485679900_36750303_o (1)llergen 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:

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

13446110_10153902485804900_2046203137_o (1)

Notice my awesomely comfy onesie

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.


The Taste:

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.


Overall:

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:

http://liviaskitchen.co.uk/2016/06/07/chocolate-peanut-butter-bourbon/

Recipe Review: Mini Coconut Cherry Tarts

 

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

11011726_10153039846414900_7507406023891137640_n

Meeting Fearne Cotton in my Blonde phase last year at Radio 1 academy.

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

13383811_10153883174414900_1161793178_o

Cook Happy, Cook Healthy

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?… 🙂13388905_10153883132569900_1144396063_o

 

Mini Coconut Cherry Tarts:

  • Time to make: 1hour 10mins
  • Servings actually made: 12-14 tarts (Recipe says makes 6)
  • Total cost: £6.72, Cost per tart 56p

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.


Alternatives:

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.

13389092_10153883123704900_2008281170_o

Bases and (Slightly burnt) Cookies

 

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.


The recipe:

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.

13389056_10153883123599900_1115904675_o

It made LOADS!

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.


The Taste:

13396688_10153883126704900_420815679_oI 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.


Overall:

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 🙂

Home Sweet Home

13340861_10153878997119900_1230879752_o (1)

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.

 

13383575_10153879262019900_1347491012_oNow, 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.13348908_10153879262249900_1455692479_n

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 Curry13340797_10153878905914900_427217675_o

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.

Ingredients:

  • 150g Easy Cook Brown Rice
  • 400ml Coconut Milk
  • 4tbsp Mild Curry Powder ( Morrison’s own brand is the best I’ve found so far as it contains turmeric, coriander, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper & means you don’t need a cupboard full of different spices to make a good curry. You could also use medium or hot if you prefer a little more spice or just add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper or chilli powder.)
  • 1 red onion (You can use white, they just don’t agree with me)
  • Half a red pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 100g of mushrooms
  • 1 aubergine
  • salt & pepper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Put the rice into a large saucepan and 600ml of water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil and let it cook for 30mins (or as suggested on the pack).
  2. Chop all the vegetables into bite sized chunks.
  3. Heat a little oil in a saucepan then add the onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. The add the rest of the vegetables and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the curry powder so it coats the vegetables and then add a little salt and pepper.
  5. Mix in the coconut milk and simmer for 6 or 7 minutes.
  6. Drain the rice then serve up your dinner with a serving spoon and be careful not to get it anywhere,especially on white things (like the edges of new cookers, oops!) as turmeric really stains things.

The Best Baked Sweet Potato with ‘Cheese’ and Beans

This has al13340920_10153878905539900_1155409328_oways 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).

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato13383813_10153878905194900_2052158939_o
  • 5-6 tbs Deliciously Ella’s Cashew Nut Cheese
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a quarter of a red pepper
  • 2-3 mushrooms
  • 200ml of passata
  • 200g haricot beans
  • 2-3tbs smoked paprika
  • 1ts chilli powder
  • 2ts tamari
  • 1tbs basil

 

  1. Pierce the Sweet Potato, season with a little salt and pepper, place in the microwave and set the timer for about 7 minutes depending on the size of your sweet potato and press start. You can also do this in the oven but it takes about an hour to cook properly.
  2. In a small saucepan heat a little oil and cook off the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the other vegetables and cook for a couple more minutes.
  4. Add the paprika and coat the vegetables in it.
  5. Add the passata, basil and chilli and simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Finally stir in the haricot beans and continue to simmer until nice and hot.
  7. Make sure your sweet potato is nice and tender, cut in half on a plate, fill with 3 tbs of ‘cheese’ then pour on the beans and top with a further 3 tbs of ‘cheese’.
  8. Curl up on the in your favourite hoodie and Enjoy 🙂

 

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

13334356_10153878905289900_1343360109_oThere 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.

Ingredients:

  • 5 very ripe bananas
  • 6tbs raw cacao powder
  • 1tbs maple syrup
  • 1-2tbs water ( if necessary)
  1. A couple of hours, the day before, or the week before if you like cut your bananas into coins put them into a freezable bag or airtight container and put them into the freezer.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a food processor, adding the water only if necessary, and blitz until smooth. Put in an airtight and freeze until you want to eat it.

 

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