Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Brownie... need I say much else?

This recipe has been a long time coming. I kind of wanted to secretly keep it to myself but no, my inner nice person won out. :-P

It contains vegetables. And fruit. And oats. And not much else. It’s essentially breakfast! (I have been known to eat this for breakfast on occasion so shh! You can too, no judgement :) )

It can be gluten free if you use certified oats. It is refined sugar free… except for the chocolate but we don’t count that ;) It is dairy free and could probably be vegan if you were adventurous enough, I might have to try that next.

But enough talk of what it doesn’t have. 

What is does have is a truckload of deliciousness!

Tis a chocolate-ey, gooey, yummy, rich, filling, melty, wonderful and fabulous brownie of deliciousness! And you can eat the whole thing by yourself, or with friends but pah! When you see it, clearly keeping it for yourself is the superior option…

Now of course there are health skeptics out there, so I promise you this could not possibly taste like cardboard! It has got to be the gooey-est brownie I’ve ever made and of course it cannot taste completely traditional because, you know, it excludes most of the original ingredients. But in saying that, it’s still super delicious and you should put in the effort, do your taste buds and everything a favour! You won’t regret it!

Put in chocolate too, as much as is deemed necessary. That you definitely will thank me for.

I will now leave you to bake, go fourth and conquer!

Super Delicious No-Regrets Brownie
100g dates

250g (1 cup) cooked & pureed pumpkin*
50g ( ½ cup) oats finely ground into flour in a blender or food processor
60g ( ½ cup & 1 tbsp) cocoa or cacao powder
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp olive oil or liquid coconut oil
1 ½ tsp baking powder (up to 2 tsp if you prefer more cake-y)
Pinch salt
80g chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 180C.

Line you tray with paper or oil (use a small tray/tin, it’s only 50g of flour and makes a small batch).

Dates (Make for the brownie):
Chop up dates and if they are too dry to process into a paste easily put in a bowl, cover with water and microwave in 30sec increments to soften them to a puree-able state. Drain off excess water and leave aside. Stick blend dates into a puree adding the water if you need. (If you do not have a stick blender you need to let the dates cool before putting them in a normal blender unless it has a place for air to escape).

1)      Mix all the wet ingredients together.
2)      In a separate bowl sift all the dry ingredients together.
3)      Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk in thoroughly. Brownies do not require the care of folding eggwhites so whisk that whisk!
4)      Pour into your prepared tin and bake for about 25 minutes depending on your oven. Do a poke test to check for readiness! Under baked is delicious but because of all the pumpkin they will be super moist regardless.
5)      Lick the bowl if you so desire, no one is looking! Make sure you are ready with a good book and a hot chocolate when they come out, you’re welcome!

*To make pumpkin puree I steam up a bunch of pumpkin, maybe a third of a large pumpkin, with one or two red apples to add sweetness. Let them drain a bit when they’re soft then blend until smooth. If it creates more water once it sits and cools, pour it off without pouring away your pumpkin!

It doesn't make a very big batch - I make mine in a small skillet, so feel free to double, triple, QUADTRIPPLE…the possibilities are endless!


Saturday, 4 July 2015

Red Smoothie Bowl for a Grey Winter

You know it's a horrible winter's day when you have to have lights on in the middle of the day. Lights on OUTSIDE. For a hockey game. Then you know it's dark, and grey, and winter and horrible.

Winter's not always horrible though, in fact recently it has been beautiful and sunny and birds have been singing. Honestly. It has been such a pretty winter that I couldn't help but make a smoothie. Those boring winter things were calling out to me, pears, apples... they needed sprucing. And what better way to spruce than with an ode to sunlight, a bright red colourful ball of smoothie goodness!

Look at that. It looks as happy as it will make you feel!

I don't know why, but I really loved this one. My mum and I have a strange obsession with chucking things in our blender and making drinks, my mum gets a little crazier than me with them, making almost savoury smoothies. I'm not always a fan ;-P But this was a super delicious blend of fruit and veg that we both spooned down at the speed of light.

Red Smoothie of Deliciousness for Two
1 pear
1 granny smith apple
1 beetroot, raw and peeled
1/3 cup rolled oats
½ zucchini
1 handful frozen blackberries
1 heaped tbsp. cocoa (optional)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Chop all the fruits and vegetables and place into a high speed blender in the order listed. Pour over about 1/3 cup of water to begin with and blend until smooth and red and delicious. You might need more water depending on your blender.

Pour into bowls and top with cocoa and whatever you want, or just eat it up. Stare into that deliciousness…

So refreshing and yummy! They're all the words you need... Give it a go and be pleasantly surprised, bask in the glorious colour!

Get spooning. Godspeed, friends!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Peanut butter makes you happyyy - PB & J Muffins!

When you need a peanut butter hit...well, usually I'd recommend grabbing a spoon, a banana and  just going for it. But sometimes, you're craving a delicious, hearty, life-fullfilling muffin.
You know the craving. Or at least I hope you do. Dense, carb-y, warm, fills you up with goodness, big, hearty ahhhh, need I go on? Ok, so clearly I'm not that good at describing muffins. I hope you will forgive me.

Because look at them.

So my friend and I were deliberating over which jam was the best with peanut butter (I was out of bananas, you see...SHOCKING. I KNOW.) So that's what we do when we're bored. Anyway, she suggested blackberry. Actually no, she didn't suggest it, she swore by it and wouldn't make exceptions for anything else. Even her mum's apricot jam. That's a big claim.

Lucky for us, my cupboard was full of blackberry jam, homemade and amazing :) And even luckier for us I had found a recipe that just probed at my weak resistance, demanding me to try it.

And thus, the humble peanut butter and jelly/jam muffin was born. Say hello, he's not shy.
Deliciously peanut buttery, sweetened naturally - only by fruit! Healthy, yummy and perfect for any time of the day (or night). I'm not the only one who stays up really late to be hungry and have a muffin am I..? Don't answer that.

And in case you haven't been persuaded yet: they're quick to make, too! Feel like a muffin now?? Go! GO TO THAT OVEN! you will be sitting in muffin-y bliss in less than half an hour. Just look: how could you resist..?

Peanut Butter and Blackberry Jam Muffins
Recipe inspired by and adapted from The Minimalist Baker

- 2 eggs*
- ½ cup apple sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil or melted coconut oil
- ½  cup date paste*
- ½ cup salted creamy or crunchy peanut butter & extra
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup cashew meal*
- ¾ cup wholemeal/wholewheat flour
- blackberry jam (use naturally sweetened to keep muffins free of refined sugar)

1) Preheat your oven to 180C and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin papers or lightly grease them.
2) Whisk the eggs, applesauce, oil and date paste together. 
3) Add the peanut butter, salt, baking soda, baking powder and apple cider vinegar, and whisk to combine, making sure the peanut butter is evenly dispersed.
4) Then whisk in the flour, almond meal and oats.
5) The batter will be quite thick, spoon it into tins and top with a dollop of blackberry jam and another dollop of peanut butter, gently swirl them and push them down a bit into the muffin (this works if your jam holds it's shape pretty well, otherwise make a bit of a hollow before putting the jam on).
6) Try not to let the jam get too close to the edge.
7) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a pokey-stick thing comes out clean. Let them cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then loosen them and let them cool on a rack.  Eat them straight away with extra peanut butter and jam or eat them later...with extra peanut butter and jam :)

They will keep covered for a few days, but they won't last that long, believe me! Freeze them as a snack for later.

- I haven't tried, but the original recipe uses flax eggs for vegans.

- Date paste is just soaked and blended dates into a paste, I usually always have some in my freezer. Just chop and soak lots of dates for a few hours then let them simmer for a few minutes and then let them go cold, drain and blend them adding some of the liquid if your blender needs. 

- The original recipe uses almond meal, I used cashew due to the over-abundance of cashews in my house and the rather limited stock of almonds. Either will work and both will be delicious. If you want to make your own just blend nuts in a high powered blender or food processor until they are fine and sandy.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Sweet Potato Doughnuts with Pomegranate Cranberry Topping

Today I speak doughnuts!

The memories of outdoor markets and the hot jam doughnut van, me and my brother burning our tongues and fingers because we couldn't wait, even though the flavour somewhat lacjed after we’d burnt our impatient tongues!

I like doughnuts J But today I went for a healthier doughnut by choosing to bake and not fry, and opting out of a refined sugar glaze. The consistency and fluffiness of the resulting doughnut is a win in my opinion, however, it does lack the deliciously almost crisp crust that are familiar to those traditional fried doughnuts. If that’s what you’re after then by all means shallow-fry, deep-fry, the world is your doughnutty oyster! I won’t complain and I will probably even envy you, shh!
But if you are like me, and you appreciate a little something old, mixed with a little something new and you can handle calling a ball of baked, pillow-like dough a doughnut theeen...well. I don’t really know where that sentence was going, I think I got stuck on “pillow-like”.

Mm Hmm.
SO, these doughnuts may be different, they’re not uber sweet, nor uber fried like your traditional doughnuts, but yes, they are good. They may not change your life and make the sky rain pistachios (we can still hope) but they’re perfect for an impromptu visit to a friend in need of soft, dough-y comfort.
But, like I said, they are YOUR doughnuts, so if you want a doughnut-ier doughnut, I suggest following Pinch Of Yum’s recipe for instructions on how to fry, then I suggest you send one my way.

Sweet Potato Doughnuts

Adapted from: Pinch of Yum, adapted from BraveTart

Note: I know it’s a bit complicated with all the measurements, apologies! I just didn’t need that many doughnuts. As you can see it still makes about 10 to 12 not including the bits I cut out because I am a dough fiend and I uh.. ate them :P

  • ¾ tsp instant yeast
  • 1/4 egg (Beat an egg and use 2 and a half tsp)
  • 1 ½ tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg to taste
  • Dash each of cinnamon and cardomom and all spice and whatever takes your fancy (Apologies but according to friends, cinnamon cannot be measured, it is an insult)
  • 1/4 cup milk, lukewarm
  • ¼ cup and 2 tbsp sweet potato puree (steam and then stick blend a sweet potato)
  • 1 ½ tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1¾ cup and 2 tbsp plain flour
  1. Mix all the ingredients except the flour, whisking until smooth.
  2. Add the flour and knead for 10 minutes, best by hand. Dough will be fairly sticky but try to refrain from adding too much more flour, you want a light doughnut. The faster you knead it the less it will stick.
  3. Place the dough ball in a greased, covered bowl and allow to rise for about an hour.
  4. Roll out the dough to ½ inch thick, depending how high and gorgeous you like your doughnuts, and cut out doughnut shapes, I used a drinking glass and the neck of a juice bottle.
  5. Place cut doughnuts and doughnut holes on a prepared baking tray. Or roll the doughnut holes together again to form another doughnut. (Or if you are, like me, a dough lover, please feel free to eat the doughnut holes, they are only small after all :-P )
  6. Cover and allow to rise in a semi-warm place until doubled in size (about 30 minutes). At this time preheat your oven to 180C
  7. Place doughnuts in hot oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, when they are gorgeous, puffed and golden looking they are sure to be ready, turn one over and check the base, even poke one.
  8. When satisfied readiness is achieved, pull from the oven and attack your doughnuts with the following topping.
·         Pomegranate molasses
·         ¼ cup toasted walnuts
·         ¼ cup dried cranberries
Carefully brush Pomegranate molasses over each doughnut, keeping in mind the flavour intensity. You can even mix pomegranate molasses with powdered sugar for more of a “glaze”.
In a food processor blend the walnuts and cranberries until a fine-ish crumb forms (I would have done it finer than in my pictures), pour into a shallow plate. Gently but firmly press each doughnut, molasses side down, into the crumb mixture, cross fingers and hope for a generous coating. Proceed with each doughnut, pausing in between to eat them. Allow extra crumb topping to tip over doughnuts and to eat over natural yogurt, I highly recommend!
*If the topping does not add enough sweetness to the doughnuts for your liking feel free to sprinkle some icing sugar over or mix some icing sugar or honey into the pomegranate molasses before brushing on.

What’s your favourite memory of doughnuts? And how would you eat these ones? I think these went great on a plate with honey and pomegranate molasses into which I dipped torn bits of doughnut, heaven!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Strawberry Yogurt Muffins - Feeling like a sweet tooth...

Sometimes you just want a muffin, am I right?

Or you have a massive tub of really over-sweet yoghurt that your dad bought which no one will eat and you have no idea how to get rid of and you have to get rid of it otherwise there's no room for good yoghurt, right? Well. If you're still following, that was my dilemma.

Yet the dilemma turned into a blessing, of sorts...Yummy, sweet, soft muffins, almost cupcake-y but too healthy to be called cupcakes :-P They hail from an interesting blend of flours, I like to go crazy with my buckwheat, which really adds some kind of depth-y flavour to them, well that's what my brother said...

I just think they're yum.

Oh, by the way. I know it says strawberry...but I used blackberries. The strawberry part was in that yoghurt I mentioned :)

In case you needed more convincing than just their cuteness. These muffin cupcake things are healthy too! Exciting! Don't be afraid though, they're actually good, pretty impressive for something that's actually pretty good for you too. So make a muffin and enjoy it with tea, or just enjoy it with life, muffins are good :)

If you want to change the fruit, go for it! Try strawberry in strawberry muffins. I know, shocking.

(Healthy) Delicious Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins
  • 1 cups spelt flour
  • ½ cup oat flour
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 heaped tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 ¼ cups thick greek strawberry yoghurt*
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 heaping cup blackberries or strawberries 

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease muffin pans, you don’t want these to get stuck because they will hold on with all their might. Use paper cases if you want to for ease.
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk together the yoghurt and vinegar for a minute. Whisk in the coconut oil. Slowly mix in the dry mixture until everything is combined.
  4. Fold in the berries. Spoon mixture into muffin tins and bake for 5 minutes at 200C before turning your oven down to 170C and baking for an extra 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a poking stick pulls out clean.
  5. Let the muffins rest for about 3 minutes. If you have trouble getting them out, turn the tray upside down and rest a cold, wet but not dripping, towel over the tray for a minute or two before carefully pushing the muffins out and loosening the edges as you go. I use a silicone pan so I can squeeze the muffin along the edges and bottom to get it out. Do not be put off by this if they get stuck! Feel free to use muffin cases. These are delicious muffins and they do come out very easily, they just require some love, my mum was slightly impatient, no wonder – they smelled amazing :)
* Yoghurt must be thick! And make sure it’s sweet or you might need more honey. I used danone ultimate greek, strawberry.

Someone great once said to me: Strawberry yoghurt = yum. Muffins = yum. Strawberry yoghurt + muffins = YUM. Right? right.

Is she right?
What's your favourite muffin?

Monday, 27 April 2015

Warming your Bones - Zesty Rosemary and Grape Porridge

Winter annoys me. A lot, or at least it has recently. The only thing to look forward to is my birthday, otherwise it's cold, rainy and the only fruit around is apples and pears and apples and pears get boring!
Currently however, grapes are around and they're pretty great. My favourite grapes are the green-y red seedless ones, they're so crisp! I'm going to pretend I didn't eat almost two whole bags of them in two days all by myself...
Enjoy the fruit while it's around, right? 


So it's been cold and I've been sleeping under three blankets in two to three layers of Pj's. This crisis calls for a delicious, hot and yummy porridge! And I have just the thing.

Rosemary, Lemon Zest and Grape Porridge (for two)

Use as much zest and rosemary to taste, it's delicious regardless. The lemon adds richness and the grapes, just the right amount of sweetness. If you can be bothered (I'm not such an early morning person) cut your grapes in half and their sweetness will blend into the oats too. Leaving their skins unbroken makes for an equally delicious breakfast though, so up to you. Either way, make sure there are grapes a-plenty, you won't regret it :)

2/3 cup rolled oats
1-2 tbsp linseed meal (optional)
½ - 1 tsp lemon zest (I used the zest of a small lemon, it was the size of a lime)
1 generous tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 cup milk (any kind)
¼ cup water
A good amount of grapes

Chuck everything except for the rosemary into a saucepan on medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the oats thicken to your liking and the liquid has absorbed. You may need more or less water depending on the toughness of your oats. When the porridge is near ready-ness, add the rosemary and grapes stirring in and cooking for about 2 minutes longer until the grapes are hot and dispersed through. If you slice your grapes you may add them earlier to get the flavour through more. Pour into bowl and top with a splash of more milk, a sprinkling more of rosemary or a dollop of yoghurt.
Eat it while it's still hot and delicious and share with someone special.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A few of my favourite things...Roast veg buckwheat crepes for a friend

Feeling like a perfect lunch for a movie marathon of two? I know you are.
Sometimes lunch takes the cake for meals of the day. Sometimes you just need something good, no? Something that takes effort and time. Something that's worth it. Making you hungrier as you go...

Crepes are good, delicious folds encasing an endless range of fillings. These crepes are even better. Buckwheat has a delicious nutty flavour and when paired with grilled zucchini, eggplant and cheeeese, well, you can't get them in your mouth fast enough.

Try to eat them sitting down and enjoy each bite, it's hard, I know, you'll want to eat as you go. But hold out! You can do it :) Trust me, it'll be worth it.

Buckwheat Crepes
Makes 5 to 6
Use freshly ground buckwheat flour if you can, it binds so much better and almost seems slimy, don't worry, it won't be like that in your cooked crepe. I grind it in a smoothie blender thing. If you don't have it you might need to use less liquid.

½ cup fresh ground buckwheat flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk of choice
Whisk all ingredients together or use an immersion blender. Try to eliminate any lumps. Let the batter sit while you prepare the filling.
When ready to cook, preheat your nonstick pan, give it a drop of oil too. You may need a splash of water to thin out the batter again, whisk it in.
Pour batter into your pan, swirling the pan so the batter spreads and you have a nice thin crepe. Cook on med-high heat until it's golden-brown underneath, then flip and cook until there are brown spots on the bottom. *At this point add your fillings while it's still in the pan (read below).

You can really fill them with anything you like, make sure there's cheese!

1 fist sweet potato
About 1 eggplant and 1 zucchini (you might have extra)
1 - 2 tomatoes
salt, oil
Cheddar cheese, mozzarella, feta

I roasted a fist of sweet potato chopped into little cubes sprinkled with about 1 tbsp of Moroccan spice and 1 tbsp oil. Then process it into mash with more Moroccan spice and cheddar cheese to taste. 
Slice eggplant and zuchini slices as thick as your pinky. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and grill until they have colour. 
Slice your tomato, mozzarella and cheddar.

As soon as you have flipped the first side of your crepe lay down a few slices of cheese on one half followed by dollops of sweet potato, slices of zucchini, eggplant and tomato. Then sprinkle feta cheese and a bit more of meltable cheese before folding your crepe over. You can flip it over again so that all of the cheese melts. You've got to have melty cheeese :)

Repeat with all the crepes. Enjoy!