It’s nearly the beginning of May, and Spring is in full flow. I love this time of year – longer days, warmer weather and new life blossoming in nature. In the middle of dark, grey winter its hard to visualise the trees budding green and beautiful blossom fluttering in the breeze. Continue reading “Spring cleaning from the inside out”
I do love a flapjack! I used to be a bit addicted to them when I was at school – that delicious butter and sugar combo just hit the spot! My friends mum used to make the best ones. I’m not sure what the magic ingredient was but they were just too good! Continue reading “Apple and date flapjacks”
Who doesn’t love a falafel? And burgers are a great go-to lunch or dinner. Then if you combine them? A taste sensation! That’s why I decided to make baked falafel burgers on my live Facebook cooking session on Friday. Continue reading “Baked falafel burgers”
Easter is associated with many things – the life of Jesus and the religious festival, Spring, chicks and, of course, chocolate! Chocolate eggs became a thing in the early 19th century, first made in France and Germany and then by Cadbury’s in the UK.
Eggs have been part of a spring festival way before Christianity used them to symbolise the resurrection. Used to represent rebirth or awakening, eggs appeared in pagan, Egyptian and Hindu mythology and have long been given as spring gifts, often beautifully decorated.
So chocolate and eggs are synonymous with this time of year. But what if you can’t or don’t eat either of these? Dairy-free and vegan chocolate is widely available so that’s not an issue for many people. However, if you follow a particular dietary programme for health like Overcoming MS then chocolate in its hard form is out due to the high level of saturated fat. So what to do (apart from sulk?) – make cake!
These chocolate cupcakes contain lots of cocoa or cacao powder which doesn’t have the added cocoa butter (which is where the fat is). It does contain all the lovely phytonutrients though, especially if you used raw cacao rather than cocoa. The frosting is a tasty and healthy alternative to heavy butter icing, and as it includes sweet potato you also get all those extra phytonutrients too. Which makes these cupcakes even better and so you can eat loads……well maybe not, but you get the super tasty chocolate hit as well as goodness, so that can’t be a bad thing!
I made these cakes and frosting on my live Facebook cooking session this week; here is the recording in case you missed it and fancied a watch. Plus the full recipe is below with all the ingredients and method. I hope you enjoy them – please let me know how you get on.
Wishing you a very Happy Easter.
Chocolate cupcakes with sweet potato chocolate frosting
- 1 medium sweet potato baked in its skin or steamed
- 225 grams self-raising four wholemeal or gluten free
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 75 grams cocoa or cacao powder
- pinch salt
- 370 ml soya milk or other dairy-free milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
- 80 ml olive oil
- 120 grams coconut sugar or very dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
for the frosting
- sweet potato prepped as above
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
- 3-4 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- fresh or freeze-dried raspberries to decorate optional
- Before you make the cake, bake the sweet potato in its skin or steam. This can be done the day before and kept in the fridge.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas4. Line a muffin tin with wrappers.
- Add the lemon juice to the soya milk and leave to curdle for a few minutes.
- Place the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt together in a large bowl and mix well to combine.
- In a separate bowl add the coconut sugar, oil and vanilla essence. Pour in the curdled soya milk and mix well to combine.
- Pour the wet mix into the dry and quickly stir to combine - do not overmix and try to be ilght-handed but thorough. This should only take 10-12 seconds. Time is of the essence to get the raising agents to work iin the oven.
- Quickly distribute the mix out into the prepared tin. Once the mix has all gone, tap the tin on the worktop and place in the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes - the cakes are ready when risen and firm but bouncy on top. Test with a tooth pick - if it comes out clean they're ready.
- Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack. Once cooled, they can be frozen for another time or decorated with the frosting.
To make the frosting
- Place the cooked sweet potato, maply syrup, cocoa powder and vanilla essence into a small blender and whizz for a few seconds to combine. Test the flavour and add more syrup or cocoa as needed and blend again
- Spread the mix over the top of the cakes and decorate with raspberries if desired. Keep in the fridge and eat within 3-4 days
If you struggle with eating ‘normal’ bread (by that I mean the supermarket offerings!), then this oat and buckwheat bread might just be the thing for you. This was last weeks live cooking session on Facebook – in case you missed it or would like the whole recipe without having to watch me jabber on for 20 minutes, here it is.
If you haven’t got buckwheat flour, then you can make your own but toasting buckwheat groats and then blending it into a flour using a high-speed blender or food processor. Alternatively, you could try quinoa, millet, spelt flour (if you don’t want to be gluten-free) or even just all oats. Be mindful about the amount of ground flaxseed you use if you are using a wheat-based flour (and therefore one with gluten) as this will help hold the bread together more. Reduce the flaxseed by 1 tablespoon otherwise your loaf will be rather dense. Plus if you need to be super-careful with gluten, then make sure use use gluten-free oats.
The seeds add extra flavour, texture and nutrients to this bread; if you haven’t got everything I’ve listed then improvise with whatever is in your cupboard, or leave them out. Baking in current times is a challenge whether it’s due to lack of stock or even just getting out to the shops. Fortunately, this recipe is very flexible, so go with what you’ve got.
Storage wise, this loaf keeps for 4-5 days, but if you know it’s not all going to be eaten then cut into slices and freeze. Then you can pull out the amount you want whenever you want it. Just defrost and use plain or pop in the toaster to perk it up.
I hope you enjoy making this bread – don’t forget to let me know how you get on!
Oat and buckwheat bread
- 40 grams whole oats
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 150 ml warm water
- 340 grams oats ground into a flour
- 115 grams buckwheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 375 ml water
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds extra for top of the loaf
- Mix the chia seeds and whole oats with 100ml water and leave for a few minutes to thicken
- Line a 2lb baking tin with non-stick baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC./390ºF.
- Add the flour, oat flour, salt, baking powder, ground flaxseed and seeds together in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Pour in ¾ of the water and the thick paste and stir well to combine. It should come together to form a sticky but not wet mix. Add more water to get the right consistency (remember the flaxseed with absorb water so if its sticky to start it will dry out).
- Transfer mix to baking tin. Level the top and sprinkle extra sunflower seeds on top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is toasted and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Yesterday was a busy one in The Sensitive Foodie Kitchen – not that we went anywhere of course, well not physically anyway. For yesterday I beamed live into other peoples homes via my first live cooking demo via Facebook.
I had no idea if it would work, but it did! And rather wonderfully there were people popping by from all sorts of countries. The internet really is an incredible asset for these current times, helping us all keep in touch in times of physical isolation.
I started off with one of the most popular hands-on cooking experiences on my workshops – easy baked veggie cakes. These super tasty bites are great because:
- they are really easy to make
- they are super adaptable and work for most veggies hanging around in your fridge
- if you include a range of veggies they’re packed full of amazing phytonutrients
- they get you in contact with your food
- kids can have fun making them – and hopefully eating them too
Popping these in the oven means there’s no added oil; the caramelisation of the sugars in the veggies makes them go brown and crispy all by themselves. And that way you lovely natural flavours too.
These make great snacks and lunches; make a bigger batch and keep some in the freezer for those days when you’re out and about and don’t have time to cook (which will happen again at some point in the future…….).
I know not everyone is on Facebook, so here is the video from yesterday in case you wanted to see it. And I’ve added the full recipe below so you don’t have to sit through it if you have better things to do!
I hope you enjoy making these tasty little bites – do let me know how you get on. And stay safe and well.
Easy baked veggie cakes
- 500 grams grated vegetables eg a mix of carrot and/or parsnip and/or courgette and/or celeriac and/or sweet potato and/or turnip
- 1 medium red or white onion, sliced or 4 spring onions or 1 shredded leek
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 cm piece fresh ginger grated
- 50 grams chickpea (gram) flour or whatever flour you have
- salt and pepper
- 1 handful fresh herbs, chopped
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4
- Place the grated veggies into a bowl with the finely sliced onion, garlic and ginger. Mix together well with your hands then add a teaspoon of salt and the fresh herbs and mix together well again.
- Add the chickpea flour, mix well, then leave to stand for 10 minutes. The salt will draw the water out of the veggies and help bind it together.
- Take a spoonful of mix and squeeze it together in the palm of your hand. If it binds well, it's ready to use. If it doesn't stick, add more flour as needed until it does. The exact amount depends on how watery your veggies are (ie: courgette will need more than parsnip)
- Press a big spoonful of the mix into a round patty in the palms of your hand and place on the baking tray. Repeat until all the mix is used up.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Once the top of the veggie cakes are firm, carefully turn them over and bake for another 5 minutes or so until browned and crispy.
- Serve hot or leave to cool and eat when you're ready.
One of the delights of buying seasonal veg boxes is that it introduces me to ingredients I wouldn’t automatically buy (or sometimes even see) in the supermarket. And being presented with a new ingredient means I also have the opportunity to be creative. My most recent challenge has been turnips. Continue reading “Turnip gratin”
Daily life is in flux at the moment with the current corona virus Covid 19 spreading like wild fire around the globe. Out of the many different reactions to the situation, ranging from panic to none, feeling powerless is one of the most negative. And there’s no need to, because there are some very simple things that can be done to help support your body’s defence mechanism. Continue reading “5 Ways to support your immune system”
This winter seems to have been very long! The wet, grey days are beginning to take their toll, although any time the sun does manage to make an appearance is a wonderful moment to behold! March is the beginning of spring; the crocuses and daffodils have bravely popped their colourful heads up, but I definitely don’t feel it’s time to move from comforting soups and stews to lighter, more spring-like meals. Continue reading “Vegetable and butter stew”
Second in my series on quick meals, here’s a super quick stir fry that literally takes 10 minutes. Serve it with either brown rice noodles or leftover cooked whole-grain rice (properly reheated of course) and it’s a fully plant-based, gluten free meal that your tastebuds and body will love. Continue reading “Stir fried veg with chickpeas and green sauce”