Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Chocolate Banashew aka Chocolate Banana Cashew Cake (vegan)

Chocolate Banana Cashew Cake

HealthyFry, Large Cakes, Vegan | 19th January 2017 | By

I have a new piece of Froothie equipment to play with. It’s an Optimum HealthyFry – a rapid air fryer that can bake cakes too. Who’d have thought it? I have used it for frying of course, but I couldn’t wait to try baking a cake in it. With my promise to bring you all things vegan this month, I have created this rich and fudgy chocolate banana cashew cake. Ladies and Gentleman, forget the banoffee, I give you banashew.

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Banana Spelt Cardamom Buns – A Special Breakfast Treat

Banana Spelt Cardamom Buns

Bread & Buns | 30th December 2016 | By

Christmas may be over but we are still in the festive season. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, quickly followed by New Year’s Day and then a bank holiday to top it off. Why not make the most of it and try these banana spelt cardamom buns for a special breakfast treat?

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Sticky Banana Ginger Cake

Banana Ginger Cake

Dairy Free, Traybakes | 12th March 2016 | By

When I saw a recipe for banana ginger cake chez The Caked Crusader the other day, I knew there was nothing to be done but make it as soon as I could. Banana and ginger is not an obvious pairing by any means, but the cake just sounded so good – and it was.

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Fairtrade Fortnight Breakfast & Recipes for Banana Bread & Hot Chocolate

Fairtrade Fortnight BreakfastI’ve been a supporter of Fairtrade Fortnight for many years now, from when I was an active Co-Operative member and helped out in store to my current position as a food blogger. This year the campaign is focusing on Sit Down for Breakfast, Stand Up for Farmers and runs from 29 February to 13 March. With this in mind, I’ve prepared a delicious Fairtrade Fortnight Breakfast using a number of Fairtrade products as well as baking a breakfast banana bread.

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We Should Cocoa – The Banana Chocolate Round-Up

We Should Cocoa Banana Collage

We Should Cocoa | 30th November 2015 | By

This month We Should Cocoa went bananas and from the gorgeous entries we’ve had, it looks as though some of you did too. If ever you needed a banana chocolate flavoured bake, breakfast or pudding, this is the place to come.

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Banana Pancakes with Ricotta and Chocolate Sauce – We Should Cocoa #63

Banana Pancakes

When I set banana as this month’s ingredient for We Should Cocoa, I didn’t have anything particular in mind, but with the run of wet weather we’ve been experiencing down in Cornwall over the last few days, I needed comfort and cheer. It had to be pancakes. Not just any old pancakes, but something a little luxurious which was also healthy, delicious and above all comforting, Banana pancakes it was then – with added ricotta.

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Quick Banana and Rum Soaked Raisin Bundt

Banana Bundt

Bundt | 17th May 2015 | By

We’re just about to set off on a week’s trip to North Wales where we’ll be staying with friends. It’s been a long time since we had a holiday and it’s much needed; I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve not been to this particular part of Wales before, but it’s CT’s old stomping ground, so he’ll have a lot to show me.

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Raw Goodness and a Tropical Smoothie

Tropical Chocolate Smoothie

Whilst not quite at the forefront of raw food consumption, it does make up a part of my diet and I don’t just mean salad leaves. I’ve been a fan of raw chocolate since long before I started this blog; the concept of raw chocolate and other sweet treats that are actively good for you is one I find most appealing. Unlike cheap chocolate bars, I find these satisfy quite quickly and I’m unable to gorge myself on them.

The UK has a long tradition of coconut use, one of the advantages of a global empire I suppose. However our usage has been somewhat limited to desiccated coconut and whole coconuts, usually found as a target in fairgrounds and often past their best. In recent years the products have become much more diverse and coconut has now gained the status of a superfood. I’ve always been a fan and use coconut in a number of ways. However, when I was sent a bundle of coconut products from Cocofina to try out, the coconut oil was the only item I was familiar with.

Cocofina

Cocofina, meaning fine coconuts, was conceived with the idea of selling a healthful drink that was naturally sweet and would need no added artificial colours or preservatives. Starting off in 2005 selling 100% pure coconut water, the company has now branched out into other coconut products. There are over 100 varieties of coconut and they have many uses. Harvested young they are best for water and the mature ones are best for oil. I was pleased to see that all Cocofina products are organic and certified by the Soil Association. The company also supports Action Against Hunger, vowing to raise at least £5,000 a year.

Once again, I roped CT in to help out with some of the tasting. As coconut is one of his favourite foods, he was not averse. After tasting all of the products, I set to and baked this coconut chickpea chocolate cake using the nectar and oil.

Coconut Water – 100% filtered coconut water from green coconuts.
A multi award winning drink, this claims to refresh, reenergise and rehydrate; it is full of vitamins and minerals and is naturally isotonic. I was expecting it to taste like the water you get when cracking open a mature coconut, but it was noticeably different. It was sweeter with a slightly smokey taste, pleasant but not quite as nice. I was really rather excited to find you can buy coconut water, as a natural alternative to dairy is hard to find. This came in a 500ml plastic bottle. I know plastic is the modern way, but I would prefer to see a healthy drink put into a glass one. After sipping it to see what I thought, I decided it would make a great base for a tropical breakfast smoothie. It did. See recipe below.

Coconut Nectar
It has the look and feel of runny honey, but the scent and taste of light molasses. We both really liked it and had to restrain ourselves from spooning it directly from the jar into our mouths. It made a really tasty chocolate glaze which I used for the coconut chickpea cake and a subsequent vegan cake I’ve made. The nectar has a low GI so is a healthier option than sugar and would also make a great vegan substitute for honey. I was pleased that this product did come in a glass jar. It contained 350ml.

Coconut Oil
I’m a big fan of coconut oil and have written a fair bit about it on this blog already. It is a particularly healthy oil and is good spread on toast, used in baking and for frying as it has a high smoking point. This one is cold pressed extra virgin and organic. It smells and tastes deliciously of coconut. Like the nectar, it came in a 350ml glass jar.

Coconut Snack Bars
All of the bars weigh 40g and are organic, dairy free, wheat free and have no added sugar.

Organic Coconut & Cocoa Bar – raisins (containing sunflower oil), dates, coconut, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder.
Described as a pre-workout snack, this is toothsome bar that in my book could be eaten at any time. Coconut and chocolate is one of those combinations that just work: the flavour here is well balanced with the coconut being dominant and the cocoa enriching the flavour and reducing the sweetness. Both chewy and crunchy from the coconut and cocoa nibs, the texture encourages you to savour at length. Hello Cocofina, goodbye Bounty, quipped CT.

Organic Coconut & Date Bar – raisins (containing sunflower oil), coconut, dates, oats.
It’s nice and coconutty with shards of dried coconut which make it particularly chewy; in CT’s own words “it’s fun to carry on chewing and squeeze out every last bit of flavour”. It is quite sweet with an almost honey like taste and very enjoyable. CT suggested that a Levantine merchant would stock up on these in preparation for a long camel train trip.

Cocofina Macaroon Bar
I’m guessing this is a recent addition to the range as the wrapper is plain and has no information on it other than the name and best before date. Firmer in texture than the other bars, it tastes of coconut and honey. It’s quite sweet, but due to its firm and chewy texture, it gives the jaws a good work out.  It reminds me of the sweets I used to eat and enjoy in Egypt. Sweet is the operative word; it feels more like an item of confectionary than an energy bar, but is nonetheless delicious.

Brownies by Rawness

Based in Richmond, Rawness is a company that started making 100% raw desserts for local consumption. Take a look at their website if you need to be convinced as to the allure of raw cakes and chocolates. They have recently introduced a range of brownies that are more robust and can be sent by post and thus distributed more widely. Despite the name, these didn’t really resemble classic brownies which, in my opinion,  should be soft, fudgy and uba-sweet with a crusty top. These were in two layers and whilst the top was indeed fudgy, the bottom was decidedly chewy. Forget the name though and you have one very tasty and satisfying piece of confection which I defy anyone not to enjoy.

As I read the list of ingredients, I got more and more excited; they sounded both exotic and luxurious. I was intrigued by the Medicine Flower mentioned, so went off to investigate. It turns out they are an American company offering a range of concentrated extracts using a cold pressed extraction method. They have some very unusual flavours and are certified organic. The brownies, though small, are quite substantial and weigh 55g each. Sitting in their little wooden trays and encased by protective plastic, they would make ideal picnic fare. I was sent three flavours to try. CT helped me out in the task. We found sharing three between us was more than enough to satisfy us after a long session of gardening.

Hazelnut Caramel Browniehazelnuts, hazelnut butter, dates, Peruvian cacao powder, Peruvian cacao butter, heather honey, lucuma powder, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla, Himalayan crystal salt.
Whilst hazelnut is dominant and caramel notes are obvious, other complex flavours weave their way around the palate. We were hard pressed to describe them, but how about this: slightly floral, heathery taste and an elusive whisky tang.

Cherry & Walnut Browniewalnuts, almonds, walnut butter, dates, Peruvian cacao powder, Peruvian cacao butter, honey, sour cherries, sour cherry powder, lucuma powder, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla, Medicine Flower Cherry Extract, Himalayan crystal salt.
Crikey those cherries are sour. Eat this if you are flagging in front of your computer and you’ll soon be woken up. We really liked the contrast between the sweet chocolate, crunchy walnuts and tart cherries. This is less complex in flavour than the previous one, but unusually for a brownie it is quite refreshing.

 

Banana Pecan Browniepecans, almonds, pecan butter, dates, Peruvian cacao powder, Peruvian cacao butter, honey, banana pieces, banana powder, lucuma powder, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla, Medicine Flower Banana Extract, Himalayan crystal salt.
Decorated with a piece of dried banana and a pecan nut, there is no doubt what this brownie contains. The banana is very much the dominant flavour here, but it somehow tastes fresh and quite pleasant. And that is the opinion of two banana sceptics. Like the others, the nuts provide plenty of crunch which encourages you to keep right on chewing.

The brownies can be bought direct from Rawness, but I don’t think their site has been updated to reflect this yet.

Creative Nature

Heavenly Cacao with cacao & red berries sultanas, dates, cranberries, goji berries, oats, vegetable glycerine, cacao powder, cacao nibs, cacao butter, maca powder.
Described as a cold pressed cacao and goji berry flapjack, this is a 38g bar which is packed full of goodness. The cacao is cold pressed making it additionally nutritious. The texture is complex and interesting with crunchy cocoa nibs, oats and chewy dried fruit which makes it virtually impossible to wolf down. It is rich in cocoa and quite filling, but also has a slight tartness which I found particularly refreshing. Not only did it taste nice, but with added goji berries and maca powder I was sure it could only be doing me a power of good. This is just the sort of pick-me-up bar I love to have with me when out walking the Cornish moors and coast paths. The only thing missing for me was the fact it was not organically certified.

Indigo Herbs of Glastonbury

I’ve recently been sent a raw chocolate kit with a host of other organic goodies from Indigo Herbs of Glastonbury, so my exploration of raw foods will continue for a while longer yet. So far I have used the organic mango and banana they provided to make the smoothie recipe below and some coconut flakes to decorate the coconut cake I made last week.

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Tropical Chocolate Smoothie

Tropical Smoothie

by Choclette June-20-2014
A sumptuous and refreshing non-dairy smoothie with coconut, bananas mango and raw cocoa powder.
 
Ingredients
  • 500ml coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 mango
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 scant tsp maca powder
  • 1 heaped tsp raw cocoa powder
 
Instructions
1. Cut the mango in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Peel the banana.2. Place all ingredients into a liquidiser and process for a few seconds.3. Pour into glasses and serve.
 
Details

Total time: Yield: 4 x 220ml glasses

Chocolate Cake for £1 – We Should Cocoa #45

Malted Chocolate Cake

When I set this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge to make a chocolate cake for £1, I really wasn’t at all sure I would be able to do it. Many of the ingredients I use in baking are organic and thus relatively expensive. The chocolate, butter and eggs required for an 8″ round cake cost more than this alone. I knew I was going to have to compromise, but I still wanted it to taste good.

I went off to our local co-op and costed up some possible ingredients. There was no doubt about it, the butter would have to go.  As for the chocolate, I had a cunning plan! I would use drinking chocolate with just a smidgen of my Green & Black’s cocoa powder to give it some oomph. I was very lucky to pick up some real free range organic eggs from a farm shop recently that only cost 60p per half dozen – I normally pay twice that amount. I’d also recently bought five large bananas for £1 so figured I might be able to use one of those for added flavour. Then of course there was my dandelion honey that cost very little to make – things were looking up.

The question was, did I make a chocolate cake with eggs and without a banana (I couldn’t manage both) or did I make a vegan chocolate banana cake? Well I did both of course.

Malted Hot Chocolate Cake

  • 190g plain flour – 15p
  • 100g golden caster sugar – 17p
  • 40ml organic sunflower oil – 12p
  • 30g drinking chocolate – 17p
  • 1 tsp G&B cocoa powder – 3p
  • 20g Horlicks – 13p
  • 2 x organic eggs – 20p
  • 1 tsp baking powder + pinch of rock salt – 2p
  • 180 ml water – 0p
Grand Total = 99p

Banana Hot Chocolate Honey Cake

  • 190g plain flour – 15p
  • 100g golden caster sugar – 17p
  • 40ml organic sunflower oil – 12p
  • 40g drinking chocolate – 24p
  • 1 tsp G&B cocoa powder – 3p
  • 1 large banana – 20p
  • 2 scant tbsp dandelion honey – 6p
  • 1 tsp baking powder + pinch salt – 2p
  • 1 tbsp malt vinegar + 1/4 tsp bicarb of soda – 1p
  • 150 ml water – 0p
Grand Total = £1

Vegan Chocolate Banana CakeI managed to get both cakes within the £1 budget and felt inordinately pleased with myself for doing so. Both cakes were good, but the chocolate banana cake was splendid. It was bigger, had more flavour and a better texture. It reminded me of a banana version of sticky gingerbread. It was so good in fact, I think it might become my go to banana cake – what a revelation. CT tasted them both blind and detected the respective Horlicks and banana flavours; he thought that despite the difference in textures, both were chocolatey and tasty. The banana was light and fluffy in his opinion and the malted cake was firmer and CT reckoned redolent of childhood birthday party chocolate cakes.

Of the two, my entry to the #WeShouldCocoa £1 Chocolate Cake challenge is the Banana Hot Chocolate Cake. I’m really quite excited to see what others have come up with.

I’m also sending this off to Credit Crunch Munch with Camilla of Fab Food for All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours. This month is being guest hosted by Gingey Bites. I’m not sure the credit for a chocolate cake can be crunched much more than this.

Vanesther of Banger’s & Mash participated in the Live Below the Line Challenge, so has come up with Cheap and Cheerful for this month’s Family Foodies event. My cakes fit the bill perfectly. This event is co-hosted by Lou over at Eat Your Veg.

Made from scratch and made with love, I am also submitting these cakes to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays.

Both of these cakes only took 20 minutes to knock up, but as the banana and honey cake has a nice sticky texture, I reckon it is the more dessert like of the two. Served warm with some custard or cold with clotted cream, it would be even more delicious. Normally hosted by Sarah of Maison Cupcake, Dead Easy Desserts is being guest hosted this month by Tina of The Spicy Pear.

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Malted Chocolate Cake

£1 Malted Hot Chocolate Cake

by May-6-2014
A quick and frugal cake made with drinking chocolate and Horlicks for flavour.
Ingredients
  • 190g plain flour
  • 30g drinking chocolate
  • 20g Horlicks
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • a pinch rock or sea salt
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 40ml sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 180ml water
Instructions
1. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.2. Beat the eggs with the oil and water.3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly add the liquid stirring gently as you go until all is just mixed.4. Pour batter into a prepared 8″ cake tin or mould and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.5. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Details

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: One 8″ cake

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Vegan Banana Chocolate Cake

£1 Banana Hot Chocolate Honey Cake

by May-6-2014
A frugal but delicious dairy and egg free chocolate banana cake. Real honey can be used for non vegans, but it works well with dandelion honey. Golden syrup could be substituted.
Ingredients
  • 190g plain flour
  • 40g drinking chocolate
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch rock or sea salt
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 40ml sunflower oil
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 150ml water
Instructions
1. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.2. Mash the banana in with the oil, then add the vinegar and water.3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly add the liquid stirring gently as you go until all is just mixed.4. Pour batter into a prepared 8″ cake tin or mould and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180℃ for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.5. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Details

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: One 8″ cake

Banana and Mincemeat Buns

Small Cakes | 27th March 2014 | By

Looking around my kitchen the other day (well more like the other week), two items caught my eye. An opened jar containing some chocolate mincemeat leftover from the mincemeat slices I’d made a few days earlier and one lost languishing banana which was about to expire. It was obvious there was no time to spare, I needed to use them quickly. What could I do, but make some banana and mincemeat buns. I based my recipe on the mincemeat buns I made a couple of years ago.

This is how I made them:

  • Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 125g cardamom sugar (golden caster) until light and fluffy.
  • Broke in 2 duck eggs, beating well between each egg.
  • Added 1 mashed banana and beat until combined
  • Sifted in 125g flour (half wholemeal, half white), 1 scant tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • Stirred until just combined, then stirred in 4 tbsp chocolate mincemeat.
  • Spooned into 12 muffin cases.
  • Baked at 180°C for 20 minutes until risen and golden.

The buns rose well and had a fabulous crumb structure. And more to the point, they were very tasty. Even CT liked these and he is not a mincemeat fan.

Using up leftovers and homemade leftovers at that, as well as rescuing a banana from the compost heap gives these simple buns the necessary kudos to be entered into Credit Crunch Munch with Camilla of FabFood4All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours.

This month’s Family Foodies is all about getting something prepared fast – fast as in under 30 minutes. Well I reckon as long as your butter is soft and your ingredients handy, you could get these mincemeat muffins prepared in ten minutes allowing them 20 minutes to bake. I’ve also managed to get a healthy banana in their as well as lots of dried fruit and dark chocolate. Hosted alternately by Bangers & Mash and Eat Your Veg.