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

Carrot Cake Flapjacks – Autumn in a Bliss Filled Bite

Carrot Cake Flapjacks

Autumn, Flapjacks | 14th November 2016 | By

Carrot cake is one of our nation’s favourite cakes, apparently. Who would have thought something as healthy as carrots would appeal to such an extent? As I was dreaming autumn thoughts the other day, I had a sudden urge to try making carrot cake in flapjack form. It worked beautifully and these carrot cake flapjacks are just the best.

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Malted SuperFood Bars – Energy Boosting and Quick to Make

Malted Superfood Bars

These malted superfood bars with mango and coconut chocolate are just what’s needed to give a boost when spirits or body are flagging. They are vegan, almost refined sugar free and are loaded with so many nutritious ingredients, it’s hard to stop bouncing around with energetic abandonment once one has been consumed.

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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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Jewelled Persian Rice

Jewelled Rice

Once upon a time, long long ago, I had an Iranian boyfriend. He introduced me to a whole new cuisine, which, although similar to the Middle Eastern one I was more familiar with, was distinct and flavoursome. It was rare that he did any cooking, but when he did he always made the most delicious rice in the classic Persian way, complete with tahdig.

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Chinese Walnut Cookies

Walnut Cookies

I’d not heard of The Dumpling Sisters until their newly published book passed my way recently. This endearing name for Amy and Julie Zhang highlights their passion for dumplings. It’s a lovely book with recipes for easy homemade Chinese food, but it’s heavily meat orientated, so not really one for me. However, there were a couple of baking recipes in the back which drew my attention and their sweet and salty walnut cookies were one of them.

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Quinoa, Watercress, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad with Roasted Asparagus

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa has been one of our staples for many years now, but we rarely have it in salad form. With the weather warming up (well we have had the odd day), thoughts turn to summer salads. What could be nicer than sitting outside on a summer’s day and eating a delicious salad for lunch or supper?

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The Best Pizza Ever – Squash, Walnut and Goat’s Cheese from St Helen’s Farm

 The best vegetarian pizza ever may be a tall claim, but I adore a good winter squash and this homemade crust with a flavoursome chocolate tomato sauce topped off with squash, walnuts and goat’s cheese does it for me. And not just me, CT and my mother were full of praise and neither of them are vegetarian.

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Plum and Walnut Pizza

Pudding | 11th August 2014 | By

Ages ago, I saw a fabulous post for a fruit dessert pizza over at Peaches Please and was immediately struck by the idea. I had been sent some plums from South Africa so the time was right to try a plum pizza. Some of you may recall the plum and amaretto ice-cream I made with these very same plums way back when, so I had high hopes. I was also keen to try making pizza dough with white chocolate which I thought would suit this fruity delight very well.

This is how I made:

Plum and Walnut Pizza

  • Mixed 250g flour (half wholemeal, half white) in a bowl with 1 tsp instant yeast, ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp maca powder (not necessary, but makes me think I’m being healthy).
  • Stirred in 150ml warm water and 1 tbsp olive oil until the mixture came together in a ball.
  • Kneaded for about 10 minutes on an oiled surface, adding 30g of finely chopped vanillary white chocolate towards the end (I used G&B).
  • Placed into an oiled bowl and left to rise for an hour or so.
  • Divided the mixture into 4 balls and rolled as thinly as possible into rounds.
  • Placed on lined baking sheets.
  • Warmed 3 tbsp of plum jam (homemade) and 1 tbsp marsala in a small pan.
  • Sliced 4 large purple plums into thin slices.
  • Roughly chopped a handful of walnut halves.
  • Spread a tbsp of the jam mixture over the base of each pizza.
  • Laid the plum slices over the jam then scattered some walnuts over the top.
  • Dusted a little vanilla sugar over the top.
  • Baked in the middle of the oven at 200°C for 12 minutes.
  • Served immediately (apart from the odd photo or two).

Gosh these were good. The dough was soft and sweet and combined beautifully with the tart juicy plums and the fragrant vanilla. The walnuts gave a delightful crunch and added bitter notes which contrasted nicely with the caramel undertones from the bits of white chocolate that had caramelised in the dough. These were also a visual feast with the strikingly coloured purple plums. This is a dessert I can see us having again and again – maybe with peaches or nectarines by way of a change.

Alpha Bakes is P this month and I have three of them. P is for Purple Plum and Walnut Pizza. It is hosted this time around over at Caroline Makes and is alternately hosted by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker.

As plums are in season, I am sending this off to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary where Simple and in Season is being hosted this month on behalf of Ren Behan.

And this is my second entry to Bookmarked Recipes this month with Jac over at Tinned Tomatoes.

Being rather pleased with this fabulous bake, I am submitting it to Emily’s #recipeoftheweek over at A Mummy Too.

Plum is the chosen ingredient for the monthly Rix Aga Inspired Recipes, so I am sending this over to them as well in the vague hope I might win £100 Waitrose voucher.

Whisky and Walnut Cakes for Father’s Day

4 Star, Small Cakes | 14th June 2014 | By

Walnut Whisky Cakes

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Father’s Day tomorrow and if you’re still wondering how to celebrate this or what to give the man in your life, Dr Oetker has the ideal solution. These whisky and chocolate cakes are quick and simple to make and taste quite delicious. You can find the original recipe here on the Dr Oetker site. Containing more than a dram of whisky, made with ground walnuts and covered in dark chocolate, these cakes are manly fare.

I didn’t have the mini loaf tins stated in the recipe, so used muffin moulds instead. The only whisky I had to hand was a high quality Scottish malt, so these cakes really did taste extra special. I used my usual half wholemeal and half white flour mix and decided to toast the walnut decorations for extra flavour.

This is how I made:

Whisky and Walnut Cakes

  • Melted 125g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat. Allowed to cool a little.
  • Ground 100g walnuts in a coffee grinder then mixed with 100g golden caster sugar in a large bowl.
  • Sieved in 200g flour (half wholemeal, half white) with 2 tsp Dr Oetker baking powder and stirred into the walnuts.
  • Made a well in the centre and broke in three small eggs. Started to stir this from the inside out, adding the butter, 45ml whisky and 45ml milk as I went along until just mixed.
  • Divided the mixture into 8 large unlined silicone muffin moulds and baked at 180℃ for 22 minutes when they were well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle came out clean.
Meanwhile
  • Dissolved 75g golden caster sugar in a pan over low heat with 45ml water, then bought it up to a boil and simmered for 3 or 4 minutes to give a syrupy consistency.
  • Left to cool slightly, then stirred in 45ml whisky.
  • Poured this over the hot cakes and allowed them to absorb the liquid and cool in the moulds for 5 minutes or so, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Melted 75g Dr Oetker 72% dark chocolate in a pan over low heat with 25g unsalted butter.
  • Stirred until homogenised and glossy, left to cool slightly, then spooned over the cooled cakes allowing the chocolate to dribble down the sides.
  • Toasted 8 walnut halves in the oven, then placed these on top of the melted chocolate and left to set.
Whisky Walnut Cakes

True to my assertion that these cakes were manly fare, CT was quite enamoured and he doesn’t even like whisky that much. The cakes rose high and resembled volcanoes without the craters when they emerged from the oven. This made adding the melted chocolate a little tricky, but I was pleased with the final result. The cakes were quite substantial, but had a great texture and flavour and were not overly sweet. I found I too was not averse to having seconds.

This is the second Dr Oetker Father’s Day recipe I’ve made and I’ve been really pleased with how both of them turned out. If you haven’t already seen them, do take a look at the coconut chocolate bars I made a couple of weeks ago.

I am sending these over to Made with Love Mondays over at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w’Luv – a weekly event where everything must be made from scratch.

As a celebration of Father’s Day, these are also being sent off to Bake Fest – a month long feast of all baked goods over at Cook’s Joy.

This month’s Baking with Spirit is all about reinventing a classic. Well this may not have been me that’s reinvented it, but I reckon this is a very good take on the classic Coffee and Walnut Cake. Janine of Cake of the Week has allowed Craig of The Usual Saucepans to take over the reins this month.

These may not be biscuits, but they could possibly be squeezed into a Biscuit Barrel, so I’m sending these off to Laura of I’d Much Rather Bake Than … who has chosen summer as this month’s theme. As Father’s Day falls in June, it must surely count as summer.

Beetroot, Walnut, Wild Garlic and Goat’s Cheese Brunch Muffins

Lunch, Savoury Chocolate | 24th April 2014 | By

 The benefits of olive oil have long been appreciated. When I was a child it was hard to get hold of and more of it was poured into our ears than went into our salads. It was bought from the chemist and used to reduce ear infections and soften wax. Luckily things have moved on since then. We are big fans of it in this household and use quite a lot of the extra virgin variety, preferably cold pressed. Not only does this have a better flavour, but also has a higher level of the beneficial components. If the claims for its health benefits are to be believed, CT & I should do pretty well as we get older. It is said to aid calcium absorption thus reducing the effects of osteoporosis in the elderly. The monounsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil may also prevent memory loss by maintaining the structure of the brain cell membranes – hmm, perhaps I’m not consuming enough of it or perhaps my memory would be even worse without it. There are also a number of antioxidants to be found, including Vitamin E, carotenoids and phenolic compounds. These are meant to help in the prevention of certain diseases such as cancer and mitigate against some of the effects of ageing.

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