When I don’t feel like making a smoothie, granola with fruit and yoghurt is my go to breakfast. It’s quick to prepare, nutritious and delicious. This simple recipe for easy vegan honey almond granola uses vegan honey as the backdrop sweetener. You can, of course, easily switch this for normal honey if you’re not a vegan.
Did you ever think it was possible to make a decent sized chocolate cake for a £1? I certainly didn’t. Not, that is, until I set myself the challenge of doing so. This £1 banana chocolate vegan honey cake is not only delicious, but it can be cut into eight generous slices.
|Pear, Carob and Honey Cake|
When I was living at home as a teenager, my mother and I went through one of our sporadic health kicks and didn’t eat or drink any chocolate for a few months. Carob powder was the substance we used to replace it, both in drinks and in baking. It was an acquired taste but really rather nice once I got used to it. Whilst the only comparison to cocoa was its form and colour, it had a pleasant flavour which was not at all bitter. When I saw some carob in a health food shop recently, I had a yen to make a carob cake again and remind myself of its qualities.
Dom has decided to go on a health kick this month, so for Random Recipes we are tasked with picking a “happy and healthy” recipe. I immediately thought of my new book, Love Bake Nourish by Amber Rose. I shall be posting a review of this at some point, but suffice it to say I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. Although there are only a few chocolate recipes in it, I asked CT to pick any page number in the belief I could always add chocolate if it wasn’t already present in the recipe.
Page number 46 gave me Caramelised Pear and Buckwheat Pudding Cake. This couldn’t have been more fortuitous; I had just been sent a surprise tray of South African apples and pears from Beautiful Country, Beautiful Fruit, so was really pleased to have landed on this one and the recipe sounded delicious. However, the more I scrutinised it, the more I thought it just didn’t lend itself to chocolate. As I was about to ask CT to pick another number, I had a brain wave – carob might work. This was a “free from” cake, having neither wheat nor sugar, so why not make a “free from chocolate” cake too?
The recipe called for maple syrup, but as I didn’t have any of that, I used a mixture of honey and my homemade dandelion honey instead.
This is how I made:
Caramelised Pear, Honey and Carob Cake
- Ground the seeds from two cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar.
- Peeled, quartered and cored two firm Williams pears.
- Melted 25g unsalted butter in a pan with 2 tbsp dandelion honey on a medium to low heat.
- Added the cardamom powder and stirred to distribute.
- Added the pears and left for about 5 minutes to brown a little. Turned them over and did the same to the other side.
- Whipped 150g unsalted butter with 125g New Zealand thyme honey until light and creamy.
- Beat in 2 large duck eggs, one at a time.
- Sifted in 75g buckwheat flour and 50g carob powder.
- Folded this in together with 75g ground almonds.
- Spooned this into a 22 cm cake mould.
- Placed the pear quarters in a fan shape on top of the cake and scraped the remaining caramel over the tops.
- Baked at 170C for 40 minutes until the cake was risen and a skewer inserted into the middle came out clean.
- Left to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Dusted the top with icing sugar.
|Gluten Free Pear, Carob and Honey Cake|
I was really pleased with the appearance of this cake, with the batter rising above the pears giving an appealing sunken look to the fruit. The crumb was close textured, but not in the least bit heavy with a melt in the mouth quality. I was right, carob, caramel and pear make for an excellent combination. It was a delight to get reacquainted with carob and I’m wondering why its been so many years since I’ve used it.
Random Recipes is a monthly cooking challenge devised by Dashing Dom of Belleau Kitchen, whereby you get to cook a recipe from your cookbooks that has been chosen randomly. I’ve been in from the beginning and this is my favourite blogging challenge (excluding We Should Cocoa of course); I look forward to it with some trepidation each month – you never know what you are going to get.
I’m also submitting this to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays whereby everything must be made from scratch.
Well, that temptress Tango Like Raindrops from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, made this chocolate biscuit cake for We Should Cocoa last month and I just couldn’t resist. If you haven’t seen the mango round-up yet, do take a look.
I have seen the recipe many a time in my copy of Green and Black’s Unwrapped, but was always put off by the use of a raw egg. However, when I thought about it, I realised the egg should be pasteurised by the heat of the chocolate mixture and indeed when I read the recipe properly, that is exactly what it says. I decided to use cranberries and ginger rather than cherries and add a little Amaretto to the mix. I also used my newly created dandelion honey rather than golden syrup. Other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe!
This is how I made
Chocolate Biscuit Cake
- Melted 125g unsalted butter in a medium size pan over low heat with 3 tbsp dandelion honey and 200g dark chocolate (G&B 70%).
- Beat in a medium egg until well incorporated.
- Added a slug of Amaretto
- Added 100g of roughly broken digestive biscuits (should have been 50g, but I do like digestives in tiffin).
- Stirred in 50g whole walnuts, 50g raisins, 25g died cranberries and 25g crystallised ginger.
- Poured into a lined 20 cm sq tin and placed in the fridge to set for three hours.
- Cut into 16 squares.
This should come with a serious health warning: it is very addictive and if you have as little willpower as I do, a locked fridge might be a good idea. Despite it’s deliciousness, it was messy to eat with a very soft texture which melted all over our hands. I’m glad I’ve finally tried making tiffin with an egg, but I think I will stick to my firmer and egg fee version in the future.
Dom has tasked us with randomly picking a bread recipe this month. Since I’ve started baking the odd yeasty loaf or two as an aside to my regular rye sourdough, I was quite excited by this challenge. The recent success I had with bagels spurred me on and as soon as I found out what the challenge was, I started randomising immediately, then dashed off to the bakers to buy some yeast with a big smile on my face. I’ve started using fresh yeast again recently because I’m wary of the “improvers” listed in the ingredients of dried yeast. As most of my cookbooks have a bread recipe or two in them, I decided to use Eat Your Books again to select my recipe from. Once I’d got my random number I simply counted down the list until I hit number 69 (of 88) and just hoped it wouldn’t be one of my books with no bread recipes to be found. It wasn’t. I picked Gaia’s Kitchen by Julia Ponsonby, one of my favourite vegetarian cookbooks. Despite the favour I have shown it over the years, evinced by its rather tatty appearance, I’d never made one of her bread recipes. I counted them out and she had six. Another random number gave me Figgy Bread Roll, which amazingly gave me the very recipe I’d been eyeing up AND there was absolutely no cheating involved.
Although Dom asked us to stick to the recipe religiously, I couldn’t do it – I had to get chocolate in after all. I did make the bread dough more or less as written, but changed the filling significantly. I had a Spanish fig and almond round that had somehow got pushed to the back of a cupboard a rather long time ago and was definitely in need of using. I therefore forwent the use of the other dried fruits and nuts in the recipe and used the whole round instead. I was also keen to take this opportunity to use the dandelion honey I made recently – recipe to follow in a future post.
This is how I made:
Figgy Bread Roll
- Weighed 450g of wholemeal spelt and placed it in a bowl.
- Added 1/2 tsp of Himalayan pink salt, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tbsp cardamom sugar (golden caster).
- Stirred together and made a well in the centre.
- Dissolved 1/2 oz fresh yeast in 300 ml warm water and poured this into the flour.
- Mixed together until all incorporated then covered with a plastic bag and left in a warm place to rise for 1/2 an hour.
- Kneaded for a few minutes, then rolled out onto floured surface into a rectangle about 10″ by 6″ and about 1 cm thick.
- Chopped 500g of a dried figs and almonds (probably around 400g figs and 100g almonds).
- Added 1 tbsp cocoa, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 6 tbsp of dandelion honey and stirred to combine.
- Spread this over the rectangle leaving a good cm clear all around.
- Rolled up the dough lengthways and sealed the sides.
- Placed on a lined baking tray seem side down.
- Left to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Brushed with milk then sprinkled 1 tbsp sesame seeds over the top.
- Baked in centre of oven at 180C for 30 minutes.
Thanks to Dom of Belleau Kitchen for this wonderful loaf. It was simple to make requiring virtually no kneading and was not only light in texture, but delicious too. Hooray for Random Recipes.
As this loaf entailed using up a very old fig almond round given as a present and using homemade dandelion honey rather than real honey and malt extract, I am submitting this to Credit Crunch Munch which is being guest hosted by Janice of Farmersgirl Kitchen. Camilla of Fab Food 4 All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours are the usual suspects.