Category Archives: Desserts

Christmas Pudding Cakes (Vegan Life Issue 2)

When Vegan Life launched in September, I don’t know if anyone anticipated just how well the magazine would be received. It was such a hit that it won this year’s VegfestUK Awards for best publication, and that accolade was purely based on the first issue!

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Issue 2, and was especially excited that it would be the Christmas edition. When it arrived, I was hoping to savour it over a few days but alas, once I got started I couldn’t put it down.

Vegan Life Issue 2 300

Just like the first issue, this one is packed with articles that I found both inspiring and thought-provoking. One feature in particular that caught my eye was the debate on whether vegans should feed pets meat. This is one issue that I’ve been struggling to get my head round. The Vegan Life article prompted a lively debate amongst my Twitter friends. I think I’ve finally decided my stance, but it’s a very tricky issue, and definitely one that people need to decide for themselves ;o)

I’m looking forward to trying all the recipes in Issue 2, but the one that immediately grabbed my attention was the Christmas Pudding Cakes by Harriet Emily. I love Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake, but I’ve never had a Christmas Pudding Cake before! I was intrigued to see how it would turn out. I had a quick scan down the recipe and it didn’t look too tricky at all.

Vegan Life Issue 2 - Christmas Pudding Cakes

The recipe is gluten free, cane sugar free, dairy free, egg free and soy free, so it ticks lots of allergy friendly boxes. It does include almonds, but I’m sure these could be subbed to make it nut free too.

The recipe uses two of my favourite ingredients – coconut sugar and coconut butter. I tend to buy these online as they’re not always available in my local health food shop. If you’re not so fussed about making these cakes super healthy, then I’m pretty confident you could sub them with cane sugar and non dairy spread. The recipe also calls for millet flour which I couldn’t find locally, so I used buckwheat flour instead. It worked absolutely fine. I’m sure you could use regular whole wheat flour too if you didn’t need to make it gluten free.

And the verdict?
I was so happy with the way the cakes turned out. They were moist and flavourful, plus they made the house smell amazing while they baked! They were a huge hit with the family. Hubbie has already requested another batch, and Lil’ L said they were absolutely delicious (and this is someone that usually avoids dried fruits!)

Hubbie preferred his pudding cake straight up with no toppings, while Lil’ L and I enjoyed it drizzled in salted caramel. We used the Considerit Special Edition Salted Caramel from November’s The Vegan Kind Box, but Harriet Emily also shared a recipe for home-made salted caramel, which looks super easy to make.

Christmas Pudding Cake

The treats certainly live up to their name. I really can’t decide whether they are a cake or a pudding. Definitely somewhere in between. They’re baked in ramekins, so you could serve them straight out of the oven, more like a pudding …

Christmas Pudding Cake

Or you could pop them out of the ramekins and serve them like cake. I did find that the portions were a little on the large side. While hubbie easily devoured a whole cake, I couldn’t manage a whole one by myself (and believe me I tried). Next time I make them, I’ll try baking six instead of five and see how the size compares.

Christmas Pudding Cake

I did make a few tweaks to the recipe. I subbed a couple of ingredients that I didn’t have on hand, and adjusted the spice quantities (I used ¼ tsp nutmeg instead of 1 tsp as I find the flavour of nutmeg really strong, plus I omitted the allspice as I didn’t have any). I also reduced the baking temperature from 200C to 180C and the baking time from 40 to 30 minutes. They came out perfect, so I’m guessing the recipe is pretty flexible.

Big thank you to Harriet Emily for sharing her fab recipe If you’re interested in vegan, sugar free and gluten free cooking, definitely go check out her blog. I can’t wait to try her Chocolate Caramel Tarts. They look amazing!


Products used in this recipe (UK sources)

Biona Organic Coconut Sugar
Tiana Organic Coconut Butter (Aroma Free)
Clarks Original Maple Syrup
Doves Farm Wholemeal Buckwheat Flour (this does contain traces of gluten so use Doves Gluten Free Buckwheat Flour or Millet Flour for a 100% GF option)

In Vegan Life, Harriet Emily also shares a recipe for Caramel Sauce, which uses coconut sugar as its base. I’ll update this post once I’ve had a chance to try it (sadly I’ve run out of coconut sugar, but it’s on order).

I also have two caramel recipes by The Vegan 8 bookmarked, both of which I’d love to try with these Christmas pudding cakes. The first one – Caramel Sauce – has melted coconut butter as its base, and the second one – Salted Caramel – is made with sweet potato and coconut milk! It sounds weird but it’s received rave reviews so I’m excited to try it!

Did you get Vegan Life Issue 2? If so I’d love to know what you thought of it. Have you tried any of the recipes yet?

 

22 Comments

Filed under Baking & Desserts, Desserts, Treats & Sweets, Vegan magazines

Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding

I first shared a recipe for chocolate orange chia pudding back in February 2012 and, to this day, it remains one of my family’s favourite desserts It’s such a simple pudding to make and, since I originally posted the recipe, I’ve refined the method so that it’s even quicker. Honestly, this recipe could not be more easy! The original photo I took doesn’t do this pudding justice, so I thought it was time for a re-post with the updated recipe and some shiny new photos.

Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding

Since that original post, chia seeds have become much more popular here in the UK. You can buy them in most health food shops, and even supermarkets have started stocking them. They’re also widely available (and often much cheaper) from online stores. I find they can vary a lot in price, so I always shop around for the best deal.

Since I use them daily in smoothies and puddings, lately I’ve been buying the Sevenhills 1kg bags as they work out much better value. You can buy them in a range of quantities though, so it’s probably a good idea to start with a smaller bag if you’re trying them for the first time (Holland & Barrett are currently selling a 100g bag for £2.49).

Chia Seeds

So why do I love chia seeds so much?

Well, there are two main reasons. The first is their amazing nutritional profile. Chia seeds are very high in dietary fibre, a good source of ‘complete’ protein, and rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids. They’re also hydrophilic and can absorb around 10 times their weight in water, thus helping to keep us nicely hydrated. Their fibre, fat and protein content, along with these hydrophilic abilities, means that the seeds are a great source of slow release energy, they help to balance blood sugar levels, and they keep us feeling full up for hours. Adding a spoonful to smoothies is a great way to keep hunger pangs at bay.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds contain a range of trace minerals, and are especially rich in manganese, phosphorus and calcium, which are all important for good bone health. A 28g / 1 oz serving provides 30% of the manganese RDA, 27% of phosphorus, and 18% of the calcium RDA. The seeds also contain a multitude of antioxidants, including the flavonoid quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties.

The second reason I love chia so much is that they make the most incredible chocolate puddings! Once blended with some cacao or cocoa powder and a little liquid, they transform into a delicious, silky smooth pudding that will easily rival any shop-bought chocolate dessert. And unlike the shop-bought varieties that tend to be laden with sugar and little nutritional value, these chia puddings are refined sugar free and packed with nutrition.

Chia Seeds

I used to soak the chia seeds in liquid for an hour or so until they’d transformed into a gel-like substance before blending them up, but these days I literally throw all the ingredients straight in the blender. High speed blenders are best for this job as they’ll blend the seeds smooth in a matter of seconds. Since I’ve had the Froothie, making chia puddings has been a breeze. After blending, the puddings are chilled for half an hour or so, during which time they will thicken nicely.

Lil’ L absolutely loves these puddings and sees them as a real treat. It’s great to be able to treat him to something that’s so nutritionally packed and full of healthy goodness.

Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding

 

Have you tried chia puddings before? If so, what’s your favourite flavour combo? If you’ve posted any recipes or pics, please do share the links below x

19 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Nutrition

Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble (Vegan / Dairy-free) for Suma Blogger’s Network

Suma-Bloggers-Network-Logo 300

This year we had a bumper crop of fruit on our apple tree. Thanks to the late September sunshine, within the space of two weeks the apples transformed from green and small to red and huge! We must have picked at least a hundred apples so far. And with this amazing bounty, we’ve been able to indulge in lots of delicious apple treats.

Orchard Apples

For this month’s Suma entry, I thought I’d share one of our all-time favourite Autumnal desserts – Apple Crumble I’ve lost count of the number of crumbles I’ve made this past month, but it could be getting on for ten!

Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble

As well as oats and wholegrain flour, I love to add some pecans and almonds into the crumble, which gives it a delicious crunch. Traditionally, this dessert has a fair amount of cane sugar and dairy butter in it. However, instead of cane sugar, I prefer to use coconut sugar and maple syrup as they add a delicious, caramel-like sweetness and beautiful golden hue to the crumble.

Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble

Instead of dairy butter, I use coconut butter (the aroma-free kind) or a non dairy spread. Through Suma, I discovered the Tiana Organic Coconut Cooking Butter and I’m loving it! It’s really versatile and you can use it for all kinds of cooking and baking. I made some scrumptious pasties with it last week. Unfortunately they were devoured before I could take any pics, so I’ll re-create them soon and post the recipe.

Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble

BTW, those lidded Pyrex glass dishes are really handy for cooking, storing and transporting the crumbles. I took a couple with me to Essex recently to share with our relatives. Stored in a thermal bag, six hours after I’d baked them they were still warm!

Crunchy Nut Apple Crumble

Products used in this recipe (UK stockists)
Pyrex Rectangular Lidded Dish, available from Amazon (currently discounted to £3.50)
Magimix Food Processor
Tiana Coconut Cooking Butter, available from Suma, health food shops and online
Biona Organic Coconut Sugar, available from Suma, health food shops and online
Suma Organic Sultanas, available direct from Suma, via Amazon, and independent health food shops (love that they come in recyclable packaging!)
Clarks Original Maple Syrup, available from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons

Apple Crumble & Oatly Cream

What’s your favourite fruit crumble? For me, it’s a close call between apple and plum 🙂

Have you made any crumbles this Autumn/Fall? If you’ve posted any recipes, please do share below xx

16 Comments

Filed under Baking & Desserts, Desserts, Growing Fruit & Veggies

Chocolate Granola Clusters with Hazelnuts, Pecans and Cranberries

Today, I’d like to share another of my family’s favourite granola recipes. Filled with hazelnuts, pecans, cranberries and chocolatey goodness, this granola is perfect for this season.

Chocolate Granola Clusters with Hazelnuts, Pecans & Cranberries

My garden is bordered by cob nut trees, and this year they produced the most amazing crop. I made a deal with the squirrels whereby I would collect nuts from the low hanging branches, and they could have the rest. They then got to work, burying nuts all over my lawn and flower beds, and in my plant pots. Invariably they forget where they’ve buried them and we end up with nut trees growing literally everywhere!

Cob Nuts

I’m not going to complain though. Nut trees are awesome!

And once they’ve matured, cob nuts are very similar in taste and texture to hazelnuts, so I put them to good use in yummy recipes, like this granola.

Hazelnuts

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Lil’ L loves home-made granola, especially when it’s formed into clusters. It’s so easy to make. You simple press down the mixture as if you’re making a thin granola bar then, once completely cooled, you break it into clusters.

Granola Cluster Making

Our favourite sweetener for granola is maple syrup. This adds a delicious caramel-like sweetness, rather than a ‘sugary’ flavour. I use Clarks Original Maple Syrup, which is a blend of maple and carob syrups. It’s widely available in the UK, and a fair bit cheaper than pure maple syrup. I really like its flavour and consistency, which is slightly thicker than the pure grade syrup.

Granola Clusters

These granola clusters are wonderful for breakfasts, snacks and desserts. For breakfast, we like to serve them with natural non dairy yogurt (such as Alpro) or milk. For an omega-3 boost, I often add a light sprinkling of ground linseed and finely chopped walnuts before serving. I also sprinkle in a few extra cranberries to brighten up the bowl.

Chocolate Granola Clusters with Hazelnuts, Pecans and Cranberries

Layered with yogurt and fresh or frozen fruits, the clusters also make a delicious dessert or after-school snack. They look really fancy yet take literally seconds to throw together!

Chocolate Granola Parfait

Products used in this recipe (UK stockists)
Mornflake Superfast Oats, available in Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and The co-operative (Gluten-free oats are available from the ‘Free From’ aisle in major UK supermarkets and health food stores)
Tesco Buckwheat (found in the wholefoods section) (Buckwheat is also available in health food stores and online)
Biona Coconut Sugar, available from health food stores and online
Dried Cranberries (sweetened with pineapple juice), available from the wholefoods sections in Tesco and Waitrose
Clarks Original Maple Syrup available in Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s
Essential Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (available in health food stores and online)

Enjoy! xx

Postscript
Sirilipons … ‘Secret’ nibbling eh? I wondered where the bottom right hand corner had gone. It looks like a giant mouse has been at it. You are so busted!

Granola Cluster Making

13 Comments

Filed under Breakfast & Elevenses, Desserts, Healthy Snacking

Apple & Walnut Cake with Cinnamon Caramel Frosting (Raw / No Bake)

Autumn has officially arrived! And this is the season where one of my all-time favourite flavour combinations comes into its own. Sweet, warming and comforting, that’s how I would describe apple & cinnamon

I’ll be welcoming in the new season with lots of delicious recipes that showcase this beautiful flavour combo, including old favourites like Apple & Cinnamon Pancakes and Monkey Bread as well as some new tasty discoveries.

One recipe that recently caught my attention was The Rawtarian’s Raw Apple Walnut Cake which featured in the first issue of Vegan Life.

Vegan Life Apple & Walnut Cake Collage

There are so many things I love about raw/no bake cakes. Besides being packed with nutrient-rich ingredients, beautiful flavours and contrasting textures, they’re also incredibly simple to make. I’ve had many baking fails over the years, but I’ve yet to mess up a raw cake. Throw the ingredients in a food processor, pulse, press into a tin and chill. What could possibly go wrong?

Apple & Walnut Cake (Raw / No Bake)

As is the norm with me, I did make a couple of tweaks to the original recipe to suit my personal tastes. The first time I made it, I found that the apple flavour got a little lost, so second time round, I pulsed in the apple at the end to keep it chunkier. This worked a treat and I loved the extra texture dimension of the apple, alongside the nuts and dried fruits. I also subbed some of the raisins with sultanas (I love the apple/sultana combo) and added some ground nutmeg and a pinch of salt. For me, this really helped to make the flavours ‘pop’.

Apple & Walnut Cake (Raw / No Bake)

The original frosting recipe doesn’t call for the cashews to be softened first, but my blender just isn’t capable of blending raw nuts. They just say gritty (which isn’t nice in frosting!) So, instead, I opted to blend the cashews using the method I use for my dairy-free cheesecakes. I also added some cinnamon and coconut sugar, which gave the frosting a deliciously warming, caramel-like flavour. I then sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top for good measure. The coconut sugar drew in moisture from the cake and gave it an unexpected (but pretty) glazed finish.

Apple & Walnut Cake (Raw / No Bake)

This cake has been a huge hit with the family. Even Lil’ L loves it! And this is definitely the kind of cake I’m happy to serve him as an after school treat or dessert 😉 This recipe is a keeper. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Products used in this recipe
Waitrose LOVE life walnuts
Happiness is Homemade organic raisins and sultanas
Clarks maple syrup
East End desiccated coconut (available in Tesco on the world food aisle)
Aasani cashews (available in Tesco on the world food aisle)
Biona organic coconut sugar
Essential organic virgin coconut oil
Magimix Food Processor

Apple & Walnut Cake

Did you get the first issue of Vegan Life? If so, I’d love to hear if you’ve made any of the recipes yet. I think I’ll try the Khao Suey next. It sounds scrumptious! If you missed Issue 1, it’s currently available to purchase as a back issue from the Vegan Life online shop.

21 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Healthy Snacking, Treats & Sweets