Gingerdead men! Quick and Easy Spooky Biccies!


Happy Hallowe’en!

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I couldn’t resist whipping up a few little Hallowe’en biccies today!

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It’s been a bit of a challenge as my oven is broken (yes, broken – an absolute disaster!) but luckily I was able to get the little mini part of the oven working so can bake really really tiny batches of things! Phew!

So these are so easy and so fun! You can choose to keep them plain or add some spices. I have also iced them with a cinnamon icing but you could keep the icing plain or add any flavour you want. I had such fun finding some cool little hallowe’en cutters but obviously you could just use any shapes! For the gingerdead man I used a normal gingerbread man cutter and then iced on the bones.

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You will need:

2 cups of Spelt flour (or gluten free flour mix)

1 cup unrefined Icing sugar

6 oz Dairy free margarine

Optional: 2 tsp ground Ginger or 2 tsp ground Cinnamon

For the icing:

1 cup unrefined Icing sugar

1 tbsp Soya, almond or coconut milk

Optional: 1 tsp ground Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Put the margarine in a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour, icing sugar and spices (if using) and cream it together using your hands. Try not to over mix but make sure the margarine is properly mixed with the dry ingredients.  Once it’s formed a dough wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins. If you find the dough is too sticky then add some more flour.

Once chilled, roll out and use biscuit cutters to cut out the shapes of your choice. Use a palate knife to transfer them carefully to a greased baking tray. Sprinkle with a little raw sugar if you like and bake for 8 – 10 mins, or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray.

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Mix the icing ingredients together and then pipe the icing on to the biccies. Enjoy!

These won’t last long!

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Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Cookie Cake Gingerbread Yumminess! Gluten and Dairy Free


Sometimes the best bakes are created by accident! This is one of those bakes!

Ok, so these did not turn out in any way like I intended! However, I absolutely LOVE what I’ve created! I don’t know what to call it – is it a cake? is it a biscuit? is it a pumpkin gingerbread? who knows! All I know is that it is scrummy! It’s moist on the inside and so full of flavour and you would never know there was pumpkin in there 🙂

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I set out to make a cookie-type of biscuit using pumpkin. These have come out less like a cookie and more like cake or soft gingerbread in texture – a failure? No – not in any way shape or form! They are simply divine – especially with the cinnamon glaze!

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This will make around 24 – 30 cookie-cakes.

You will need:

2 cups Rice flour or Spelt flour (spelt is an option if you don’t need gluten-free but want to go for a low-gluten option, or you could also use a gluten free flour blend)

1/4 tsp Xanthan gum (unless you choose to use a ready-mixed gluten free flour blend which has it in – check the ingredients!)

1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg

1/2 cup Coconut oil

1 cup unrefined Coconut or other raw sugar

1/4 cup Molasses

1 Egg (or this can be replaced with 1/4 cup of ripe mashed banana or 1/4 cup of puréed apple if you prefer)

1 cup Pumpkin purée (recipe here)

1/3 cup Coconut, almond or soya milk

1 tsp Vanilla extract

 

For the glaze:

1 cup unrefined Icing sugar

1 tbsp Coconut, almond or soya milk

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon (or more – just add to taste)

 

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Put the flour, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda, and spices into a large mixing bowl. Combine well (using a whisk or fork works well for this).

Put the oil and sugar in a separate bowl and mix together. Add the molasses, egg (or egg substitute), pumpkin, milk and vanilla and use a hand mixer (or whisk) to blend together.

Add the flour mix to the wet ingredients and stir well until completely combined. Place generous heaped teaspoons of the mixture on to a greased and lined baking tray and place in the oven for 10 – 13 minutes (until they are slightly crispy on the outside and are starting to turn colour – it’s hard to see as they’re dark but you will see a change).

Place the icing sugar and other glaze ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.

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Once the cookie-cakes are done, remove from the oven and let them cool for a couple of minutes. Then spoon the glaze over them whilst they are still warm.

Then enjoy with a cup of tea! 🙂

 

 

Salt and Spice and all things nice! The smallest pumpkin in the world and a yummy pumpkin seed snack! Re-post :)


As if you hadn’t noticed, it’s that time of year again – PUMPKIN TIME! So as part of my drive to post all things pumpkiny I thought I would re-post this little recipe from last year!

I’m getting my hands on another one of these little munchkin pumpkins for this year, but in the meantime – here’s last year’s delights! 🙂

Well, when I asked for a small pumpkin I wasn’t expecting something quite as small as this….

But anyone who knows me knows I love a challenge so not to be thwarted I decided I’d do my best with this little munchkin of a pumpkin and lo and behold look what I managed to create! Scary eh?

So there wasn’t much meat in this little pumpkin so rather than create the pumpkin-based hallowe’en cake I had planned I decided instead to do something funky with the seeds. It’s a sweet salty treat which sounds odd but combines some wonderful autumn flavours. I adapted it from the SNOG healthy treats book.

Salty and Spicey Sweet potato, raisin, pumpkin seed yumminess!

So I started off by creating some salted roasted seeds. Take your pumpkin seeds, remove all the stringy bits of pumpkin flesh and put in a pan. For every half cup of pumpkin seeds add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool slightly.

Then spread them out in one layer on a baking tray and place in an oven at 200 degrees C for anything from 5 – 15 minutes. Just keep checking them as it will depend how big the seeds are. Mine took around 8 minutes 🙂

These are yummy as they are or you can hull (de-husk) them if you really want to (I couldn’t be bothered!). Eat them just like this or use them in the next bit of the recipe.

Take 1 sweet potato and cut it into 1cm cubes. Spread on a baking tray with 2 – 3 tablespoons of the salted roasted pumpkin seeds. Add a handful of raisins and then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of coconut palm sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Finally drizzle over some coconut oil (approx 2 tablespoons) and place in the oven at 190 degrees C for about 20 – 25 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked through and the sugar is caramelised. Stir occasionally.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then enjoy on it’s own or spoon it over some natural yoghurt (or ice cream!). It sounds odd but trust me – the sweetness of the sweet potato and raisins go really well with the salty roasted seeds and the cinnamon adds a lovely autumnal twist! Divine and healthy too! 🙂

Happy Hallowe’en!

Pumpkin Butter (gluten and dairy free) and a bonus Pumpkin Purée Recipe!


This is so simple and so yummy! It’s like a cross between a jam and a nut butter, with a hint of sweetness but also the savoury flavour from the pumpkin! Simply divine and a great way to use up any pumpkin flesh you have left over after carving those little beauties!

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You will need:

about 800g Pumpkin purée (made from the pumpkin flesh – see below for recipe.  A 6 inch pumpkin should yield enough purée. Althernatively you can buy canned purée if you need to)

1 cup unrefined Coconut or other raw dark sugar

Optional – you can also add spices to your butter. If you fancy doing this I recommend:

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground Cloves

1/4 tsp Allspice

To make the purée, scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin (don’t throw these away! You can lay them out on a pan and roast them – see here for a great recipe).

If you are not using the pumpkin to carve then simply cut it in to halves or quarters and place on a roasting dish and cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 25 mins at 200 C until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin, and then place in a bowl.  If you are using the left overs from carving you will probably need to use a few pumpkins (it will depend on the size and how much carving you do!). Lay the flesh out on a baking tray and cover with foil and roast – 10 – 15 mins should be enough depending on the size but just keep going until the flesh is tender.

Use a hand blender to purée the pumpkin. Place the resulting purée in to a muslin cloth / cheese cloth and squeeze the excess water out and voila – you have your own pumpkin purée!

To make the butter:

Place the purée into a sauce pan and add the sugar and spices if you are using them. Then heat on a medium heat, stirring frequently. You are aiming to reduce the pumpkin down to a very very thick, dark paste. This quantity should yield about 1 – 2 cups of the butter itself so just keep going. You need the heat high enough to reduce the purée but just under the burning point. It took me about 45 mins to get to the butter stage – it should be so thick it sticks to the spoon and won’t slide off. Once you are there then remove from the heat and either place in a sterilised jar or simply pop in a bowl and eat!

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Perfect on sliced apples, fruit toast or it goes brilliantly on these breakfast pumpkin bread sweet loaves too (recipe to follow shortly!). Enjoy!

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Spiced Toffee Apples!


Before I start with my glut of hallowe’en inspired pumpkin bakes I thought I’d quickly get this one in! Nothing says autumn, Hallowe’en and fireworks night like toffee apples! I’m always so disappointed with the ones you buy in the shops so I thought I’d make my own this year!

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These are easy to make but you just have to have a little faith and let that sugar boil! They’re great fun to make for the kids, though I certainly wouldn’t let the kids make them themselves – children and boiling sugar aren’t a great combo!

If you have a sugar thermometer for the toffee then that’s brill! I don’t, but luckily my mum does, so I borrowed hers! If you don’t have a handy mum to borrow one from then never fear, you can still make this by using a bowl of cold water to test when the toffee is ready (see below).

You will need:

300g Golden granulated sugar

100g Unrefined brown sugar

1 Star anise

1 large Cinnamon stick

2 Tbsp Maple syrup

100ml Water

75g Pecans crushed/chopped finely

6 Apples (Braeburns work well, as do Granny Smiths – you want an apple with a bit of tartness to combat the sweet toffee)

6 wooden sticks or lolly sticks

Put the granulated and brown sugar in to a large pan. Add the water and stir over a low heat until the sugar had dissolved. Add the vinegar and maple syrup and then bring to the boil.

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Once boiling allow it to boil rapidly without stirring until the toffee reaches 150 C on a sugar thermometer (or the “hard crack” level). If you don’t have a thermometer you can test when the toffee is ready by spooning a little in to a bowl of cold water. It should harden immediately and be easy to snap. Now it will take a while to get to this stage so don’t be afraid to leave that sugar bubbling away!

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Once it reaches “hard crack” remove from the heat and stir in the pecans.

Place a stick (I used lolly sticks) in to the core of each apple. Dip the apples in the toffee while it is nice and hot and then place on a baking sheet to cool. You need to work quite quickly. If the toffee gets too hard you can gently re-warm it (but be very careful not to overheat it).

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Once the toffee has cooled and set then you can tuck in! They’re definitely best eaten the day they’re made but can be kept somewhere dry and cool and enjoyed over the next few days too.

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Plum and Apple Chutney


Believe it or not after making my plum and almond cake and egg-less plum cake, I still had some plums left! I also had the very good fortune to be given a massive bag of apples from my friend Zena’s garden (how lucky am I! 🙂 ), so I decided I’d have a go at my first ever batch of chutney! I am a massive fan of chutney but have never tried making it myself – mainly because my mum, and my very good friend Colette from Colette’s fitness kitchen, make THE best chutney and have kept me in good supply! But with this glut of autumn fruit I thought it was about time I repaid the favour!

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You will need:

1 kg Apples (bramleys will work best but I used the apples I was given which were some sort of eating apple, and then I added a few extra bramleys in)

1 kg Plums

2 large Onions

1 whole Garlic bulb

1 inch of Root ginger (or a piece approximately the size of your thumb!)

500ml Cider vinegar

450g Golden unrefined caster sugar

1 Cinnamon stick

1 tsp Cumin seeds

3 star Anise (you can substitute with 1 1/2 tsp of chinese five spice)

1 tbsp Himalayan rock salt

Prepare all the ingredients to start with. Peel the garlic and cut in to fine slices. Peel and grate the ginger, and thinly slice the onions. Peel, core and chop the apples.

Pop the onions, garlic and ginger into a large pan or stock pot. Add the apples and all the spices and vinegar. Bring the pan to the boil gently, stir well and then turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 30 mins with a lid on until the apples are soft.

While the apples are cooking slice the plums in to quarters (or eighths if they’re large) and add them once the apples are soft. Add the sugar and stir well. Leave it simmering with the lid uncovered for at least 40 minutes or until the plums are cooked and the chutney has thickened. You will know when it’s ready as if you drag a wooden spoon through it to reveal the base of the pan and takes it time returning then you know it’s done. Trust me this could take a while – it will depend how much juice comes out of the apples and plums. Just stick with it and keep stirring while it simmers down.

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Pop some jars in to the oven to sterilise (20 mins at about 180 C will do it), remove the star anise and cinnamon stick and ladle the chutney in to the jars. Seal and label the jars. It’s best to let the chutney mature for a month if possible before you eat it. It will keep for up to a year, but once opened it’s best to keep it in the fridge and eat within a month.

Makes a great gift or, just enjoy it yourself with some cashew cheese!

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