Spiced carrot and banana cake


I do love a bargain… as does my fab friend Jo – who spotted some bargain 9p carrots and just had to buy them for me lol! So I thought I’d better put them to good use in a spiced carrot and banana cake! Perfect autumn flavours! Simple to make, super tasty, and really light and moist! This is about 375 cals per slice of you cut it in to 8-10 (it’s a nice deep cake!)

You will need:

4 large eggs

140g sugar

250ml sunflower or almond oil,m

275g self-raising flour

1 large ripe banana (approx 175g)

200g carrots

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

Preheat the oven to 180 C

Grate the carrot coarsely and place to one side.

Put the eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl and beat to combine.

Mash the banana with a fork and add that, the flour, baking powder, spices and carrots to the mix and beat it together.

Pour in to a 20cm tin and bake for 45 – 50 mins or until golden brown, firm in the middle and shrinking away from the sides of the cake tin.

Cool in the tin for 10 mins and then place on a wire rack.

Enjoy! 🙂

Xx

Advertisements

Plum and almond loaf


My wonderful 103 yr old Nan has a lovely Victoria plum tree in her garden and this year she had such a bumper crop that I was lucky enough to get a huge bagful! So I thought I’d better bake something to go and share with her over a cuppa to say thank you.

I’m a massive almond fan and they go so well with plums so I thought a plum and almond loaf would do the trick! It’s a delicious moist loaf, and only about 298 cals for a slice!

You will need:

225g dairy-free spread (or bitter)

225g sugar (I used 112g of half spoon sugar instead)

225g self-raising flour (any flour you like)

100g ground almonds

4 medium eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp cinnamon

Approx 250g plums,

Flaked almonds to decorate

Optional – 2 tbsp plum or apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 170.

Put the spread and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat (don’t worry if it splits a bit). Add the flour, cinnamon and ground almonds and fold together.

Chop 2/3 of the plums into small pieces and add in to the batter, together with the almond extract. Fold until well distributed.

Spoon the mixture into a lined or greased loaf tin. Slice the remaining plums and on the top. Sprinkle on the flaked almonds and a little sugar and cinnamon.

Pop in the oven and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes (check occasionally and cover with foil if it starts to burn on top), or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Brush the jam over the cake and leave to cool completely. Serve in slices with a cuppa (the Nan is optional)!

Enjoy 🙂 xx

Blackberry bakewell slice


Having made some blackberry jam I thought it was only right to find a use for it! I love Bakewell tarts – that combo of almond frangipane and jam is just delish! So I thought I’d make a blackberry version!

You can obviously use shop bought jam for this but if you fancy making it yourself then you can follow my recipe here (blackberry jam). If you have the time, and inclination, you can make your own short crust pastry (recipe below) or you can just buy the ready made stuff from the supermarket! This made one tray and three small tarts – approx 20 slices, at 299 cals each!

You will need:

For the pastry
300g plain flour
125g cold butter or dairy free ‘butter’/ spread
30g sugar (or 15g half spoon to save cals)
1 egg
2 tbsp non dairy or dairy milk (optional)

Or one pack of ready made short crust pastry.

For the filling:
approx 200g blackberry jam

A handful of blackberries

A handful of flaked almonds
250g dairy free spread
100g caster sugar (or 50g half spoon sugar)
5 eggs
250g ground almonds
2 tbsp self-raising flour

If you are making the pastry put the flour, butter and sugar into a processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and pulse until it comes together into a rough dough. If it is too dry add a little milk. Add one of the eggs and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a rough dough. If the dough is too dry, add a bit of milk. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20-25 mins.

Unwrap the dough (or open up your packet of ready made pastry!) and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll it out until it is large enough for your tray (l used one thought 20 x 15 cm, and then three small round tart cases).

Grease the tin or line with baking parchment and then lay the pastry tins and trim off the excess. Pop in the fridge to chill for 10 – 20 mins and preheat the oven to 200 C.

Remove from fridge, prick with a fork across the tin and line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans (or dried pulses or rice if you don’t have any). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden-brown.

Remove the paper and beans and brush the pastry with a little spread, beaten egg or milk and then return to the oven for 5 mins or so until golden brown. all over with the remaining beaten egg. Remove the pastry from the oven and turn the oven down to 180 C. Once done remove and leave out to one side.

Now start on the filling. Beat the spread and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat gentle each time (don’t worry if it appears to split a bit). Add the flour and ground almonds and beat together.

Spread the jam over the pastry, be as generous as you like – I love the jammy bit so I like a thick layer!

Gently spoon or pipe the filling over the top and smooth it down. Press in the whole blackberries, and sprinkle with a little sugar and flakes almonds.

Bake for 45-50 mins. The frangipane should be cooked all the way through with a sugary crust on the top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Slice and serve – on its own or with some ice cream or custard!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Apple and blackberry loaf


I got given a massive haul of blackberries and some little wild apples from some very kind friends (and I do mean a massive haul!). So I thought I’d better come up with another recipe to use some of them!

This time it’s a yummy loaf cake – combining the apples and blackberries. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon, with a cuppa! This makes one loaf and assuming you cut it into 8 slices it’s about 284 cals per slice!

You will need:

250g self-raising flour (any type you like)

175g dairy-free spread

175g sugar (or 85g half spoon sugar for less cals)

1 small cooking apple (or in my case 5 tiny apples!)

2 large eggs, beaten

225g blackberry

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Put the flour, sugar and spread in a large bowl and using a fork or your fingertips rub together to form a crumb-like mixture. Take 5 tbsp of the mixture out and place to one side. Then add the baking power and mix well.

Peel and core the apple (or mini apples in my case) and then grate into a bowl. Add the beaten eggs and mix well.

Add to the dry mixture and combine lightly to form a dough (try not to over mix it). Gently fold in three quarters of the blackberries.

Put the mixture into the loaf tin and scatter the remaining berries over the top and then cover with the crumb mixture you set aside earlier.

Put in the oven and bake for 60 – 80 mins. Check it half way through and cover with foil if the top is starting to burn. It’s done when a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for about 25 mins, then remove. Slice and serve!

enjoy! 🙂

Xx

Guilt Free Goodies – delicious treats! – a review


It’s been nearly 18 months since I first reviewed the lovely treats from Guilt Free Goodies. Since then it’s been such a pleasure to see Natasha’s business thrive and grow. I still regularly buy treats from her and have given them as gifts too. I thought I would repost my review just in case any of you haven’t yet had a chance to check out her goodies.

The best bit is that Natasha has very kindly set up a discount code for all of you lovely lot so if you place an order you will get 5% off! Just enter this code at checkout 🙂  NANCYGFG5%OFF

IMG_3184

Since my review her product range has really expanded with some truly delicious new treats – including delicious cookies, raw chocolates and chocolate truffles (as well as more flavours of her other treats like bites and bars). I’ve tried quite a few and they are all delicious – I particularly like the peanutter white chocolate truffles and raw raspberry ruffle truffle! Oooh and the salted caramel almond slice! Divine!

IMG_3185

 

There are also hampers available at the moment for christmas – you’ll have to get in wuick though if you want to pre-order them! check them out here.

And most exciting of all, Natasha has released her first ebook! So you can have a go at creating some treats at home! Order yours here. It’s beautifully put together and has a really lovely range of treats. It’s well written and set out and easy to follow so I’d definitely recommend it 🙂

Screenshot 2015-11-07 21.48.08

Here’s my review from last year:

I had the great pleasure this week of being sent a beautiful box of treats from Guilt Free Goodies.

photo 3 (2)

This UK, home-based business is run by Natasha and her partner, who produce homemade, all natural, healthy goodies – from granolas, nut butters to delicious treats and cakes. They’re perfect for anyone looking for dairy-free treats, diabetics and those wanting refined sugar-free treats (only natural sweeteners are used) or following the “paleo” diet. They’re also great for anyone who’s just health conscious and wants to watch what they eat. They can also make most of their products (granola, bites, energy balls and butters) suitable for vegans (some products do contain egg or honey).

I was sent this delightful selection of:

Peanut butter surprise muffin

Cashew butter, coconut and blueberry energy balls

Honey and peanut granola

Salted caramel almond bites

The first thing I noticed is how lovely the packaging was – all the items are beautifully packaged with lovely little touches like the handwritten notes. They’re also really securely packaged so nothing was damaged in transit.

photo 1 (2)

As instructed I popped the almond bites in the freezer (top tip – highly recommended!) and the first item I tucked in to was the cashew, coconut and blueberry energy balls. After a busy morning teaching spin and bodypump I was famished and needed something quick to munch on. These really hit the spot – full of goodness and flavour. Really satisfying and tasty too – not too sweet but sweet enough to satisfy 🙂

photo 2 (3)

Later that afternoon I was in dire need of a boost so thought I’d try the granola next – I served it with some homemade compote from my friend Colette and a big dollop of soya yoghurt.

photo 5

It was absolutely divine – crunchy and crisp with a great mix of nut and fruit. The sweetness wasn’t overpowering either which was great. I had to eek it out as otherwise I’d have eaten it all in one go! As it’s full of good fats (from the nuts) it really sustained me for my evening classes which is exactly what I needed. This would be just as good served with a little almond milk or yoghurt for brekkie, or as a decadent treat you could serve it with some coconut yoghurt or ice cream for dessert! Yum!

photo 3 (3)

I saved the muffin for a mid-morning snack with a cuppa. This was a really nice treat. Now it’s not like a traditional muffin so don’t be surprised. It’s a lot smaller but it’s also much denser. I really like this about it – it’s moist and squishy (in a good way!) and although small it’s exactly the right amount for a snack. I loved the peanut butter in the middle of this one. The nice thing about these muffins is that they really fill you up in a way traditional muffins just don’t.

photo 4

I saved the best until last – the almond bites. I was most excited about these – they looked delicious and I’m such a sucker for anything almond-based so I had high hopes.

photo 2

I was not disappointed in the slightest. These were so good! They’re definitely best out the freezer – the base goes all crispy and the caramel stays soft. The combination of the caramel, a whole almond in the middle (!), and lovely chocolate on the top is just fab!

photo 3

So all in all I was really impressed with all these products. They certainly live up to their reputation and satisfy your cravings without ruining any of your hard work!

I just love that this is a home-run business, run by someone who clearly puts their heart and soul in to their products. I’d definitely recommend them so do go and try them. You can also buy hampers or sample boxes and they’d make great gifts for the health foodlovers in your life. I’m really looking forward to ordering some of Natasha’s other products now – especially the loaf cakes and nut butters! 🙂

You can find out more about the products and place orders from their facebook page – here: Guilt Free Goodies or their new online shop here: Guilt Free Goodies Eshop.

Do check them out! and if you do let me know what you think 🙂

 

Coconut and Apple Cake – gluten and dairy free


This is a wonderful combination of squidgy, moist and dry and crumbly cake which makes it super moreish. It’s also full of goodness and, if you add the protein, is also full of extra protein too. It can be made completely vegan if you want it to be (see below), or you can use eggs if you’re not fussed.

IMG_9677

This is especially good if served with the topping I’ve whipped up too and even better with a big dollop of Soya yoghurt or ice cream 🙂

I’ve used the Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup in this recipe which I absolutely love – it’s so tasty!

IMG_9641

 

I’ve recorded a little video of this recipe here too :

IMG_9643

You will need:

1 cup of flour – you can use any flour you like here – spelt, almond, coconut. I used Almond flour

1/2 cup Ground Almonds

1/2  cup Vanilla Protein Powder (I use this one) – or if not then just add more flour

1/2 cup Desiccated Coconut

1 cup Coconut Syrup (from Bali Nutra)

1/2 cup Coconut Oil (melted)

3 eggs (or 3 tbsp Chia seeds soaked in 9 tbsp water)

2 heaped tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground Cardamom (or 1 drop of cardamom extract)

1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1 – 2 Bramley apples (depends how big they are!) (plus lemon juice to squeeze over them once cut if you want)

Optional – if your batter is too dry (it will depend on the flour you use) then you may need to add a small amount of any non-dairy milk (I splashed a bit of coconut milk in mine)

A sprinkle of coconut sugar and some coconut flakes to decorate.

I also made a little topping to go with it for this you will need:

4 tbsp Coconut milk (use the 65 – 70% extract milk and see here for instructions on how to get the thick creamy part)

2 tbsp Coconut oil (melted)

2 – 3 tbsp Coconut syrup (adjust to taste)

2 tsp ground Cinnamon (adjust to taste)

IMG_9685

Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease and line a baking tin (I used a large loaf tin and three small ones as I had some extra batter but you could any tin you like – a 20 – 25cm round tin would work).

Put all the dry ingredients (flours, protein powder, spices etc) into a large mixing bowl and stir well. Peel and dice the apples. Set the apples aside and if you don’t want them to go brown add a squeeze of lemon juice while you wait to add them. Put all the wet ingredients in another bowl and mix well. Add the wet to the dry and combine. The batter will be thick but if you have used coconut flour and the chia seeds then you may find your batter is far too dry. In which case add a little milk to loosen it up. Fold in the apple.

IMG_9652

Spoon the batter in to your tin, sprinkle a little coconut sugar and coconut flakes over the top for decoration if you fancy, and pop in the oven. If like me you have too much batter then make some small cakes too! Depending on the size of your tin it will take 25 – 40 mins to cook but just keep checking it and when a skewer comes out clean it’s done! As it cooks you may find the top starts to brown too much so just pop some foil over it if so.

IMG_9670

This is best eaten warm with a dollop of the topping – combine the topping ingredients together and serve!

IMG_9689

Sweet Potato Brownies – sugar, dairy and gluten free


Brownies are a staple treat for me, my husband and our friends and it’s usually the dessert of choice whenever we go to our friend’s house for dinner. My usual brownie recipe (see all the various recipes here) is a firm favourite and is also dairy and gluten free but I needed a sugar-free version for this weekend. My very special friend Colette from The Pure Form Fitness Kitchen is in training for an upcoming competition and I just couldn’t bring dessert that she couldn’t eat!

So thinking cap on…. I knew I could use sweet potato to add some natural sweetness but I searched and searched online and couldn’t find a recipe that didn’t have any added sugar of any type (aside from fruit/veg sugar). Every recipe had maple syrup, agave, coconut syrup or rice malt syrup in it. So I decided to have a go at creating one myself, based on all the recipes I found (and there are a lot of sweet potato brownie recipes out there!).

IMG_6622

I have to be honest – this was a complete experiment, but I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s tasty, it’s got a natural sweetness and it’s actually really good (even better the day after they’re made).  I’ve gone for the smallest amount of dates, apple and sweet potato possible to limit the amount of fruit sugars whilst still keeping the flavour.

You will need:

2 Sweet potatoes (approx 500 g in total – unpeeled weight)

50g Apple PurĂ©e (make your own – recipe here)

60g Buckwheat flour

80g ground Almonds

75g Cocoa powder

6 Medjool Dates

IMG_6621

Preheat the oven to 180 C

Peel and dice the sweet potato and then pop in a covered bowl in the microwave. Microwave until soft (a couple of blasts of 2 – 3 minutes). Using a fork mash up the sweet potato and then pop into a blender or processor. Chop the dates and add them to the sweet potato (it’s easier if you do this while the potato is still warm). Blitz it until the dates are well combined with the sweet potato. I actually like a bit of substance to the dates so I’m not fussed if it’s not smooth but it’s up to you.

Mix together the flour, almonds and cocoa and then stir the sweet potato mixture in (it will be quite stiff). Add the apple and mix well. You want a sticky, quite thick mixture – thicker than a normal brownie batter. If the flour won’t all combine (as it will depend a little on the moisture content of the dates and apple) then add a drizzle of warm water, but not too much.

Pour into a lined tin and place in the oven for 30 -35 minutes. The top will be crusty and if you stick a skewer in it will come out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin (if you can wait :)). Then slice and serve!

IMG_6625