Rhubarb and Cinnamon Cake – Dairy and Gluten free


After very kindly being given some freshly grown rhubarb (thank you Des and Lisa šŸ™‚ ) I thought I would try to do something different with it, rather than the classic crumble and came up with this little beauty! This is a moist but light cake and the tartness of the rhubarb goes so well with the warmth of the cinnamon. I choose to poach the rhubarb lightly first as I find it ensures it isĀ non-stringy andĀ deliciously soft.

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You will need:

Approx 350g Rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces

3 tbsp Apple juice and 1 tbsp Coconut sugar (for poaching)

1 1/4 cups of Gluten free self-raising flour (or you can make your own using plain gluten free or spelt flour plus 1 3/4 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt)

1/2 cup Ground Almonds

1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1/3Ā cup of Golden caster sugar (or other unrefined fine sugar)

1/3 cup Coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar)

3/4 cup Almond (or light Olive) oil

Up to 1 1/4 cup of Almond milk or Soya milk (or any other non-dairy milk)

2 tbspĀ Cider vinegar

2 heaped tsp ground Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 160 C.

First you need to poach the rhubarb. Pop it in to a roasting tin (so it’s only one layer thick) and add the apple juice and 1 tbsp sugar. Cover with foil and bake for approx 15 mins (or until the rhubarb is a little soft – the time will vary depending on how thick your stalks are). Remove from oven, strain and set aside (keeping the juice – we need that later). Leave the oven on but increase it to 170 C.

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Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon and ground almonds in to a bowl and mix together.

Pour the juice from the poached rhubarb into a measuring jug (if there isn’t much don’t worry – use it anyway) and then add enough milk to give 1 1/4 cups in total of liquid. Add the vinegar and stir. Then add the bicarbonate of soda and mix (it will fizz!). Add this to the dry ingredients, and then add the oil. Stir it well and finally fold in the rhubarb.

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Pour in to a tin (I used a 20 x 20 cm tin) lined with greaseproof paper and pop in the oven for 35 – 45 mins (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then place on a wire rack. Cut and serve! šŸ™‚

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Apple and Coconut Cinnamon Caramel Swirled Loaf – Dairy free, Gluten Free and Vegan


This may be my best loaf recipe yet… This was so good I had to make it twice, in two days.. and it didn’t last long!


I was sent a bottle of this fab Coconut Syrup, which I was already a big fan of, and I’m really enjoying playing around with date caramel at the moment, so I thought why not combine the two in an appley-caramely-coconutty-squidgy loaf! The coconut syrup adds a lovely richness to the loaf which is fab. The syrup is great for drizzling over yoghurt, sweetening smoothies or pouring over your finished slice of loaf too! You can find out more here – Bali NutraĀ Coconut Syrup.


I’ve even done a little video too! šŸ™‚


You will need:

2 cups Gluten-free flour or spelt flour
1 cup coconut palm (or any unrefined) sugar (plus a little extra to sprinkle on top)
1/4 cup Coconut Syrup
1/4 cup and 2 tbsps almond oil or olive oil
3/4 cup apple purĆ©e (make your own – instructions here)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut (plus a little extra to sprinkle on the top)
1/2 cup date caramel (recipe here)
1 tbsp Cocoa powder
1 small apple – diced
1/4 cup soya milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp himalayan rock salt

Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Line and grease a small loaf tin (approximately 8 inches x 4 inches).

Mix the flour, baking soda, coconut, cinnamon, allspice and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix the oil and sugar together until well combined. Add the apple purƩe and the soya milk (to which vinegar has been added), the coconut syrup and the vanilla extract. Add this mix to the flour mixture and stir well. Add the diced apple and stir well.

Remove about one cup of this batter and put it in a separate bowl. Stir the date caramel in to this mix. Add the cocoa powder and mix well – this adds a lovely richness to the batter and also darkens it to make the swirls more obvious, without giving a Chocolate flavour šŸ™‚

Start by adding a layer of the plain batter in your loaf tin. Drop a few spoonfuls of the caramel batter and use a fork to marble it, then add another layer of plain batter. Continue to layer and marble the batters until you’ve used it up! Sprinkle with a little coconut sugar and desiccated coconut.

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Place in the oven for an hour, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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This is absolutely divine when warm and if you have any spare date caramel I highly recommend smearing some on top!

You can easily freeze this too – it keeps brilliantly.

Chocolate Orange and Almond Brownies – dairy and gluten free


I think I’m in heaven. I’ve managed to combine three of my most favourite things – Willie’s Cacao Luscious Orange chocolate, roasted Almonds and my dairy and gluten free brownie! And wow – this is good! I’ve even managed to win over my orange chocolate hating friend! Win! šŸ™‚

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You will need:

1/4 cup Rice flour

1/2 cup Ground almonds

1 cup unrefined Raw sugar (golden caster sugar, coconut sugar etc)

1/2 cup almond oil (or coconut oil)

1/4 cup raw Cacoa powder

2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 6 tbsp water

1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp Orange extract

Handful of Almonds

1 – 2 bars Willie’s Luscious Orange chocolate (chopped)

For Icing

1 – 2 bars Willie’s Luscious Orange chocolate

50 – 100g Unrefined icing sugar (adjust quantity to depending how runny you want it)

Silver balls to decorate

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Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a 20 x 20cm square baking pan with parchment paper.

Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until they just start to turn brown. To make them even crunchier I let them cool to room temperature then chopped them and toast again briefly. Pop to one side until later.

Mix the ground almonds, flour, cacao powder, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl soak the chia seeds in the water. Once the chia seeds have absorbed all the water add them to the mix along with the orange extract, and oil. Whisk together using a hand mixer until well mixed. It should be thick and glossy when mixed.

Stir in the chocolate and almonds. Pour in to the baking tin and place in the oven for 25 – 30 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack

Then prepare the icing. Melt the chocolate and then stir in the icing sugar a little at a time until you get the consistency you want. Spread quickly on to the brownies and sprinkle the silver balls and any other decorations you want to use on to the top!

Enjoy!

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Peanut butter fruit and nut brownies – dairy and gluten free


Two very exciting things happened recently…Firstly I was given this beautiful pot full of scrummy raisins from my friend Dee šŸ™‚ and secondly I finally found some PB2 powdered peanut butter!

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The raisins… well that’s a long (somewhat amusing) story which I won’t go in to here, but needless to say they were very gratefully received :). Now PB2….What on earth is thatĀ and why would I be so excited to find it? Well for a start it’s a powdered peanut butter which means it’s a great way to get peanut butter in to your baking (if you want to.. which I do!). As an added bonus it has 85% less calories from fat compared to traditional peanut butter, but it isn’t full of rubbish. It’s all natural, slow roasted peanuts which are then pressed to remove the fat and oil. It comes as natural and chocolate (yum!) and you can either just add water to make it in to a butter to use as you would normal peanut butter…. or you can use it as a powder in bakes and shakes!

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So these two wonderful things were just crying out to be combined into something yummy…. and here it is! Peanut butter fruit and nut brownies! A great way to have a healthy treat with a little bit of a protein boost too!

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You can change the fruit and add different nuts if you like but I wanted to really give that peanut punch so I stuck with peanuts! You can also use peanut butter if you don’t have PB2 but it will change the consistency so I suggest you go a little lighter on the oil.

You will need:

1/4 cup Rice flour

1/2 cup Ground almonds

1 cup unrefined Raw sugar (golden caster sugar, coconut sugar etc)

1/2 cup almond oil (or coconut oil)

1/4 cup raw Cacoa powder

4 heaped tbsp PB2 (if you don’t have this you can use normal peanut butter – 2 – 3 tbsp)

2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 6 tbsp water

1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp Vanilla extract

100g dried Raisins

50g dried Cherries

Handful of natural roasted Peanuts (halved or chopped)

ForĀ topping

2 – 3 tbsp PB2 original

1 – 2 tbsp PB2 chocolate

a little Water

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a 20 x 20cm square baking pan with parchment paper.

Mix the ground almonds, flour, cacao powder,PB2, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl soak theĀ chia seeds in the water. Once the chia seeds have absorbed all the water add them to the mix along with theĀ vanilla extract, and oil. Whisk together using a hand mixer until well mixed. It should be thick and glossy when mixed.Ā Have a taste – if you want a bit more peanutty flavour you can add a little more PB2 now but mix it in really well.

Stir in the peanuts, raisinsĀ and cherries (cut them in half if they are large). Pour in to the baking tin and place in the oven for 25 – 30 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack

Then prepare the topping. In separate bowls mix the original PB2 and chocolate PB2 with water. Add a little water at a time – you want a runny consistency but not too runny.Ā Ā Drizzle the original one over the brownie, then the chocolate one. Pop in the fridge to set Ā – or just eat straight away!

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Guilt Free Goodies – a review


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

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This UK, home-based business is run by Natasha and her partner, whoĀ 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 wantingĀ refinedĀ 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.

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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 šŸ™‚

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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! šŸ™‚

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

Do check them out! and if you do let me know what you think šŸ™‚

 

 

 

Blackberry and cinnamon cakes with blackberry and mint swirled cashew cream!


I managed to get a mahoosive haul of wild blackberries last weekend so decided I’d better find some ways to use them! I fancied a light, muffin/fairy cake kinda thing for tea so came up with this little beauty. They’re delicious on their own, but if you want something a bit special then serve them with this blackberry and mint swirled cashew cream for a bit of afternoon tea!

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For the cakes you will need:

1 cup of non-dairy Milk
1 tsp Cider apple vinegar
1 1/4 cups Gluten-free flour orĀ Spelt flour
2 Tbsp Cornflour
3/4 cup Raw unrefined sugar/ coconut palm sugar
3/4 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt
1/3 cup Olive oil
2 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
Blackberries – couple of handfuls (depending how large they are!)

For the cashew cream you will need:

A cup of cashew nuts (or however many you want to use!)
Some water
maple syrup/agave syrup/rice malt syrup (optional – to taste)
handful of Blackberries
handful of fresh Mint leaves
A blender/ vitamix

Soak the cashews overnight in water (so that they are well covered).

To make the cakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Put the milk and vinegar together in bowl and whisk together, then leave to curdle for a few minutes. Add the milk mixture, oil, sugar and vanilla extract to a large bowl and mix together. Sieve the flour, cornflour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the liquid mixture and stir well until no large lumps remain. Gently stir the blackberries in to the mix. Pour into cupcake liners in a muffin pan – this should make approximately 15 cakes. Make sure the blackberries are covered with batter (you may need to just gently push them down).

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Place in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Once done place on a wire rack to cool.

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To make the cashew cream

Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and then pop them in to the blender. Start by adding about half as much water as cashews to the blender and give it a blitz. Continue adding water until the cashews are smooth and you have the consistence of cream that you want – less water, thicker cream! If you want to add some sweetness add your choice of liquid sweetener to taste.

Smoosh the blackberries up a little bit with the back of a knife, and chop the mint finely.Ā Stir it in to the cream and adjust quantities to taste.

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Serve your cakes with a big dollop of the cream and a sprig of mint!

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Chocolate Cherry Brownies – gluten and dairy free


My hubby and I had a rare evening out last night with some very good friends to go and watch “Dirty Dancing” at the open air cinema. Tasked with providing dessert I decided I’d go for some good old chocolately goodness and whip up a new version of my brownies for us to munch on whilst watching the film… They’re almost as tasty as Patrick Swayze šŸ˜‰

The sweet-sour of the cherries works so well to balance out the rich chocolate in these and they’re brilliant served with berries and some cashew cream (recipe here) for a decadent (but not too bad for you) dessert.

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You will need:

1/4 cup Rice flour

1/2 cup Ground almonds

1 cup unrefined Raw sugar (golden caster sugar, coconut sugar etc)

1/2 cup almond oil (or coconut oil)

1/4 cup raw Cacoa powder

2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 6 tbsp water

1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp Vanilla extract

100g dried Cherries

Dairy free chocolateĀ (I use Willie’s cacao drops) – about a handful (approx 100g)

For Icing

100g Dairy free chocolate (again I use Willie’s cacao drops)

100 – 200g Unrefined icing sugar (adjust quantity to depending how runny you want your icing)

Freeze dried Cherries to decorate

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a 20 x 20cm square baking pan with parchment paper.

Mix the ground almonds, flour, cacao powder, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl soak theĀ chia seeds in the water. Once the chia seeds have absorbed all the water add them to the mix along with theĀ vanilla extract, and oil. Whisk together using a hand mixer until well mixed. It should be thick and glossy when mixed.

Stir in the chocolate and cherries (cut them in half if they are large). Pour in to the baking tin and place in the oven for 25 – 30 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack

Then prepare the icing. Melt the chocolate and then stir in the icing sugar a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.Ā Spread quickly on to the brownies and sprinkle the freeze dried cherriesĀ and any other decorations you want to use on to the top!

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Then enjoy (preferably with a side helping of Patrick Swayze šŸ˜‰ )

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