A host of Easter Treats


With Easter upon us I thought I’d share a few of my favourite, slightly healthier but equally yummy Easter recipes.

So if chocolate is your thing then why not try some quick, raw chocolates like these chocolate coconut treats, or the raw chocolate filled eggs and fruit eggs, or if you fancy something with a little more kick – why not try the chilli chocs.

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Or how about whipping up some quick, cute, marzipan bunnies!

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What about creating a quick batch of Easter spiced biscuits, or some fresh, light lemon and chia cookies to dunk in your afternoon tea on Easter Sunday.

If you’re feeling adventurous you could try my coffee and amaretto cupcakes (using any instant coffee you have to hand).

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And finally..it wouldn’t be Easter without some hot cross buns right? Try my better bun recipe for some hot cross fun! 🙂

Happy Easter! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Nancy’s Mince Pies! gluten and dairy free!


It’s mince pie time again! whoop! It’s so hard to find plant-based, dairy and gluten free mince pies that don’t taste like cardboard so I decided to make my own and boy are they good! I could eat these by the dozen… and in fact I do!

This recipe has been posted here before but has recently been featured over at Pure Form Fitness Kitchen so I thought I’d repost for you 🙂

and here’s a little video of me making them too :

For the Pastry:

4 oz Buckwheat flour
2 oz ground Almonds
5 tbsp Agave nectar
Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the Mincemeat:

3 oz Bramley apples, cored and finely chopped
6 oz Mixed dried fruit (I prefer raisins, currants, cranberries and apricots)
1 oz Vegetable suet
2 oz Raw sugar (coconut palm or dark raw muscovado)
Juice and grated zest of half an Orange
1 level tsp of ground allspice
1 pinch ground Cinnamon
1 pinch ground Cloves
1 pinch grated / ground Nutmeg
1 small handful chopped Almonds
1 tbsp Date syrup

Make the pastry first. Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. Once it is forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge. You can do this by hand if you prefer – just ensure you mix the flour and almonds thoroughly.

Put all the ingredients for the mincemeat into a saucepan. Cook on a low heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the apple is soft and the mixture is thick – it may take some time. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 6.

Lightly oil a mini muffin tin with almond, coconut or hazelnut oil. Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it as thin as you can – a few mm. Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out the bases. Place them in the tin. Place in an oven to blind bake for 5–10 mins. Keep an eye on them – this pastry browns quite fast. Once the edges are brown and the middle is firm remove them. While the cases are in the oven take a smaller star shaped (or any shaped) biscuit cutter to cut out the “lids”.

Roll and cut out the pastry cases and lids

Roll and cut out the pastry cases and lids

 

 

Place a generous helping of mincemeat in each of the cases and place your chosen “lid” on top. Lightly oil and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and raw sugar.

Fill the cases and add the lids

Fill the cases and add the lids

Place the pies back in the oven and bake until golden (5 – 7 mins but check regularly). Keep a careful eye on them. You want the tops to brown but be careful the bases don’t burn. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Spicy Hallowe’en biscuits


I couldn’t resist whipping up a batch of my favourite biccies for Hallowe’en. These are so super easy! And I had these fun spooky icing eyes I’ve been wanting to use so I just had to make some.

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The original recipe is here (click here) but I’ll quickly run over it here.

You just need:

2 cups Spelt or gluten-free flour

1 cup unrefined Icing sugar

6oz dairy-free spread

Spices to taste – in this version I used

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

Pinch nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180 C. Mix the flour, icing sugar and spices together and then cream the spread in. Mix well until it forms a dough but try not to over mix. Pop in the fridge to chill for as long as you can wait! Then remove, sprinkle a little flour down on a clean surface and roll out to your desired thickness. Use biscuits cutters to cut in to shapes and then pop in the oven for 5 – 7 mins or until golden brown. Do keep an eye on them – especially if they’re thin!

Allow them to cool and then if you want to you can ice them – just mix icing sugar with a little water or non-dairy milk and then have some fun!

Enjoy Hallowe’en!

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Lemon curd thumb biscuits!


Having made a big batch of lemon curd (recipe is here). I thought I’d better find some yummy ways to use it!

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Now I could just eat it straight from the jar (and actually I do!), or with yoghurt and fruit for brekkie….

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… but… it’s also pretty delicious combined with almonds in these divine little biscuits.

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They are super easy to make and take less than 30 mins.

To make about 12 biscuits you will need:

130g Ground almonds

1/4 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Zest from 1 – 2 lemons (you can use any left over zest that you froze after making the lemon curd)

2 1/2 tbsp Coconut oil

2 tbsp Maple syrup

1 tbsp Lemon juice (or 1/4 tsp Lemon extract)

1 – 2 tbsp Lemon curd (recipe here)

a handful of Dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 180 C

Place the ground almonds, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in a bowl and mix well. Add the vanilla extract, maple syrup and coconut oil and use your hands to mix into a dough.

Take tablespoon-sized portions of the dough and place on a greased baking sheet. Pat down and then use your thumb to make an indent in the center.

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Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. After 5 minutes check them and if the indents are starting to close just gently use your thumb to re-shape them. Bake until they are brown. If you like your biscuits a bit crunchier then bake a little longer.

Remove from the oven but leave the oven on. Fill the indents with lemon curd and place a dried cherry in the middle. Pop them back in the oven for 2 – 3 minutes.

Allow to cool.

They will be lovely and crunchy if eaten straight away. If left for the next day they become soft and macaroon-like – which is simply yummy! You can always pop them back in the oven to re-crisp if you fancy it 🙂

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Frangipane Mince Pie tarts


I know Christmas is over, but I never tire of mince meat! I did actually create these before the big day but didn’t get a chance to post the recipe until now. This was created on request from a special friend for her discerning hubby, and they seemed to go down well … in his words “this is the best thing you’ve ever baked”…! 🙂

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So if you have some leftover mince meat then give this a go! These include a layer of marzipan which is optional but I think adds a fab extra almondy loveliness! Make your own (recipe here) or buy a block of plain marzipan – but do buy the good stuff (Neideregger is a great brand).

The frangipane does contain egg but I’ve also posted an egg-free version below too! 🙂

If you fancy making up a batch of mince meat specially then the recipe is here

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For the pastry you will need:

4 oz Buckwheat flour

2 oz ground Almonds

5 tbsp Agave nectar

Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the frangipane you will need (this will be enough for 4 small tarts – 5 – 6cm diameter):

65g unrefined Raw sugar or Coconut palm sugar

100g Ground almonds

1 Egg

50 ml Almond oil (you can use mild Olive oil if you prefer)

1/8 tsp Vanilla extract

1/8 tsp Almond extract (if you have it)

Ground cinnamon (for dusting)

Flaked almonds (for decoration)

125g Marzipan (optional)

Make the pastry first. Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. Once it is forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 175 C.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out as thin as you can. Line mini tart cases (or one large flan/tart tin) with the pastry (you will probably have spare pastry left over). Brush with a little almond oil and then place in the oven to blind bake. They only need a few minutes – just until they start to brown very slightly at the edges.

Meanwhile make the frangipane. Pop the sugar and almond oil in a bowl and mix well together. Add the egg and extracts and mix again. Gently fold in the ground almonds until well mixed.

Once the pastry cases are starting to brown a little remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then spread a thin layer of mince meat (enough to cover the base). Thinly slice the marzipan and layer over the top.

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Then cover with a generous layer of the frangipane.Sprinkle flaked almonds over the top and a dusting of cinnamon. Then place in the oven for 15 – 20 mins or until the frangipane is cooked and a lovely golden brown.

Delicious served with custard or soya yoghurt at any time of year! 🙂

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Egg free frangipane recipe:

6 tbsp Coconut Oil (don’t melt it)
2/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar / Unrefined Raw Sugar
1 and 1/4 cup Ground Almonds
2 tbsp Cornflour
pinch salt
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2/3 cup Almond Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Almond Extract

Put the coconut oil, sugar, ground almonds, cornflour, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and pulse until well combined and all crumbly. Slowly add the almond milk, vanilla extract and almond extract whilst still pulsing the food processor until it forms a thick batter. This frangipane takes a bit more baking than the one above so keep an eye on the tarts and just remove when done.

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Mince Pies! Gluten and Dairy Free!


It’s mince pie time again! whoop! This year I’m trying out some mini ones – almost as I type! 🙂 but for now I thought I’d post my recipe for mincemeat and gluten and dairy-free pastry in case you fancy making a batch this weekend 🙂

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For the Pastry:

4 oz Buckwheat flour
2 oz ground Almonds
5 tbsp Agave nectar
Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the Mincemeat:

3 oz Bramley apples, cored and finely chopped
6 oz Mixed dried fruit (I prefer raisins, currants, cranberries and apricots)
1 oz Vegetable suet
2 oz Raw sugar (coconut palm or dark raw muscovado)
Juice and grated zest of half an Orange
1 level tsp of ground allspice
1 pinch ground Cinnamon
1 pinch ground Cloves
1 pinch grated / ground Nutmeg
1 small handful chopped Almonds
1 tbsp Date syrup

Make the pastry first. Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. Once it is forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge.

Put all the ingredients for the mincemeat into a saucepan. Cook on a low heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the apple is soft and the mixture is thick – it may take some time. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 6.

Lightly oil & flour a 12 muffin tin with almond, coconut or hazelnut oil. Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it as thin as you can – a few mm. Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out 12 bases. Place them in the tin. Lightly brush with oil and use a fork to prick the base. Place in an oven to blind bake for 5–10 mins. Keep an eye on them – this pastry browns quite fast. Once the edges are brown and the middle is firm remove them. While the cases are in the oven take a smaller circular biscuit cutter to cut out the “lids” or you could use star shapes/ holly leaf shapes/lattice pattern – whatever takes your fancy 🙂

Place a generous helping of mincemeat in each of the cases and place your chosen “lid” on top. Lightly oil and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and raw sugar. Place the pies back in the oven and bake until golden (10–20 mins). Keep a careful eye on them. You want the tops to brown but be careful the bases don’t burn. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack.

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Fight that grump! Chocolate, Cherry and Chilli Biscuit balls! Dairy and Gluten free


We all get a little grumpy sometimes don’t we? When I’m feeling the grump I usually reach for the chocolate (Willie’s Cacao is my chocolate of choice!) but I thought this week I’d try something a little different! It’s still chocolate but with a kick, and I guarantee this little beauties will cheer up even the biggest grump!

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This a modified version of my great balls of biscuit recipe but I’ve made these bigger – cos you need a bit more biscuit to fight that grump 😉

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To make about 16 biscuit balls you will need:

260g Ground almonds

4 tbsp Raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

30g Dark, dairy-free chocolate (I use the Willie’s Cacao Drops but any dark chocolate chopped up small will be fine)

30g Dried cherries

5 tablespoons Coconut oil (melted)

1/2 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1/4 – 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)

1/4 – 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder (adjust to taste)

1 tsp Vanilla extract

4 tbsp Maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener such as agave or honey)

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Put the dry ingredients in to a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Start with a small amount of cayenne and chilli powder at this stage (unless you are confident in how hot you want it 🙂 ). Then chop the chocolate and cherries into small pieces and add them in to the mixture. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix together. Have a little taste and add more of the cayenne and chilli is required. I like it pretty hot so I added quite a bit! Mix it in well if you’re adding more at this stage. You should find the mixture will stick together when you squeeze it between your fingers.

Take tablespoon sized portions of the mixture and form in to a ball. Pop on a greased baking tray and flatten a little. Place in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes (start checking at 10 minutes). Remove when they are starting to brown. They will feel very soft when you take them from the oven but just leave them to cool on the tray and they will harden.

Enjoy with a nice cuppa and feel that grump melt away! 🙂

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