Mint choc chip N’ice cream – dairy, gluten and sugar-free!


Now it’s getting warmer I’m craving ice cream and I absolutely love mint choc chip ice cream so I thought I’d whip up a batch of a slightly less naughty version!

This is as good, if not better, than the traditional stuff and only has four ingredients!

The ingredients below made about 5-6 generous scoops but it will depend on the size of the bananas so you may need to adjust quantities a bit. Don’t be scared about the spinach – you really can’t taste it at all and it gives not only a great nutrient boost but a lovely green colour 🙂

I always have frozen bananas in my freezer for smoothies, banana bread etc. I don’t like over ripe bananas so if they ever start to get too ripe I chop them up and pop them in freezer bags. Then they’re ready to use any time! So first things first – freeze some bananas!

You will need:

Frozen bananas – I used 4 medium bananas

Handful of spinach (adjust according to how green you want it!)

Couple of tbsp Cacao nibs (or you can use any dark chocolate – sugar free or not – your choice)

Natural peppermint extract (to taste) (or fresh mint leaves if you happen to have some)

Pop the bananas in to a high speed blender – I use my trusty vitamix but any blender that can handle ice will do, and blitz it to start to break up the bananas. Once they start to smoosh up (technical term 😉 ) add the spinach a little at a time. Then add a few drops of peppermint extract – the amount will depend on how minty you like it! You don’t want it tasting like mouthwash though so go easy to start with! Keep blitzing it and stirring it in until the spinach is combined and the colour you want. Remove from the blender and stir the cacao nibs/chopped chocolate through it and serve!

It melts fast so get in quick! You can refreeze it – ideally refreeze in ice cube trays and then when you want to eat it pop the cubes in to the blender and give it a very quick blitz!

How easy was that? 🙂

Rhubarb and Cinnamon Cake – Dairy and Gluten free


After very kindly being given some freshly grown rhubarb (thank you Des and Lisa 🙂 ) 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 is non-stringy and deliciously soft.

IMG_5761

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

1/3 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 tbsp 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.

IMG_5739 IMG_5740

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.

IMG_5749

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! 🙂

IMG_5750 IMG_5758

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 Nutra Coconut Syrup.


I’ve even done a little video too! 🙂


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 purée (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 purée 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 🙂

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.

 


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.

 

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.

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.

2014-04-18 19.27.21        2014-04-13 16.29.29

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

2014-04-05 17.33.53

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).

2014-04-05 17.37.59

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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Caramel Buckwheat Crispy Squares – Dairy and Gluten free


When I was at school I used to take a Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Marshmallow square with me every day for my breaktime snack. Does anyone else remember them? I was addicted! All gooey and sweet… and delicious…but so full of rubbish…..

So I thought I’d recreate a healthier version of them! So I’ve had a play and come up with  Caramel Buckwheat Crispy Squares. Super easy to make and really scrummy! You could use any puffs you like – buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, rice…. These are better than the originals I think and not half as bad for you 🙂

You will need:

10 -12 medjool dates

2 tbsp Cashew or almond butter

1 – 2 tbsp warm Water

1 – 2 cups of Buckwheat (or any) puffs

Optional Chocolate for decoration:

1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted)

1/3 cup Cacao/cocoa powder

1/4 cup Coconut syrup

Start by making your caramel. Pit and chop the dates and pop them in to your blender together with the nut butter. Add a little of the water and blitz. You want to nice smooth caramel which is thick enough to hold the puffs together, so you may need to add a little more water but not too much. I have to say, watching the caramel in the blender is very pleasing… look….

Once you have a smooth but sticky caramel remove it from the blender. You will probably have more caramel than you need but that’s ok as you can use it for some other yummy treats like my apple cinnamon smoothie or homemade toffee poppets.

Put your puffs in a bowl and add a few spoonfuls of caramel. Stir it through and keep adding caramel until you have a sticky mess! Line a tupperware pot or tray with some baking paper and press the caramel puff mess in to the tray and push down well.

Pop in the freezer for at least an hour to set. It won’t set firm – it will be all sticky and chewy 🙂

Once set remove from the freezer, slice and serve!

If you want to decorate with raw chocolate then combine the coconut oil, cacao powder and coconut syrup and whisk with a fork. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars and then pop back in the freezer briefly to set. Enjoy!

  IMG_3833

Homemade Toffee Poppets! Raw, dairy-free Chocolate Caramel Balls!


When I was little my grandma (Nannie 🙂 ) would come to pick me up on a Friday night from school and as a treat she’d take me across the road from our house to the newsagents to buy some sweets. I could have whatever I wanted… More often than not I went for a packet of Poppets – either mint, or the toffee ones (also known as Toffets). For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure – they were a little cardboard box full of nuggets of chocolate covered mint fondant or chewy caramel. I always associate them with those friday night treats and my Nannie and so they hold a special place in my heart 🙂

Poppets - Mint CreamsPoppets-toffeePAY-CHW-PPT

I’ve been having a bit of a caramel craving lately so I thought I’d better try to recreate those yummy little balls of goodness. (I’ll have a go at mint ones too at some point 🙂 ). As well as plain ones I also thought I’d try adding some coconut and nuts to the outside – you could coat yours in anything you like!

IMG_2749

You will need:

For the centres:

10 – 12 Medjool dates

3 tbsp Almond butter or Cashew butter if you don’t want the almond taste

(water as required)

For the chocolate:

1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted)

1/3 cup Cacao/cocoa powder

1/4 cup Coconut syrup

Desiccated coconut/chopped roasted nuts to decorate if desired

IMG_2752IMG_2751IMG_2750

Pop the dates and almond/cashew butter in a processor and pulse until blended and smooth. Add water if you want a softer texture. Take small spoonfuls and roll into balls with your hand – this is easier if you can chill it in the fridge for a while first. Pop the balls in the freezer for as long as you can wait!

To make the chocolate combine the coconut oil, cacao powder and coconut syrup and whisk with a fork.

Take the balls out the freezer and pop in to the chocolate to coat. Use a fork to move them around until coated and then pop on some greaseproof paper to set. Once set a little bit turn so the bottoms don’t stick.

IMG_2738 If you want to coat them in coconut or nuts then as soon as you’ve coated in them in chocolate roll in the coconut/nuts and then place on the greaseproof paper.

IMG_2736    IMG_2739

Then place in the freezer until ready to eat! All I need to do now is recreate the little cardboard box!

FullSizeRender

Raw Almond Caramel Chocolate Fingers


I’ve been dying to make something nutty and caramel-ly for ages and just haven’t got round to it  – finally the other weeked I got all my ingredients out and had a play and I’m very very pleased with the results! These are delish! They need to be kept in the freezer and are best eaten cold otherwise they get a bit squishy… although… that’s not such a bad thing!!

IMG_1411

You will need:

For the base:

1 cup Macadamia nuts

2 – 3 Tbsp Coconut syrup (or any liquid sweetener – agave, rice malt syrup etc)

1/2 tsp Vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp Almond extract

For the caramel:

12 – 14 Medjool dates

3 tbsp Almond butter

1/8 tsp Almond extract

pinch of salt

A little Water as needed (it depends how dry your dates are)

For the chocolate:

1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted) or Cacao butter (melted)

1/3 cup Raw cacao powder

1/4 cup Coconut syrup or maple syrup (or any liquid sweetener)

1/4 tsp Vanilla powder or 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

First you need to make the base. Pop all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well blended and it forms a sticky dough. Line a small tray with baking paper and then press the base mixture in to the tray firmly.

IMG_1388    IMG_1390

Pop this in the freezer and then start on the caramel layer. I find it easier if you chop the dates up a bit first, so chop them and pop in to the processor together with the other ingredients, but not the water. Pulse until blended in to a paste. If it’s a little too dry then add some water (carefully so you don’t add to much). Once you have the consistency you want (sticky but spreadable) then take the base out the freezer and spread the caramel on top. You may have some caramel left over – this is no bad thing, I rolled it into balls which I coated in chocolate for some extra little caramel bites! 🙂

IMG_1391

Place this back in the freezer for as long as you can – an hour or more if possible.

Once you’re nearing the end of your the hour you can make up the chocolate (if you want to make it sooner you can, and you can just gently warm it to re-melt it). It’s best to use a large bowl for this so your caramel fingers will fit in (it makes it easier to coat them). Add the cacao, coconut syrup and vanilla to the melted coconut oil or cacao butter and mix well using a fork or a small hand whisk. Remove the caramel from the freezer and slice into fingers (or any shape you want).

IMG_1394

Then comes the fun bit! First of call place a wire rack over some baking parchment (or a board – or anything you don’t mind getting messy!). Make sure your chocolate is melted and combined well, then begin the dipping! Dunk the caramel fingers in the chocolate and ensure they’re coated. Then transfer to the wire rack and allow to set. They will stick to the rack, so before they’re set just move them slightly. If you’re anything like me you will probably end up with a bit of a mess on the bottom side, don’t worry, just wait til the top is set (it won’t take long) and turn them over and drizzle chocolate over them to tidy them up.

If you find the chocolate starts to thicken while you’re still coating them then just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to re-melt (or even just place in a warm area – like on a radiator for a few moments – it melts so easily). Once they are all coated and lightly set (because the fingers are frozen it sets pretty quickly but will still be fragile) pop back in the freezer (I just popped them in a tupperware pot).

IMG_1395

Store in the freezer until you want to eat them.. then eat! They’re delicious as a quick pick me up.. and if you’re feeling really naughty they’re even better dipped in a tofu chocolate chili mousse (oh yes I did..!).

IMG_1400IMG_1408IMG_1414

 

 

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!

Amazing Protein-Packed Flapjacks – dairy and gluten free


I get hungry, especially after a workout and I love a good flapjack or energy bar but I hate the fact that so many of the store bought ones are just full of sugar. Many of the ‘healthier’ versions I’ve bought are tasteless and unappetising so last Saturday, after a full on day, I thought I’d create some homemade protein flapjacks – full of good things!

image

I thought I’d do a little video to show you them in the flesh – so here goes:

and the finished product:

image

These don’t take long to put together and you can always substitute things if you don’t have them in the cupboard or don’t like them.

image

You will need:

300g rolled porridge oats (gluten-free or spelt if you want)

100g desiccated coconut

100g flaked almonds

100g Pumpkin seeds

215g dried, soft Prunes

315g dried dates

175g Almond butter (or your nut butter of choice)

100g Liquid sweetener (I used rice malt syrup but you can use agave, maple syrup, honey etc)

2 tbsp Coconut oil (measured when solid)

4 tbsp Vanilla protein powder (any brand you like – or you can also omit this)

4 tbsp Water

2 generous tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Salt

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Line a baking tin (I used a 20 x 20cm one) with baking paper. Mix the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds and coconut together and pour into the baking tin. Place in the oven for 20 mins or until starting to brown. Make sure you turn regularly with a wooden spoon so the whole mixture gets toasted.

While that’s in the oven pop the dates and prunes into a blender or food processor and blitz to a paste. You may need to keep stopping to scrape the mixture back down in to the bowl. It doesn’t need to be completely smooth – a few lumpy bits are good!

Remove the oats from the oven and stir the protein powder through the mixture. Allow to cool.

Put the date mixture, nut butter, liquid sweetener, coconut oil, water, cinnamon and salt in to a large saucepan and heat very gently. Stir and allow the mixture to come together. Remove from the heat and pour the oats into the liquid mixture and mix really well.

Using a spatula scrape the mixture back into the lined baking tin and press down firmly. Then allow to cool and pop in the fridge. Do make sure you lick the saucepan (once it’s cool enough!!!) because the mixture is divine when warm! 🙂

Once it’s chilled you can cut in to slices. It makes the perfect post workout snack on the go and is great to pop in to lunchboxes too!

image

Homemade healthy coconut “bounty” bars! Dairy and Gluten-free


I made these a while ago but totally forgot to put the recipe up! Bad Nancy!

These are delish – a great alternative to a traditional “Bounty” bar and FAR healthier! They’re made with raw chocolate so they’re full of antioxidants and the coconut centre is pure coconut, nothing else!

2014-04-15 17.33.27

You will need some sort of mould for this – it can be any shape and any size you like! I’ve gone for a rectangular one as I happened to have one in my cupboard but anything will do.

For the chocolate you will need:

1 cup Cacao butter (melted)

1 cup Raw Cocoa powder

1/3 Cup Maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

For the filling you will need:

A few tbsp desiccated Coconut (adjust quantity to taste)

Coconut butter – the amount will depend on the size of your chocs so start with a small amount and it’s easy to make more as needed. You need to make sure you use a whole coconut flesh butter, rather than coconut oil. I used the Artisana brand.

2014-04-12 17.07.29

Start with the chocolate. Mix the cacao butter, cocoa and maple syrup together and ensure there are no lumps. Pour a small amount in to the mould – remember you are filling this so don’t fill the mould – probably aim for a third of the mould. Save enough to cover the filling later. You will probably find that it settles at the bottom leaving the sides with only a very thing layer. This is ok – just pop it in the fridge for now. After about 5 mins check it and as it’s beginning to solidify just swirl the mould around so the chocolate coats the sides too. Place back in the fridge until set hard (15 mins should do it).

Now prepare the filling. Just melt the coconut butter gently in a warm pan, stirring all the time. Add as much desicated coconut as you want to get the desired texture and then pour in to the chilled moulds. Place back in the fridge immediately until this has set (at least 15 mins)

2014-04-12 17.01.50

Cover the top with more of your raw chocolate mix (you may need to re-warm it if it’s started to set). Pop straight back in the fridge until properly set – 30 mins or more.

These are best kept in the fridge until you want to eat them and then remove them and allow them to warm very slightly at room temperature for a few mins before serving. I made my chocolate layers just a little bit thick… but I quite like that! 🙂

Enjoy!

2014-04-13 12.44.28