Heavenly Healthier Chocolate Cake

I have been experimenting with gluten free, grain free and dairy free cakes for a while now, and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.

Lower in fat and sugar than typical chocolate cake this recipe even contains fruit, yet still tastes decadent with its blend of vanilla, cinnamon and coffee. It also contains cacao powder, which is a good source of nutrients and is naturally sweet. Go ahead: try it warm from the oven with homemade yoghurt and blueberries. Mmm…

You will need:

4 small apples

1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh or bottled

2 tbsp coconut oil, softened (vegetable oil will work here too)

2 tsp instant coffee (I use cafedirect fair trade organic decaffeinated  coffee – caffeine doesn’t like me)

3 medium eggs

2 tbsp powdered stevia

30ml almond milk

2 tbsp rice malt syrup

65g coconut flour

50g raw cacao powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

7″ baking tin with a removable base, lightly greased

 

1. Chop the apples and remove the cores. Put the oven on to 180°C (160°C fan).

2. Place apple pieces in a small saucepan with the lemon juice and just enough water to cover.

3. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 10  minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a food processor place the coconut oil, coffee, stevia, rice malt syrup, milk and eggs. Whizz on a high speed until well combined using the blade attachment.

5. Add to the food processor the flour, cacao, baking powder, vanilla extract and cinnamon.

6. Strain the cooked apples and add to the mixture.

7. Whizz again for a full minute, scraping down the sides as needed.

8. You should have a soft dropping consistency. If not, add a tablespoon of almond milk or apple water.

9. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in a pre-heated oven for 35 minutes or until a metallic skewer comes out clean. The top of the cake should be crackled but not burnt.

10. Store in the fridge (if it lasts that long).

 

adapted from this recipe: 

http://www.theculinaryjumble.com/2016/02/24/deeply-rich-chocolate-cake/

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Healthier Bread and Butter Pudding: Dairy Free, Low Sugar, Lower Fat

I do love a good old fashioned English pud! Bread and butter pudding is another great way to use up old bread, and with this recipe the usual cream and sugar are substituted with almond milk, agave syrup and grated apple.

 

You will need:

Margarine

10 slices wholemeal bread, medium thickness (I use the cheap kind and it works fine)

100g sultanas

1 teaspoon ground mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

400ml almond milk

3 large free range eggs

1 level tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)

1 level dessertspoon agave syrup

1 dessert apple, finely grated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

1. Spread the bread slices with margarine, ensuring you spread thinly and as far towards the edges as you can.

2. Cut the bread slices into triangles.

3. Arrange half of the bread slices on the base of a large ovenproof dish.

4. Sprinkle with half of the sultanas and the ground mixed spice.

5. Arrange the remaining half of the bread slices on the top and again sprinkle with the remaining sultanas and the cinnamon.

6. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk together with the vanilla extract and agave syrup.

7. Put the grated apple and almond milk in a saucepan.

8. Heat the milk mixture, but don’t let it boil.

9. Pour the milk mixture over the eggs, stirring continuously.

10. Now pour the mixture over the bread slices.

11. Press the bread slices down gently with a fork, until saturated.

12. Sprinkle the top with sugar.

13. Place in the oven at 160ºC (140ºC fan oven) for 50 minutes, or until the top is golden and the pudding has set.

14. Serve with home made yoghurt for a tasty treat.

LOW FAT LOW SUGAR BREAD PUDDING: A HEALTHIER VERSION OF THE STALE BREAD SAVER

You will need:

Stale bread, approx. 500-600g

3 generous dessertspoons (30-40ml) molasses/black treacle

25g suet

2 heaped teaspoons ground mixed spice

200g mixed dried fruit

1 dessert apple, grated

Approx. 600 to 900ml unsweetened soya or almond milk (or water)

 

  1. Tear bread into bite sized pieces and put in a large bowl.
  2. Pour milk over and press bread down with a potato masher until the bread starts to absorb the liquid.
  3. Cover and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Using a large colander held over another large bowl, drain the milk or water off the bread. Use the milk/water for something else. I just drink it!
  5. Press the bread with the potato masher again to squeeze the moisture out.
  6. Add the molasses, suet, apple, dried fruit and spice and stir to combine.
  7. Place into two small, greased roasting tins and spread out using the back of a metal spoon.
  8. Dot the top of the mixture with 30g butter or margarine.
  9. Cover with tin foil to stop the top of the mixture from burning.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 100°Celsius (80°C fan oven) for three to four hours, until firm.
  11. This will not set hard like a traditional bread pudding. Instead it has more of the texture of bread and butter pudding, but what’s not to like!
  12. Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.
  13. Store in the fridge and eat within three days, or freeze and eat within three months.

Nutty Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from a recipe in ‘Vegetarian Cooking Without’ by Barbara Cousins.

 

 

You will need:

370g chopped dates

250g dessert apples, grated (weighed after grating)

water

120ml vegetable oil

5 medium free range eggs

250g brown rice flour*

70g fair trade cocoa powder

 2 tsp vanilla extract or chocolate flavouring

2 tsp baking powder

4 tbsp light tahini**

50g hazelnuts

handful of toasted flaked almonds

1. Put 250g of the dates into a saucepan with the grated apple and 360ml water.

2. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until it has turned into a browny mush.

3. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together with the vegetable oil.

4. Gradually add the flour, baking powder and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract, whisking well each time.

5. Add the hazelnuts, apple and dates and stir to combine.

6. Cut two rectangles of greaseproof paper and use to line two large roasting tins.

7.  Spoon the mixture into the two tins using a metal spoon and smooth it down so that the mixture is evenly spread.

8. Bake at 200ºC (180ºC for a fan oven) for 20 minutes.

9. Leave to cool.

10. Meanwhile, make the topping.

11. Place the remaining 120g of chopped dates into a saucepan with 20g of the cocoa and 250ml water.

12. Stir to combine.

13. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until it has turned to mush just like you did with the apples and dates.

14. Remove from the heat and stir in the tahini and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract or chocolate flavouring.

15. Mix well to combine, then using a spatula spread evenly over the cooked brownie mixture.

16. Spinkle with the toasted flaked almonds.

17. Cut into slices, and store in the fridge for up to three days, or seal and freeze for up to 3 months.

18. 3 months?! In our house they’re gone in two days!

TOP TIPS

*Wholemeal or plain flour can be substituted for the rice flour and are easier on the pocket.

**Tahini is made from sesame seeds and it seems to be one of those things where you either love it or hate it.

Peanut butter can be substituted for the tahini in this recipe. You could even make your own – see here for recipe.

You could try adding a tablespoon of grated orange peel for extra flavour; mix in just before baking.

Bread Pudding – The Stale Bread Saver

Easy as pie pudding

I hate wasting food. There are so many people who have next to nothing that to waste food is anathema. But what if <cue chilling music> despite your best endeavours your bread is stale? Fear not! Just have a go at this recipe. It’s a very simple way to use up stale bread. It’s also very versatile, making a good breakfast on a chilly morning served with milk or natural yoghurt; it can be sliced and eaten for a filling accompaniment to lunch; it can be dished up with piping hot custard for a wonderful winter warmer pud.

Bread Pudding, courtesy of wiki

You will need:

10 slices stale bread (medium sliced value/economy loaf)

milk/soya milk (or water)

130g sugar* (brown works well but caster sugar is fine)

70g suet/vegetable suet

200g dried fruit** (I used a mixture of sultanas, raisins, blueberries and apricots)

2 teaspoons mixed spice

Two  greased loaf tins

I’ve not priced this one up yet, but all the ingredients are relatively inexpensive, so the price per portion must be small.

1. Break bread into smallish pieces (1 inch/2.5cm) and place into a mixing bowl (you could use breadcrumbs).

2. Cover sparingly with the milk and press the bread down so that the bread begins to absorb the liquid.

3. Leave for 15 minutes.

4. Have a cuppa while you’re waiting.

5. Tip the mixture into a sieve or colander and squeeze excess moisture out. It needn’t be dry, just not dripping. If you were careful with the milk you shouldn’t be left with too much to squeeze (and hence, waste).

6. Place squishy bread in a big mixing bowl.

7. Add the sugar, fruit, suet and spice. Mix well.

8. Tip half into one loaf tin and half into the other.

9. Bake on a very low heat 100ºC for about 3*** hours.

10. Serve on its own, or with milk, yoghurt or custard.

TOP TIPS

Fair Trade – because they’re worth it

*Sugar – it is so easy to by fair trade sugar nowadays that this is an obvious choice for a recipe such as this. If it’s fairly traded, no one will have been ripped off. And ripping off poor people is nasty.

** Dried fruit – if you’re strapped for cash, go for sultanas. It won’t make any real difference in flavour.

*** You can cook this in the slow cooker overnight on ‘low’ or, if you have an oven which turns itself off, you can make it before bed, set the timer for 3 hours (knowing that the oven will turn itself off in the meantime) and look forward to a yummy breakfast, which makes a nice change from porridge or toast  🙂

Ground Rice Pudding

This easy peasy low-fat pudding is so simple to make and is ready in about 10 minutes.

 

You will need

100g ground rice £1/500g

1.2l skimmed milk (I use soya milk which works equally well) 53p/litre

25g unrefined caster sugar £1.60/kg

1 tablespoon maple syrup £2.98/250g

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg £1.12/42g

23p per serving

 

1 Heat the milk in a saucepan for a few minutes.

2 Sprinkle the ground rice over the top.

3 Bring to the boil, stirring slowly with a wooden spoon so that it doesn’t stick to the pan or form lumps.

4 Turn down the heat and add the sugar, syrup and nutmeg.

5 Simmer (bubble gently but not vigorously) for four to five minutes, or until thickened.

6 Serve.

Banana Mess

Two minutes, easy peasy

Looking for a no-frills, no junk pudding? Look no further! Get the kids to help – even a small child can use a table knife to slice banana.

To feed two adults and three children you will need:

500g tub plain *yoghurt 65p at Asda

5 *bananas 20p each

1 teaspoon of honey per person (squeezy honey is easiest when you have children – less potential for mess) £1.58 for 250g at Asda, I estimate that that works out at 5g per person, which is 3p per serving

A pudding bowl each

Total cost per serving = 33p

 

1. Slice a banana into a pudding bowl, squirt with a teaspoon of honey. Repeat for each person.

2. Divide the yoghurt between the bowls, using a dessert spoon.

3. Mix.

Enjoy!

TOP TIPS

*Alpro soya plain yoghurt can be substituted if, like me, you’re dairy free.

This increases the price to 48p per person.

* Just because we’re on a budget, doesn’t mean we get to rip-off poor people;

the price above is for FAIR TRADE bananas.