Raw Peanut Butter & Banana ‘Cheesecake’ (Raw/Vegan/GlutenFree)

IMG_6122I love the idea of raw food. The idea that I’m eating my food closest to its natural form as possible and taking in those nutrients with minimal processing. I have done a lot of blending here but I’d much rather eat bananas, peanuts, dates and coffee in ‘cheesecake’ form rather than eating them on their own. This is much more appealing.

I love eating raw but right now, it’s not an option for me to do full-time. I love my hot food too much. England being generally chilly most of the year, hot food is a comfort and warmth I crave and need. If I lived in a hotter climate with an abundance of ripe, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, I think it would be a bigger possibility.

So I’ll stick with a few raw dishes here and there for now.

This recipe comes adapted from a book my mum gifted to me recently. Its called ‘Raw Cake’ by The Hardihood. It’s a great book full of smoothie/juice recipes, raw cheesecakes, tarts and desserts. A really interesting read in terms of ingredients, some I’ve never even heard of. Collagen powder? Camu Camu powder? This does put me off a few recipes as the ingredients would take more effort to source, but if I really like the look of something I’ll go searching for it.

I chose this recipe because, first of all, I’m obsessed with peanut butter and bananas. Second, it was one of the more simple recipes in the book and included ingredients I already have. As I was tinkering away in the kitchen I decided to add coffee into the base (because one can never have enough coffee) and played around with the liquid consistency in both the base and filling. The filling seemed quite stodgy so I added a good helping of nut milk to thin it out a little as well as adding in a layer of thick sliced banana to give a banoffee pie vibe. Because… BANANAS!

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Vegan Dark Chocolate, Pecan and Almond Butter Oat Cookies (Gluten free)

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Please don’t be put off by the notion of vegan cookies. Trust me, I was a skeptic too. However, in light of recent events (which you’ll hear more about soon), this recipe testing was needed. Vegan cookies were needed.

I’m 100% sure that if someone gave me one of these cookies and didnt tell me they were vegan, I would think they were just normal butter-laden cookies. But guys, theres no butter in sight here! Its been replaced by those heart healthy friends, coconut oil and almond butter. Now I’m not at all saying these are healthy, seen as they’re still packed with sugar and chocolate. Its progress in the right direction though right?

On the other hand however, these babies are full of oats, almonds and pecans. All good for you and all filling. A few of these are a perfect snack pick me up to get you through to dinner time and if you’re anything like me, your need for a sweet treat throughout the day is covered. These can also be made gluten free with gluten free oats.

They’re basically the jesus of all cookies.

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Apple, Pear, Plum and Ginger Oat Crumble (Vegan/GlutenFree)

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The humble Apple crumble. To many brits out there, this is a childhood favourite filled with nostalgia and memories.

I can remember my mum making apple crumbles throughout my younger years, be it summer or winter. Although, its only been in the last few years I’ve come to love them. Don’t ask me what my aversion to it was when I was growing up, because I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t love sweet baked fruit with crunchy doughy topping. But it just wasn’t my thing back then.

I adore making crumbles. They’re quick, simple but deliver bags of flavour. Theres nothing fancy or ornate about them, but they seem to have the ability to both please everyone and bring people together around the dining table.

Plums are delicious this time of year, as are pears. Once baked, they turn soft and syrupy which counters the sharp tang from the trusty bramley apples.

So bring your loved ones together, scoop some ice cream on top and hand out the spoons. No bowls necessary.

*This recipe, and a few others by some different lovely food bloggers, is also available on the HelloFresh blog. Head over there for some more alternative crumble recipes! Click this link to see my crumble and some more Alternative Crumble recipes *

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Peanut Butter, Date and Fig Granola (Vegan/GF)

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Breakfast is by far my favourite meal. It’s maybe the only thing I’ll get up early for in the morning. Theres not a better prospect going to bed at night, than knowing that there’s a beautiful planned breakfast awaiting you in the morning. However, on a week day working 60 plus hours, something I’m short on (as many of you probably are), is time.

I simply don’t have time to stir porridge on a stove top or whip up a batch of pancakes. Especially on only a few hours sleep after staying up late in bed scrolling through the internet (I’m sure we can all relate.)

Something I really love to make is Granola. Make a large batch to last you the week on your days off and you have one less worry for the week ahead. Weekday breakfasts needs to be quick, filling and satisfying. Bland, sugary, box cereal simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

So venture into your store cupboard, follow my recipe or pick out what you love and make it your own. Change the peanut butter for almond butter or switch out the dried cranberries and add in some cocao nibs for some chocolatey crunch. Now I’ve typed that, that sounds damn good! Definitely going to throw some of those in my next batch.

Heres to easy fulfilling breakfasts which hit the spot on a monday morning.

P.s my recipe and video use honey as part of the ingredients, but for a totally vegan granola, change the honey to another sweetener (agave syrup/coconut nectar/maple syrup.)

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Rhubarb and Raspberry Cobbler (with a hint of Grapefruit)

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Rhubarb will always have a special place in my heart, as does most seasonal fruit. Although, Rhubarb has a certain charm that entices me every year without fail more so than anything else. I obsess over it at work; wanting every dish to contain Rhubarb and its lustrous hue. There isn’t a way Rhubarb has been baked, stewed, compressed or poached that I haven’t enjoyed. My most favourite being hearty chunks macerated in sugar for an hour or two, eaten in their raw state with a little hint of sweetness to tone down that bite.

I adore the moment when its juices gets you round the teeth; you love it and hate it at the same time, a flavour unlike anything else and immediately recognisable.

I’ve never made a cobbler before and only eaten it once. I’m more inclined to lean toward a crumble because that’s what my British roots have instilled in me. However, this time, I felt like I wanted more of a cakey topping so I turned to the cobbler instead. I paired Rhubarb with fresh Raspberries and a large squeeze of Red Grapefruit to really intensify the bitterness against the sweet doughy topping. Adding in ground and roughly chopped almonds into the dough gives the cobbler a delicate nutty flavour.

Hands down, my favourite part to a cobbler is the variety in texture. One mouthful is crunchy, crisp and clean and the next is a smack in the mouth filled with sharp Rhubarb juices and soggy dough that’s been drinking it all up.

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A rich dark and gooey Chocolate Cake for Autumnal nights

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It’s approaching that time of year when the sun retreats into the sky earlier and earlier, leaving us in dusky overcast light before we’ve even sat down for dinner. It’s the time when all you want it to do is hide under your covers every morning and leave the responsibilities shut outside where they can’t get you. Its the time when food becomes more than fuel for your body, it fuels your soul. You yearn for those familiar flavours, smells, comforts that somehow got forgotten over the past summer of raw salads.

I’ve been searching for a cake like this for a long time. A cake that you can throw together without much effort. A cake that has that envious gooey, shiny interior that we all thrive for in a chocolate cake. But most importantly for me, that deep rich dark colour. Nothing makes me ache more for a sweet snack than an intense dark brown crumb.

I can wholeheartedly admit to you that all I want after pounding the harsh concrete pavements of London and slugging through the rain is this. This isn’t a pretty cake. It’s not about that. This loaf cake is about cutting out the manners and getting straight to what you came for.

Although however raw, unrefined or informal a cake like this is; there’s still something ever so charming about it. It’s not a slice of cake that’s ‘too beautiful to eat.’ It practically screams at you to devour it. That said, unashamed, that’s what we shall do.

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Simple Peach Upside Down Cake

IMG_5428After last weeks failed attempt at getting back in the blogging game, (lets just leave it at a humiliated pastry chef forgetting to add sugar into a carrot cake), I decided to return to the ever comforting and humble side of home baking.

6 months have flown by since I last baked at home; it was a strange nostalgic feeling spending time in my own kitchen again. I’m so used to the pressure and robotic nature that often occurs during work that I forget how serene my own calm kitchen can feel. 90% of my time at work is spent time managing myself and how long it takes me to knock out that batch of mousse I’ve made countless times. That, along with an endless mental repetition of what order I’m going to carry out my mise en place for the rest of the day. The other 10% is spent brainstorming and recipe testing which is a lot more intriguing, creative and fuelled by passionate pastry chefs.

My kitchen though, thats a whole different therapy in itself. Its just me and my space. No bravado, no judgement and most importantly of all, I’m surrounded by a sense of undisturbed tranquil. I adore the thirty minutes I get to sit with a coffee, a book and my music waiting for my little bake to finish transforming in the oven.

For this upside down cake, you really want to try and get some beautiful ripe juicy peaches. All the flavour in this cake comes from those sun burnt fruits. This cake is simple, so you need to make a killer sponge and use good quality ingredients.

Sometimes on my day off I just want a slice of cake and this definitely didn’t disappoint.

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Stem Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding with Brandy Butterscotch Sauce

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I’m sat at my desk right now, devouring a hot toasted cheese doused in worcestershire sauce. As I ran into the kitchen five minutes ago (having completely forgotten my dinner was in the oven) there was my housemate, preparing a large bowl of apple pie and custard. More like a couple of mini apple pies floating in a large pool of yellow custard. As much as I found it hilarious when he took his bowl down to his room using oven mitts, all be it with a little shame on his face, I found our mutual food habits more endearing.

This cold weather seems to force me to reach for comfort food, as it does so many like my housemate. Hot dishes laden with butter, cheese, cream or anything to put a bit more warmth in my bones.

After Christmas, I vowed I’d jump straight back onto the health and fitness train but it was much easier said than done. Do you know what? I have no regrets over the endless amounts of doughnuts, pastries and chocolate I’ve eaten. Every mouthful has filled me with joy and comforted me when I’m freezing my ass off in the kitchen at work everyday.

On a side note; nobody told me how hard it would be to run home from work at 8pm, in January when its wet, cold and dark all the time. When I could easily just hop on the tube and be home in 10 minutes and well… warm.

Nothing would make me yearn for home and the comfort of my bed, my duvet and my television more than this sticky toffee pudding. Sticky toffee pudding is amazing on its own, but when you add in stem ginger and brandy butterscotch sauce it creates an even more welcoming bowl. The stem ginger is a lovely hit of flavour against the sweet caramel sponge along with the brandy sauce warming your throat.

Straight after I made this, I couldn’t wait to share it with you all. It’s easy, doesn’t require any fancy equipment and is one of my favourite dishes.

I was lucky enough to be asked to post this for Wayfair, a company which sells a vast array of homewares. Find the recipe over at Wayfair.co.uk

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