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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Quick, healthy Oat & Banana Pancakes (Vegan/Gluten Free)

IMG_6130Pancakes are what I live for. A day off is not complete without pancakes in there somewhere.

If you follow me on instagram then you would’ve seen my insta-stories are always packed with these babies as their one of my favourite breakfasts. This recipe has been a firm favourite since day one. These aren’t a fluffy american-style pancake, they’re filling and a little spongy in the middle.

When I wasn’t plant-based, I used to make this recipe but it included an egg. After becoming vegan, I tried to adapt the recipe without the egg and without the need of a flax or chia ‘egg’. (Because my stomach can’t afford to wait 5 minutes for the chia to soak. Lets be real.) But I could never get the ratio of oats/milk right and they were always too liquid, too dense or they stuck to the pan like a motherf*****.

Alas I finally cracked it and have been eating these for a while now. I don’t take credit for this recipe, as I found it originally somewhere on the internet a long time ago, but have adapted it to fit my needs now. This morning I cooked a batch, jumped into my bed to eat them when I thought, ‘I should really put these on the blog.’ Not because this is some sort of earth shattering amazing break-through, but because I feel like everyone deserves to have such an easy and gratifying recipe. So I ran to grab my camera and took some quick snaps (these are probably the most impromptu, quickest photos I’ve ever taken; in my bed no less.)

What I love about these pancakes is that they’re so easy to knock up and are actually good for you! Just 4 ingredients. That’s it! No flour, no butter, no eggs, no sugar. Nothing. So yes, I know you’re thinking they probably taste like crap. But I assure you, you can say goodbye to your traditional pancakes and hello to these fibre and vitamin filled delights. A sweet breakfast to keep you full until lunchtime.

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Rich Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Chia Seed Jam with Chocolate Orange Ganache

IMG_5988As much as I love a good, healthy, raw, vegan dessert; sometimes I just want a NORMAL cake. Full of chocolate, sugar and all things bad for me.

So much of being vegan or plant-based means that you don’t necessarily enjoy what you used to, or you have to settle with an ok version made with a crazy amount of nuts. Yes, I do adore these foods when you find THE recipe, but so much of the time it’s too good to be true and you’re left with a flavourless meal (that you really thought might taste like real cheese this time.)

Some vegans really don’t mind these knock-off versions of dairy-laden dishes, as do I sometimes. But I still love and crave dairy. I love the taste of meat, but I love animals more. So here I am, blasting through the world of dairy and meat substitutes.

One thing I can sure make is a vegan chocolate cake. This thing is what I’ve been waiting for! A cake with ingredients I recognise. Ingredients that I have in my cupboard. A cake crumb that’s moist and fudgey. AND IT DOESNT TASTE LIKE COCONUT! (You all know the wonders of coconut, but practically all sweet animal friendly foods taste like coconut, and I’m so sick of it.)

I honestly think this cake is just as good as a ‘normal’ sponge cake using butter and eggs. Everyone needs this recipe in their back pocket, armed for cake emergencies.

As the saying goes; a balanced diet is a chocolate bar in both hands. A slice of chocolate cake in each hand counts too right?

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Vegan Bounty Bites

IMG_5957This is what I live for. Delicious treats that are good for you. If you’re sick of being on the guilt train after eating your weight in chocolate (don’t worry we’ve all been on that journey before), I’m here to save you.

I used to be on a constant hamster wheel of cramming my body with healthy foods, cutting out all treats and going cold turkey on all things sugary. Then my cravings would get the better of me and I’d fall at the first hurdle crashing into an oblivion of chocolate and cake. After a few days of feeling sorry for myself and crap, I’d snap out of it and jump back onto the wheel of health and it starts all over again.

However, after discovering vegan baking, this isn’t so much of a problem for me anymore. Now I’m not saying all vegan baking is good for you; I have a recipe coming soon laden with sugar. But a lot of vegan recipes are considerably more healthy than ordinary dairy/egg versions.

I’m sure you’ve noticed recently that all my posts have been vegan. For multiple reasons, I recently decided to transition from a dairy/meat laden diet to a completely plant-based one. You’ll see some changes happening here but I’ll cover this more in a future post. It’s been hard, but not as hard as I thought. Its actually been really exciting and empowering.

As a child I HATED bounty bars. They were my mothers favourite, and luckily for her no one else is the family would touch them with a bargepole, so she always had ample left for her in the selection box. However, as I’ve grown up, I have a new-found appreciation for coconut and its delicate but rich flavour.

These little coconut bites are perfect to keep stashed in the fridge for those moments of sweet hunger. By keeping them small, I find that I’m much less likely to eat a lot of them. I think having these the size of an ordinary bounty bar would be too much. Although if you’re a bounty lover like my mother, then go for it and make vegan bounty bars the size of your face. No judgement here.

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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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Blood Orange and Ginger Almond Cake

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I havent seemed to be around here at all since the new year. I’ve been spending my days wrapped up in home yoga, enjoying a more savoury side of cooking and trying to cram in as much time with family and friends as I can. As much as I’ve missed my blogging internet self, It was some much-needed time to re-ground myself and remember whats important to me in preparation for a great year to follow.

I havent set any fancy new years resolutions this year, just one. To welcome the coming year with an open heart and open mind (and also looking after my self as a number one priority, but this should just be a given!)

Yes ok, cake isn’t exactly nourishing food but it is nourishment for the soul. Life would be pure hell without the little pleasures.

Blood oranges are a charming fruit to grab while they’re still around. I love how unsuspecting they look from the outside. As soon as you cut through that ordinary peel, you’re hit with a citrus sweet fragrance and an eyeful of juicy burnt orange flesh. Every time I cut into one I’m amazed at the colour.

I decided to make this cake using mostly ground almonds as it gives a great texture contrast to the squidgey orange pieces. Adding in a dash of ground ginger really brings the blood oranges and the sponge together. We’re finally coming out of the depths of winter and gearing up for all of the gleaming fruits and vegetables to come this spring. Cooking delicious food becomes an easy task when nature does all the work for you.

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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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