Sweet stuff

DAIRY AND REFINED SUGAR FREE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

 

Getting to this recipe was a real labour of love. I have been wanting for a while to make an ice cream-type pudding which doesn’t contain refined sugar but also tastes good. I have seen many people posting recipes involving frozen bananas pureed down into an ice-cream type thing, but after trying it I quite simply found it horrible and far too banana-tasting for any other flavour to contend with. I messed about with adding vanilla and avocado, but still felt like I was eating pureed banana – and the freezing only seemed to make it taste like…well…frozen baby food. Eugh.

I started playing with coconuts instead. Having read about vegan coconut cream online, I found that if you whip up the solid cream part on the top of a can of coconut milk, you get a whipped cream texture. Adding in a coconut yogurt pot and cocoa and just a little bit of banana, I was finally able to get the taste AND texture I was looking for. Hooray!

Just a couple of notes. Firstly, in order to get the cream from a tin of coconut you do need to have refrigerated it overnight, and do not shake or invert the tin once it has been in the fridge. Secondly, as this is not ice cream you will not get instant scooping ability straight from the freezer. Either wait 20 mins once out the freezer before serving, or do what I do and freeze in little containers so it defrosts quicker. Even better, this would be ace in lolly moulds.

INGREDIENTS

1 can full fat coconut milk (Thai Taste is good)

1 banana, mashed

1 small pot coconut yogurt (I use Coconut Collaborative)

2 tbsp cocoa

2 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. smooth pure peanut butter (optional)

  1. Ensure that the coconut milk has been chilled well, preferably overnight. Open can and spoon out the solid cream from the top of the can and the lid. The remaining milk can be saved to put into smoothies.
  2. Using an electric hand beater, whip the coconut cream for a minute or so until it is creamy and looking like whipped double cream
  3. Mix the cocoa in a mug with a splash of hot water to dissolve. Add this to the coconut cream along with everything else
  4. Beat well with the beater until it is all incorporated, and has increased in volume by about half. Taste for sweetness – you can always add some more maple syrup or cocoa if you like a stronger taste
  5. Transfer to small tubs or a lolly mould. Freeze; if you are using a large tub go back to it every couple of hours and smush it about with a fork to make sure ice crystals don’t form.

BANANA, PEAR AND CHOCOLATE BREAD (REFINED SUGAR FREE)

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This yummy breakfast bread comes from Nigella’s Kitchen cookbook. It is advertised in there as banana and chocolate muffins, but I wanted to make something that could be sliced and I also had some spare pears kicking around. As usual this recipe has been modified to make sure there is no refined sugar. It is super moist and not too sweet, making it ideal for a breakfast treat at the weekends.

You will also see that it is ridiculously easy to make. You will have it in the oven within 5 minutes of getting your bowls out the cupboard.

For babies, serve small sticks of the bread with yogurt for dipping. For you, this would be gorgeous smothered in Nutella. Just saying…

INGREDIENTS:

2 overripe bananas, mashed

1 pear, peeled and chopped into small dice

2 eggs

125ml maple syrup

225g plain flour

3tbsp good quality cocoa powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

125ml vegetable oil

Grease and line a small loaf tin and preheat oven to 190 degrees.

  1. Add oil, eggs and maple syrup to mashed banana, beat well
  2. Sieve the cocoa, flour and bicarb into the banana mix and gently mix together so everything is incorporated
  3. Tip mixture into the loaf tin. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  4. Allow to cool on a wire rack – then slice and enjoy. As the mixture uses oil rather than butter the texture will actually improve the next day.

 

 

BABY-FRIENDLY CARROT, GINGER AND WALNUT CAKE

 

I make no bones that this has come straight from the Nigella At My Table cookbook…and I love it! I had some carrots going a bit bendy in the fridge and HATE wasting food, so this was an ideal way to use them up with a few other storecupboard ingredients. I have adapted the recipe so that it now contains zero refined sugar and the walnuts are crumbs rather than in pieces – so I feel very happy feeding small slices to my baby. I have also ditched the crystalised ginger specified in the original recipe as it makes the cake very gingery which might not work for small pallettes.

It isn’t especially sweet, but I am not a fan of my dental work being challenged so this works big time in our household.

Ingredients:

200g plain flour

200g carrots, peeled and grated

1tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

2tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

2 large eggs

200ml vegetable oil

100g walnuts, ground to crumbs

5floz maple syrup

1 grated apple

20cm greased cake tin

Preheat oven to 170 degrees

  1. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb, ground ginger and salt into a bowl and fork well to mix thoroughly.
  2. Beat the maple syrup, apple, eggs and oil in another large bowl until they are completely mixed together, then gradually add the flour mixture, scraping the bowl you’re beating them in to rescue and incorporate any flour clinging to the edges. At this stage the mixture may seem alarmingly stiff, but the carrots will loosen it up. So, beat in the carrots and then fold in the walnuts until everything is evenly combined.
  3. Spoon and scrape into the prepared tin. Don’t worry if it looks as if you haven’t got nearly enough batter, as the cake will rise well as it bakes. Smooth the top and pop in the oven (this is when to make the icing, see step 5) for 45–55 minutes. When it’s ready, the cake will be set and golden brown on top, beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester will come out with just a few crumbs stuck to it. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool in its tin.

You can freeze this cake as it is for easy nibbling.

To prepare a frosting, beat together Philly with a little unsalted butter, a squeeze of fresh orange juice and a dash of maple syrup. Spread over the cake. The butter will make the frosting harden when refrigerated.

 

OAT PANCAKES AND STRAWBERRY CHIA SEED JAM

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OK so this recipe does sound a little holier than thou. And I am not usually into ‘health’ food as much as instilling generally good habits about variety and sensible choices. BUT I would not post a recipe if it really did not taste pretty damn good, and these really do. I have magpie’d both recipes from other fantastic authors – the pancakes are adapted from Simply Nigella and the jam from Young Gums. So I cannot claim credit for either creation.
You could make these pancakes totally dairy free by using oat milk and frying in olive oil rather than butter.
You can add any extras to the pancakes you fancy…blueberries, chocolate or banana would work. I have now taken to bulk-blending the oat mixture and storing it in freezer bags in the cupboard for instant throwing-together ability. You also do not have to make the jam. Just some maple syrup, yogurt and fresh berries will do. One thing though… do NOT try to be clever and try to substitute the ground oats for Ready Brek. I made this mistake and it was hideous.
Makes 8 pancakes (feeds 2 adults and one baby) and enough jam for two pancake recipes

INGREDIENTS
For the jam:
200g hulled and washed strawberries
2tbsp chia seeds
Dash vanilla extract

Juice of half a lemon

For the pancakes:
100g porridge oats (not instant)
1tsp baking powder
Quarter tsp sea salt flakes
1tsp ground cinnamon
Dash vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
100ml whole milk
Butter for frying

1. Firstly make the jam – just blitz the strawberries in a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a clean jar and leave for a few hours in the fridge to firm up and become jam-like.
2. Use a food processor to blitz the oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to fine mealy crumbs (about 30 secs in my Kitchenaid).
3. In a large jug mix together the egg, milk and vanilla together. Add the oat mixture and stir well. The oats will harden if not cooked with straight away so do not allow to stand.
4. Melt butter in pan and allow to foam. Spoon out four small pancakes and allow to cook for a couple of minutes until small bubbles form on the top. DO not press the mixture down. Flip over and cook on the other side for another two minutes. Remove and keep warm, then repeat with the remaining mixture.
5. Serve piled on plates with the jam, yogurt, berries, fruit…whatever you fancy.

 

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