BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

#MeatfreeMonday, Baking, blueberries, Breakfast, brunch, coffee, dairy free, Desserts, exercise, fitness, food, foodshare, free from, fruit, Fruits, fun, go vegam, go vegan, health, Healthy, healthy food, lemon, meat free, meat free monday, nutrition, organic, pancakes, recipe of the day, recipes, vegan food

PANCAKES

Preparation & cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 8 medium sized pancakes

Over the weekend I really fancied something hot for breakfast. My breakfasts usually consist of a smoothie, or some fruit, or some oats but I wanted something different. I decided to make some blueberry pancakes as I had just been to the farmers market and bought some really plump and tasty blueberries. Pancakes are one of the best breakfasts going; I am really glad that I like them now because growing up I was never a massive fan of them. This recipe is really easy to put together, and although it is not the healthiest breakfast, I have made sure to add some good ingredients to provide a lot more in terms of nutrient value in comparison to a bog standard pancake recipe. Feel free to mix up the fruit that you use in the recipe; I have made them with raspberries and blackberries before and they have turned out amazingly! There are also so many toppings that you can use, I have included my two favourites in this recipe, but you can use whatever you like the most.

Ingredients:

  • 125g organic plain white flour (you can use the flour of your preference e.g. wholemeal etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • The zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, melted
  • 250ml of almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
  • 75-100g of blueberries

PANCAKE COLLAGE

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature. You will need to cook the pancakes in batches and keep them warm in the oven until you have used up the batter.

2. In a large bowl combine all of the dry and wet ingredients (apart from the blueberries) together and mix quickly. Don’t over mix the mixture as you don’t want the baking powder to activate in the bowl, you want it to activate as the mixture goes into the pan giving you a lovely fluffy pancake. Gently fold the blueberries into the mixture trying not to burst them.

3. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add in a small amount of coconut oil. This recipe makes 8 medium sized pancakes. Use a medium sized ladle pour one ladleful of batter into the pan. If you are using a large frying pan you may be able to cook more than one pancake at a time. Cook the pancakes for around 2 minutes on each side. Flip the pancake over when the bottom has become nice and golden and bubbles are showing on the top of the pancake. Once the pancakes are cooked place them on a roasting tray in the oven to keep them warm. Keep doing this until you have used up all of the batter. Then serve them up when they are all ready and put the toppings that you like on top.

My two favourite toppings have to be lemon, sugar and cinnamon and then soya yoghurt, maple syrup and chia seed. Both of these are so tasty but you can use the topping of your choice. I would love to hear what your favourite toppings are so I can give them a try.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Flaxseed: Flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are high in vitamin B1, dietary fibre, magnesium and phosphorus and also offer moderate levels of vitamin B3, B5 and B6.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is an excellent source of dietary fibre, calcium and iron.

Lemon: Lemons, like with other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Blueberries: Blueberries are a good source of dietary fibre, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin K.

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PITTAS TO DIE FOR!

Baking, Bread, Healthy, Sandwich, Side Dishes, Snack, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian, Vini's Sandwiches

pitta bread main

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour 30 mins (includes proving time)
Makes: 4 large or 6 regular pitta breads

If, like me, you love a good old sandwich and you especially love having a stuffed pitta bread, then look no further! This recipe is so awesome! It is easy to make and it tastes so, so good. Making homemade bread is so enjoyable and it really will make your sandwiches and meals taste so much better (and it is also a good way to show off to friends and family a little!). Pitta breads may sound difficult to make, but it is quite the opposite; once you have the dough made and proved, cooking them only takes 5 minutes. You cook the breads on a really high heat which gives them the amazing hollow effect as they puff up! You can flavour the dough with anything you want; in the recipe below I have used chia seeds in them which gives a lovely crunch, but putting toasted spices into the dough is a great way of getting extra flavour into your pittas.

Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 160ml water
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g chia seeds (or any seed or spice of your choice)

Pitta CollageIn the picture above, I filled the pittas with stir fried vegetables, baba ganoush and a generous serving of coriander. It was AMAZING!

Method:

1.   In a large bowl put all of the dry ingredients. Put the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other side of the bowl. You need to make sure the salt and yeast aren’t combined as the salt will kill the yeast. Add 120ml of the water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil to the bowl and mix together using your fingers. Whilst mixing, slowly add the rest of the water (you may not need it all) and the olive oil until you have a soft dough and all of the flour has come off of the side of the bowl.

2.   Pour a little oil onto a clean work surface and place your dough on top of the oil. Knead the bread for 5-10 minutes. The dough may seem a little wet to start with but keep working at it and you will get a lovely smooth dough. Once you have a smooth dough, place it in a clean, oiled bowl and cover it with cling film. Put the bowl in a nice warm place; this will help the help the dough to rise. Leave the dough to prove for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

3.   Preheat the oven to 250 C and place a clean baking tray on the middle shelf to get nice and hot.

4.   Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a flour dusted surface. Knock the dough back (all this means is to push all of the air out of the dough) by folding the dough in on itself and pushing the dough down over and over again until you have knocked all of the air out. This won’t take long to do, maybe a minute or so.

5.   Split the dough into 4 or 6 equal balls and roll out each ball, with a dusted rolling pin, until they are 5mm thick. Dust each pitta with a little flour just to make sure that they do not stick to the baking tray. Take the baking tray out of the oven and place as many pitta breads as you can on the tray (you may have to cook them in batches). Put the tray in the oven and cook the pittas for 5 – 8 minutes or until they start to get some colour. Don’t be tempted to leave them in the oven to go completely brown as you will end up with a brittle pitta bread that will break up as soon as you try to cut into it. Once the pitta breads are cooked, place them onto a chopping board and cover them with a clean cloth until they have cooled down. Once they have cooled the pitta breads should be soft and easy to open and ready to be filled with amazing ingredients!

I made these last weekend for my girlfriends family and they went down amazingly. I served them with a potato curry and a nice salad. The thing I love about these breads is that you can have them with so many different fillings!

I hope you like the recipe. Let me know if you try them out 🙂 

 

Blackberry, Orange & Hazelnut Brownies!

Baking, coffee, Desserts, Fruits, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

DSC_0028Makes: 9 (generous) portions
Preparation & cooking time: 35 minutes (including cooling time)

One of the most underwhelming and anti-climatic feelings in the whole world is when you buy (or make) a chocolate cake that looks so moist and chocolatey but when you bite into it, it delivers a dry and bland regular sponge flavour that just disappoints on every level! In my opinion, when you have a chocolate cake or brownie, you want it to have the most chocolatey flavour possible! If you share this feeling then this is the perfect recipe for you, as it really is so rich and chocolatey you do really need something to cut through the sheer chocolatey-ness (such as the blackberries in this recipe). I added in the orange zest and hazelnuts to this recipe as these are just classic flavour combinations that you just go so well with chocolate, but I wanted another element to it, a sharper more exciting element that will give you a slap around your face when you are eating it, and this is when I thought of adding blackberries. It may not be the most well known of fruits to be paired with chocolate, but for me they go together so well as the tartness of the blackberries really cuts through the chocolate and knocks your tastebuds for six when you have them in these brownies. There are two rules that I follow when I work with chocolate; 1) I always add a pinch of salt to the recipe when there is chocolate involved as the flavours really do intensify and makes the recipe even more chocolatey and 2) For the same reasoning, I will always use a shot of really good espresso to the chocolate mixture. Coffee and chocolate share a lot of qualities and when they are paired together the flavours are just taken to another level! As you can see from the picture, half of my brownies are coated in hazelnuts and the other half is not. I have only done this as my girlfriend does not like hazelnuts in brownies! If you like the combination then you can coat the entire mixture with hazelnuts or leave them off completely 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 75ml vegetable oil (plus a little extra for greasing)
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 80g light brown sugar
  • 170g self raising flour
  • 3 really heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 180ml almond milk
  • 50ml espresso
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • The zest of 2 oranges
  • 100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • A handful of blackberries, roughly chopped

Method:

1.   Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a square baking tin (roughly 24cm) with a little vegetable oil and then line it with greaseproof paper to make sure that brownies have no chance of sticking.

2.   Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) and break in the 200g of chocolate. Once melted, leave to the side to cool a little.

3.   Sieve the flour and the cocoa powder into a large bowl, then stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds and add these to the bowl along with the grated zest of one orange, 50g of hazelnuts and half of the blackberries. Mix in the oil, almond milk, espresso and melted chocolate until you have a silky smooth batter.

4.   Pour the batter into the prepared tin and then sprinkle over the remaining hazelnuts, orange zest and blackberries. Put the tin into the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until you have a lovely crust on the outside of the brownie whilst the middle is still deliciously gooey! Once the brownies are ready, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve them warm with some ice cream or a milkshake!!

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I hope you like this recipe and trust me if you have a craving for chocolate then look no further, I guarantee that this recipe will satisfy your craving instantly!

Spiced Orange and Chia Seed Cake with Coffee Ice Cream

Baking, coffee, Desserts, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

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Makes: 12 portions
Preparation & cooking time: 3 – 3 1/2 hours (including freezing time for the ice cream) 

Hi guys! This post is my entry for PETA’s Great Vegan Bake-Off 2014. I only found out about the competition a few days back and I immediately thought that I had to enter for two reasons. Firstly, I think that PETA is an amazing organisation that has done a brilliant job of educating numerous amounts of people on the important issue of the treatment of animals within our society and I am sure their efforts will be seen even more in the future and secondly, it has given me a chance to practice my vegan baking! Since becoming vegan, baking really hasn’t been my strong point, however, I hope that you like my entry, a spiced orange and chia seed cake with a coffee ice cream! I decided to go for this combination as I love the partnership of orange with powerful spices as I think they really compliment each other and I had to follow one of the main elements of my blog by adding a coffee ice cream with it. For those of you who haven’t had the combination of orange and coffee before, you should definitely give it a go as they really do go well together! If anyone enjoys vegan baking then click on the link above and enter a recipe, it is great fun and for a great cause. I hope you like the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Oranges
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 300g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon chia seeds
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Orgran No Egg (a natural egg replacer), (7 teaspoons egg replacer to 14 tablespoons of water)
  • Dairy free chocolate (for decoration)
  • 2 Frozen bananas (peel and slice the bananas before freezing)
  • 2 shots of the best quality espresso you can get/make

Method:

1.   Place 3 of the oranges into a large deep pan and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then place a lid over the pan, turn the heat down and leave the oranges to simmer for 2 hours. To check if the oranges are finished, slide a knife into the skin of the orange and if it goes in really easily and the inside of the orange has broken down then they are definitely done. Once the oranges reach this stage drain and leave them to cool in a colander.

2.   Whilst the oranges are cooling, you can prepare the ice cream. This is such a simple way of making really tasty (and healthy!) ice cream and it can be made into whatever flavour you fancy! Put the frozen banana slices and the 2 shots of espresso into a food blender and blend until you have a really silky smooth mixture. You can add whatever flavour you like to the banana base; I really like adding frozen berries to the mixture. Once the ice cream is silky smooth, pour it into a container, cover it with a lid (or cling film) and put it into the freezer. Simple!

3.   Once the oranges have cooled, slice each of them in half and remove any seeds. Roughly chop the oranges (skin an all!) and place them into a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth orange mixture. Preheat the oven to 160 C, then line an 8 inch (20cm) cake tin with grease proof paper and then grease with vegetable oil just to be sure that your cake will not stick to the tin.

4.   Put the orange mixture into a bowl and then place 450g of the mixture back into the food processor (you can then discard the rest, or keep it for another recipe) along with all of the dry ingredients (except for the chia seeds) and the 14 tablespoons of water and blend until you have a nice smooth batter. Once the mixture is smooth, mix in the chia seeds with a spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and put into the oven for 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours. Check the cake every now and then to make sure that it isn’t burning. If you feel the cake is colouring too quickly on the top, cover the tin with tin foil for the remainder of the baking time. To check if the cake is done, pierce the cake with a skewer and if the skewer comes out clean (without and cake mixture on it) then the cake is done. Keep the cake in the oven until it has reached the point where the skewer comes out clean. Once the cake is cooked, place the tin on a wire rack and once the cake has cooled completely, remove the cake from the tin.

5.   Now you are ready to plate up! Take a generous slice of cake and place it in the middle of the plate, then put a nice spoonful of the ice cream on the top of the cake and top this with the zest of the remaining orange and some chocolate shavings!

I really hope that you like this recipe and give it a go! 🙂

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Banana bread with fresh bananas, caramel sauce & creme fraiche!

Baking, Bread, Desserts, Vegetarian

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Makes: 1 loaf
Preparation & cooking time: 1 hr 30 minutes

This a great recipe for a nice and easy bake on the weekend. It is awesome because everyone (including myself!) always has some bananas left in the fruit bowl at the end of the week that are past their best, that are bruised & turning black and will undoubtedly be chucked into the rubbish bin at some point; but for this recipe, the riper the banana, the better the bread tastes! It is a versatile bread as you can have it as a dessert (as I am doing with it) with some ice cream or it makes a brilliant breakfast toasted with some jam!

Ingredients:

  • 500g really ripe bananas
  • 400g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 ml soy milk (or almond milk)
  • 10g baking powder
  • 10g baking soda
  • 500g bread flour
  • 200g vegetable oil
  • 1 extra banana
  • 150g sugar
  • 300ml soy cream
  • 80ml water
  • Creme fraiche
  • Dark chocolate

Method:

1.   Preheat your oven to 150 C.

2.   In a large bowl, mix together the ripe bananas and the sugar until it is a smooth and creamy consistency. Add in the eggs, soy milk and vegetable oil and mix again until smooth. Finally, sieve in the bread flour, the baking powder and baking soda and mix really well so that all of the ingredients are nicely combined. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper and rub lightly with a little vegetable oil to make sure that the bread doesn’t stick. Pour the bread mixture into the tin and put into the oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until lovely & golden and when you push a skewer into the bread it comes out clean.

3.   Once the bread is cooked, take it out of the oven and leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes and then take it out of the tin and leave it to cool completely on a wire rack. Once the bread has completely cooled you can prepare the caramel sauce. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan mix the sugar and water, cover with a lid and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Increase heat and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a light brown (usually around 5-7 minutes) and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Watch it carefully as you don’t want it to burn. Gradually add in the cream and simmer until the sauce has become thick and glossy (should take about 2-4 minutes)!

4.   To serve, cut a nice thick slice of the banana bread and put it onto a plate. Top the bread with diagonally sliced slices of banana and a grenerous serving of the warm caramel sauce. I love having a nice dollop of creme fraiche with this dessert as it cuts through the sweetness of the bread, bananas and the caramel sauce. To make it even more delicious, make some shavings of some really nice dark chocolate and sprinkle it over the top of the dessert!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, it is a real corker to eat 🙂

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