Category Archives: baking

Paleo Chocolate Cake

IMG_2633These little cakes are absolutely divine! Being paleo means they are sugar, dairy and grain free so they are also a relatively healthy treat. The ganache` icing is not quite paleo but there is no sugar or dairy added, just what is in the chocolate. The icing compliments the cake so well, I could not use a different one!I cooked this with kids, so it is super simple. They ate it all up too, which means it must also be delicious, as we all know kids can be the toughest and most honest critics. Their parents loved it too making it a winner all round!

You can cut the cake into little baby cakes like I did or if your cooking it for a birthday you might like to keep it as a whole cake.

Recipe adapted from my favourite blogs paleospirit.com and live right be healthy.

Since writing this recipe I have created a vegan and paleo version of the ganache`. You can get the recipe here.

Recipe

Serves 10 small slices.

1/3 cup coconut flour, plus 1-2 tbsp extra if needed

1/4 cup good quality cacao powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp celtic sea salt

3 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

Butter or oil for greasing cake tin

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup water

1 batch of sweet potato chocolate ganache`

1 punnet of strawberries, thinly sliced into rounds.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl: coconut flour, cacao powder, baking soda, salt. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with electric beater until pale, light and very fluffy. Try to make them as fluffy as possibly as this will create a light and moist cake but keep an eye on them as you don’t want to them either.

4. Add the oil, maple syrup, water and vanilla extract into the egg and continue to whisk until combined.

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5. Gradually pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir in gently to combine with a wooden or metal spoon. The batter should not be too runny but still fluffy and thick. You want it to be a batter that can pour out with the help of a spoon and scraper. If it is too runny add a tablespoon of coconut flour and if it is too thick add some more water, 1 tbsp at a time.

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6. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and spread it out evenly.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a fan forced oven/20-25 min in a conventional or gas oven or until a skewer come sout clean.

8. Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes and then on a wire rack until room temperature.

9. Cover cake with ganache`.

IMG_262010. Cut the edges off each side to make the cake even.

3. Top with strawberries.

4. Cut into small squares or serve as a whole cake with a bowl of creamy coconut ice cream to dollop next to each slice.

5. Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato ChocolateTruffles

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These truffles use the sweet potato chocolate ganache` in my previous recipe, with a few little changes to the ingredients. They make a great addition to any afternoon tea platter or a little after dinner sweetie. Wrap them up in a little foil and they are also a good pick-me-up to take to work! I am working on a paleo friendly version. I will keep you posted on my progress! In the meantime enjoy this version. Which may be a cheat but are super delicious for a little treat!

You can now find the recipe for the paleo and vegan version here.

Ingredients

1 cup sweet potato mashed (see method in sweet potato chocolate ganache` recipe)

200 g chocolate

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp honey

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Cacao and desiccated coconut for rolling the truffle balls in.

Method

1. Gently melt chocolate in a metal or glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. You don’t want the water to be touching the bowl so put in about 1 inch of water. Set aside, once melted.

2. Puree` sweet potato in a food processor until there are no lumps and it is forming a smooth paste.IMG_2617

3. Add chocolate, maple syrup, honey, vanilla and coconut oil. Blend until combined.

4. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick enough to roll into balls.

6. Roll the ganache` into small bite sized balls.

7. Roll the balls in coconut or cacao.

8. Store in fridge for at least 2 hours. Serve straight from the fridge.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Ganache`

Ganache` is usually a beautiful combination of chocolate and cream that, when left to cool, forms a  decadent chocolate paste great for a rich icing or filling for cakes. This one though is a bit different as instead of cream it mixes sweet potato with the chocolate along with some clean natural sweeteners: honey, vanilla and maple syrup. It really is quite amazing how the combination of sweet potato pure` and chocolate creates the same rich but light mouth feel as the traditional recipe. I am working on a paleo and vegan version of this, which replaces chocolate with raw cacao and cacao butter, but for now this definitely does the trick. I hope you enjoy them!

Recipe

Makes enough icing to cover 2 of my Paleo chocolate cakes.

Ingredients

1 cup sweet potato mashed (see method below)

180 g chocolate

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Preparing the Sweet PotatoIMG_2584

1. Preheat Oven to 180 C.

2. Once oven is hot place the whole sweet potato (do not cut it or remove the skin) onto a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes or until very soft all the way through (test with a skewer).

3. Take sweet potato out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

4. Peel the baked sweet potato and mash the flesh in a bowl, measuring 1 cup of it for the ganache`.

Making the Ganche`

1. Gently melt chocolate in a metal or glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. You don’t want the water to be touching the bowl so put in about 1 inch of water. Set aside, once melted.

2. Place sweet potato in a food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth paste.

3. Add chocolate, maple syrup, honey, vanilla and coconut oil. Continue to pulse until combined.

4. Spread over cakes or in between cake layers.

IMG_2589 IMG_2587

Delicious Paleo Gluten Free Crackers

These crackers are absolutely delicious! Unlike many gluten free options they do not use rice flour but use almond meal and sesame seeds instead. They are perfect for anyone who is trying to avoid gluten, grains and/or carbs. Be warned though, because they are so yummy, you may need to hide them from your gluten, grain and carb eating friends! Recipe adapted from the cleanse program at Enliven Fitness.
 
                                                                      


Ingredients

140g almond meal
80g sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons of finely chopped herbs
(dill and coriander work well)
Zest of one lemon
1 organic free range egg
1 1/2 tablespoons of  olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 175 C.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Combine almond meal, sesame seeds, salt, garlic, herbs and zest in a bowl.
Stir with a spoon to combine.
In a separate bowl whisk egg and olive oil together until combined.
Pour egg mixture into dry mixture and stir to combine.
Kneed together with your hands until forms a ….dough.
If its too dry add more oil/water and if its too wet add more almond meal.
Place dough between 2 sheets of baking paper.
Roll dough with a rolling pin into a large thin rectangle
Cut the dough into small rectangles or squares.
Place on line baking trays and bake for  6 minutes.
Turn each cracker over. and bake for another 6 minutes or until golden.
Remove from oven and cool completely.
Keep fresh in an air tight container for 5 days.

Great accompaniment to a salad or as a snack with some ham, tahini and tomato or a dip, such as guacamole.

Vegan ‘Cream’

There are a range of options for ‘cream’ or frosting in vegan baking. This recipe uses cashews, nut milks and good old agar flakes. It is taken straight from “Vegan Pie in the Sky” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. It is called Rad Whip and it really is rad! It is a bit like cream but yummier and is a great accompaniment to vegan pies and cheese cakes. I piped it onto some of my mango, coconut and lime cheeze cakes but you could also quenelle it on the side or on top for a more fancy dinner party look. I’ve made a few minor changes to the amount of agar agar and coconut oil and the instructions at end of the method. Otherwise it is exactly the same as Moskowitz and Romero’s recipe, so I must give them all the credit for it! If your looking for a good vegan dessert book go and get Vegan Pie in the Sky. It’s great!

RAD WHIP

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole raw cashews soaked in filtered water over night, until very soft.
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup plain almond milk
1tablespoon of agar agar flakes
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Method

1. Place a large metal bowl in the freezer to chill, make sure its large enough for all the ingredients as you’ll be using this to blend up the Rad Whip latter.
2.Drain cashews and blend in the food processor or strong blender with the coconut milk and 1/2 cup almond milk until completely smooth. Rub mixture between your fingers to make sure there is no graininess left; reaching this state could take up to 10 minutes.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the other 1/2 cup of almond milk, agar agar flakes and sugar. Bring to boil and let simmer another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut oil and stir to melt. It’s important this mixture doesn’t set on the stove.
4. Stream the warm mixture into the food processor/blender with the machine turned on. Blend on high for about 1 minute to incorporate bubbles then add the vanilla and pulse to combine.
5. Transfer mixture to chilled metal bowl. Place in freezer for 30 minutes or until very cold but not frozen. It should be cold all the way through and feel firm and even a bit rubbery to touch.
6. Using an electric beater, beat it until soft peaks start to form. When smooth and fluffy, cover with plastic rap and place in fridge for at least 3 hours but overnight for best results. The longer the better! Now take it out again and beat again with an electric beater to get it even more fluffy.
7. Keep it stored in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.

Vegan Mango, Lime and Coconut Cheeze Cakes

I adore vegan baking. This kind cooking uses no animal products whatsoever and thus no animals are harmed in making the ingredients. My Karma points increase massively when I make these babies! Ethics aside though, I love vegan baking for the creative process and challenges involved. It provides new ingredients to explore and a diverse range of interesting dishes that many people have not tried or may not have even thought of. It’s a kitchen challenge that I love to give myself, seeing how I can make a cheese cake without cheese and a pastry without butter. It can also be a lot healthier and provides a different foods to add to my diet. Last week I made these little babies for yes, a baby shower. If you are new to vegan baking but want to put yourself up for the challenge, this is a good recipe to start with. The key is to make sure all the agar agar dissolves into the almond milk.

Ingredients

Crust:
1 3/4 finely ground wholemeal digestive biscuits (made from about 4 short of a normal sized packet)
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
3 tablespoons of  rapadura sugar (unrefined cane juice sugar)
5 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon of almond milk

Filling:
2 mangoes flesh removed, 1/4 of it mashed into a pure` and the rest cut into thin slices small enough to fit into cup cake moulds.
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
1 1/2 cups of almond milk (unsweetened is preferable)
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
2 tablespoons of agar agar flakes
1 regular can coconut milk
1/2 cup rapadura sugar
zest of 2 limes (from a fine grater)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Makes 24

Method

For the base
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Place cupcake liners into 2 x 12 hole cupcake trays.
Combine biscuit crumbs in a bowl with sugar and coconut.
Drizzle in coconut oil and mix with a spoon to combine.
Drizzle in almond milk and mix again with a spoon until forms a crumbly dough.
If the mixture is too dry add more coconut oil and almond milk as needed but you don’t want it too moist. You want it crumbly but moist enough so it will stick together when you press it into the base of the cupcake moulds.
Spoon a a heaped tablespoon and a 1/2 into each cupcake mould and press firmly into each base with a teaspoon, making sure they are packed in firmly.
Bake for 5 minutes or until firm and golden.
Set trays aside to cool.

For the filling
Combine mango pure` with the caster sugar and heat for 1 minute to combine then set aside.
Whisk almond milk, tapioca flour and agar agar flakes in a saucepan on medium heat.  Whisk constantly for 5 minutes.
Turn heat up and bring to the boil and continue to whisk constantly for about 5 minutes or until starts to thicken, making sure the agar agar dissolves.
Turn heat down to medium.
Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar, lime juice and zest.
Whisk on the heat for about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat.
Whisk in vanilla and mango pure`.
Pour filling mixture into a pouring jug.
Pour enough filling into each mould to just cover each base.
Spoon mango slices onto the filling of each mould.
Pour more filling over the mango slices. I like to cover them slightly but still see some of the mango.
Cool on the counter for about 1/2 hour
Refridgerate for at least 3 hours until set.
Serve straight from the fridge with slices of mango and “Rad Whip” ( recipe to follow).

Roasted Cauliflower

With winter well and truly here, baking has become my favourite method of cooking. I bought some beautiful cauliflower at the markets yesterday. Usually I would boil it quickly and drizzle with olive oil but why not bake it? Cauliflower bake is an all time winter favourite but I usually avoid it as the hero of the dish, the cauliflower and all its health benefits are usually lost drowning in white sauce and copious amounts of cheese. I thought I would make a slightly healthier version and one that lets us taste the lovely nutty flavours of the cauliflower.

This dish is cheap, quick, healthy and delicious. The perfect week night dinner.
I’ve kept some cheese in the recipe as I think it adds just a bit of the richness you need from food in winter.

Ingredients
1/2 cauliflower, florets removed and divided into small – medium sized pieces
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic crushed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Teaspoon of chilli flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated mozzarella
Ground sea salt to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180 Cm (fan forced).
Pour water into a baking tray big enough to hold all the cauliflower
Place cauliflower in baking tray, season with salt and bake for 20 minutes, or until stalks feel slightly soft (al dente)
Add garlic and parsley, stirring to combine
Sprinkle over cheese
Return to oven for 5 minutes, until cheese melted and slightly browned
Remove from oven, season with salt and chilli eat straight away or leave to cool.

Serving suggestions
Serve hot with a piece of grilled fish or chicken.
Chop the cauliflower and toss through wholemeal or spelt spaghetti, sprinkle with lightly toasted chopped walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan, extra chilli flakes and finely chopped parsley.
When cooled chop it up and add to salads.


 Cauliflower is a great cool climate vegetable to add to your winter menus. If cooked correctly it is not only delicious but has many health benefits too. From the same family as cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower has many nutrients associated with detoxifying the body and preventing cancer. It is also tipped to provide a good source of folate for pregnant women and a high fiber content also make it great for the digestive system. So really it has a health benefit for everyone!

Variation
Add 1/2 sweet potato diced at the beginning, and sprinkle toasted walnuts over it before serving, which makes this into a more substantial meal.  Cooking time may increase to 30 minutes at the start.

You can also remove the cheese and add 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, rubbing it into the cauliflower before baking. Serve this version with yoghurt.

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