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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Vegan Dark Chocolate, Pecan and Almond Butter Oat Cookies

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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)

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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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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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