Raspberry & Vanilla “Cheesecakes” (Vegan-Friendly & Easy!)

1498728094582For so long I have wanted to have a go at making a vegan cheesecake. The only thing that has prompted me to do so is moving home to Bradford, where these kind of desserts are pretty much unheard of. Which means I have to try and perfect making my own.

What has always put me off it the super-long list of ingredients for these cheesecakes. Admittedly, this list is longer than my usual recipes, but you actually only need 10 ingredients in total. All of them can be bought in a supermarket, or if you have a small “Express Supermarket” between that and Holland & Barratt’s (I got my cashews from the H&B’s fruit and nut ‘Pick N Mix’ section as it worked out slightly cheaper). These cheesecakes also don’t take that long to make, and are not difficult in the slightest. The longest thing you have to do is wait for your nuts to soak, and then chill everything.

Ingredients (makes 10 cheesecake cups)

For the base

  • 8 dates, soaked for 10 minutes in freshly boiled water
  • 1 cup oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • OPTIONAL: pinch of cinnamon

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Savoury Oats (Eggs, Asparagus & Mushrooms)

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Savoury porridge. Are you feeling disgusted or intrigued? Either way, just for me, please give it a go. You might surprise yourself.

In this porridge bowl we have mushroom, asparagus, salt, black and white pepper, and two runny-yolked eggs. This combination meaning that you have a lovely, balanced breakfast containing low GI carbohydrates in the oats (they digest more slowly, meaning they don’t spike blood sugar and keep you fuller for longer), a source of protein and healthy fats in the eggs, and one of your ‘5 a Day’ in the asparagus and mushrooms- as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals, which the fat in the egg yolk is going to help the body absorb. This is one super-charged breakfast bowl, and a great alternative if you want to change it up a bit from fruit and nut butter on your porridge. My biggest tip with this dish is not to skip the seasoning: white pepper is amazing with eggs, and the salt and pepper combo is going to give the oats some oomph (they smell great when they’re cooking).

I happened to love this combination of salt and pepper oats, eggs, and veggies- but I’m interested to hear what you think, so let me know in the comments below if you decide to try this. Lets get started…

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Raspberry-Apple Cashew Butter Pancakes

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Lately I have been fancying pancakes. When I was little we made pancakes pretty much every weekend- Scotch drop scones are actually what we made. My mum was often the one who made them with us, and as that’s the pancake recipe she prefers, my brother and I grew up feeling these were proper pancakes. They’re small, fluffy, and much more “stackable” than crepes. These remind me a lot of those pancake-driven mornings.

This was the first time ever that I’ve ever used the flour in a recipe, and I actually quite like it (I’ve used the Seven Hills one here). There’s a subtle coconut-y taste and texture. Not as fluffy as regular pancakes, but really delicious. If you want mega-fluffy pancakes then I’d say use self-raising flour and omit 2-3tbsp of the milk (coconut flour has a higher fibre content, which mean you need more milk to form a batter).

This is a really satisfying breakfast, and the apple adds the height that guarantees a decent stack. The cashew butter is amazing when it melts into them. My top tip is this: stack them, adding cashew butter, then microwave for up to 1 minute. If you’re anything like me, then you’re quite slow at making pancakes and the first has gone stone-cold by the time the last is ready, so the microwave is your best friend. I also highly recommend adding a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt, or even a scoop of ice-cream if you’re pushing the boat out. Continue reading

Banana & Nutella Pancakes (healthy, cheap & easy!)

wp-1488111400372.jpgIt’s nearly Pancake Day!! Even if I don’t go out for pancakes (a LOT of cafés and restaurants seem to do Pancake Day up here in Newcastle), or even if I don’t actually get around to making Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (Tuesdays are busy days for me), I always HAVE to have pancakes at some point on the run up to this day. However, I find pancakes don’t usually fill me up for long, and so I wanted to create a recipe that was healthy, filling, simple, inexpensive, and delicious. Because lets face it, those “pancakes” that are just egg and banana are pretty damn gross. These though, are fluffy, soft, and definitely pancakes.

We’ve added in another few ingredients than banana and egg here- including some blended up oats for low GI energy release and “fluffiness”, vanilla for sweetness, almond milk for creaminess, cinnamon to balance blood sugar and add some warmth, and – of course- some “Nutella”. Though I’m actually using Jim Jam’s healthier alternative, of a hazelnut- chocolate spread. Seriously, I prefer this to Nutella. It’s still got a rich cocoa – hazelnut flavour, but it isn’t as sickly. However, I wouldn’t say no to a bit of the original either if it was kicking around in my flat, so don’t feel you have to go out of your way to get hold of this.

Let’s get cracking…

 

Ingredients (makes 6 small pancakes, or 3 large, which is one serving):

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 banana (a RIPE one- which is when they begin to get a few brown spots on them at the very least)
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/2tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 heaped tbsp Jim Jam’s Hazelnut Chocolate spread , or Nutella (or, you know, abandon measuring this- it is Pancake Day…)

 

Method:

  1. Into a blender or food processor place all but the Nutella and half of the banana. Blend until a batter forms
  2. Bring a pan sprayed with cooking oil up to a medium-high heat, and then dollop the mixture in to create your pancakes, flipping each pancake over and cooking the other side once small bubbles appear on the surface facing you.
  3. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used.
  4. Take the remaining banana and slice into chunks. Stack your pancakes with Nutella and banana slices while they’re still hot, and then dig in…

Pistachio, Date & Coconut Flapjacks

img_20161002_202939.jpgMy Dad’s side of the family are pretty crap at cooking. Dad’s own repertoire includes pork in cider, beef stroganoff, and *insert meat/fish* in a brandy cream sauce.  Baking wise, he does a little better: he can make bread, pizza dough, Anzac biscuits, gingerbread- and this flapjack. Ironically, my mum got hold of the recipe, and she makes the flapjack even better. Because when my Dad makes flapjack he presses it into the tin so tightly that it breaks your teeth once baked. His excuse is that it’s ideal to dunk into a cup of tea.

Anyway, the flapjack recipe both my parents use belongs to my great grandma on my Dad’s side. Possibly the last great baker on that side of the family. It’s buttery, has a hint of coconut, and (unless my Dad makes it) has a beautiful half chewy/ half crumbly and crisp texture on the top.

I can, of course, publish the original recipe for this flapjack if this post goes down well- but today I’ve added in the extra flavours of pistachio and dates, and swapped up some ingredients to make it a little healthier. This flapjack is beautiful half dipped into dark chocolate. And I enjoyed making to so much, that I’m planning on creating a Christmas themed one as well. Continue reading

Pumpkin Spice Latte…Smoothie?!

img_20160910_093808.jpgIt’s that time of year. Am I jumping the gun a bit? If I am, I blame my Starbucks app, which conveniently notified me that the pumpkin spice latte was back. Damn you starbucks.

I have a confession to make before we go any further: I’ve never actually had a pumpkin spice latte. I know what they smell like, I know what they look like- but I haven’t been able to talk myself into trying one. I hate sweeteners in my coffee, I’m a cappuccino/Americano kinda girl, not a latte drinker, I hate whipped cream on coffee- and so the idea of pumpkin flavoured syrup, stirred into a latte, and topped with cream, doesn’t appeal to me. Perhaps this year I’ll finally bite the bullet and try one though- possibly wasting my precious coffee fund in the process. But hey, life is all about risks.

What I do know is that this Pumpkin Spice Latte Smoothie is amazing. It’s got actually pumpkin in it for starters. It has a subtle coffee taste, some spices,  little bit of natural sweetness, and provides two of your 5 a day. Think of it as the healthier, more pumpkin rich, version of the pumpkin spice Frappuccino. That you can legitimately have for breakfast.

So, if you are a pumpkin spice fan, give this alternative a go and let me know what you think. And while we’re on it: should I finally try the pumpkin spice latte? Comment below if you have tried it (I get the feeling I’ll be in the minority here).

Ingredients

  • 1/2 strong filter coffee, chilled
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (NOT the sweetened stuff, the 100% pumpkin stuff. I bought Libby’s 100% Pumpkin from Tesco) Continue reading

Healthy Chocolate-Chip Chickpea Cookie Dough

wp-1484392750797.jpgFinally, finally, I have a perfect chickpea cookie dough. This has taken three attempts and numerous cans of chickpeas to perfect, but I think that I’ve cracked it. It has the perfect thick, doughy texture, melting pockets of chocolate, a slight saltiness, a subtle sweetness…its just more than satisfying to eat. And it’s also just in time for biscuit week on GBBO.

Now, I am not a sweet person; if you are then one change I would recommend you with this recipe is adding in another 1/2-1tbsp maple syrup, or a couple of fresh medjool dates (do try it without first though, as it tastes great already). If you choose to add the maple syrup, then you may want to reduce the milk by 1tbsp to maintain the thick texture.  As I haven’t personally made this adjustment you’ll have to let me know how it goes!

For this recipe I decided to use some sugar free chocolate I was kindly sent by Discover (review right here:https://ecstaticallyem.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/discover-mini-gianduiotto-review/ ). The texture of this chocolate worked so well in this recipe, but I know that it can be hard to get hold of in shops as its made down south (you can order online), and it’s also a little pricy for the Gianduiotto. The bars themselves are cheaper if you can get hold of them, but alternatively you can use any chocolate you have to hand and it will work just fine. These little chocolates have a hazelnut taste to them, and it really adds something to the recipe, so definitely try a nutty chocolate in the recipe.

With all that said, enjoy this super-easy recipe and let me know what you think! You can eat this just as the dough, serve it with some ice-cream, spread it onto sliced apple- or any other way you can think of. Let’s get going…

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