Rhubarb and Coconut Cobbler

Vegan, Refined Sugar Free
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Oh my goodness why have I been so bad at posting lately! I’m so sorry, I actually have no excuses other than me being born a lazy bum. After this week though exams will be over, it will be summer holidays and I very much doubt I will be able to find a job by then (seeing as I’ve been looking for the last six months already with very little luck, mostly due to the fact that every time a place gets back to me I tell them I’m too busy.)

I’m sad. I didn’t even make a Halloween post for you guys. To be real though, there were so many awesome ideas already that I felt my contribution would probably be poorly received. This Halloween me and my sister had a li’l party (sorry Mum and Dad), and I dressed up as a swimmer being eaten by a giant octopus. Which I made out of pink stockings stuffed with all my socks!! I thought it was such a cool costume, until everyone thought I was getting strangled by a giant worm…

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I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with a bunch of rhubarb we got last week, which is strange because I’m obsessed with rhubarb. Probably the nicest cake I’ve ever made was this rhubarb slice, which people are still raving about. But I can’t make that again!!! And I didn’t want to do what I always do, which is just cook it with vanilla and sugar and eat it on yogurt, because I’ve stopped really eating any dairy now. And stewed rhubarb on its own is kind of weird to me…

Thank God for Donna Hay right. I’ve been steadily cooking and eating my way through her cookbook since someone gave it to us for Christmas. The photos of her rhubarb and pomegranate cobbler were so pretty I literally died looking at them! Seriously how are her photographers so talented! I’m almost embarrassed to even show these photos today because they’re so average, but the cobbler was so tasty I really wanted to share it.

It’s completely vegan too! I haven’t experimented with gluten free yet, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to adapt. I added apple too because I didn’t want to use so much sugar. So tasty! I promise to be more on top of posting this week friends 🙂 See you soon!

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Rhubarb and Apple Cobblers: Inspired by Donna Hay

2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2oog melted coconut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw sugar

750g rhubarb, chopped into 4cm (2inch) pieces
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
4 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1 orange

3 tbsp desiccated coconut
3 tbsp sliced almonds
icing sugar optional, to dust

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Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, coconut butter, vanilla, salt and raw sugar and stir until just doughy. Add more flour if the mix is too wet, or a splash of almond milk if it’s too dry. It should be the consistency of biscuit or scone batter.

Mix the rhubarb, apple, orange juice, cinnamon and sugar together and spoon into an oven-proof baking dish or skillet. Using your hands, grab clumps of the cobbler and press over the fruit roughly to form a lid, with some holes for steam to escape. Top with the coconut and almonds, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden on top and the fruit is cooked through. Sprinkle with sugar and serve with coconut ice cream or cream.

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Vegan Banana Buckwheat Chocolate Muffins

Vegan, Gluten Free, optional Sugar Free
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Guys, who here likes muffins.

I used to be so on the fence with muffins. I could take them or leave them, usually after eating the muffin top first. I think it’s because most of the muffins I used to eat were from the supermarket, and were a) HUGE so it was almost impossible to ever finish one without feeling obese and ill, and b) dry and super sweet and kind of…”clammy”. They also contained interesting ingredients like soy beans and monosodium glutamate.

No one wants that kind of muffin experience…no one.

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But everything changed when I had one fateful muffin at Bourke Street Bakery. It was full of raspberries and dark chocolate chunks and so good I shed a little tear of joy. I think I ate one of those muffins after soccer every weekend for about a year, not gonna lie.

But sadly my friends, all good things come to an end. When I was given their cookbook as a present one year I realised why those muffins are so delicious! They’re literally little balls of sugary butter held together with some chocolate. Yuuuum. But also not yum when you’re lactose intolerant like me…

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Enter the muffin baking stage of my life. There have been some pretty exciting creations, including banana chai cupcakes with cinnamon cream and the best carrot muffin recipe I’ve ever tried. This weekend though I wanted fudgy chocolate cake and no messing about.

I decided to try a version of this cocoa banana bread with buckwheat flour instead of normal. A lovely reader let me know that she had great success with buckwheat flour, and I did too! I used only half buckwheat, half normal wholemeal but she used fully buckwheat so if you like the taste, give it a go!

Also add chocolate chips. No excuses xxx Have a great week guys!

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter Granola Clusters 

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Banana Buckwheat Chocolate Muffins:
2 cups mashed overripe banana
1 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (or 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water for vegan)
120ml olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

optional: 100g chopped dark chocolate, raspberries or nuts

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Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line 12 muffin cups with muffin papers.

Blend together the banana, oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry gently with a spatula, until just combined. Stir in any extras.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the muffins bounce back at the touch and are cooked through. Enjoy!

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Rhubarb and Cinnamon Cashew Cream Cake (raw and vegan!)

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

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Guys, it’s happened. I finally got around to making a raw cashew cream cake! Too long have I ogled at this beautiful creation and this one and tried to eat my screen with little to no success. I finally made the splurge and bought the cashews and coconut butter, and gave my blender a serious pep-talk. Don’t worry, dumpling month is charging on, we’re just having a minor cake break so that I can eat my way through the dumplings in the freezer.

I wanted fancy layers for my cheesecake because layers people. Layers are so much more exciting than non-layers. So the bottom layer is infused with cinnamon (because everything should be infused with cinnamon) and the top layer is mixed with poached rhubarb and vanilla compote. Holy to the yum. The compote itself was so amazing! I deliberately made way more than I needed so that I could eat it all week on my weetbix. I highly recommend this as you don’t need much at all in the actual recipe, but if fruit compote isn’t your thing, make a quarter of the recipe.
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The reason this post took so long to put up was because this whole week I’ve been super sick and just horrendous feeling basically. I went away for a week with my friends to a music festival and while that week was one of the best ever and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it, the following week has been rough. It’s been very rough. It started on the day we packed up and left the camping grounds and I’d completely, 100% lost my voice. I could not make a sound.

That transformed into a bad case of the flu, which today transformed into a stomach bug. I feel so nauseous I haven’t actually been able to try the cake yet….I KNOW! But my whole family and a number of friends have tried and raved, so I am going out on a limb and hoping it tastes as good assembled as it did on the back of a spoon when I was making it 🙂
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My blender honestly did die a bit in the making of this cake, but I have lamented here often that raw desserts can be tricky in my kitchen. Every time I decide it’s finally time to make an upgrade and start researching, there are so many conflicting accounts and opinions I give up and give my blender a hug.

If you don’t have a powerful blender like me, make sure you soak your cashews all night long. It really made the difference! Also give the blender lots of time to rest in between small batches, instead of trying to power through the whole thing in one go. This is definitely a cake to make, regardless of whether your crowd is vegan or raw! It feels so special with the pink layers and it tastes so light and wholesome. So I’ve officially joined the cashew cream cake bandwagon. Look to the future for more!

One Year Ago: Berry and Lychee Vanilla Yogurt Cake
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Recipe inspired by My New Roots and This Rawsome Vegan Life
Raw Cashew Cream Cake with Rhubarb and Cinnamon:

3 cups of cashews, covered in cold filtered water and left to soak overnight

1.5 cups walnuts
1.5 cups dates, chopped roughly
1 tbsp coconut oil

6 long stalks of rhubarb, cut into chunks
100g raw sugar
1/2 a vanilla bean
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup (185ml) coconut oil, melted if hard
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup (170g) raw honey or maple syrup for pure vegan
pinch of sea salt
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Line a 23cm baking tin with baking paper. Blend the walnuts, dates and tablespoon of coconut oil into a dough and press in to the bottom of the tin with your hands. Chill whilst you make the filling.

In a medium saucepan, very gently stew the rhubarb, sugar and vanilla bean (cut and seeds added to the pot) with a few tablespoons of water until completely soft but not straggly.

Drain the cashews well and put in the blender. Add the lemon juice, honey, coconut oil, salt and cinnamon. Blend until mix is as smooth as possible. Pour half into the cake tin and smooth around. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Blend the remaining half with about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of the rhubarb mix, to the desired colour and consistency (don’t add too much liquid – just the rhubarb pieces!) pour this on top of the cake and refrigerate the whole thing overnight. Serve cold, serves 10 – 12!
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Banana and Cinnamon Chocolate Cream Pie (raw and vegan!)

Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free
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Guys, it’s happened. I finally made a banana cream pie. To say I’ve been thinking about making this for a while would win the understatement of the century award. I’ve had a little note in my phone saying “vegan banana cream pie!” for literally two years now. I never got around to making one because a) basically everyone and their grandma already has a recipe for it and b) I was scared it wouldn’t be nice enough to justify making a whole pie with no apparent purpose 😦 

But then I thought about it, and I knew there was a safe chance I would be able to eat the whole pie myself. Soooo vegan and raw banana cream pie time! And guess what, it’s probably the nicest thing I think I’ve ever made. I made it this morning, and literally half of the pie is already gone. Me and my sister demolished it

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There’s so many good things going on in this pie. The base is packed with desiccated coconut and raw cacao and nuts for all those good omegas. Then there is a layer of fresh banana slices, encased in a creamy chocolate cinnamon avocado mousse, topped with vanilla scented coconut cream, topped with fresh passionfruit because YES passionfruit is amazing. End of story.
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Guys, I’m really happy right now. This is almost as exciting as when I cracked the avocado brownie mystery. Or figured out the perfect vegan scones. Banana cream pie is kind of the most amazing dessert ever and I never even knew it. I never even tried it before. Who knows? I may have just created the most sacrilege, awful version of banana cream pie ever heard of. But I seriously doubt it 🙂

This is what you should make for your cynical bacon loving friends who think vegans, and especially “raw” vegans, are extremist crazy people. Just grab a big spoon of pie and waggle your finger at them as they rant at you and say “uh uh, shhh now, here you go” and shove that pie right in their pie hole. They will be forever grateful to you ❤ Have a great weekend everybody xx

One Year Ago: Gluten Free Pear and Hazelnut Muffins

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Banana Chocolate Cinnamon Cream Pie:
Base –
1 cup dried organic apricots, briefly soaked in warm water
1/2 cup walnuts, crushed
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
3 tbsp raw cacao powder

Filling –
2 ripe firm bananas
1-2 medium, perfectly ripe avocados
2-3 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 can full-fat coconut milk or cream
~ for fully raw use 1 cup cashew cream instead of coconut ~
3 tbsp maple syrup
1-2 passionfruit, for topping
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Process all the ingredients for the base in a food processor until combined. Press into a 21cm or small pie tin firmly with your fingers. Keep in the freezer while you make your other elements.
Slice the banana and lay in circles on top of your crust. In between each stage try and keep the pie in the freezer so you keep its shape.

Blend the avocado, cocoa powder, cinnamon and maple syrup until smooth and creamy. Sweeten according to your own tastes, but this was enough for me. Spoon this over the banana slices and smooth down well to cover all the banana pieces and form an air-proof barrier.

I used coconut yogurt – blend with the maple syrup and spoon over the chocolate cream. For coconut cream, keep the can in the fridge over night. Take out in the morning and spoon off the thick cream that has formed at the top. Whip this with the honey until fluffy.

Top with the passionfruit and keep in the freezer until ready to serve. Don’t leave it too long, you don’t want to freeze it solid! You can make it ahead of time and keep it in the freezer, then the fridge for the hour or two before you serve it. Enjoy! Serves about 8
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Apple and Pear Honey Crumble with Toasted Almonds

Optional Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

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Ok, I’ve finally accepted it. It’s officially winter now in Sydney. I may or may not have attempted to hang on to Summer for a little too long this year. I may have bought a bikini yesterday. And a pair of shorts. But to be fair the warm weather lasted for ages! There were a few chilly nights, where I insisted on wearing summer clothes and ended up having to shelter under my taller friends’ armpits for warmth. But all in all this Autumn was rather balmy. 

It’s strange how in Sydney no one really accepts that it gets cold in Winter. All through Summer everyone’s super prepared with their chilled watermelon and beach trips, but come winter literally no one knows how to act. No one even owns proper coats, let alone umbrellas or *gasp* thermals. For the first time ever last night I actually used the heating in my room, thinking, “hmm. 28C seems like a pretty nice temperature.” One hour later I woke up sweaty and panicked, dopey from all the gas in my room. I had to crawl to the remote and turn the heat down. I had to crawl.

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So today this is my slightly better remedy for winter. Everyone knows the best part about winter is the dessert. It must be warm and it must be served with vanilla ice cream. Otherwise the criteria is pretty vague. We had a whole bunch of pears and apples sitting in the fruit bowl and at first I was going to make a pie, but who has time for that?! Also, I wanted to eat this particular dessert for breakfast. This was also why I made the crumble in individual bowls, so that no confused lost soul would accidentally think I made the crumble for sharing purposes. 

I decided to try some new flavours in the crumble as a little experiment, and they worked so well I knew I had to post the recipe. The cinnamon and honey go so well with the pears! I literally couldn’t stop eating it. But the flavour that worked best was the oranges I squeezed over the fruit to stop it going brown. We had heaps of oranges as well and I juiced a couple to stop the fruit going brown as I took photos. Holy moly! It made the filling so much better! I would possibly vote this crumble one of the best I’ve ever tasted. 

Remember to serve with ice cream. And you should probably wear woolly socks whilst you eat it, preferably whilst watching Brigitte Jones Diary. But it’s up to you 🙂

One Year Ago: Tangy Lemon Curd Frozen Yogurt

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 Apple Crumble with Honey and Almonds:

6 medium firm apples, peeled and sliced 

6 medium firm pears, peeled and sliced

juice of 2-3 medium oranges

1 heaped tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp runny honey, or maple syrup for vegan

For the fruit filling, combine everything in a heavy bottomed pan and cook, covered, on a low heat for about 15 minutes, until the fruit is soft but still holding its shape. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F). 

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For the crumble:

50g butter (vegan butter or coconut butter can be substituted for vegan) chopped 

100g wholemeal flour (almond butter for gluten free)

100g gluten-free oats

40g toasted almonds, chopped roughly

2 tbsp raw sugar 

25ml almond milk

Rub the butter and flour together in a bowl between your fingers until the mixture is crumbly but not doughy. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients until combined. Pour over the almond milk and chop through the mixture with the spoon until everything is lightly crumbly. 

Spoon the fruit into an oven proof dish (or around 6-8 small ones). Cover with the crumble and bake for half an hour, until the top is toasty and golden and the fruit bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream.

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Perfect Avocado Brownies with Cinnamon and Blueberries (vegan)

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 This is such a momentous day. I finally, finally perfected avocado brownies. Celebrate with me! It’s been a long and arduous journey, but we made it. If you follow me on instagram you will have seen the highs and lows, the almost perfect and the completely ruined brownies that came before these mighty ones today. I feel like this might be one of my baking life’s biggest accomplishments, not to toot my own trumpet too much! 

But seriously. Let’s talk about brownies.

I’ve made a few healthy brownies on this blog before. These black bean ones were like a healthy, protein-rich fudge. I’ve made tea-infused raw brownies (so good!), and these banana brownies are so popular with everyone I make them for. But in my mind none of these recipes were really “brownies”. They were various shades of chocolate cake/slice. Brownies must be rich. Like these caramel brownies. They must be super fudgy but also chewy and they must taste so chocolatey you have to drink a glass of milk (or almond milk) alongside it. 

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They shouldn’t taste like banana or almonds or orange or any other such nonsense! They should taste like BROWNIES. And also be really good for you, because I want to eat the whole pan. 

My experiments started to take a turn for the awesome when I bought My Darling Lemon Thyme‘s new cookbook. I seriously recommend it to anyone who loves whole-food recipes and stunning photography. Emma’s book is actually inspirational it’s so beautiful! I used her raspberry and pistachio brownies as a starting point on my quest for the perfect brownie. 

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Over a series of experiments I replaced the olive oil with avocado to squeeze in those healthy fats, and replaced the combination of gluten-free flours with wholemeal wheat. (Because I eat wheat and it’s much cheaper). I’ve included her measurements for gluten free in the recipe, but I’ve never tried them so I can’t give any tips for how it will go unfortunately. I also squeezed in lots of cinnamon and blueberries in there because hello?! Match made in heaven! 

The result was incredible. Rich, fudgy, sweet, holy crap. Crackly top, vanilla ice cream, you can see where this is going. Brownie heaven. I actually can’t believe how healthy they are. Compared to my normal recipe which has 2 1/2 cups of sugar, half a kilo of chocolate and a whole block of butter, these only had one block of chocolate, one cup of raw sugar and no butter at all! Plus wholemeal flour! No brownie coma for me 🙂 The trick to making dessert recipes healthier but still delicious is to replace the traditional ingredients with just as good healthy ingredients. You can’t just cut out sugar and fat and expect it to taste good.

The combination of sweet blueberries, cinnamon and vanilla extract add natural sweetness that in my mind tastes much better than plain old sugar. And the avocado, as they say, really is impossible to taste. It does give the texture a slightly thicker consistency and the brownies smell a bit like avocado, but don’t fear that your brownies will come out tasting like baked avocado. They won’t. I 100% believe everybody should make these brownies at least once in their lives. They’re that yummy 🙂

One Year Ago: Rhubarb and Coconut Crumble Slice

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Avocado and Blueberry Brownies: Adapted from here

200g (7 ounces) dark vegan chocolate, broken into chunks (plus extra 50g chopped)

185g (1 cup, about 2 avocados) perfectly ripe and green avocados

1 tbsp olive oil 

200g (1 cup) raw or brown sugar

3 eggs OR vegan replacement (3 tbsp chia mixed with 6 tbsp water, or 1.5 very ripe mashed bananas)

3/4 cup (75g) wholemeal flour OR 1 cup almond meal mixed with 2/3 cup fine brown rice flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

40g (1/3 cup) raw cocoa powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

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Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a 20cm by 20cm tin (8 inch) with baking paper. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. 

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, cocoa powder and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, or mix the chia seeds with the water or mash up your bananas. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the sugar until it is mostly dissolved. In a blender, blend the avocado with the eggs (or chia/banana) and tsp of vanilla extract. 

Mix together the chocolate mix and the avocado mix well. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until mixed. Stir through the blueberries and extra chocolate, and smooth in to your brownie pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is set. Serve warm, with ice cream (you know you want to). 

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Banana Cinnamon Cupcakes with Mocha Icing

Optional Vegan and Refined Sugar FreeImage

 It was my beautiful lady-friend Maevie’s birthday yesterday. You may remember her from the Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake of last year. (If you followed that link, please accept sincere apologies for the horrendous photography). Maevie and I have been friends every since year 3, when she became besties with my twin sister. I can’t believe she’s twenty! It seems only yesterday she and my sister were running around the playground playing their weird little games. While me and my friends played horses or card games, Maevie would go around pretending to eat people saying they were KFC chicken tenders. 

I once walked in on her covering my sister in duct-tape telling her she was now a prisoner. Another time I found them playing with little plastic horses and pigs pretending they were Simpson characters. This was in high school!  Such good memories ❤ Maevie, like me, loves cake a lot. So I thought the present she would appreciate most would be something of the baked and covered in chocolate variety. 

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 Maevie’s actually a very skilled photographer herself. She’s given me countless tips on why my photos often come out looking like hideous brown blobs. I didn’t want her cupcakes to consist of only shades of brown, but I didn’t really have time to do any fancy icing either. Cue rose petals! There was a big bunch of pink roses on the table and I stole a couple petals to decorate these. If I had more time I would have made sugared rose petals, or maybe designed them a little like this rose cake

I used David Lebovitz‘ banana cake with mocha frosting and halved it to make these, taking a slightly healthier route with the icing. You can use your favourite vegan chocolate icing, or if you want the original recipe, it just said to melt 140g dark chocolate with 70ml of brewed coffee, then stir in 70g unsalted butter until smooth. The smell of the coffee melting with the chocolate is amaaaaazing. If I ever meet David I swear I might cry from gratitude for all the delicious cakes and ice cream flavours he’s brought into my life. 

I’ve given vegan alternatives, most of which I have tested but I used a chickens egg so I can’t 100% assure the chia seeds will make an adequate alternative. There’s only one egg though so I’m sure it will work fine! Also my sister would like everyone to know these were “the nicest cupcakes she’s ever tasted”. 

One Year Ago: Rich Chocolate and Caramel Brownies

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Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing (Adapted from David Lebovitz)

150g (1 + 1/4 cup) plain flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1tsp baking powder

115g/1/2 cup butter (or 115ml/1/2 cup vegan butter or oil) at room temperature

150g (2/3 cup) white sugar (or honey/agave syrup)

1 medium egg OR 1 tbsp chia seeds blended with 3 tbsp water, at room temperature

2 medium sized super ripe bananas, mashed (about 250g or half a pound)

45g (3 tbsp) yogurt (coconut yogurt for vegan)

For the icing: 250g (half a tub) coconut yogurt mixed with 200g (7 ounces) melted dark chocolate and 2 tbsp runny agave syrup

 

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 For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line 8 cupcake holders with liners. Mash the banana with the yogurt and set aside. Cream the butter or oil and sugar or syrup until fluffy and well combined. Set to low and slowly blend in the egg. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon and baking powder well. Stir in half the mashed bananas into the butter, then half the flour. Repeat with the remaining halves and stir just to combine. Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden and fluffy. 

Top with chocolate icing of your choice, and a rose petal if you want 🙂 The recipe makes 8 small cupcakes but can easily be increased for more! Enjoy 🙂 

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