Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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 Happy Mothers Day everybody!! When I asked my mum what kind of cake she wanted today, she requested an upside down pineapple cake. I’d never even heard of an upside down pineapple cake! It sounded kind of…gross. Like something you would eat in the 70s with spray cream on top and a glace cherry. In fact I bet that’s what she used to do, back in the old days

Well, this and her birthday is the one time of the year I’m not going to question her cake choices, so a pineapple cake was made. I didn’t even try to make it healthy! I promise! No wholemeal flour here. 

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I couldn’t resist adding some fresh lime zest and juice. We have an entire box of limes, I’m talking hundreds of limes in our house right now. The lime just perks the pineapple up a little bit. Pineapple can be very sweet so a bit of sour worked really well. 

I kind of liked how the cake came out looking today. When I was making it I wasn’t even going to post about it, because I was picturing a lumpy yellow blob coming out of the oven. (That wasn’t an innuendo…) But it looks kind of ‘rustic’ and old school. I’m lazy so instead of making the caramel I just poured a little pineapple juice from the can and a few dots of butter on to the bottom of the pan, and it worked fine if you want to do it that way!

Happy Mothers Day Mum! You’re the best and I love you 🙂 

One Year Ago: Coconut Muffins with Dark Chocolate Glaze

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 Upside Down Pineapple Cake: Adapted from Ready for Dessert 

1 large can pineapple slices (keep the juice!)

30g butter 

30g sugar

juice and zest of 1 lime

210g (1 + 3/4 cups) plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

110g (3.8 ounces) butter, unsalted

150g white sugar 

2 large eggs, at room temperature

125ml (1/2 cup) milk, at room temperature

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Preheat the oven to 180C (355F) and line a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin with baking paper. In a small saucepan, melt the 30g butter, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the pineapple juice and lime juice, and stir to make a sauce. Pour in the bottom of the tin. Cut slices of pineapple and arrange over the caramel layer so that the whole surface is covered. 

Sift the flour and salt. Beat the 110g butter, lime zest and 150g sugar until creamy, and then slowly beat in each egg. Stir in half the milk and sifted flour, then the other half. Stir just to combine and spoon over the pineapple. Smooth with a spatula and bake for about 3-40 minutes, until the cake is golden and a skewer comes out clean. 

Only leave the cake to cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully flip out on to a plate. Serve warm 🙂 

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Cherry and Peach Coconut Crumble (vegan)

Vegan, Refined Sugar Free and Wholemeal

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 I hope you all had a lovely valentines day! I did exactly what I did last valentines day and ate so much gelato I got a stomach ache. A sign of a successful day I think. People always get really worked up around valentines day and I’m not sure why. It’s just a day to spread some love! I walked my dog for the first time in ages, because I love him. I made the kids I babysit some cous cous because I love them too. Why all the tears…and the photos of broken chocolate hearts and empty tubs of ice cream?! 

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 This morning I had a vision of the perfect peach crumble. Sweet, tangy, crumbly and nutty. I looked everywhere for a recipe I could use as a guideline for using coconut butter to make the topping, and there was nothing! But then I thought, come on Lil. Strap on your thinking cap and come up with something yourself for once! 

The result was ohmygodimgoingtodieamazing. The smell! The desiccated coconut and sweet butter scented the entire kitchen with peachy, mapley cinnamon goodness. The sprinkle of cherries throughout the crumble stained the peaches purple and made the house smell like fresh cherry pie. Moral of the story: make crumble for breakfast everyday. And also, think of more recipes by myself!

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 Cherry and Peach Coconut Crumble:

Topping:

1/3 cup (50g) wholemeal flour

1/3 cup (50g) plain flour

1/3 cup (30g) desiccated coconut 

1/3 cup (30g) chopped walnuts or almonds

1/3 cup (30g) brown sugar

100g (3.5 ounces) coconut butter, cut into cubes. 

30ml (2 tbsp) soy or almond milk

 

Preheat the oven to 180C. Blitz all the dry ingredients together until combined. Pour into a bowl and use your fingers to rub the coconut butter into the batter, making little lumps. Slowly add in the milk and use your fingers to turn the mix into a crumbly, sandy consistency. Don’t overmix!

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For the Filling:

6-7 medium ripe yellow peaches (white will work too) sliced into eighths. 

80g (3 ounces) ripe red cherries

1 tsp cinnamon

Optional: 1-2 tbsp maple syrup, depending how sweet your peaches are. 

 

Toss the fruit with the maple syrup and cinnamon and pour into a baking dish. Top with the crumble and bake for 35 minutes, until golden on top and the fruit is cooked through. Serve warm, with coconut ice cream!

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Layered Chia Coconut & Fruit Puddings

Vegan, Refined Sugar and Gluten Free

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 The first time I made chia pudding I had a horrific experience. I ate too many chia seeds, my stomach swelled up, I didn’t put any yummy maple syrup in it, it was just miserable. I did kind of like the pudding itself though, even though I was still in my early chia pudding days. The chocolate chia pudding I made next was out of this world good. Creamy from avocados, chocolatey, sweet and peanut buttery. But it wasn’t really breakfast material. It was more dessert territory. I wanted to master the perfect fruit chia pudding. And I finally did it. 

I thought I must be some kind of colour goddess when I thought up this beautiful layered effect. But then I went to the bathroom and realised I had made an exact replica of my bar of soap…it’s exactly the same! I must have been subconsciously inspired whilst I was washing my hands! The bottom layer is mango and coconut milk, the middle layer is strawberry coconut and the topping is blueberry and almond milk. This is complete sacrilege because mango is always my favourite, but this time the blueberry was actually the star of the show. It was so sweet and jammy. It tasted like blueberry cheesecake ice cream, which was my favourite flavour when I was nine. Fun fact I know.

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The key to making good chia pudding is to put in lots of yummy ingredients as the backbone of the recipe. Chia has no flavour. None at all. It’s packed full of iron, antioxidants, vitamins and is a complete protein, but it tastes like nothing at all (That makes me not trust it…what is chia hiding from us?). The coconut milk makes the pudding deliciously creamy and rich, and the high ratio of fruit makes the pudding really sweet and hearty. Add some maple syrup if your fruit isn’t very sweet, and only use perfectly ripe and flavoursome fruit. Don’t use mushy or bitter berries, because they will taste even worse mixed up in a pudding.

Feel free to mix up the flavours and layers as well! Use whatever fruit and milk you prefer. You can use rice, almond, or soy. Just remember the flavour- it will come through! And guess what. You can totally eat these for breakfast. Just layer them in a jar, stick in some chopped fruit, and away you go. 

This post is similar to an old chia pudding recipe I made (even the photos!) but the subtle changes really make it so much yummier! That’s why I’m putting it up again. PS whoever can spot where I edited my reflection off the back of a spoon gets a shout out.

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 Layered Chia Pudding Recipe:

For 4 jars of chia pudding:

8 tablespoons chia seeds 

2 cups of coconut milk, almond milk, soy, rice or dairy

1/2 a medium mango, sliced

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) defrosted if frozen

1/2 cup strawberries, cut up in chunks

1-2 tbsp maple syrup, optional Image

Separate the chia into three even sized bowls. Put the mango in a blender with 1/3 of the coconut milk and blend well. Pour into one of the bowls with chia and stir until well combined. Wash out the blender and repeat with the other two fruits, until you have three bowls of pudding beginning to set. Pour in your first layer carefully so it doesn’t splash on the sides. Wait to set (about ten minutes, not much longer) and repeat with your next layer. Add the final layer and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight, so they’re fully set. 

It’s easiest to fill the jars with the pudding when it’s still slightly runny, otherwise it’s hard to scoop in. You don’t need to use jars- cups look good, or bowls as well. Jars are just handy because you can put a lid on them and take them to work in the morning. Add the maple syrup to any fruits that weren’t very sweet, or as a nice top layer add a little dollop that you can swirl through. And remember, chia is really filling! You don’t need much to feel full at all xx

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Vegan Coconut and Pear Cake and my 1st Guest Post!

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Hey guys! I’m doing a super exciting guest blog over at A Baking Girl today. This Coconut and Pear Cake I made for her was absolutely mind bogglingly delicious, so I recommend getting your bum over there and checking it out. 

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A Baking Girl is a really beautiful blog and like me, Rossi focuses on healthy desserts. She’s made some beautiful things! Including Healthy Chocolate Cookies and these Chocolate Mousse Cups that I want to inhale. I think her Strawberry Scones should be a necessary staple.
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Everything she makes looks amazing and her recipes are so detailed and accurate! I’m really honoured to get to contribute to her space. Hope you’re all having a beautiful week! And don’t get too excited but I’ve started planning my birthday cake. Get ready. 4

Mango and Vanilla Honey Yogurt Tart

Gluten Free, Sugar Free, optional Vegan and Raw Image

 It’s my first official week of summer holidays today! I’m planning on getting my tan awn. As soon as it stops raining. I completed my final exam in style last Saturday, arriving at the wrong venue and having to take my shoes off and sprint the half hour walk to the correct building. By the time I got there, pouring with sweat and with feet covered in road dirt, I didn’t even care what the exam was on. It was kind of a good study method actually because I think the adrenalin made me write in overdrive. In any means I finished early for the first time in my life, with absolutely no memory of what the question even asked….I’m going to take that as a good sign. 

As you can see I continue to ride on the mango train. How long will it last? As long as mango season lasts. Will it be beautiful? Yes it will. Might it get ugly? Possibly. Depending on whether my self control stops me from inhaling every mango in the house in one day. I made this mango tart on a morning that was positively miserable! It was raining, it was dark, and it did not feel like late Spring. I made it because I wanted to make something yellow and summery, and what’s better than mango and creamy yogurt in a delicious fresh tart form? Nothing!

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Hopefully the weather will clear up soon because my birthday is coming up, and I want to go to the beach to celebrate! Plus, spending the rest of summer in Europe is going to leave me so pale I’ll be named upon return the brown-haired albino. I’m so excited! I bought some thermals and a coat the other day! All I need now are socks and about forty more warm items of clothing. I figure this winter in Australia was rather balmy. Does that mean that this years European winter will be balmy? I’m hoping so! (I live in a world of delusion). 

When the weather finally does clear up, this tart is pretty perfect for taking outdoors to picnics and barbecues. It shouldn’t stay out of the fridge too long, but would be fine in a cold esky for a couple hours. It’s so creamy and fresh, and you can pretty well top it with any fruit you like. I chose mango because I love mango and it holds its shape well, but you could use berries, stone fruit, banana, anything really. I was completely inspired to make a tart like this after seeing My Darling Lemon Thyme’s Yogurt and Berry Tart the other day. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but this blog is probably in my top five favourite blogs of all time. Every post sounds so fresh and healthy, I just want to climb through the screen and eat it. And the writing is beautiful and so honest as well! It’s so inspiring. 

Image I haven’t made a full-sized tart like this in ages! Maybe not ever on this space. Mini tarts like the lavender and lemon tarts I made for a birthday picnic are great for sharing, but it’s nice to have something substantial to cut and serve around as well. The base is made out of orange-soaked sultanas and walnuts, and the orange imparts the most delicious flavour into the dried fruit. I’m so glad I tried it! The yogurt is sweetened with honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon which worked really well with the fresh mango. 

I love fresh fruit desserts in summer like these because they leave you feeling light and satisfied instead of heavy and sleepy. For a vegan version you could substitute whipped coconut cream or even cashew cream. That would also make it completely raw! The ingredients in this tart look more like a breakfast bowl than a dessert, and I definitely recommend making the switch at meal-times! It’s perfect for a simple birthday dinner, or even a mid-week treat. Try whatever combination you like best 🙂

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Mango and Vanilla Yogurt Tart: Inspired from here

1/2 cup sultanas soaked in the juice of 1 orange

1.5 cups walnuts or mixed nutes

450g yogurt, hung (instruction follows)

3 tablespoons runny honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1 fresh and ripe mango

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For the yogurt: Place the yogurt in a tea towel draped over a fine sieve. Place the sieve over a bowl and put in the refrigerator to drain for 2-3 hours, until thick. Stir in the cinnamon and honey and set aside. 

Line a 20cm tin with paper or plastic wrap, for easy removal. Soak the sultanas in orange juice for 20 minutes to half an hour before starting. Blend up the walnuts and the drained sultanas until they form a thick paste. Use your fingers to press the paste into the tin and form a tart shell. Put in the freezer until ready to assemble. 

Cut the mango in to slices and spread the yogurt over the tart shell. Arrange the mango before serving time and keep in the fridge until ready to eat. Serves 7-8 people. 

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Creamy Vegan Mango Pudding

Gluten Free, Vegan, Sugar Free

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 Yay it’s officially my first mango post of the season! And my first mango post ever! I’ve already made mango sorbet three times this spring. I haven’t posted about it, because I keep on eating it before I have a chance to photograph it. One day my friends. I made this mango pudding as a little experiment with an ingredient I hadn’t tried before in the land of vegan mousses and puddings. And guess what! It was as creamy and smooth as the chocolate and peanut butter mousse made with avocados. It was thick and comforting, like the rice pudding from the other week. And it tasted of nothing but delicious sweet mango. The perfect mousse for summer! And guess what else? Each cup, which is about 220g of pudding, not a piddly little cup, is only 140 calories. 

What is the secret you ask? Silken tofu! I’ve heard of silken tofu in desserts before but never really given it a try. Now I really want to try making a silken tofu chocolate pie. And about a billion other silken tofu combinations some of which will probably taste horrendous. My favourite dish ever in the world at a restaurant is teriyaki silken tofu. Oh my gosh. I’m obsessed with it! So I originally bought the tofu to try and recreate that. Then my brain caught up to me and I realised that was very unlikely to happen, considering my inability to cut silken tofu without turning into mush. (Is there some kind of secret?!?! Please someone enlighten me!)IMG_7513

The other day my friend and I, after I will admit, quite a night on the town, really felt like a froyo. We went to a self-serve place (bad idea) and I bought half a kilo of yogurt with mango pearls on top. An entire pound is not a laughing matter. I have never eaten so much yogurt in one sitting and NEVER had the same tummy ache the next day like that night! It was worth every mangoey bite though, and it inspired me! Mango was the best idea for this pudding because it made it go yellow like those mango sago puddings you get at yum cha! And they pour the little bowl of condensed milk on top and put the slices of mango on for you. Bless their little yum cha souls. While I was eating this I thought how good it would be to get some of those mango pearls and put them on top! I don’t even know where you get them, but that would be delicious. As long as you don’t eat a whole pound though!

I found the basic recipe for this incredibly simple combination at Fresh Tastes. Really you can almost guess what goes into it, there’s only three ingredients. I think you could take this pudding in any direction you really wanted, maybe with banana and coconut on top, or honey and berries. Mango worked great because it’s such a substantial and sweet fruit. I added some agave syrup mainly to get rid of the slight soy taste of the tofu. I think you could do this with any strong flavour, like some coconut milk if you’re making a fruit dessert, or peanut butter if it’s more chocolatey. Oh my gosh. Peanut butter pudding! Caramel pudding! So many different puddings that I have to try it isn’t even funny! I seriously want to make this mango pudding into a layer in a multi-layered fruit trifle. It might just happen. This may be the beginning of a pudding phase. 

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Vegan Mango Pudding: Adapted from here

300g (10.5 ounces) silken tofu

120g (3/4 cup, 4.3 ounces) mango, sliced (about half a large mango)

2-3 tsp agave nectar, depending on your tastes. 

 

Blend all the ingredients together until completely smooth. Divide into glasses and chill until completely cold and set. Serves 2-3. The recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled though. 

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Creamy Vanilla Rice Pudding (vegan and gluten free)

Vegan, Gluten Free and Sugar Free

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When I was young my sister and I went through a rice pudding phase. A rice pudding phase so intense that for a while afterwards, every time someone mentioned eating rice pudding I thought back on that experience as the dark days. I can now think of that time quite fondly, when I would eat one or two packets of cold, gloopy rice pudding every single day. It was an important part of my childhood, and many people’s childhoods, to get completely obsessed with a certain packaged product and eat so much of it you eventually want to exorcise every box from the face of the earth (for me this includes Easy Mac, frozen packets of dim sims and Yoplait vanilla cream…shudder). 

It was a shame to get sick of rice pudding though because I’d never actually tried the real deal, not straight out of a packet. I mean…has anyone? I know people in Europe eat it on Christmas Eve and hide an almond inside as a prize, but in Australia the only rice pudding I’ve ever seen is in a packet or a can. We’re not really rice pudding people. Come to think of it, the only place I’ve seen rice pudding as a popular choice on the menu was at the old person’s centre I used to volunteer at. Image

Well things are about to change! Because rice pudding is actually really delicious, and it’s naturally gluten free. You can use basically any milk you want, including soy and almond (the best is coconut) making it naturally vegan as well. I made a seriously vanilla-flavoured simple rice pudding with almond milk, topping it with fresh blueberries. I was tempted to make a coconut version and top it with mango slices, or maybe a cinnamon and ginger version topping it with poached rhubarb. But I decided to stick with simple for the first go. 

I used a mash-up recipe from Jamie’s America and Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert, for the sole reason that the recipe claimed to make the ‘creamiest rice pudding ever’. I don’t know about you, but I can never resist a recipe that claims to be the best. I know! So naive. I chose to make my pudding over a stove, meaning I had to stir it basically constantly for the last twenty minutes. If you really don’t want to do that I guess you could do it Jamie’s way and bake it in the oven, but it’s pretty fun stirring the rice until it’s as creamy and thick as you like it. I had so much fun making and photographing this pudding because it was so easy and homely. There was no fear of melting ice cream or ugly brown or strange flavours. Just simple old vanilla rice pudding. 

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This pudding is really delicious and thick despite the handful of humble ingredients and minimum fuss to make it. It’s delicious warm but also great cold, so try it both ways and see what you prefer. Experiment with toppings and different milks and tell me how they go! 

On another note, I’m getting super excited about summer and going away! I’ve been busy making lots of posts that I can put up over the weeks I’m not here so there’ll be lots of things still going on, don’t worry! Hopefully there will be wifi and hopefully that wifi will allow wordpress to be accessed…otherwise I don’t really know what’s going to happen! I’m also hoping that it won’t actually be minus 13 degrees in Budapest but hey! We can only hope and pray. 

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Creamy Rice Pudding: Adapted from here

150g (3/4 cup) aborio rice (risotto rice)

1.25 litres (1.32 quarts) almond, rice or coconut milk (or cows milk) 

100g maple syrup or honey

1 vanilla bean, split in half

1 pinch salt

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Put all the ingredients in a medium-large saucepan over a low heat, scraping out the vanilla seeds into the pot and putting in the bean as well. Stir to combine the syrup and bring to a simmer. Stir every now and again to stop a skin forming and stop the rice from sticking. As the rice thickens stir constantly until the pudding looks like a soupy risotto. Turn the heat off and the pudding should thicken a little immediately. Serve with fresh fruit or stewed fruit. If refrigerated first, add a little more milk to thin it down a bit. Serves 4-5 people.

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