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Vegan

Baking

Breakfast Flapjacks

November 12, 2017

This week I was set a challenge… to come up with a healthier version of the humble flapjack. At first I thought to myself it would be pretty impossible to get anything close to resembling a ‘traditional’ flapjack… however with perseverance and lots of experimenting, I think I may have cracked it!

Now, don’t be under any illusion that these are ‘like for like’ flapjack swaps, as you’re never going to get a healthier version to taste like the buttery golden syrup stodge that we all know and love – that’s just crazy talk! However, I’ve developed a recipe that is sweet, sticky and doesn’t fall apart when you pick it up (key boxes ticked off) and they will make a delicious afternoon snack or if you’re in a hurry before work or school, grab a couple of slices and have for your breakfast.

To make these flapjacks lovely and sweet, I’ve used ripe bananas in the mix. I’ve tried a few recipes before that use mashed banana and they have always turned out a little bit hit and miss, sometimes too ‘banana-ry’ and have a strange chewy taste which I’m definitely not keen on. So as I’m aware of this issue with some healthier alternatives, I’ve made sure the banana isn’t the overpowering ingredient by adding honey, sultanas and coconut to equal out the taste.

Bananas can be overpowering, but this recipe is just right!

Another little tip is to use porridge oats instead of chunky steel cut oats, they tend to absorb the wet ingredients better and keep the flapjacks soft and held together. Also after baking turn out them out onto wire rack with the bottom facing up and this will help them to be more crispy – because nobody likes a soggy bottom!

Feel free to swap the sultanas for other dried fruit or even nuts, seeds or chocolate chips.

You will need:

  • 200g porridge oats
  • 25g desiccated coconut
  • 100g sultanas
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 200g ripe banana (approx 2 medium)
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 40g of coconut oil
  • 40g of honey or maple syrup
  • Optional – 2 tbsp of milled linseed

How to make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°c and line a square tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the oats, coconut, cinnamon, ginger and sultanas (or other dried fruit) and stir together.
  3. Peel and mash the banana in another bowl until puréed.
  4. Add the coconut oil, honey (or maple syrup) and vanilla extract to a pan and gently heat until melted.
  5. Pour the melted ingredients in with the oat mixture, and add the mashed banana. Stir together until completely mixed and a sticky texture starts to form.
  6. Tip the mixture into the square tray and using the back of a spoon, squash it down to about 1cm in depth and smooth over the top making sure the flapjack is compact.
  7. Pop in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack with the bottom facing up, this helps to make the flapjack more firm while it cools. Cut into 12 slices and store in an airtight container.

 

Savoury

Mexican Bean Soup with Tortilla Chips

October 29, 2017

It’s officially soup season…

A spoon in one hand and a deep bowl of warm soup in the other, slightly too hot so that it tingles your tongue and yet we still go ahead and reach for more. There’s something so satisfying about making your own soup, that you’re creating and developing a new recipe every time you make it as no single bowlful is exactly the same.

I’ve kept this recipe even simpler by removing the blending step, so it’s chunky and full of flavour with every mouthful. The tortilla chips are perfect for scooping up the beans and peppers, bringing this dish to a whole new level.

This recipe makes two large bowls, so feel free to double the ingredients if you want to prepare it for a family of four, or to have for lunch in the working week. You could even add a spoonful of sour cream, guacamole or cooked rice to change up the recipe a little. Try whatever you fancy!

First up, the mexican bean soup. Scroll further down to get your hands on how to make the tortilla chips…

Mexican Bean Soup

You will need:

  • 100g roasted red pepper (I used the jar variety)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can of black beans
  • 1 stock cube (beef or vegetable)
  • 70g of sweetcorn
  • handful of coriander
  • salt and pepper

How to make:

  1. Crush the garlic clove, dice up the roasted red pepper and add to a large pan on a medium heat.
  2. As the pan starts to warm up, drain and rinse the black beans and set to one side. Put the stock cube into the empty can and top with freshly boiling water.
  3. Add the spices to the pan and stir, pour in some of the stock to stop the spices catching on the bottom.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, black beans and the sweetcorn. Mix together and top with the rest of the stock.
  5. Simmer on a medium heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Roughly chop the coriander and add to the pan, season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spoon into large bowls and serve with the tortilla chips (recipe below) or add sour cream, a squeeze of lime  or fresh chilli to garnish.

The mexican bean soup would be perfectly delicious served on its own but if you’ve got the time, I’d definitely recommend pairing it with these simple homemade tortilla chips. And the beauty of making your own is that you can experiment with the ingredients, swap and change some of the spices for different ones and you’ve created a brand new flavour!

Simply double the ingredients to make more, I mean who would say no to that anyway?!

Tortilla Chips

You will need:

  • 2 small tortilla wraps
  • olive oil (I used the 1 cal spray and approximately 10 sprays)
  • 1/4 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cumin
  • salt and pepper

How to make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°c.
  2. Slice the tortilla wraps in to half, then quarters and finally quarter again. You should have 16 tortilla chips in total.
  3. Add the tortilla chips to a bowl and spray with the olive oil.
  4. Mix the spices in a small dish and sprinkle into the bowl, using your hands make sure each chip is coated with the seasoning evenly.
  5. Lay out the chips on a baking tray, ensuring they don’t overlap each other.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes, turning once.
  7. Leave to cool and crisp up, serve wth the soup.

If you try out either of these recipes, be sure to mention me in your creations using #jennifermakes and tagging me in your post over on Instagram.

Baking

Apple & Blackcurrant Crumble with Coconut Cream

October 22, 2017

Autumn, my most favourite time of the year.

As the clocks go back and the days begin to get shorter, I always start to crave more warming dishes, from chunky vegetable soups through to comforting bowls of sweet dessert. A crumble hits the spot every time, and you can’t get much better than the classic combination of apple and blackcurrant.

This recipe is surprisingly simple, and I’ve created it so it’s gluten & dairy free and also vegan friendly too. I always think if there’s a way to share recipes with more people who may be intolerant to certain foods etc then the more the merrier! And I certainly wouldn’t want to keep this recipe all to myself, it’s that delicious.

I’ve used frozen prepared apple and blackcurrants in this crumble from Field Fare however you can use fresh instead, just be sure to peel the Bramley apples first. You could also use blackberries instead of blackcurrants if you prefer, any sort of dark berry would work well with the apple.

To accompany the crumble, I whipped up some coconut cream, this is super easy to make and adds a little twist to the dish. You will need 100g of creamed coconut and a 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract. Using an electric whisk, simply whisk the two ingredients together until it starts to thicken.

Next, the star of the show…

You will need:

For the filling

  • 300g of bramley apple slices (fresh or frozen)
  • 100g of blackcurrants (fresh or frozen)
  • 20g of soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60ml of water

For the crumble

  • 100g of oats
  • 100g of ground almonds
  • 40g of soft brown sugar
  • 40g of pecans
  • 40g of coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt

How to make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  2. Begin by making the filling by adding all of the ingredients to a pan, ensuring the apples are peeled and sliced first. Heat on a medium flame and using a spoon, stir the filling every so often until the sauce thickens and the fruit begins to become soft.
  3. While the filling is cooking, make the crumble. Add all of the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir together.
  4. Melt the coconut oil briefly (I popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds) and then add to the mixing bowl. Stir together until the crumble is coated with the coconut oil.
  5. Using a pie dish, spoon the filling into a thick layer on the bottom.
  6. Next, gently spoon the crumble mix over the top of the filling until it’s completely covered. You can be quite generous with the crumble mix, however this recipe makes enough mix for two crumbles. Put the remaining crumble mix into a zip lock bag and pop in the freezer to use for next time.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.

Serve with the whipped coconut cream, custard, ice-cream or simply on it’s own. If you try this recipe out, don’t forget to share your pictures with me over on Instagram and let me know what you think!

Enjoy x

Baking

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

June 20, 2017

Cookies are one of my favourite treats to make when I’m craving something sweet, they take about 20 minutes from start to finish – it’s little wonder that I don’t make them every single day!

Hazelnut and chocolate chip is a classic combination, and these cookies are delicious eaten straight out of the oven whilst they’re still warm… I’ve made this recipe using half ground hazelnuts and ground almonds, as that’s all I had in the cupboards, but you could easily make them completely with just ground hazelnuts (I imagine they would probably taste even better!)

This recipe is also suitable for vegans and coeliacs, I’d love to hear your thoughts if you decide to make them. And don’t forget to tag me in your creations using @jennifermakes or #jennifermakes on Instagram, I love seeing what you think.

You will need:

  • 75g ground hazelnuts
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 40g of dark or light brown sugar
  • 40g of dark chocolate chips (I used a mixture of dark and milk – substitute for vegan chips if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp of milk (I used almond)

How to make:

Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan) and line a baking tray. In a mixing bowl add all of the dry ingredients and stir together. Melt the coconut oil by heating in a pan or pop in the microwave for 60 seconds until dissolved. Pour into the mixing bowl with the milk and stir until a sticky dough ball forms. Using a spoon divide the mix into 8-10 balls and flatten in your hand, pop on the baking tray and bake for 15 mins. Leave to cool a little and then enjoy!

Baking

Chocolate Orange Cookies

January 31, 2017

Chocolate. Orange. Cookies. Three words that can only mean one thing…. YUMMY!

I’ve been making gluten free cookies for a while now, and each time I play around with the flavours, try new ingredients and consequently tend to devour a whole tray of them before they’ve even had chance to cool… The main reason I experiment with gluten free baking is because a friend of mine is a coeliac, and there seems to be so many below average (and extremely expensive) treats in the supermarkets that I was sure I could create something tasty, and so that’s how these cookies were born.

This recipe is also suitable for vegans, so another box ticked if you have friends that prefer sweet treats totally cruelty free!

Although these cookies are chocolate orange, I’ve also added raisins throughout the dough. The cookies become more sweet and chewy with the addition of raisins but if you’re not keen (and prefer to make them just chocolate) then substitute the raisins for extra chocolate – 50g to be precise.

You will need:

  • 150g ground almonds
  • 100g raisins
  • 30g of dark chocolate (chocolate chips work fine too)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of orange extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup

How to make:

Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan) and line a baking tray. In a mixing bowl add all of the dry ingredients and stir together. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and orange extract to a pan and melt together (or pop in the microwave for 60 seconds until dissolved). Pour into the mixing bowl and stir until a sticky dough ball forms, add 1 tbsp of milk if the mix is a little dry. Using a spoon divide the mix into 8-10 balls and flatten in your hand, pop on the baking tray and bake for 15-20 mins. Leave to cool and then munch away!

Sweet

Ginger & Date Bliss balls

January 16, 2017

Bliss balls are one of my favourite sweet snacks to make, they’re simple to blend together and when dipped in melted dark chocolate… oh my! I absolutely love sweet treats and I’ve been trying to find alternative ways of getting my ‘fix’ without reaching for the sweetie jar. I know that these still contain sugar, but as they’re naturally occurring I feel that they must be healthier than the processed treats you can buy in stores – but that’s my personal view.

Dates are natures candy!

I love dates, they’re gooey, sticky and taste like caramel. The problem I find is that many recipes call for a specific variety called Medjool, which although admittedly they do taste delicious, they’re also pretty expensive compared to other varieties. The cheaper alternatives aren’t quite as sticky so can prove more difficult to use in bliss balls, however I’ve discovered a great way to get around it! Simply soak the dates in hot water for a few minutes, drain the water and they become lovely and soft which makes them ideal for blending.

Here I’ve created a ginger nut inspired recipe, dipped in dark chocolate – it makes approx 20 which can be stored in the fridge for a week or so, longer if kept in the freezer.

You will need:

  • 150g pitted dates
  • 150g of mixed nuts (I used peanuts and cashews)
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp of flaxseeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 50g of dark chocolate

How to make:

Begin by pitting the dates and removing the stones, then pop into a bowl and cover with hot water. Add the nuts to a food processor and blitz until a rough fine crumb, add the chia seeds and flaxseeds and blitz again.

Drain the water from the dates and add to the processor, tip in the spices and blend together. Keep mixing for a few minutes, scraping down the sides until combined.

Using your hands, roll into small balls (just under ping pong sized I guess!) and lay out on a baking sheet. Pop in the freezer for a few hours to harden slightly. I melted 50g of dark chocolate with a pinch of ground ginger, drizzled over the balls and popped back in the freezer.

Store in the fridge or freezer, and try not to eat them all in one go!

balls1

 

spoonful

Breakfast

Chocolate Crumble Oats

January 11, 2017

Chocolate porridge is the best! It’s sweet, warm and delicious, just what we want on cold wintery mornings (or evenings!) and a perfect way to start the day. To make this porridge extra creamy, I’ve added a spoonful of coconut butter. If you’ve never tried it, you must! Coconut butter has a rich, velvety texture that tastes creamy and is amazing spread on toast, added in smoothies or simply eaten with a spoon!

The crumble topping is really easy to make and takes this dish to another level… I like to make the crumble for all different flavours of porridge, from apple and cinnamon to mixed berry and peanut butter. If there’s any left over, simply pop into a jar and use for sprinkling on top of smoothies or yoghurt.

Heres how to make my chocolate crumble oats…

 You will need:

  • 60g of oats
  • 30g mixed nuts
  • 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp of coconut butter (I used Go Nutrition)
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 250ml of milk

How to make:

Roughly chop the nuts and add to a pan with 10g of the oats. Gently toast the oats and nuts for a few minutes, making sure to stir frequently to prevent burning. When lightly brown, spoon out of the pan and set aside to cool.

Prepare the porridge by adding the remaining ingredients to the pan, simmer for 5 minutes and keep stirring until thick and creamy. Spoon into a bowl and top with the crumble and some fresh fruit. Enjoy!

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Savoury

Spiced Red Lentil Soup

January 10, 2017

Only the pure in heart can make a good soup – Ludwig van Beethoven

January is the time for curling up on the sofa with a big bowl of steaming hot soup, feeling warm and snuggly. It’s like central heating for the soul! As I can’t eat onions (who knew they’re in pretty much everything?!) I struggle to find any ready made soups from the supermarket as onion tends to be a staple ingredient. So I’ve started to make my own soups, and so far I’m loving the flavours.

There’s also something satisfying about making your own soup, blending it together and heating it up in a pan for lunch the next day with a few slices of warm buttered toast. It fills you up without feeling sluggish after and is a great way of sneaking in left over vegetables that may otherwise have been thrown out at the end of the week.

This soup will last in the fridge for up to 5 days, making the perfect dish to take to work, and it really couldn’t be any simpler.

Here’s how I made it…

You will need:

  • 250g of carrots (approx 2 large carrots)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 200g dried red lentils
  • 1.5 litres of stock (I used beef stock but vegetable will work great too)
  • 20g of fresh finger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper to season

How to make:

Prepare the carrots and red pepper by roughly slicing into coin sized pieces, boil the kettle to make the stock (if using a stock cube) and set a pan on a medium heat. Add the vegetables, stock and red lentils to the pan, stirring together.

Next thinly slice the garlic and ginger, and add to the pan with the rest of the spices. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

Leave to cool slightly before adding to a blender (I use my NutriBullet and blend in batches) and blend until smooth, or use a hand blender in the pan whilst still warm. Serve hot with toasted bread and butter!

soup2-insta

Breakfast

Pear & Ginger Oats

January 5, 2017

Overnight oats are one of my favourite breakfasts to make, they’re so easy to mix together the night before and grab a jar of them before heading out of the door in the morning. I usually exercise at 6am and after I’ve got showered and ready for work, I simply top the oats with fresh berries and seeds and munch away while I’m sat at my desk.

There’s so many different flavour combinations that it’s no wonder overnight oats have become my staple breakfast! I like adding grated apple and cinnamon, or if I’m in a chocolate mood (more often than than not…) I’ll add a heaped teaspoon of raw cacao powder and a spoonful of peanut butter – so good!

This recipe is made with conference pears (any type will work fine though) and ground ginger for a lovely spiced  ‘gingerbread’ hint. I’ve also added chia seeds for an extra protein boost and it also creates a slightly different texture compared to just using oats alone.

You will need:

  • 45g of oats
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 pear (peeled and grated)
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger (or 1/2 tsp if you prefer a more intense spice)
  • 1/2 tsp of maple syrup
  • 160ml of milk (I used coconut milk from a carton)
  • 1 tsp of flaxseed (optional)

Peel and grate the pear into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until completely combined. Leave in the fridge overnight and enjoy chilled for breakfast. Top with more pear, fresh fruit and a sprinkle of flaxseed.

pear-oats-insta-1

Smoothies

Beetroot & Cacao Smoothie

January 2, 2017

Oh hello 2017! January is the month when most of us decide to set new goals for the year ahead, feel more conscious to eat healthier and set aside time to become more active. A few of my aims for this year is to experiment with more flavours, ingredients and try out new things in the kitchen. So, my first recipe of 2017 is this delicious beetroot and raw cacao smoothie bowl…

It might seem like a slightly strange flavour combination, but trust me, it tastes awesome! The beetroot adds an earthy tone to the smoothie but when blended with the intense flavour of raw cacao it creates a luxurious velvety taste that’s crammed full of goodness. You can add a little more liquid if you prefer to drink it from a glass otherwise the texture will be more like soft scoop ice-cream, yum!

You will need:

  • 100g of cooked beetroot (in natural juices) – I used the vacuum packed beetroot
  • 1-2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 heaped tsp of raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp of oats
  • 1 tbsp of greek yoghurt
  • cup of milk (I used coconut)

How to make:

Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and whizz together until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl (or glass) and top with your favourite fruit, granola and nuts. Enjoy!

beetroot-cacao-2