Birthday Banoffee

December 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

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So it was my good friend Emma’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to make her a cake. Because I love her and I love making food. And also because I’m a masochist. It’s the kindy holidays and baking and children, while a really good combo on TV ads for flour and plastic storage containers, in my house equals a pre-schooler running around like he’s on P shouting about chopping people’s heads off with a spatula (thanks to all the maple syrup he helps me pour drinks) and a toddler who thinks coconut cream is body paint.
This time I was smart and craftily avoided death by insanity by making the base and caramel layer the night before and after the kids had gone to bed. The only problem was my trusty springform pan was actually a cheap piece of crap and had broken so I had to use a really large one, which meant my cake was more of a thick plate and I broke the crust getting it into a plastic storage container and it ended up being soft the next day anyway and wow this story is getting more riveting by the second.
In short, use a smaller springform pan, and make it to eat the same day. Just not with children.

One of my all-time favourite food bloggers is an 18-year-old Norwegian girl and she is a fecking genius. This recipe is totally lifted from hers (aside from the base) so go check out the original here and ogle her other awesome creations.

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Check out my Steiner candles. Oh yeah.

Banoffee Pie (vegan, gluten free, oil free, soy free, can be made nut free)
Base
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond meal (use ground buckwheat if nut-free)
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp almond butter (use more coconut butter if nut-free)
2 tbsp coconut butter, melted
Pinch salt

Caramel
3 cups soft pitted dates
1 cup coconut water (from can of coconut cream)
1 tsp vanilla
Good pinch sea salt

Cream
Cream from 1 can Trade Aid coconut milk
1-2 bananas, sliced
Cacao powder

The day before you make the cake, put the can of coconut cream in the fridge.
Turn oven to 160degC.
To make the base, combine all ingredients in a food processor or bowl and process or stir well to combine. Press into a 9″ springform pan and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool a bit, then remove carefully onto a wire rack so bottom doesn’t go soggy.
Take coconut cream out of fridge and gently scoop the thick creamy layer from the top into a bowl. Set aside.
To make the caramel, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined, using half a cup of the coconut water and adding a little more until you’re happy with the consistency (should be thick enough to slice through). Scoop mixture onto cooled base.
Whip coconut cream with an electric mixer until thick, then add banana and stir through. Spoon over the caramel, then top with a dusting of cacao powder. Serve immediately.

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Gluten Free Vegan Brandy Snaps and a Grateful Lunch

August 19, 2013 § 2 Comments

I’m not sure why, in the infancy of my first attempt to go sugar free, I decided it was a great idea to ask my Facebook likers which favourite childhood treats they’d like veganised and healthified. One week in and my butt has landed firmly on the ground next to that wagon. The question turned up many Kiwi treats I used to love: lamingtons, lolly cake, caramel slice, afghans, mushrooms in the grass, ginger crunch (you can find my recipe for that here), along with a couple of new ones (in case you’re wondering, poofy stuff is apparently fruit salad or tinned pineapple with whipped cream).
My top pick had to be brandy snaps – my Nanna used to make these at Christmas and we’d scoff the lot in under five minutes. So I got to veganising this classic – I tried to make a healthier version first using date paste but they turned into warm soggy pancakes. The final version uses coconut oil instead of butter, coconut sugar instead of white death, brown rice flour instead of white death and coconut cream instead of whipped white death. I’m not sure how many more of these recipes I can veganise right now, I’m keen to get back on the sugar-free buzz, but anything I can sub in stevia or xylitol instead I will experiment with.

Before I made myself sick eating the brandy snaps I made an awesome lunch with a salad inspired by watching Nigella last night, and a new creation I was hoping the kids would like – which they did, success! So here are three recipes, all for you.

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Veganised Brandy Snaps (vegan, gluten free, nut free)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp ground dried ginger (if you like it extra gingery, add another tsp)
5 tbsp brown rice flour

Heat oven to 180degC and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place coconut oil, coconut sugar and maple syrup in a saucepan on a very low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture is well combined. Add ginger and stir, then add rice flour, one tablespoon at a time, stirring well to combine each time. Once you have a smooth glossy liquid, spoon a tablespoonful onto the baking paper and make a thin circle. You should be able to fit 6 on a tray. They need to be done in batches so keep mixture warm (or you can gently reheat) for the next batch. Place in the heated oven for 6-8 minutes, checking constantly. It needs to go a little browner and be in long enough so that it goes crispy once it cools but you have to catch it before it burns. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two until it’s firm but still pliable, and use something round to roll them onto – I used the handle of an icecream scoop and a wooden muddling stick. Both worked fine. Let cool until you can remove, then pipe with the whipped coconut cream (recipe here) by placing cream in a small plastic bag and cutting a little corner off then squeezing.

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Angel Hair Vegetable Fries
1/2 large kumara or sweet potato
1 carrot
1/2 large beetroot
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp dried rosemary or other dried herbs (I used the Braggs salt free herb seasonings)
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 160degC. Using a julienne slicer, slice all vegetables and place in a bowl with oil, salt and herbs. Massage to combine then place on a well greased tray. Place in oven for around 20 minutes or until crispy – keep an eye they don’t burn. Serve hot with a green salad.

P.S. I also promised an update on my son’s health post-Dr visit. The long and short of it is he has an overgrowth of a bad bacteria known as clostridia, which creates spores, gut dysbiosis and a whole host of other issues related to this, most notably in Roman mineral and vitamin deficiencies, an inability to break down oxalates (hence no nuts, seeds, spinach etc), low seratonin (explains his bad moods and poor sleeping) and bad bowels. We’re not sure how the overgrowth occurred in the first place – it normally happens after antibiotics when the flora is disturbed however he has never had them so it’s a mystery at this stage. Unfortunately the only available treatment are targeted antifungals and antibiotics along with strong probiotics and cutting all sugars (which feed the bacteria) – but we are also looking into Fecal Microbiota Transfer, although no one in NZ does it so that’s going to be an interesting DIY path if we do. Will keep you posted.

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