Happy Pancake Day everyone! I've been busy recently running healthy eating sessions and Big Cook Little Cook sessions with parents and kids at St Bartholomews in Castlemilk.
It's so rewarding seeing kids excited about cooking classes and to be honest kids are far more likely to eat something if they have made it themselves!
I've been trying out lots of new fast, simple, kid friendly recipe ideas. The limitations are we only have an hour to prepare, cook, eat and clear up, the school have very limited cooking equipment and we have 7 kids with a parent at each session, all keen to do some hands on cooking!
A big saving grace was a couple of mini ovens I bought from Aldi for £10 each, they are so good and perfect for wee mini pizzas!
I have to do a fair bit of the old Blue Peter, here is one I made earlier!!
So far we have made Lentil Soup, Soda Bread, Mini Face Pizzas and Berry Smoothies!
Next session is tomorrow and I'm contemplating either mini filo pastries with apple and cinnamon and veggie fillings or these rather awesome pancakes!
I did an earlier banana pancake post using only banana and egg but for most kids its a bit too eggy, so when I came across this recipe I was immediately excited to try it!
This one has the addition of oats and the eggs are separated, the whites are whisked which makes these light and fluffy.
Anything which avoids added sugar and white refined flour gets my vote, as do these lovely pancakes!
These would be fun to make with your kids at the weekend when time allows for a more leisurely breakfast! Added sliced fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey adds a lovely natural sweetness. These would also be lovely served with some ice cream! These are also a great way to use up over ripe bananas!!
So without further ado, here is the recipe!
BANANA OATY PANCAKES
Ingredients - makes 8 pancakes
....your health in your hands....
(Makes 12 tarts)
Note: pastry is rather crumbly but very nice and crispy!.
Prepare the pastry
Place a heaped tbsp of filling into each case then top with a star. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool in the muffin trays before carefully loosening each pie with a knife and sliding out on to a plate or into your mouth. Up to you. Heat them up in the oven again before serving if you like, for extra crunch. Dust with icing sugar for extra festive cheer.
If the pastry is a bit too faffy you can easily use ready made shortcrust pastry.
Keep in a jar some of your extra filling and try as a decadent festive porridge topping!
It was Jenna's birthday this weekend and since she has been vegan for 10 years and has influenced our family food choices we enjoyed a fabulous vegan day out with her.
We started off at The Vegan Food Fair where we met the truly lovely Laurianne of Lauriannes Raw Vegan Cakes and were blown away by the wonderful selection of cakes and tarts she makes. We bought five and they were all delicious! Apricot tart, chocolate and salted caramel tart, raw chocolate sponge, vanilla & blueberry cheesecake and carrot cake!
All made without dairy or refined sugar, packed with nutritious ingredients and totally delicious!
She makes cakes to order from her cottage in Killearn and also supplies various outlets in Glasgow, she also runs workshops in and around Glasgow. I'll be booking myself on one soon!
You can find her on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. All details can be found here
Like most of us I really enjoy a delicious fruity creamy cheesecake but not the dairy variety which I find heavy and difficult to digest! Dairy and fruit are never a good combination and in ayurvedic terms, its a big no no!
So how do we acheive that creaminess without all the dairy and refined sugar?
With cashew nuts!!!
They are high in protein, fibre, minerals, good fats and health enhancing phytochemicals and they blend into the most delicious and healthy creamy base for cakes or sauces and are a godsend for those of us who would rather avoid dairy!
I buy nuts and dates which make up the base of this awesome cake from Lidl, whose prices are excellent! Nuts can be expensive and there are a lot of cashew nuts in this cake! I also bought delicious organic maple syrup for £2.99 which is an unbelievable price! Organic week at Lidl is officially over but you can still find organic bargains in lots of Lidl stores. It's well worth stocking up at these prices!
So what makes this cake so awesome...?
This is a really brilliant cake to impress your friends and family and can be made in advance and just thawed for 30 minutes before you serve it! Perfect for unexpected guests!
So the base of this cake is simply nuts and dates blitzed in a food processor and the delicious creamy topping is quite literally cashew nuts blended with maple syrup, berries, fresh or frozen, vanilla and lemon juice!
It doesn't get much easier than that!
All you need is a blender or a food processor and a freezer!
The cashew nuts need to be soaked preferably overnight but 6 hours would do if you are short of time. Any berries would work fresh or frozen. I used my own organic strawberries which are delicious and pesticide free! I have also used frozen blueberries and raspberries which works well too!
I used Aine Carlin's recipe here but have adapted it slightly.
Once the cake is frozen you can use your imagination for decoration but if you want to keep it frozen then don't decorate it with fresh fruit or edible flowers, neither of which freeze well!
I used sliced strawberries, borage flowers and lemon zest. Its actually nice to keep it simple and just pile some fruit in the middle!
So I give you the awesome No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake!
NO BAKE STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE
Ingredients - Serves 8 to 10
For the crust
200g nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts all work well
100g pitted dates, medjool are best
For the strawberry layer
250g strawberries or other berries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons maple syrup
125g cashew nuts, soaked in cold water preferably overnight, but 6 hrs min.
For the vanilla layer
300g cashew nuts, soaked as above and drained
100ml maple syrup or brown rice syrup
seeds from a vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 or 3 tablespoons water
1. Place the dates and nuts in a food processor or blender and blend until crumbly.
Put the mixture into a 20cm loose bottomed spring-form cake tin and press down firmly using the back of your fingers or a spoon. Put in the freezer while you get on with the toppings!
2. Wash and hull your strawberries, put in your blender or processor with the drained cashews, lemon juice and maple syrup. Blitz until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more sweetener if you like. Maple syrup is quite runny so don't add too much more!
3. Remove the base from the freezer and pour the strawberry mixture over it. Smooth with a spatula and put it back in the freezer.
4. Wash your blender and then add all the ingredients for the vanilla layer. Blitz well, you don't want bits of nuts so just keep blending until it's completely smooth!
5. When the strawberry layer has set, carefully pour over the vanilla mixture. Smooth with a spatula and return to the freezer for a few hours.
6. Decorate just before you are going to serve your cake, sliced strawberries, edible flowers and grated lemon zest all work well but use your imagination!
I served mine with a strawberry coulis, just strawberries blitzed in my Vitamix with some lime juice and maple syrup!
You can also just do a single layer, which is slightly less faffy, in which case, just soak all the cashews together and blend the ingredients for both layers at the same time! Less washing up but your cake won't look quite as pretty!
....your health in your hands...
I'm very honoured that Laura, my 15 year old daughter and awesome vegan baker, is allowing me to share her recipe for the most delicious carrot cake ever!
She made this one for her dad for Fathers Day, at his request, its his favourite cake!
I've always been a fan of carrot cake but sometimes its just dry and unappetising, but not this one!
Its deliciously moist, sweet, flavoursome, packed full of nuts and seeds for a bit of crunch and oodles of minerals, good fats, vitamins and antioxidants.
The wholemeal flour provides fibre and minerals. The carrots also provide fibre and lots of vitamins.
The flavour is enhanced by mixed spice and cinnamon, which helps insulin do its job of mopping up sugar from your bloodstream so you don't end up with a sugar rush. The fibre and protein from all the nuts, seeds and carrots also slows the rate at which the sugar hits your bloodstream.
So all in all this cake has a lot going for it!!
I do think that putting veggies in cakes is a genious idea, courgette and lime, beetroot brownies, sweet potato and chocolate cake! These are all great but I did make a cauliflower and chocolate cake a few months ago for the BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe and that was just wrong on every level! Cauliflower is just bitter tasting and totally overpowers any other ingredient. It also smelled awful, just like cooked cauliflower! Why anyone thought it was a good idea is beyond me!
Anyway back to the totally right on every level carrot cake!
Admittedly it is a special treat cake and not one we have regularly and yes it does contain sugar but in my opinion that is balanced out by all the good stuff!
The recipe makes a large cake which you can cut into 10 slices but we are greedy so usually cut it into rather big slices, 8 is our normal!
I do hope you give it a go the next time you have a celebration coming up or just fancy treating yourself or impressing your friends!
I'm convinced it will become a family favourite!
Please let me know what you think, if you try it, by leaving me a comment! It's lovely to know that folks are trying out my recipes and I value any feedback!
Here is the recipe..
BEST EVER VEGAN CARROT CAKE
2 cups (300g) of plain wholemeal flour
1 cup (150g) of brown sugar
3 cups of grated carrots, about 4 large ones
1/2 cup (50g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (75g)raisins or sultanas
1/4 cup (35g) of pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup (35g)of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of nuts (35g), chopped, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts all work well
1 teaspoon cinammon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup of sunflower or olive oil
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g icing sugar
100g vegan spread
zest of an orange
1/2 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
.....your health in your hands.....
🍃 Health educator🍃