baking, food, healthy, recipes

Purple choc cherry brownies with Indigo Herbs

I enjoy baking but I’m not quite Bake Off standard and one of the things I’ve tried to do more of is free from baking. 

I have lots of friends who have food intolerances (as do I) so I like to make sure they feel catered for if I’m having them round.

When the team at Indigo Herbs got in touch about using their natural, free from ingredients I said yes please! 

Indigo Herbs is an independent business located in the heart of Somerset, in Glastonbury and has a huge range of interesting products available online and in store. Plus they’re friendly, which is always a bonus. 

On with the recipe! 

Everyone loves chocolate brownies and chocolate pairs really well with cherries so combining the two was a doddle. 

This bake is vegetarian but not vegan as I’ve yet to find an egg substitute that works as effectively without leaving any trace.

 Ingredients

150g Purple Corn Flour*

150g Organic Coconut Sugar* 

1.5 tbsp coconut oil

200g dark chocolate of your choice 

1tsp gluten free baking powder 

2 eggs

1.5 tsp Acerola Cherry Powder* 

A few glacè cherries, chopped 

Sprinkling of Organic Puffed Quinoa* 

A very lazy cake to bake 

Oven on 200°c and locate cake tin (I used a loose bottom one), line with baking parchment. 

Weigh and measure your ingredients – do not drop any of them on the floor. 

Purple flour!

Mix your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (I used a spatula but you could use your electric mixing bowl/whisk – I could only locate 1 prong attachment thing). 

Coconut sugar and purple corn flour

Melt the coconut oil and chocolate in a bowl in the microwave – this takes about 3 to 4 minutes. You could use a Bain Marie but that takes longer and requires more room in the kitchen and the brain. 

Add the eggs to the dry mix, do not get any shell in there. If you do, fish it out, wrong kind of tasty surprise. 

Always look for the lion! 🦁

When the oil and chocolate have melted, pour it in. Be careful the bowl will be hot. 

Mix everything together. Add the glacè cherries. Stir them in. You would be best to do this bit by hand. 
You could be really clever and coat them in a little flour first so they don’t sink. I forgot to do this. 

Pour into the lined brownie tray (or a cake tin like I did as my brownie tray is huge) and smooth the top. Or leave it slightly uneven if like me, you’re lazy and perfection is tiring. 

Sprinkle the popped quinoa over the top. This provides a nice little crunch – a textural opposition to the soft brownies.  

Pop into the oven for 20-30 minutes. Check whether a knife comes out clean. If it does, then it’s done, if the knife is sticky, pop it back in for a few minutes more. Ovens (and cakes) can be unpredictable. 

Do the washing up or load the dishwasher and thank whoever invented this life saver. 

Once the baking is done, take it out of the oven (switch the oven off – no one ever tells you to remember to do this in recipe books). 

Too hot to eat…

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes as it will be soft. Then carefully transfer to a cooling rack (I got a set of three of these on Amazon – you’re welcome).

Once cool, you can decorate with more cherries or just slice and serve. Cream or custard (dairy free if preferred) go well with this. 

Obviously you can skip the cherries or swap them for something else, try popcorn instead of quinoa, add extra chocolate, make a bigger batch. Basically, make it your own. Then send me the results – cake by post. 

My independent taste testers gave this tasty treat two thumbs up, so give it a go. 

*items provided by Indigo Herbs for the purposes of this recipe post. All opinions and recipes my own. 

food, healthy, life, recipes

How to: tummy soother

We’ve all been there, you’re bloated, your belly aches and you’d quite like to die now thank you. 

Here’s a quick recipe for a tummy soothing remedy that costs less than 50p to make. 
You will need: 

One mug from your cupboard

Hot water – a little cooler than boiling. 

A thumb of ginger root (If you can’t find any in the shops, 1/2 tsp dry ground ginger) 

Half a lemon/lemon juice from a bottle 

Pour the water into the cup and let it cool slightly so you don’t scald your tongue. 

Peel and grate the ginger. Wash and half a lemon. 

Put the grated ginger in a bowl and press down on it with a spoon to release the juice. 

Pour the ginger juice into the hot water (I use a tea strainer) and squeeze in the lemon juice. Sip. Adjust juice levels to taste. Drink slowly and in a while you should feel better. 

Ginger helps promote good digestion and soothes the bloat. Lemon is a friend to your liver and helps break down chemicals like alcohol.

If you can stomach it hot water with lemon is a great way to get your body up and at ’em in the mornings. Personally I found it smelt like pancakes but tasted horrific. The ginger version is definitely better. You could also use fresh mint in warm water as mint also helps the digestive system and has anti-inflammatory properties. Or you could buy some tea bags – whatever works for you. 
I am not a doctor or nutritionist – this is just a simple home remedy. For anything more serious please see your GP or visit a hospital. Any ongoing pain in your gut must be addressed with a professional as it could be serious. 

food, healthy, recipes

How to make super easy sauce

Ok, so here’s the thing, jars of sauce never make their way into my trolley – why? Because it is cheap and easy to make your own, not to mention better for you without all the preservatives. Here’s my super easy tomato sauce, which can be used as the base for pasta dishes, curries, and all sorts of other things as it’s so easy to adapt. 

1 tin or carton of chopped tomatoes

1 onion – red or Spanish, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

Olive oil

Sea salt

Black pepper

Saucepan 

In the pan warm the oil and add the onion and garlic, after a minute or so pour in the tomatoes, stir and allow to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Now onto how to adapt it for different dishes; 

Add chopped fresh chillies with the onion and garlic.

Throw in some ginger or paprika to add depth. 

Basil, oregano and rosemary chopped finely, make a pungent base. 

You can use fresh, dried or frozen herbs and spices. 

It works out cheaper than jars of sauce and you can freeze it. Magic. 

clean eating, food, healthy, recipes

Potato Salad

The humble spud has been accused of a lot recently – contributing to obesity, damaging farmland, being ugly. 

I say enough – clean eating is expensive, spuds are cheap and versatile. Leave them alone.  Here’s my potato salad, serve it as a side at a barbecue, or as my friend recommends, under a grilled chicken breast with broccoli  and salad.  

Serves 4 or more depending on hunger

Ingredients

1 small bag of potatoes – I prefer the small salad ‘new potatoes’ or similar. 

Small pot of yoghurt – I use natural yoghurt

Small pot of sour cream or creme fraiche 

Small bunch spring onions

Fistful of chives

Black pepper

Method

Wash the potatoes and boil till soft. While they’re cooking, chop the chives and spring onions (wash them too!). Mix the yoghurt, sour cream, chives and spring onions in a bowl. 

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and leave to cool. Once they’re at a temperature you’re happy with (can be served warm or cold), use the sharp point of a knife to remove any eyes, peel off the skins if you prefer (much easier on the little potatoes after cooking), chop into desired size chunks. 

Add to the dressing, mix, season with black pepper, if using, stir again. It can now be served or stored in the fridge for later. Will keep a couple of days in an airtight tub in the fridge but is best eaten sooner.  

Ready to eat
food, healthy, recipes

Super easy, super tasty recipe

image

This salad has five ingredients.

Rocket
Spinach – stalks removed
Goat’s cheese
Baby figs – sliced
Olive oil

I only made it for one, but add more of each ingredient if you make it for more.

It literally took about two minutes to assemble. You could serve it with sliced baguette, grill the figs, add pine nuts or anything you want.

Then stuff it in your face.

baking, food, healthy, recipes

Fudgey Chocolate Brownie

This time of year is so miserable, there’s almost nothing better than a warm, fudgey brownie to cheer up the day. Here’s my personal favourite recipe.

Set oven to 200°c, grease and line a brownie tin/square cake tin. I used an electric mixer but you can do it by hand just as easily. I’ve replaced some of the ingredients with substitutes, but you don’t have to.

Ingredients

3 medium eggs
70g ground almonds
5g banana powder (or 75g almond)
275g sugar substitute (stevia, coconut sugar)
175g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
175g coconut oil/butter
40g cocoa
Chopped nuts, dried fruit, choc chips (optional)

Method

Melt the coconut oil and chocolate in a microwave.

Mix all the dry ingredients together, add the eggs, mix, add the chocolate oil, mix.

Add the chopped nuts, dried fruit etc if using. Mix together by hand.

Pour into prepared tin, smooth out with a spatula. Pop into a hot oven, cook for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes, cut into squares. These will last a few days in an airtight container, if you can resist them!

image

ramblingmads

clean eating, food, healthy, recipes

Make this tonight: lettuce gratin

This is a great way to get more veggies into your diet, and can be vegan or vegetarian as well. It’s adapted from a far more complicated Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsall recipe previously published in the Guardian newspaper.

image
Photo from The Guardian

Ingredients

Cos type lettuces (I use two baby gems)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
Celery
Peas
Spring onions
Pancetta cubes
Parmesan cheese
Bread crumbs (I used Japanese panko)

Wash and chop the lettuce, drain thoroughly. Toss with oil, salt and pepper. Put it in a casserole dish. Roast at 200°c for 25 minutes – keep an eye on it, do not let it burn.

While the lettuce roasts, wash and chop your celery and spring onions. Fry them in a pan with the pancetta, add the peas (I use them from frozen), season with pepper (if not using pancetta you could add a little salt).

Remove the lettuce from the oven, scatter the veg and pancetta over the lettuce. Reserve any liquid in the pan.

Sprinkle grated Parmesan over the gratin. Fry the breadcrumbs lightly in the preserved oil and fat. Scatter over the gratin. Return to oven for 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese and brown the breadcrumbs.

Serve on its own or with some crusty bread.

To make it vegetarian/vegan omit the pancetta, and switch the Parmesan for a dairy free hard cheese. You can add any other veggies that appeal too.

ramblingmads