Recipe: Finally-got-them-to-be-fudgy vegan brownies

Woop woop *pulls on party popper* *twirls noisemaker* *blows into those party whistle things*

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Follow this recipe and you’ve got yourself¬†a trayful of fudgy middle squares of brownie with edges that are a little cakey and chewier (Mmm).

Since writing this, I’ve actually found a much easier way of making the icing but have lost the back-of-an-envelope slash receipt on which I wrote down what I did ūüė¶ ALSO I unexpectedly discovered another vegan¬†brownie recipe worthy of attention and possibly a post (two good vegan brownie recipes may not be very exciting to the regular Joe but for someone a little too into her vegan baking – it’s a big deal OK.) Planning on writing a lil’ summin summin on those but for now, enjoy this gem!

Makes 12 squares

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ripe medium avocado
  • 60g dark¬†chocolate (dairy-free)
  • 120ml coffee (I used 1 tsp instant coffee but need to experiment for mocha-ry flavours)
  • ¬†170g flour
  • 70g granulated sugar
  • 65g dark brown sugar
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • pinch of¬†salt
  • 45ml oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 135ml dairy free milk

Ingredients for frosting

  • 1 and 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 55g cocoa
  • a few squares of dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil/melted marg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp coffee
  • 7 heaped tsp icing sugar

Method

  1. Lightly grease your tray.
  2. Preheat to (the good old) 180¬įC.
  3. Melt chocolate over a ban marie and leave aside to cool.
  4. Blitz avocado until smooth and sieve to get rid of lumps.
  5. Large bowl –¬†add avocado, oil and vanilla.
  6. Measure coffee and add milk to cool it down. Add to the bowl.
  7. Large bowl – measure dry.
  8. Add wet to dry.
  9. Fold in melted chocolate.
  10. Add an extra splash of milk if it’s uber thick but it should be quite thick.
  11. Cook for 40-45 minutes. It’s fine if a skewer doesn’t come out clean but make sure it’s not still batter. Otherwise, it’ll be like eating batter.

Method for frosting

  1. Blitz and sieve avocado.
  2. Place back into blender and puree with the rest of the ingredients ūüôā

P.S. I know the amounts for everything are a bit awkward – will bake this again at some point and adjust them so they’re more baker-friendly.

Recipe: Unbelievably lazy banana pancakes (vegan-friendly)

Let me rephrase, banana pancakes for unbelievably lazy people. Woo! I don’t know if I can even call this a recipe because they turn out different (differently?) every time, but they usually satisfy my bananary cravings. I have literally had them for breakfast before, cheekily doubled the recipe for dinner and they have definitely made me too full once or twice when I’ve eaten them for dessert and probably shouldn’t have had that¬†earlier second helping of rice.

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You can do whatever you like with these: I’ve had them with fresh or stewed berries before, added a bit of yoghurt or (impatiently) let a square¬†of dark chocolate melt on top – err yum! You could totally throw in some toasted nuts, dessicated coconut, fro-yo! Aaaaanything.

Makes 3 small pancakes – suitable for a second breakfast or dessert after a light (or, in my case, any) dinner.

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 ripe banana (I like to keep it partially unmashed. I mean I would never say no to some caramelised banana chunks. Or sometimes, when I’m feeling really bananary, I mash about 3/4 and rip up the rest into the mixture.)

Method

  1. Mash the banana.
  2. Mix in the milk.
  3. Fold in the flour.
  4. Fry, pressing down a little, a little oil (coconut oil is the best because I love the nutty fragrance it gives!)

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Love a good healthy but actually nice tasting plate of food!

I know they don’t look like the fluffiest stack of pancakes with an action shot of maple syrup being drizzled over and the (in my opinion)¬†not-always-called-for¬†rashers of crispy bacon sat on top, but number 1: I don’t think they particularly need any sweetener if your bananas are ripe enough and you have some nice accompaniments with it. And number 2, you’re just gonna have to bear with me and my amateur picture-taking skills until I become a pro at using my currently under-achieving DLR, which isn’t fulfilling its full potential at the moment.

Recipe: (Quick) Bircher muesli

Apart from the creamy, delicious, cold-porridge aspect of bircher muesli, I know the point of it is that it’s a make-ahead breakfast for those rushed or lazy mornings where you just want to roll out of bed and be able to put some¬†food in¬†your mouth with minimal effort and/or¬†unappetising post-breakfast oatiness to wash up after the¬†meal. But for me, the prep beforehand makes breakfast more effortful. Sometimes I just crave that bircher muesli goodness without having to wait hours for all the ingredients to meld together.

What is bircher muesli though? Overnight oats. Cold/summery porridge. And it doesn’t require any cooking.¬†Overnight bircher to me tastes too much of raw oats and everything merges together to give one bland¬†texture (plus it doesn’t look too appetising, let’s be honest). So this is perfect if you want to keep the crunch of the almonds and the flavour and mouth-feel of the dried fruit.

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So here’s¬†my speedy muesli which satisfies my cold-porridge cravings – try it out if you want low-maintenance oats in the morning that are neither¬†burning hot (I mean who wants their patience tested in the morning when you’re still wiping the sleep out of your eyes) or still have that raw edge to them¬†(do oats have edges?). Enjoy! ūüôā

Serving: 1 small (but filling!) bowl

Ingredients

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 handfuls of rolled oats (finer oats, rather than the big organic oat flakes – e.g. I use Quaker’s)
  • 1 handful of (toasted) flaked almonds
  • 1 sprinkling of dried currants
  • 1 spoonful of yoghurt/splash of milk

Method

  1. Juice the orange into your serving bowl.
  2. Mix roughly 2 handfuls of oats into the juice with a spoon.
  3. Whilst the oats absorb the fresh citrus-y orange juice, toast the almonds if they’re not toasted already. Add to the oats along with the currants and mix.
  4. After a few minutes of soaking and absorbing, fold in a spoonful of yoghurt or a little milk (I quite like almond.)
  5. Serve with some fruit for freshness.

Recipe notes:

  • I don’t like soaking oats in milk or yoghurt too much because it infuses a raw oaty taste into the whole thing (one reason why I use¬†fresh¬†juice rather than more dairy). So just experiment with how much you use and for how long to find the taste you like.
  • Easily made vegan by using almond milk instead of yoghurt (I think soya yoghurt/milk would have too strong of a flavour)
  • I like to be able to taste the orange so I don’t overpower it with too much yoghurt (especially if it’s natural yoghurt).
  • Really good with grated apple – this is traditionally seen in bircher muesli but it browns √ľber quickly, so the muesli loses its fresh taste and look (and also, graters are really annoying to wash. AmIright?)
  • Use any dried fruit and nuts you like! (raisins, apricots, toasted walnuts..)
  • I recommend folding in the seeds and juice of¬†a passion fruit! ūüėÄ Adds sharpness, texture and a nice orangey-yellow colour too. Yum!

Recipe: Chocolate and orange cake

Yet another recipe that’s vegan. I’m sorry for all the dairy-, egg-less recipes. I’m really not vegan.. she says, assuring the probably 3 people reading this who sleep¬†under the same roof as her, who¬†don’t need an explanation of her everyday over-thought¬†actions let alone her dietary habits.¬†Yes, my family. Hey guys. I hope you (three) are not put off by the vegan friendliness of my recipe posts but they’re usually the recipes I want to share the most, because despite all the cartons of soya milk and quinoa sweet potato salads around every corner you turn,¬†it’s rare to find vegan baked goods¬†that either don’t taste overly sweet or too bland; isn’t covered in icing or not covered with enough to hide¬†that questionable flavour you’re tasting; or a stodgy brownie which doesn’t seem to taste like anything even though you know¬†there were bountiful¬†ingredients shoved in that mix to try and replicate the texture of a regular brownie. IMG_1009 If you’ve baked anything vegan at all, you know the best way is to name what you’ve made after it comes out of the oven/freezer/fridge – vegan things don’t usually taste like it’s dairy friend, but¬†why would it! It’s made of different ingredients which have a different flavour, texture and look to them. And although I firmly believe that there are definitely recipes out there that can totally and utterly better some dairy equivalents I’ve tried in caf√©s (try this), there should be no expectation for it to taste EXACTLY the same as a butter- and egg -filled one you remember trying back in the day that tasted oh-so good.

IMG_1019 One of my sisters – aka reader number 2 – is allergic to dairy and egg so I’ve come to really like¬†experimenting and testing recipes to finally be able to post fool-proof ones that either taste just as good or, even, better than the dairy alternative; is a lighter version of one of those recipes that seems like its main goal in life is to incorporate all the cream, chocolate, eggs, cream cheese and butter possible into one bite; satisfies a certain sweet craving; or is just downright delicious to eat.

Anyway, this cake is crumbly, chocolatey and satisfying and I hope you like it as much as I do.

Makes a 1-layer cake

Ingredients

  • 190 g self-raising flour
  • 170 g caster sugar
  • 80 g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 240 ml warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 160 ml canola oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • zest of 2 oranges

Icing

  • 8 tbsp margarine (110 g)
  • 12 tbsp icing sugar (80 g)
  • zest of 1 orange (use a fine grater

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180¬įC.
  2. Line the bottom of a 20 cm spring form cake tin and grease the sides with marg.
  3. Mix dry in a largish bowl with a fork.
  4. Measure and add the wet into the dry, mixing with the fork – making sure you get all the flour from the bottom.
  5. Bake for 25 – 30 mins.
  6. Cream all the icing ingredients together making sure there are no lumps.
  7. Spread icing onto cake when it’s cool and enjoy!

Recipe notes:

  • I couldn’t get my hands on a better grater (which is why it looks like I accidentally tipped some carrot shavings into the butter icing) but use a fine grater for¬†better flavour and texture when making the frosting.
  • The cake cracks quite easily so be careful when transferring – also, divide the batter into 2 smaller tins and sandwich together¬†if you want to make more of a birthday cake (rather than halving a larger one).
  • The butter icing is totally unnecessary (just add about 10 extra grams of sugar to the batter)¬†but if you do choose to add it, it is fairly sweet so you won’t need to spread all¬†that the recipe makes on/into the cake ūüôā
  • And remember you can use any flavourless oil (e.g. rapeseed)

Recipe: Linzer Cookies (vegan)

One of those biscuit basics you need in your recipe file Рto be enjoyed with your tea or coffee!

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Makes about 18 sandwich cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp margarine (dairy-free)
  • 65g sugar
  • few drops of vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 130g plain flour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160¬įC.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour and salt.
  3. Use an electric mixer to beat the margarine, sugar and vanilla until just combined.
  4. Slowly beat the dry into the butter/sugar until the dough starts to come together.
  5. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead until it forms a dough.
  6. Flatten into a disc and refrigerate for about 30 mins (40 if you can).
  7. Roll out thinly (~5mm thick) and cut out ~50mm fluted rounds Рstamp out a star/heart/whatever-shaped cutter you have from half of these.
  8. Place on greaseproof paper on a couple of trays and refrigerate briefly for 15 minutes.
  9. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden (turn around/swap trays half way through and check them at 15 – they brown quite quickly if they were rolled out thinly!)
  10. Allow to cool and sift icing sugar over the star stamped rounds.
  11. Sandwich together with jam, curd or dairy-free alternative of Nutella.

Recipe notes:

  • For an alternative zingy filling, I’ve included my first attempt at dairy-free lemon curd below!
  • Dairy-free Nutella can be quite sweet so sandwich with a sharp-flavoured jam¬†(blackcurrant goes well) or reduce the sugar in the biscuit recipe.
  • Cover tightly with cling film once you’re done – otherwise they soften quickly!

Dairy free lemon curd

  • 1.5 lemons (juice)
  • 50g cornflour
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • few drops of vanilla
  • small knob of margarine

Whisk together all the ingredients except the margarine in a small saucepan continuously (it can thicken quickly so keep an eye on it, but even if it does start looking like a gloopy mess, take it off the heat and whisk together and it’ll become smooth.) Whisk in the margarine and leave to cool. (Taste-test the mixture before it thickens and adjust the sweetness by adding sugar or more lemon)

Recipe: ANZAC biscuits (vegan friendly)

As a human being, I have a natural affinity for anything with an Australian or Kiwi accent. And that still (albeit loosely) applies in the case of¬†these bad-boys: ANZAC biscuits. The ANZACs, standing for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, were made and sent to soldiers during the war because, made¬†without eggs, they kept really well. And so of course, I was tempted to¬†try¬†them without using any dairy, so our vegan friends wouldn’t miss out.

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Anyway, anzac¬†biscuits: what are they? They’re essentially biscuits made with oats, coconut and golden syrup. Crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle. Sweet, fragrant* and moreish.

*(We say “heung” (ť¶ô)¬†in Cantonese, which describes the kind of fragrant taste of something. I don’t think there’s a word in English that has quite the same meaning but what I mean is the subtle natural flavour of an ingredient that comes through with every bite, in this case the coconut-y and slightly rich syrup-y flavour, of the biscuit).

So here’s my version of the biscuit. The ones in the pictures feature dried cranberries and white chocolate¬†but I prefer them without chocolate, with just raisins¬†or even better, plain!

Makes 18 small biscuits

Ingredients

  • 45 g rolled oats
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 30 g dessicated coconut
  • 90 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 60 g butter (or dairy-free spread)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • (15 g dried cranberries + 15 g white chocolate chips minus 10 g caster sugar)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170¬įC.
  2. Line a large tray with greaseproof.
  3. Medium sized bowl – mix flour, sugar, coconut, cranberries and chocolate.
  4. Small (non-flat/deepish) saucepan – melt butter and syrup over a high heat.
  5. Mix the bicarb and the water in a mug making sure it’s dissolved.
  6. Pour into the hot butter mixture and remove pan from the heat as it froths up a bit.
  7. Roll into small balls (about a heaped teaspoonful of mixture) so they don’t fall apart – they also don’t need to be packed tightly.
  8. Place 9 balls far apart from one another (roughly 10 cm) because they will spread!
  9. Lightly press them down with a fork so there’s barely a dent in them – just to encourage them a bit.
  10. Bake for 10 – 14 minutes. Check on them at 10 minutes and keep an eye on them as they change pretty quickly. You’re looking for golden but a little paler in the middle.
  11. Leave them to cool so you get that crispy-chewy texture..

Recipe notes:

  • I can’t stress enough how good these taste without anything else in them! Really recommend trying them plain and then add anything you like if you feel like something’s missing.
  • If you prefer them less crispy, more moist and more substantial in the middle, skip out Step 9 or simply make them a little bigger. A tablespoonful of mixture would need about 15 minutes.
  • Replace the butter for a dairy-free spread to make them vegan-friendly!

Recipe: Banana Bread (that happens to be vegan)

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This is like no other banana bread recipe. Whilst¬†the more bread-y¬†variety, that can be a little heavy, is sometimes exactly¬†what I feel like, this one is light, cakey and happens to be vegan (yay)! When I say vegan, I’m not saying it’s any healthier than the dairy alternative¬†– I just mean it can also be enjoyed by our dairy and egg intolerant friends! So flavoursome and so easily customised to your liking.

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Serving: 1 small loaf

Ingredients

150 g self-raising flour

A pinch of salt

Bicarbonate of soda – a tip of a teaspoon

2.5 really ripe bananas

5.5 tbsp golden caster sugar

80 ml canola oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

Handful of walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180¬įC (200¬įC for electric).
  2. Line the loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Mash 2 bananas.
  4. Whisk the mashed banana, sugar, oil and vanilla in a large bowl.
  5. Weigh out the flour and add the salt and bicarb.
  6. Gradually sift and fold the dry ingredients into the wet (in 3 batches) – don’t overmix.
  7. Chop up a handful of walnuts.
  8. Break up the left over banana with your fingers into small chunks into the mixture.
  9. Gently fold in the nuts and banana.
  10. Bake for 35 minutes – turning halfway if you remember to
  11. Cool in the tin for a few minutes then transfer the bread onto a cooling rack.

Recipe notes:

  • Use more bananas if they’re not ripe enough for¬†maximum flavour.
  • I used golden caster sugar, but regular caster sugar or granulated would be good too!
  • Any flavourless oil can be used e.g. rapeseed, sunflower oil. But if you want the flavour, coconut oil would be fine as well – the only thing is I find it leaves my cakes/flapjacks quite oily so you’ll need to experiment with how much you use.
  • Pecans and hazelnuts work really well too.
  • For something even nicer, add roughly chopped chunks of dark chocolate – but remember to lower the amount of sugar you use depending on how sweet the chocolate is.