Vegan Fruit and Nut Loaf

“I recently made a delicious fruit and nut loaf from one of Bill Grainger’s beautiful cookbooks.  It was light and fragrant with nice chunky pieces of dried fruit and crunchy nuts.  Because it didn’t have a lot of butter or eggs in it I decided to try and convert it to a vegan version.  After a few attempts I got the right balance that doesn’t lack any of the flavours or textures of the original.  It also works great toasted after a few days and freezes well. Of course I do have it smothered with butter, but you can always find a vegan alternative. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 50g oats
  • 300ml almond milk
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250g dried fruit, roughly chopped (Dates, raisins, apricots, figs etc)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 70g almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 lemon, rind and juice
  • 30g almonds roughly chopped for topping
Method
  1. Place oats and almond milk in a bowl and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the flour, spices, sugar and salt and mix together.
  3. Add the oats and milk, dried fruit, almonds, maple syrup, banana and lemon juice and rind and mix together.
  4. Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin and smooth the top.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on top.
  6. Bake in a 180 celcius oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool for 30 minutes then remove from the tin.  Slather with butter and enjoy.

 

 

 

Caramel Sweet Potato Cake

“This is one of the most popular cakes I’ve made in ages.  The recipe I adapted seemed too weird not to try it, but the combination of soft sweet potato and white chocolate makes for an amazing texture.  I also love the rustic drizzle of the warm ganache flavoured with apricot jam.  Very Moorish! Enjoy”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 400g peeled sweet potato
  • 300g white chocolate
  • 230g butter
  • 300g dark brown sugar
  • 100g golden syrup or molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 375g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
For the ganache
  • 100g cream
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 70g apricot jam
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 2cm cubes.  Place in a steamer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.  Remove from steamer and allow to cool.
  3. Melt the butter and white chocolate over a low heat, stirring regularly until combined.  Allow to cool.
  4. In a mixer beat the eggs, sugar and golden syrup until combined.
  5. Add the yoghurt and vanilla and beat until combined.
  6. Mash the sweet potato or process in a food processor until no lumps remain.
  7. Add sweet potato to wet ingredients and beat until combined.
  8. Add the flour and baking powder to wet ingredients and stir through until combined.
  9. Grease and line a 25-30cm springform pan.  Pour in cake batter and bake for 40-50 minutes.  I found I needed to cover the cake with aluminium foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent burning the top.
  10. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the cake tin.
For the ganache
  1. Bring the cream to a light simmer and add the jam.  Stir or whisk until the jam has dissolved into the cream.  Add the white chocolate and stir until smooth.  You may need to put the pan back on a low heat if the cream has cooled down too much.
  2. Allow the ganache to cool slightly.  While the ganache is still runny our slowly over the cake.  I applied a thin layer first and allowed it to cool on the cake before drizzling the rest over.
  3. Serve with whipped cream or Greek yoghurt

 

 

 

 

Apple Chai Pumpkin Pie

“Whoops! I seem to have missed thanksgiving or halloween for this post. (Not that we really celebrate them here much)  But who says pumpkin pie should only be served on those days? For this recipe I’ve combined the silky softness of the pumpkin custard with the spiciness of chai tea to make a slightly different version of this American classic. Like all good tarts, it’s slightly complicated and has several stages but the finished product is well worth the effort.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

For the cinnamon pastry

  • 140g butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
For the spiced apples
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tbsp chai tea
  • 2 tbsn raw sugar

For the pumpkin filling

  • 600g pumpkin
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tbsn chai tea
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 eggs

Method

  1. For the cinnamon apples: In a cup pour the boiling water over the chai tea and sugar and leave to sit.
  2. For the pumpkin custard: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a light simmer then add the chai tea.  Allow this to sit and infuse while it cools down.
  3. Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm square pieces and steam until soft.  Set aside to cool.  (If you’re in America you can buy pumpkin pie mix in a can. Shame on you!)
  4. For the cinnamon pastry: In a food processor combine the butter sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Add the egg and process until pastry comes into a ball.
  5. Tip out onto a piece of cling wrap and form into a disc.  Place in refrigerator.
  6. For the cinnamon apples: Peel the apples and cut each one into 16 wedges. Place apples in a small saucepan.
  7. Drain the chai tea and add the tea leaves to the cream. (Every little bit of flavour helps)
  8. Pour the chai tea mixture over the apples and bring to a simmer.  Cook the apples until they’re soft but still holding their shape.  Transfer the apples and liquid to a bowl and refrigerate, letting them cool in the remaining liquid.
  9. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a well-floured surface, roll out until it’s about 5mm thick.
  10. Carefully transfer this into a greased 30cm tart dish (I use the sort with the removable bottom), filling any gaps and neatening up the edges.
  11. Transfer the tart dish to the freezer for 15 minutes.
  12. For the pumpkin custard: Drain the infused cream of the tea leaves and put in a food processor.  Add the cooled pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and eggs and process until smooth.
  13. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the tart dish from the freezer and using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry evenly (about 20 times).
  14. Line the pastry with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beads or rice.  Transfer to a 180 degree celsius oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the beads/rice and baking paper and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees.
  15. Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool slightly.  Drain the apples of any remaining liquid and put a layer of 2/3 of the cooled apples into the bottom of the tart. (The remaining apples are reserved for serving)
  16. Pour the pumpkin custard over the apples and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes.  The cooked pie should be uniformly cooked but still a bit wobbly.
  17. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and some of the remaining spiced apples and a sprinkle of icing sugar.