Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ginger Date Slice

This slice is the perfect recipe to resurrect this blog which has been shamefully neglected of late. The recipe is inspired by the most amazing slice I had yesterday when stopping at Sip Kitchen to break a wee road trip from the deep South to the far North (a.k.a. Papakura to Orewa ). I wasn't brave enough to ask for the recipe, so this is my version using some online recipes as a quantity guide. The recipe is refined sugsr, dairy & gluten free. The honey could be swapped for maple syrup for a vegan alternative.

1 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp Chia seeds
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 dates (soak in water to just cover)

Ginger Caramel
2 cups dates (soak in water to just cover)
4 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup coconut oil

Chocolate Topping
1 cup dark cocoa
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla paste

Base - Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Drain the water from the dates, and blend with the melted coconut oil in the food processor until the mix is a rough paste. Then add the paste to the dry ingredients and combine.
Press the mix into a tin (I used a 22cm square brownie tin).

Caramel topping - Drain most of the water from the dates. Blend in the food processor with the melted coconut oil and grated ginger. You might want to add half the ginger first and add more to taste depending on how spicy you like your cakes. Keep the blender going until the mixture resembles creamy caramel.

Pop in the freezer for an hour to firm up.

Chocolate Topping
Melt the coconut oil and honey , then add in the cocoa and mix until completely dissolved. Mix in  the vanilla. Spread the chocolate over the caramel topping. Pop back in the fridge for the chocolate to set.

The slice is best stored in the fridge.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Have a Snickers, Bro!

The poor old blog has been sadly neglected of late. New job, some running, some family stuff, and life in general just seems to have got in the way. I have been merrily cooking, baking, and taking pictures. Apparently the recipes and pictures don't upload themselves though. Unhelpful much.
These raw snickers bars (very heavily inspired by the recipe on the Julia and Libby blog)  are hopefully worth the wait. 
These Snickers-U-Like are also vegan and gluten free. They're much lower in refined sugar than regular snickers, as most of the sweetness comes from maple syrup and dates.They are still pretty sweet and rich, meaning you probably (possibly. maybe. can't be guaranteed.) won't want to eat too many in one go.

Raw Snickers Bars
½ cup of dessicated coconut
1 cup of ground almonds
½ cup of 100% maple syrup

Top layer
1 cup dates (soaked in water for an hour)
Sprinkle of himalayan salt
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
¼ cup of raw peanuts 

Chocolate Coating

Bar of dark chocolate (I used Whittaker's Dark Ghana)
1 tbsp coconut oil

1. Line a brownie tin with baking paper.
2. Blend together the coconut, maple syrup and ground almonds in a food processor until pulverised.
3. Press the mixture into the brownie tin, and pop into the freezer for at least half an hour.
4. Then blend together then dates, salt, vanilla and coconut oil until well mixed. Add the peanuts to the blender bowl, and keep mixing until the peanuts are the desired size (i.e. keep going if you want little bits, or blend for less time if you want bigger peanuts).
5. Spead the date mixture over the base. Return to the freezer for a couple of hours.
6. Remove from the freezer, and cut into small bars while still in the tin. Then lift the paper out of the tin, and separate the bars ready to be dipped into the chocolate. 
7. Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a bowl over simmering water, then dip each bar into the melted chocolate, and place into a tray lined with baking paper. Place into the fridge to set.

Admittedly they are quite fiddly and require some patience with all the too-ing and fro-in to the freezer. None of that boring instant gratification with this recipe that you get with your usual snickers bars. But totally worth all the faff.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Out on a Lim

I haven't visited the blog in a while - life seems to have got in the way with a trip to Paihia (half marathon - beautiful place and stunning course)  birthdays (mine and my son's), preparing to start a new job (new jobs of course require new clothes,  which takes time & planning as unless I'm buying running clothes I have no clue.
Nadia Lim posted a free-from-refined- sugar Caramel Slice recipe on Facebook over the weekend.  I loooovvve caramel slice so seemed rude not to give it a go.
The recipe below, and any notes or tips, are taken straight from her page as she's encouraged readers to share it.

Date and Cashew Caramel & Chocolate Slice

¾ cup fine rolled oats* (you can also use ground almonds as a GF alternative)
¾ cup coconut thread
1 tablespoon good quality dark cocoa powder (I used Equagold's Dutch cocoa powder)
6 medjool dates, pitted
½ cup natural/raw almonds
pinch of salt
6-8 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or butter)

Date and cashew caramel filling
400g packet dried pitted dates
¾ cup boiling water
2 cups softened cashew nuts**
¼ cup pure maple syrup (not the stuff that's artificially flavoured with sugar!)
½ cup melted coconut oil (or butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract

Chocolate and walnut topping
150-200g good quality dark (at least 70%) eating chocolate (I used Green and Black's Organic 85% cocoa chocolate - which has hardly any (3%) sugar)
1 teaspoon neutral oil e.g. grapeseed (optional - all this does is softens the chocolate a little, so it doesn't set too hard)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1-2 tablespoons coconut thread

Prep time: 15 minutes           Cook time: 30 minutes + 3 hours to set in the fridge

Preheat oven to 180degC. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a square baking tin (20cm x 20cm) with baking paper.
1. Place oats/ground almonds, coconut thread, cocoa powder, medjool dates, almonds and salt in a food processor and blitz until a fine, crumbly texture. Drizzle in melted coconut oil/butter and pulse until well combined and the mixture holds together when you pinch it between your fingers.
2. Press mixture into the prepared baking tin, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake for 15 minutes, then set aside in the fridge to cool while you make the caramel.
3. To make the caramel, place dates and water in a medium-size pot and boil, stirring frequently, until the dates are very soft and mushed up, and all the water has evaporated. Place dates in the food processor along with the softened cashew nuts, maple syrup, coconut oil/butter and vanilla. Blitz until nice and smooth - this will take at least a few minutes.
4. Spread caramel all over the base in the baking tin. Return to oven to bake for 10 minutes. Set aside in the fridge while you melt the chocolate.
5. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a glass bowl set above a small pot of simmering water. Mix in oil if using. Pour melted chocolate all over the filling and spread it over evenly. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or the freezer for at least 1 ½ hours, or until set.
Cut into about 30 pieces. The slice will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

I just made a couple of changes to the recipe - I used hazlenuts in the base instead of almonds, and topped with Whittaker's Dark Ghana and chopped pistachios.

Here's the end result. It's certainly more faffy than regular caramel slice but very yummy so worth the effort.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ginger Spice

It's getting colder. The crock pot has been rescued from the back of the kitchen cupboard and will no doubt be there permanently until about November. Stews and casseroles are the ultimate in winter comfort food. Preferably followed by a warm winter pudding. One of my favourites is gingerbread, sometimes served with custard. 

Traditional gingerbread isn't the ideal food for someone trying to cut back on sugar. One of my favourite recipes has black treacle, sugar and golden syrup so it's a triple-sugar-fest. In this version the treacle and sugar are replaced by dates, oranges and honey. It uses ground almonds instead of flour so it's gluten free too. The end result is just as moist and sticky as traditional gingerbread thanks to the oranges and dates. 

All the family have been merrily tucking in as I *may* have omitted to mention that it's one of my 'healthy cakes'...

Orange & Ginger Almond Cake
2 cups plain raw almonds
2 whole oranges
2 cups dates
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp ground ginger
4 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup honey

Equipment - 20.5 square brownie pan

Preheat oven to 160C
Roughly chop the oranges (leaving the skin on) and cook in the microwave for 5 minutes.
Mix the dates into the hot orange mixture and leave in a bowl for about 10 minutes so the hot oranges help to soften the dates.
Grind the almonds in the food processor (or use pre ground if you prefer).
Add the cooled date/orange mixture and blend until the orange is completely pulverised.
Add the eggs, honey, vanilla, soda and ginger. Blend until well mixed. Taste the mixture to see if it's sweet enough for you, and add some more honey to taste.
Pour the batter into the brownie pan (lined with baking paper) and bake for 50 minutes at 160C until the top is set and browned. 
Leave to cool, and cut into squares.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Berry Delicious

My favourite way to get the weekend started is Saturday morning parkrun. This is  closely followed by a latte and catch up with other strange like minded folk who are happy to forgo a winter weekend lie in, to go from freezing to hot & sweaty by running around a muddy park for half an hour. I'm probably not selling it well. So maybe I should mention how beautiful the park is, the post run glow (not just from getting a tad sweaty), the fab company and of course the coffee (never forget the coffee).

Yesterday's parkrun was doubly special for me. Firstly I received my parkrun 50 shirt (yay), and secondly my kids ran too. It was my daughter's first time and safe to say she hated it after her first speedy k. I'm hoping I can persuade her to keep at it until she gets past the stage where it feels too hard and can start enjoy it. Sadly she seems to be past the age where it's cool to do what mum does. Or maybe she never was at that age, I can't remember. Anyway, I've digressed ever so slightly....
New shirts and family time call for celebration cake. I made this gorgeous cake using a recipe from The Raw Kitchen's new e-book Raw Armour. Some of the ingredients are quite spendy (e.g. coconut oil and a lot of cashew nuts), so probably not one to make for just a wee snack.
In honour of the new red shirt I chose a red (well, redish) cake. The recipe here is reproduced with the very kind permission of Olivia at the Raw Kitchen.


1 cup coconut
1 cup sunflower seed (I used mixed nuts)
1 cup soaked dates
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt 

2 cups cashews
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup water
1 cup mixed berry (blueberry, raspberry, blackberry)
1 tbsp. acai powder (I left this out)
1/2 cup rice malt syrup (I used maple)
1 tbsp. lemon
1 tbsp. psyllium husk 

1 cup soaked cashew
1 cup soaked coconut chip
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp. maca powder (I left this out)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp. psyllium husk 

1 tbsp. freeze dried raspberry (I left this out)
Mixed berries 

22cm Spring form Cake pan  

In your food processor, process coconut, sunflower seed (or I used mixed nuts instead) vanilla and salt until fine.
Add coconut oil and process until oily. Now add your dates and process until mixture forms a ball. Place into your springform pan and set in the freezer.

Filling 1
In your blender, blend all ingredients except your psyllium. Process this until smooth. Add psyllium at the very end and  blend further. Pour this into your cake pan and use a spatula or cake knife to flatten layer.
Filling 2
In your blender, blend all ingredients except your psyllium. Process this until smooth. Add psyllium at the very end and  blend further. Pour this on top of your other layer and use a spatula or cake knife to flatten layer.
Garnish as you like and place in freezer (recipe says freezer but my cake set in the fridge with no problems) for 8 hours or until firm. When set, clip off spring form sides and keep in fridge.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fudging it.

I've not been feeling too flash the past couple of days.  In years gone by I would have indulged in a bar of Dairy Milk or baked some brownies for the ultimate comfort food.

I still love a good brownie, but most recipes have a ton of sugar.  So I wanted to have a bash at making a healthier version which didn't resemble chewy cardboard.

My recipe here is sweetened with dates and has no added sugar. The dates also make the brownies really fudgy. Admittedly there is some sugar in the dark chocolate chips but it would work perfectly well without these. 

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

1 cup ground almonds

2 and 1/2 cups dates

About 500ml boiling water 

1/2 cup dark cocoa

1tsp vanilla extract

175g soft butter 

1 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

1 cup dark choc chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 170C

Put the dates in a large heat proof bowl with the baking soda. Pour over the boiling water until the dates are just covered. Leave to soak for about 10 minutes to soften. 

Grind almonds in food processor (or use pre ground if you prefer). Add the cocoa and whizz to mix well.

Strain the dates. Discard the water and add the dates to the food processor and blitz. Then add the eggs, butter and vanilla.  Blitz until really well mixed. 

Mix in the chocolate chips by hand. Transfer to a 30x23cm tin (lined with paper), and spread out the mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the geat off and leave in the oven for 10 more minutes with the door ajar. 

Cut into squares when cool. The brownies should be moist and fudgy. Store in an air tight container.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


The Foodbox fruit order arrived this week complete with 4 persimmons.  OK, so I've never eaten or cooked persimmon so was in for a challenge. Internet research came up with lots of lovely chutney recipes, which sounded lovely but didn't help much as I wanted CAKE! I eventually came across some recipes which I used as a starting point for this retro-stylee upsidedown cake. 

Persimmon Almond Upside Down Pudding/Cake
4 persimmons
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
3/4 coconut sugar
3 eggs
50g butter and a bit extra
1/2 cup sultanas
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
About 2-3 tbsp liquid honey

Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease tin (I used 23cm sq tin) and line with paper.
Dot the bottom of the lined tin with butter then drizzle in the honey.
Peel and thinly slice 2 of the persimmons and arrange over the honey base.
Peel and roughly chop the other 2 persimmons,  and chuck in the food processor with all the other ingredients except the sultanas. Pulse until well combined.
It's quite a wet batter so I added some sultanas to the mixture to absorb some of the moisture while cooking, before tipping it all into the tin.
Bake for about half an hour. I say 'about' as I didn't keep a very good eye on the time as it was baking while we were eating dinner. It's done when the top of the cake has browned and the cake has set.
Leave to cool for a few minutes, then turnout upside down onto a plate. The butter and honey that was on the bottom of the tin gives a sort of caramelly coating to the persimmons.
We ate it warm for pudding with some vanilla custard. It was just as good cold the following day. Apologies for cr@ppy picture which doesn't really do it justice.