vegan

lemon coconut cake with blueberry compote (vegan)

13th May 2021

This cake is lovely, moist, and tender with a delicate flavour. It is effortless to make, and the combination of yoghurt, blueberries, and coconut perfectly complements each other. The blueberry compote is divine!

Praia de Aguda

Every two weeks for my weekly shop, I drive a little further to a health food store north of where I live. It takes me through the Sintra mountain along narrow windy tree-lined roads; then it opens out into a wider, flatter landscape where the temperature is warmer. I arrive at a sweet health food store called Ideal in a little village named Janas. I like this place as they offer vegetable seedlings and the vegetables and fruits are abundant and fresh, newly picked from their garden. After finishing my shop, I continue up the road towards the sea, park my car and walk down the steps towards the beach. During the weekend this car park and beach is busy, but on weekdays there is nobody, especially on cloudy days. Sometimes I go just for the sunset, and it is especially magical when the mist rolls in off the ocean.

~

lemon coconut cake with blueberry compote

Recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson.

Preparation 45 minutes

It makes 8 – 12 slices

tools

1 x 9-inch springform cake pan (can be made in an 8-inch)

cake

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

¾ cup/100g whole spelt flour

1½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp fine rock salt

⅔ cup/130g coconut or vegetable oil

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

1 cup/220g thick coconut milk (see note below)

2 lemons, zested

3 Tbsp/35g lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

blueberry compote

1 cup/130g blueberries

1 Tbsp/12g lemon juice

1 Tbsp/12g light brown sugar

3 Tbsp/35g + 1½ tsp cold water – divided

1½ tsp cornflour 

icing

1 cup/250g  thick vegan Greek yoghurt or milk-based Greek yoghurt 

1 tsp vanilla extract or scrap the seeds from a vanilla pod

¼ cup/35g icing sugar

preparation

1.  To make the cake: Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease sides and line base of a springform cake tin with baking paper.

2.  Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl.

3.  In another bowl, whisk the oil, sugar and coconut milk together, followed by the zest, juice and vanilla extract.

4.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking to combine, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

5.  To make the blueberry compote: Put the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar and 3 Tbsp water into a saucepan, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer, stirring every now and then, for a few minutes until the blueberries have softened.

6. Remove from heat, in a small cup, mix the cornflour with the remaining 1½ tsp water and stir this paste into the blueberries. Return to heat and stir gently for 30 seconds, the sauce will start to bubble and thicken. Pour the compote into a bowl to cool. It will set once cold.

7. To make the icing: Mix the yoghurt and vanilla together, sieve the icing sugar over the yoghurt and stir to combine.

8. To assemble the cake: Turn the cake over (so the underneath is now on top) onto a plate. Place most of the icing on top of the cake. Spread out and bring a small amount down the sides, evenly scraping so that you can actually see some of the cake through the icing (sides only.) Decorate with lemon zest, thyme, and blueberries. Dust the blueberries with icing sugar. Slice and spoon with a generous amount of the blueberry compote. If not serving immediately the cake can be refrigerated until ready to serve. 

note

  • Don’t shake the tin of coconut milk, try to get as much of the thick creamy part as possible and purchase a better quality can of coconut milk to ensure thick milk.

lemon-sourdough pound cake (vegan)

1st March 2021

Another delicious recipe by Aran Goyoaga and shared in her newsletter. I adapted it slightly by making it vegan; replaced the 3 eggs with ground flaxseed, added baking powder, used maple syrup instead of honey and reduced the glaze by half. 

I have recently entered into the world of sourdough bread and every Monday I make a loaf of sourdough to bake the following day, so this recipe was perfect to use any leftover starter and use up the lemons which are hanging heavy from the trees in the garden. 

The sourdough starter does add more complexity to the crumb. I use a 1:1 ratio, meaning equal amounts of flour and water. Aran uses more liquid in her starter, 120% hydration ratio meaning 100g flour to 120g water the difference is small and does not affect the end result.

If you don’t have a starter, add an extra ½ cup/70g rice flour, and ⅓ cup/80g of water/buttermilk, and increase the baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoon.

To save time, soak the flaxseed first, then grate the zest and prepare the other ingredients giving the flax the time it needs to thicken.

lemon-pound sourdough cake

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 45 – 55 minutes

Makes one pound cake (11 x 25cm loaf pan)

ingredients

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed + ½ cup/100g hot water (allow to sit for 10 mins as below)

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (zest from 3 lemons), plus more for garnishing

2 Tbsp/50g maple syrup (this gives a crisp caramelized exterior)

½ cup + 2 Tbsp/200g bubbling and ready to go sourdough starter

½ cup/110g extra virgin olive oil or neutral-tasting oil

¼ cup/55g lemon juice (1 very juicy lemon)

1 cup/140g brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

¼ cup/30g tapioca starch (or arrowroot powder)

¾ tsp fine rock salt

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

glaze

2 Tbsp/25g light brown sugar

2 Tbsp/27g lemon juice (½ of a very juicy lemon)

preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Generously grease your loaf pan.

2. Into a large bowl add the flax with water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add sugar, zest, maple syrup, sourdough starter, oil and lemon juice – whisk until smooth.

3. In a small bowl measure out the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and powder. 

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 55 minutes (my oven took 55 minutes.) Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then invert onto a platter.

5. Meanwhile, make the glaze by gently heating the sugar and lemon juice together in a small pan until the sugar dissolves – don’t heat for too long. Immediately brush the top of the cake allowing it to drip over the sides. Generously garnish the top with lemon zest (I like to use a combination of lime, lemon and orange.)  

note

  •  Use a metal pan, as suggested and grease it well. Alternately, you can line it with baking paper which makes it easier to lift out of the pan, but note that the exterior won’t caramelize, as it won’t be in direct contact with the metal.
  • Important! Let the cake cool completely. This will allow the crumb to set nicely and not fall apart.

variation with blueberries

  • Fold in 1 cup/125g blueberries into the batter.

(Always toss the blueberries in cornstarch or tapioca flour before adding them to your batter. This will stop them from sinking to the bottom.)

sesame cake (vegan)

27th January 2021

“This cake gets a double dose of sesame, with tahini and sesame seeds in the batter and lots of crunchy sesame seeds to coat the pan, too” – Yossy Arefi. 

It’s simple to make as it only uses one bowl. To ensure even mixing, use the edge of a whisk to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. For best results, make sure you use a traditional brand of tahini that is runny and smooth. I like baking this in an 8-inch square pan to be cut into tidy squares for gifting to friends.

~ holy basil

~ holy Brahmin cow

~ frangipani tree

~ offerings

sesame cake

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 35 – 40 minutes

Serves 10 – 12

Recipe slightly adapted from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi.

ingredients

6 Tbsp/50g sesame seeds (a combination of black and white is nice) – divided

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed

¾ cup/170g oat/almond milk

¾ cup/150g plus 1 Tbsp light brown/blond sugar – divided

½ cup/120g smooth runny tahini, well stirred

¼ cup/50g neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ tsp fine rock salt

1¼ cups/160g all-purpose flour

1½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cardamom powder (freshly ground)

dried rose petals (optional)

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Oil a sheet of parchment paper and line it in an 8-inch square baking pan, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons sesame seeds on the bottom and 1-inch up the sides.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flaxseeds and milk, allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add the sugar, tahini, oil, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth.

3. Add the flour, 3 Tbsp of the sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom. Whisk until well combined and smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the lined pan, tap gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining sugar and sesame seeds on top.

5. Bake until golden, and a tester comes out clean, 35 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow to cool completely before serving, otherwise, it may crumble. It’s optional to sprinkle with rose petals when serving.

flavour variations

peach and raspberry sesame cake: Slice 1 small pitted peach over the top, scatter ½ cup/70g fresh raspberries over the top, then sprinkle with sugar and sesame seeds.

date and sesame cake: Fold ½ cup chopped date into the batter.

use another pan

loaf: Bake in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (45 mins)

round: Bake in a 9-inch round pan. (35 – 40 mins)

double ginger molasses cookies (vegan)

26th December 2020

These cookies are soft and chewy on the inside and crispy around the edges. This is achieved in the baking by keeping the cookies dough round, rather than pressing them flat. The taller you make the dough the chewier the centre. The bottom of the cookie dough bakes first, spreads out and the top remains thick and chewy in the middle. I added finely chopped crystallized ginger for added texture and zing.  If wanting to make the cookies less sweet, skip the process of rolling in sugar. However, the cracking effect on the cookies will not be achieved. This happens when the cookies are rolled in granulated sugar (I use a combination of granulated blond sugar and brown sugar). 

Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!

double ginger molasses cookies

Preparation 20 minutes

Makes 14 cookies

Recipe adapted from here.

ingredients

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp ginger powder

½ tsp cinnamon powder

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp/20g finely chopped crystallized ginger

⅓ cup/70g soft coconut oil (not melted) or vegan butter or butter

¼ cup/20g brown sugar or coconut sugar

¼ cup/80g light coloured molasses (if using a dark molasses, use only 30g and add 50g date syrup)

1 Tbsp water

granulated brown sugar, for rolling

preparation

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and crystallized ginger. Set aside.

3. With a hand beater or whisk, beat together the oil, sugar, molasses and water until creamy. Fold in the flour mixture until combine. It will seem dry at first; keep mixing until all the flour is incorporated. (If your cookie dough is too wet, the coconut oil was not solid enough. To fix this, cover and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.)

4. Scoop a spoon of dough (approx 20g) and roll into a ball, then into the sugar, place on the prepared baking sheet and bake 13 – 15 minutes until golden. Rotate the tray halfway through cooking. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

tips

  • Avoid using blackstrap molasses in baking. It is very strong and bitter and will impart an unfavourable taste. Use a light tasting molasses and if not available, combine dark molasses and date syrup (silan) which will soften the taste making it perfect for baking. 
  • If your coconut oil is too liquid, the cookies will bake up flat. Place the measured amount in the freezer until solid – you want it to be solid, but just slightly soft enough for cutting.

 

salted tahini caramel balls (vegan)

9th October 2020

These lovely luxurious bite-sized balls of salted tahini caramel are so satisfying after a meal.  They are covered in a simple sweet maple glaze with equal amounts of maple syrup and coconut oil. When the cold balls get dipped into the glaze it instantly hardens creating magic!

VIOLAS in the garden, add them to salads, desserts, or fruit. They happily self-sow and despite their delicate appearance, violas are fairly robust.  Sow early spring, then again in late summer, to ensure violas throughout the winter.

salted tahini caramel balls

Inspired by this recipe.

Makes 15 small balls

dough ingredients

⅔ cup/60g dried shredded coconut

⅔ cup/130g Medjool dates (approx 7 dates)

⅓ cup/80g tahini

⅛ tsp fine rock salt

⅓ cup/50g TOASTED pistachio or almonds

glaze ingredients

2 Tbsp/30g coconut oil

2 Tbsp/35g maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

preparation

1. Make the dough: place the coconut, dates, tahini, and salt in a food processor or high-speed blender for 1 minute, scraping down the sides halfway through. Add the toasted nuts and blitz 3 – 4 times until well incorporated. If the dough is still too crumbly to form into balls, depending on the quality of your tahini, add 1 tablespoon of water.

2. Roll into balls, approximately 20g each; you should have 15 balls. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, make the glaze: melt the coconut oil on low heat, turn off the heat, then whisk in the syrup and vanilla. It will combine into a thin caramel consistency. Set aside.

4. Once the balls are frozen, take them out of the freezer. The balls must be icy to help the glaze harden. Place a toothpick in each ball and dip into the glaze; place on a cardboard box until the glaze hardens. Whisk the glaze each time before dipping the balls. Once set, re-dip them until the glaze is used up. Towards the end, you may need to place the glazed balls back in the freezer for 15 minutes and heat the glaze slightly again, then continue re-dipping.

5. The balls can be kept in the fridge for 10 days or up to 1 month in the freezer.

round challah for Rosh Hashana (vegan)

15th September 2020

Round challahs are traditionally baked for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, to symbolize the continuity of life – and on Rosh Hashana, we dip challah and apples in honey to symbolize our hopes for a sweet New Year. For this reason, Rosh Hashana challahs are often sweeter than those served the rest of the year. Some add more sugar than they normally do to the dough, other add raisins, or sprinkle cinnamon and sugar.

May this coming year be filled with sweet blessings and may it bring you closer to your own inner HAPPINESS.

round challah for Rosh Hashana

If wanting to make this a traditional three braided challah – click here for instructions on how to braid.

Preparation – 2½ hours

Baking time -35 minutes

Makes 1 large round challah

The recipe uses a mixer with a dough hook, but you can easily use your hands. 

ingredients 

2 Tbsp/20g flaxseed

1 cup + 2 Tbsp (246g) warm milk or almond milk

6 Tbsp/60g olive oil

1 tsp active dry yeast

1¼ cups/150g whole spelt flour

2¼ cups/350g white spelt flour

¼ cup/40g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

toppings

oat milk, for brushing

black and white sesame seeds

preparation 

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, whisk together the flaxseeds with warm almond milk, oil and yeast. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed until the mixture foams, about 5 – 6 minutes.

2.  Measure out the flour, sugar and salt, whisk together and add to the yeast and milk mixture, turn the machine onto the lowest setting and knead on medium speed for about 5 – 10 minutes.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time or if too dry, add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.

3.  Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to sit in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours until well risen and doubled in size.  The longer it sits the better the bread.

4.  Take out the dough, knead a little with the heel of your hands and work it into a ball.

plaiting the dough

5.  Divide the dough into four equal pieces, approximately 214g each.  Using your palms, and starting from the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope approx 23-inches or 60-cm long.  Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces.

6.  Place two strands parallel to one another in a vertical manner. Weave one strand horizontally through the two vertical strands, placing it on top of the left-hand strand and underneath the right-hand strand. Do the same with the remaining strand, but weave it underneath the left-hand strand and on top of the right-hand strand. The strands should sit snug to each other, with no space in between, looking like a large plus sign. (Refer to the photos below and watch this video, it is more difficult to explain than it is to do.)

7.  Starting from the bottom of your plus sign, take the left-hand strand and cross it over the right one. Moving counter-clockwise, do the same for the remaining strands.

8. Now switch directions. Look at the very first strand you crossed at the bottom of your loaf (it should now be horizontal instead of vertical). Take what is now that strand’s right-hand neighbour and cross it over going clockwise. Do that with the remaining strands.

9. Keep switching directions until you have run out of dough to plait. You may have to stretch it a little to weave it all together.

10. Pinch the remaining dough together and tuck them under the loaf so it looks nice and neat. Transfer the braided loaf to the baking tray, brush with oat milk and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.

11.  Cover loosely with an oiled plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1½ hours.

12.  About 15 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 180C/350F.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow the challah to fully cool down before cutting into it.

Shana Tova!

Update:

Here’s another way to make a round challah. Watch this video with very easy instructions. Divide the dough into three pieces and roll each strand into 65cm long and proceed.

carrot-turmeric seeded rice bread (gluten-free)

12th August 2020

We had a very special guest this weekend, who was gluten-free, so it was a good opportunity to try Amy Chaplin’s gluten-free bread from ‘Whole Food Cooking Every Day’. This bread has a lovely moist crumb and leaves you feeling nourished and satisfied. It is very easy to make and goes nicely drizzled with olive oil and spread with homemade hummus.

The moist texture of this bread is the combination of soaked seeds and grains, rolled oats and psyllium husks.

Psyllium comes from the seeds of a herb called Plantago ovata that is mostly grown in India. When water is added to psyllium husks, they form a thick gel that helps bind the dough in this recipe.

note

  • Be sure to buy psyllium husks, they form a thick gel that helps bind the dough in these recipes.
  • Keep in mind you need to soak the seeds and/or grain overnight before making this bread.
  • This recipe is extremely versatile; if you don’t have one of the nuts or seeds, simply substitute whatever you have on hand. You can also omit the carrot and turmeric for a more neutral-tasting bread.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or in the fridge for a week. The sliced bread freezers well.

 

carrot-turmeric seeded rice bread

Makes One – 11.5 x 21 cm loaf

Recipe from ‘Cooking Whole Foods Every Day’ by Amy Chaplin.

Pre-preparation 8 hrs

Preparation 20 mins

Baking 1hr 20 mins

ingredients

1½ cups/280g short-grain brown rice, soaked overnight

½ cup raw unhulled sesame, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds, soaked overnight with the rice (above)

1 cup/250ml water

1 cup/100g rolled oats

2 Tbsp/8g psyllium husks

1 Tbsp aluminum-free baking powder

3 Tbsp coconut or olive oil

1 tsp fine rock salt

2 tsp turmeric powder

2 medium/115g carrots, grated

black sesame, sunflower or pumpkin seed for sprinkling over loaf

preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a 11.5 x 21 cm loaf pan with parchment paper, leave at least a 1-inch overhang. Set aside.

2. Pour the soaked rice and seeds into a large strainer and rinse. Place the strainer over a bowl and set aside to drain.

3. In a food processor, place the soaked rice and seeds, water, oats, psyllium husks, baking powder, oil, salt and turmeric powder – process until well combined and the grains are broken down but the mixture still has texture.

4. Add half the carrots and pulse until just combined, then add the remaining carrots and pulse to incorporate.

5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, making sure to spread it into the corners, sprinkle with sesame seeds or seeds of choice.

6. Bake for 40 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 40 minutes, or until the edges of the bread are golden and have pulled away from the sides of the pan. Lift and cool on a wire rack. Be sure to cool the bread completely before slicing.

apricot blueberry crumble tart (vegan)

24th June 2020

I love this crumble tart, it’s so easy to pull together, no pre-chilling the dough, no rolling and whatever filling you choose, it tastes amazing. The original gluten-free recipe can be found here, however, I prefer this version using whole spelt. The crust is crispy and crunchy, with the perfect balance of sweetness.

THE NATURAL CALL FOR QUIETNESS

If we systematically and intentionally allow our mind to abide in stillness every day, morning and evening, then our mind will naturally become relaxed. Soon we will discover the presence of a kind of spontaneous JOY emerging.

The Sacred Tradition of Yoga by Dr Shankaranarayana Jois

apricot blueberry crumble tart

Recipe from Cannelle et Vanille.

Preparation 20 mins

Baking 50 mins

Serves 8 – 10

tools

14 x 4.75-inch or 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom

base ingredients

1 cup/120g whole spelt flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

½ cup/100g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

10 Tbsp/140g virgin coconut oil, not melted

2 Tbsp ice water

⅓ cup/25g flaked or slivered almonds

filling ingredients

¾ cup/100g blueberry, fresh or frozen

6 medium apricots/340g – halved and seed removed

zest from 1 orange

1 Tbsp fresh orange juice

2 Tbsp/25g light brown sugar

1 – 2 Tbsp tapioca or corn starch

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/375F. Grease your tart mold.

prepare the base

2.  In a bowl, toss together the spelt flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil (solid) and work it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a dough that resembles coarse sand. The dough should clump up but feel slightly dry. Add 2 Tbsp ice water and mix it with your hands, it will feel more like a crumble than a dough.

3.  Take approximately two-thirds of the dough (approx 320g) and press it into your tart mold, bring it up around the edge. Try not to make the middle too thick. Any leftovers can be returned to the bowl.

4.  Mix the flaked almonds into the remaining dough to make the crumble topping. Refrigerate both the tart crust and the crumble topping while preparing the filling.

prepare the filling

5.  In a large bowl, toss together the blueberries, halved apricots, orange juice and zest, sugar, tapioca starch, and vanilla. If the filling is very wet, add 1 more tablespoon of tapioca starch.

6.  Add the fruit filling to the tart mold and sprinkle with the crumble topping, paying particular attention to fill the spaces close to the rim and around the apricots, leaving some of the pieces of fruit showing.

7.  Bake until the crust is golden and filling is bubbly, 45 – 50 minutes. Allow the tart to cool slightly before slicing.

variation

  • Replace apricots and berries with seasonal fruits.
  • gluten-free option: replace the spelt flour with 1 cup/140g superfine brown rice flour

helpful tip

  • Place a tray under the tart when baking to prevent leakage.

banana bread with sunflower seeds (vegan & gluten-free)

14th May 2020

I am not gluten-free, however, I am running very low on regular flour due to the situation at the moment, so this was a good opportunity to try recipes using other alternatives.

This cake surprised me. It has a perfect balance between sweetness, banana flavour and consistency which melts in your mouth.

Scroll down for the Banana-Tahini-Date Variation.

~clivia-miniata~

banana bread with sunflower seeds

Slightly altered recipe from `Cannelle et Vanille´ by Aran Goyoaga.

Makes 1 x 28cm loaf /8-inch square pan or 12 cupcakes (bake – 35 mins)

Preparation – 20 minutes

Baking time – 50 – 55 minutes

ingredients

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseeds

½ cup/110g water

4 ripe medium bananas – divided

½ cup/100g granulated sugar

½ cup/115g extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil

1 Tbsp finely grated ginger

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup/100g almond flour

¾ cup/105g superfine brown rice flour

½ tsp fine rock salt

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

¼ cup/25g sunflower seeds, plus more for topping

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a 28 x 7-cm loaf pan with baking paper and set it aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the flaxseed and water, whisk to combine and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes for the flax to thicken.

3. Add 3 bananas and mash with a fork to the flax mixture until there are some chunks left but it is fairly pureed. Add the sugar, oil, ginger, and vanilla – mix until smooth.

4.  Whisk together the almond flour, rice flour, salt, baking soda and powder. Pour into the banana mixture and stir until the batter comes together.  Fold in the sunflower seeds.

5.  Pour into the loaf pan. Cut the remaining banana in half lengthwise, place gently on top of the batter and brush the banana pieces lightly with coconut oil.  Sprinkle a few sunflower seeds on top of the cake and bake for 55 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set the pan on a cooling rack to cool. For best results, allow the cake to completely cool before cutting, otherwise, it will crumble.

note

  • If using frozen bananas, make sure to drain some of the extra liquid from freezing, making the bread a bit too wet.
  • The crumb on this bread is delicate.  Let it cool completely in the pan before lifting it out.
  • Bake in a long loaf pan for the best results.

variation

  • The rice flour can be replaced with regular all-purpose flour.
  • Replace the sunflower seeds with walnuts.

Banana-Tahini-Date Variation

  • Use only 3 medium bananas (omitting the one on top.)
  • Reduce the sugar to ¼ cup/50g, add 6 large/120g Medjool chopped dates – roughly mash with the banana.
  • Add ¼ cup/55g runny tahini
  • Replace sunflower seeds with a 3 Tbsp mix of black and white sesame seeds. Using half in the cake batter and the other half to sprinkle in the pan and over the top of the cake.
  • Bake for 60 minutes.

chuchu palya

8th January 2020

I  planted a chuchu vine 2 years ago, the first year it took off with great enthusiasm climbing up and over anything in its path. By the middle of Autumn, it was covered in small white flowers which sadly fell to the ground. This year, those white flowers turned into little buds, which grew into tiny, then small, then medium, then big chuchu. Lots of them! There are so many hidden amongst the leafage that when I think that I have picked them all, a few days later I come away with another basket full!

~locally known as Chuchu, Seemebadanekaayi in South India, Chayote in Mexico and Choko in Australia~

chuchu palya

Preparation –  25 minutes

Serves 2 – 3

Use heaped spoon measurements unless otherwise stated.

ingredients

2 Tbsp peanut oil

1 medium/360g chuchu

½ cup water

⅓ cup dried shredded coconut

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

voggarane

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 Tbsp channa dal

tsp asafoetida powder

tsp turmeric powder

15 curry leaves

to serve

carrot palya  (Instead of grating, cut the carrot into small uniform cubes. When cooking, add a ¼ cup water and simmer uncovered until the water evaporates.)

yoghurt

spicy amla pickle

round brown rice

preparation

1.  Peel the chuchu and finely chop into small uniform cubes. Set aside.

2.  In a skillet, over medium-high heat, pour in the oil, add the mustard seeds and split channa dal – fry until the mustard seeds pop and channa dal starts to turn golden-brown.

3.  Add the asafoetida, curry leaves and turmeric – fry for a few seconds.

4. Add the water and stir in chuchu, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes then cover and simmer, stirring often  – approximately 5 minutes or until the chuchu is cooked and water has eliminated.

5.  Turn off the heat, add the dried coconut, salt, jaggery and coriander. Stir to combine.

variation

  • Towards the end of cooking stir in ½ cup full-fat yoghurt.

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