Category Archives: Bread

Vegan Chocolate Walnut Banana Loaf

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Moist, delicious chocolate and nut banana loaf. A play on the usual banana bread by adding chocolate, this has turned something a little over-done into something a little magical.

Sometimes the best recipes are the spontaneous ones. Although for those of you who know me well, you will know that spontaneity is not one of my top qualities! So it really says something to me when a recipe is quickly pulled together, only to be a roaring success. So much so that in the last 4 weeks, I’ve made this recipe three times! And no, there are still only two of us at home, and, yes, we ate it all each time…

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I do love a banana bread cake, but recently I’ve been trying to improve my diet a little (being at home now with all these cakes is definitely starting to take it’s toll on my waist line…Safe to say my jeans are feeling a little more snug than they used to!). So when I fancied a sweet treat, that was only a little bit naughty, I saw I had two lone and blackening bananas. Well, at that point it was obvious what I fancied, but I also was really wanting something chocolatey. So out of the oven 45 minutes later came this amazing Chocolate Walnut Banana Loaf!

This is a fabulous Vegan recipe, that it doesn’t matter if you’re vegan or not – you’ll love it. It’s sweet, but not too sweet with the bitter walnuts. It’s chocolatey, but not so much that you can’t taste the banana. And it’s banana-y without being overbearing. In my book, it’s just perfect with a cup of tea for a mid-afternoon pick me up.

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If you can leave the walnuts in, do. If you can’t (or would prefer to remove them), add in 10g less of sugar. The walnuts give lovely texture to the otherwise quite soft and moist loaf; but crucially they also take away some of the sweetness with their lovely bitter flavour.

This is a quick mix in two goes recipe. The most involved part is smashing up the bananas which you can put as much or as little effort as you like into. Or, why not get some small hands involved? This would be a great recipe to make with little children with a little bit of adult supervision.

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Filed under Bread, breakfast, cakes, Chocolate, Fruit, Sweet treats, vegan

Vegan Hot Cross Buns

 

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Vegan Hot Cross Buns; moist with grated apple, warm with gentle spices, and sweet with dried cranberries, these are worth every minute of work. Get baking, there’s less than a month till Easter!

It just wouldn’t be Easter without Hot Cross Buns. Maybe this is something very specific to the UK but here you know Christmas is over when the mince pies are replaced with Hot Cross Buns even though Easter is still 3 months away! That being said, this is not a complaint as I love the ever changing seasons, and what better way to celebrate than with food that reminds you that warmer weather is on the way.

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This is my second Hot Cross Bun recipe on the blog. Without eggs, these are slightly lighter and more justifiably a breakfast food, and potentially slightly better for you! For me, this was all about making sure I still had a way to eat a tasty, delicious, and fresh Hot Cross Bun in time for Easter!

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My Hot Cross Buns are heavier with fruit than normal. As well as the traditional mixed peel and sultanas, I’ve added grated apple and dried cranberries for a nice sweet and sour hit. The apples tend to melt away here, but they keep the buns deliciously moist and sweet.

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These don’t need any topping apart from a light scraping of dairy free butter, and perhaps a smidge of honey or golden syrup if you eat these for elevenses. Personally, this is one of my breakfast treats, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat them at 11, and again at 4, and again after dinner!

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Doughnuts, Take 2!

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Vegan doughnuts, so naughty and so good. Yes they involve a bit of deep frying, but, trust me, they are sooo worth the effort!

Who knew vegan doughnuts could be so good? Honestly, I’ll never go back to making them with eggs (even if I could eat them!) as it’s just not necessary! This is such a good recipe that’s quick to make, and if you can be brave to deep fry them, you’ll never go back to buying any sort of doughnut.

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I chose to fill my doughnuts with raspberry jam. It’s a classic for a reason, right? These are definitely my favourite was to finish off a doughnut… I don’t know what in life could be better than biting into a freshly made still warm doughnut, sticky and crunchy on the outside with an explosion of jam in the centre that just dribbles all over your fingers.

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These are definitely quite high up on the naughty scale… I know you can bake doughnuts…. but personally I sort of think if you’re going to eat one, do it properly and make it fried. The baked ones, although good, just miss the addictive texture of soft, fluffy dough in the middle with a crisp skin on the outside. These definitely hit the spot! And with quite a lot of sugar in them already, the extra bit of oil from frying really isn’t going to kill you!

I might do another post showing some other ways to finish off these doughnuts soon. I’m making it sound like that’s for your benefit…when really it just justifies me eating these again!

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Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

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Pecan Cinnamon Rolls – a soft, chewy, sweet and light bun filled with chopped pecan nuts and cinnamon. Delicious and really easy to make at home, you’ll be making these bakery-perfect in no time.

One of my aims for last year was to continue to expand my bread making skills. Suffice to say that by the time Summer came, I had gotten a bit lazy. Apart from the odd focaccia and pizza base, I hadn’t made bread in quite a while, and then I saw these in a bakery whilst walking around our town centre. Well, how could I not be tempted to try and recreate them at home?!

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I’ve only once made anything similar – these Christmas Chelsea Buns – so although I was familiar with the concept of making an enriched dough, I’m by no means an expert. The end result should be a dough that is richer and sweeter than normal bread, softer and more buttery, and lighter from lots of tiny airholes. However complicated that might sound to achieve you really don’t need bread making experience to get these perfect. The main thing is just to knead until your arms hurt. And then knead some more!

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The end result is definitely worth the effort – a soft, chewy, ever-so-slightly sticky bun, with layers of sweet cinnamon and chunks of crunchy pecans throughout. Surprisingly not too sweet, but sweet enough to have alongside a strong coffee – Perfect for a mid-morning treat. As you can prove them overnight in the fridge, you can treat yourself to some freshly baked goods for a late breakfast, ideal on a lazy day.

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The buns get their classic shine from a little drizzle of sweet, sticky, maple syrup. It just begs to be put with warm spices like cinnamon, and used sparingly, the flavour doesn’t overtake the rest. It just makes for an irresistible bun, where eating them one at a time is certainly not an option!

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No Knead Raspberry Breakfast Bread

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A deliciously fruity, warm bread – ideal for a weekend breakfast in bed on a cold, crisp morning. Stuffed with goodness from wholewheat flour, oats, and seeds, it will keep you going all morning long. 

So we’ve just got back from the most amazing holiday in Australia. It is definitely fair to say that we’re having a big case of the holiday blues… Coming from a wonderfully pleasant 30 degrees, blue skies and sunshine, the endless grey and drizzle back home has certainly been a bit of a shock to the senses! That being said, the trees have exploded with colour all around us whilst we’ve been away, and the leaves on the floor are just begging to be kicked around in childish delight. There are definitely upsides to an autumn at home.

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Another upside to this part of autumn is that we are in full on autumn/winter food mode. Think stews, casseroles, roast lunches, pies…. the list goes on. I think this bread fits into this category perfectly; warming and cosy, but cheery. This bread just screams to be eaten in bed – or at least pyjamas. It’s made for a lazy morning, perhaps pouring over the papers in bed with a coffee on a day when there’s no where to be. That’s my kind of weekend day!

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I’ve used raspberries as per the original recipe – they also happen to be my favourite fruit, so I’ll use them every chance I get – but you could use any kind of berries. I think mixed frozen berries would work particularly well, and they are a lot cheaper than fresh which is always a bonus!

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I’ve also included a super simple recipe for Honey Butter (think just honey… and butter). Of course you could just spread a little dairy free butter on, but it works brilliantly with the honey and it adds a little touch of luxuriousness . I think it needs a bit of sweetness to combat the wholewheat flour and seeds savoury flavours, and it really helps emphasise the raspberries.

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Naan Breads

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Soft and chewy Indian flat breads, traditionally made with yoghurt and butter and served alongside dishes from the north of India. With a few substitutions and a simple cooking method, you can now enjoy these at home whenever you please!

I often get a bit of a surprised look from people when I tell them the things I miss most. Cheese, Naan breads and Twixs. I admit, it is a strange list, but the one thing they have all had in common is that you just can’t make them yourself at home and get the same results. People are often surprised at Naan breads not being dairy free – however they almost always contain yoghurt, which gives it it’s chewy texture, and are then slathered in butter.

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Well, it turns out that it is possible to make perfect Naan breads at home. And it is really simple. And it doesn’t require any special equipment at all! Who’d have thought?! And, even better, I can genuinely promise you that you would never know there have been any substitutions. Now, when I say simple… You do have to make a bread dough, which I know strikes fear in some people! But I promise it isn’t hard, and as this is quite a wet and sticky dough it is very hard to go wrong. You can’t over or under knead – just play with it for about 5 minutes and you can’t go wrong.

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The other reason that I had thought Naan bread would not be possible to make at home is because they are traditionally cooked in a Tandoor – a very hot and dry clay oven which gives them a subtly smokey and charred flavour. The very high temperatures also mean the bread cooks quickly, creating the big air bubbles which give the bread it’s traditional look. To replicate this type of cooking at home is actually, surprisingly, really easy and requires no special equipment at all. All you need is a good non-stick frying pan. Ideally a heavy bottomed pan as this will retain the very high heat better – but any frying pan will work.

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Now I’ll admit that you can’t have these without working and waiting for them. However, they freeze and reheat excellently and you can easily double the amount you make. And so that’s it. The secret of making dairy free Naan breads at home is revealed – let us rejoice, as we all know that no curry is complete without a humble and yet majestic Naan bread on the side.

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Dairy Free Garlic Bread

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A different take on classic buttery garlic bread; a ciabatta loaf generously covered in garlic, dried oregano and thyme, rubbed with olive oil and sea salt and baked. A great accompaniment to a lot of dinners!

Garlic bread is quite a departure from the normal sweet tooth bakes I post on here. However, it is still baked (so totally appropriate to post on here, right?!) and I felt quite an important one to post. I used to love garlic bread – I would have fought you for a whole plate of Pizza Express garlic dough balls anytime – dripping with butter, perhaps coated with cheese, and always stuffed full of garlic. And then when I gave up dairy, I was a bit stumped. I had always bought garlic bread. Or eaten it in restaurants. And I get that the premise is simply garlic and butter – but that never seemed quite the same when I tried it!

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I eventually came across a Jamie Oliver recipe, which was a great change from a standard, buttery garlic bread. Instead of butter, it used olive oil. Instead of a baguette, it used a ciabatta loaf. It was also covered in dried herbs and well seasoned. Now that looked interesting! That was something I had to try. And since then, I’ve mourned the loss of my dough balls no more. Well – a lot less!

The recipe is really simple and uses all store cupboard ingredients. All you need is a knife and an oven. No excuses not to try!

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Banana Bread

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Warning: Not for those who don’t like bananas! A really simple recipe for Banana Bread, ideal for a breakfast treat or snack any time of the day. A great way to use up any old bananas!

Banana Bread is such a good recipe to have up your sleeve. I don’t know about you, but at the end of the week we always have a few bananas left in our fruit bowl, abandoned as the week goes on due to their ever growing brown spots. This recipe is one of my favourites as you have to use old overripe blackened bananas – they have a much stronger banana flavour and of course are much sweeter, which is just perfect for Banana Bread. I much prefer bananas on the green side for eating, so I find this recipe transforms your bin worthy bananas into something utterly delicious; a moist, dense cake where the banana flavour is the star, compliment by crunchy walnuts scattered throughout.

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As mentioned, the main reason for using old, blackened bananas is the sugar content. The blacker the bananas, the sweeter and more mashable they are, which is ideal for this recipe. The recipe actually has a relatively low added sugar content, because the natural sugars in the banana make up for it big time. If you don’t have ripe enough bananas for this recipe you can cheat and speed up their ageing process by baking them, skin on, in the oven for about 10 minutes until black all over and very squidgey.

I’ve made this banana bread very simply, with ingredients you almost certainly have in your cupboard. Unusually for me there are no surprising ingredients, no long list of spices, no twist on a classic. Instead this is as pure a Banana Bread recipe as you can get – the only addition being walnuts (as I think every great Banana Bread has to have texture!). You could use any nuts you like, pecans would also work well.

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I really enjoyed eating this as a breakfast treat, just cold and thickly sliced. It felt naughty, but everyone needs a treat every now and then… as I seem to tell myself every weekend!

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Cinnamon & Raisin Bagels

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A denser than normal bread with a crisp and chewy crust. Flavoured with cinnamon and stuffed with raisins, these are perfect just lightly buttered and topped with cinnamon sugar.

Bagels have been a very recent discovery for me. I often don’t bother to check the ingredients on baked goods, presuming they have butter or milk in them, but recently found New York Bakery Company’s bagels are dairy free! And so the last few weeks have been bagel filled whilst I’ve been trying different toppings, and it seems that everyone has their favourite combination. After experimenting with everything from eggs, jams and marmalades, peanut butter and chocolate spread, I have settled on my favourite…. Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels lightly buttered with a cinnamon sugar topping.

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These freshly bakes bagels are so much better than the shop bought variety; more crusty and chewy on the outside, much less dense in the middle. They were perfect just reheated in the oven for a few minutes, split open and then buttered. If you, like me, have no problem with something sweet occasionally for breakfast, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon and sugar on top too. I love cinnamon so am generous with the cinnamon – Although there is quite a lot in the dough already, it only gives a gentle flavour once the bagels have been baked so I like to ramp it up.

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Bagels on paper did not look that difficult to make – but they were certainly one of the more challenging types of bread that I have made. There are two things that made it different to normal dough; One thing is that you make a pre-ferment (sounds complicated but was actually incredibly simple), and the second is that the dough has very low hydration levels, which makes it very stiff and a good work out for your arms to knead it. I would not recommend making these as a first time bread maker, but if you’ve made any sort of bread before you will be fine.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from Richard Bertinet’s book ‘Crust’ but has been adapted to make them cinnamon and raisin flavoured. If you wanted to make plain bagels simply omit the cinnamon and raisins and reduce the honey to 20g.

With all of that being said these bagels were so delicious and worth the effort that I will definitely be doing them again. It makes me wish we held brunches at our house just to have an excuse to make them regularly!

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Hot Cross Buns

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Perfect Hot Cross Buns, spiced bread dough studded with cranberries, sultanas and apples. Perfect for an Easter Breakfast.

Easter is most certainly on its way; even at Christmas you do not see such an abundance of chocolate in the shops! As well as chocolate there are fluffy baby chicks and pastel table decorations aplenty. But nothing says Easter to me as much as the piles and piles of Hot Cross Buns sold everywhere, as these still remain one of the few foods that you can’t buy all year round.

I haven’t eaten a shop bought Hot Cross Bun for a long time, not being able to eat the butter they are usually full of, so this year I thought I would tackle making them from scratch – and what a great result! I’m not going to lie… they take quite a long time and a lot of organisation but it is so worth the effort. This recipe suggests proving the dough overnight which means that if you want to eat them for breakfast on a Sunday (before midday!), you’ll start the dough on Friday night and bake them on the Saturday. The effort is really worth it though; the dough becomes light yet chewy, and the spices have time to permeate the dough ensuring their flavour stands out against the sweet fruits. IMG_0504 These Hot Cross Buns are a mixture of the traditional and the new; more fruity than usual with cranberries, apples and sultanas, and very aromatic with orange zest and mixed spice instead of just cinnamon. You can easily play around with these flavours and add or take away as you wish – for example, add ground cardamon instead of mixed spice, or change the flavours all together and replace with chocolate, cranberry, cinnamon and ginger for a twist.

After the effort and time of baking these, serve them on a beautifully decorated table (look here for a quick and simple idea, ideal for Easter), just warmed through in the oven, split in half and lightly spread with dairy free butter. In all honesty, who could imagine a better Easter breakfast than that? It might just make you wish we could eat these all year round… IMG_0577 IMG_0519_1 Continue reading

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