Tag Archives: Blueberries

Vegan Coconut and Blueberry ‘Cheesecake’

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A vegan dessert that has convinced even me it is possible to replace cheesecake. Although not cheese-y in the slightest, this is a soft, creamy and fruity dessert sure to fill that cheesecake gap in your life!

OK… Let’s be honest…It can’t really be a cheesecake without cheese. So I’ve named it ‘cheesecake’ as I just couldn’t think of a more apt name for this creamy, fruity, delightful dessert. The filling is soft and light, which surprisingly comes from cashew nuts, coconut milk and coconut oil. Sometimes I think coconut can be an over-used flavour in dairy-free baking, however I loved it paired with blueberries. It is certainly a favour combination I would like to try with other things – pancakes or french toast perhaps?!

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One thing that really attracted me to this recipe was that it used what I would call proper ingredients – sometimes I find that dairy-free and vegan recipes can have all sorts of weird ingredients in them and you have no idea what they are or where to buy them from. The creaminess in this ‘cheesecake’ comes from cashew nuts and coconut milk; together, when blended, they produce the most delightful, soft and creamy textured thick paste (sounds delightful, I know, but bear with me), which when chilled has almost the same texture as cream cheese. And because cashew nuts have such a gentle flavour, it leaves room for the coconut and blueberries to stand out.

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The other thing I have to admit is that I cheated slightly for the aesthetics of the dessert. This is very unlike me, but I have to admit I added a few drops of purple food colouring into the mix. Perhaps we have different varieties of blueberries here; whereas the blueberries from the original recipe turned the ‘cheesecake’ a brilliant hue of violet, mine turned it a distinct shade of grey… So I cheated and added a tiny bit of food colouring. Let’s be honest – it’s hardly the worst crime in the world and aesthetics of a dessert are important!

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As someone who has not eaten a real cheesecake for a very long time, this ‘cheesecake’ was delicious. It really hit the spot for a sweet creamy dessert, and the buttery biscuit base reminded me of the childhood cheesecakes my mum used to make. The dessert was also surprisingly easy and didn’t require baking. Really, apart from melting butter, this was more of an assembly job! The base is frozen, and, once chilled, the blended mixture is poured on top, and then the ‘cheesecake’ is frozen. Thawed thoroughly before eating, it looses any frozen texture and tastes deliciously like a chilled dessert. It may not be a real cheesecake, but it certainly came close!

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Filed under dessert, Frozen Treats, Fruit, vegan

Lemon, Blueberry and Mint Loaf Cake

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Perfect for spring; a light and zesty cake with a hint of fresh mint and bursting with blueberries, drizzled with a lemon and mint icing.

Last weekend the weather was lovely: spring sunshine, warm days and with it came the first BBQ of the year! To celebrate it only made sense to make a cake as bright as the weather outside. This cake is a really lovely take on a traditional pound cake where the same weight of butter, sugar, eggs and flour are used for the sponge. This is my favourite type of recipe for a cake as it always reliably gives a light texture with a buttery and cake-y flavour. Terrible description of pound cake flavour (cake-y, of course it will be cake-y) but you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever had a great pound cake.

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What I love about this recipe is that it just sings ‘Spring is Here!’. With a big hit of lemon zest and a hint of mint, the cake is refreshing and not too sweet. I always find lemon compliments food with a light texture, and that’s no different here. The blueberries really help keep the cake moist, and are a juicy fruity hit when you find them. You could, of course, change the blueberries for any other berries which are in season.

The cake in the picture was made with 4 eggs, which, with hindsight, was too big a cake to successfully have the blueberries suspended throughout – as you can see, almost all of my blueberries sunk to the bottom! Because the cake was so thick, it took too long to set whilst cooking and so the weighty blueberries went down, down, down, down…. When I did it again with only 3 eggs (as per the recipe below) the blueberries stayed beautifully spread throughout the cake. So a word of caution if you plan to make the cake any bigger!

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Coffee Shop Blueberry Muffins

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Coffee shop style blueberry muffins; extra-large and packed with blueberries. A not-so-naughty treat for any time in the day… including breakfast!

This weekend I really fancied a simple bake, and although this does require the use of two bowls (which for some of my friends precludes this from being called simple!) it really is very straightforward and hard to go wrong. These muffins, without fail, come out light, slightly chewy, and bursting with blueberries every time.

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Now is the beginning of the blueberry season in the UK; perhaps a little early to see a lot of British blueberries in the shops, but keep an eye out as they will be there very soon. Maybe it’s just me, but I find fruit and veg are always best bought and eaten when in season, and the blueberries here were packed with flavour – something you need in a good blueberry muffin!

Another great thing about these muffins is you probably already have all the ingredients, bar the blueberries, at home. So there are no excuses when you want to whip up a quick batch of these – which is a dangerous thing to realise!

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I would not advocate eating these for breakfast (although of course for “research purposes” I did!) but they did make a nice treat. My favourite time to eat them was as a not-so-naughty elevenses treat, with a strong black coffee on the side; Just like you would in your favourite coffee shop.

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Blueberry Pancakes – Perfect for Pancake Day!

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Light, fluffy American style pancakes bursting with blueberries, served with lashings of maple syrup.

I love pancakes. There – I’ve said it. I love pancakes! And although I’ve done this post specifically in time for Pancake Day (Tuesday 17th Feb 2015), I really don’t believe that pancakes should be reserved for only one day of the year. These are my favourite Sunday breakfast and they also double up as a great store-cupboard dessert for when you are in need – just add a scoop of ice cream on the side.

The great thing about this recipe is that you really can substitute the fruit and flavours for anything you fancy (Try replacing the blueberries with a pinch of cinnamon and 1/2 a banana thinly sliced) – although blueberries will always be my top choice. In my opinion you just can’t beat the bursts of flavour in your mouth as you bite through a sweet, juicy blueberry.

To top off these pancakes, maple syrup is the only thing to use. Pancakes and maple syrup were made to go together, and the lack of over-sweetness in maple syrup makes it the perfect combination for breakfast. Always buy real maple syrup and never maple flavoured syrup (which is usually maple syrup flavour added to a pure sugar syrup) and buy the best you can afford. The better brands tend to be far less sweet and have a much deeper flavour. I really like Buckwud maple syrup which you can buy in most major supermarkets (and is currently save 1/3rd in Waitrose which is a great deal!).

I called these ‘American style’ pancakes as traditional American pancakes are made with plain (all-purpose) flour and bicarbonate of soda to give them the rise. These pancakes cheat slightly as they use self-raising flour which is a pre-made mix of plain flour and baking powder, but I personally don’t find it alters the taste or texture of the pancakes and makes them even simpler to make.

I hope you all have a fantastically pancake filled Pancake Day 2015!

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Blueberry Breakfast Muffins

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Breakfast foods again! There does seem to be a trend, doesn’t there 🙂 And even better, this week is National Breakfast Week (see more here), so there really is no excuse not to give these a try.

The original recipe appeared on BBC Good Food – but here I’ve made some substitutions to help the muffins keep you fuller for longer, which I think is key in any good breakfast food – and of course to make them dairy free too!

So, onto the muffins! This is a recipe that I keep going back to. Packed with goodness from the porridge oats and wholegrain flour and low on added sugar, they really do keep you full until lunch. Even better, these muffins freeze really well so I often bake a batch at the weekend and then defrost them as needed (overnight on the kitchen side is perfect). Although they are just as good cold, in the winter I like to pop them in the microwave until just warm – the ultimate treat of a ‘freshly’ baked muffin in 30 seconds to me is the perfect way to start the day.

Although the predominant flavour of these muffins is blueberry, you can also taste the cinnamon, nutmeg and banana which is added to the batter. These warming spices help tone down the sweetness of the blueberries and really bring out the flavour of the oats and wholegrain flour.

I’ve finished these muffins with a nutty granola topping (find the Granola recipe here) or you could simply add a few chopped nuts or oats of your choice to provide a bit of crunch.

So give them a try, whether it is for breakfast or a mid morning snack, and I promise you’ll be reaching for these in your freezer again and again.

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