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29 / 10 / 2021

The other day I saw that Arnott's had brought out a range of their classic biscuits made gluten-free! Chocolate ripples - finally! Tiny Teddies, how fun.  Hooray, I thought - even more biscuit-centred dessert adventures (yes they're more delicious than they sound) to be had. However, a quick look at their ingredients put me in a mini-huff as I saw they're full of the usual cheap GF-fixes -whey, egg, milk powder etc. Big boo-hoo, I know. I soon got over it and made myself some Custard Creams to help mitigate the FOMO feelings.

It was a chance to finally try out the genius technique Nadia mentions in her series Nadia Bakes (2020) - which is putting custard powder in buttercream icing. Holey heckos is it a neat trick. It adds an instant hit of malty vanillery-ness which so happens to be the glorious focal point of these classic biscuits.

I admit I made these the rough way - no piping of biscuit batter or icing, whoopsi-daisy, so apologies they're all a little...individual lol. Although I can not verify that whatever level of effort you decide to infuse these with - will prove mega delishi all the same.

Hope your friends, neighbours, your gran and yourself enjoy these ones!

Makes 14 biscuits.

Ingredients

Biscuit

Icing

Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the almond meal, flour, icing sugar and salt. Whisk to combine and using your finger-tips to break up any almond flour lumps. Add the vanilla and butter to the bowl, then using your finger-tips or a pastry cutter disperse the butter into the flour mixture. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, bring the (very buttery) mixture together into a smooth, soft 'dough'.
  2. Manipulate the dough into the biscuit-shapes of your choice by either piping it, rolling it between wet palms or with a rolling pin coated with plenty of flour - then cutting out shapes with a knife. The dough spreads considerably, so I would urge you to keep your biscuits modest in size. Lay the pieces on two lined baking trays (I had approx. 30 pieces), then refrigerate for 20 minutes while you preheat your oven to 180C/360F.
  3. While the biscuits chill, make the icing by beating the butter, custard powder and vanilla together until smooth. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until smooth, adding 1 tsp+ of plant-milk if it’s too thick to spread. Set aside.
  4. Bake your biscuits in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, or until puffed up & bearing the slighted ray of golden brown. Let the biscuits cool on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool completely.
  5. Sandwich the room-temperature biscuits together with the prepared icing (either by piping it on or by spreading it on with a knife/spatula). You should end up with approx. 14 custard creams. Store in an air-tight container for 2 days.

06 / 06 / 2021

This is peak nostalgia! The simplicity of this dessert is captured in this version - with the ever-satisfying method of assembly (sandwiching biscuits together with fluffy cream) working just as well. This recipe is a joy. One of my new favourite puddings, no question <3

*Start preparations at least 4 hours in advance.

**This recipe showcases The Vegan Dairy's Dutch Chocolate Crème - however similar thick chocolate crème products would also work.

Serves 4-8 (depending on desired serving size)

Ingredients

To Decorate: chopped/shaved vegan dark chocolate

Method

  1. In a large bowl, beat the COYO with electric beaters/whisk until thick. Add the Dutch Chocolate Crème and beat again to thoroughly incorporate. Add the cocoa powder, maple syrup and salt, beating once again to combine.
  2. Comprehensively line a loaf tin (or any oblong vessel) with plastic wrap (baking paper would also work), so that there is plenty of overhang.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the black coffee with the Kalúa.
  4. To start building your log take one of the biscuits, briefly submerge it in the coffee/liquor mixture, then dollop a heaped tablespoon of chocolate cream onto one side of the biscuit. Stand it on it’s side against the short side of your tin/container, then repeat with the remaining biscuits. Refer to the photographs for reference. Refrigerate the leftover chocolate cream – you will need it later to coat the log.
  5. Gather up the overhanging sides of the plastic wrap (including the short ends) and peg together to secure the shape of the log (refer to the photographs). Refrigerate your log for a minimum of 4 hours (ideally 6, or overnight).
  6. At least 30 minutes before serving, gently unwrap your log and transfer to a serving plate. Spread the remaining chocolate cream over the log & sprinkle with chopped/shaved dark chocolate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (minimum) to ‘set’ before slicing & serving. Slice on the diagonal for that ripple cake ‘look’.

*You must use Natural COYO for this recipe to work. Other coconut yoghurts do not thicken when whipped.

'Ripple' cake assembly.

Log wrapped up securely with plastic wrap.

'Ripple' cake cut diagonally for optimal presentation.


06 / 06 / 2021

This recipe was adapted from Ottolenghi's recipe on Epicurious.

Baked rice is a flippin' revelation! As someone who’s gone without a rice cooker for most of their life, any set-and-forget rice cooking method, embarrassingly, makes me quite content. This method feels far more decadent however than a rice cooker. You can infuse the rice with fat and flavours that gently release their oils, while enjoying an ever so slightly charred nuttiness at completion. This rice has had ample TLC, yet simultaneously oozes simplicity. It is a tray-bake after all.

*This recipe showcases Hello Friend's Haloumi - however any quality vegan halloumi (or regular halloumi) can be used in it's place.

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

Relish

Rice

Other

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (360F).
  2. Pop your walnuts into a small oven-safe dish and toast in the preheated oven for 5 minutes (or until golden). Set aside to cool. Mix all of the Relish ingredients together in a small bowl and add the walnuts when they're not scorching hot. Set aside or refrigerate (your call) until needed.
  3. Add the basmati to a large baking dish. Cut the vegan butter into small chunks and disperse throughout the rice. Add a generous pinch of salt and pour in the water. Add the mint sprigs to the dish, cover with a lid or tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Chop the vegan halloumi into wedges. Take the lid/foil off of the rice and turn the oven over to a 'grill x fan' setting (if applicable). Arrange the cheese on top of the rice and return to the oven for 15 minutes to golden.
  5. Spoon the Relish over the dish before serving.

06 / 06 / 2021

So (apparently) this recipe is all the rage on TikTok. Or was, I'm sure most have moved onto the next new thing. But knowing soft vegan cashew-based cheeses are on the market, I was eager to give a modified version of this a go. And hold the phone - because this turned out to be so delicious! The charm is in the simplicity of it (I will admit) but that just makes you appreciate the two ingredients all the more. Make this HBs !!

*This recipe showcases The Vegan Dairy's 'Chilli Chives' Cheese - however any similar quality cashew-based vegan cheese would work

Serves 4

Ingredients

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F).
  2. Topple the cherry tomatoes into a large baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Toss to coat. Place the Chilli Chives block in the middle of the tray, tossing to coast in the oil/seasoning a couple of times. Transfer the tray to the oven to bake for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are starting to split & the cheese it golden.
  3. Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to packet instructions. Save a smidge of the cooking water before draining.
  4. To finish, mash the cheese (in the tray) with a fork before toppling in the pasta and reserved cooking water. Mix everything together thoroughly, before serving.

30 / 04 / 2021

It's no secret I love having a sweet little something for those morning/afternoon/dessert moments when you want a delicious exclamation-mark to go with your cuppa or evening meal. These were originally made one evening when my mind was wrestless and the kitchen was a dark, cosy, safe cocoon for my racing mind. Somehow amidst the cacophany of anxious-thoughts these turned out stella-first go. Which besides being a small ego boost, is actually quite irritating. I should be at my A-recipe-developing-game when I'm highly focused - not totally out of it?! Exhale, but what can you do. Making these was a reminder that cooking has the most impressive transformative abilities.

a note on the recipe: these are excepionally good! Like a traditional caramel slice, except less sweet, because of the grounding peanutty note. Not as overwhelmingly peanuty as a Snickers bar, but along that wavelength. Bliss.

Makes 16 bite-sized pieces. (1 x 15cm/6inch square pans worth)

Ingredients

Base

Caramel

Top

Method

  1. Line a 15cm/6inch square tin with a loose sheet of baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Mix all your Base ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon, then switch to your hands to work the oil into the almonds. The mixture should hold together when pressed - if it doesn't, add a little more coconut oil. Press into the base of the tin, and smooth over with a spoon to level. Set aside in the fridge.
  3. Whisk your first three Caramel ingredients together until smooth. Add the vanilla, salt, powdered peanut butter & optional add-ins (if using), before whisking again to combine. Pour over the refrigerated base, giggle to level, then refridgerate to set.
  4. After 20 minutes (minimum), whisk the melted chocolate with the coconut oil (if using) until fully incorporated, then gently drizzle over the caramel and smooth out into all corners using a spatula. Return to the fridge for an hour (minimum) before slicing & tucking in. When not enjoying these, simply store in the fridge. These will last a couple of weeks (technically speaking).