Flourless Brownies

If I had to pick a favourite dessert, I think brownies would be have to be it. These brownies are rich, gooey & delicious. They are made with 72% dark chocolate, real Irish butter and coconut sugar for sweetness. They are also gluten-free and grain-free. They are perfect party food and make for a delicious end to any meal. They are quite rich so go for smaller squares than your average brownie. They are nice served with whipped cream, coconut cream or even a little thick natural yoghurt for a hint of sour to act as the perfect foil to the sweetness of the brownies.

Ingredients:

  • 225g dark chocolate, 72% cocoa solids
  • 225g butter
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g coconut nectar
  • 225g ground almonds
  • Pinch of sea-salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3.
  2. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate with the butter using a double boiler.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, vanilla extract and coconut nectar together in a large bowl.
  5. Once the dark chocolate and butter have melted to a smooth consistency, pour over the egg mix and whisk to combine.
  6. Add the almonds and sea-salt and bring the mix together using a spatula.
  7. Pour the mix into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes.

 

Heirloom Tomato Salad

I can't resist a colourful display of heirloom tomatoes, their pretty tones and knobbly shapes tempt me so. Summer time is the best time for tomatoes of any description as they are at their sweetest & juiciest. In Ireland it's really the only time of year that you will get any kind of a crop from your garden or greenhouse. I have a few pots growing in my patio garden at present but am yet to reap the rewards. I will definitely revisit this recipe once again once my home crop appears.

HeirloomTomatoSalad

Ingredients:

 

  • 500g heirloom tomatoes, a mix of colours, shapes and sizes
  • 1 ball buffalo mozzarella
  • Sea-salt and black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh oregano, torn

 

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Sea-salt and black pepper

 

Method:

 

  1. Lay the tomatoes out on a serving platter. Tear the mozzarella into bite size pieces and scatter over the top of the tomatoes.

  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, sea-salt and black pepper together. Pour the dressing over the top of the salad.

  3. Scatter the torn oregano over the top and serve.

 

 

Lemon & Poppy Seed Scones

Lemon+Poppyseed+Spelt+Scones.jpg

Some zingy scones for the weekend. They are made with spelt flour which is lower in gluten than wheat & many find easier to digest. They are sweetened with maple syrup instead of the usual white sugar so will keep you blood sugar levels on a more even keel. The poppy seeds provide a pleasing crunchy texture to offset your chosen creamy or sweet fillings. I chose homemade raspberry jam & a thick natural greek yoghurt for mine.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 350 spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bread soda
  • 100g butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 175ml almond mik
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 egg, beaten to glaze

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas 3. Line a flat baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.

  2. Place the flour, baking powder, bread soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and begin to rub it in to the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the lemon zest and poppy seeds stir to distribute evenly.

  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk and lemon juice and maple syrup. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mix, bring together to form a dough. Shape the dough into a round and roll out on a lightly floured board. Use a round cutter to cut out as many scones as you can, then bring the dough together and roll out again. Repeating the process until you have used all of the dough.

  4. Place the cut scones onto your prepared baking tray. Brush the top of the scones with the beaten egg, this will give them a nice golden colour. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 12 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving with your favourite toppings such as butter, jam, cream, fruit or yoghurt.

Shakshuka

If you haven't yet heard of Shakshuka or Shakshouka, it is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. It's a great breakfast or brunch to serve a large number of people as you can bring the pan to the table and have everyone serve themselves. The tomato sauce is delicious for dipping and is also full of lycopene which is a potent antioxidant. It's one of those dishes that you seem to be able to whip up when you think you have 'nothing' to eat apart from a box of eggs & a few other store cupboard ingredients. It's a firm favourite in my house! 

Serves 5

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red chilli, diced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3 handfuls of kale, washed and torn
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 5 free-range eggs

Method:

  1. Heat a little olive in a large frying pan or skillet. Add the onion, garlic, chilli and spices and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the kale and cherry tomatoes, continue to cook until the kale has wilted.
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes, cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Create 5 small dips in the sauce in which to place the eggs, then crack them in carefully. Cover the pan and continue cooking for about 8 minutes or until the eggs are nicely cooked through.
  4. Serve with some crusty sourdough bread drizzled with a little olive oil.

Rye Pumpernickel Avocado Toast

Avocado toast has really been having a moment over the past year or so, from Pinterest pictures to brunch menu's. It's really quick and easy to throw together and contains lots of good fats stemming from the avocado. The radish sprouts used in this version also provide some extra nutrients, including Vitamin C & B Vitamins. Feel free to mix up the toppings, adding anything that tickles your fancy. This is something I have regularly for lunch, if you're making ahead to take in your lunch-box just make sure to use plenty of lemon juice over the avocado to stop them from discolouring.

Rye+pumpernickel+avocado+toast

Serves 1 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 avocado, peeled and de-stoned
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 3 radishes, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • Handful of radish sprouts
  • 1 slice rye pumpernickel bread, cut in half and toasted
  • Sea-salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Method:

  1. Mash the avocado and mix through the chilli flakes and coriander.
  2. Spread the mashed avocado over the toasted pumpernickel bread.
  3. Scatter over the radish, spring onions and radish sprouts.
  4. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with sea-salt and black pepper to taste.

Cacao Bliss Balls

These bliss balls are a great source of protein, good fats, vitamins & minerals. Lucuma powder is made from the fruit of the 'Pouteria Lucuma' tree native to Peru, Chile and Equador. The lucuma fruit is then fried at a low temperature and milled into a fine powder which is naturally sweet and contains iron, zinc, calcium and protein. They also contain medjool dates which are my favourite type of date because they naturally sweet and soft in texture, which makes them perfect for blending. If you can't find medjool dates you could always used regular dates but soak them in a little hot water to soften before blending.

Makes 5 balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 10 Medjool dates
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Desiccated coconut, for rolling

Method:

  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until a rough paste is formed.
  2. Shape into balls, then roll in desiccated coconut. Transfer to the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

Pea & Mint Soup

Pea & mint soup is the perfect Summer soup, light, fresh and full of flavour.  It makes for a great light meal or starter. Peas are full of fibre which helps you feel full and regulates blood sugar levels so you don't have blood sugar crashes and crave sugary foods. Peas are also a good source of minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. Mint is a digestive aid and is a really easy herb to grow in your own garden even if you only have space for a couple of pots.

Pea+Mint+Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, for frying
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large potato, scrubbed and sliced
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • 500g peas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 handfuls fresh mint, chopped
  • Sea-salt and black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and fry until the onion has softened. Add the potato and vegetable stock and some seasoning, bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the peas and mint and cook for a further 3 minutes, no longer, as you want to keep the vibrant green colour.
  3. Puree the soup using a stick blender, taste and add further seasoning if necessary.

 

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

The thought of jam cookies bring about warm childhood memories. This version is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free but still managed to pass the kiddy taste test. These little nuggets of joy are the perfect treat to have with a cup of tea or coffee when you are craving something sweet. I used a homemade raspberry jam made with unrefined sugar to spoon into the centre of the cookie, you could also make your own chia jam if you are looking for a lower sugar option. Health foods shop also stock low sugar jams that are sweetened with fruit and natural fruit juices.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g ground almonds
  • ¼ tsp bread soda
  • Pinch of sea-salt
  • 2 tbsp raspberry jam

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3.
  2. Lay a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray.
  3. Whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup & vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the ground almonds, bread soda and sea-salt together.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients & stir to combine.
  6. Scoop tablespoons of the mix into your hands and shape into balls.
  7. Place these down on the prepared baking sheet and using your finger make a small indent in the middle.
  8. Spoon a tiny bit of jam into each indent, then transfer to the oven to bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. 
Jamthumbprintcookies.jpg