When you make this cake the whole kitchen smells of roses, it’s Persian in its origins and have been making Yasmin Khans amazing Persian Love Cake for years as it’s fantastic as a birthday cake, but I wanted to do a dairy free version that also could be gluten free if you prefer. I also added ground pistachios as I love them so its got tons of nuts in it and the soft floral fragrance of cardamom and rose. It’s probably called Love Cake because it really is a romantic cake.
italian courgette cake
This cake is Italian American in origin and it’s super moist thanks to the courgettes and the olive oil. Its packed with spices, is dairy free and has a tangy lemon icing. I tweaked it to be a bit healthier with whole meal spelt flour, and added poppy seeds to the icing. It’s perfect with a coffee for breakfast or at teatime… but would make a great birthday cake too.
vegan coconut shortbread
These shortbreads are coconutty and taste really buttery even though they are dairy free. I love them with a coffee or crunched up on ice cream. No one will ever know they are vegan unless you tell them, and toasting the coconut makes the flavour even more delicious.
Try making them with kids, as they are easy to make and good fun to stamp out into shapes.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s chocolate brownies
These really are the best brownies I have ever tasted because they are not too sweet and are really chocolatey and nutty. My friends all ask me to bake them for them after they saw the shots on Instagram and started dribbling at the sight of them, and they really are dribble-worthy. The story about these amazing chocolate brownies is as follows. This recipe was found amongst the painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s collection of recipes in her cookbooks. She was a passionate cook and this recipe was hand written by her on Waldorf Astoria note paper. She was was staying there on April 30th 1963 to collect an award for the creative arts from Brandeis University, so they think she must have asked the hotel for the recipe because she loved them so much. O’Keeffe was a passionate foodie and collected recipes wherever she went, and a bit like me she dipped into healthy food and dipped into more indulgent food depending on her whim. Try them, they are beyond and there’s dairy free and vegan alternatives if you prefer.
rhubarb cake with spelt
Rhubarb cake is really pretty and really delicious and I have made it really healthy. It’s created so you can also do a vegan version with egg replacer from health stores or on-line. It has the great flavours of orange zest and honey in it so it tastes amazing and it’s made with healthier spelt flour. It’s also perfect if you follow an egg or dairy free diet. I love rhubarb and think it should have a renaissance if it’s not already.
caramelised roasted red onions
These onions are roasted until they are caramelised and sitting in an unctuous balsamic syrupy sauce. This recipe pays tribute to the humble onion as a vegetable in its own right. They are fab with a roast dinner or as a side dish and they are also great at room temperature along side salads and bread. But apart from being delicious, studies have shown that rosemary has amazing anti ageing properties, ten percent of the population in the town of Acciaroli in Italy are over 100 years and scientists are putting it down to the rosemary in their diet and scientific studies have also shows that rosemary helps maintain and improve brain function and memory. So I’m adding Rosemary to my diet whenever I can, which is easy as I love the taste and smell.
jamaica ginger cake
Jamaica ginger cake is very nostalgic for me as it was a very occasional treat when I was growing up and I loved everything about it. I loved that it was a dark, dense, slightly sticky on the outside sponge cake made with lots of black treacle and fragrant with spices. They still make it today but I wanted to do a dairy free version that could also be vegan so I have created this recipe around the original recipe but omitted the butter and milk. It has a great texture as well as a great taste, and you don’t miss the dairy at all. The cake gets nicer over the next few days after baking and gets slightly sticky on the outside as the flavours mature. I tested it out on my friend’s teenage kids and they really loved it even though they had never had Jamaican ginger cake before. It’s dairy free heaven… but shhh, you don’t have to tell anyone it is because they won’t notice!
This pear cake has a lot of pear in it, so it’s healthier and moist. If you read this blog you will already know I love pears, I love both the taste and the texture and this cake is made with whole meal spelt flour and olive oil so it’s dairy free.
I think the thing about most cakes, is they can be lacking in the flavour department but this one is spicy and has the subtle fragrance that comes from the pears. It’s perfect as a birthday cake or as a tea time treat or simply just because you fancy some cake.
2 ripe pears
1/4 cup of golden caster sugar
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of mild olive oil
1/3 cup of runny honey or maple syrup
1 egg and one egg yolk (or if you want to make it egg free, use egg replacer for 1 1/2 eggs (from health food store))
1 1/2 cups of whole meal spelt flour or plain flour
A pinch of allspice
A pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Plus icing sugar for dusting
And a lemon if making icing
A deep 7 inch cake tin sprayed with cake release spray or lightly greased with cooking oil
pandoro or panettone bread and butter pudding
heavenly nut loaf
I know a nut loaf sounds retro, but this nut loaf is a bit more sophisticated than the nut loaves of old, it’s really scrumptious and hasn’t got a single lentil in it. It’s packed with the amazing flavours of porcini mushrooms, parmesan and cashew nuts and it’s got a great texture which comes from the shiitake mushrooms. It’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans at Thanksgiving and Christmas or any time there is a roast (It’s even delicious sliced cold from the fridge and put in a sandwich, with cranberry sauce and mayo)
Jo Fairly the founder of Green and Blacks chocolate, wrote to me to say she has made a vegan version of my recipe by replacing the eggs with 250ml of Bonsoy soya milk, instead of the eggs and the 150ml of milk, btw it’s not ordinary plant based milk as it won’t work as well, and she swapped the parmesan for vegan parmesan which is now available in supermarkets or health food stores. She and her husband love this recipe and fry up the leftovers the next day and say it’s just as delicious.
Serve it with my vegetarian gravy , which is also vegan, my cranberry sauce and the rest of the trimmings.
150g of dryish white bread crumbs
150ml of milk (or dairy free milk)
2 large eggs
30g of butter or olive oil plus a bit more for greasing the loaf tin
20g of dried porcini mushrooms (I get the cheaper porcini pieces in the supermarket) steeped in boiling water for 15 mins, drained and chopped
100g mushrooms chopped into small pieces (I use shiitake)
1 teaspoon of English mustard
1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
2-3 teaspoons of Tabasco
1 egg white
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh thyme
1 medium onion very finely chopped
2 medium celery sticks very finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
200g of chopped raw cashew nuts
100g chopped raw walnuts
1 large carrot finely grated
75g of Parmesan or vegan parmesan
A handful of polenta
Salt and pepper
1 large loaf tin, mine is approx for a one and a half pound loaf