Venetian carrot and almond cake

This delicious traditional Italian cake was the precursor to the carrot cake we know now and love but this is kind of marzipany without the bitterness. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity as it’s fantastic with coffee, for breakfast or with a glass of vin santo after dinner. Like a lot of Italian recipes it’s dairy free and it also has no oil or butter. It is mostly carrots, egg and almond.

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savoury stuffed apples with rice pine nuts and currants

I adore sweet and savoury flavours together and this recipe from The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking nails this perfectly. I have tweaked it a bit because the first time I cooked them the cooking apples burst and so I had to start again even though they tasted amazing, so I went with Braeburn apples instead. I have also added more pine nuts and currants as I thought the recipe needed it and replaced the sugar with maple syrup as it’s low GI and used basmati rice. They are perfect as a side to a roast instead of stuffing or cold with a salad.

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panforte (Italian Christmas cake)

This delicious traditional Italian cake is very dense chewy and packed with dried fruits, nuts and spices, and can I just say, there are lot of ingredients but it’s really easy to make. This recipe is softer than the ones you buy which I prefer. It’s origins dates back to  the Italian crusaders who discovered it in Turkey. It kept them nourished during their sieges. Italians often cut it into pieces and wrap the morsels in parchment paper with ribbon and give the little parcels as gifts.

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vegan chocolate and coconut fudge cake

I love the combination of coconut and chocolate because I love Bounty bars and this cake is really easy to make and really chocolatey for a real dairy-free egg-free chocolate fix. You can’t taste the beetroot, but it’s the beetroot that makes it fudgey. This cake has been tested on non vegans and they loved it and thought it was one of the best cakes they had ever tasted. Perfect as a birthday cake.

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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.

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roasted japanese aubergines with fried ginger matchsticks

I love the way the Japanese cook aubergines and I wanted to create a recipe which reminds me of eating it in their restaurants. This recipe is a delicious way to cook them and has lovely textures and is a bit crunchy with the ginger matchsticks. They are packed with flavour so they would be great with baked fish, salads and rice. Perfect as a little starter or a side dish.

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chocolate dipped ginger shortbread

These shortcakes are really fun easy and vegan. Anyone can make them. All you do is mix the ingredients, bake them, dip in warm chocolate and leave to cool. They taste amazingly buttery even though there’s no butter in them. They are perfect as tree decorations if you make a little hole in them before baking so you can thread a ribbon or piece of string through to hang them up.  I’ve tried these out on friends who can’t tell they are dairy free, so give them a go…

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chocolate dipped spiced cookies

As I’ve said before, its challenging converting a tasty recipe to vegan as the flavours and textures can be very different from the standard ingredients that are usually used. I think vegan recipes also need to be more fun, so I am trying to come up with fun recipes on this blog that are not only vegan but look and taste as good if not better than the original with animal products in them. I’m trying these cookies out at a dinner party and will get back to you with their verdict.
Result! They wanted the recipe and they think they’re perfect for Christmas and as a homemade Christmas gifts!

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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.

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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.

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