whole roast squash with saffron rice

This recipe can be made with a pumpkin or any large squash or several smaller ones like the munchkin pumpkins. The rice recipe is from the Moro cookbook and they use the saffron rice to stuff a butterflied leg of lamb, because it is fragrant and deliciously flavours the meat, but as I don’t really eat meat I thought it would be fantastic as a stuffing for a squash or pumpkin. It also looks amazing as a centre piece on the dinner table, and would be delicious roast potatoes and a salad or any roast. I love it with garlicky yogurt and have just discovered Alpro are doing a vegan Greek yogurt in Morrison’s which is utterly delicious.

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mince pie cake

A dairy free alternative to a traditional Christmas Cake which can be made last minute, just make the mincemeat the day before as it needs to marinate and ruminate for 24 hours before you use it. You can use a jar of shop bought mincemeat if you want to save time, the cake is full of spices a bit of brandy and all the Christmassy flavours and is perfect if you are a mince pie fan, but fancy a lighter cake version and it’s perfect with dairy free vanilla ice cream.

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autumn apple cake

This cinnamony Apple cake is dairy free and made with olive oil. It has bourbon vanilla and lemon juice and zest in it and I make it with spelt flour, so it’s healthier because spelt is an ancient grain packed with nutrients that processed flour hasn’t got much of.

The top goes a bit apple crumble-like and the sides go a bit biscuity but it stays moist in the middle, and all my friends really love it and can’t tell dairy free. Perfect for Bonfire Night and Christmas or just for tea time. I sometimes have it for breakfast with coffee too.

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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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moroccan orange salad

I had this salad as a starter in a Moroccan restaurant in Paris and I have made it ever since. It’s divine and reminds me of that restaurant I think was called the Star. I went there twice with my boyfriend with a ten year gap between visits and when we told them that we loved it there and had come back ten years later they were very blasé and not interested, however the food was fantastic still. This salad is great as a dessert too. It’s perfumey with orange flower water so you feel transported to an exotic place in Morocco, at least I do, and it’s pretty healthy. So give it a try….

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chewy ginger cookies

Crunchy, chewy and spicy…these cookies tick all the boxes. I found a recipe in the Waitrose supermarket, converted it to vegan and reworked them with healthier coconut oil and spelt flour. They are really easy to make and would be fantastic dipped or drizzled in melted dark chocolate. They are also perfect for making an ice cream sandwich with, with dairy free ice cream stuffed between two cookies. My favourite dairy free ice cream is Swedish Glace,I’m testing them out on my friend Emily tonight and I’ll get back to you.
They passed the very ‘moorish’ test….hurrah!

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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!

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honey cake

Honey cake is, of course, a cake sweetened with honey, it’s deliciously packed with spices and it’s dairy free. It’s a tradition to serve it on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in the hopes of ensuring a sweet New Year. The first time I tried it I really loved it..it’s totally perfect with coffee or after dinner. My version is a healthier version using lots of grated apples, wholemeal spelt flour and olive oil… and I promise you it’s a big hit. I sometimes make this as a birthday cake too and it’s perfect at Christmas with all its amazing flavours.

Recipe

Serves about 10.

Ingredients:
½ cup of golden caster sugar or white sugar
¼ cup of dark brown sugar
¾ cup of runny honey
3 large eggs (or egg replacer from health food shops or online)
1 ¼ cup of mild olive oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
4 eating apples grated
3 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of allspice
a pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
¼ teaspoons of salt
a little icing sugar for decoration
9 inch bundt tin

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ethical mince pies

There really isn’t anything as delicious and comforting as a home made mince pie that’s still warm from the oven. It’s totally evocative of Christmas with the smell of all the spices, dried fruit and brandy. These mince pies are totally vegetarian and don’t use beef suet or the unethical palm oil which are in most shop bought mince meat jars and mince pies. They are easy to make, you use shop bought pastry if you can’t, like me, be bothered to make it and because the filling is so good, no one will notice. They are fun to make with kids too as they can decorate the top their way. I use a Christmas tree cookie  cutter, but there are lots of different Christmas themed cookie cutters you could use.

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carrot salad with orange flower water

Yes I am obsessed with carrots. Here’s another carrot salad recipe, just in case you are also a carrot person. Fragrant, fresh and delicious, this salad will transport you straight to Marrakesh

Serves 4 as a starter.

Ingredients:
500g carrots, peeled and grated
2 large juicy oranges or 4 clementines
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons of orange flower water
Juice of 1 orange
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

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