chocolate-olive-oil-cakeI‘ve recently been craving a tummy friendly (aka. gluten-free and dairy-free), easy and delicious chocolate cake recipe to lock into my recipe archives and not that I could ever doubt Nigella but… I just wasn’t expecting this recipe to come from the queen of luscious decadence herself. Yet after trawling the internet there it was, and at around 8pm last night I thought to myself ‘why not?’. I make all my best baking decisions at night.

This cake couldn’t be easier to pull off and with such a short bake time you could be happily munching away at your own cake in 40 minutes time. Serve this cake to your friends and family whether they have dietary restrictions or not. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think anyone would be able to pick that this cake was gluten and dairy-free, mum’s the word.

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Chocolate-Chip-and-Walnut-Cookie_2Do you have a trusted chocolate chip cookie recipe that’s super easy, potentially not that healthy and you could recite off by heart? I used to. It was a classic tollhouse cookie. I would make them every Wednesday night to take to school the next day (aka. cookie Thursday) and sometimes if I got lazy on a Wednesday night, it would be cake Friday instead.

I stumbled across this recipe completely by chance while I was at the supermarket and I’m so glad I did. This is really the best chocolate chip cookie recipe that a dairy and gluten-free person could wish for. Soft, moorish, keeps well, packed full of chocolate. I loved them so much and ate them so fast I had to make a second batch two days later…

Chocolate-Chip-and-Walnut-Cookie_1 Seriously though, get a load of these cookies. Who would have thought that gluten-free cookies could be so inviting? Coconut flour is pretty amazing as well actually. It’s a really dry flour that soaks up a lot of moisture and if the batter doesn’t have enough liquid in it then it just ends up drying out your mouth and making it hard to swallow. I made cookie ‘puffs’ with a different recipe a couple of weeks ago and they were pretty dry on the first day. Luckily our house is like most other New Zealand houses, damp, cold and totally lacking in double glazing so the cookies sat out on the bench overnight and were much better in the morning. They were nowhere near as addictive and delicious as this batch though.

Chocolate-Chip-and-Walnut-Cookie_3I really like where this new chapter of baking is heading and it’s amazing how quickly i’ve adapted to all my new food restrictions. It does however make most bought things taste extremely sweet (especially muesli bars). Perhaps I should test out some bar recipes for next week?

P.s. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients list. I made a whole lot of changes to the original recipe and put in instructions for making your own date paste so it just looks like a lot but they are really quick and easy to make. Promise!

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Apricot-Oat-Slice_2

I think this super healthy apricot oat slice has finally convinced me that being gluten-free and dairy-free is going to be a-okay (and really easy). Maybe even more than okay, it’s still early days yet. Along with this much needed reassurance, this slice also happens to be refined sugar-free and vegan, more bonuses! Also, on the off chance you are allergic to nuts, feel free to substitute the almond meal for additional oats or rice flour.

Apricot-Oat-Slice_3

My grandma is reaching a milestone age next month and to celebrate all her children, her children’s children and her children’s children’s partners will be whipping up a grandiose lunch-time feast. It was mum’s idea and to be perfectly honest, I think it’s fab. Why am I telling you about my grandma’s birthday celebration? Well, I have just decided that this is what i’ll be presenting her for dessert.

Apricot-Oat-Slice_1

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Banana-and-Mango-Muffin

Baking is my ultimate form of procrastination. It’s also a really good way to warm up an old, cold, one bedroom flat. Obviously muffins don’t take that long but if it’s really that freezing you can always go for a cake with a 1+ hour bake time. Technically you’re not using a heater but you still get to defrost and something delicious comes out of it – winter baking at its finest (and most economical).

I’ve never used a gluten-free flour mix before so this was a total experiment, more so since the original recipe is not actually gluten or dairy free. These muffins are without a doubt, no where near as good on the second day. Don’t even bother trying them on the second day. To be fair, the flavour is still all there, along with the aroma, but the texture is a classic case of baking gone rock.

Now that I’m sure you have HEAPS of faith in this recipe, do give them a go if you know they’ll all be gobbled up half an hour out of the oven. They honestly are quite delicious and have the benefit of being gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar free to keep everyone’s bellies, and allergies, happy!

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Black-Bean-Brownie_2 Black-Bean-Brownie

Fudgey chocolate brownies are one of those things that there can never be too many variations of, especially when they are gluten and dairy free. Chocolate is great, nuts often a nice addition, but chucking in a can of beans!? I’m pretty new to the whole wheat and dairy free world but as far as the restrictive diet goes (more so if you’re actually allergic as opposed to consciously choosing the gluten/wheat and dairy free lifestyle) this will satisfy your cravings and appease your inability to eat near on anything when out with friends. To be honest it’s actually quite exciting experimenting with a whole new set of ingredients and it feels a little healthier than baking with wheat flour and butter. Having said that… The ‘health’ aspect probably doesn’t exist when the baking in question is bursting with chocolate and you eat half of it in one day.

The blog i found this recipe on suggested refrigerating the brownie. I can only agree. Talk about making a good thing a million times better! The other thing I would suggest is chopping your chocolate into BIG pieces and include nuts (if you aren’t allergic). If you can’t eat nuts think about something else that will provide a contrast of texture because this brownie is all about the texture.

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Raspberry,-Chocolate-and-Yogurt-Muffins

Did you just find out that you’ve got guests coming over in an hour? If you’re like me and feel obliged to provide something freshly baked to munch on whilst catching up with friends, then there are two fail-proof options. Scones or muffins. Don’t have friends popping over soon? Then school or work lunches or just because-you-felt-like-it are also very reasonable reasons too.

I’m not entirely sold on the old-fashion rolled oats in this recipe, it gives it lots of little chewy bits in the muffin which might be to your liking but certainly wasn’t to mine. I guess it does make it feel a little healthier though? If healthy is your aim, you probably want to remove the chocolate from this recipe and replace a bit of the white flour with wholemeal flour.

Raspberry,-Chocolate-and-Yogurt-Muffins2

Overall the muffins look fab and smell amazing. They will definitely impress without looking like you’ve gone overboard. If I made them again I’d remove the oats or change them out for quick cook oats, but then that’s just me.

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IMG_3436 IMG_3437Have you ever wondered how best to make your house smell like a big bottle of delicious port? The kind of smell that is sweet, classy and fruity that is guaranteed to waft delicately through your house. Yes!? That’s exactly what I thought.

First things first, don’t be deceived by the casual, look of this cake because it sure doesn’t taste that way. Actually on second thought, I think effortless is a better descriptive word for it. I mean it’s so effortless it doesn’t even need a quick dust of icing sugar (or for the baking paper to be carefully measured and cut like I would usually do). All it needs is some gigantic, juicy plums studded into the top and you’re pretty much good to go eat. To recap – this cake is a hot mess. An effortless hot mess.

Structurally this cake is more than strong enough to hold up the plums without letting them sink in too much and yet somehow manages to retain a soft and tender crumb at the same time. By keeping the skin on the plums you contain the delicious juices that would otherwise turn your cake into a potential disaster. I don’t really know how to describe what will happen if you remove the skins but basically the liquid from the plums will get into the batter and stop the cake from baking properly around the plums. Moral of the story is keep the skins on and everything will be fine.

IMG_3441IMG_3439I recently discovered Ruahine Ports at the Newtown Street Festival last week and their New Zealand owned and made ports blew my mind. So much so my partner and I bought two bottles. They make a decent tawny port but the real star is in their less traditional range of fruit ports. Namely the boysenberry. It was by far the most delicious port I’ve ever tried and if you haven’t heard of them I would highly recommend taking a look at their online shop. I’m hoping they pop up at another festival soon where I can try the blueberry, apricot, feijoa and blackcurrant ports but in the mean time I have a plum port and a boysenberry port waiting to be drunk.

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