Recipes

There is no shortage of excellent healthy eating recipe books on the market and it is an investment to buy at least two, to give you the inspiration needed to follow the nutritional advice you are given.  Exploring the delights of unusual vegetables and new spices, different flavours and textures is all part of the journey to a healthier lifestyle, and contrary to expectations it can be a very enjoyable journey.

Most people find that the more fruit and vegetables they eat, the less they are tempted by unhealthy, sugar and salt laden foods.  Fresh vegetables and fruit can become staples and enjoyed for their freshness, flavours and feel good factors.  However we don’t just eat food for fuel, it is also an essential sensory experience and often we eat to sooth troubled emotions, or to celebrate.  At these times it can be tempting to eat inappropriate or even unhealthy foods which can compromise your way back to health. However there are healthy treats you can make and eat.

Below are various ideas for tasty, wholesome cakes, deserts and delicious dishes, all made without sugar or processed ingredients. Enjoy!  See the blog for more recipe information.

Banana and Hazelnut Cake

Ingredients

4 oz prunes/apricots/dates

4 oz butter or equivalent of oil such as groundnut oil or light olive oil or coconut oil.

2 or 3 ripe bananas

2 eggs

1 oz ground almonds

4 oz hazelnuts

4 oz wholemeal flour or wheat free flour such as rice flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Cook the dried fruit in a small saucepan with sufficient water to cover them for about 15 to 20 minutes. Simmer gently, do not boil or they will burn. When cooked and mushy, add the oil or butter and mix well. Mash in the bananas. You can do all this in the saucepan with a potato masher. Allow to cool slightly.

Add beaten eggs. Mix well. Then add flour, ground almonds and baking powder and mix briefly and gently then add in the hazelnuts.

Turn the mixture out into a loaf tin or cake tin which has been greased and lined. Cook in a moderate oven, gas mark 3 or 4 for about 40 minutes or until done.

Variations

You can substitute mango for the banana, and vary the dried fruit and nuts and flours.

Topping

Put about 3 oz of cashew nuts into a blender with about 3 or 4 tablespoons of apple juice, blend and spread on top.

Date, Banana and Nut Cake

Ingredients

8 oz dates

6 oz butter or equivalent of oil such as groundnut oil or light olive oil or coconut oil.

4 oz ground almonds

2 or 3 mashed bananas

2 eggs

50 ml maple syrup or rice syrup (cheaper option) – both optional

6 oz pecan nuts or hazelnuts

6 oz wholemeal flour or wheat free flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Cook the dates in a small saucepan with sufficient water to cover them. Simmer gently, do not boil or they will burn. When cooked and mushy, add the oil and mix well. Mash in the bananas. Allow to cool slightly.

Add the almonds and the beaten eggs, and maple or rice syrup. Mix well.

Add the nuts, flour and baking powder and mix briefly and gently.

Turn the mixture out into a loaf tin or cake tin which has been greased and lined. Cook in a moderate oven, gas mark 3 or 4 for about 40 minutes or until done.

Variations

You can substitute mango for the banana, honey for the maple syrup (or not use any sweetener at all as it is quite sweet with the dates and bananas). Vary the nuts and flours.

Apricot Slices

Ingredients for a large quantity

2 lbs dried apricots

1 orange

6 oz sunflower seeds

6 oz sesame seeds

1 bar of creamed coconut

1 lb porridge oats

Sunflower or other oil

Cook the apricots in a sufficient water to cover them. Simmer gently but do not boil or allow them to dry out. They should absorb most of the water.

Puree the apricots with the complete orange, pith, skin seeds and all!

Mix the dry ingredients together with the grated coconut and add enough oil to moisten and bind slightly.

Put a layer of the seed and oat mixture on the base of a large greased tray, about half of it.

Then put all of the apricot puree on top. It will not spread over the seed mixture so put it on in small dollops and gently ease over the mixture. Sprinkle the top with the remaining seed mixture and press down.

Bake at about gas mark 4 for about 40 minutes.

Variations

You could use dates instead of apricots for a cheaper slice, or mixtures of dried fruits.

Date and Banana Cookies

Makes 18 to 20

Oven 200 °C /375 ° F/gas 6

75g (3 oz/ 1/2 cup) dried dates finely chopped

75g (3 oz/ 2/3 cup) walnuts, finely chopped

3 medium bananas, mashed

175g (6 oz / 2 cups) oats

150 ml (1/4 pint / ½ cup) olive oil or coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Mix everything together really well and put tablespoons of the mixture onto an oiled baking sheet. Flatten them down a bit and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden.

Quick Oat and Raisin Cookies

Makes 16 – 18

Oven: 200°C/375°/gas 6

250g (9oz/3 cups) oats

225g (8oz/1 ½ cups) rice flour

150g (6oz/1 cup) raisins

75g (30z/1 cup) chopped nuts of your choice

4 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil

1 tablespoon clear honey or apple juice concentrate

apple juice to mix

Mix together well, using just enough apple juice to make a mixture with a soft ‘dropping’ consistency. Bake tablespoons of the mixture flattened into rough cookie shapes on oiled baking sheets for about 20 minutes.

Spiced Fruit Sweets

Makes about 36 sweets

4 tbs each of sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds

12oz (350g) mixed dried fruits eg pitted dates, apricots, peaches, figs

4 oz (110g) raisins

Juice of 1 orange

Freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of freshly ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 oz (50g) grated dried coconut

Finely grind the 3 seeds in a food processor or grinder. Add the dried fruits and raisins and process them finely, adding as much orange juice as necessary to make the food processor run smoothly without the mixture becoming runny. When the fruit is finely chopped, sprinkle in the 3 spices and process again briefly. Form the mixture into small balls, and roll them in coconut until they are completely covered. Arrange the sweets on a plate, chill for an hour or more, then serve.

Taking Root Cake

8 oz dates

4 oz dark brown sugar

8 oz butter

14 oz parsnips, grated (or carrots or beetroot if desired)

medium piece root ginger peeled and grated

4 eggs

grated zest of 1 orange

2 oz sunflower seeds

4 oz ground almonds

8 oz potato flour]

6 oz barley flour]   or use rice flour/wholemeal flour

2 -3 tsps baking powder

a little milk to moisten

For the topping:

3 sweet potatoes

About 2 tbs of the cream off a tin of coconut milk

About 5 balls of Chinese stem ginger in syrup

Cook the dates in a little water until soft. Add the sugar and butter and melt. Allow to cool. Beat the eggs and add to the sugar and butter mixture. In a large bowl put in the grated parsnips, ginger, orange zest, flour, seeds, flours and ground almonds. Add the baking powder. Add the butter, eggs and sugar mixture and mix well. Pour the mixture into a large tin about 10” x 10” and bake in a moderate oven gas mark 3 for 1 ½ hours until when a skewer is inserted it comes out clean.

Put the sweet potatoes in the oven to bake for 1 hour until soft inside.

Cool on a cooling rack.

When cold make the icing. Scoop the soft flesh from the inside of the sweet potatoes and mix with the coconut cream. Add a little ginger syrup to sweeten if needed. Spread over the cake. Decorate with slices of stem ginger.

Note:

This cake was made to incorporate as many root plants as possible. Many of the ingredients can be substituted or in some cases, such as with the flavourings, omitted altogether. The sugar could be reduced for a less sweet cake. This makes a large cake.

 

Coco Fudge

4 oz (110g) sesame seeds

2 oz (50g) dried grated coconut

2 oz (50g) coco powder or 85%/100% dark chocolate, grated

1 dessertspoon honey

Few drops of vanilla essence

Juice of ½ orange

Grind the seeds in a food processor. Add the other ingredients and process again. Form the mixture into little balls.   Chill well and serve in petit-four cases.

Nuttyseed balls or Seedynut balls!

Makes about 20

100g mixed nuts and seeds (eg. sunflower, almonds, hazelnuts)

25g Sultanas

50g Cranberries

75g unsulphured dried apricots, chopped

5 squares of dark chocolate (ideally 85% cocoa solids)

Lightly toast the nuts and seeds in the oven or under a grill. Combine the nuts and seeds with the dried fruit and mix it all in a blender until it becomes sticky and starts to hold together. Using your hands, take a small amount of the mixture and form into little balls. Place the balls into petit four cases. Meanwhile melt the chocolate and spoon 1m -2 teaspoons over each ball. Leave the balls to chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

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