Sticky date pudding

Photo by Gary Donald Corbett

“Who doesn’t like sticky date pudding?! It’s one of the top desserts on many menus around the world and a regular recipe in my own kitchen. I’ve been testing a vegan recipe for catering and have realised this is better than the version I used to make. With the addition of banana to replace the eggs you do get and extra flavour in the mix but it compliments the traditional flavours so well. Enjoy!”

Watch the video here

https://youtu.be/BCxatZoIIBM

Ingredients for the pudding

  • 1 cup soy milk (you can use cows milk or vegan alternative)
  • 2 cups dates
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Ingredients for the sauce
  • 110g Nutikex (or butter)
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
Method
  1. Heat your oven to 180 Celsius
  2. Place soy milk, dates and golden syrup in a saucepan and heat while stirring until dates are soft.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of bicarb soda and stir. Put aside to cool.
  4. Using a fork mash the bananas with the olive oil.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients and mix together.
  6. Add the bananas and dates to dry ingredients and mix together.
  7. Line a slice tin with baking paper and spoon the batter in, smoothing it down.
  8. Bake in a 180 Cescius oven for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer comes our clean.
  9. For the sauce combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring.
  10. While the pudding is still hot spoon over some of the sauce.
  11. Serve with extra sauce, coconut ice-cream, Medjol dates and a sprinkle of chopped walnuts.

 

Christmas Chocolate Fudge Cake (GF)

“This recipe came from necessity.  I needed a dessert for a catering job that was Christmas themed and gluten free, so I adapted my mud-cake recipe to include some Christmas flavours.  The result was a super moist cake that works brilliantly as a warm dessert served with ice cream or custard and a hearty cake for your Christmas celebrations.  If you don’t need it gluten free then substitute regular flour.  For the dessert cake I slightly undercook it so it is still fudge and moist inside. Enjoy”

Ingredients

  • 375g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter
  • 600ml water (or red wine)
  • 300g almond meal
  • 200g gluten free self raising flour
  • 400g dark sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 150 chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 5 eggs
  • 1kg Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
Method
  1. Place chocolate, butter and water (or red wine) in a saucepan and bring to a medium heat, stirring occasionally until all ingredients are melted and combined.  Allow to cool.
  2. Combine in a mixing bowl the almond meal, GF flour, sugar and spices.
  3. Beat the eggs and mix into the cooled chocolate mixture.
  4. Add the Christmas mince to the chocolate mixture and stir through.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture and the nuts into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  6. Pour into a large flat lined dish or several smaller ones.  I use one that is 35cm by 24cm.  If you try to use a traditional cake pan it will take ages to cook and burn around the edges.  You want the cake to be about 4cm tall (It won’t rise much at all)
  7. Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 45 minutes or until just set.  As long as there’s no movement in the cake when you move it and a skewer comes out relatively clean it should be fine.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan in the fridge before turning out and cutting.

Christmas Crinkle Cookies

“I’m always looking for quick and easy recipes to make for Christmas parties and presents.  These biscuits are based on a Mexican recipe I found that I deleted the chilli and spices and added Christmas mince.  They turned out so well I’ve had requests to make more. (Mainly from my husband)  I love the texture of the crinkle and on the outside which is achieved by rolling them in icing sugar.  Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 450g plain flour
  • 80g dutch cocoa powder
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 300g Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
  • Icing sugar to roll balls in
Method
  1. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Beat the eggs with the oil, then stir in the Christmas mince.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat until combined.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (this makes them easier to roll)
  5. Put icing sugar into a small bowl.
  6. Roll golf ball sized balls in your hand then roll then in the icing sugar until covered.  shake off the excess and place on a parchment lined baking tray.  (You can press them down slightly so they won’t roll around but don’t flatten them out.  They will keep their ball-shape once they’re cooked.)
  7. Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crackle patten has emerged.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Mince Pies (Vegan)

“Every year I make Christmas mince pies.  Mum’s been doing making them for years but I’m sure mine are better!  She will disagree with this.  Anyway, this version is very tasty and vegan friendly.  Of course, you can make them with a traditional shortcrust pastry but I love the texture of this pastry and it’s really easy to make and work with. This recipe makes enough pastry for about 3 dozen mince pies, so halve it if you don’t need that many. I make the Christmas mince in bulk every year and use it to make Christmas cakes, biscuits and other delicacies. I haven’t given weights for the dried fruit because with this method you can make as much or as little as you like and use a combination of fruits that you like best.  I would also suggest you use less expensive cooking port or it can get expensive. Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients for Christmas mince

  • Sultanas
  • Currents
  • Dates
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried figs
  • Cranberries
  • Cooking port
Method for Christmas mince
  1. Cut up the dried fruit into small pieces or use a food processor.
  2. Place fruit in a large saucepan pour over enough port to saturate the fruit.
  3. Bring the heat up to medium and keep stirring until the port has been incorporated and the fruit has softened. There should be no liquid left in the mixture and the fruit should be glossy and sticky.   (When doing 2kg of dried fruit this takes up to 20 minutes) You can always add more port and keep the mixture on the heat if you want cook it for longer.
  4. Let the Christmas mince cool completely in the saucepan then transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate.  Because of the high amount of natural sugars the Christmas mince will last for ages!
Ingredients for Vegan shortcrust pastry
  • 190g Nutilex (or non-dairy margarine)
  • 190g icing sugar
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
Method for Vegan shortcrust pastry
  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and combine until it comes into a ball.  If you mixture is crumbly add a small amount of cold water. If it’s to soft put some more flour in.
  2. Empty mixture onto some plastic wrap and knead into a disc. (This will make it easier to roll out later)
  3. Wrap disc in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
Method for Christmas mince pies
  1. Roll out the pastry until it’s about 5mm thick.
  2. Cut out circles of pastry to fit your pans.  (I have specialty pans that are shallow with a fluted edge that are perfect for these pies)
  3. Press the pastry into the base of each mould so it comes a few centimetres up the side. (Or as deep as you want if you want bigger pies!)
  4. Fill the moulds with the cooled Christmas mince and smooth the top.
  5. Using Christmas cutters make tops for the pies.  I use stars, Santas, Christmas trees or baubles for mine.  You can also enclose the top completely if you like.
  6. Before you put them in the oven you can use an egg-wash, milk or any vegan milks to paint over the pastry tops.  Or you can sprinkle a bit of sugar over them.
  7. Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and starting to brown.
  8. Give to all your family and friends and everyone will love you!

 

Vegan Fruit and Nut Loaf

“I recently made a delicious fruit and nut loaf from one of Bill Grainger’s beautiful cookbooks.  It was light and fragrant with nice chunky pieces of dried fruit and crunchy nuts.  Because it didn’t have a lot of butter or eggs in it I decided to try and convert it to a vegan version.  After a few attempts I got the right balance that doesn’t lack any of the flavours or textures of the original.  It also works great toasted after a few days and freezes well. Of course I do have it smothered with butter, but you can always find a vegan alternative. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 50g oats
  • 300ml almond milk
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250g dried fruit, roughly chopped (Dates, raisins, apricots, figs etc)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 70g almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 lemon, rind and juice
  • 30g almonds roughly chopped for topping
Method
  1. Place oats and almond milk in a bowl and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the flour, spices, sugar and salt and mix together.
  3. Add the oats and milk, dried fruit, almonds, maple syrup, banana and lemon juice and rind and mix together.
  4. Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin and smooth the top.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on top.
  6. Bake in a 180 celcius oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool for 30 minutes then remove from the tin.  Slather with butter and enjoy.

 

 

 

Apple Chai Pumpkin Pie

“Whoops! I seem to have missed thanksgiving or halloween for this post. (Not that we really celebrate them here much)  But who says pumpkin pie should only be served on those days? For this recipe I’ve combined the silky softness of the pumpkin custard with the spiciness of chai tea to make a slightly different version of this American classic. Like all good tarts, it’s slightly complicated and has several stages but the finished product is well worth the effort.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

For the cinnamon pastry

  • 140g butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
For the spiced apples
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tbsp chai tea
  • 2 tbsn raw sugar

For the pumpkin filling

  • 600g pumpkin
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tbsn chai tea
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 eggs

Method

  1. For the cinnamon apples: In a cup pour the boiling water over the chai tea and sugar and leave to sit.
  2. For the pumpkin custard: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a light simmer then add the chai tea.  Allow this to sit and infuse while it cools down.
  3. Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm square pieces and steam until soft.  Set aside to cool.  (If you’re in America you can buy pumpkin pie mix in a can. Shame on you!)
  4. For the cinnamon pastry: In a food processor combine the butter sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Add the egg and process until pastry comes into a ball.
  5. Tip out onto a piece of cling wrap and form into a disc.  Place in refrigerator.
  6. For the cinnamon apples: Peel the apples and cut each one into 16 wedges. Place apples in a small saucepan.
  7. Drain the chai tea and add the tea leaves to the cream. (Every little bit of flavour helps)
  8. Pour the chai tea mixture over the apples and bring to a simmer.  Cook the apples until they’re soft but still holding their shape.  Transfer the apples and liquid to a bowl and refrigerate, letting them cool in the remaining liquid.
  9. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a well-floured surface, roll out until it’s about 5mm thick.
  10. Carefully transfer this into a greased 30cm tart dish (I use the sort with the removable bottom), filling any gaps and neatening up the edges.
  11. Transfer the tart dish to the freezer for 15 minutes.
  12. For the pumpkin custard: Drain the infused cream of the tea leaves and put in a food processor.  Add the cooled pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and eggs and process until smooth.
  13. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the tart dish from the freezer and using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry evenly (about 20 times).
  14. Line the pastry with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beads or rice.  Transfer to a 180 degree celsius oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the beads/rice and baking paper and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees.
  15. Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool slightly.  Drain the apples of any remaining liquid and put a layer of 2/3 of the cooled apples into the bottom of the tart. (The remaining apples are reserved for serving)
  16. Pour the pumpkin custard over the apples and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes.  The cooked pie should be uniformly cooked but still a bit wobbly.
  17. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and some of the remaining spiced apples and a sprinkle of icing sugar.