Apricots are one of the few fruits that I rarely fancy, I think I’ve bitten into too many unripe ones and been put off, an unripe apricot is really horrible! However with the British apricot season well underway and with our wonderful hot summer, there are some lovely juicy ones on offer and I bought a big bag this week which needed using up before they went over so I started baking with them.
They work brilliantly in this loaf, which is an updated version of my old Retro bran loaf. The pairing with cardamom adds a great floral hint. Do use ripe apricots as they add moisture to the bake, although you could use up any unripe ones too.
Apricot Bran Loaf
- 100g All Bran (I used Kellogg’s but there are other varieties out there!)
- 70g soft brown sugar
- 8 cardamom pods, crushed and ground in a pestle and mortar
- 160g SR flour or 160g plain flour and 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 50g raisins
- 3 ripe apricots, roughly diced (keep skin on)
- 250ml Almond milk
- Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
- Mix all the ingredients, apart from the flour, together in a bowl and leave to soak for 30-60 minutes. Then add the flour and mix well. It should be like a very thick cake mix, add a drop more milk if its too thick and paste like and difficult to stir.
- Pour into the tin and cook for around 40 – 50 minutes at 170c/Gas 3/325f. Leave it in the tin to cool and then turn out and enjoy.
It’s great with spread and jam (apricot!) or marmalade or nut butter with some fresh apricot slices, or with some thick coconut yoghurt.
The courgettes are growing like weeds on the allotment and so courgette experiments are in full swing. They work really well in cakes and particularly with chocolate! These muffins are quick and easy to make and freeze well too. They aren’t as sweet as other muffins I’ve made, so you could add a little more sugar. I like to eat them with some yoghurt, my husbands likes to add jam!
Courgette Choc Muffins
Makes 10 large muffins
- 280g Plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- Pinch salt
- 1 heaped tablespoon raw cacao powder (or 2 tbsp. of cocoa powder)
- 150g brown sugar
- 120ml sunflower oil (or rapeseed/veg or corn oil)
- 60ml Almond or coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 350g grated courgette (skin on – yellow or green courgettes – I like using yellow)
- 80g raisins (optional)
Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, cacao, cinnamon and raisins in a bowl. In another bowl mix the oil, milk, sugar, vanilla and courgettes. Then add this to the flour mix and stir together. Fill your muffins cups and bake at 180C/350f/Gas 4 for 20 – 25 minutes.
Let them cool before tucking in – they are a little too squishy if you eat straight from the oven (however tempting).
The rhubarb season this year has been fabulous and I’m still picking lots to play with. These are two really simple ways to eat more rhubarb for breakfast.
Rhubarb & Peanut butter chia pudding
A simple blending of peanut butter with stewed rhubarb and some oats and chia seeds and you have a delish quick rhubarb brekkie.
- 3 tablespoons stewed rhubarb
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 -2 tablespoons oats
- 50-100ml of almond or coconut milk – depending how thick you like your puddings.
Blend the rhubarb with the peanut butter and then stir through the oats, chia seeds and milk. Put in the fridge and try and wait until morning to eat it. Lovely with some added coconut yoghurt on top.
Rhubarb & Peanut butter on toast
Simples! Spread toast with peanut butter and add some stewed rhubarb on top. Nice with a sprinkling of granola to add some crunch. A very healthy jam option.
These are good! I’ve continued to experiment with vegan baking and this time I tried the ‘just leave out the binding agent’ approach, and it worked. These rose really well without the use of flax egg or other binding agent, just shows the old school methods aren’t always the best!! The hint of ginger and the crunch of peanut makes a lovely combination. My favourite way to eat them is to cut one in half and spread it with a little bit of non dairy spread and marmalade. They are also great with coconut yoghurt and even smeared with a bit of peanut butter, and the flavours go well with some pear slices too. These freeze well – wrap them up individually in foil and freeze.
Ginger, coconut & peanut muffins
- 250g plain flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 80g coconut sugar (or any other sugar)
- A big chunk (about 2″) of fresh ginger finely grated
- 40g coconut flakes
- 60g peanuts (non roasted)
- 40g raw cacao nibs (or other dark chocolate)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 240ml almond, oat or coconut milk (or other milk of choice)
- 90ml rapeseed oil
- Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.
- Heat a small frying pan and toast the peanuts and coconut flakes for a couple of minutes (constantly tossing to avoid burning). Then put the flakes and peanuts into a food processor and whizz for a few seconds to break them down into smaller bits. Add this to the flour mix along with the cacao nibs and ground ginger.
- Mix together the oil and milk and then add this to the flour mixture and stir quickly.
- Spoon the mixture into muffin tins (lined with muffin cases) and bake for 20 minutes, 180c/350f/Gas 4.
- Leave to cool before tucking in.
The snow last weekend gave me a great excuse to stay in the kitchen and bake. I haven’t baked muffins for a while and I wanted to trial some vegan ones. I admit I wasn’t sure if they would have the same rise and texture and I did get through a few ‘testers’ to check on baking times. But these worked a treat and I have them stocked in my freezer for a quick brekkie.
Delicious with some coconut yoghurt and maple syrup drizzled over the top. It has inspired me to try lots more – so watch this space. You can’t beat a muffin for breakfast.
The Christmas muffin cases added to the snowy feel!
Carrot & Coconut Muffins
- 125g Spelt or wholemeal flour
- 125g plain white flour
- 90g sugar (I used golden caster sugar)
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 80g finely grated carrot
- 50g coconut flakes
- 80g raisins
- 250ml Almond milk
- 90ml Rapeseed oil
- 1 flax egg – 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water and left for 10mins.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, including the carrot, coconut and raisins. Mix the wet ingredients together (milk, oil and flax egg). Add the wet to the dry and mix.
Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 180c/350f/Gas 4 – for 25 minutes. Cover with foil and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
My latest supply of one of my favourite peanut butters (Manilife) arrived yesterday and so peanut butter had to be part of my brekkie today (although I had already eaten a fair few spoonfuls from the jar within seconds of it arriving.) With a packet of flatbreads languishing in the bread bin, this simple P&J tortilla was envisaged, made and eaten within 5 minutes. If you love peanut butter and jam, you’ll love this. I used raspberries and raspberry jam, but you could use strawberries with strawberry jam, blueberries etc., anything would be lovely.
Possibly not the healthiest of breakfasts due to the high sugar content of the jam, but it was worth it and in my defence I had walked the dog. You could of course use a low sugar jam or make your own chia seed jam, but for now, the original stuff did the job beautifully.
P&J brekkie Tortilla
- 1 flour tortilla (large)
- 1 tablespoon of your favourite peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons Raspberry Jam
- Handful of fresh raspberries
- Yoghurt (I used coconut)
Heat a frying pan (no oil required) – and when it’s hot, add the tortilla. After a minute, take the tortilla out of the pan and put it on a plate cold side down. Spread your peanut butter over the hot side, and then spread the jam on top and top with some raspberries. Fold the tortilla in half over the filling. Put this back in the pan (heat on) and dry fry for a minute on both sides – the tortilla will start to brown.
Cut in half and serve with some more fruit and yoghurt.
I’ve been hunting out high protein breakfasts recently as I feel my protein intake needed a bit of a boost. Over the past couple of years I’ve become more of a convert to using protein powders as a quick boost after long runs. I use silken tofu a lot for sweet dishes and breakfasts and this is a quick and easy fusion between a protein shake and a smoothie bowl. The high protein of tofu, the added chia seeds and almond butter, and the extra hit from the protein powder, provides a big punching plant based protein start to the day.
You can eat this with fruit, alongside a muffin or my favourite is with some crunchy granola on top to add some texture.
This breakfast fuelled me today for a long dog walk and a hilly run session.
Pro High Tofu (2 servings)
- 1 packet of silken tofu (300g)
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon hemp protein powder (or other plant based protein powder)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
Some raw cacao, banana and granola of choice – or anything that goes!
In a blender, blend the tofu, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla essence and protein powder then stir in the seeds. This keeps in the fridge for a few days.
This was inspired by a peanut butter mousse that I had recently at a vegan restaurant which was made using coconut cream. It was wonderful and decadent but too rich for breakfast. So instead of coconut cream I’ve used silken tofu to lower the calorie damage and up the protein. I’ve also added in fruit and extra nuts to give it more breakfast appeal. This is really delicious and I bet even a non tofu eating person will be fooled into thinking it’s cream based. The taste is distinctively nut butter.
Whilst this makes 2-3 portions – I could easily have eaten it all in one go – could make a great pre and post run treat.
Nutty Tofu Bowl
- 300g packet of silken tofu
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 8-10 dates (5 if medjool)
Whizz all the above together.
You can also whizz in some frozen banana and/or frozen mango to add even more creaminess.
Decorate with more nuts, some sesame seeds and fruit.
As the weather turns autumnal this is the perfect earthy overnight oats breakfast. Beetroot is in season and I am currently harvesting a big bunch each week on the allotment. I’ve tried a few different breakfast dishes with beetroot and I love it. This has become a favourite because it’s so quick and looks such a lovely shade of red!
I find it’s best if you process the beetroot in a food processor – peel and chop and then process until it looks like couscous (a few seconds). You can also finely grate it for this dish if you don’t have a food processor.
Coco beet overnight oats (serves one)
- 50g raw beetroot – either processed in a food processor or finely grated
- 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
- 40g oats
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 20g sultanas
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- 50g flaked coconut
- 150ml coconut milk
Layer up the beetroot, coconut, oats, cardamom, sultanas and seeds. Then add the coconut milk and leave overnight in the fridge.
You can play around with your seeds and dried fruit – personally I love the taste of sultanas with this dish, but dried cranberries, raisins or goji berries would work well. The hemp seeds give a nice subtle crunch, or you can use pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Pistachio nuts also go very well with beetroot. Just layer up as you fancy. The key ingredients are the beetroot and coconut – the mix of earthiness and sweetness is perfect.
After a few days of over indulgence this is a perfect low calorie glass of guilt free brekkie. Full of zingy energy combining turmeric, ginger and apple. You can make this the night before and leave it overnight in the fridge or just whisk it up quickly in the morning. Simple but full of flavour.
- 100ml coconut or almond milk
- 1 apple
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- nice chunk of fresh ginger (peeled)
Grate half the apple and put this in a small bowl or glass. Put the coconut milk, rest of the apple, the ginger and turmeric into a blender and blend well. Pour this over the grated apple. Easy!
You can also add a tablespoon of chia seeds to make this a bit more substantial – although it’s still a light dish. If you add chia seeds then leave overnight or for at least 1/2 an hour after making to enable the chia seeds to soak up some of the juice.