Onto the cake, which is relatively low sugar, relying mainly on the sweetness of the raisins, and they are very sweet!
300g/12oz/2 cups of Dove’s Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 cup/8 fl.oz/200ml of sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
1 cup of soya milk (or possibly a little more to get a good mixture)
2 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract
2 good handfuls of raisins (or more if you like!)
1 or 2 tablespoons of preserving sugar or sugar crystals (optional)
Oil your cake tin and preheat oven to 180C/360F. Mix together the flour and cinnamon. Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil, golden syrup, soya milk, and vanilla – mix well. Stir in the lovely juicy sweet raisins and then sprinkle the preserving sugar, if using, on top. Pour into cake tin and bake for about half an hour or until cooked in middle (insert a knife or skewer into the centre of cake and if cooked it will come out clean).
The Old Auction Room in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, has recently been all done up and its wonderful café always has gorgeous vegan cake! There seems to be a vegan and gluten-free main or soup each day too. Above is a raw chocolate brownie, below a slice of date and walnut loaf, both gluten-free.
They also have vintage clothes, old books and antiques for sale. Some hats:
There’s a florist and a barber on the premises too.
Bonobo Cafe, a 100% vegan café in Aberdeen, also a worker co-operative, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign.
They started as a Saturday pop-up, ploughing all the takings back into the business and saving in order to open up full time. It’s been 18 months since then and now they’re almost there, having agreed a lease on a premises. They’re hoping to raise the funds for the fit out through this campaign.
Their reward structure includes the option to provide a vulnerable person in Aberdeen with a hot drink every day for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months of the year as well as some other nice gifts.
It’s a new year, a good time to get fit and healthy, so let’s climb a mountain! Up we go into the mist…
Bennachie in Aberdeenshire has several peaks. We’re going to visit four. Firstly the Mither Tap, then Craig Shannoch then onto the Little Oxen Crag and the Oxen Crag. The Little one is somehow the toughest, you’ll be peching as we say up here, Fitbit lighting up with joy at the raised heart rate.
Keep going! Keep going! Think about the healthy chocolate protein shake you’re going to have when you get home!
Purition‘s Raw Vegan Chocolate Hemp Mix blended in soya milk with some added banana and avocado. Yum, yum, yum.
But we’re not there yet, we’re circling back to cover more of the hill.
And down we go.
And it snows.
So we’re inside.
Sweaty Betty Ballet Bootcamp Encore is a great cardio and core workout from the ladies at Sleek Technique (lots of nice DVDs available too), no dance training required.
And now, a smoothie made with frozen blackberries, bananas, orange juice and a sachet of Purition‘s Raw Vegan Hemp Mix.
And after all that, how about some fortified cake? Yes, cake. It’s doesn’t have to be (that) unhealthy. This one’s made with 3 large mashed bananas mixed into a cup of gluten free self raising flour, a packet of Purition‘s Vegan Vanilla Hemp mix, a little sunflower oil and enough soya milk to make a nice thick batter. Pour into a greased square cake tin and bake for about half an hour at 200c/400F.
Cut into pieces and cover with dark chocolate, chopped pecan nuts and fresh blueberries. Happy Eating!
The Purition mixes mentioned in this post are their three vegan products, all made with nuts and seeds, all natural, nothing nasty, and over 14g of protein per 40g serving! See them all on their site here.
Chocolate Chunk and Walnut Muffins
4 (heaped) tablespoons of Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising flour,
2 (heaped) tablespoons of cocoa,
2 tablespoons (not heaped) of caster sugar
100g bar of chocolate
handful of walnuts, broken into small pieces
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
Soya milk to mix (start with about half a cupful)
Start with the fun part: bashing up the chocolate. While it’s still in its wrapper, hit the bar of chocolate repeatedly with a rolling pin. All over. Backwards and forwards. Up and down. Tip the fragmented contents into a mixing bowl along with the flour, cocoa, walnuts and sugar and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and stir.
With gluten free cakes that are going into paper cake cases, you don’t want the batter too wet or the cakes might stick in there quite badly. So, you’re going for a nice sturdy batter, not too much soya milk. Or you could use silicone cases.
Spoon into 12 cake cases and bake at 200C/400F for 10-15 minutes. Cool, then eat!
And now let’s look ahead a little into the chocolatey year… to Advent!
It’s a raw bramble (blackberry) cheesecake sweetened with red Chinese dates or Jujubes. It’s rich. It’s delicious. Everyone should try it! Read on for how…
Abakus Foods sent us three of their wonderful jujube products to try: the pitted dates, some powdered jujubes and some jujube crisps. The crisps are just like mini cookies, all crunchy and sweet and moreish.
Jujubes (loving that word) are less sweet and sticky than ordinary dates and are traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat insomnia and anxiety.
Here’s how we made our cheesecakes:
For the base: food process 40g (about a cup) of dried jujube fruit with a cup of pecan nuts until they resemble biscuit crumbs. Line a 12 piece muffin tin with cling film, pressing it carefully into each recess. Press your jujube/pecan mixture into each base.
For the creamy cheesecake topping: blend together a cup of brambles, a cup of macadamia nuts, half a cup of cashews, a tablespoon of coconut oil and 50g (about two tablespoons) of jujube powder. Once smooth, spread this onto the bases. Cover with more clingfilm and press each little cheesecake down to make sure it’s well stuck together.
Freeze for about two hours. Remove from tin and peel away the clingfilm. Decorate with jujube crisps and melted chocolate of your choice (really dark goes well).
Say the word jujube a lot.
You can buy this range of jujube products online at Abakus Foods and, from September, at Wholefoods Markets and a number of independent health food and fine food stores.