Thursday, 30 January 2014

Treat Petite Round Up - January

This month's theme for Treat Petite was 'Free From'. Which meant any recipe that was sugar free, flour free, butter free, egg free... you get the picture! A standard baking ingredient is removed or replaced so that the recipe is either lighter in texture or has less calories. Or just tastes better! Ingredients could also be removed for allergy reasons, like gluten, wheat or dairy.

Our first entry was from Janine at Cake Of The Week with these gorgeously girly Pink Vanilla Macarons that are free from flour. She made the macarons to top her 23rd birthday cake and they are filled with a white chocolate ganache.

Kate at The Gluten Free Alchemist entered these gluten free Hazelnut & Chocolate-Orange Cakes. She is a big experimenter with gluten free options and used ground hazelnuts in this recipe resulting in a nutty and wholesome cake.

Ros from The More Than Occassional Baker submitted these Banana, Cranberry, Pecan Oat Muffins which are free from butter and plain flour. Instead she used wholemeal and a little spelt flour to make these muffins nice and healthy. She also used up some leftover ingredients from Christmas in her recipe.

Me and Ros have clearly been thinking along the same lines this month as I entered my Banana & Cranberry Breakfast Muffins. They are free from butter, versatile, freezable and the perfect grab 'n' go breakfast!

These delicious egg free Ginger Iced Shortbread are an entry from Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than.... I love the taste of ginger and the fudgey icing topping this buttery shortbread sounds divine!

My Treat Petite co-host, Stuart from Cakeyboi, entered his Homemade Sugar Free Cherry Lemonade Jelly Stripes. A sugar free and almost calorie free recipe, made using sugar-free cherry and lemon-lime sodas, a guiltless treat!

The second entry from Ros at The More Than Occassional Baker are these Orange Squash Cupcakes. They are made with butternut squash and are free from butter and oil as well as being gluten free!

A stunning entry from Lou at Crumbs and Corkscrews with these butter-free Black Forest Brownie Stacks. Don't they look gorgeous?! They are healthier because low fat mayonnaise is used as a fat substitute, and a shot of fresh coffee to the recipe eliminates any mayonnaise taste, baking science at it's best!

These Apple, Pear and Raspberry Yoghurt Muffins are from Ros at The More Than Occassional Baker. Store cupboard ingredients were used in this recipe which is free from butter, oil, fat and plain flour. They are packed full of fruit and Ros also added some fudge and chocolate chips as a treat!

Grace from Life Can Be Simple submitted her Flourless Chocolate Cake which she made to celebrate her 5 year wedding anniversary. This is super healthy and suitable for mot diets as it is sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly, dairy-free, soy-free and corn-free. Her husband loved it and ate his piece very quickly!

These bitesize treats are gluten free Hot Stuff Bitesize Brownies with Oaxacan Smoked Chilli Honey submitted by Sarah from Maison Cupcake. I love the different decorations on these spicy treats, made with Gran Luchito honey and decorated with gold leaf. Very luxurious!

The final entry is these gluten and dairy free Coconut Marshmallow Crispie Slices are from Ruth at Makey-Cakey. She used coconut oil instead of butter and marshmallows and peanut butter make the slices sticky and delicious. They were devoured by a group of teenagers, so these are a perfect treat for a hungry family or group of friends!

What a great round up of tasty and healthy treats! Thank you to everyone who took part! For the full recipes and to pass on the praise if you try out any of the petite treats above, head on over to the blogs involved. Keep an eye out for February's theme annoucement soon from Cakeyboi!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Healthier ANZAC Biscuits

I absolutely love these yummy oaty biscuits which originate from Australia. I have made them before, but as I'm trying to be healthier at the moment I decided to try out a lower fat version of the recipe which contains no butter. It's also Australia Day today! The biscuits get their name because they were made by the wives and family of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and sent to them as the ingredients meant they kept well in transit and didn't go off for a while.

I started by mixing 200g oats, 100g plain flour, 80g wholemeal plain flour, 30g dessicated coconut and 95g light brown sugar in a bowl.

Then I put 100ml sunflower oil, 4 tbsp golden syrup and 4 tbsp water in a pan and heated it on high for about 30 seconds until it bubbled. I took it off the heat, and stirred in 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda. It will froth quite a bit, but keep stirring until it calms down.

I poured the mixture into the dry ingredients and stirred until well combined.

I used my hands to shape the biscuits into small balls. Dieting tip: make smaller biscuits! And I put them onto a lined baking tray.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until golden. Leave them to cool on the baking tray until they are firmer before moving to a cooling rack.

I melted some dark chocolate (approx 150g) and dipped the biscuits into it. You don't have to use the chocolate, but dark chocolate (in small quantities!) is known for it's health benefits such as containing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Once the chocolate sets they are ready to enjoy! The biscuits last for at least a week in an air tight container, depending on how strong your willpower is!

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Healthier ANZAC Biscuits
  • 200g Oats
  • 100g Plain flour
  • 80g Wholemeal plain flour
  • 95g Light brown sugar
  • 30g Dessicated coconut
  • 100ml Sunflower oil
  • 4 tbsp Golden syrup
  • 4 tbsp Water
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g Dark chocolate
Mix the oats, plain flour, wholemeal plain flour, dessicated coconut and light brown sugar in a bowlPut the sunflower oil, golden syrup and water in a pan and heat it on high for about 30 seconds until it bubbles. Take it off the heat, and stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Keep stirring until the frothing calmsPour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well combinedUse your hands to shape the biscuits into small balls and put them onto a lined baking trayBake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until golden. Leave to cool on the baking tray until they are firm before moving to a cooling rackMelt the dark chocolate and dip the biscuits into it. Leave to set

Recipe adapted from the Australian Healthy Food Guide.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Can you believe that this dish is carb free? What I mean is that this is not your average pizza... The crust, or base, of the pizza is made from cauliflower, egg and cheese. As part of my healthy eating regime I am avoiding eating carbs such as bread, pasta, potatoes and rice for my evening meal. I find that my usual carb heavy meals cause me a lot of bloating and make me feel quite 'heavy'. I've been eating carb free evening meals for a week and a half now (except for one night when I was dying for some bread and ate a bagel!) and I've already lost 5lbs! Here's how you can make this pizza at home...

I started by grating a medium sized cauliflower into a bowl. It was easier to grate than I thought and it only took a few minutes. If you have a food processor, you can also use that to grate the cauliflower.

Once it was grated I microwaved it for 4 minutes.

Using some kitchen roll I squashed the cauliflower down to soak up any excess water.

Back in the bowl, I mixed 1 egg, 1 tsp mixed herbs, a pinch of salt, 30g cheddar and 20g mozzarella. Both the cheeses I used were low fat versions, you can also experiment with other herbs and flavours such as garlic, black pepper or chilli.

Using my hands I pressed out and shaped the cauliflower 'dough' onto a lined baking tray. I went for the traditional round shape but this dough is really easy to shape so you could mix it up a bit if you fancied! It was about 5mm thin.

I baked the dough on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for about 12 minutes, it should be bubbling and golden.

While it was baking I prepared my chosen toppings. I didn't cook my toppings before but I would recommend doing so. The chorizo and cherry tomatoes were fine but I found that the aubergine did not cook as well as I would have liked.

I added my toppings, some more cheese, and popped it back in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese melts. Low fat cheese doesn't melt very well in the oven, so I did grill the pizza towards the end. So you can bake or grill depending on what toppings you've used. You just want the cheese to be melted really.

Here's a close up to show you what the base is like. The way I can best describe it is similar to an omelette. The cauliflower flavour is not noticeable at all. It definitely does not have a bread texture, so don't expect it to be just like a regular pizza dough. But it's a fantastic and tasty alternative. I really enjoyed it, ate the whole thing up, and felt great afterwards! I will be making this again and experimenting with the toppings!

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza
  • 1 Medium sized cauliflower
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Mixed herbs
  • 30g Cheddar
  • 20g Mozzarella
  • A pinch of Salt
  • Desired toppings
Grate the cauliflower into a bowl, then microwave it for 4 minutesUse some kitchen roll to squash the cauliflower down to soak up any excess waterIn a bowl, mix the egg, mixed herbs, salt, cheddar and mozzarella. Add the cauliflower and mix inPress and shape the cauliflower 'dough' onto a lined baking tray to 5mm thinBake the dough on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for about 12 minutes or until bubbling and goldenPrepare your chosen toppings. Pre-cook any harder vegetables or raw meat beforehandAdd the toppings and put back in the oven for about 10 minutes

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Things To Do With... Wholemeal Flour


Wholemeal flour (not to be confused with whole-wheat flour) contains all of the wheat grain and is packed with fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins. Unlike regular white flour, nothing is lost during the processing of wholemeal flour and all the goodness is retained. We often choose brown wholemeal bread over white bread when we are dieting or trying to live a healthier lifestyle. And there is good reason to as wholemeal flour is a good source of calcium and iron. It doesn't keep as long as white flour, but I have made and found some yummy recipes to use it in which will ensure you won't have it sitting around for long...

Staffordshire Oatcakes - Uses 100g Plain Wholemeal Flour
I made these oatcakes using savoury fillings, but you can fill them with anything you like. They can be vegetarian and even vegan if you don't use cow's milk in the batter. And they don't contain butter or eggs. The ultimate versatile recipe!

Courgette, Linseed & Lemon Muffins - Uses 50g Self Raising Wholemeal Flour
An adaptation on a Cat Dresser recipe, these are a great way to eat seeds and vegetables without realising it!

Banana & Cranberry Breakfast Muffins - Uses 75g Plain Wholemeal Flour
Filling, tasty and best of all not overly sweet, perfect for morning snacking. They are also dairy free.

Carrot & Orange Cake - Uses 100g Self Raising Wholemeal Flour
I made this for my mum for Mother's Day and she loved it, the cake is really moist and delicious.

Other ideas from around the web:

The obvious one
Traditional Wholemeal Bread - Uses 500g Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour
Making home made bread can be really satisfying and this wholemeal bread recipe is simple, easy to follow and delicious!

The breakfast one
Wholemeal Apple Pancakes - Uses 110g Wholemeal Flour
Pancakes is one thing I definitely crave when I'm dieting as I love making them at weekends, this recipe is a healthier twist and I will be trying these out soon.

The cake one
Toffee Apple Cake - Uses 115g Self Raising Wholemeal Flour
This gorgeous warming recipe from Paul Hollywood would be perfect with custard, or creme fraiche.

The love it or hate it one
Cheese & Marmite Scones - Uses 140g Plain Wholemeal Flour
If you love Marmite, like me, you will love these savoury scones!

The dinner time one
Wholemeal Pizza Base - Uses 300g Strong Wholemeal Flour
There are a lot of pizza base recipes out there but it took me a while to find one with UK measurements. This sounds delicious, especially if you have a stuffed crust, and you can use whichever toppings you prefer.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Banana & Cranberry Breakfast Muffins

As you may expect from a person who's hobby is baking delicious cakes and other tasty treats, my waistline has been expanding recently. So it's time to sort it out! No more muffin top for me, instead I will be enjoying these Banana & Cranberry Muffins for my breakfasts as part of my healthy eating plan. They contain fruit, oats, wholemeal flour and milk. They don't contain butter, yay! If you don't like cranberries, or want a few varieties of these muffins, you can add berries, raisins, orange or lemon zest, and if you fancy a treat, chocolate chips.

I started by measuring out 125g plain flour, 75g wholemeal plan flour, 200g oats, 75g light brown sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder and 1 tsp cinnamon in a large bowl. I stirred it together until fully combined.

In a separate bowl I whisked together 250ml almond milk, 3 tbsp sunflower oil, 2 mashed bananas and 2 egg yolks (keep hold of the whites!). I decided to use unsweetened almond milk because it's lower in calories and has more health benefits. But you can use any kind of milk you prefer.

I made a well in the dry ingredients and poured in the wet ingredients and stirred until mixed.

In my food mixer I whisked up the egg whites from the 2 eggs until soft peaks formed.

I folded in the egg whites to the batter along with 100g dried cranberries (which can be substituted for berries, other dried fruit etc. as desired).

I put the batter into some tulip muffin cases that I've had in my baking box for a while, but you can use regular muffin cases. I then added some extra dried cranberry on top and also sprinkled on some extra oats.

I baked on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes until golden. You can keep these for 5 days in an airtight container, or freeze them and defrost the night before. A batch makes 12 muffins, which is almost 2 and a half weeks worth of grab and go breakfasts! I had one this morning and it was filling, tasty and best of all not overly sweet which is not what you want first thing in the morning.

As these muffins are free from butter I am entering them into myself and Cakeyboi's monthly baking challenge, Treat Petite. This month's theme is 'Free From'.

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Banana & Cranberry Breakfast Muffins
  • 125g Plain flour
  • 75g Wholemeal plain flour
  • 200g + a handful Oats
  • 75g Light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 250ml Almond milk
  • 3 tbsp Sunflower oil
  • 2 Mashed bananas
  • 2 Eggs
  • 100g + a handful Dried cranberries
Measuring out the plain flour, wholemeal plan flour, 200g of the oats, light brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir together until fully combinedIn a separate bowl whisk together the almond milk, sunflower oil, mashed bananas and the yolks from the eggsMake a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients and stir until mixedIn a food mixer whisk up the egg whites from the eggs until soft peaks formFold the egg whites into the batter along with 100g of the dried cranberriesPut the batter into 12 tulip muffin cases, then sprinkle the handful of dried cranberries and handful of oats on topBake on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 25 minutes until golden

Recipe adapted from Good Food.