Vegan soda bread

The kitchen table, as it often the case, becomes the centre point of our entire lives. It is, at various times of the day, littered with snippets of our lives. Its is scattered with bowls and dishes, laid for dinner, or strewn with an array of cycling bits and bobs. The chairs are placed at odd angles to allow the baby space to crawl underneath it and play den. It is at the table that we prepare food, write recipes, share large mugs of brewed espresso, eat and talk.
Lately when lunch time is on the horizon and we haven’t made it to the bakery, I turn to this soda bread recipe. It is hearty and sustaining, spread with hummus and topped with rocket, dipped in fresh beetroot soup or spread with lemony avocado and sprinkled with salt. It is a quick and simple answer. The joy in making soda bread is that you simply measure, stir, knead and bake. Warm, freshly baked bread on the table in an hour. It is the easiest bread to add to your weekly repertoire and you will not regret it.

Soda bread has a tangy fresh taste to it and that comes from the natural yogurt and the homemade butter milk that I use. You can buy buttermilk, but it takes five minutes to make – you simply add the juice of half a lemon (1.5 tbsp) to 200ml of milk (dairy or almond) and wait five minutes.

I made this bread using wholegrain flour but you can also make it with wholegrain spelt flour too. It is also delicious if you add a few tablespoons of seeds to the mix. This is my tried and tested recipe but feel free to tweak away.

500g wholemeal/spelt flour
1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
150ml of live natural yogurt (you can replace this with an equal quantity of milk)
200ml of milk (dairy or almond)
1.5tbsp lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 190degrees
Pour 200ml of milk (dairy or soya) into a jug and add 1.5tbsp of lemon juice
Leave for 5 minutes until buttermilk is formed
Sift the flour and the bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl
Make a well in the centre and add in the buttermilk and the yoghurt (if using)
Stir well with a wooden spoon and bring the mixture together, forming a soft dough
Tip onto a floured surface knead for a minute or two
Place onto a floured baking tray and dust the top of the bread liberally with flour
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes
You know the bread is ready if the base of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it


No churn chocolate and almond icecream

Today I came to the conclusion that I do like almond butter, as long as it is mixed with dates, chocolate & coconut milk and then frozen. Basically I like it if it is turned into icecream!
I’ve never been able to get on the almond butter train till now, or the peanut butter train…and whilst I’m confessing I also don’t like avocados or plain coconut water or bullet proof coffee. I know they are all “superfoods” but in my mind, if they aren’t super for me, then they aren’t a super food.
Almond butter has, despite my aversion, often found its way into recipes. It works wonders in a dressing for Asian inspired salads or noodle dishes and it’s great in cookie dough as it yields a chewy consistency. I thought about trying it as an icecream ingredient because it’s high natural fat content makes it ideal for freezing as it will set but not rock solid.
This simple 7 ingredient ice cream is vegan, refined sugar free & also no churn, (because who needs another piece of kitchen equipment). I used almond butter and cacao but you could use peanut butter or maybe even seed butter if you are a nut free kitchen, you can even leave the nut butter out totally & sub in another milk. Instead of cocoa you could add in espresso and you can add in things too like cacao nibs or chocolate chips or freeze dried berries and chopped nuts.

We just put decking down in the garden and it’s been blissful to sit outside in the evening sun & eat icecream. It’s also surprising what a huge difference it makes to have icecream cones!!! Seriously an icecream at home game changer.

Next on the list is definitely homemade icecream cones….maybe with buckwheat flour? But I’m also currently obsessed with baked donuts so who knows what will be next out the kitchen

2 cans coconut milk chilled in the fridge overnight
16 dates pitted
80g raw/unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
40ml unsweetened almond milk
4 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp cinnamon

Place the dates into hot water & leave to soak for 10mins until soft
Drain & then place into a food processor
Process until you have finely chopped dates then add in warm water until a thick paste forms
Open the coconut milk & with a spoon remove the solid top “cream” and place into a mixing bowl
Add in the rest of the ingredients including the date paste
Blend or mix well until all ingredients are well combined (easier with an electric blender)
Pour into a shallow dish & place into the freezer
Freeze overnight
Remove 15 mins before serving


Healthy magnums

There are times when I just want to be in the kitchen experimenting & last week was one of them. It felt like the cover of every food magazine was plastered with beautiful images of gelato & ice creams and all I wanted to do was try my hand at making my own.

I ordered various moulds online & as they arrived I got to work. These moulds were obviously designed for nothing less that home made magnums, in fact it would have been rude not to make homemade magnums in them.

Do you like magnums? They are certainly the husbands ice cream of choice but he eats them in the most specific/anti social way. He eats all the chocolate off the outside & then the ice cream centre. There is no way of sharing that…which is probably his intention!

Do you have certain ways of eating things? I prefer eating apples if they are sliced & also prefer peeling them & eating the “flesh” and peel separately. I don’t like cold milk in coffee, I drink tea black & really weak. My dad doesn’t eat sauces, not even ketchup or gravy and always says “good food doesn’t need sauce”. My mum only likes cold toast & never drinks the last dregs of her coffee but my favourite is that our neighbour carries a mini pepper grinder on his key ring to garnish anything he eats.

These magnums are light & creamy & delicious. They are rich & decadent but they are also refined sugar free, high in protein & packed with antioxidants. You can make these with greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt as both work well. They are a treat as they taste great but they are also great for your body, surely what a treat should be. There are lots more ice creams coming your way so I hope you enjoy these & are ready for more! Happy summer!

Ingredients (makes 4)
1 tub Greek or coconut yoghurt (170g)
1 tbsp maple syrup
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod (optional)
100g raw or 80% chocolate

Mix the yoghurt, vanilla & maple syrup together & spoon into your ice Molly molds
Allow to freeze (6 hours or overnight)
Melt the chocolate
Remove the ice lollies from the moulds & cover in chocolate using a spoon (hold the ice lolly over the pan of chocolate & spoon chocolate over it)
You can also sprinkle on nuts or toppings but you have to act really quickly as the chocolate freezes almost instantly
Place the lollies onto a piece of baking paper & place back into the freezer for 1 hour
Remove 5 mins before enjoying