Chocolate Truffle Hearts

There is nothing inside these chocolates that makes them ‘truffles’ necessarily, it’s just that the mixture is so decadent that when it sets thickly – as it does in the heart-shapes moulds I have because they’re so deep – it honestly tastes and feels like Belgian chocolate truffles melting into your mouth, and yet totally free of refined sugar, dairy, gluten, eggs and preservatives.

They look impressive but I’ll let you into a little secret: they are so easy to make! 4 simple ingredients and that’s it. All you need other than that is a saucepan, a spoon and a silicone heart mould. I used one similar to this.

Fancy treating your loved one? Or just want to keep something rich and decadent nearby for those days when you’re really craving chocolate? These are the ones!

Ingredients

5 tbsp coconut oil
5 tbsp raw cacao powder
2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on your preference of sweetness)
2 tbsp cashew butter

Method

Simply put all the chocolate ingredients into a saucepan and melt gently over a low heat, stirring often.

Once it’s melted, use a teaspoon to spoon into the little hearts and put it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours then turn out and store in a container in the fridge.

Devour!

Love & health,
Lauren

Best Ever Vegan Lasagne

If there is one thing I miss, it’s lasagne! Just the juicy creaminess of it; it’s such a satisfying, comforting meal! I’ve had some vegetarian lasagnes but they use a lot of dairy so how happy was I when I discovered a vegan bechamel sauce on offer at Ocado! It’s from Conserve Della Nonna and available at Ocado and free of dairy, eggs and soy! Couldn’t believe my eyes.

What with that and the amazing new vegan cheese I’ve discovered from Follow Your Heart, I was able to make the (genuinely) yummiest lasagne that could possibly be.

I added lentils to this to ensure enough plant-based protein is going into my diet, something you must watch out for when not eating animal proteins. (Plant-based proteins are way more bio-available anyway.)

Make it, it’s the best!

Ingredients

Filling:
2 courgettes, sliced
3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 large aubergine, sliced
Fresh spinach
Half cup lentils
1 tsp bouillon
Drizzle olive oil
Pinch Himalayan salt

Marinara sauce:
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Dried oregano
Dried parsley
Himalayan salt and black pepper

Wholewheat or gluten free lasagne sheets
Vegan bechamel sauce
Vegan grated cheese

Method

Preheat the grill and oven, both to 180.

Boil the lentils as per the packet instructions and add the bouillon.

Place the sliced vegetables, except the spinach, on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with some salt and put under the grill. When they look slightly browned, turn them over and grill until brown on both sides. Set aside.

Make the marinara sauce by browning the onion and garlic in olive oil on a low heat, slowly, until transparent. Then add the rest of the marinara ingredients and keep on a low heat, stirring often.

Once everything is ready, layer the vegetables at the bottom of a baking dish and put some spinach over the top. Add a layer of lentils on top of this, then a layer of marinara sauce. Layer the lasagne sheets over the top and put the bechamel sauce and cheese on top of that. Repeat this whole step once more, sprinkling with as much cheese as you like on top.

Bake for 40 mins and serve with a green salad.

Love & health,
Lauren

Puffed Rice Rocky Road Brownies

I wanted to make some yummy treats for my friend who has just had a baby, because breastfeeding mamas need fuel (and chocolate!) and I decided to try and make a healthier version of Rocky Roads.

Daniel used to make the yummiest Rocky Roads whenever we had people over back in the days when we were young and child-free and still ate refined sugar. He’d melt together every chocolate bar you can imagine, with nuts and marshmallows and freeze it and it was amazing.

But this is more amazing. Really, I’m not just saying that. It’s more amazing because your body is going to thank you after eating them, not hate you. You can give them to your children and not feel bad, and the ingredients are all natural, plant-based and high in protein and nutrients.

Give them a go – you just make and freeze!

Ingredients

1/2 cup cacao butter
1 cup organic rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans
About 18 medjool dates
2 generous tbsp. cashew butter (or any nut butter but cashew is creamier)
5 tbsp. maple syrup
5 tbsp. raw cacao powder
Half cup puffed brown rice (I use Rude Health)
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Method

Melt the cacao butter in a saucepan gently over a low heat.

Put the oats and pecans into a food processor and blitz until they make a meal. Add the dates, nut butter, maple, cacao and melted cacao butter and add a pinch of salt. Blitz to form a sticky mix.

Pour into a bowl and stir in the puffed rice.

Line a square silicone baking tray with baking paper and smooth the mixture into in and smooth down with your hands or a spatula. Make sure it’s in tight.

Leave in the freezer for an hour then cut into cubes and store in the freezer or fridge in a container.

Love & health,
Lauren

Blueberry Banana Bread

I had a heap of blueberries in my fridge and some ripe bananas so I thought I’d use my classic banana bread recipe and add blueberries. If you want a more chocolatey version, see here. This one is so light and fluffy and yummy and of course gluten, dairy, sugar and egg free ❤

Ingredients

3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (if they are small, use 4)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 heaped tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp flax seeds
3 tbsp filtered water
1 cup buckwheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Handful blueberries

Method

Preheat the oven to 180° and line a loaf tin with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Mix the flax seeds in a small bowl with the water and set aside so it can set. (this is a flax ‘egg’ and used instead of eggs.)

Mash the bananas in a large bowl and add the coconut oil and maple, then add the flax mix and mix well.

Now add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Mix in the blueberries gently and spoon into the prepared cake tin.

Put it in the oven for around 25–30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean. My oven tends to cook things much quicker than most so it’s been a bit of a learning curve, your oven may need more time.

Leave on a wire rack to cool then turn out of the loaf tin onto a plate.

Delicious served with peanut or almond butter!

Love and health,
Lauren

Guilt-Free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

If you’re British, there is probably nothing more satisfying and comforting to you than a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive of an afternoon (had to say ‘of an afternoon’ instead of ‘in the afternoon’ because that’s how my nanny would have said it in that endearing East End way when talking about tea and biccies). 🍪 ☕️ So of course I wanted to make the healthy version so I can indulge my ultimate guilty pleasure. these are gluten, dairy, sugar and egg free.

I actually got this recipe from my lovely friend @mrshollingsworths. Her picture looks way better than mine because she’s more of an artist than I am with food but I’m happy to say they taste just as good! 😃 i also bake them for less time than she does – just a difference in ovens i guess.

I know food blogs and Instagram are all about the styling and the perfect pictures but guys, I have an 18 month old, a husband, a dog, arthritis to keep at bay with heaps of hard work, deadlines, and a novel to write! I can only spend so long re-arranging biscuits in the right light surrounded by random ribbons and hessian fabric before I have to give up and hope they’re good enough! So there you have it, my excuse for not having Instagram’s best pictures.

The truth is, I love making the food and feeding those I love. I love writing the recipes and the captions, but photography is not my passion so (in the voice of the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) there you go! Hope you all enjoy this recipe anyway Happy baking, lovers!

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup oats
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup cashew butter (or any other nut or seed butter)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate topping:
1/2 cup cacao butter
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp cashew butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Put all the ingredients for the biscuits In a bowl and mix really well.

Shape them into biscuits and flatten down on the trays and bake for 8-10 minutes. If they look a little soft it’s ok, they’ll continue to harden once they come out the oven so don’t leave them in for too long.

Take them out the oven and leave to cool.

Make the chocolate by melting all the ingredients in a saucepan over a low light.

Once the biscuits are cool, spoon the chocolate over the top of each one and put on a plate in the fridge to cool.

Love & health,
Lauren 💜

Cauliflower Bites With Tahini Dip

Don’t these just look as awesome as they tasted?! They were demolished almost instantly. Just such a tasty snack for before dinner or as a starter and really easy to make with relatively few ingredients. I used rice breadcrumbs but you can use any breadcrumbs you may have at home.

Ingredients

1 cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 eggs
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt & pepper

Tahini dip:
2 tbsp tahini paste
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
Sprinkle garlic salt
Himalayan salt to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 180° and cover a baking tray with silver foil (you don’t have to but it keeps you from having to wash the tray!)

Break the eggs into a bowl and beat with the mustard, oil and some salt and pepper.

In another bowl add the breadcrumbs and spices and again some salt and pepper.

Dip each floret into the egg mixture then in the breadcrumb mixture and place on the tray and repeat until you finish them all.

Put in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Take them out about 5 minutes before they’ve finished cooking and sprinkle the parsley over the top.

To make the tahini dip simply mix all the ingredients vigorously, adding more water if it’s too thick, seasoning to taste, and top with olive oil, paprika and parsley.

Love & health,
Lauren

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

Braxton is leaving his childminder this week and starting nursery – eek!! I didn’t know what to get the lovely ladies at the childminder so decided to make them some nice things and package them nicely as a thank you. I made them these and some chocolate truffles – I hope they like them and hope you do too!

Ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil
3 heaped tbsp natural peanut butter
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp almond milk
½ tsp vanilla powder
Pinch Himalayan salt
1/3 cup ground almonds
3-4 tablespoons coconut flour

Chocolate coating:
3 tbsp cacao powder
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp cashew butter
¼ cup coconut oil (add more if it is too thick)

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and grease with coconut oil.

Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and add to a mixing bowl.

Now add the peanut butter, maple, almond milk, vanilla and salt to the bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. It should start thickening a little.

Now add the ground almonds and mix really well, then add the coconut flour and mix again. If it is too runny to make into cookies, add another tablespoon. It should thicken as you mix but add coconut flour one spoon at a time as needed.

Roll into small balls and push down on the prepared baking tray but not too thin as they should be quite bulky and will be soft on the inside if they are thicker which is nice, a bit like blondies.

Put in the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes, until they have only just started browning on the edges but not more than that as they will continue to harden when they are out the oven.

While they are in the oven make the chocolate by melting all the ingredients together in the saucepan you melted the coconut oil in.

Let the cookies cool on the trays for 5 minutes then let them cool fully on a wire rack.

Once cool, dip them in the chocolate and put them on a plate and put the plate in the fridge for an hour.

You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep the chocolate from melting and they should still be soft enough on the inside when they come out the fridge.

Love & health,
Lauren