Tag Archives: Chocolate

A Recipe for a Summer’s Day: Frozen Banana Pops!

14 Jul
Mr Banana Pop enjoying the sunshine out in the garden. Photo by Jess B.

Mr Banana Pop enjoying the sunshine out in the garden. Photo by Jess B.

Summer has finally arrived.

Yesterday the temperature outside hit a balmy 24°C – mid 70s Farenheit for all you non Brit readers! This is positively tropical for rural north east England!

Photo by Jess B.

Photo by Jess B.

Inside the house, well inside my compression stockings (that I’m now wearing to help with the dizziness and purple feet issues) at least, I swear the temperature hit 40°C / 100°F +. Oh my gosh July at the peak of British summer was not the time to need to start wearing compression stockings. I can not tell you how hot my little legs are! How you POTS readers living in far warmer climes than Britain cope, I have no idea!

With the temperature rising – “barometer’s getting low, according to all sources, the street’s the place to go…It’s raining men!”

Sorry, as I typed the start of that sentence The Weather Girls song popped into my head reminding me of my student days & nights out in cheesy clubs in Cambridge!

Song lyrics tangent aside – with the weather finally nice and hot, I decided it was time to make a frozen dessert. As previously mentioned, the list of Jess friendly foods has shrunk in the last few weeks, so buying ice cream that I can eat is now basically impossible.

Drum roll please….enter my new staple foods: bananas and dark chocolate! Yep that’s what it is people. A frozen dessert made from (amongst other things) bananas and dark chocolate. These are soooo quick and easy to make (who wants to be slaving away in a hot kitchen on a hot summer’s day? Not me in my compression stockings for starters!).

Fresh Fruit ready to go! Photo by Jess B.

Fresh Fruit ready to go! Photo by Jess B.

Lots of fresh fruit, a few nuts, some milk, throw it all in your blender and Bob’s your Uncle (what does that expression mean?!) you’re already half way to having a very happy, healthy and refreshing summer treat. What’s more, the bananas provide a nice high soluble fibre base to keep our digestions happy 🙂

Using the ingredients I list below, these babies are free from: gluten, dairy, eggs, soya, wheat, almonds, coconut, brazils, yeast. They are also very low refined sugar too – only refined sugar being that in the dark chocolate. I used 74% cocoa dark chocolate and general rule of thumb is the higher the cocoa content the lower the sugar (and dairy) content – at 74% there is no dairy. Not a drop.

Pop gets a close up! Photo by Jess B.

Mr Banana Pop. Photo by Jess B.

Right enough waffling. Here’s the recipe. Make, chill, enjoy.

This quantity made me 18 pops.

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas
  • 1/2 a small whole fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup of hazelnut milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 60g dark chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp dairy free Pure sunflower spread
Naked Pops! Photo by Jess B.

Naked Pops! Photo by Jess B.

With their chocolate coats! Photo by Jess B.

With their chocolate coats! Photo by Jess B.

Method

  1. Place the bananas, pineapple and milk in the blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. Add the strawberries and walnuts to the blender and mix through with a spoon (don’t blend) in order to keep the pieces intact.
  3. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds or silicone cake cases and freeze for a couple of hours until solid.
  4. After a couple of hours, place the chocolate and dairy free spread in a small bowl and microwave on medium power until melted, stopping the microwave and stirring the chocolate a couple of times as you go.
  5. Whilst the chocolate is melting place baking parchment on a couple of baking sheets.
  6. Once the chocolate is melted you’re ready to go! Time to get messy (or perhaps that’s just me)!
  7. Remove the frozen delights from the freezer and carefully relieve them of their cases/molds placing them on the baking parchment.
  8. Using a teaspoon drizzle the chocolate over the frozen pops and pop the pops back in the freezer for a few minutes to set the chocolate.
  9. Sit back in a deck chair in your garden and enjoy a nice and refreshing, happy and healthy Frozen Banana Pop! Delicious even if I do say so myself 🙂

Quick note on molds to freeze these bad boys in – if you’re using silicone cake cases  instead of proper popsicle / ice lolly molds, which don’t have sticks, remove your pops from the freezer about 30 mins before you want to eat them so that they soften enough to be able to get a spoon into them without sending poor old Mr Pop flying! I left mine on the kitchen side and after 20 – 30 mins they were soft enough to easily eat. You could also thaw them for longer in the fridge.

Eat me! Eat me! Frozen Banana Pop. Photo by Jess B.

Eat me! Eat me! Frozen Banana Pop. Photo by Jess B.

Recipe adapted from Pocketfuls food blog.

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Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies #BestBrownieEver

6 Jul
Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownie. Photo by Jess B.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownie. Photo by Jess B.

This brownie needs little by way of introduction, which is good given I am very fatigued and achy today.

If I say that we have made this brownie recipe TWICE in the space of just FOUR DAYS, you begin to understand just how amazingly delicious, moreish, light, chocolately, good,  and many other superlatives besides, these little brownies really are.

This is now my go to brownie recipe. It is simply THE BEST. Try it and judge for yourself, I think you’ll find them ridiculously good and wonder how you’ve survived this long without these brownies in your life!

The sweet potato keeps this brownie wonderfully moist and the cocoa provides a deep chocolate flavour without it being overly rich. Very quick and simple to make, these brownies can be thrown together in minutes.

Gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free, this is a highly healthy chocolate brownie.

So without further a do, here’s the recipe:

Makes 8

You will need:

Dry ingredients

  • 125g / 4oz rice flour
  • 75g / 3oz good quality pure cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Wet ingredients

  • 175g / 6oz sweet potato, cooked and puréed smooth
  • 250g / 80z date syrup (I used Meridian)
  • 175g / 6oz dairy free sunflower spread melted and cooled a little (or your choice of dairy butter or other dairy butter substitute)
  • 1 egg whisked
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Dry and Wet ingredients in two bowls. Photo by Jess B.

Dry and Wet ingredients in two bowls. Photo by Jess B.

Mixing dry into wet ingredients. Photo by Jess B.

Mixing dry into wet ingredients. Photo by Jess B.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.Photo by Jess B.

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4
  2. Line an 8inch x 8 inch baking tin with baking parchment
  3. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl
  4. Place all of the wet ingredients into a second larger bowl and mix together until well combined
  5. Sieve the dry ingredients gradually, roughly 1/3 at a time, into the wet ingredients, stirring well to combine.
  6. Once the brownie batter is all well combined, pour it into your pre-lined cake tin.
  7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until set on top but still lovely and gooey in the middle.
  8. Cool in the tin and then cut into portions.
  9. Eat and enjoy 🙂
Chocolate Brownie Joy. Photo by Jess B.

Chocolate Brownie Joy. Photo by Jess B. Pure Yumm!

Recipe adapted from Honestly Healthy by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson.

Chocolate brownies – what’s the secret ingredient?

22 Jun
Delicious chocolate brownie, but what's the hidden ingredient?! Photo by Jess B.

Delicious chocolate brownie, but what’s the hidden ingredient?! Photo by Jess B.

I’m back in London this week for a few days for my three monthly appointment with my ME/CFS consultant. I’m so happy to have a few days with Mr B in our flat. I miss him, our home and life together so much. Though I know being at my parents is helping my recovery and I am lucky that I have that as an option.

Anyway, being in London means I can see a few friends. On Thursday I saw one of my best friends from my law school days and her beautiful baby girl who is just 8 weeks old. Today one of my oldest school friends and her two year old are coming over for a catch up and cup of tea this afternoon. I’m a firm believer that having friends over is the perfect excuse to make a cake. It’d be rude not to have something sweet and delicious to give them with their cup of tea wouldn’t it?! So my Mum and I baked these brownies (Mum baked, I watched and photographed, my myalgia has been bad again). They are oh so delicious and indulgent. Pure chocolate heaven. They’re gluten free and dairy free (they do contain eggs, tho I’m sure you could use an egg replacer powder).

I would also say these little babies are ‘healthy’ brownies. Well healthy compared to other brownies at any rate! They contain no butter. Can you guess what is used in place of the usual fat? Can you?! Let me give you some clues:

  • it’s purple,
  • its juice stains like hell (slightly concerned about a 2 year old, these brownies and our cream carpet…),
  • it has a deep earthy flavour,
  • it is a great source of soluble fibre,
  • it is often pickled.

Yep you guessed it – it’s BEETROOT!! Isn’t that just the best way of getting kids to eat veggies? Hide them in cake! And it allows us cake loving adults to be able to have our cake and  eat it (without too much concern about calories) too!

Ingredients (makes 10 individual (generous) portions):

  • 400g beetroot, topped, tailed, peeled and cooked and pureed
  • 100g ground hazelnuts
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 220g light muscovado sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g dark chocolate (70% +cocoa)
  • 2 tbsp white rice flour
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

a 22cm x22cm x 7cm baking tin or dish, lined with lightly greased (with vegetable oil) baking parchment.

Pureed beetroot. Photo by Jess B.

Pureed beetroot. Photo by Jess B.

Dry ingredients. Photo by Jess B.

Dry ingredients. Photo by Jess B.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C / 140°C fan assisted / 325°F / Gas Mark 3.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowel in the microwave on medium heat or over a pan of boiling water. Whichever method you use stir the chocolate a couple of times during melting.
  3. Whisk the eggs, sugar and salt with an electric mixer in a large bowl until it has tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ground hazelnuts, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla extract into the whisked egg mixture until all is well combined.
  5. Next fold in the pureed beetroot and chocolate until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the mixture into your lined baking tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin before cutting it into pieces and eating.
Ready for the oven! Photo by Jess B.

Ready for the oven! Photo by Jess B.

Recipe adapted from Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache book of stunning bakes and cakes all using vegetables.

Time for another piece, this brownie is just so good!

Yuuuummmmy! Photo by Jess B.

Yuuuummmmy! Photo by Jess B.

Do you bake with vegetables? What’s your favourite secret ingredient? If you do make these brownies (and I really think you should!) send me your pics 🙂

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