Bread, Cakes, Vegan


Christmas is coming, and Stollen is a favourite German sweet pastry.  A recipe dating back hundreds of years, it’s essentially sweetened yeasted bread with dried fruit, spices  and a layer  of marzipan.

I love it, because I don’t like overly sweet things, and I love to flavour sweetness with spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon.  Keenly aware that sugar is justifiably getting a very bad rap these days, so I thought I’d try coconut sugar, which some vegan nutritionists are giving the thumbs up to.  It’s relatively unprocessed, and therefore retains some nutrients, and it has a nice caramel flavour which works well in this recipe.  it is also less sweet than sugar, so if you want to use cane sugar reduce the quantity by about one third. The marzipan is sugary anyway …. :/



Continue reading “Stollen”

Cakes, Desserts, Growing things, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Apple and Blackberry Strudel

A classic Viennese sweet pastry with an autumnal twist.  A deliciously simple, vegan version packed with autumnal goodness.  Also sugar-free :).

Great with morning coffee, or served as a dessert with cream, custard or ice-cream. I’ve been collecting blackberries and apples in the last week or two, so I couldn’t resist adapting the traditional version of apple strudel which usually includes raisins, and pack it with the flavours of autumn.

Hope you enjoy!


Apple and Blackberry Strudel.

8-10 slices

Ingredients and prep:   Continue reading “Apple and Blackberry Strudel”

Cakes, Celebration Dishes, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Simnel Cake

Vegan and Gluten-Free Deliciousness….

According to Wikipedia, Simnel Cake is a fruit cake with two layers of marzipan, one in the middle and one on top.  It’s traditionally made at Easter time.  No-one seems to be quite sure what ‘simnel’ means.  Simnel cakes have been known since medieval times.  Different regions had their own version of Simnel Cake, and here’s a vegan and gluten-free one to add to the list.

I’ve flavoured mine with orange, cinnamon and ginger, and I’ve added grated carrot to help keep it moist and fragrant.

I bought ready-made, vegan, white marzipan, but feel free to make your own almond paste.

I hope you enjoy.



 12-16 slices

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Simnel Cake”

Breakfast, Cakes, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Spiced Banana Breakfast Loaf

Vegan, gluten-free, sugar free and very delicious!

Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year.  Here in the UK the skies are decidedly grey and the air is damp and chill.  And everyone’s got the January blues.  No better reasons are needed to make a cake.  A wholesome comforting moreish sort of cake.

There were a few over ripe bananas sitting forlornly in the fruit bowl, so I thought: this is the moment to make a cake that’s good for breakfast.

Cake for breakfast: way to go 🙂 💕

It’s not too sweet, it’s very moist, it’s full of good things, and is fab. just plain with coffee, or vegan-buttered…or if you want to go sweeter then you can’t go wrong with oodles of strawberry jam.

For sweetener I’ve used a new ingredient (for me) : coconut sugar.  It’s not as sweet as sugar and it has a flavour to it that’s slightly musty.  For that reason, I wouldn’t use it as my absolute go-to sweetener, but in this cake it blends very well with the spices and the banana.  It’s now available in some UK supermarkets, which is why I’ve included it today.

I’ve also included another ingredient that makes gluten-free cooking easier: self-raising gluten-free flour.  Again, it’s available in some supermarkets and it certainly helped to give this loaf a nice rise.

Enjoy! 💚



Ingredients: Continue reading “Spiced Banana Breakfast Loaf”

Cakes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Dorset Apple Cake.

A lovely moist fruity cake, close to my heart.  The sort of cake my grandmother used to make…and with origins not so very far from where I live… the apple orchards of England.

For a vegan version… I just replaced the eggs with ground soaked chia seeds + a little extra baking powder/soda …and I also added cinnamon and nutmeg (not sure I can cook anything without spices 🙂 )   …plus a few raisins.

I think I just need cake in the light of this chilly UK spring… that’s my excuse anyway…   ……hailstones clattering at my window as I write…

It’s delicious served warm, and equally good cold, possibly with a cup of cinnamon tea?  It’s great for me, as I need to get to the allotment, finish building the polytunnnel as soon as… and get planting… and that’s the sort of activity that requires cake!  So I need cake for all manner of reasons….  there are a few more…I forget… hey ho…

…so here’s how it goes…


Should be 10-12 servings….?

Ingredients: Continue reading “Dorset Apple Cake.”

Cakes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Lebanese Sfouf 2 (and a cup of green tea)

It’s my hundredth post …so I thought I’d bake a cake 🙂 …and what better… than another sfouf …sweetened this time with molasses and date syrup…. light and moist …and not overly sweet …with complex flavours: anise…molasses…dates…turmeric … cocoa  powder… roasted almonds and sesame…



A Lebanese semolina cake.

Sweetened with Molasses and Date Syrup

Ingredients: Continue reading “Lebanese Sfouf 2 (and a cup of green tea)”

Cakes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Jamaican Ginger Cake.

I like sweet things to have more about them than just sweetness.   Just a little bit of complexity and depth of flavour.  Either a citrusy  tang, or a spicy warmth.  A fruity sharpness or flavours that contrast in some way…and accompanied by a fragrant aroma.

Not too much too ask, surely ?

This is a cake that’s spicy, warming, moist, and with a wonderful tang that you only get with blackstrap molasses.

Now blackstrap molasses is good stuff.  Bizarrely, it’s what’s left after they’ve made refined sugar… it’s the bit that contains the vitamins and minerals, particularly magnesium, and iron (which is why some suggest it’s good for PMS).

So what more excuses are needed to make this easy, simple, sweet treat recipe?

Well, ….this cake stores very well, gets stickier over time, and, for one of those particularly decadent moments, is great warm, with a dollop of cream: either whipped coconut cream or pourable oat-cream or soy-cream.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get on with it 🙂


jamaican ginger cake – good with spiced tea, chai or coffee…


Ingredients:   Continue reading “Jamaican Ginger Cake.”

Cakes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Cacao, Almond, Date and Coconut Cream Tarts. Without Sugar.

Little tartlets – filled with a vegan sugar-free chocolate ganache in puff pastry cases.

They definitely hit that sweet spot!

cacao, date and almond tarts – sugar free

Alternatively, this mix would be great for a large flan – although I would recommend blind-baking the pastry for 10 minutes first….

To avoid sugar, I used Cacao Paste, which looks just like dark chocolate …but has no sugar.

For sweetener I used dates, and for texture and depth of flavour, freshly ground toasted almonds.

Coconut cream gives it a consistency of a thick fudgy ganache….

cacao date and almond tart

A nice combination …mellow and sweet….

The case is puff pastry, and formed like those little Portuguese custard tarts, but very thin…. (vegan custard tarts for another blog…)

vegan chocolate ganache tarts – sugar free



Make 12:  6-7cm. in diameter

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Cacao, Almond, Date and Coconut Cream Tarts. Without Sugar.”

Cakes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Sfouf. A Traditional Lebanese Semolina and Almond Cake. (+ a cup of green tea)

When I’m not keeping up with the humdrum  stuff of daily life, or cooking up some new recipe for this blog, I try and write….stories…..  If I get the time, it’s usually mid-afternoon, and with a slice of Sfouf and a cup of  Green Tea, my creative brain has a chance to flourish…ha …sometimes …

Sfouf is a lovely, yellow, spiced semolina and almond cake. The primary spice is Aniseed. Anise is an ancient spice, long cultivated in the Mediterranean Region.  It has a sweet  aromatic character, a little like liquorice.  Medicinally, Anise is thought to have a carminative effect, and is often taken as tea, as well as being used to flavour confectionery and cakes.

Sfouf also includes turmeric, ground almonds and sesame.

It’s traditionally made without eggs, the only vegan adaptation here is the use of non-dairy milk.

A word of warning, I’m not fond of overly sweet flavours, so in my Sfouf recipe version, I have reduced the ‘standard’ amount of sugar by a third, and added extra aniseed…..

You may well want to add a little more sugar …     it’s up to you, maybe up to about 50gms. more?

Sfouf means ‘rows’, so in the spirit of its name, I have made Sfouf in a square tin.

Finally, use a tin about 28-30cm square, as if the tin is too small, the cake will struggle rise properly, and will not easily set in the middle…



Lebanese Almond, Semolina and Anise Cake.


12-16 pieces thereabouts…

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Sfouf. A Traditional Lebanese Semolina and Almond Cake. (+ a cup of green tea)”

Cakes, Desserts, Vegan Treats

Basbousa. Egyptian-style Semolina Cake. Flavoured with citrus.

Dense, moist and with a zing of citrus, this semolina cake would be a great finish to these Egyptian-style dishes:

broad bean patties coated in sesame seeds fried in olive oil served with a simple green mezze

spiced paprika stew + marinaded fried tempeh




(click images for links)




citrus basbousa with a refreshing herb tea



serves 8

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Basbousa. Egyptian-style Semolina Cake. Flavoured with citrus.”