I first made this “ice cream” years ago for children I used to babysit. It is simply frozen bananas blended to a creamy iced treat. When I began working as a chef, I used to use this recipe (and it is barely that) or a cashew ice cream to garnish vegan or dairy-free desserts.
Despite the humble ingredients, the finished product is very rich and one scoop is more than satisfying.
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
2 large bananas, sliced and frozen
1-2 tablespoons cacao
1 tb tahini or nut butter of your choice – optional
vanilla, cinnamon, chilli – optional and to your taste
Simply throw everything into a blender or processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Serves 4.
*I try to keep 2 or 3 sliced, frozen bananas in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. They are then ready to add to smoothies or blend into ice cream. In the photo, I have sprinkled some nuts and coconut – quite unnecessary garnishes and my ineffective attempt to make brown food look slightly better.
Warm, soft-centred chocolate pudding is a luscious treat – especially on the grey, grizzly days we have been having this week. My husband makes a gorgeous chocolate pudding at every restaurant he works at and it is one of my favourite desserts. However, I don’t fancy consuming white flour and sugar just to tickle my fancy for pudding. I like to think that my sweet treats can support my nutritional health as well taste gorgeous. So this recipe uses cooked quinoa (yes, trust me!) in place of flour which makes this recipe one of my few gluten-free recipes made without nuts. The quinoa adds an earthy flavour which sits well with the rich cacao and hints of coffee, cinnamon and vanilla. As an added bonus, quinoa provides protein, fibre, iron and magnesium – so you can have your cake and eat it too. Deceptively rich, you would not guess that the pudding contains just over 2 teaspoons of sugar per serve.
I particularly like this mix poured over bananas and baked, although it is delicious made with soft, ripe pears. The bananas do add to this dessert’s comfort factor and, to gild the lily, marry well with a dark chocolate sauce.
chocolate quinoa pudding
1/4c melted butter, olive oil or coconut oil
1c cooked quinoa (from 1/3c raw)
2/3c rice malt syrup or maple syrup
1/2c raw cacao powder
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp instant coffee or finely ground coffee (optional)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 soft ripe pears, peeled, cored, quartered or 3 large bananas, sliced thickly
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Arrange your choice of fruit in a small, shallow oven-proof dish and pour over the pudding batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 175’C until the edges are cooked but the centre is still a little soft. Allow to cool slightly before serving with chocolate sauce or cream or both. Serves 8.
Notes: for a simple chocolate sauce, heat 1/2c cream and pour over 100g of chopped 70% chocolate. Stir until smooth.
I am so pleased to share this gorgeous one-bowl recipe with you. This is a special occasion cake, decadently rich with dark chocolate. Even if the special occasion is simply that you made it through a craptastic week, then curl up on the lounge with a cup of tea and congratulate yourself.
The beetroot isn’t here to make you feel virtuous. It adds the earthy sweetness that makes beetroot so beautiful and keeps the cake deliciously moist. This cake can be served topped very simply with creme fraiche but I strongly recommend gilding the lily with a dark chocolate ganache.
I use a rather small (16cm) cake ring for my weekend baking. This gives me 8 elegant portions and means our weekend treat remains just that. If you are using a larger cake tin (20cm) then increase the recipe below by a third and allow 10-20 mins extra baking time. This recipe is also divine baked as individual gooey-centred chocolate puddings.
deep, dark chocolate beetroot cake
1/2 c rice malt syrup (or maple syrup)
1/4 c olive oil
2/3 c beetroot puree (1 large beetroot, baked in foil until soft, peeled, pureed)
160g chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, melted
1c almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat your oven to 180’C. Whisk the eggs, syrup and olive oil together. Add the beetroot puree and whisk until combined. Add the almond meal and baking powder and mix until combined. Scrape the batter into a lined 16cm cake tin/ring and place into the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 160’C and bake for 30-40 mins. The cake will be ready when an inserted skewer or knife comes away with very moist crumbs – the centre should only be just cooked. Serves 8.
dark chocolate ganache
For a 16cm ring, heat 1/3 c cream or coconut cream with a pinch of salt and pour over 80g chopped 85% chocolate. Whisk until smooth and allow to cool before spreading on top of the cake. For a larger cake, use 1/2 c cream to 120g chocolate.
If the 85% chocolate is too dark for your taste, you could use 70% – but I love the bittersweet intensity of the darker chocolate against the sweetness of this cake.
The only thing my husband loves more than biscuits, is cake. So when I create healthier versions of baked treats I am always mindful of his reaction to a taste test. If he opines that a recipe “tastes good for something healthy” then it goes back to the kitchen for revision. A less-than-satisfying pseudo-indulgence shouldn’t be washed down with a glass of martyrdom because it’s good for you.
Happily, these soft, slightly chewy cookies taste insanely good and are good for you. Bake them this weekend, eat them with tea, take them to the park or just take time out.
Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies
¼ c tahini
¼ c rice malt syrup
30ml olive oil
1tsp vanilla extract
1 small egg
½ tsp bicarb soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ c oats (I used quick, because that’s what I had)
1/3 c heaped wholemeal spelt flour
100g dark chocolate, 60-70%, chopped
excellent salt flakes, to finish
Combine the tahini, syrup, oil, vanilla and egg in a bowl and whisk until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir through the chopped chocolate. Drop 9 or 10 spoonfuls onto a lined baking tray and sprinkle with salt flakes. Bake at 175’C for 10-12 minutes or until a pale golden brown.
Shop your pantry? Use any nut butter instead of tahini and honey or maple syrup instead of rice malt syrup. I have also successfully made these with a sugar-free dark chocolate.