Rhubarb Quinoa Pudding

Quinoa

I know this is the second rhubarb related post in a row, but hey, I love rhubarb! I saw it for a good price and bought it without even thinking about what I was going to do with it. It sat in the fridge for a day or two before I made up my mind. I was originally going to make rice pudding with rhubarb but thought it might be nice to do a quinoa version for more nutrition and something a bit different.

Rhubarb

I’ve made quinoa porridge before and it isn’t too dissimilar to this recipe so you could have this as a breakfast, a dessert, or just a snack. Also if you don’t like rhubarb you could stew a different fruit, or even add dried fruit and nuts to make a great breakfast.

Quinoa Pudding

This recipe makes enough for two portions with extra rhubarb to spare. You could mix the leftover rhubarb with dairy free yogurt and granola, you could have it with dairy free custard, or you could just dive in with a spoon. Plenty of options!

I’ve also recently started using my instagram again. If you want to find me I am @freedomfoodjournal

Recipe

3 sticks Rhubarb

2 tbsp Water

1/3 cup (80ml) Brown Rice Syrup

1 cup Quinoa

1/4 cup (60ml) Brown Rice Syrup

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 cups (470ml) Coconut Rice Milk

DSC_0401

Chop the ends off the rhubarb and discard. Chop the sticks into inch chunks and put in a pot with the water and syrup. Allow to simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, depending on how chunky you want it to be.

At the same time, rinse the quinoa and put into a pot with the milk, second lot of syrup, and vanilla. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. You want the majority of the liquid to be gone.

Serve the quinoa with the rhubarb spooned on top.

Rhubarb Quinoa Pudding

If you want to use canned coconut milk I would suggest using one cup of that with one cup of water so that it isn’t too thick and rich. You could also swap the brown rice syrup for a different liquid sweetener.

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Gluten Free Vegan Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble

I have left it longer than I would have liked to blog again. My daughter is ten weeks old now and needs a lot more entertaining than when she was a tiny little newborn. I enjoy being her mum though. This week we ventured out to meet other mums and babies which was probably more enjoyable for me than for her. Honestly it was just nice to be able to chat with other people in same situation as me and with babies a similar age. I feel refreshed!

Cooking and preparing food is becoming a little harder because she stays awake for longer periods of time. If she doesn’t get her nap in soon enough I am left with a hysterical, over tired mess to deal with. If only it was as easy as popping her in her cot and her just falling straight to sleep! But I am trying to still prepare as many meals from scratch as I can because it is still really important to me and I need to be healthy more than ever now I am a mum, particularly while breastfeeding.

This recipe was more of a treat than anything. When I was working I used to try and cook a sunday dinner every week, which sometimes included a pudding. Crumble is an easy go to pudding using a lot of store cupboard ingredients and whatever fruit is around that might need using up. The only downside is it tends to need a lot of sweetening; especially rhubarb! But rhubarb was on offer so I couldn’t resist. My mum used to grow rhubarb in the garden so it always reminds me of my childhood.

Dairy Free Custard

I love Alpro custard with my sunday puddings too. I find the taste very close to the dairy kind and my partner doesn’t mind it either. It even has a rhubarb crumble on the pack! You can normally pick this up for less than £1 which is really reasonable because some free from alternatives can be really expensive. The downside is it is soya and processed. But I don’t mind the occasional treat like this.

Brown Rice Syrup

I also like this Brown Rice Syrup which is organic. I use it in place of sugar and other syrups a lot and bought a bulk pack from Amazon a little while back so have plenty on hand. I think I originally tried it because it is low FODMAP and is fructose free.

But on to the recipe…

3 large sticks of raw Rhubarb

1/4 cup/ 60ml + 1 tbsp Brown Rice Syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 cup/ 60ml Water

1 cup/ 80g Gluten Free Porridge Oats

1 cup/ 80g Ground Almonds

1/2 cup/ 60g Brown Rice Flour

1/2 cup/ 90g Vegan Margarine (I use Vitalite which is none hydrogenated)

1/2 cup/ 90g Brown Sugar (or other unrefined sugar)

Cut the ends off the rhubarb sticks and discard. Chop the sticks into 1 inch chunks and put into a saucepan with the water, vanilla and brown rice syrup. Cook on a medium heat until the rhubarb begins to break down a bit but you still have some chunks for texture. Pour into a (well loved) oven proof dish.

Rhubarb Crumble

Put all the other ingredients into a mixing bowl and rub the margarine into the dry ingredients until it resembles breadcrumbs. Place this evenly over the top of the rhubarb. Bake in a preheated over at 190c/170c fan for 30-40 minutes. You want the topping to be nice and golden and cooked through. The rhubarb juices might come through but that adds to the nice homemade look. You can always leave out some of the excess liquid if you want to avoid this.

Rhubarb Crumble

Serve with heated through custard or some nice vegan ice cream. This was just as nice the following day warmed up in the microwave for a couple of minutes. I love leftovers!

What is your favourite pudding? Do you have them often or prefer to avoid sweet treats?

Gluten Free Dairy Free Lemon Cakes

Gluten Free Lemon Cakes

Towards the end of my pregnancy I had a major craving for anything lemon and I am still enjoying the flavour now. I love lemon desserts because they are lovely and fresh but still indulgent. I like to make a water icing rather than a buttercream as buttercream can be quite heavy and is never as nice dairy free as when its made with real butter.

I have to admit I haven’t been very adventurous with my baking recently and tend to work with the same recipe and adapt it to any flavours that I am in the mood for, but I plan to branch out a bit soon. I’ve got a few ideas I want to play with as and when I get the chance, and around Amelia’s nap times and our daily walks.

Here is the recipe:

2 unwaxed Lemons (or waxed ones sat in boiled water and scrubbed)

4oz/115g Vegan Margarine

4oz/115g Unrefined Sugar

5oz/140g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

2 Eggs (or equivalent egg replacement)

Icing/Confectioners Sugar

GF DF Lemon Cakes

Cream the marg and sugar until soft and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Add in the juice and zest of one of the lemons and then fold in the flour. Spoon into cupcake cases and bake at 180c/160c fan for 10-15 minutes, or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

GF DF Lemon Cakes

Zest and juice the second lemon and mix with enough icing sugar to get a loose mix but not so runny that it will pour all down the sides of your cakes. You can add a teaspoon of water if you need to. Spoon onto the cakes and allow to set or enjoy right away.

GF DF Lemon Cakes

What is your favourite lemon dessert or baked item?

Tomato Veggie Pasta Sauce

Tomato Veggie Pasta Sauce

I thought it was about time to come back to my blog after the birth of my daughter, Amelia Rose. She was born almost five weeks ago and life has consisted of nappy changes, feeding and many sleepless nights. To be fair to her, the nights have not been as sleepless as I expected but she has me up at least twice each night to feed.

I’m enjoying being a mother and being on maternity leave to spend lots of time with her. It’s amazing how fast she is growing and changing already; something I didn’t expect to happen so quickly. She is at the stage now where she will look for me if someone else is holding her and she hears my voice. It’s a really lovely feeling. We are looking forward to her first proper smiles and giggles now. I can’t wait!

Amelia Rose

But back to the food. Pasta sauce used to be something that came from a jar when I was growing up, and also when I moved out of my childhood home. I didn’t realise quite what was added to an innocent tomato sauce until I started paying closer attention to ingredients when my digestion got worse. My mum used to do her jarred tomato sauce with minced beef which I never really enjoyed the texture of so it was not something that I ever made for myself.

Although I am not a vegetarian, I do love veggies and always throw them in to my pasta dishes. You can use anything that needs using up in the fridge which is the joy of this kind of dish. Here are the ones I used on this occasion:

Aubergine

Onion

Red Pepper

Celery

Garlic

Cavolo Nero (Kale)

Tomato Passata

Dried Oregano

Dried Basil

Salt & Pepper

Oil

Veggie Pasta Sauce

All I did was saute the onion and garlic in a little oil first before throwing in all the chopped veggies and softening. Season with the dried herbs and salt and pepper. When the veggies are almost cooked to your liking, throw in a bottle of passata and warm through. Serve over gluten free pasta, or as I did, layer with some lasagna sheets and homemade white sauce and bake. I made my white sauce with vegan marg, gluten free flour and unsweetened almond milk.

Other good veggies to use are courgette/zucchini, red onions, leek, carrot or squash. A new veg I have tried recently is celeriac. It tastes kind of like a mild parsnip and is lovely roasted but work in this dish too if you cut it up nice and small.

Tomato Pasta Veggie Sauce

How do you like to eat pasta? Do you recommend any gluten free brands?

Bramley Apple Cake – GF, DF

Gluten Free Apple CakeI love apples; especially green ones, but they give me really bad stomach ache. Cooked apples are a lot better for me and I can enjoy them occasionally, so I love putting them in puddings and cakes. They go really well with brown sugar too which is what I topped this cake with to get a nice crisp top and to give it some colour as well.

You could easily use this recipe to make individual cakes or a big circular one but I like the tray bake style. You don’t have to turn it out of the tin and can serve it up in big squares, either alone or with some custard on top. This did not last long at all! I had a friend over in the evening and between my boyfriend, my friend and myself, we finished this off that night!

I’ve been baking and cooking quite a bit while on maternity leave, trying to pass the time before my baby arrives. I’m one day overdue now so I probably won’t be doing much cooking for a few weeks. Also my house has never been so clean and organised. That definitely won’t last!

Recipe

2 Bramley Apples (or other large apples – you might need 3 if they are smaller)

4oz/115g Self Raising Gluten Free Flour

4oz/115g Unrefined Sugar (preferably brown) + extra for topping

4oz/115g Vegan Margarine

2 Eggs (or equivalent in replacement)

Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan. Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour and spoon the mixture into your baking dish. Smooth out. Peel and cut out the core of the apples, chopping them in half. Slice thinly; about 2-3mm thick. Lay the slices on top of the cake and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops is golden and crisp and a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy fresh from the oven or allow to cool.

GF DF Apple Cake

How do you like apples best? Do you bake with them often?

Freezer Cottage Pies

VeggiesFollowing my previous post on the soup that I froze, this one is another freezer post but on cottage pies. I bought foil food containers for these so that I could just put the container in the oven to reheat and just throw it away if I have it alone, but I will more than likely cook up some greens to go with these so there might be some washing up!

This probably isn’t a “proper” cottage pie as I used up some veggies that were in my fridge (courgette and peppers) along with onion and garlic. I did use beef here because I have been eating more meat since getting pregnant but you could easily substitute for Quorn or TVP or something like that. Or another kind of minced meat if you prefer.

Onions and Garlic

Here is what I used:

1 large pack of Minced Beef

2 Onions

3 cloves Garlic

1 Red Pepper

1 Yellow Pepper

1 Courgette

1 Beef Stock Cube (You can usually get gluten free or yeast free)

Salt and Pepper

4 Large Potatoes

Vegan Margarine

Lactose Free/Vegan Cheese (Optional)

Chop the garlic and onions and soften in a little oil. In a separate pan (if using a fatty meat), cook the meat and drain off any excess fat what comes out. Once you are happy you have taken out everything you don’t want in your food, crumble in the stock cube. In the pan with the onions and garlic, add in the veggies and soften slightly. Turn off the heat and combine both pans together. Season to taste but check first because your stock cube might be salty enough.

Portion the mixture into your containers or make one big one.

Cottage Pies

Peel, chop and boil the potatoes until tender. Mash with some vegan margarine and a little vegan milk if required, and season. Top the pies with the mash and add on a little cheese if you like. I baked mine at 180c/160c fan for about 25 minutes. Allow them to cool completely before labelling and freezing, or eat right away. My foil containers came with cardboard lids that I wrote on with a sharpie.

Cottage Pies

I haven’t tried these yet as I froze all of them but I’m sure they will be filling and satisfying after as long day of nursing and nappy changing!

Parsnip and Potato Soup

Parsnip and Potato Soup I have been on maternity leave for just over two weeks now. I will be 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow and have been at home nesting and preparing foods for the freezer to reheat once baby is here.

I’m not a big soup eater because I don’t eat bread but this soup was delicious. I found it on pinterest when I was looking for a recipe to use up some parsnips I had in the fridge. Obviously I changed it slightly to suit my dietary needs and it was still really really good.

You can find the recipe here

Parsnip and Potato Soup

I had a portion of this once it was cooked with some gluten free crackers and then I froze the rest in labelled freezer bags with the date on. Nearly half of my freezer is now full of homemade foods and I’m quite excited to eat them after I have given birth (which I am hoping will be really soon!).

Freezer Food

Do you freeze foods? What are you favourite foods to freeze?

Healthy Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie

Healthy Chocolate SmoothieWho doesn’t like chocolate for breakfast? I regularly want to just have a chocolate bar for my breakfast but restrain myself. So a chocolate smoothie, especially one with healthy ingredients, is a great choice.

I discovered raw cacao a few years back and went through a phase of having it most mornings. It gave me a kind of buzz and set my day off to a great start. But as my health slowly improved, I got lazy and more and more went for ready made granola or cereal for breakfast because it was quicker and easier.

Nut butters are another great ingredient that I enjoy but haven’t properly introduced into my diet yet. I don’t really enjoy the all natural ones on rice cakes and still much prefer peanut butter with a little added sugar and salt. I am working on it though and found a really nice smooth peanut butter that is 100% peanuts. The other thing that puts me off is that you have to stir them and when they are quite full the oil ends up spilling over the sides and making the jar oily forever. But in smoothies I do like them. They add a creaminess and depth, along with a dose of healthy fats and energy.

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

Recipe (per person)

1 small Frozen Banana

1 heaped tbsp Hazelnut Butter

1 heaped tbsp Raw Cacao Powder (or Cocoa Powder)

Unsweetened Almond Milk (about a cup)

Optional:

1 tbsp Maple Syrup (or replace with preferred sweetener)

1 tbsp Chia Seeds

2 tbsp Gluten Free Oats

Blend everything up and serve. If you are using a fresh banana rather than frozen, throw in a couple of ice cubes to make it cold and thicker.

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

Having this for breakfast feels like such a treat but it’s completely healthy and full of ingredients that will keep you going all morning (or until snack time!).

Pecan and Date Cupcakes and Traybake

Pecan Date CupcakesCan these be called cupcakes without frosting? Well I am calling them cupcakes, although my mum would probably call them fairy cakes. Either way they are delicious. I love putting dates in my baking because they go all caramelized and syrupy. And then there are the pecans. I love how they soften slightly but still give a lovely bite.

Baking in paper cases is great for portion control too. If I bake one big cake I tend to have a much bigger piece than I would with cupcakes. Plus the clean up is much easier! As you can see, I had a mixture of different designs that need using up so I went for a mismatch. Yes some are christmas themed, and no, I didn’t bake them at christmas. It was only a week or so after so it must be ok.

Even my cat loves these cakes. I let her have a tiny bit (without nut or date) and she climbed on my shoulder for more. She’s a strange creature.

Pecan Date Cupcake

Recipe

4oz/115g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

4oz/115g Unrefined Sugar

4oz/115g Vegan Margarine (not hydrogenated)

2 eggs (or egg replacement)

1 handful Chopped Pecans

8-10 medium/large Dates, stoned and chopped

Cream the marg and sugar until light and smooth. Beat in the eggs and then fold in the flour, along with the nuts and dates. Spoon in to cases and bake at 180c/160c fan for 10-15 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

As simple as that! I made the same recipe about a week after but used walnuts instead of pecans, and baked it as a tray bake rather than cupcakes.

Walnut Date Traybake

Both were delicious and used up left over dates and nuts. I always feel better about having a baked treat if there is something healthy in there, whether it be grated veggies, nuts or oats.

Vegetarian Breakfast Bake

Vegetarian Breakfast BakeI am pretty lazy when it comes to a week day breakfast but like to bring out the veggies and eggs at the weekend. You can definitely make this without the egg, maybe even sub for some vegan sausage or tofu, but I am loving eggs at the moment and feel good about eating them as they are very nutritious for my growing bump.

Some weekends it can be hard to get off the sofa or out of bed, especially in the colder months, so cooking something warm and delicious is the best way to motivate yourself. I like to make a late breakfast and spend the morning with my boyfriend before we head out and do whatever it is that we need/want to do. Those are the best weekends and I can’t wait for our daughter to arrive to share those with us.

breakfast

So back to the recipe. You can use what every you like, but this is how I did it.

1 small/medium potato per person

1/2 orange pepper per person

2 plum tomatoes per person

1 egg per person

1 tbsp coconut oil

salt and pepper

dried sage

Chop up the potato, skin on, and the pepper and tomato. Melt the coconut oil in your baking dish and add the potato, seasoning and sage. Let that bake in a medium oven for about 10 minutes. Add in the pepper and tomatoes and make a space in the middle for the egg and crack it in. Bake until the potatoes are tender and the egg is cooked to your liking. If you want a really runny egg, leave the potatoes in a bit longer on their own so they will be tender when your egg is done. I cooked mine all the way through as I am pregnant.

I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes in so I used tinned plum tomatoes. I think the addition of onion would work well, or anything that needs using up in the fridge. It would also be nice with sweet potato instead of white potatoes. You can even melt on a little lactose free or vegan cheese at the end like I did.

Breakfast Bake