Piled-High Rhubarb Meringue Pie {gluten and dairy free}

I have fond memories of meringue. A crispy-crust marshmallow pavlova emerging from the oven on Christmas Day leaking egg white juice, ready to be smothered with fruit and cream. Or a lemon meringue pie, emerging from the oven with burnt edges because we don’t own a blowtorch. Or colourful meringue shells, bigger than the size of my hand, devoured in thirty seconds after taking six hours to bake. 

All these things have something in common: to begin with at least, the meringue – perfectly whipped to stiff peaks – was piled high, because we couldn’t resist adding extra egg whites which always seemed to be floating around the kitchen. 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie {gluten and dairy free}

For a piled-high pie of a different kind (lemon meringue is too mainstream for me), I present to you the gluten and dairy free rhubarb meringue pie. 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie {gluten and dairy free}

 

Enter the crispy coconut flecked crust, gooey rhubarb centre infused with orange, and a heaped topping of luscious meringue to top it all off. 

Rhubarb Meringue Pie {gluten and dairy free}

Lots of love, your author stretching for the sky with only egg whites on hand, Rosie.

(And okay, I guess that really this rhubarb meringue pie is actually a tart, but that’s such a small technicality that I’ve elected to ignore it.)

Rhubarb Meringue Pie {gluten and dairy free}
Serves 8
A crispy coconut flecked shell filled with orange infused rhubarb puree, and a lightly toasted pile of luscious meringue to finish.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Coconut crust
  1. 50g almond meal
  2. 75g sorghum flour
  3. 50g coconut sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
  5. 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  6. 2 tablespoons solid coconut oil
  7. 2-3 tablespoons chilled water
Rhubarb filling
  1. 600g rhubarb, in 3cm chunks
  2. 130g caster sugar, divided
  3. zest of half an orange
  4. 2 teaspoons gf cornflour
  5. 4 egg yolks
  6. 50g coconut oil, melted
Meringue
  1. 4 egg whites
  2. 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  3. 120g caster sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Brush a 23cm tart tin with removable base with melted coconut oil.
  2. Stir together the almond meal, sorghum flour, sugar, coconut and seeds. Add the coconut oil and chop into dry ingredients using a knife until crumbly. Add water one tablespoon at a time, stirring, until a soft dough forms. Press into prepared tin and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
  3. In a glass or ceramic baking dish, toss rhubarb, 40g sugar and zest. Bake for 20 minutes. Puree in a food processor then set aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl mix together remaining 90g sugar with cornflour and enough puree to make a paste. Add remaining puree to a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until just boiling. Stir through rhubarb paste and boil for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Whisk together egg yolks and oil then stir into rhubarb mixture. Pour into baked crust and bake for 20 minutes or until just set. Chill.
  6. Meanwhile, make meringue. In the bowl of a stand mixer whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar. With motor running, add sugar one tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form. Spoon onto pie.
  7. Brown the meringue using a blowtorch, by placing under a hot grill or in a hot oven for a few minutes. Chill before serving to ensure the filling is set.
Beware the Beans http://bewarethebeans.com/

Spiced Chia Porridge with Mandarins {Gluten Free, Vegan}

Spiced Chia Porridge with Roasted Mandarins

Some days (like, literally every single one, let’s face it) all you need to start the day is a warming bowl of porridge. And to make each spoonful of soothing oats even better, chai-style spices do the job nicely. What would I do without you, cinnamon? Ginger? Cardamon? Not make this spiced chia porridge with lightly roasted mandarins! If you don’t have any cinnamon, don’t bother. 

Wow, so that was harsh. 

Spiced Chia Porridge with Roasted Mandarins

I guess this porridge would be just as tasty without the cinnamon, maybe with some cloves or pepper in there too. But seriously. If you have it on hand (as everybody should!) then don’t skip it. Cinnamon = crucial.

Spiced Chia Porridge with Roasted Mandarins

The other crucial element to this spiced chia porridge is – have you guessed it yet? – chia seeds. Maybe you have noticed on instagram already, but I have an intense and insatiable love for chia seeds, almost as strong as my love for all things peanut butter. How can such a tiny little seed become so many delicious things? I add it to cereal, granola, baked vegetables, smoothies, porridge. Chia seeds have the most amazing liquid-absorbing magical property, which gives this spicy porridge a thick and luscious consistency in a very short time. 

Then there were toppings. For a porridge this delectable, I wasn’t sure that banana and peanut butter were going to cut it. But citrus? Citrus would be just perfect. 

Spiced Chia Porridge with Roasted Mandarins

Plump, juicy, sweet sweet, mandarins drizzled with coconut oil, speckled with thyme, then lightly baked. And what happened to those mandarins? They got even plumper, juicier, and sweeter. Mandarins and I are now in the midst of a love affair. They might have even stole the show this time. 

Spiced Chia Porridge with Roasted Mandarins

Lots of love, your citrus-scented chia-speckled author Rosie. 

Spiced Chia Porridge with Mandarin
Serves 2
Digging into a creamy bowl of spiced chia porridge topped with a plump roasted mandarin instantly dissolves any lingering winter woes. A quick, easy, and nourishing gluten free and vegan recipe.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. Two seedless mandarins, halved
  2. Coconut oil, to drizzle
  3. Fresh thyme leaves, to scatter (optional)
  4. 75g / 2/3 cup rolled oats
  5. 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  6. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  8. 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
  9. 1 banana, mashed
  10. 350ml water
  11. 150ml plant-based milk of choice (coconut or almond work nicely)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the mandarins by placing on a baking paper lined tray cut side facing up, then lightly brush with coconut oil. Alternatively, the oil can be dabbed on if it is in the solid state. Sprinkle with fresh thyme if desired. Bake at 180 degrees C for five minutes until glistening and aromatic, or until your porridge is ready.
  2. Add the oats, chia, spices, banana and water to a saucepan and mix well. Cook over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes. Once thick and slightly sticky, add milk and continue to cook, stirring, unil desired consistency is reached. I prefer mine on the thicker side.
  3. Once ready, divide between two bowls, top with the mandarins and add any other desired toppings such as extra chia seeds and shredded coconut.
Beware the Beans http://bewarethebeans.com/
Spiced Chia Porridge with Roasted Mandarins

Seems like someone else couldn’t resist the combination of chai spices and mandarin either.

Roast Pumpkin Scones {Gluten Free}

My search for the perfect gluten free scone was a long one. I knew what I didn’t want – a scone-shaped brick that crumbled away the very second you even thought about slathering it with jam. I shuddered at the thought that I would never be able to smother a scone in sweet strawberry conserve and whipped cream again.

Then these roast pumpkin gluten free scones were brought into existence.

Roast Pumpkin Scones {Gluten Free}

Roast Pumpkin Scones {Gluten Free}

Roast Pumpkin Scones {Gluten Free}

And my entire opinion on gluten free scones changed. These are incredibly soft, airy, slightly nutty and the perfect vehicle for the traditional topping duo. Also, they contain vegetables so that means I can eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between… That’s how it works right?

Roast Pumpkin Scones {Gluten Free}

 

But seriously. Mind blown. 

Gluten free scones. Without crumbs. That are not so hard they could be classified as a weapon. With vegetables involved. 

Roast Pumpkin Scones {Gluten Free}

As an aside, what is is with people fashioning triangular scones? Nu-uh. Scones are circles. End of story. Making one big circle first and then cutting out triangles is cheating.

Roast Pumpkin Scones {Gluten Free}

Scones are circles. Fullstop. 

Lots of love, your very own mind-blown scone muncher Rosie. 

Roast Pumpkin Scones {Gluten Free}
Yields 12
A soft gluten free scone infused with roast pumpkin flavour. Best enjoyed warm in the traditional way - with plenty of jam and whipped cream!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 400g peeled pumpkin, chopped
  2. melted coconut oil, for brushing
  3. 215g white rice flour + extra for dusting
  4. 80g coarse oat flour
  5. 35g arrowroot / tapioca starch
  6. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  7. 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  10. 30g cold butter, chopped
  11. 80g rice malt syrup
  12. 60ml warm milk + extra for brushing
Instructions
  1. Brush the pumpkin with coconut oil and bake in a 200 degrees C oven for 25 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 190 degrees C.
  2. Whisk together the rice flour, oat flour, arrowroot, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon, then add the butter and use a flat bladed knife to chop into dry ingredients until breadcrumbs form.
  3. Puree pumpkin in a food processor then add to the gluten free scone mix, along with the rice malt syrup. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add milk slowly (less than 60ml may be needed) and mix with hands until a soft dough forms.
  4. Tip scone dough onto a work surface liberally dusted with rice flour and knead for one minute until very well combined. Flatten into a thick (about 6 cm high) rectangle and use a straight sided cup or cookie cutter to cut discs from the dough. Transfer scones to a small baking paper lined tray and place close together but not touching - the scones will support each other as they bake. Dough scraps can be re-kneaded and cut again.
  5. Lightly brush the scones with extra milk and bake for 20-22 minutes until firm and slightly golden on top. Remove from tray and place on a wire rack to cool, then devour.
Adapted from The Green Life
Adapted from The Green Life
Beware the Beans http://bewarethebeans.com/

Giant Pecan Ginger Crisps {Gluten Free, Vegan}

*Insert witty opening statement here*

I’ve been away for a while… oops. I was just thawing after the sudden onset of winter. 

Kidding. I had exams. Ew.

Giant Pecan Ginger Crisps {Gluten Free, Vegan}

But I believe I’ve more than made up for my absence by bringing to you today a recipe for the infamous ginger biscuit: the giant gingersnap. Only better, because there are oats and pecans. And these gingersnaps are thin and crispy rather than thick and chewy, hence I’ve elected to call them ginger crisps instead. Don’t worry. They’re just as tasty as the teeth-breaking gingersnaps from your childhood.

Giant Pecan Ginger Crisps {Gluten Free, Vegan}

Especially because this giant gingersnap variation is gluten free and vegan, without any compromise on flavour. The puckered surface, riddled with holes, is perfect for dipping into a hot drink to infuse the entire biscuit with your favourite milky concoction. My brew of choice? Peppermint tea. Unlike the original gingersnap, the careful game of soaking biscuit in brew is not entirely necessary, because these biscuits retain some flexibility, and will not – I hope – break your jaw.

Giant Pecan Ginger Crisps {Gluten Free, Vegan}

Giant Pecan Ginger Crisps {Gluten Free, Vegan}

On another note, I hope you enjoy seeing a little bit more of me in this post. Even if I am still without a face. A girl has to maintain some anonymity, it’s all part of my aesthetic! Shout out to my big sister Katie for snapping these shots and sharing her rings. 

Giant Pecan Ginger Crisps {Gluten Free, Vegan}

Over and out, your semi-frozen author Rosie. 

Giant Pecan Ginger Crisps {Gluten Free, Vegan}
Yields 8
Riddled with holes and studded with pecans, these giant ginger crisps are perfect for dipping into a hot drink on a cold night, or for satisfying cravings for anything crispy, sweet and crunchy.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 75g golden syrup
  2. 85g coconut oil
  3. 110g brown rice flour
  4. 50g buckwheat flour
  5. 40g brown sugar
  6. 50g rolled oats
  7. 40g pecans, finely chopped
  8. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  9. Pinch of ground cloves
  10. 1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Melt the coconut oil and golden syrup together in a small heatproof bowl in the microwave. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients then add the warm oil and syrup mixture. Stir until combined.
  3. Roll two tablespoons of the ginger crisps mixture into balls and place on the baking tray, leaving plenty of room to spread. Press out biscuits with fingertips until as thin as possible.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely on the trays and store in an airtight container for 2-3 days, though they will soften with time.
Beware the Beans http://bewarethebeans.com/

Chocolate Ganache Filled Cinnamon Cupcakes {Gluten Free}

Baking is my kind of therapy. A peaceful silence settling into the kitchen, broken only by music on the radio – yes, we have a radio, and it plays old school tunes because mum picks the channel – the hum of the oven and the gentle whir of the fan. Outside, Joey happily barks at nothing in particular, except for maybe a stray bee, or else he’ll be snapping at a fly. Inside, there’s only me in socked feet, the cracking of eggs, the sifting of flour and the creaming of butter and sugar. Then I move on to beating in the dry ingredients, stirring in the milk and oil, folding in any sneaky additions – chocolate chips yes please! Methodical. Precise. Therapeutic. Therapy was exactly what I needed (looming semester 1 year 12 exams = peaking stress levels) so baking was exactly what I did. What did I bake? Gluten free chocolate ganache filled cinnamon cupcakes. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Ganache Filled Cinnamon Cupcakes

Did you catch that? Do I need to say it again?

Gluten Free Chocolate Ganache Filled Cinnamon Cupcakes

Are the images of gluten free chocolate ganache filled cinnamon cupcakes distracting you?

Gluten Free Chocolate Ganache Filled Cinnamon Cupcakes

Gluten Free Chocolate Ganache Filled Cinnamon Cupcakes

I thought so. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Ganache Filled Cinnamon Cupcakes

I don’t want to do a lot of babbling today. What I do want is for you to have a baking therapy session of your own, and whip (and beat and melt and spoon and pipe) up a batch of these cupcakes.

Beware: incoming extreme cupcake close up >>> 

Gluten Free Chocolate Ganache Filled Cinnamon Cupcakes

Love your author who smeared buttercream all over her camera, Rosie. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Ganache Filled Cinnamon Cupcakes
Yields 12
Delicate, light gluten free cinnamon cupcakes filled with rich chocolate ganache. The perfect indulgence to share with friends, or devour solo.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
Ganache filling
  1. 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  2. 125ml / 1/2 cup thickened cream, regular or lactose-free
  3. 1 tablespoon icing sugar
Batter
  1. 175g / 1 cup brown rice flour
  2. 95g / 1/2 cup potato starch
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  6. 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  7. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 95g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  9. 160g / 3/4 cup castor sugar
  10. 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  11. 125ml / 1/2 cup milk, regular or lactose-free
Buttercream
  1. 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 150g icing sugar
  3. 125g reserved ganache
Filling first
  1. Add all the ganache ingredients to a glass bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir, then microwave for another 15 seconds. Stir until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes then refrigerate for 30 minutes until thick. Weigh out 125g of ganache and set aside for the buttercream.
For the cinnamon cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and fill a twelve-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Whisk together brown rice flour, potato starch, baking powder, spices, xanthan gum and salt, and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites and whip on high until foamy.
  4. With the motor running, add one-quarter of the flour mixture. Next add one-third of the milk. Continue adding alternate flour mixture and milk in this way until all the ingredients have been added. Scrape down the bowl and beaters, and beat again until well combined.
  5. Add one tablespoon of batter to each case and create an indent in the centre, spreading mixture up the sides slightly. Spoon some ganache into each hole.
  6. Divide remaining batter among cases, and spread mixture using the back of a spoon to cover ganache.
  7. Bake for 22-25 minutes until pale golden and firm to touch. Cool in tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Buttercream
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add icing sugar and ganache and beat until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe buttercream onto cooled cakes. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.
Notes
  1. Store iced cupcakes in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Beware the Beans http://bewarethebeans.com/

Chai Spiced Porridge w/ Rhubarb Compote {GF, Vegan}

Autumn is wonderful. It’s my favourite season – not too hot, not too cold, but juuuust right. A Goldilocks season. Exercise is now accompanied by the occasional drizzle, and cozy knitted sweaters have become optional. The beautiful smell of mist on still days drifts lazily through windows, which are left open to welcome the cool air. Leaves don’t crunch beneath walking feet, because eucalypts don’t drop leaves – possibly the reason why it’s not called ‘Fall’ Down Under. Instead, the ground is scattered with painful little gumnuts, like mines for heels to watch for. Hence, walking through the garden is accompanied by wincing. 

The only thing that would make this season better is porridge. Chai spiced porridge inspired by autumn. Why do I associate chai with autumn? Who knows. Maybe it’s all the cinnamon. 

Chai Spiced Porridge w/ Rhubarb Compote

There’s nothing better than fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, so it goes without saying that a bowl of chai spiced porridge goodness should be topped with a generous mound of rhubarb compote.

Chai Spiced Porridge w/ Rhubarb Compote

It’s good. Like, really, really good. Sweet jammy things (that would be the rhubarb compote) are a perfect match for comforting chai spices. If you’re a die hard chai tea fan, feel free to up the level of spice. Just don’t go too far overboard… In my original recipe I was a little heavy handed with the ground cardamon. I thought the best decision would be to leave it out altogether. I know it is a strong spice, but boy oh boy is cardamon a strong spice.

Since that first recipe test, I’ve toned it down a notch. Now, the level of spice is subtle and soothing instead of bold and bitter (aren’t you glad I changed it?). This porridge will become your new best friend on cold mornings, when you need warmth from the inside out. 

Oh, and northern hemisphere folk? I eat porridge all year round, so even though it’s spring up there, still give this recipe a shot. 

Lots of love your autumn inspired author, Rosie. 

Chai Spiced Porridge with Rhubarb Compote
Serves 2
A combination of chai spices and sweet rhubarb compote makes this porridge the perfect breakfast to ease into autumn, and is even better on chilly winter mornings.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
40 min
For the compote
  1. 300g / 3 stalks rhubarb, trimmed, chopped
  2. 150g caster sugar
  3. 70g / 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
For the porridge
  1. 1 1/2 bananas, mashed
  2. 1/2 cup rolled (old-fashioned) oats
  3. 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  4. 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  5. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  8. 250ml / 1 cup water
  9. 250ml / 1 cup almond milk
  10. 1-4 teaspoons coconut sugar, to taste
Start with the compote
  1. Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir well until juices are released, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Increase heat slightly to bring compote to a simmer, then cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick and rhubarb is soft. Store in the fridge until needed.
Next make the porridge
  1. Add all ingredients except sugar to a medium saucepan and stir to combine.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Add the sugar one teaspoon at a time, to taste. Stir well to dissolve.
  3. Divide chai spiced porridge amongst bowls and top with a generous amount of compote (it does make extra), plus any other desired toppings - chopped raw almonds
Beware the Beans http://bewarethebeans.com/

Double Decker Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Bars {Gluten & Dairy Free}

Today’s recipe might seem mildly insane because of it’s insanely long title, so I thought we’d take it step by step:

Double Decker Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Bars - gluten and dairy free

Double decker – well, that’s because there’s two layers of each flavour to make these chocolate pumpkin brownie bars doubly delicious.

Chocolate – so no, these actually don’t contain any chocolate… (sorry!) I used raw cacao instead. Right now you’re probably thinking: Oh, so she’s one of those foodies. The reality is, raw cacao reminds me of dark chocolate more than anything, and is perfect for adding an intense chocolate flavour. It’s also not processed at high temperatures and maintains all of dark chocolate’s well known antioxidants in powder form. But if cost or sourcing is an issue, regular cocoa can easily be subbed.

Pumpkin – chocolate and pumpkin? It might sound ‘ew’, but it’s more like ‘oh my god this is the most amazing morsel I have ever put into my mouth before’. But don’t take my word for it; if you don’t believe me, make these for yourself!

Brownie – these are fudgy, dense, rich, and gooey. That satisfies the brownie prerequisites for me.

Double Decker Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Bars - gluten and dairy free

Oh, and bars because I just really needed something to tie all that other jargon together.

Double Decker Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Bars - gluten and dairy free

It might seem superfluous, but double decker chocolate pumpkin brownie bars are exactly what these are, so that’s exactly what I’ve elected to call them.

Double Decker Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Bars - gluten and dairy free

It’s come to my attention that blog posts shouldn’t just be about the food, but about the blogger behind the food. Now that you’ve heard all about today’s recipe for chocolate pumpkin brownie bars – sorry, double decker chocolate pumpkin brownie bars – it’s time to hear a little bit about me.

I found a new way to study (not quite as pretty as this), making mind maps outside on our paving with chalk. I discovered that my favourite skincare brand is preventing breakouts (hooray!). I have a really strong urge to make an insanely tall cake (perhaps not quite this tall!) with all the trimmings for no particular reason at all. Just because I can. I’m thinking four to six layers, something not-too-sweet and slightly spicy, with a thick coating of buttercream, fruity creme patissiere filling, and pretty toppings. Whatever I end up with, you can be sure to see it here.

Double Decker Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Bars - gluten and dairy free

Love, your author who’s currently craving cake, Rosie.

Double Decker Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Bars
Yields 12
Decadent chocolate and spicy pumpkin are combined for these gluten and dairy free bars, which are double decker for double the deliciousness
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
For the pumpkin layer
  1. 250g pumpkin, chopped
  2. 210g rolled oats
  3. 100g brown sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  7. 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  9. 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  10. 100g coconut oil, soft
For the chocolate layer
  1. 155g coconut oil, melted
  2. 5 eggs, at room temperature*
  3. 135g coconut sugar
  4. 100-120g raw cacao powder
  5. 50g coconut flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C, then grease and line a 15 x 25 cm tray** with baking paper.
  2. Steam the chopped pumpkin in the microwave or on the stovetop for 2-5 minutes or until really soft. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Add the oats to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a coarse flour forms. Add the oat flour to a bowl with the remaining dry ingredients and whisk to ensure there are no lumps of brown sugar.
  4. Add the pumpkin to the bowl of the same food processor (don't bother cleaning it) with the coconut oil and puree until smooth. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined, then set aside.
  5. Whisk together the coconut oil and eggs*. Add the coconut sugar, 100g of cacao powder and coconut flour and mix until well combined. A thick, shiny dough should form. If you would like the chocolate layer to be really rich, add the remaining 20g cacao powder.
  6. In the prepared tray, spread half the chocolate dough over the base. Use a knife to press out. Top with half the pumpkin mixture, which should be easily spreadable with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the remaining chocolate mix and carefully push outwards with a knife to cover the pumpkin underneath. Don't worry if it swirls or mixes slightly. Finally, top with the remainig pumpkin mixture.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes until the edges are golden and the centre is firm. Cool completely in the tray, then transfer to the fridge to set before slicing. These bars are best stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and last 3-4 days, or freeze for snacking.
Notes
  1. *It is very important the eggs are at room temperature or the coconut oil will solidify. If this happens, transfer the eggs and oil to a saucepan and gently heat on the stove until melted. Let cool before adding the other ingredients.
  2. **I used a glass baking dish, but a deep, rectangular cake tin would also work.
Beware the Beans http://bewarethebeans.com/

Chocolate, Almond and Spinach Super Smoothie {Gluten Free}

Sometimes, I like to make things difficult. Sometimes it’s worth it, but mostly it’s not. Taking the time to make homemade almond milk falls into the totally-worth-it category.

Chocolate, Almond and Spinach Super Smoothie + Homemade Almond Milk {Gluten Free, Vegan}

The benefits of homemade almond milk

Where to begin? I guess I could start by asking: have you ever read the ingredients list of your favourite almond milk? Sure, it might taste good, but it probably contains sweeteners and preservatives, possibly even colours and flavours. It probably also has a very low percentage of almonds (I’m prepared to stand corrected, but I am yet to find a store bought almond milk with more than 10% almonds). One of the best things about making your own almond milk – or any nut or seed milk in fact – is that you can control everything that goes in it. Decrease the water for intense almond flavour; add some vanilla for a luscious taste; add cacao, berries or mint to create easy dairy-free flavoured milks.

What else, what else… Oh yeah! This is going to sound really weird, but the sensation of squeezing the ‘milk’ from those almonds is a really, really nice one. Quite therapeutic, actually. Seeing as it’s not a socially acceptable pastime to permanently soak the skin in peanut butter, give this a try instead. Due to high levels of vitamin E, it has a moisturising effect, and is a pleasant massage for dry skin.

It might take time, but homemade almond milk is definitely worth the effort. It also doesn’t require one of those ‘nut bag’ things that you *cannot* make nut milks without. Not only can they be expensive, they are unnecessary. Just find a piece of gauzy fabric with fine mesh and fashion your own with a quick stitch on the sewing machine, or simply cut a large square and use that instead. Easy!

All that aside, onto the smoothie.

Green smoothies can be hard to swallow. Ever drunk a lukewarm, frothy, slightly chunky kale smoothie only to tip it down the sink after the first sip?

Yeah, me too. Don’t be afraid to disguise that bitter aftertaste with heaps of cacao powder and lashings of nut butter. Both are healthy ingredients – cacao is a great source of antioxidants, and nut butter high in protein and monounsaturated fats – and both will make your green smoothie easier to swallow.

Chocolate, Almond and Spinach Super Smoothie + Homemade Almond Milk {Gluten Free, Vegan}

Cacao and spinach is one of my favourite combinations right now, and I love sipping on a smoothie with a rich chocolate taste. Here, I’ve paired it with Promise Nutrition’s Organic Cacao Whey Protein Isolate, which is perfect to bulk out any smoothie and to stay satiated for longer.

Love, your spinach-munching and spinach-disguising author, Rosie.

Chocolate, Almond and Spinach Smoothie
Serves 2
A luscious smoothie, with a rich chocolate and almond taste and the goodness of fresh spinach. Can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator for breakfast on a busy morning. If you would prefer not to make your own almond milk, replace with unsweetened almond milk from a carton.
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Prep Time
2 hr 3 min
Prep Time
2 hr 3 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 bananas, chopped and frozen
  2. 1 fresh banana
  3. 75g almond butter
  4. 20g fresh spinach
  5. 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  6. 2 tablespoons oats
  7. 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup, or other liquid sweetener
  8. 1 heaped tablespoon raw cacao powder
  9. 2 tablespoons Promise Nutrition Organic Cacao Whey Protein Isolate
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  11. Pinch of salt
  12. 400ml almond milk, homemade (see recipe below) or storebought
  13. Toppings! - fruit, nuts, seeds, granola
Homemade almond milk
  1. 160g (1 cup) raw or blanched almonds
  2. 750ml (3 cups) water + extra for soaking
  3. A nut bag or large piece of fine mesh cloth*
  4. Sweetener, to taste, if desired
First prepare the almond milk
  1. Place the almonds to a glass bowl and add enough tap water to submerge them. Soak for 2-4 hours or overnight if time permits. Soaking the almonds makes them plump and easier to blend, and aids digestion.
  2. Once soaked, drain the almonds and add to a blender with the water. Blend on the highest speed until really smooth.
  3. Place the mesh over the top of a large jug and tie in place with string or a lackey band. Press a slight indent in the fabric to catch the pulp, then pour the mixture through.
  4. Once most of the liquid has seeped through, gather the edges of the cloth together and use both hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. This might have to be done in a few steps. It can be tricky to balance the pouring and squeezing without getting almond milk everywhere, so a second set of hands may be required.
  5. Once all of the mixture has been squeezed, there should be about 700ml almond milk and 150g nut pulp. The nut pulp can be dried and turned into almond meal, or frozen to use in baking later. Store the almond milk in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Now for the smoothie
  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  2. Pour the smoothie into glasses, add as many toppings as your heart desires, and enjoy.
Notes
  1. *It's a massive myth that a 'nut bag' is required to make nut milks at home. I use a piece of gauzy fine-mesh fabric cut into a large square. It's cost effective and works perfectly.
Adapted from The Kitchen McCabe
Beware the Beans http://bewarethebeans.com/

*This post is sponsored by Promise Nutrition

Fodmap Friendly Fruitless Hot Cross Buns {Gluten Free}

Easter is a bit of a conundrum for me. There is a massive lead up: storefronts are hung with pastel streamers and felted rabbit’s ears rest atop the heads of bored sales staff. People flock to the shops to buy overpriced chocolates and overpriced spiced buns. The rationale behind the drastic overpricing of these holidays treats? The chocolates come in cute shapes and the bread has crosses on top. What’s worse, the sacrosanct rituals of devouring unearthed easter eggs after hours of searching, and the patient wait to inhale that first hot cross bun on Good Friday, have become rare and almost obsolete. The Easter bunny is fading, it’s power to bribe children is waning, and hot cross buns become available months before Easter even appears on the calendar.

Fodmap Friendly Fruitless Hot Cross Buns | Beware the Beans

Don’t get me wrong, I too was once an eager participant of Easter egg hunts, and admit to eating hot cross buns a few days early. But I think that the holiday itself, one which used to align itself with family gatherings, feasts and celebrating new life, has swollen into an excuse for gorging on egg-shaped confections. I think it’s also important at this point to mention that I have never associated Easter with church or Christianity when I was younger. I grew up in a not-very-religious household, and now consider myself a not-very-religious agnostic teenager.

Fodmap Friendly Fruitless Hot Cross Buns | Beware the Beans

However, I will admit that the taste of hot cross buns is one I savour. The scent of spices slowly exuding from the kitchen to cast a blanket of holiday magic over the house is one that elicits fond memories.

This year, I had resigned myself to accept the small sad fact that I may not be enjoying any hot cross buns. No fructose means no dried fruit means no raisins, and, after all, plump sultanas are the best part about hot cross buns.

Fodmap Friendly Fruitless Hot Cross Buns | Beware the Beans

Then, all of a sudden, I had an idea.

Hot cross buns don’t need fruit! Hot cross buns can be fruitless! Hot cross buns could be fructose – and therefore fodmap – friendly!

Fodmap Friendly Fruitless Hot Cross Buns | Beware the Beans

But I would only be able to convince myself that these fodmap friendly hot cross buns were the real deal if – and only if – they tasted like their gluten-ous fiends.

Spice? Check. Subtle citrus note? Check. Toasted, with jam, or warm, with butter? Check. Fluffy interior, dense outer crust, sticky glazed top? Triple check.

By my method of rationalising, the fodmap friendly hot cross buns I have created pass the test! (Or tests, plural, because these required me to eat more than one…)

Fodmap Friendly Fruitless Hot Cross Buns | Beware the Beans

Love, your sticky-fingered author in a spice-induced coma, Rosie.

Fodmap Friendly Fruitless Hot Cross Buns {Gluten Free}

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Yield: 15 hot cross buns

For those who cannot tolerate gluten or FODMAPs, these fruitless hot cross buns will be a welcome addition to the Easter table

Ingredients

  • 375ml milk - lactose free, regular or plant based.
  • 1 tablespoon dried yeast (the kind that gets stored in the refrigerator)
  • 45g coconut sugar
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 245g millet flour
  • 150g buckwheat flour, plus extra for rolling and dusting
  • 20g coconut flour
  • 60g tapioca starch
  • 60g potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grond nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons psyllium husk
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • For the crosses
  • 50g buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • For the glaze
  • 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Grease and line a 28.5 cm x 20 cm tray with baking paper. It is important to choose a baking tray or casserole dish that is the correct size, quite deep and has straight sides, as it will affect the shape of the final product.
  2. Heat the milk in a glass jug by microwaving in 15 second bursts until warm to the touch. Add the yeast and sugars, stir, then set aside for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy.
  3. Sift the flours, starches, baking powder and spices into the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hooks attached.
  4. Add the psyllium husk, eggs, melted butter, orange zest and yeast mixture. Mix for 2 minutes on medium until well combined.
  5. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl, removing any pockets of flour, then mix for another 2 minutes until thickened.
  6. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour to rise.
  7. Liberally dust a work surface, hands, and top of dough with buckwheat flour. Take handfuls of dough and roll into 15 balls. It is a good idea to lay them out on the work surface to ensure they are roughly the same size.
  8. Place side by side in the prepared tray, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rise an additional 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  10. In a small bowl, stir together the buckwheat flour and sugar for the crosses. Add enough water to create a thick, pipable paste. Transfer to a small piping bag or ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.
  11. Pipe crosses over buns then bake for 25 minutes until dark brown and risen. Remove from the oven but leave in the tray for glazing.
  12. To glaze the buns, microwave the syrup and cinnamon together for 15-20 seconds until runny. Brush hot glaze over the buns. After 10-15 minutes transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy warm, halved, and with plenty of butter.
  13. These are best eaten within two days of making, stored in an airtight container. The glaze may soak into the buns, but can be re-glazed just before eating if desired. They can also be frozen for 1-2 months. Just wrap the buns with cling film or place in individual ziplock bags first.
http://bewarethebeans.com/index.php/2016/03/22/fodmap-friendly-hot-cross-buns-gluten-free/

Strawberry Coconut Bliss Balls {Wheat Free}

Sometimes amazing things happen for no real reason, leaving you stunned, mouth agape, or possibly even with your jaw resting on the floor. Your eyes might decide that a head is no place to belong, and attempt to pop right out of your skull. Or, maybe you have an out-of-body experience and, for the first time, are really able to inspect your hairstyle from every possible angle.

An amazing thing happened to me recently.

Strawberry Coconut Bliss Balls {Wheat Free} - Beware the Beans

I received a collaboration offer from Promise Nutrition, a new company that manufactures pure and natural protein powders. What does this collaboration involve? All I have to do is what I love: be inventive. There were no guidelines laid, no restrictions placed upon me, all I have to do is create recipes incorporating their whey protein isolate. The company itself is a beautiful one – not only does it strive to promote health and wellbeing, Promise Nutrition also donates to charities which are voted for by its customers. The company’s beginnings are humble enough: husband and wife duo Alistair and Sarah share a passion for health and fitness, and, astounded by rising obesity statistics around the country, wanted to start a company based on honesty, integrity and transparency. In return, I promise to be transparent with you, the readers, and will say that although this collection of collaboration posts will be sponsored, all opinions are my own.

Strawberry Coconut Bliss Balls {Wheat Free} - Beware the Beans

Promise Nutrition are currently undertaking some exciting adventures of their own, with a giveaway currently running through Instagram and Facebook (see this post for details). What’s more, Promise Nutrition have provided me with a unique coupon code to share. During March only, any purchase of their 1kg Berry Bliss Whey Protein Isolate or 1kg Organic Cacao Whey Protein Isolate will receive a 10% discount simply by entering the coupon code “ROSIE10” at the checkout. Apologies, this offer has now finished. 

Without further ado, here’s recipe numero uno of this exciting venture: strawberry coconut bliss balls.

Strawberry Coconut Bliss Balls {Wheat Free} - Beware the Beans

Made from fresh fruit.

Strawberry Coconut Bliss Balls {Wheat Free} - Beware the Beans

Biting into one of these fresh strawberry coconut bliss balls instantly releases the taste of berries, a burst of flavour that coats the whole mouth. The texture of these bliss balls is one to be savoured; dense but not solid, perfectly sticky and chewy. Keeping in line with Alistair and Sarah’s vision with Promise Nutrition, I’ve packed the strawberry coconut bliss balls with all-natural good-for-you ingredients, including their Berry Bliss Whey Protein Isolate, which is rich in antioxidants.

Strawberry Coconut Bliss Balls {Wheat Free} - Beware the Beans

Lots of love, your author trapped by euphoria, Rosie.

Strawberry Coconut Bliss Balls {Wheat Free}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 18

These bliss balls will leave your tastebuds tingling from the tang of fresh strawberries, and the coconut butter lends them an indulgent taste.

Ingredients

  • 200g strawberries, hulled
  • 40g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 110g (1 cup) oats
  • 40g (3 tablespoons) chia seeds
  • 50g coconut butter (aka coconut manna or creamed coconut)
  • 20g (2 tablespoons) Promise Nutrition Berry Bliss Whey Protein Isolate
  • Extra coconut and chia seeds, for coating

Instructions

  1. Add the strawberries to a food processor and blend until smooth
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until tacky and combined
  3. Place some extra coconut and chia seeds in separate shallow bowls. Take tablespoons of the mixture and roll into balls using damp or gloved hands and roll in the coconut and/or chia seeds.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator
http://bewarethebeans.com/index.php/2016/03/15/strawberry-coconut-bliss-balls-wheat-free/