This gluten free citrus and elderflower cake was a happy accident. After straining the elderflower syrup I made last weekend, the citrus and elderflower remnants in the sieve smelt so wonderful, that I just couldn’t bear to throw them out. I put all the citrus bits and a couple of the elderflower blooms in my high speed blender, added just enough water to blitz it all into a thick puree, which I added to the cake mix. It tasted as wonderful as I had hoped!
Gluten free citrus and elderflower cake
Makes 23cm cake
4 medium eggs
140g unrefined caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
750ml (3 cups) citrus and elderflower puree
100g almond flour
85g whole roasted almonds, finely ground (or use more almond flour)
2 teaspoons (10g) baking powder
200ml elderflower syrup
- Line and grease a 23cm round springform. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
- Beat together the eggs and sugar until frothy. Beat in the salt, oil and citrus puree. ,
- In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, then fold these into the egg mixture.
- Pour into prepared tin and bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and immediately pour over the elderflower syrup very slowly, giving it time to soak into every bit of the cake’s surface. Set aside to cool, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- The cake will keep for several days in an air-tight container.
I had never heard of elderflowers before moving to the UK, but here it features amongst the top local culinary delights. You can buy elderflower presse, elderflower liqueur, elderflower cordial … and they all have a lovely mellow flavour. But then I decided to make my own cordial last year (loosely based on Sarah Raven’s recipe) with oranges, lemons and limes. And oh my – this elderflower citrus cordial was SO good! I use a lot less sugar than most recipes call for, so I freeze mine in smaller portions to preserve it. PS: do try this delicious cake with the solids after you’ve strained the syrup…
Elderflower cordial with citrus
Makes about 1.5 litres
750g unrefined cane sugar
1.2 litres water
2 oranges (organic where possible)
2 limes (organic where possible)
2 lemons (organic where possible)
20 – 25 large head elderflower, flowers only (stems discarded)
2 teaspoons citric acid, optional
- Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan and heat over gentle heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
- In the meantime, thinly pare one each of the citrus fruits, and thinly slice all of them. Remove any pips and place zest and slices in a large stainless steel or heat proof ceramic bowl.
- Shake the elderflowers to remove any bugs and other debris, but don’t wash them, as that might dilute the flavour. Add them to the sugar water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then pour the hot liquid over the sliced and pared citrus fruits. Cover and allow to infuse at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Finally strain the syrup through a muslin cloth and pour into sterilised glass bottles. The syrup will keep for several weeks in the fridge and for years in the freezer. If you do decide to freeze it, do leave enough room in your bottle to allow for expansion.
- If you are planning on making the cake below, reserve the citrus slices and zest and a couple of the elderflowers for the mixture.
Irish potato farls are a quick and easy dish to make with leftover mashed potatoes. They are delicious on their own with butter or as part of a larger meal as a bread replacement, especially a cooked breakfast. I like leaving them in the oven a little longer, to make them extra crispy on the bottom. But I know there are people who prefer them soft and pale.
Potatoes are often slated as unhealthy high-carb foods, but they contain more potassium than bananas, and they also contain fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6, plus a bit of iron and calcium. They also contain phytonutrients like flavonoids that function as powerful antioxidants. This recipe would also be great with purple potatoes, but sweet potato mash is not “dry” enough for farls. If you’d like to use sweet potatoes or mashed pumpkin, try the South African “pampoenkoekies” instead.
Irish potato farls
500g mashed potatoes
heaped 1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
50g butter, melted
15g chives, finely snipped
3 spring onions, finely sliced
150g flour of your choice
1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Mix all the ingredients into the mashed potatoes – use the back of your large spoon to squash the potatoes into the flour. As soon as you can no longer see any flour, use your hands to form the dough into 3 balls. You can add more flour if the mixture is too wet and a little milk if it is too dry.
- Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand and gently roll out on a lightly floured surface until about 1cm thickness. Cut the circle into quarters.
- Heat one or more small cast iron frying pans with a knob of butter each over a medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Place four quarters carefully into each of the pans and bake in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how brown you like them. You can flip them over half-way, although we just leave them on the same side until we’re happy with the colour.
- Serve with butter or pesto and grated cheese, with a cooked breakfast or topped with your favourite sandwich toppings.
This Vegan Caramelised Banana Ice Cream is honestly one of the best frozen desserts ever. It is completely satisfying, without being too sweet – it contains virtually no added sugar – and has a tropical-island-in-the-sun vibe. We teamed it up with a salted caramel ice cream, candied popcorn and dark chocolate sauce for our ice cream sundaes. If you are making this as a stand-alone dessert, consider adding a little more lime juice for a very moreish treat.
Bananas are such a versatile ingredient in baking and dessert making. I love the fact that they are rich in nutrients (most notably potassium and manganese), are a natural fibre-rich sweetener, lend a wonderful velvety texture to ice creams, mousses and smoothies, and add moisture to baked goods. I bake mostly with bananas, apple sauce or dates to sweeten and even though people who are used to commercial sweets and baked goods might find that our cakes and cookies are not sweet enough for them, we have found that even just a touch of sweetness is delicious when your taste buds are no longer desensitised.
Vegan caramelised banana and rum ice cream
10g coconut oil
500g bananas, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
30ml (2 tablespoons) rum, optional (but helps prevent crystallisation)
15ml maple syrup
5ml (1 teaspoon) lime juice
1 x 400g tin full fat coconut milk
- Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat until hot. Place half the sliced bananas cut sides down into the hot oil and fry until they start to caramelise. Carefully flip them over and fry for another few minutes before scraping into a blender. Repeat with the rest of the oil and the second batch of bananas.
- Add all the other ingredients to the blender too, and blend until smooth. Freeze in an ice cream machine or follow the method explained in the Fruits of the Forest Ice Cream recipe.
This blueberry frozen yoghurt and cherry sorbet ice cream sundae with hot blueberry lime sauce and freshly baked blueberry friands was delicious and refreshing. It was also a little more in my comfort zone – super low in added sugars, lots of natural fruit flavours and a golden thread of citrus.
If it feels like too much effort to make all the elements yourself (and let’s face it, my tolerance level for effort in the kitchen is a little higher than most…), just buy some berry or cherry sorbet, and blueberry froyo, and make the sauce and friands – they are both amazing!
450g stoned cherries (frozen are fine)
30ml Kirsch (or Creme de Cassis)
20ml lemon juice
30ml maple syrup
160ml (2/3 cup) coconut water
- Blend all the ingredients until smooth and freeze in ice cream maker according to instructions.
- If you have a high speed blender, you could also add the liquids to the container, place all the frozen cherries on top and blend, using the tamper, until smooth and soft serve consistency. Transfer to a container and place in the freezer for 4 hours.
Blueberry frozen yoghurt
30ml (40g) raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125ml double cream
1 x 450g tub blueberry yoghurt
- Place the honey, vanilla and cream in a small bowl and whip until soft peak stage.
- Gently stir in the blueberry yoghurt and freeze in an ice cream maker according to instructions. Place in the freezer for a few hours to reach the perfect consistency.
Makes 20 mini friands
45g coconut sugar (or use light brown unrefined sugar)
85g almond flour
25g gluten free (or regular) flour
pinch of salt
90g butter or coconut oil, melted
3 medium egg whites, lightly whisked
zest from 1 orange
zest from 1 lemon
80g blueberries (frozen are fine)
- Whisk the sugar, almond flour, flour and salt in a medium bowl.
- Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the melted butter & egg whites. Start whisking, drawing in flour from the outside. Stir in the zest and blueberries.
- Butter 20 holes in a mini muffin tin and spoon the mixture into these. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 180˚C.
Hot blueberry lime sauce
200g sweet blueberries (frozen are fine)
15ml (20g) raw honey, or more to taste
zest from 1 lime
15ml lime juice
- Heat the blueberries in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the skins start to pop. Scrape into a blender and blend with the honey and lime juice.
- Keep warm until you are ready to serve.
To celebrate Easter, we designed a very special hot cross bun ice cream sundae with marmalade ice cream, roast pears and a delicious verjuice caramel drizzled on top.
Hot cross bun ice cream sundae
750ml milk of your choice
5 medium egg yolks
large pinch of salt
460ml double cream
- Heat the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until frothy around the edges and starting to steam.
- While the milk is heating up, whisk together the honey, egg yolks and salt in a separate bowl.
- Slowly pour the hot milk onto the egg yolks, constantly whisking.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat very slowly, while whisking, until it slightly thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Immediately pour into a cold bowl and set over an ice bath, if possible. Stir to cool down faster. If your custard does curdle, pulse it with a handheld blender in five-second intervals until it is nearly smooth. This can take up to 45 seconds,
- Once the custard has cooled, whisk the cream into the softest of peaks (be careful not to take it too far!) and fold into the custard.
Marmalade ice cream
30ml Cointreau (or other orange flavoured liqueur)
200g good quality orange marmalade
juice and zest from 1 orange
600ml custard base
- Whisk the Cointreau, marmalade and orange zest together in a small saucepan. Very gently heat over low temperature until the marmalade has liquified.
- Stir the marmalade mixture and orange juice into the custard base and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have a machine, you can follow the steps for hand churned ice cream described in my Fruits of the Forest ice cream recipe.
Hot cross bun ice cream
40g melted butter
40g moist brown sugar
175g chopped up hot cross buns (small chunks or large crumbs)
100g soured cream or creme fraiche
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
600ml custard base
35g chopped candied lemon peel
- Stir together the melted butter and sugar to dissolve, then pour over hot cross bun pieces, toss to coat and spread out on baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 180˚C or until crunchy.
- While the crumbs are toasting, whisk together the soured cream and cinnamon. Fold into the custard base and mix in the dried fruit.
- Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have a machine, you can follow the steps for hand churned ice cream described in my Fruits of the Forest ice cream recipe. Just before the ice cream is done, add in most of the cooled hot cross bun crumbs and allow to be mixed in by the machine.
Roasted pears with verjuice
40ml melted butter
- Halve and core the pears with a mellon baller, then lay them cut sides up in a baking dish that fits them snugly.
- Drizzle over the melted butter and verjuice and bake for 45 minutes at 180˚C. Baste once or twice during this time.
This fruits of the forest ice cream sundae with mango sorbet, whipped cream, freeze dried raspberries and lemon curd is a delicious mix of tangy, sweet, refreshing and creamy. We also added a ginger snap biscuit dipped in dark chocolate – heaven!
Fruits of the forest ice cream sundae
zest from 1 orange
125g double cream (or thick coconut milk from a tin)
350g mixed berries (red and black currants, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries)
45g-55g raw honey, to taste – it will depend on the sweetness of your berries
45ml orange juice
- Whisk the double cream until soft peaks form. Stir in the orange zest and set aside. If using coconut cream (the thick part in a cooled tin of full-fat organic coconut milk), see the note below.
- Blend the berries, honey and orange juice in a blender until completely smooth. If you have the time, pass the mixture through a sieve and discard the seeds.
- Fold the cream into the smoothie mixture and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you don’t have a machine, pour the mixture into a stainless steel container and freeze for 45 minutes. The ice cream mix will start to freeze around the edges. Remove from freezer and whisk (use a handheld whisk if you have one), then return to the freezer. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for roughly 3 hours, or until the ice cream was frozen and has the desired consistency.
For coconut whipped cream:
Working quickly, scoop out the thick, firm coconut cream that will have set at the top of the tin when refrigerated for at least 8 hours, and place in a large bowl. (If you have the space, also place your mixing bowl in the freezer before you start.) Once you have scooped off all the cream, you will only have the watery coconut milk left in the tin, which you can add to smoothies or use in curries.
Using a handheld electric whisk on high speed, whisk the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks.
Here is the first instalment of our Sundae Challenge – a raspberry sorbet double choc chip ice cream sundae with almond chocolate bark! We are going to try a different sundae every Sunday whilst we are in Corona Virus lock-down. This one was definitely a hit with the whole fam!
Raspberry sorbet, double choc chip ice cream Sundae
For the raspberry sorbet:
3 cups frozen raspberries
15ml / 2 tbsp maple syrup
5ml / 1 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Place the frozen raspberries, maple syrup, lime and orange juice in a food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. You might need to use the tamper and don’t blend for longer than is necessary, or it will start melting. Scrape into a container and freeze for 4 hours.
For the choc chip ice cream
500ml (2 cups) milk of your choice (hazelnut milk works well)
250ml (1 cup) double (heavy) cream
60ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup
pinch of salt
5ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
5 medium egg yolks
160g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
handful of dark chocolate chips
- Heat the milk, cream and maple syrup over medium heat until steaming.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks with the salt and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the hot milk mix.
- Clean the saucepan, pour the egg-milk mix back into the saucepan and place over a low heat. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture thickens – if the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, it’s done. (If you do this step over a water bath, there is less chance of the mix curdling.)
- Lastly add the chopped chocolate and stir until it has melted. Transfer the mix to a chilled bowl and stir to cool. If your mixture looks slightly grainy, pass it through a sieve first.
- Add the choc chips and freeze in an ice cream maker, then place in the freezer for 4 hours (or freeze in a container, whisking the mix every 20 minutes or so until frozen).
For the raspberry coulis
Blend 3 cups of fresh raspberries in a blender (add a touch of honey if your berries are not sweet enough), then pass through a sieve to get rid of the seeds.
For the chocolate bark
1/2 cup raw almonds
100g 70% dark chocolate, very finely chopped
1 heaped tablespoon cocoa nibs
sea salt flakes
- Roast the almonds at 180˚C for 15 minutes or until the nuts are toasty. Remove and let cool, then roughly chop.
- Melt half the chopped chocolate in a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove the bowl from the steam, then add the rest of the chopped chocolate and stir until this too has melted.
- Get a baking tray ready and line it with parchment paper. Spread the chocolate out on the paper, using a spatula to ensure it is a thin layer. Sprinkle the almonds and cocoa nibs over the chocolate and sprinkle a few sea salt flakes on top. Set aside to cool and harden. If you’ve tempered the chocolate properly, it will set and have a nice snap to it.
Assemble and enjoy!
What better way to celebrate the change in seasons and fight off various bugs than with a zingy mango, lime and ginger sorbet? A dear friend brought me some gorgeous ripe Alphonso mangoes today and just as we were about to devour them as a snack, my little one suggested making ice cream instead. And boy, was it worth the change in tack.
Mangoes are high in fibre and a great source of vitamins A and C. They also contain folate, B6, iron and a little calcium, zinc and vitamin E. Mangoes are a good source of antioxidants, containing certain phytochemicals such as gallotannins and mangiferin which have been studied for their health benefits. A study by the Journal of Nutrition also found that adding mango to your diet could improve gut microflora, due in part to the high fibre content of mango. The phytochemicals have also been studied for their gastroprotective effects, offering both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to the digestive system, and may even help reduce inflammation in conditions like ulcerative colitis.
Mango, lime and ginger sorbet
flesh from 3 ripe Alphonso mangoes
zest from 1 lime
juice from 2 large limes
1/2 peeled ripe avocado
30ml (2 tablespoons) raw honey
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until pureed.
- Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions or place in a container in the freezer, removing every hour or so to give it a whiz in the blender. This breaks up the ice crystals and ensures the sorbet remains smooth.
- For those of you with a high-speed blender, you could also pour 2/3 of the mixture into a small lipped tray or baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen solid, chop roughly into small’ish cubes and place in the blender with the remaining (unfrozen) third. Use the tamper to press the mixture into the blades until you have a smooth sorbet.
We all have our go-to banana bread recipe that we fall back on when the brown bananas start attracting fruit flies in the bowl. I have been playing around with different recipes for the longest time. I make a sugar-free, grain-free version with a dark chocolate ganache for all the kids’ parties. It’s very moist and very delicious. In fact, many children prefer this cake to the more traditional chocolate cake that is most often also on offer. But this recipe, with the addition of roast pecans and a little bit of flour (gluten-free in my case), is also really, really good. Again, with the sweetness from the bananas, there is no need for any added sugar, and it tastes like a real treat, especially if you decide to add dark chocolate chips.
Sugar-free banana bread
Makes one large’ish loaf
180g pecan nuts (or use walnuts)**
2 eggs (or replace with 2 chia eggs)
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil or melted coconut oil
550g mashed bananas (about 6 large bananas)
150g flour of your choice (spelt and gluten-free mixes work well)
1 slightly heaped teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
50g dark chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a medium-large bread loaf pan.
- Roast the pecan nuts on a baking sheet for 8 – 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and oil into the mashed bananas. Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt and cardamom.
- Put just over half the roasted pecan nuts in a mini blender or food processor and grind into a flour. Roughly chop the rest by hand, but ensure there are no big pieces. Stir both of these into the mix together with the chocolate chips, if using, and scrape the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.
- Bake for 55 – 60 minutes, but cover with foil after 30 minutes to prevent the loaf from getting too dark on top. Test with a skewer for doneness.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before turning out. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
**Note: you could also use ground almonds instead of the 90g ground pecan or walnuts, and just roast and chop 90g of pecans.