Gingerbread Spice Courgette Loaf

Good morning everyone!

During my trip back home to Amsterdam, I managed to get my loaf tin back. I missed it so much for my baking here, because I used to make so many banana breads in that tin. But today I won’t be sharing a banana bread recipe (although I’m sure that will come around some time…) but another quick bread/loaf.

This gingerbread-spiced loaf is packed with courgette. I love to use courgette in my baking, because it adds so much moist. Any quick bread will have cake-like structure if you add courgette I think, which is basically amazing, because you trick your mind into thinking you’re eating an oil-packed cake when it’s just super healthy. Grated courgette is also amazing to add to red velvet cake, just so you know. Also, the little green dots look gorgeous in the baking.

IMG_0113

You can experiment with this loaf as much as you want. I am trying to find the healthiest version without compromising on taste and texture. I’ve found that this recipe is the perfect balance! It has just 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, but you might even be fine without any oil at all. It’s also completely up to you how sweet you want this cake to be. If you plan on eating this cake for breakfast, I suggest just using 1/4 cup of agave syrup or honey and leaving out the 1/4 cup of brown sugar. But of course you can add as much sugar as you want, especially if you want to serve this as an afternoon treat/coffee cake.

IMG_0109

I used 4 eggs for this loaf, which sounds like a lot, but I sometimes like to add an extra egg to my breakfast loaf because I am a vegetarian. I try to sneak extra protein into my meals wherever I can, so if I have the chance to add an extra egg to my baking, I just go ahead. I started out with 3 eggs but found the batter a bit too thick, so I added another one. If I were you, I’d just start with 3 eggs and see where that gets you. Especially if you are just using plain flour and no oats & spelt flour like me, I think 3 eggs will be plenty.

To add a gingerbread flavour to this loaf, I added cinnamon, allspice and ground ginger. These spices gave this loaf so much warmth, it made me feel like it’s already Christmas. Perfect for any cold mornings coming up. Feel free to just use 2tsp of cinnamon if you don’t have the other spices in your cabinet; it will still taste amazing.

Gingerbread Spice Courgette Loaf

Yield: ± 10 slices  – Prepping time: 15 mins – Baking time: 55-60

Dry ingredients

  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup wholegrain spelt flour
  • 1 cup wholegrain oats + 1 tbsp for decorating
  • 1 tsp baking soda (=bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice/mixed spice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

Wet ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup agave syrup
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (I used dark brown natural unrefined cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (you need the acidity as a reactor otherwise the baking soda doesn’t do anything, you can also use some honey or lemon juice)

Filling

  • 2 cups grated courgette (±2 small to medium-sized courgettes)
  • small handful chopped walnuts
  • small handful chopped pecans + some extra for decorating

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and combine well.

Grate the courgette and drain well from extra liquid, but it’s okay if you leave just a bit because this provides extra moist to the loaf. Stir in the chopped nuts and set aside.

In another bowl, add all of the wet ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir everything together with a spatula. Finally, add the courgette & nuts and fold into the mixture.

Spray a loaf tin with some baking spray (I use coconut oil spray), or alternatively just grease the tin with butter. Line your tin with parchment paper and spray again. Then, pour in your batter. Your batter should be just liquid enough to pour in your tin with some help of a spatula to flatten everything out! Top the loaf with some whole pecan nuts and a sprinkle of oats. Cover the top of your loaf with aluminium foil but be sure to leave enough room for the loaf to rise.

Bake the loaf for 45 minutes. Then take it out of the oven, remove the aluminium foil and check how far along the loaf is. Place back into the oven without the foil so the top of the loaf can become golden brown. My loaf needed another 15 minutes, so it baked for a total of 60 minutes. You can try to reduce your baking time by increasing the heat of your oven to 190 degrees Celsius, but I didn’t want to risk ending up with an uncooked inside but burnt top.

Let the loaf cool in the tin for 10 minutes before easily removing it by pulling on the parchment paper. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for at least another 10 minutes before cutting into it.

IMG_0114

Have a lovely week everyone and be sure to share picture with me if you do try this recipe! 🙂

Love,

Tori

Advertisements

Date & Walnut Lattice Pie

I really felt like making something pretty this time.

Usually, I like to keep things pretty simple. I just need my kitchen the smell nice & the bake to taste good. But I was feeling crafty and in need of buttery pie crust, so I decided on doing a double-crusted artsy pie.

 

You can use any filling you want when making a pie like this, which is great. Whatever you’re craving, just throw it in there. My inspiration for this was a pecan pie recipe that I’d seen, but then I found out I was out of pecans, so I went with walnuts. Anything works. I’m a big fan of a combination of dates and nuts (any type really), and I have done date & nut bars/tart bases in the past, so I liked the idea of working that into a pie filling this time.

IMG_0102

Making pie crust can appear a bit tricky at first, but practice makes perfect. Trust me, I am still working on mine. I actually did overwork my dough this time which made the crust a bit too tough to my liking. But hey, you know what’s so good about pie? It’s still really amazing even if it’s not perfect. Same goes for this all-butter pie crust recipe: difficult to get perfect, but it will always taste good and be a crowd pleaser! The most important thing to keep in mind is to not overmix your dough. Don’t knead the life out of it. I know it’s tempting, there’s something soothing about just kneading it until everything comes together perfectly and there are no lumps to be found anywhere. But that is where you’ll go wrong. You WANT these buttery lumps (around the size of peas) to be in your dough, because that’s what’s going to make the crust flaky and lovely at the end. With that in mind, let’s get to the recipe!

IMG_0105

Date & Walnut Lattice Pie

Yield: 12 servings – Preparation time: 60 minutes – Baking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

For the pie crust:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour + a bit extra for rolling the dough
  • 1 cup cubed cold unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup buttermilk + few tbsp. extra if needed
  • ½ tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter (room temperature)
  • ½ cup refined brown cane sugar
  • ¾ cup chopped pitted dates
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

Take the butter for the filling out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prepare your pie dough.

For your dough, combine the butter with the flour and salt using a pastry cutter or your hands until the butter is the size of peas. Don’t overmix because this will make your pie crust tough. If you want an extra flaky crust, leave bigger bits of butter in the mixture. Add the buttermilk one tablespoon at a time just until the dough comes together. You don’t want the dough to become sticky. Of course, you can also use ice water instead of buttermilk, but I liked the extra tanginess.

Cut your dough in half, wrap in cling film and leave to refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

While your oven is preheating and your dough is refrigerating, start to prepare the filling for this pie. Your butter should be on room temperature now, so you can start by creaming the butter together with the sugar. I used a spatula. Add the salt, agave syrup and eggs and mix to combine. Then add the walnuts and dates. Set your filling aside and return to your dough.

You will use one clump of dough for the bottom of the crust and the other clump for the top layer. Let’s start by rolling out the bottom. Lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough, making sure to keep moving the dough and flipping it so it doesn’t stick to the counter. Transfer it to a greased tart pan of your choice. It’s probably easiest to use one that is not too high, as this will make decorating easier. I didn’t have on like that though, so I just used a standard quiche pan. Using a fork, make some holes in the dough and just bake it for 5 minutes to give it a head-start to the rest of the pie.

While that’s in the oven, start rolling out the second clump of dough and cut into long strips with which you’re going to cover the pie. You can save some dough to use for other decorations like the braids I made for example. Of course, this is totally up to you!

IMG_0101

Take your crust out of the oven and let it cool for a bit on your kitchen counter before pouring the filling on it. Spread the filling out evenly and then decorate the top with a second layer of pie dough. You can make any pattern you want; I went for a simple lattice pie.

Bake the pie for around 30-40 minutes, just keep an eye on it. If the top is nicely golden, the pie is done. Mine took 35 minutes.

IMG_0108

Let me know if you have a favourite way of decorating a pie!

IMG_0106

Bon appétit!

Tori

3 Ways of Oatmeal for Autumn

As soon as the temperature drops, my breakfast habits change. Whereas in summer, my breakfast mostly consists of yoghurt & fruit bowls, in winter I like to start my day with warm comfort food. A steaming bowl of porridge is my go-to every day. It’s so easy and quick, yet delicious! However, sometimes I want to get a bit more creative with my oatmeal because it can get a bit boring otherwise. So I bring you my 3 favourite ways of preparing an oatmeal breakfast perfect for those cold autumn mornings!

1. Baked Banana Oatmeal

IMG_0093

Ingredients (for 2 portions)

  • 1 cup oats (90 gr)
  • 1 cup boiled water
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla aroma
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Method

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Mix the oats and the water. While you wait for the oats to soak up the liquid, mash up half of the banana and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Then, add everything together and place in an oven dish. Pour the almond milk on top and spread the banana slices evenly on the oatmeal. Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve while hot!

2. Apple & Jam Oatmeal Cups

IMG_0065

Ingredients (for 4 oatmeal cups)

  • 1 cup oats (90 gr)
  • 1 cup warm almond milk
  • Non-stick baking spray
  • 1 grated apple
  • 4 tsp jam (I used blackberry)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp raisins (optional)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Pour the almond milk on top of the oats and let that sit for a few minutes. While you wait, grate one large apple. Then stir in the apple and cinnamon and optionally add some raisins. Spray 4 cups in your muffin tin with some baking spray and scoop in the oats mixture. Put 1 tsp of jam on top of each cup. Bake the cups in your pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. If you let them cool off for a while, they will become more solid instead and you can remove them from your tray easily without them falling apart! The hot jam pouring out of these cups when you eat them is to die for. You also don’t need to add any sweetener because the jam is sweet enough of itself!

IMG_0068

3. Overnight Oats with Dates

Warning: this recipe takes a bit more time as you have to soak the oats overnight! This makes for an extra thick and smooth oatmeal.

IMG_0094

Ingredients (for 1 portion)

  • 1/2 cup oats (45 gr)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 medjool dates
  • small handful of hazelnuts

Instructions

Take your breakfast bowl of preference and combine the oats, chia seeds and cinnamon in this bowl. Pour the almond milk on top and mix. Pit the medjool dates and chop them up finely. Stir in the date pieces. Put your bowl in the fridge overnight. If you feel like the mixture will be too thick, you can add an extra splash of milk. The next morning add some hazelnuts and dust the top of the overnight oats with some extra cinnamon. Enjoy this dish cold, but of course have a warm cup of coffee next to it! These overnight oats are also amazing with some fresh fruit on top.

 

So, those are my 3 ways of changing up my morning oatmeal. Of course, you can change up everything in these recipes. If you don’t have almond milk, any other type of milk will do just fine. And all the fruit (banana, apple) can be substituted for any other fruit you like. These are just my preferences. 🙂 And if you have more of a sweet tooth, feel free to add some honey or agave syrup to any of these recipes. Thanks for reading!

Stay warm,

Tori

 

 

 

Autumny Pumpkin Muffins with Spelt & Oats

Hi guys!

I’m back with another recipe. I cannot describe how much in love I am with these healthy-ish pumpkin muffins. They make me so excited about autumn.

IMG_0057

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to Borough Market last weekend. Borough Market, a fresh local food market just south of the Thames, has got to be my new favourite place on earth. The products on sale there are just so gorgeous. I bought the most beautiful graffiti aubergine and rainbow chard, just because I couldn’t resist the look of them. When I tasted them, I couldn’t believe how sweet and juicy the veggies were. Because autumn is definitely on its way, pumpkins are hard to miss these days too.

IMG_0054

I just knew I had to bake something with pumpkin upon seeing them. And who doesn’t love a gorgeous fall-inspired pumpkin muffin? I attended an event by my university’s baking society last week, and a girl had made de-li-cious pumpkin muffins. So I figured I’d give it a go myself! My recipe is an adaption of her recipe & two other recipes I found online. It was kind of a gamble, because I wanted to find a way to make these babies a bit more healthy than normally. I wanted to be able to eat these for breakfast, so I decided to work with wholemeal spelt flour and wholemeal oats instead of 100% plain flour. That would make them more filling & suitable for an actual meal instead of just a snack!

IMG_0062

Now, I think it’s fair to say they turned out pretty well. They were a bit more dense than purely flour-based muffins, but they were soooo moist and fluffy at the same time. I also found that the sweetness of these was just perfect. They just taste like autumn. Let’s get to talking about how to achieve that!

Pumpkin Muffins with Spelt Flour & Wholemeal Oats

Prepping time: 15 mins – Baking time: 24 mins – Total time: ±40 mins – Yield: 12 large muffins – Calories per serving: 180 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 banana, overripe for extra sweetness
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) vegetable shortening or vegetable oil (I used Trex)
  • 1 tin (425 grams) pure pumpkin puree, no additives
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) almond milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

 

  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup wholegrain spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup wholegrain oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

First, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature as this will make it easier to blend everything together without getting any lumps. You want the smoothest batter you can get! You can use a mixer if you like, as this will definitely make this easier, but I don’t have a mixer so I just went for it using a whisk until my arms hurt like hell. Another note before you get started: if you are having trouble getting your hands on pure pumpkin puree, you can order it online or you can make some yourself. Just bake a sugar pumpkin (other kinds won’t get the same result), cut in two halves & deseeded, in a 220 degrees Celcius oven for 40 minutes. Peel off the skin and mash it up to get a puree and you’re all done!

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius.

In a large bowl, mash together the eggs and the banana to make a soft puree. Then, add all of the other wet ingredients and stir for ±2 minutes to combine everything. If you’re not using a mixer, it might be easier to add the ingredients bit by bit, so you can blend everything more easily. Once all your wet ingredients have combined nicely, combine all your dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Give it a quick stir to combine the different kinds of flour. You should have around 2 1/2 cup of flour in this bowl. Now, start adding the flour mixture to your wet ingredients, mixing well as you go along. Please note that I ended up only adding 2 cups of my flour mixture, as I wanted my muffins to be dense and moist. But feel free to add all of the flour mixture to your wet ingredients. It just depends on what you want! Next time, I might add 2 1/2 cups to try the difference.

Line a muffin tin with muffin cups, or just spray the tin with any oil you like. Scoop in the batter way up to the edge of the paper liner to create lovely huge muffins. If you want smaller muffins, this recipe should be enough for 16 small ones instead of 12 big ones.

Bake the muffins in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, just stick in a fork to check on them. If the fork comes out dry, the muffins are done. At 20 mins, there was still some batter stuck to my fork, so I put them back in for another couple of minutes, checking them at each 2 minute interval. My muffins were in the oven for exactly 24 minutes! Let your muffins cool in the muffin tin for 5-10 minutes, then move them to a rack to cool for another 5-10 minutes before indulging in them.

IMG_0064

I hope you liked this recipe and please let me know if you do try these out yourself!

Best, Cheftori

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Hi guys what is up! I’m back with another favourite. I took some of these bars with me to uni this week and people were going crazy over them (OK it was just one guy that’s really into peanut butter, he told me he DREAMED about these bars… shout out to you Ryan!). So I thought I’d share the recipe with you 🙂 Let’s do it!

IMG_0040

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Preparation time: 15mins – Baking time: 15 mins – Total time: 30 mins – Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup pecan nuts
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey/agave syrup/any sweetening syrup you prefer
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup medjool dates

Instructions

Combine the oats and nuts on a baking tray and place in a pre-heated oven of 170 degrees Celcius for about 15 minutes to roast. This step is not necessary but if you roast your oats and nuts this will definitely give a more rich flavour! Be sure to check on them a lot because they burn quickly. Sometimes a little burnt flavour is nice, but not in this recipe, trust me.

IMG_0022

While your oats are roasting, take a small pan to your stove and melt together the butter, brown sugar and honey. Once this has all blended, add the peanut butter and cacao powder. Cook for a minute until everything is incorporated and remove from the stove. Take the oats from the oven and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add your mixture from your pan. Also add the medjool dates (I chopped mine not too fine so you can taste those nice big chunks!). Transfer everything to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and smoothen it out. Be sure to really press the mixture together so everything sticks really well & your bars won’t fall apart. Place the tray in the fridge for at least two hours before cutting it up into bars.

IMG_0038

Hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s so convenient to have these bars in your fridge because you can grab them any time for a quick snack.

Love, Cheftori!

Savoury Cheddar Pumpkin Scones

Hi guys, I’m back with another scone recipe. I just can’t stop making them and I keep getting ideas in my head of ingredients to use in my scones. Even though I love sweet scones with cream and jam, this time I felt like having something more salty. I had some leftover pumpkin from my dinner last night, so I figured I could use that and some cheddar. Believe me… these scones are SO. GOOD. They’re more bread-like in structure because they contain no sugar. Definitely worth giving this a go yourself!

IMG_0034.jpg

Savoury Cheddar & Pumpkin Scones

Preparation time: 80mins – Baking time: 13 mins – Total time: 93 mins

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup cubed cold butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • ½ cup grated matured chedder
  • 1 pumpkin to make pumpkin puree (or ½ cup store-bought pumpkin puree)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut the pumpkin in large cubes and bake them in the oven for at least 45 minutes (I let them sit for an hour). Let the pumpkin cool off. Now, peel off the pumpkin skin. This should be fairly easy if your pumpkin cubes are soft enough! Mash the pumpkin with a fork until a puree starts to form or use a blender or kitchen processor if you prefer. Set aside ½ cup of your fresh pumpkin puree for later use. Alternatively, just use ½ cup store-bought pumpkin puree, but make sure it is not too sugary and sweet as we’re making savoury scones.

IMG_0018

Get a large bowl and mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the cubed butter and work the cubes into the flour mixture using your hands until you get coarse crumbs. Then add 1 cup of buttermilk (save just a tiny bit for glazing the scones) and 2 tbsp of milk and mix that in with a fork, but be careful not to overmix! It’s no problem if your mixture is not smooth, those lumpy bits will make the scones even better and it makes them look more artisan 😉 Now add the pumpkin puree and cheddar cheese and work that into your dough with your hands. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 3cm thick.

IMG_0023
This is what the dough looks like!

Using a round cookie cutter (I just use my measuring cup turned upside-down, works just fine too!), divide the dough in circles. Lightly glaze the scones using your left-over buttermilk. Bake for 13mins in the oven on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, or use a muffin tray like me if you have one. Let the scones cool for 5 mins before transferring them to a cooling rack for another 5 mins.

IMG_0030

Let me know which one you prefer: sweet or savoury scones? Comment down below 😀

Best, cheftori