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Yurty Kitchen Musings and This Week’s Delicious Recipe: Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Fudge Cake!

Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake

After a year and half in my gorgeous yurt the novelty of washing up outside in all weathers, and cooking on a two ring camping stove, has finally worn off. What that really means is… I’m getting a new kitchen!! I am totally thrilled about this, and have only just realised that not having a proper kitchen has hindered my recipe creation for a while now. Just the anticipation of sufficient work surface, a kitchen sink and a proper cooker is igniting my foodie creativity already. Hurray! My kitchen units arrive next week, so hopefully the whole thing will be installed in good time before Christmas. I’ll blog a photo when it’s done πŸ™‚

The prospect of a new kitchen has been getting me thinking about how much the right (or wrong) kitchen set-up can affect our desire to eat well – to put time and effort into the recipes we make for ourselves and our families. Having the right equipment / the right space / the right light all has an affect on how much time we want to spend in our kitchen. How much do you enjoy cooking in yours? Is there anything you could do to make it easier? Maybe it’s time to stop thinking ‘I wish I could see what I was doing properly’, or a ‘I wish I had a food processor’, or ‘I wish I had more work surface’, or whatever your internal kitchen-moan is. Maybe it’s time to get creative about how you can give those things to yourself so that spending time in your kitchen is more fun and pleasurable. It will help you eat more healthily AND give you pleasure while you’re cooking. I’d love to hear what your kitchen moans are in the comments πŸ™‚ My biggest one has been ‘I wish I had an oven to bake in’. Not for much longer!

If you’re in need of some TLC (tender loving care) and some life motivation come and join me in my yurt this Sunday evening – I’m running my free online life coaching workshop Reconnecting with Your Passion and Purpose. This workshop has been quietly, gently life-changing for many women and will help you find your mojo and feel positive if you’ve been struggling this year. Click here now to find out more and book your place

Vegan Chocolate Cake

This Week’s Delicious Recipe: Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Fudge Cake

I baked this in my mum’s oven – very soon I’ll be baking it in my own πŸ™‚ I always think of chocolate fudge cake as one of the ultimate indulgences, so (thanks to Clara’s suggestion!) I created this healthy version. Whether you want to impress friends with a vegan cake or you want a scrumptious birthday cake, this recipe is a winner. (Don’t forget to soak the dates for the fudge icing in advance).

The Cake
500ml / 2 cups almond or oat milk
150ml / ΒΌ pint melted coconut oil or mild olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
325g / 2 oz gluten-free plain or all-purpose flour
400g / 14 oz coconut sugar
75g / 3 oz cocoa powder
Β½ tsp salt

1 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp bicarb of soda

Fudge Icing

175g / 1Β½ cups pitted dates – soaked in just boiled water for 1 – 2 hour or overnight, until soft
75g / Β½ cup avocado
120ml / Β½ cup melted extra-virgin coconut oil
120ml / Β½ cup date soak water or plain water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
50g / 2 oz cocoa powder
1 pinch salt

Soak the dates in hot water, for the fudge icing.

Preheat the oven to 180Β°C or gas mark 4. Line two 20cm cake tins with baking paper.

Put all the cake ingredients except the cider vinegar and the bicarb of soda into a blender and blend until smooth.  Add in the cider vinegar and bicarb of soda and briefly blend on a medium speed, just enough to mix thoroughly (don’t blend too much at this point or you will end up with a flat cake).

Divide the cake batter between the two tins and bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes. After half an hour, test the cake by inserting a skewer (or flat knife) into it – if the cake is cooked the skewer will come out clean. If there is batter on it, continue to cook the cake for another 10 minutes, or until until the skewer comes out clean.

Take the cakes out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, gently remove the cakes from the tins and place on a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, with a large knife slice the top off one cake to make it flat and easy for the other cake to sit on (early rewards for the cook here, as you get to eat the dome if you fancy it πŸ˜‰ ).

To make the fudge icing, drain the dates, reserving the soak water.

Blend all the icing ingredients together until completely smooth. With a spatula or flat knife, spread a good layer of icing on top of the flat cake. Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the whole cake. Et voila! Impress your friends and enjoy with a lovely cup of tea πŸ™‚

#Notes:

  1. This cake is best eaten at room temperature, not straight out of the fridge (when it’s cold, the coconut oil hardens and makes it less moist).
  2. You can cut this cake into slices and freeze the slices individually, for those times when you need a little solitary indulgence πŸ˜‰
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My Latest Life Update and This Week’s Delicious Recipe: Saskia’s Warming Ratatouille

Well, it’s been six months since I last blogged. It’s been such a strange time in my life, and in the world at large. I’ve actually found it incredibly rich as well as challenging, and it reminds me of how amazingly courageous we humans are. Although the storm has not yet passed, the initial shock and destabilisation of the pandemic has eased for me, and I personally feel able now to look outwards and re-engage with my work and creativity in a more public way. I am opening up my life coaching practice again, and I’ll be running my popular and empowering Vitality Detoxes, with the first one starting in just over a week (If you are interested in joining us click here)

If you have read my previous few blog posts, you will know that one of my major life focuses has been, and continues to be, on trying to have a baby. And alongside that, my life as an artist has also been blossoming – if you are interested in following my creative unfolding and my yurt-life you can do that on Instagram here πŸ™‚ I am having so much fun with it, as well as being up against my growing edge, learning to be less judgmental of myself so that I can let my creativity flow with joy and ease. Not always easy but getting easier!

Life in the yurt is still heaven and I feel blessed to live in this nature-connected and creative way. I’m lucky to have the warmth, comfort and ease of running water (I’m going to be putting in a fully-functioning kitchen, including a dish washer, soon!). I have electricity and a gorgeous wood burner and, after the experience of living in a motorhome for nearly two years, my yurt feels like a luxury apartment πŸ™‚

As always, I am cooking, cooking, cooking. Because I am a creative cook I make up new recipes nearly every day. Most of them I don’t record, but with my new kitchen I want to start getting back into the habit of writing them down, so that I can pass them on to you πŸ™‚ I’m even thinking of doing more recipe videos – hurray! I can’t wait to share more foodie deliciousness with you over the coming weeks and months. Much love to you. xxx

This Week’s Delicious Recipe: Saskia’s Warming Ratatouille

Vegan Ratatouille

Here is a taster of one of the cooked recipes in our yummy Vitality Detox Plan. It’s a clean and nourishing meal whilst still having the comfort food factor that we often crave at this time of year. It’s fun and easy to make, and a great one for the freezer or for cooking up as an autumnal family supper, with or without extras such as pan-fried fish fillets or roast chicken thighs and quinoa or rice.

Makes enough for 2 servings

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion
1 red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small aubergine
1 courgette
2 tsp mixed herbs
1 can organic tinned tomatoes
Β½ tsp date syrup or honey (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
unrefined salt and black pepper

Fry the red onion and red pepper in the olive oil over a low heat until soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so, stirring. Add the aubergine, courgette and mixed herbs. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add the tinned tomatoes and, if using, the date syrup/honey and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

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