Apple Blueberry Crumble


It's common knowledge that when fruit is in abundance, I make dessert. It's also common knowledge that I love using spices in my baked goods. So it should be no surprise to you that this recipe contains both, along with a crunchy topping too.

Crumbles, or crisps as they call them in the west, are the easiest way to use up a lot of fruit. Due to the simplicity of the recipe, crumbles can easily be adapted to suit your dietary requirements. I like to keep mine plant based, so I often use coconut oil, margarine and maple syrup instead of butter or sugar. There is very little difference in the overall taste though, so no matter what you choose to go with, you won't be missing out.

I've made this recipe several times over. I usually stick to using 6 apples, but this time I reduced the amount of apples and added some blueberries instead.  You can stick with all apples, or use any other berry of choice. Blueberries are in season now, so it's a good time to use them if you like them! You can use frozen if you have them on hand. No need to defrost them either!

The best part of this recipe is that it's really simple to make. It's one of those, dare I say, dump-and-go recipes. The hardest part of the recipe is actually peeling and chopping all the apples. If you've got kids, or a loving partner, now's the time to get them in the kitchen to help with all that peeling and chopping!

Apple Blueberry Crumble
Serves 8
4 medium apples, cored, peeled and sliced (I use pacific rose)
2 cups blueberries (use any fresh or frozen berry of choice, or two more apples instead of the berries)
1 tbsp butter, melted (use margarine, or coconut oil if vegan)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 cup maple syrup (substitute with caster sugar if need be)
Juice of half a lemon

1 cup standard flour (use almond flour, or GF flour for Gluten Free option)
1/3 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup sliced almonds (save some to sprinkle on top)
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
120g butter, melted (use margarine, or coconut oil if vegan)

Preheat oven to 180ºC. First we make the crumble. In a medium bowl place your flour, sugar, coconut, almonds and walnuts in a bowl. Pour over the melted butter and rub the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles course breadcrumbs. Set Aside.

In a large bowl, place all your filling ingredients. Give it a good toss so that it's all coated evenly. Pour it into a 2L capacity baking dish. Crumble over the topping and place in preheated oven for 25-30minutes. The topping should be golden brown when it's done.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, custard or even coconut yoghurt.



Pumpkin Bread


I find the word bread often confuses people. We think of bread as something you make sandwiches with, which is true. But in the baking world, banana bread, or in this case pumpkin bread, isn't for sandwiches. It's simply a tea loaf you can enjoy with your cuppa in the afternoon.

I'm a big bread fan! I've been making banana bread for years and have since branched out to many more bread and loaf tea time treats. These loaves often contain fruit like, bananas, apple and now pumpkin. After making pumpkin waffles, it made perfect sense to use the leftover puree in a bread!

This pumpkin bread has that vibrant orange colour from the pumpkin and has a very slight pumpkin flavour. It's super moist due to the pumpkin, but also the apple sauce. I wanted this loaf to remain healthy so I have used an unrefined sweetener, maple syrup. You could also use honey, however this will change the flavour. I would recommend a honey that doesn't have too strong a flavour. Sticking with the unrefined theme, I have used whole wheat flour here. Standard flour will work too, but I urge you to try the whole wheat if you can. It adds a nutty flavour to the loaf.

The recipe is simple and healthy with just a few ingredients. The loaf cooks at a lower temp and for just 50 minutes. You really have no excuse left not to try it.

Healthy Pumpkin Bread (Adapted from Cookie and Kate)
Serves 10
⅓ cup vegetable oil (coconut oil and olive work too)
½ cup maple syrup (honey works too)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin purée (homemade or store bought)
¼ cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
¼ cup apple sauce
1 ½ tsp pumpkin spice blend
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour (I use atta)
½ cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 160 C.
Grease and line a 9 inch loaf tin. Set aside

In a large bowl whisk together oil, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin puree, milk and apple sauce.
To the same bowl add your pumpkin spice, baking soda, salt, flour and walnuts. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix together until combined. Avoid over mixing as this will result in a tough bread. 
Once combined pour the batter into your lined loaf tin and bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. To check if done place a skewer in the middle and it should come out clean.
Allow to cool in tin, then slice and enjoy!


Pumpkin Waffles


I'm quite a fan of using vegetables and fruit in baking. It's like my sneaky way of making you get your 5+ a day (insert evil laugh here). Pumpkin isn't often used here in NZ for cakes and desserts. It's more of an American thing. Of course I love trying new things from around the world, and while we can't really get pumpkin flavoured treats in NZ, we can still make our own!

We're lucky to have quite good pumpkins for a reasonable price here in NZ when they are in season. They are pretty large in size which often leaves me with some extra pumpkin. What better way to use it that in these recipes! I make my own pumpkin puree by roasting the pumpkin in the oven until they are soft enough to mash. Any pumpkin will do but I prefer butternut squash because of it's natural sweetness. If you don't have the time for that, there are some specialty stores, like this one, that do sell canned pumpkin puree. Be sure to look for the pure pumpkin and not the pumpkin pie filling.

These waffles are fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, like a good waffle should be. They are lightly spiced and carry a very light pumpkin flavour. I use whole wheat flour in this recipe to make them a bit healthier. I'm not keen on adding sugar to my waffles simply because they are going to be drenched in maple syrup after anyway. Feel free to add sugar if you want, but that of course will increase the calories!
These waffles make a great breakfast for a special occasion or even dessert. If you have some waffles left over, you can keep them in the fridge and reheat them in the oven. Don't reheat them in the microwave though, as that will make them soft.

Pumpkin Waffles
Serves 8
1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use atta)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin spice blend or (1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon+1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg+1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup milk of choice (I used Almond Milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat your waffle iron/maker.
In a large bowl whisk together your whole wheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and spices.
Next, add your pumpkin puree, milk, oil, vanilla and your egg yolks. Mix with a spatula until combined.
In a separate bowl add your egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until they form a stiff meringue. Once it's done, add half your meringue to your pumpkin mixture. Fold it in using your spatula. Lastly fold in the remaining meringue.
Add 1/2 a cup of batter to your waffle maker to make one waffle. Keep going until all your batter is used up. Serve hot with banana and maple syrup!



Lemon Poppy Muffins

I was desperate to bake something on Saturday! Sometimes I have those urges. It happens.
The only thing I had on hand were lemons. I had planned to make these lemon muffins ages go, but never got around to it. Dana's recipe is vegan and uses flax eggs. You can of course stick to that if you want it to remain vegan. I chose to use regular eggs as I had many on hand. So here's my version ofher recipe.

Lemon Poppy Muffins
Makes 12 standard muffins
2 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used atta)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners, or lightly grease. I greased mine with coconut oil.

Place eggs, applesauce, lemon juice and zest, oil, almond milk, maple syrup or agave, cane sugar, baking soda, salt and whisk for 45 seconds. It will froth up, don't be alarmed, this is meant to happen.
Add flour, almond meal, oats and poppy seeds. Mix until just combined. Try not to over mix as it will make the muffins tough. Your batter should be thicker than average cake batter. It should be good enough to scoop, not pour.
Divide batter evenly between muffin tins and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, remove from tins and let cool on a cooling rack.