Spiced pumpkin scones

My first job as a teenager was at the local bakery. For those that know me know that this was my paradise, as I adore baked goods. In fact, my last meal on earth would be a crusty baguette with lashings of salted butter. The end, no more thought needed.

At the bakery I fell in love with their scones, however having grown up in a European household they weren’t commonplace. As a result, scones are generally something I enjoy with tea in the country. Nevertheless my spiced pumpkin scones have changed all that. They are fluffy, light and utterly delicious. You can be flexible with what you add to the mixture but rest assured, these pumpkin scones will be beautiful on their own or served alongside a soup in the cooler months.

Dry ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 tablespoon coconut oil/butter (still soft – not melted)
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Wet ingredients

1 fresh red chilli chopped (optional)
30g grated strong cheddar cheese (optional)
4 green spring onions chopped (optional)
1 cup cooked pumpkin mashed with a fork
1 cup reduced fat milk
1 egg

  • Pre-heat oven to 220c
  • In a bowl rub the coconut butter into the flour and add all of the dry ingredients.
  • Add the fresh chilli, cheese, spring onion and the mashed pumpkin and mix gently.
  • To this, add a cup of milk mixed with one egg. Mix well.
  • Line a small baking dish with baking paper and dollop 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture into balls fairly closely together. Brush with some milk.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.

* To re-heat scones pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds.

** You can vary this recipe by adding olives, sundried tomatoes, basil, fresh tomatoes, smoked salmon, browned mushrooms – just have fun experimenting with flavours.

*** These scones are fluffy but they are a little flatter than your conventional scone but trust me they taste just as great.

 

Chocolate crackle slice

I subscribe to health and fitness magazines, I love them. I also devour cooking books and scour the web for ‘healthy’ recipes to inspire my kitchen experiments. When it comes to ‘healthy’ treats like ‘energy’ bars or chocolate slices I’m often shocked at the high sugar content, especially with the overload of added dried fruit in most recipes.

I created this chocolate crackle slice when trying to emulate the traditional chocolate crackles that many Australian children have grown up enjoying at kids parties. The traditional version uses butter, milk chocolate and other not so healthy ingredients. My slice on the other hand, is nutritious, crunchy and coconutty and it makes you feel like you’re eating something naughty from your childhood. You can play with the ingredient variations but the key is to ensure that your mixture is wet enough to set. This recipe makes 24 squares and pleases both kiddies and ‘adult-children’ alike.

Wet ingredients

10 dried dates
1 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 tablespoon brown rice malt syrup or honey
8-10 tablespoon water

Dry ingredients

1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup puffed rice
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup craisins (dried cranberries)
¼ cup cacao nibs (optional)
3 tablespoons coconut butter, melted

  • Place the wet ingredients in a hand held mixer and blend until well combined. The mixture needs to be moist (think chocolate crackle consistency).
  • Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, including the melted coconut butter and stir well ensuring that all of the ingredients are well coated.
  • Spoon the chunky mixture in a brownie dish lined with baking paper, press the mixture down firmly with the back of a spoon and refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting into squares.

 

* Once the slice has solidified you could decorate your squares by drizzling with melted chocolate. Try using white chocolate for a cheeky treat as the contrast between the rich dark slice and the white chocolate looks beautiful.

** This slice freezes well. Cut into squares and wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 2 weeks. The slice also tastes great semi-frozen.

Nut seed loaf

So I’ve been experimenting with coconut flour. When I say experimenting, I mean a few culinary disasters – I was a little shocked at how much liquid that stuff can absorb! But recently I got to playing in the kitchen again with the aim of creating a proper nut/seed bread. A loaf that could even be toasted for breakfast or eaten with cold butter and jam (naughty but nice). And so my Loving Cook nut seed loaf was created! Thank goodness all those coconut disasters were good for something…

This loaf is perfect to have with savoury toppings as well as sweet, and if you wanted to make this bread a little more of a sweet treat, you could always add some dried dates, shredded coconut or whatever you please. My tip is to keep the ratio of dry ingredients the same to make this recipe work well. Go nuts (haha) with whatever nuts (or seeds) you want to use.

Dry ingredients

1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 ½ cups rolled oats
4 heaped tablespoons of LSA mix (linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds)
3 tablespoons whole flaxseeds
2 tablespoons coconut flour

Wet ingredients

1 tablespoon maple syrup/rice malt syrup or honey
3 heaped tablespoons coconut butter, melted
1 ½ cups water

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180c.
  • Combine all of the dry ingredients and in a separate bowl whisk together the wet ingredients, including the coconut butter.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Set the mixture aside for one hour in a cool spot to let the coconut flour do its thing.
  • Line a loaf tin with baking paper (be generous with the baking paper as you will need excess to lift the loaf out of the tin) and give it a light spray of oil. To this add the loaf ingredients and press down firmly into the corners with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake for about one hour and then remove the loaf from your tin and gently flip it over onto the baking paper and bake the bottom side for a further hour or until the bottom is lightly brown. When you tap the bottom it should sound hollow, but also check the inside of the loaf with a skewer to ensure it’s fully cooked. 
  • Let the loaf cool completely before slicing.

* This loaf tastes ahhhmazing slightly toasted and served with ricotta and honey.

** For a savoury alternative try toasting the loaf and serving with a sharp cheese, some slices of tomato, fresh basil leaves and lots of freshly cracked pepper.