Tag Archives: wheat-free

#Nojunk bean chocolate cake

Happy grandchild with chocolate bean cake “I pledge to eat and feed my family only real ingredients I can recognise or spell.”

Last week, I signed the Organix #nojunk pledge because children need real food – not additives, fillers or artificial processes that produce profits for food manufacturers yet ill health for our children.

Is this right? NO!

Last week’s blog was about Organix, its pioneering ethos and why organic standards protect our children’s healthy by banning the nasties.

I promised a #nojunk cake and here it is.

Hand-written recipe for Bean Cake

The recipe is thanks to Olea’s mum. Olea and my granddaughter Tayda are schoolchums. After I had contributed a wheat-free raw date and lemon cake to my granddaughter’s 5th birthday party, Olea’s mum wrote out there-and-then a healthy wheat-free recipe (see pic) using…beans.

I am a big fan of beans thanks to The Bean Book by Rose Elliot, my cooking bible when my own children were little in the 1980s.

Healthy beans

Beans are seeds, a plant’s future offspring. They spill on the soil where they wait for the right conditions to germinate. Their food reserves support this process and is also good for us when we eat them. Packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, beans are nutritional powerhouses.

Big yet compact, their plentiful food stores are low-fat and high-energy. They quieten sugar-levels because of their high-fibre – the soluble sort that gently coats the gut and is slow-acting – and have high-levels of cancer-busting antioxidants. (Above from my intro on beans in Make More of Peas and Beans).

Olea’s mum’s #nojunk bean cake

Raw ingredients for bean cake, eggs, melted butter, beans and melted chocolate, ground almonds, pot of honey

The cast assembled (clockwise from top): eggs, pot of honey, melted chocolate over a drained tin of butter beans, ground almonds with baking powder and melted butter.

Blend up:

  • 1 tin of cooked beans (butter/kidney/black – unsalted, drained)
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 – 150g ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons of coconut oil or (melted) butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda plus natural flavouring (spice, essence, ginger, vanilla etc)
  • 1/2 cup sweetener

Lightly grease baking tin. Bake 180° 30 – 40 mins-ish.  

I omitted the 1/2 tsp of baking powder, using instead an extra egg (5 eggs in total). I used organic eggs and butter for extra nutritional value (and guaranteed high animal welfare standards).  As sweetener, I used half a jar of honey for low-glycemic slow release sweetness (no one noticed honey taste at all).

For flavouring, I used a 150g bar of Green & Black’s organic dark chocolate, melted in a pan over another pan of boiling water, and blended into the cake mix. I also dribbled melted Green & Black’s chocolate on the cooled cake.

Cake mixture in fluted tin belonging to my grandma

I blended all the ingredients together with my trusty £20 hand-blender and poured the cake mixture into a fluted tin that once belonged to my grandmother. (When my mother gave me her cake tins recently, she said: “It feels like the royal abdication.”).


I served the cake with Biona organic sour cherries from a jar for the adults.
Slice of chocolate bean cake with unsweetcherries from a  jar



Everyone who tasted the cake pronounced it a success.

And no one guessed the mystery ingredient was healthy wholefood beans! Happy child sitting on low table eating healthy bean cakeTwo-year old enjoying my choco bean cake





 Organix #NoJunk Challenge badge

And….Join the #NoJunk Challenge!

Hey, I have just entered this blog post in the Organix #NoJunk Challenge Blog Hop…fingers crossed!

Pecan banana bread made with ground nuts not flour

Banana bread + organic creme fraiche + Better Food Spicy Apple and Citrus Preserve

Experiment: Spoke a first draft instead of writing it. Took me five minutes. Could this be the way forward?

Here is what I said (with few amends).

Due to a delicate digestion, I think a lot about how I feel after what I have eaten.

The food is delicious. But how does it sit in my gut?

So I was interested to read in Natural Lifestyle an article by nutritionist Christine Bailey about healing the inflamed gut. A new idea. Is it possible?

The article recommended homemade yogurt (I am a believer), and well-cooked vegetables with meat broth, avoiding all grains.

The article gave a recipe for banana bread using ground pecan nuts instead of flour. No sugar. Honey instead.

Finding-out how to grind the nuts was a mission.

I even bought a new hand blender. I drove myself and the assistant at Kitchens mad questioning the nut-grinding function of every machine and found all nuts when ground eventually go to a paste because of the heat.

So it seemed nut-grinding might be a Shangri-La illusion.

So I bought my £30 Philips hand blender with a grinding attachment and further research found freezing the nuts might stop them getting too oily too fast.

I froze the nuts. I used the nut blender attachment, I found with short burts and not expecting too much fineness, I ground the nuts. It worked.

Pecan nuts are more expensive than flour. Nuts are more expensive than flour.

Here is Christine Bailey‘s recipe. I changed it: got rid of the baking agents, using eggs to make it rise, and two bananas instead of one. It filled one small and one big loaf tin. You could substitute the pecans for other ground nuts.

Grind/blend 10 1/2 oz (300g) frozen pecan nuts. A cinnamon stick adds grit to oily nuts. Add 2 tsp ground cinnamon to ground nuts. Whizz four eggs until airy then whizz with two tablespoons of olive oil (I used melted ghee butter) and one large or two small ripe banana until airy and smooth. Combine gently with nuts and cinnamon. Pour into two oiled loaf tins. Bake 180C Gas Mark 4 for 40 minutes until firm to touch. 

The banana bread tasted a bit worthy and I did go non-vegan spreading it with organic butter.

It must be noted, it was easy to eat, not sickly-eating sweetness

and afterwards my gut felt good.

It would not have been so happy with the grain.

The banana bread is a keeper but it does need a spread and I wonder what you might add to luxuriate the baked bread.

And have you grappled with nut-grinding?

Orange almond wheat-free cake

This cake meets Winkler criteria: easy-to-make, nutritious, delicious.

Fresh-tasting (from the citrus fruit) and so moist – unbelievable because it is fat-free too – no oil or marge or butter used.

[line added thanks to Grazing Kate’s comment below]

I’d eaten it at a special birthday. But how to replicate it? So, I did a Google search for: “oranges almond cake” and up came the recipes. Don’t you just love the internet?

I gave Anthony Worral Thompson’s version a miss. Too complicated.

Here is my organic version of the brilliantly simple one at Mumsnet using four ingredients.

The cast assembled: cooked oranges in food processor, ground almonds and eggs wait in the wings. The fourth ingredient, sugar, missed the photo-shoot.

The recipe

3 oranges or 5 satsumas

Why chose organic oranges? Organic fruit grows at its own pace with less water and more nutrients. In contrast, chemical fertiliser’s rapid growth makes for sappy, disease-prone, more watery, bland tasting crops.

Additionally, because this recipe uses the whole orange including the peel, another good reason to prefer citrus grown without potentially toxic chemicals.

250g ground almonds

Almonds have less carbs and are more nutrition than wheat. Their price has risen because there are not enough bees to pollinate the almond flowers due to the effects of industrial farming on bees’ health. In contrast organic farming saves the bees. Organic almonds won’t have been sprayed with potentially toxic sprays during growing and storage. Kinder to bees, too.

200g sugar (experiment with less)

– or 125g of organic agave syrup which has a low GI, releasing sugar more slowly into bloodstream. It’s worth getting organic because the processing method retains more of the agave nutrients.

6 eggs

from happy, free-roaming, chickens fed on GM-free grain. Organic certification guarantees all of the former. However, if you know your hens, organic certification is less crucial. Personally I believe organic is the norm and chemical farming is the system that should be certified. But hey.

Boil the oranges or satsumas with a lid on until the peel is soft – about an hour.

Drain the fruit and whizz in a food processor, pith and pips and skin – easy as hell and adds fibre and orangey-ness

Add ground almonds and sugar (or agave) and whizz.

Add six eggs and whizz.

Pour the orangey-puree in two lined 15cm tins and bake at 190c for 45 mins – 1 hour depending on your oven. Mine got burnt on the top so I might experiment with a slightly lower heat. Flan tins seemed to work fine.

Turn out and serve with creme fraiche – organic, preferably, so you get more nutrition for your money. The cows lead happier lives too. And organic soil is nurtured and renewed to feed future generations.

Talking about organic, I am going to the Soil Association conference in Manchester next week, reporting for Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen.

PS August 2012 – This cake is such a winner. Here it is filled with organic creme fraiche, covered with melted organic dark chocolate, and topped with cherries for Armiche’s (our Canarian cousin) birthday.