Too Good to Resist Brownie


Week two of my current Infant Massage course and we’re onto the sweet stuff! I haven’t made this brownie for a few years as it really is too good (and hard) to resist!! Even without having to worried about dietary requirements this vegan and gluten free brownie is still my favourite ….. even the apprentice baker in the house has given it their seal of approval. This is may be the only recipes I make which involves accurate measurement and baking temperature but the results are so worth the extra effort. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’m more of a slap, dash, one pot/bowl kind of baker so the fact that I have made an exception with repeatedly making this recipe may give you an idea of how delicious this brownie is 🙂

From Novemember 2020 ……. Well it’s been a very long time since I have been on here. Life just seems to have ticked along and without any Infant Massage course mamas to nourish I haven’t really been doing that much baking.

Checking out the Manawatu over the long weekend here in NZ

It is the first time I have had lots of allergies in the class so my planned chocolate cookies were out and I needed to find a good alternative. Start the internet search for something just as chocolatey! Thankfully Loving it Vegan came to the rescue with their awesome Vegan Gluten Free Brownie recipe

I have to say that this is the best brownie I have had in a long time – both before and after becoming vegan. Even the non-vegans in and around the house were fighting to get a piece of this delicious stuff 😉 While it is vegan and gluten free it is far, far, far from being sugar free! Probably best baked when you have a crowd to feed as it is very hard to resist having ‘just one more piece’.

Delicious vegan and gluten free brownie

I haven’t made any changes to this recipe however as there is quite a lot of ads and writing before the recipe appears on Loving it Vegan, I thought I would share it here as I used it and highlight some key parts.

The original blog post has both cup and weight measurements however I found that my NZ cup measures didn’t equal the South African weights given. For best results I just went with weights which is what I’ll share below along with the NZ options for great vegan chocolate ….. Whittakers of course 🙂

Another thing I learnt when trialing this recipe was that you need a tin that can separate (expandable ones are perfect). The brownie is very dense and heavy so trying to remove it from the tin only resulted in ripped paper and broken up brownie …. much to themselves delight I must say. Thankfully I had just such a tin that I picked up in a second hand shop ages ago that expands from a square tin to a rectangle. If you can’t find one or don’t have one then the circular tins with the removable bottom would be the best bet.

The last bit of vital information is to know the actual temperature of your oven. When I first cooked this brownie it came out a bit too gooey so taking the advice from the blog I got my trusty oven thermometer out – thanks Linette 🙂 – and checked where things were at. The inside oven temp was about 30C below what the dial said so once I cranked it up a bit and retested we were good to go. Of course you can just bake it a bit longer too 🙂

So without anymore chatter onto the recipe ……

Vegan GF brownie

  • 272gm GF flour (I used Edmonds)
  • 84gm cocoa powder
  • 400gm white sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tb instant coffee
  • 240ml soy buttermilk (240ml regular soy milk and 1Tb fresh lemon juice combined and left to curdle)
  • 240ml coconut oil (240gm of hard coconut oil melted … but you do need to scrap all of the melted oil from the pot)
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 88gm vegan chocolate chunks (Whittakers Dark Ghana smashed up)
  • 88gm vegan chocolate chips (Pak n Save have these)

– Pre heat the oven to 180 C (check your oven temp and adjust if necessary)

– Mix the soy milk and lemon juice and leave to curdle

– In a separate bowl combine all the sugar, flour, cocoa, coffee salt and baking powder and mix well

– Add melted coconut oil and vanilla essence to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined

– Add buttermilk and mix well

– Add chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. Mix well.

– Pour into a lined square tin (preferably one that you can separate)

– Bake for 40 mins or until the top cracks and only thing on the cake tester is possibly chocolate.

– Leave to cool for 15 mins before removing from the tin then put on a cooling rack.

RESIST the urge to slice and eat now …. it is so much better completely cold – we know, we tried 🙂

– When the brownie is completely cooled then cut into pieces with a hot knife.

Well that is it for this week ….. see you next time I’m inspired to get into the kitchen 🙂



Sweet treats


For a long time now I have been trying to make vegan meringues. I say trying because aside from an initial failed attempt when I was sugar free I have thought about this more than actually doing anything. So, with Christmas coming up and the vegans in the house trying to think of yummy stuff we can indulge in, vegan meringues have come onto my radar again.

Mum had traditionally made meringues with themselves whenever we went there for Christmas …. well they watched and got to lick the egg beater afterwards which is probably the best way to bake if you ask me! But since those times, himself and I have become vegan and Mum is no longer with us. So, meringues (and pavlova but that is another topic) have been dropped from the menu for quite awhile.

This year though I decided to change that and with a tin of chickpeas in hand I began to look up vegan meringue recipes. Last time, without sugar, my meringues didn’t set hard and definitely still tasted very chickpea flavoured. Not such a delicious dessert it has to be said. It was clearly a memory etched into himself’s head as he actually tried to dissuade me from even trying them again! Not one to be deterred easily though, once my mind was set on something, I stumbled on. Thanks to the internet and The Plant Based School I found a quick and easy recipe to follow …. you must know my style by now don’t you 🙂 Just aquafaba (chickpea juice from the can) and sugar whizzed together and then baked.

On the tray ready to bake

I have to say that all was going pretty well and I was feeling pretty smug. That is until I realized our new gas oven won’t stay at a low enough temperature! With a bit of fiddling we managed to get it under the minimum setting and continued with fingers crossed. The results? Well, they weren’t too bad in the end though maybe a little browner than a usual meringue. Himself was impressed (so was I just quietly) and we counted it a success. The only thing was what do you put with them? They were super sweet so needed something less sweet to balance them and obviously the usual cream accompaniment was out. The problem resolved itself fairly quickly though in the fact that himself gobbled them up before I came up with any feasible ideas.

I wasn’t that convinced about having the meringues as a dessert even with himself saying otherwise. Then I was reminded of a dessert my Mum made one time she stayed with us which involved meringue, custard and fruit. Maybe this would be a better option for our Christmas dessert. With rhubarb in season it would be the perfect balance to all that sugar. I hadn’t actually made it by myself, I have to say. When Mum did make it with me I had an almost two year old ‘helping’ and was pregnant with our second so the memory of it was a bit scratchy to say the least. This didn’t stop me sharing the recipe with family though so I thought I should probably give it a go myself.

Another internet search for vegan custard and we were away laughing, so to speak. Basically the recipe is a layering of fruit, cold custard and uncooked meringue which then gets baked in the oven at a low temperature (30mins at 120C). Mum had peaches in hers but as I mentioned I thought it needed a bit of balancing with something less sweet. The local markets obliged nicely with some fresh rhubarb which I stewed up minus sugar (our usual way of having it) and then got the custard brewing so both of them could have time to cool. The final steps were whizzing the meringue up and layer it all before baking. The result wasn’t that great to look at (I’m blaming the temperature of my oven again for the brown top and the fact that vegan custard is white rather than yellow) but the taste was great and a win all round.

Not the prettiest but the taste made up for it

Because I don’t really want to be in the kitchen all day on Christmas day I’ve decided that instead of the baked version I am going to do an ‘Eton Mess’ style in a glass. I’ll make the meringues the day before … and hide them! … along with the stewed fruit and custard. Then on the day people can just stack and layer how they like into a glass. Well that is the plan anyway 🙂

As I write this ‘recipe’ I do wonder why I actually write about food on here. I’m certainly not the greatest of chefs that is for sure and I certainly don’t have all the brightest and best gadgets nor all the best solutions. I guess though I’m trying to share that if I can do it and have some fun then so can you! Thank goodness for all those real foodies out there is all I can say!

Hope this finds you experimenting and enjoying the luxury of having enough to eat.



All things sweet


So the recipe this week is surely the furthest I can get from becoming healthy, being vegan, gluten free or sugar free!  Out of the five weeks of baking I do for the parents at Infant Massage this recipe is the most sugar laden … and probably the most irresistible of them all.  Herself also loves it when I make these because it is the one week she doesn’t have a little (vegan) brother competing for the left overs … just her father at the end of the day 🙂


Drying the covers for the upcoming class.

So as the covers (from the duvet that everyone sits/lies on) have been washed and are getting blown dry on the line ready for Wednesday’s class I thought I would share what I made last week for everyone. They are in hot demand and so in between guarding cookies from certain wee hands, offering them at Infant massage and letting herself and her father enjoy the leftovers I only just remembered about a photo as the last few were about to be devoured  ……. herself did suggest that I make more so you could all see a full batch, fresh and warm, though I have declined that offer 🙂


Even this photo was hard to get with little hands trying to nab them!

It is actually thanks to herself that we have this recipe as she found it many years ago when researching how the chocolate chip came into existence ….. Thanks Ruth Wakefield …. so I guess it is only fair that she gets the spoils.  It has been a rare treat ever since and having two vegans on the bus has made it even rarer and it has been over a year now since these beauties were fragrancing -yes, it is a real word – our wee bus.

Though it is sugar laden you can reduce some of this by using 90% chocolate or reducing the sugar if you are so inclined.  You can also add in some nuts to replace some of the chocolate.  Another version I have tried was with white chocolate, which I bought by mistake, which everyone loved.  I’ll leave it to you to play with and enjoy though I’d love to hear about any good variations you find.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 

This is half the original recipe and still makes around 45 biscuits.

1 1/8 Cup Flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

125 gm softened butter (1/2 Cup)

3/4 Cup raw/brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 large egg

1 Cup of broken up dark chocolate (the darker the better and the less sugar). One block is more than enough.

  • Pre-heat oven to 190 C
  • Melt the butter and beat with the sugar until blended
  • Add the egg and vanilla essence, mixing well.
  • Mix in the flour and baking soda.
  • Add chocolate in and stir well into the dough
  • Drop teaspoon sized balls of dough onto a lined tray (baking paper is good).  They will flatten and expand on baking so leave room for this
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies begin to flatten and brown.
  • Cool on a wire rack …. if you can wait that long!!

Hope this finds you enjoying life’s sweet treats, happy, healthy and content.



Vegan goodness


So our latest culinary challenge, sorry, adventure has been delving into the world of veganism as our youngest has decided that he is now Vegan.  He has always been a bit of a picky eater around meat and is constantly worried about animal welfare so it really didn’t come as a huge shock when he announced a month ago that he was vegetarian and then followed up a week later with ‘ I think I’ll give being a vegan a try.’


The last few pieces of our vegan shortbread.

It actually hasn’t been that bad and if anything it has been awesome not having him tempted by all the rubbishy chocolate treats that abound in every shop.  There are 2 main stumbling blocks I have hit so far though; 1) Eating out and 2) Baking.  Eating out is a bit of a mine field as it seems every thing is out on the children’s menu … have you noticed how every kid’s menu is deep fried meat of some description … and most things suitable on the adult menu are either too spicy or so expensive it makes us think twice. Thankfully we don’t eat out that much, the thought it takes is beyond my mental powers at the moment, and when we do venture out at least he is having a fairly healthy meal unlike before.

Which brings us to the second point ….. soooo many recipes rely on eggs (well the ones I currently make anyway) and even though we are pretty good at replacing the dairy it is taking me a while to get my head around using egg replacements (chia seeds and water is the main one I’m using at the moment).  I have been doing the research though to ensure that we get all the good bits into him and thanks to some great Vegan recipe books from the local library  I have found some great savoury and sweet baking ideas to keep everyone (well half of us to be honest) happy.  The one recipe that has been made the most so far is courtesy of Jennifer Katzinger’s Flying Apron Gluten Free and Vegan Baking Book.  This delicious ‘Vegan Shortbread’ (my name for it as I have returned the book and forgot the name sorry) is so easy and so delicious that I’m sure you’ll be whipping it up numerous times too.

flying apron

What I’m putting below is a half recipe of what is printed in the book as I found that was more than enough.  I also cut it into more squares than the recipe in the book indicates as we found it very rich and a little square of it was enough.  If you enjoy this recipe though I would recommend checking out the whole recipe book as has so many more delicious things to make. 😉

Vegan shortbread

  • 1 & 3/8 cups Rice Flour
  • a grind of salt
  • 1/2 Cup of coconut oil
  • 3/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

– Preheat the oven to 190C (375F)

– Melt the coconut oil and then add the maple syrup

– Blend all the ingredients together.

– Pour and flatten the mixture into a baking paper lined baking dish

– Bake for 15 – 20 min or until the edges are slightly brown

– Remove from the oven and cut into squares while it is still warm in the tin

– Slide onto a cooling rack and break into separate pieces when it is fully cooled.

– Enjoy!

Well that is it from me on a cold and snow predicted evening. I hope this finds you all warm, healthy and enjoying life at whatever temperature you have it at. 😉