Sticky Gingerbread Paleo Muffins


All week I have been craving gingerbread.  It must be the time of year, all those posters for gingerbread lattes.  I had a hunt around for some healthy/gluten-free gingerbread muffin recipes but nothing looked too exciting, or healthy, so I made this up as I went along.  Not to be too smug or anything, but these are INCREDIBLE!! The whole house smelt amazing and so festive whilst I was baking them, too.  These little beauties are free from gluten, grains, dairy and refined sugar, and full of nourishment and protein.  Which mean you can eat all 6, obvs.


These muffins are really light and fluffy and not at all dense like a lot of paleo or gluten free cakes. The molasses/treacle also makes them gloriously sticky and sweet. I have tried baking with coconut flour before but had some serious disasters. Less is definitely more as it’s quite binding.  Secondly, the whisked egg whites make all the difference to the texture. I try to avoid recipes which require whisking egg whites separately as I’m essentially far too lazy, but I’ve begrudgingly come to the conclusion it is more than worth the effort and the extra washing up.    Don’t hold back on the spices when you make these, you want them to be full of flavour.


RECIPE (makes 6 muffins)

2 large eggs

2 1/2 tbsps coconut flour

1/2 cup (50g) ground almonds

2 tsps ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tbsps coconut oil

2 tbsps dark treacle/molasses

2 tbsps maple syrup



1. Preheat oven to 160C fan and line a muffin tray with cases.  Melt coconut oil, treacle and maple syrup gently over a low heat until combined and syrupy.

2. Separate eggs.  In a spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the whites until soft peaks form.

3. In a second large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Add egg yolks, vanilla essence and slightly cooled oil/syrup mixture.  It smells amazing when you mix it all together.

4. Stir through 1 tbsp egg white to loosen the mixture, and then fold through the remaining egg white.

5. Divide between cases and bake in middle of oven for approx 20 minutes until they feel lovely and springy and a skewer comes out clean.

6. Allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

These will keep for several days in an airtight tin. But they probably won’t last that long.


Earl Grey Tea Loaf with Marmalade Glaze


Happy Half Term!  I hope you’ve all survived.  We’ve had a lovely quiet week not doing much, which I think we all needed.  One afternoon I was even lucky enough to ditch the kids with daddy and escape ON MY OWN!!  My lovely friend and fellow blogger Lauren over at Black Dog Living invited me along with her to celebrate Teapigs 10th Birthday.  We got to sample lots of lovely teas including their new limited edition Jelly and Ice Cream Tea, and eat cake.  It was amazing! We got to drink whole cups of tea, hot, and talk to other grown ups, with no kiddy interruptions.  I couldn’t quite believe I was at a day time party with no children or creepy entertainers, and no crying over Pass The Parcel.  In fact, the only crying was from us when we had to head home.


As a Northener, I like a good strong cuppa with now’t messed around with.  And I think I have fallen in love with their Everyday Brew.  Sadly, it’s not cheap, so I will be saving it for special occasions (and hangovers, it would definitely blast a hangover away).  I do like herbal and fruit teas, too, but I often find they smell incredible but taste flat.  So, I wasn’t expecting much from the Jelly and Ice Cream tea, if I’m honest, but it was fantastic! It really does tastes as good as it smells.  Apparently, I now know, this is because Teapigs use the the whole leaf and whole spices and flowers.  Other tea bags tend to just contain dried up sawdusty bits and bobs, hence they lack the same flavour punch. You can find out more here About Teapigs

All those lovely tea flavours inspired me to try and incorporate them in a recipe.  So here is my Breakfast Bread. The tea gives it a rich flavour and also keeps the loaf lovely and moist.  I’ve used Apple purée and a tiny bit of honey to sweeten this naturally.  and, of course, it is gluten and dairy free. It’s a winner! Eat on its own or slathered with cold butter!



Gluten dairy and sugar free Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Earl Grey Tea Loaf with Marmalade Glaze 


275g dried fruit (I used cranberries, raisins, sultanas and dried apricots)

300ml Teapigs Earl Grey Strong Tea (I used one tea bag, if using another brand you might need 2 tea bags)

zest of 1/2 orange (or lemon)

75g or 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

75g or 3/4 cup ground almonds

100g Apple & pear purée (I use Hipp purée pots)

5 tbsps melted coconut oil or butter

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

11/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

3 medium organic eggs

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1-2 tbsps honey


100ml Teapigs Earl Grey Strong Tea

2 tbsps St Dalfour Orange Spread (this is pure fruit and sugar free) or Marmalade

zest of 1/2 orange, thickly pared if possible



1. Oil and line a loaf tin and preheat oven to 170C fan.

2. Place dried fruit and orange zest in pan and pour over hot tea.  Bring to boil, cover and remove from heat.   Leave for 5 minutes so the fruit soaks up the tea and becomes nice and plump and juicy.  Alternatively, you can soak for several hours or overnight.

3. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre and crack eggs into it.  Whisk eggs well with a fork, trying not to incorporate the dry ingredients too much.  Whisk in melted oil, then vinegar and honey.  Mix well.

4. Stir in cooled dried fruit and Apple purée.

5.  Pour into lined tin and bake for approx 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.


When your loaf is almost ready, make your glaze.

1. Place tea and marmalade into a pan, along with thickly pared orange zest. Bring to boil and simmer strongly for about 5 minutes or until a syrupy consistency.

2. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes or so. Use a cocktail stick to make holes all over top of cake.  Pour glaze on top and allow cake to cool in tin.

Gluten-free dairy-free Italian Chocolate Cake


So I’ve recently come out of the closet and confessed that I am a secret blogger. It was a huge thing to put myself out there and tell everyone what I’m doing, I’m not particularly comfortable in the limelight.  Unless I’ve had a bottle of prosecco, but that’s another story… Surprisingly, people have been amazingly supportive, to my face anyway.  I’m not sure what I expected, to be honest, but certainly not the lovely reaction I have had.  The other thing I didn’t expect was for people to actually want to cook my recipes and ask me for recommendations!!

This morning, a Blog Fan (OK, it was my best friend from school) asked for a lactose-free gluten-free dessert she could make for family gatherings as she has a pesky allergic relative.  I can’t resist a bit of bait like that and immediately the cogs were turning.  The main challenge, as I saw it, is what can you make as a one-off if you are not intolerant yourself?  Something that doesn’t involve you buying weird allergy-friendly ingredients that are expensive and will lurk in your cupboard taking up valuable biscuit space for the next 6 months.  And, it needs to be tasty enough for the non-lactose or gluten dodgers to enjoy it and not feel cheated out of a good pud.

So here it is, a traditional Italian Chocolate Torta Caprese.  This is a traditional chocolate cake from the island of Capri, made with dark chocolate and ground almonds.  It is really easy to make, delicious, rich, chocolatey and moist.  And, mainly, something I always love in free-from recipes, is its not a substitute.  It’s a stand-alone gorgeous cake that was supposed to be made this way, not a list of substitutions that make it almost as nice as it should be.  It does contain sugar, but I have reduced the quantity so it’s not too sweet, and, considering the rest of the cake consists of nuts and eggs, it packs quite a protein punch so shouldn’t hit your blood sugar too hard.


Now, according to my extensive research (google) there seem to be two different ways to make a Torta Caprese.  You can chop the chocolate very finely so that this is a marbled, fudgy, choc chip sort of affair, or melt it. The first time I made this, I chopped it, second time I melted it and much preferred that option. The third time, I did what any sensible person would do and did both! Amazing!


Traditionally, this is dredged with icing sugar but I thought that was a bit dated, plus icing sugar isn’t the healthiest option.  Instead, I dusted over a little cocoa and made some dark chocolate curls to scatter over the top. You can never have enough chocolate!  In fact, if I was making this for a dinner party I would probably add an extra 25g of chopped dark chocolate, but that would make it very rich, be warned!!

I’m going to experiment with this recipe. I have a feeling it would be beautiful with ginger or organge flavoured dark chocolate or made with half ground hazelnuts/half almonds.


Chopped chocolate version



Melted choc version

INGREDIENTS (makes 24cm round cake, serves about 10)

200g dark chocolate (I used Green & Blacks 70% dark)

250g ground almonds

5 large organic eggs

175g sugar (I used unrefined dark muscavado as its less processed and nice and fudgy, but any sugar would be fine)

100g coconut oil OR 100ml olive oil (or melted butter if you can have it) plus extra for oiling tin.

1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

pinch salt

cocoa for dusting (optional)



1. Preheat oven to 170C fan.  Generously oil and line a 24cm round tin with baking paper.

2. First, if you can be bothered with this part, make your chocolate shavings. Turn large bar of chocolate over so smooth side is facing upwards, pull a large knife firmly towards you, the chocolate should curl up. Keep going until you have a handful or so. Set aside in a cool place. Alternatively, skip to next step.


2. Chop 50g of the chocolate finely (see picture above).  I chopped some very finely and left some chocolate-chip sort of size so there was a mixture of textures.  You could also pulse it in a food processor.

3. Melt 150g chocolate in a bain-marie or microwave.  Once melted, add coconut or olive oil. Allow to cool slightly.

3. Meanwhile, separate eggs into two bowls.  In a spotlessly clean bowl, whisk whites until they form stiff peaks.


4. With the same whisk (you don’t need to clean it in between so long as you have whisked whites first) beat yolks with sugar until pale and creamy.  Add vanilla essence and salt. Mix in tepid (it mustn’t be hot or it will scramble the eggs!) chocolate and oil mixture.

5. Next, mix ground almonds and then chopped chocolate into egg yolk mixture.  Carefully fold in egg whites, about a third at a time, until fully incorporated. No streaks of egg white please!

6. Pour into tin and bake for about 50 minutes a skewer almost comes out clean and it is firm to the touch.

7. Allow cake to cool in tin. Once cool, serve as it is or dust with cocoa and pile chocolate shavings on top, if using.

Enjoy on its own or with cream/soya/ coconut cream. This cake just gets better and better as it gets more moist after a day or two thanks to the almonds, so it’s great to make in advance.






Spinach Cupcakes – yes really!


My 7 year old daughter is beyond excited for Halloween this year.  She always enjoys it, but this year I have been coerced into buying loads of decorations already and she would like us to have a party.  Arghhh, that means I really need to tidy my house!  In fact, I probably just need to nuke it.  Anyway, all this Halloween excitement got me wondering how I can make Halloween a little healthier. Trick or Treat is all about the sweets and chocolate… Imagine if you presented a bowl of fruit to a crowd of trick or treaters unfortunate enough to knock on your door?  It’s not going to happen, is it?  But, maybe we can make it a little bit more nutritious and give the kids a bit less of a crack-cocaine sugar rush? And definitely cut out the artificial colourings where possible.

First-stop, cupcakes.   Inspired by a big bag of spinach and my Sugar Free Buckwheat Banana Muffins recipe, I decided to see if I could make some  ghoulish cupcakes that were sugar-free, gluten-free and lactose-free… Ta-da!


INGREDIENTS (makes 12 large cupcakes or approx. 16 medium sized)

50g or 1/2 cup ground almonds

75g or 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 heaped tbsp coconut flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 large eggs

150g spinach

1 banana

1 tsp vanilla essence

1\4 cup or 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup or 4 tbsp honey/maple syrup (I use a mixture of both)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar


1. Blend spinach, banana, eggs and vanilla essence until smooth.

2. Sift flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add ground almonds and pour in spinach mixture.

3. Melt coconut oil and honey/maple syrup together in saucepan. Allow to cool slightly and then mix with rest of ingredients. Add apple cider vinegar (it will bubble up when you add the vinegar).

4. Spoon into cake cases, fill them quite high as the mixture doesn’t rise a huge amount.

5. Bake at 170C for 15-18 minutes until nice and springy and a skewer comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack.



Now, the icing I used is not sugar free. In an ideal world I would make a sugar free frosting, but I reasoned I had done pretty well with the cupcakes and life is possibly a bit too short for sugar-free icing.  They are perfectly nice without a topping, see pic below.  If you want to make a sugarfree icing, instead whip the coconut cream with a tablespoon or two of raw honey (it is much thicker than pasteurised honey or maple syrup, which would make it far too runny) I have tried to keep my icing from being too sweet with some sugar substituted for coconut flour.



100g unsalted organic butter, dairy free spread or a tin of coconut cream (you can buy small tins of this or refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight, turn upside down and open, pour off liquid and you will be left with coconut cream)

75g icing sugar

2 heaped tbsp coconut flour (optional, just makes it less sugary)

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp favourite milk or water (only if you are using butter)

1 tsp matcha green tea powder


1. Allow butter to come to room temperature so that it is soft enough to whisk.  Alternatively, refrigerate coconut cream or milk for several hours or overnight. Whip butter/spread/coconut cream on medium for 1 minute until smooth and creamy.

2. Add coconut flour and 1/3 sugar and whisk well, continue to add sugar in thirds until well incorporated and icing is light and fluffy. Whisk in vanilla and milk, if using.  Alternatively, for a sugar-free version, whisk in some raw honey to taste.

3. When you are happy with flavour and consistency, whisk in matcha tea powder, using more or less until you have reached desired shade of ghoulish green.

And decorate! I had a go at making some dark chocolate spiders with a piping bag, they need much more practice! I also forgot to refrigerate them before peeling them off the baking paper so they broke easily – don’t make that mistake!!  Below, I also made some bloodshot eyeballs out of giant white chocolate buttons, sugar free 10o% fruit spread with a dark choc chip pupil, and poppy seeds made brilliant black sprinkles.

I still  can’t quite believe how colourful and vivid these cakes naturally are. My daughter was amazed by them, and for once she was free of criticism, hurrah!

Pear and Almond Crumble

I have had pears in my organic fruit and veg box for the last 3 weeks running. Lots of them. There are only so many we can eat. So, I’ve been trying to be creative. Last night we had pork loin steaks pan fried with a sprinkling of fennel seeds, baked sweet potato and broccoli, and I threw a thickly sliced pear into the pan with the pork for the last few minutes. Yum. Pork and pears is delicious. If you don’t believe me, you must try Jamie Oliver’s Pork, Pear and Parsnip recipe Here.  Anyway, that used up one pear, so I was still left with a fruitbowl-full. So I decided to make a crumble.

My crumble is gluten and sugar free, but of course.  I did ponder putting a bit of sugar into the crumble mixture. I thought honey or maple syrup would make it too soggy and distinctly non crumbly. I often wonder why some “sugar free” recipes might contain 1/2 a bottle of maple syrup or a cup of honey. What’s the point?  Cutting sugar out of your diet is not about swapping it for another sweetener. It’s about re-training your tastebuds and improving your health with a lower GI diet.  Yes, processed white sugar is the worst form of sugar, but anything very sweet, such as honey or a ton of dried dates made into a ‘raw brownie’  will also effect your blood sugar, adrenal system and waistline. They are less bad for you, rather than good for you, Is one way to think of it.  Anyway *clims back off soapbox* I try to make my cooking low in any form of sugar where I can. And so by the same token, I have no issue with using a spoonful of really good, organic muscavado or Demerara sugar here and there.  I hope that makes sense, it does to me anyway 🤔

So, without further ado, here is the recipe, handmade by me and t’kids this afternoon.  Feel free to add any other fruit you like: a handful of juicy blackberries or an apple or two would be lovely.


INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

6 medium sized pears, fairly ripe or thereabouts

1 100g pot Hipp organic pear & apple purée (optional)

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla essence/paste/seeds

1/4 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

50g oats

75g ground almonds

2 tbsps butter or coconut oil

25g pumpkin seeds

optional: 25g chopped walnuts or pecans (My kids aren’t big fans, so I often just add these to my own bowl later)

good pinch salt

OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp muscavado, demerera or coconut sugar



1. Preheat oven to 180C.  Chop your pears into various sizes. You want some to have a bit of texture (about 1 inch slices) and some to reduce down to form a sauce (about 1cm).  Cook on a low heat with a splash of water, the honey, vanilla and half of the cinnamon for about 5 minutes until soft… ish. How much cooking they will need depends on how ripe they are, so use your judgement. If you’re using it, stir through your purée, it makes a nice sauce.

2. Meanwhile, spread oats out onto a baking try. They are crispier and have more flavour toasted and are easier to digest.  Cook in oven for about 6-7 mins, keep an eye on them, you just want them just starting to turn golden and toasty.

3. Allow oats to cool slightly, mix with almonds and rub butter or oil in to form a breadcrumb type texture. Stir through sugar (if using), salt, seeds/nuts and rest of cinnamon.

4. Top fruit with crumble mixture and bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream, custard, coconut yoghurt… If it’s not quite sweet enough, drizzle with a little honey, maple syrup or even (ssshhh!) a sprinkling of sugar. I always add a handful of extra walnuts to mine, just because I love walnuts.


Sugar Free Buckwheat Banana Muffins

These muffins are genuinely sugar free. Not sugar free but actually contain half a bottle of maple syrup or a cup of honey, or 1kg of dried dates, but genuinely 100% bona fide no added sweeteners. They are also wheat, gluten and lactose free. Hurrah! And… my kids actually even eat them. Can you believe it?!

I love adding fruit purée to my baking, it’s such an easy way to increase fibre and nutrients, but also makes everything more moist and full of flavour. What’s not to like? Use as ripe-as-possible bananas for this. This recipe also makes a great banana loaf, just bake in a lined tin for 45-50 minutes.

P.S. Don’t be put off by the vinegar, you can’t taste it, it’s there as a raising agent. Promise.


RECIPE (makes 10 cupcake size)

4 ripe bananas (medium or thereabouts)

3 eggs

4 tbsps melted coconut oil

2 tsps vanilla extract

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 tsps cinnamon

2 tsps mixed spice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Optional – 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans/walnuts/pumpkin seeds

Optional – 1/4 cup chopped dates


1. Preheat oven to 170C (fan oven)

2. Whisk together wet ingredients.

3. Mash bananas into wet mixture.

4. Sift in buckwheat flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and add almonds. Fold in gently, ensuring all ingredients are well incorporated.

5. If using, stir through nuts and dates. As a yummy and very pretty alternative, you can add the nut and date mixture to the top of the cake mixture after you have put it into the tin, see picture of loaf I made below. To prevent it browning too quickly, mix with a little melted coconut oil to coat, and scatter over the mixture before baking.

6. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean (longer for larger cupcake cases and 45-50 mins for a loaf. The loaf may need foil on top for the last few minutes if you use the nut topping and it starts to brown too quickly).

Enjoy warm with a mug of tea!