Breakfast Beauty Jar

 “In 2016 it is my mission to improve the condition of my skin, nails, hair and creative brain NATURALLY. I have spent a small fortune on all sorts of lotions and potions and never found that ‘magic tonic’. So I’m putting away my wallet and getting out my mixing bowl. Through exploring my love of healthy dessert making, I will be feeding myself beautiful (hopefully). Follow my diary of tailor made desserts, baked snacks and Breakfast recipes for clear skin, glossy hair and hard ass nails. Starting with…”

THE FACE

The Beauty Jar aka The Smoothie Granola jar

Turning breakfast into a one stop beauty shop!

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I can never choose what I want to eat for breakfast more. If my stomach would allow it I’d start with Homemade Granola, then Scrambled eggs with Smoked Salmon and Avocado on Rye, then a smoothie bowl of frozen fruit and veggies with all the toppings, then I would finish with a stack of buckwheat pancakes with cascading berries and dripping almond butter. For this next post I’ve up 2 of my favourite breakfasts together and used my all time favourite toppings. Fear not, I haven’t chosen to add the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. I have eaten some pretty strange concoctions in my time but…

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Why the glass? I eat with my eyes, I eat with my eyes, I eat with my eyes!! The more beautiful and special it looks the more we want to devour it. If your new years resolution is to eat healthier and that sad bowl of Muesli hasn’t got you salivating then pimp it up in your favourite glass and top it up up up!

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Feed me beautiful facts  – What’s it good for?

Blueberries – Helps to prevent signs of aging. The mass of antioxidants in this mighty fruit kick some serious Free Radical ass (Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules created in the body from pollution, smoking, fried food). WHAM!

Spinach – Helps you ditch that frown and relax with the right antioxidants and Vitamins to help with anxiety and good sleep, not for getting that all important collagen that keeps the skin looking plump and young. BOSH!

Yogurt – Promotes clear skin by destroying bacteria and germs in the body. POW!

Sunflower seeds – Moisturizes and gives you that glow factor  with rich vitamin E and minerals to help maintain elastin’s in the skin. OOSH!

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Breakfast Beauty Jar

This recipe is for 1 but double it up like I did for 2.

Bottom layer – Thick Smoothie Feed me beautiful facts  

2 handfuls Frozen Blueberries

2 Handfuls of Spinach

6 tbsp Water/Almond milk

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Middle LayerYogurt

Full fat Greek Yogurt or any delicious thick dairy free Yogurt

Middle Layer 2Granola for one or double it and share

4 tbsp Oats

2 tsp of seeds (I went for one Pumpkin and one Sunflower seeds)

1 tsp of Mixed Spice or if you don’t have that try cinnamon ad ginger mixed.

2 tsp of ground nut oil (or coconut)

1 Tbsp of date syrup (I used this as it has a strong flavour and colour but if I didn’t have it in the house I’d go for Maple syrup).

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Topping 1Peanut vanilla Spread

1 tbsp Crunchy Peanut butter

7 Drops of Vanilla essence

1 tsp of your favourite Sweet Syrup I went for something milder than the date syrup Brown rice syrup, Maple or honey.

Tip Top – All the toppings

Raspberries

Shredded coconut

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Method

 Start with the Granola.

Pre heat your oven to 160.c. Fan 140.c

In a roasting tin throw all the ingredients together and combine well with the liquid ( I like to do it with my hands as it’s just divine to eat the mixture off your fingers when finished). It gives me a lovely sense memory of when Mum would make Granola when I was a child and Dad and I would sneak into the kitchen and eat as much as we could while her back was turned before it went into the oven.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 7 minutes

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Smoothie Makin’

In a blender add all the bottom layer smoothie ingredients.

We want it quite thick so the yogurt sits nicely on the smoothie and is easy to eat with a spoon, plus it looks lovely all layered up which is pleasing to mine eye!

Now you are ready to layer up. Using a nice clear jar or favourite glass.

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I would love to see your Breakfast beauty Jar creations – tag me or #feedmebeautiful on instagram.

Instagram – @thecakediariesofficial

Twitter – @thecakediaries1

Treat yourself well,

The Cake Diaries

xoxo

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Radiance truffles.

 “In 2016 it is my mission to improve the condition of my skin, nails, hair and creative brain NATURALLY. I have spent a small fortune on all sorts of lotions and potions and never found that ‘magic tonic’. So I’m putting away my wallet and getting out my mixing bowl. Through exploring my love of healthy dessert making, I will be feeding myself beautiful (hopefully). Follow my diary of tailor made desserts, baked snacks and Breakfast recipes for clear skin, glossy hair and hard ass nails. Starting with…”

Radiance Truffles aka Chocolate Sticky Fig Truffles

Today I’ve whipped you up a recipe to help with skin radiance using Almond and raw Cacao.

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I’m all for a life of balance. But just a week into January I’m missing those dreamy Christmas afternoons tucking into a box of special chocolates in front of the T.V (usually a praline or truffle situation). I love their velvety texture. Now I’m back to ‘real life’  and can no longer justify not seeing the light of day for days on end and living on a diet of strawberry creams and roast potatoes I am looking for a treat which makes me feel like I’m having a really special indulgent experience but doesn’t make my face look like a pin cushion and my body and mind feel like a lethargic slug. So here’s the balance bit –  Radiance Truffles aka Chocolate Sticky Figgy truffles. These feel so special with a lovely chewy texture and deep coco flavour. Plus as soon as that sweet tooth hankering begins you can whip these up in 5 minutes flat.

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Feed me Beautiful Facts Whats it good for?

Figs –  more fibre than other dried fruit helping us to feel fuller for longer. Figs have 15% less sugar than dates (so if you are watching your sugar in take you can swap out dates for figs in most recipes).

Cacoa –  Don’t get me started, (I’ll keep this short)! Big on Antioxidants which protects the skin against aging and Vitamin C which helps protect our skin. Fatty acids to help heals wounds and scars

Almonds – One of the best sources of Vitamin E – Skin radiance. Increases Energy.

Dates – Mood Regulating IMG_6830

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Makes 8  Truffles

Ingredients

80g Almonds

4 Dried Figs

4 Medjool Dates

4 tbsp. of Cacao  and a little extra for rolling (or best quality cocoa)

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Method

In a food processor blitz the nuts until ground down into a nutty flour.

Throw in the rest of the ingredients until all is well combined.

Scrape out the mixture and on a wooden board roll into 8 balls.

On a wooden board sprinkle 2 tsp of Cacoa over the surface and roll the Figgy Truffles in the cacoa.

Hay presto! You got some super food truffles in 5 mins.

Keep them in the fridge. These can be frozen for a week or so.

A treat that your face, body and mind will love, especially your taste buds!

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Currently, these go where I go!

I would love to see your radiance truffle creations tag me or #feedmebeautiful on instagram.

Instagram – @thecakediariesofficial

Twitter – @thecakediaries1

Treat yourself well,

The Cake Diaries

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Party Desserts

Processed with Moldiv

My go to party sweets

 

My party piece round up

No, I’m not talking about my ability to blow Malteasers into the air or to do the splits whilst balancing a plate on my face or my running man on the dance floor. I’m talking about the kind of treats perfect for a party.

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Mini Vanilla Doughnuts with dark and white chocolate

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It’s summer, you’ve invited friends round and it’s inevitably going to turn into a bit of a party. Forget the plates of cake balancing act. The awkward hand swapping dance, glass, plate, fork, napkin malarkey.

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Double Chocolate Cake pops

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For my events this summer I have been making treats which are pretty, fun, quick to eat and can easily be eaten while holding a glass of wine in your hand. TOP TIP! Make it small or put a stick in it and it becomes the perfect party dessert which equals less lip stick smudging! All of these desserts bar the Banana Popsicles (because they will melt) can be stored easily to take out and about or to a summer festival.

Here’s my party treats instagram round up!

Quick Banana Popsicles

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Frozen Banana, Chocolate Popsicles

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This is the perfect sweet treat for a BBQ.

Ingredients/What you need – Banana’s, 85% Dark chocolate, Walnuts and Vanilla pods, pop cake sticks or wooden skewers and baking paper.

Method – Cut ripe banana’s in half. Insert pop cake sticks or wooden skewers into the base of the banana’s about half way up so they feel secure. Store banana’s in a plastic sandwich bag sealed well and freeze over night.

Crush a handful of Walnuts. In a pan toast them over a medium. Keep an eye on the them and stir regularly to stop them from catching.

On a board with a small sharp knife slit a Vanilla pod down the middle of it’s length. Scrap out the vanilla paste out of it’s insides and add to the toasted nut. Sprinkle Cinnamon into your nutty vanilla mix and stir in.

Melt Chocolate in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan of boiled water. Keep stirring until all chocolate has melted. As soon as the chocolate has melted turn of the heat or it will burn and turn lumpy.

Dip the frozen banana’s in the chocolate and sprinkle the nutty mix over the top. Lay your decorated banana’s on a board covered with a sheet of baking parchment and stick these back in the freezer until set (about 5-10 minutes). When it’s party time  – enjoy!

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Healthy Caramel and Black bean Brownies

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If you have a little more time and friends with dietary requirements these are a great indulgent treat that look  impressive but very simple to do. Healthy, Vegan, wheat and gluten free. If you would like to make these you can find my recipe here –

http://thecakediaries.com/2015/05/14/caramel-and-chocolate-black-bean-stacks/

Enjoy your summer and pimp it up  a party with some of these festive summer treats. If you haven’t got the time and need your treats a-sap you can order from me at the Cake Diaries thecakediariesofficial@gmail.com

Treat yourself well,

Yours Truly,

THE CAKE DIARIES…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cupcake design

I love Sundays.

Sundays are for Coffee and for sharing.

Writing a baking blog and sharing my cakey adventures has become such a joyous past time, but I am not originally a blogger. I am home baker and dessert developer baking for both private celebrations and press events.

This time round I thought I’d share with you not a recipe but some of my most recent commissions.

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I was asked by the lovely folk at Tampax to design 50 bespoke cupcakes to celebrate the new Tampax Pearl edition (which you may have seen in the shops recently). After many ideas on colour, style, feel and message we went for piped roses with gorgeous sugar pearls, the Tampax Logo and the Tampax pearl hash tag #PerfectFit

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When designing a dessert it’s important for me to know about the occasion, the feel of the event, how it’s going to be eaten, when it’s going to be eaten as well as the person who’s receiving it or if it’s for a press event the type of person the product is aimed at. In this case, I wanted to know about the type of gal that buys Tampax Pearl, her lifestyle and her style. With all this info I make a kind of mood board of this person or persons that I’ve never met in my head and instinctively I create straight away. If I over think it it doesn’t seem to work as well.

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After being displayed at the event each one of these cheeky little fellas went home with a loving journalist.

This commission was brilliant fun for me as I love to decorate cakes. There I was at 3am in the morning hand designing each cupcake armed with a knife, a brush, food colouring, a piping bag and coffee!!

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In the coming months I shall be putting up cake decorating tutorials on how to pipe buttercream roses with my personal baking tips. Taking your cupcakes and layer cakes from nice to razzle dazzle.

Short and sweet! I have really enjoyed sharing some of my recent work with you and have some great Easter Commissions coming up. Next commission is for an order of my Magic Muffins but the recipe is top secret. They are gooey chocolaty goodness and whenever I’m asked to make them I always make an extra batch to give to friends or eat myself. The best thing about them is they are super healthy but feel incredibly sinful! What could be better?

Keep baking, keep designing and ”treat‘ yourself well!

Yours Truly,

The Cake Diaries xoxo

Pistachio and Rose water Shortbread hearts.

Cookie Credentials Continued….

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My Internets down and has been for the last 10 days!! My little fingers have been itching to blog about all that’s crumbly, fluffy, crispy, buttery, freshly baked, iced, diced, bouncy, moist, springy and oozing something delicious!! But alas it could not be and I have been bursting to get these Iranian inspired fancies on a page. Rose Water & Pistachio short bread Hearts.

Without the internet I have become agitated, forlorn, throwing myself on the bed and preying to the ceiling, why don’t you work? What have I done? Why can’t we sort this out? But we were so good together!!! I am constantly checking the connection like a teenager waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for the new love of my life to call and end this misery. But the internet does not love me. In fact I doubt it even remembers my name. Fine! because I have started a love affair with the internet in the café across the road. It has been good to me, dependable and has the added benefit of baked goods, coffee on tap and continuous Christmas hits that remind me remember to “rock around a Christmas tree, feed the world, that baby it’s cold outside, to stay another day, to look to the future, simply have a wonderful Christmas time, and to wish it was Christmas everydaaaayy!!”

To express my love I think it’s only apt that I share a recipe for something else I love dearly, Shortbread! So following on from my cookie credentials blog featuring my Avocado and dark chocolate all American cookie I about turn to a delicately flavoured middle eastern inspired biscuit.

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I love middle eastern sweets and they use all of my favourite nuts and spices – cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, almonds and pistachios. I wanted to do something that captures some of these flavours and pep up an old fashioned short bread recipe (which are always very popular with the family at Christmas). The short bread recipe I have chosen is a really simple one that anyone can do. Why simple? Well, I am really excited about baking and passionate about getting those who are afraid of the bake into the kitchen. Though baking can be more of an exact science than cooking shall we say,it can be simple and it can be fun! So to those I know who think of themselves as a disastrous baker be scared no more!

These make great gifts as they are very pretty and look gorgeous wrapped in Cellophane and tied with a bow. Think Christmas gift ideas. Apropos of my next blog ‘Homemade Christmas gifts’. Or a perfect ‘Thank you gift’ or just a ‘ I love you and am thinking of you gift’ which is the gift I gave my other half last week and that he took in his packed lunch to work ribbons and all. Short bread is my favourite type of biscuit and growing up with a lot of Scottish family many different types have been consumed.
There are many similar recipes out there and this is the one I use. But before we get started I’ve highlighted some BIG TIPS!

TIP 1 – I am using icing sugar as I want a more delicate biscuit which is perfect for the subtle flavours of Rose and Pistachio. Scottish short bread uses caster sugar and is more robust and crumbly.

TIP 2 – The short bread must be put in the fridge for 1 and a half hours which helps to develop flavour and helps it hold its shape.

TIP 3 – Bake in the middle of the oven exactly!! We need an even top and bottom heat for this. Bake for around 13 minutes but keep an eye on these, we want a nice even golden colour. Take them out just before the sides start to change from golden to light brown. Depending on your oven you may need to whip them out a little earlier or anything up to 15 mins.
Rose Water and Pistachio Short Bread –

For the biscuit – Makes around 12 Medium hearts.

190g Plain flour

170g unsalted Butter

90g Icing Sugar

1 large egg yolk

Pinch Salt

Pistachio’s

For the Ice –

2 tsp Rose Water (from any Middle eastern Super Market or from the foods of the world isle in Tesco).

Icing Sugar

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Method –

1 – Measure out your dry ingredients first in a large mixing bowl.

2 – Chop up your butter (room temp) and rub into dry ingredients to make bread crumbs

3 – Add the egg and form the dough. Pick it up and mould into a large ball.

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4 – Wrap the ball in cling film and set aside in the fridge for 1 and a half hours (now go and do something else for that time to stop yourself from cheating and taking it out early)

5 – Heat the oven 20 mins before you are ready to put the shortbread in at 170.C

6 – Grab yourself 2 large pieces of baking parchment. Put the dough ball between the sheets and roll out the dough on top of the top layer of the parchment to around half a centre meter thick. Cut out with a heart shape cutter (mine was around 6 cm big).IMG_3841

7 – Line a baking tray with baking Parchment add the short bread.

8 – Bake in the middle of the oven exactly!! We need an even top and bottom heat for this. Bake for around 13 minutes but keep an eye on these, we want a nice even golden colour. Take them out just before the sides start to change from golden to light brown. Depending on your oven you may need to whip them out a little earlier or anything up to 15 mins.

9 – Take out and put on a cooling rack. While cooling add 2 tsp of Rose Water in a bowl and sieve icing sugar slowly. Remember that the Rose Water is to be a subtle flavour and not like drinking a bottle of your great Aunts floral Perfume (which yes I have done by the way but I was only 5 and it just smelt so nice I thought I would just radiate it always if I consumed the bottle). So you may want to add a little tap water too. You want the icing to be runny and not watery. The constancy needs to be perfect to drizzle with so we can artistically drape our biscuits with our luxurious, pink, rose water ice. With a vintage pink food colouring or red add to the mixture to achieve the desired colour pink you want. I use Sugarflair colour paste. I think that the pastes are better than the liquid food colours you get in the supermarket. Colour paste lasts for ages and you just need a little for a big effect. If you are using paste for the first time I find it best to add the colour to the icing with a tooth pick dipped in the colour and then swirled into the icing. It always surprises me how little you need.

10 – With a teaspoon I drizzle the ice back and forth over the biscuit.

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Love the green colour of the pistachio’s in contrast to the pink ice. I think these biscuits are very elegant. They are delicate, buttery and crumbly. Drink with Earl grey yea for utter bliss and a taste of the high life.

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Grab yourself some Cellophane bags and some ribbon and make a lovely gift. I find using cake pop bags are fantastic and you can order them at any online cake craft store. A homemade gift is one of the best gifts as it is one of the most thoughtful and it’s from the heart and is actually…a heart…mine!

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Enjoy this cake adventure and add it to your cake diary. More homemade gifts to come next time in the run up to the big day.

The Cake Diaries xoxo

Sweet can be Healthy! Afternoon Tea with a twist.

I love, love afternoon tea! I always have. Call me old fashioned but I still try to uphold it everyday.

To those unsure of what ‘tea time’ is, it’s a small pause in the day, it’s around 4 – 5pm. It’s not lunch and it’s not dinner, it’s that hungry time of day when nothing but a cuppa will do and you fancy a treat. According to Afternoontea.co.uk (and I quote straight from their website) Tea time became popular around the early nineteenth century when the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of ‘that sinking feeling’, during the late afternoon.

Amen sister!! We hear you!

(But I’m not talking about High tea and champers darling. Delicate morsels and genteel conversation, no that is a whole new blog for another time).

I’m talking good old fashioned British afternoon tea. I’m talking crumpets, toasted English muffins Eccles cakes, hot buttered toast oozing butter and marmalade, rock cakes and…..wait for it…. Scones! My all time favourite. Tea time has a lot of memories for me as it was the one sure time of day I would have my mother all to myself. It was the same thing most afternoons and it went a bit like this –
Slam front door.
Shout ‘Mum, I’m hooooommme’.
Thud upstairs as loud as an elephant.
Throw School uniform in all directions around the room.
Dress in ‘cool’ teenager clothes ( this usually meant gluing glittery stars to the side of my face, lots of bangles and large hoop earing) cringe, oh the 90’s!!
Be brought down the stairs by dreamy smell of baking coming from the kitchen.
Throw self on couch.
Search for TV remote always expertly hidden from sibling down back of sofa.
Door opens.
Heavenly mother enters with a tray laden with home made jams, a pot of tea with tea cosy!! And fresh from the oven something light, fluffy and Doughy, preferably with currents or chocolate chips. Then my mother would try her best to prize information from me about my day as I grunted teenage replies and got stuck in. Ahhhh, bliss!

Sadly, my mother is no longer with us and I am quite sure that is the reason that tea time is so special to me. It helps me to remember her and the happiness and warmth that always surrounded her. She was a real peach my mother and the sweetest kind. Though as a teenager I never told her, it really was the happiest part of my day and I wouldn’t have shared it with anyone else.

Now, eating tea time treats everyday may seem like a rather unhealthy pass time, but no!! It’s not and I won’t hear you say ‘I’d love to, but I really shouldn’t’ as you stare longingly at my chocolate brownies, strawberry tart or my beloved scones! You are not getting away with it I tell you and you shall have scones and feel damn good about it afterwards. There is nothing that pains me most than to see someone eat something they truly love, which gives them so much pleasure for all of 3 minutes then to see them end in complete misery and guilt about it. In my mind treat means special. Something to be taken time over, feel indulged by. So I’m flying the flag for ‘sweet can be healthy’.
What interests me most about baking is how versatile it can be. It’s not all about the sugar and butter and I’m not all about the sugar and butter either (see my Good morning Sunshine bars for more inspiration). So here is another recipe to feel truly good about.

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I am making my wheat-free, sugar-free, virtually fat free scones……. again for the 3rd time in 2 weeks.
I am tweaking the recipe as I go and have recorded with photo’s. I say virtually fat free as my first experiment with them was to make them totally fat free (no butter/Margarine) though in the back of my mind I knew that they would need a little fat to keep them as fluffy as possible and keep them ‘Scone like’. With no fat they are rather dry and tough. So in this recipe I use only 25g organic (vegan) margarine and the other 25g I make up with mashed avocado. There it is again my third blog recipe with avocado. My very own super food. Hopefully if you have never baked with avocado before and tried baking my Chocolate and Avocado cookies last week, this idea will be less scary.

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These Scones are my favourites right now as they are so quick and easy. A perfectly healthy and nutritious treat for mum’s looking for a healthy after school snack for the kids, an easy Vegan recipe for those eating clean and a sure fire way for a Polly like myself to get her girlfriends to stay for afternoon Tea!

You can have them steaming on a plate in 30mins flat. Using dried dates, and grated Apple for sweetness, keeping it wheat-free with wholemeal spelt flour for fibre and putting some really good natural fats into the mix with avocado. I will also tell you how I serve them best for a filling and nutritious meal.

Ingredients –

225g Wholemeal Spelt ( I use Doves Farm)

25g Avocado

1 Apple

50g dates

25g Organic Vegan Margarine

1tsp Cinnamon

1 & a half tsp baking powder

100m Almond milk

Pinch Salt

Almond milk (or Skimmed/semi skimmed milk).
Method –

0 – Pre-heat oven to 220.c / Gas mark 7/ 425.f

1 – Mix together the Flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

2 – Mash the Avocado. Add the Avocado and Organic Margarine and rub into the flour.

3 – Grate 1 apple and stir into the mixture and add your dates.

4- Gradually pour in the Almond milk until you reach a nice soft dough.

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5 – Kneed a little and with a rolling pin roll to about 1 inch – 1 inch & a half thick.

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6 – Using a round cookie cutter of 5cm or 6cm cut about 10 Scones.

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7 – Grease a baking tray and place the scones in the middle of the Oven and bake for around 12 Minutes.

8- As you wait with baited breath for them to rise, bake and the timer to ping I do the washing up to stop my complete frustration at having to wait 12 whole minutes for then to be ready!!

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Washing Up!

9 – My mother always use to tell me that after taking anything baked out of the oven you should wait until they cool. Sorry Mum! this is just not a possibility. Time waits for no scone!

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10 – Eat it hot and eat it now. I love slicing a scone open and watching a little steam rise from it’s belly and burning my finger tips a little as I prize it open. This is my scone ritual.

How I ate them (keeping it clean)  –

For afternoon Tea I had them fresh out of the oven with Greek yogurt and honey . Also perfect first thing in the morning sprinkled with Chia seeds.

The next day I warmed them up a little and had them for lunch topped with cream cheese and smoked, flaked salmon and salad. The Apple and date sweetness goes so well with the creamy cheese and smoked salmon fillets ( serve the salmon cold). So delicious.

They are a healthy alternative to the traditional teatime scone (depending on what you choose to put on them of course) I felt no guilt after eating 3 in a row!

So take a pause each day, linger over the wonderful tastes and textures and raise your china tea cups to cheers all the mum’s for this late afternoon treat. Up hold British tea time, stay healthy and love every mouthful, because baking is an adventure!!

Yours Truly,

The Cake Diaries…