Tag Archives: cherries

Recipe: Coconut Macaroons (Gluten Free)

OK, these are *marginally* trickier than my other super-easy cookies, but only marginally, and they are awesome, because I think I may have actually reverse-engineered the macaroons my Oma used to make when I was a child.  They are perfectly chewy and delicious, and basically, I just love glacé cherries, so any excuse to use them is a good one for me.



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2 egg whites
100 g sugar
150 g shredded coconut (not the evil desecrated kind, the kind that comes in long strands)
150 g almond meal
glacé cherries


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Recipe: Cherry Ripe Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan)

Look!  It’s a slightly different (but still dead easy) biscuit recipe!  This time, it’s vegan!


I love the idea of two ingredient cookies, where you get a sweetened nut butter and some flour – or chocolate tahini and rice flour and make a biscuit and then bake it.  But let’s face it, sometimes two ingredients isn’t enough.   I found myself eyeing off one of those chocolate and coconut butter spreads in the supermarket and thinking, you know, add a glacé cherry and you’re kind of half way to a cherry ripe here.  And then I thought, yeah, but you need a bit more coconut.

And… that was it, really.  So here you have them – cherry ripe cookies that are vegan and gluten-free.  They are a little chewy and only just barely sweet – most of the sweetness comes from the cherries – but they are nicely chocolatey and coconutty.  (There is a definite air of chocolate crackle to these, too.  That whole coconut and chocolate thing will do that.)

Ooh, and I just realised how you could make vegan gluten-free LAMINGTON cookies, by replacing the cherry with jam!  The possibilities are endless…


Your shopping list

150g chocolate coconut spread (I used Pure Harvest Coco2Almond spread, which purports to be a health food, but don’t worry, there’s nothing healthy about these cookies)
100g almond meal
50 g shredded coconut
12-16 glacé cherries

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Recipe: Vegan Florentines

Don’t be scared of this recipe.  It’s much, much easier than any non-vegan Florentine I’ve ever attempted, and tastes just as good.  Though I might use a bit more in the way of fruit and nuts next time.

This recipe is based on a recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar – the recipe was for macadamia lace cookies, and I looked at the picture and thought, ‘That looks like a proto-Florentine to me’.  And then I thought ‘Hey, I bought a whole lot of glacé fruits and also some pistachios yesterday… and I still have some Lindt chocolate and a bag of macadamias in the pantry…’

And really, that was the end of that.  My sister in law wanted vegan desserts for tomorrow – clearly vegan Florentines must be on the menu. 

The amazing thing about these Florentines is how buttery they taste and look, despite having no butter, nor any kind of weird margariney proto-butter.  Mine are a little lop-sided, but if you were the kind of person who likes to make their biscuits super-pretty, you could have at them with a round cookie cutter halfway through baking, to shape them. 


Your Shopping List

100 g macadamias
135 g brown sugar
3 tbsp (45 ml) canola oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) agave nectar (this is the equivalent of four tablespoons – if you measure the oil first, and the agave next, the agave won’t stick and it will take the last of the oil with it)
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
65 g flour
1/2 tsp cornflour
pinch of salt
50 g chopped glacé cherries
50 g chopped pistachios
25 g chopped glacé ginger
50 g chopped glacé apricot or pineapple150 g good dark chocolate

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Recipe: Vegan Choc-Cross Buns with Tahini and Apricots

I take Easter, and particularly Good Friday, very seriously.  It’s not just because of the sheer number of professional commitments I have around Easter (and Good Friday is pretty much the peak of these, as I tend to have a late service on Thursday evening, then help lead the Way of the Cross procession through the city all morning on the Friday, before settling in for an afternoon service somewhere – Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday are relaxing by comparison!), or even just about the religious aspect, though this is important to me, too. 

In fact, these days I have a personal Good Friday ritual that involves fish and chips and a re-watching of the really good 1971 Jesus Christ Superstar film – because I spend so much of Easter feverishly keeping track of how many more rounds of chant I need to do, or where in the pew sheet I am, or how to make that hymn scan in Italian, or concentrating feverishly on using my voice efficiently so that it actually lasts through four days of epic singing, that there really isn’t much room for personal religious observance.  I’m too busy concentrating on doing my job right!  And that’s totally fine, but I then need something that will let me stop and contemplate the season, and it turns out that JCSS is great for that.  Especially this year, when I’ve spent so much time living in Passion land, between St Matthew, and the readings this week, and listening to the St John Passion sent to me by my pen-friend’s mother.

I just got totally distracted from what I was going to say, which is that for me, Good Friday is also sort of a birthday.  I was born on Good Friday in 1976, so I tend to view the entire Easter Weekend as fair game for birthday gatherings, if there is no time on the day itself.  And the first thing my mother ate after I was born was a hot cross bun, so I am undoubtedly pre-disposed by the conditions of my birth to take hot cross buns seriously, too!


Anyway, after doing the Hot Cross Bun class at Gewürzhaus, I was consumed with the need to make hot cross buns, repeatedly.  And when I saw the recipe for the choc-chip kind (which I actually view as Not Proper Hot Cross Buns, but never mind that), I was immediately seized by the conviction that these needed to be veganised.  Of course, I then got totally overwhelmed by singing commitments, but yesterday’s afternoon service, in addition to being long, was also fairly inaudible from the organ loft, and so I found my brain turning to recipe design.  As one does.  In particular, I could not help thinking that chocolate tahini would make an amazing substitute for all the butter and eggs that one normally finds in hot cross buns.  Oh yes, indeed.  And since there is at least one vegan in the choir I’m singing with tonight, this is clearly exactly the right time to unleash vegan chocolate hot cross buns on the world!  

Happy Easter to you, if you celebrate it.  As for me, I’ll be singing…

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Recipe: Half-baked Fruity Muesli

closeupI just couldn’t resist the pun in that title.  Sorry.  But it really is half baked, because I did toast about half of what went into this muesli while leaving the rest untoasted.  The reason for this is that we are about to have a houseguest who has expressed a preference for cereal for breakfast, and has diabetes.  I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable about diabetes as I should be, but to me this sounds like something low-GI is called for, and oats are pretty much the definition of low-GI.

Except that if I’m making muesli, I’d like to make a kind that I’ll eat myself, and I do rather like my muesli toasted.  But toasted means you have to toast it with something, generally either fat of some kind or sugar of some kind, neither of which are particularly diabetes-friendly. 

So I’ve compromised.  I haven’t used any fat, and have used a small amount of apple juice and agave nectar to crisp things up.  And then I’ve added extra, un-cooked and un-sweetened oats at the end, along with the dried fruit, to dilute any inappropriate sweetness.  I know I’ve created something delicious; the question will be whether it is both delicious and something my guest can eat…

Your shopping list

250 g rolled oats, plus 100 g rolled oats for later (proper oats, not the quick kind, please)
100 g flaked or chopped almonds
80 g raw unsweetened pistachios
85 g sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
30 ml agave nectar (or honey, of course)
60 ml unsweetened apple juice (which, lets face it, is plenty sweet already)
60 g dried cherries
60 g dried cranberries
60 g dried apples
60 g dried apricots

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Recipe: Eurovision Random Fridge Brownies

Tonight is the first Eurovision Semifinal (or rather, it is when they broadcast the first semi-final in Australia), and it is our tradition to watch both semi-finals each year, for the simple reason that so often the true gems don’t get through.  Of course, by ‘true gems’ I mostly mean ‘songs with the highest number of costume reveals, Eurovision key changes, bizarre dancing, violins and ridiculous outfits’, not ‘really good songs’, but if you are looking for really good songs on Eurovision, you are missing the point, I think.

Anyway, we tend to have friends around to help us appreciate the Eurovisual madness, which means I tend to make desserts… generally by dashing into the kitchen in between acts, or when I am bored by an act, to find the next ingredient or stir something in.  The technical difficulty was increased by the fact that I really didn’t plan ahead, and was thus missing a lot of ingredients and making things up as I went along and just randomly using things I found in the fridge.In twenty-second bursts.

The following is my attempt to reconstruct what I did, because these brownies actually turned out surprisingly well, and E. wanted the recipe.  Just for fun, I’m writing up the recipe along with my Eurovision commentaries, because that’s how I experienced it…

Your Shopping (or Fridge) List

225 g chocolate, of which 100 g should be Lindt Intense Orange chocolate
40 g butter
125 g mascarpone
2 eggs (finally, an ingredient which isn’t guesswork!)
1 cup raw sugar (this is also definitely true)
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup almond meal
2 slices glacé pineapple, chopped
1/4 – 1/3 cup glacé ginger, chopped
1/4 cup glacé cherries, chopped, with the proviso that all these 1/4 cups were, ooh, look what I have half a packet of, wonder how this would go?
smarties, to decorate, because this is Eurovision and one must be colourful.

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Recipe: Pudding Brownies with Cream Cheese and Cherries

I had such grandiose plans for this anniversary post!  I was going to make macarons!  I was going to make a gluten-free *and* vegan number 1 cake in best Women’s Weekly style!  I was going to have a party and make *everything*!

But it’s the end of a long week, including half a day of interminable computer training, and by the time I got home all I wanted to do was sleep.And eat chocolate cake.  Not necessarily in that order.

I have this new, wonderful Margaret Fulton Baking book (which, incidentally, I highly recommend), and had about decided to do something directly from that, even though I then wouldn’t be able to blog about it (that’s the disadvantage of food blogging – you never get to follow a recipe properly.  Says she who has never followed a recipe properly in her life, but apparently still feels that she would like to…).  My gaze was drawn to cranberry chocolate brownies with cream cheese topping.  No worries, I thought; I’ll make it gluten-free, and then it’s mine!  Only I didn’t have dried cranberries.  Dried cherries it is, then!  Oh, and maybe some cacao nibs, because they work in everything.  No worries. 

So I started making the recipe and promptly broke one of the eggs directly onto the floor.  There was no way I was going to the shops at this point, so I decided to see what plausible ingredients were in the fridge, and realised I had half a jar of cranberry jelly…

… Let’s just say that this recipe is definitely a Cate’s Cates recipe now, and leave it at that…

(Oh, and if you are wondering why ‘pudding brownies’, well, it’s because I was just a bit impatient about wanting to get these brownies out of the tin and photographed and, more importantly, tasted before it got too far past my bedtime.  So it’s possible that they weren’t really set yet – they are magnificently moist, which is a polite way of saying they fell apart when I tried to serve them, but they tasted so good I didn’t care.  I suspect they will hold together better when properly cool, but I make no promises.  I will, however, update this post in the morning when I know the full story.)

(Edited to add – actually, they are really good cold.  Very dense, but they hold together beautifully, and as a chocolate delivery system they are extremely effective)

Your Shopping List

200 g dark chocolate, preferably Lindt 70% cooking chocolate
250 g butter, cubed.  Trust me, this saves time in the long run.
2 eggs, plus 1 egg for the topping (4 eggs would have been excessive anyway.  I was right to drop the extra one on the floor.)
3/4 cup caster sugar + 1/2 a cup for the topping
1/3 cup cranberry jelly
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup cornflour + 2 tablespoons (40ml) for the topping
a pinch of salt
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup cacao nibs
250 g cream cheese at room temperature, but the microwave is your friend if you had it in the fridge
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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Recipe: I Just Felt Like Playing In The Pantry Biscuity Slicy Thing

This recipe started off with me deciding that what I really needed in life was a nice, chewy, oaty biscuit with chocolate and dried cherries and almonds in it.  I didn’t have a recipe for that, but I did have one for a choc-chip slab biscuit that looked fairly promising.   It didn’t have any eggs in it, so I thought it might be fun to make it vegan, but I didn’t have any vegan margarine (and vegan margarine is sort of cheating anyway), but I did have coconut butter (and I’ve just realised I had almond butter which would have been awesome!  Drat!), so I thought I’d use some of that instead.  But not 220g worth, because that’s insane.  So I added some canola oil.  Then, of course, the recipe needed oats, so I added some of those.  And then I discovered that you really can’t cream coconut butter, so I was going to need a leavening agent.  And then the mix was too dry, but adding agave nectar would just have been far too cute and also too sweet, so I added the leftover applesauce from the ginger cake…

… by which point the recipe had precisely three ingredients in common with the original – flour, chocolate and vanilla – and vanilla was the only one in the same quantity.

It’s not as though I started off trying to follow the recipe, you understand, but it still boggles me a bit that I can change all the quantities and most of the ingredients in a recipe without blinking, but can’t actually write a cake or biscuit recipe from scratch.  I need some sort of template to stomp all over with no subtlety whatsoever, or I’m lost.

Anyway, I seem to have created a vaguely Anzac-biscuity slice with a decidedly coconuty background and lots of goodies in it.  It’s rather pleasing, if I say so myself, and would be even better with a glass of milk.  Though a bit crumbly  – you might want to replace some of the brown sugar with golden syrup to make it hold together a little more.

Your Shopping List
120 g coconut oil (sometimes called coconut butter)
80 ml canola oil
200 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
100 g rolled oats
100 g apple sauce
50 g almond meal
200 g flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
150 g dark chocolate, chopped
100 g cherries
100 g roasted almonds, optional

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Recipe: Delicious, But Disappointingly Un-Purple, Carrot Cupcakes

Why are these cakes green? You may well ask…

Ever since the weekend, I’ve been thinking about purple carrot cake.  Whether purple carrots would make purple cake.  How to maximise the purpleness of the cake.  Whether a vegan carrot cake (lacking alkaline egg-white) would get me a better purple cake than one containing eggs.  Whether adding orange juice, as some recipes suggest, would counteract the egg-white, and drive the cake over the line into pinkness.

What I really want to do is set up a series of purple cake experiments, in which I test the various variables and see what colours the cakes come out.  But that’s a lot of carrot cake for two people to get through, and even amusing colouring will grow old if you have four dozen carrot cupcakes to get through.  So I decided instead to start by focus on making the most purple carrot cake I could.  Not blue – I wanted to do some vegan (ish – these plans work better if you actually have soy yoghurt in the house) baking for a change, and besides, egg-whites can drive cake over the edge into green, and I’ve already done that.  And not pink.  Pink is far too easy.  So purple it would be, then.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I failed.  My batter wound up an alarming (but nonetheless entertaining) shade of deep blue-grey, which I thought was rather promising, but the cooked cake was just a particularly deep brown in colour.  Clearly, using brown sugar was a mistake.  On the other hand, the flavour was excellent.  Hence this blog post – because really, these are some of the nicest carrot cakes I’ve had.  And they are very nearly vegan (and dead easy to veganise, as you will see)!

Your Shopping list

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sour cream or soy yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarb of soda, which should make everything more blue!
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
about 2 purple carrots, peeled and grated (you should end up with about a cup of grated carrot)
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)
60 g cream cheese (or soy cream cheese), softened
60 g butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
zest of one lemon
blue food colouring, if you like

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Recipe: Rocky Road for Timon

I’m in mad cooking mode for Shakespeare tomorrow. At this very moment, something that I hope will turn into Turkish Delight is glooping away, jellyfish-like, in a saucepan, so imagine, if you will, that this post is punctuated by mad dashes out to the kitchen to see if the mixture has achieved ‘very thick and golden’ yet.  Since we’re doing Timon of Athens, it would actually be appropriate to just serve hot water and rocks, but that would be mean, and I can’t bring myself to be quite that evil.  Besides, I have much, much nicer friends than Timon does, so they certainly don’t deserve Timon’s feast.

So we’re having a lot of Greek food, and also rock cakes, and, as you have possibly guessed by now, Rocky Road.

The trouble with commercial Rocky Road is that people always put pointless stuff in it, like peanuts, or really bad jelly lollies, or marshmallows that don’t  even taste like marshmallows.  And they don’t use proper chocolate, either.  This is where it becomes really pleasing to make your own Rocky Road, because you can put whatever you like in it!  Also, it takes about ten minutes to make, and most of that time is waiting for the chocolate to melt.

This is, in my view, the best ever Rocky Road.  Of course it is.  I made it precisely to my taste – inasmuch as the shops would let me.   I was hoping for a lot more freeze-dried fruit, preferably raspberries and apricots.  But you know what?  That just means I can make this even more perfect next time…

Your Shopping List

500 g really good dark cooking chocolate.  This is all about the chocolate, so you might as well go Lindt 75%
150 g marshmallows.  The ones which actually have a bit of flavour to them.
85 g roasted unsalted almonds.  Need I say more?
50 g glacé cherries.  But if you can get glacé pineapple instead, I say go for it!
50 g freeze-dried fruit.  The snappy, crunchy kind.  Trust me, this is an absolute winner, especially if you can get something good and tangy, like strawberries or raspberries.
50 g good quality turkish delight, or better still, pectin jellies! Did I mention I still have some mis-shapen ones left over from Christmas?  Well, now I have 50 g fewer…

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