27 May 2011


For those with nut allergies, it can be challenging to replicate that nutty flavour or crunch. But it can be done! If you're seed-allergic or gluten-intolerant as well, there are a number of options to help you replace nuts in recipes.

Whole or chopped for extra crunch
These are generally included for extra texture and flavor so they either can be omitted entirely or replaced with:
  • Roasted chickpeas or soybeans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower kernels or sesame seeds
  • Crispy rice cereal, puffed rice, rolled oats, crushed corn or rice chips/crackers, granola or other nut-free toasted muesli mixes
  • Seeds (if you’re not allergic) are a healthy substitute: pumpkin and sunflower kernels can be a great alternative when you want texture or need to ground them to make your own nut-free butters or pastes (eg. pesto) 

Ground nuts or nut meals
If a recipe calls for substitution of an almond or hazelnut meal, try some of the following options on their own or as a combination: 
  • Finely dessicated coconut
  • Roasted and ground sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • Plain or gluten-free flour 
  • Breadcrumbs (gluten-free if required)
  • Oat or wheat bran 
Try my nut-free recipes:

18 May 2011

Sunflower Seed Butter

dairy free egg free nut free vegan gluten free

I'm a fan of Eskal's Freenut Butter - a nut-free substitute for peanut butter. But it's quite sweet and has emulsifiers. Turns out it's dead easy to make yourself!

1 cup sunflower kernels
a few teaspoons sunflower oil or light olive oil

Roast sunflower kernels in a dry saucepan on low-medium to heat for about 5 minutes. Don't leave the stove, and turn them frequently so they don't burn.

Once they've cooled a bit, blitz them in a food processor. You'll need to add a little oil to help the binding process, but do this a little bit at a time.

You can add seasoning to taste (1/4 teaspoon of salt and/or 1/2 teaspoon of honey or golden syrup). It's delicious just on its own though.

Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. It might separate from the oil but just mix again before using.

15 May 2011

Gluten-free Orange Poppyseed Cake

dairy free egg free nut free vegan gluten free

I'll admit to being a little cocky these days when it comes to vegan baking. After 6 long years, I reckon I could tackle just about anything. But recently, vegan combined with gluten-free baking, has reduced me to a blubbering mess in the kitchen! Gummy muffins, boulder breads and chewy cakes - I've baked and binned them all.

Now I'm happy to report that gluten-free disasters are happening less frequently for me (though I suspect they'll continue in the future). I'm also going through different brands of gluten-free flour mixes at a rate of knots. After countless hours of google research as well as investing in a growing library of gluten-free cookbooks, it seems the best cake and cookie mix is one which predominantly features fine brown rice flour. So my next challenge will be to make my own flour mix. However if you're up for baking a lovely cake such as this one, (adapted from Cybele Pascal) use a commercial mix, and I'll be back very soon with a DIY version.

This cake is best eaten on the same day, but you can refresh in the microwave for a good pudding-style treat. Zap for about 20 seconds per piece and serve with dairy-free vanilla ice cream.

2 cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon No Egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup rice or soy milk
1 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange, finely chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups gluten-free flour mix
3/4 teaspoon xantham gum
4 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup poppy seeds

Orange Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 20 cm bundt pan and dust with cornflour.

Combine the sugar and egg replacer mix and beat in a mixer for about a minute. Add orange juice, zest and oil and mix for another minute or so.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour mix, xantham gum, baking powder and salt.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet in three batches, beating after each addition. Mix in the poppy seeds.

Pour batter into the pan and bake for between 30-40 minutes.

To make the syrup, whisk together sugar and cornflour in a small saucepan. Whisk in the juice and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring continuously until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Once the cake has cooled in the tin for 5 minutes, turn onto wire rack. Pierce holes in the top of the cake with a skewer (about 20 times) and then pour over the syrup.