Monday, 22 December 2014


Recipe: Apple Bread with Raisins & Pecans

Time taken: An hour & a half

Ingredients: 2 apples, 1 lemon, 375g apple sauce, 125g gluten-free plain flour, 125g corn flour, 175g pitted dates, 150g pecan nuts, 100ml almond or soy milk, 75g raisins, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of vanilla essence, & a pinch of salt

Hi readers,

G’day to you all! How is your day? Is it a good one? Today in Sheffield it’s not been bad. There is of course the oppressive cloud cover, and we’re being battered by strong winds. But it’s been colder. I’d say it’s been a good start to the new week. And if you’re reading this then you’re surviving Monday. So high five! And this week *drumroll* is the week *big drumroll* that it’s going to be Christmas!! Hurray! Need I remind you… it’s just THREE DAYS TO GOOOO! Whooooo!

Readers, I was thinking (it happens sometimes) about what you might like to read about next on the ChefBeHere blog. Everyone’s very busy at this time of year and I know you don’t have the minutes to spare to read any old recipe. And I was thinking about what might be of use to you.

And I was struck with an idea! I know one thing that a lot of people struggle with at this time of the year, when everyone’s coming together for Christmas, is catering for That Person. You know the one? The person on the special diet. There’s always one! In my family: it’s me. Vegetarian. I hold my hand up! I’m That Person who nobody knows how to feed. They’re like ’Can we put Quorn in a cheesecake?’ and ‘Is there meat in a scotch egg?’… Yes. No.

It’s a never ending struggle! And buffets are the worst. Unless your host has kindly labelled every dish, or taken the time to run you through what you can and can’t eat, you’re left inspecting pastries and peeling finger sandwiches apart to check the filling. Then you eat a suspicious spring roll and spend an hour crying in the bathroom.

And being vegetarian is hardly a special diet anymore! These days everyone knows at least one vegetarian and every supermarket has a special fridge and special freezer, set aside just for us. I feel for people with even more special diets than mine. Diets that friends and family definitely can’t be counted upon to understand. For you, walking up to a buffet must be like going into battle.

Soooo I decided to bake something special! Especially for those of you with special diets. Today I baked a VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, LACTOSE-FREE apple bread with pecans and raisins. That’s right. There is such a thing! And it tastes like a dream! So, I didn’t invent this. I needed a little help. This recipe is adapted and Britishised from one I found online, on a fantastic blog by Gluten-Free Vegan Girl (go check her out!) right here:

So here’s how you go about making your very own very special apple bread, in just ten steps:

1.       Heat your oven to 200ᵒC.

2.       Prep your pecans! Chop the nuts into small pieces.

3.       Prep your dates! Again, chop them up small.

4.       Prep your apples! Core them, peel them alive and then chop them up into cubes.

5.       Add to one bowl your apple sauce, dates, milk, vanilla essence and the juice from your lemon. Stir this all up!

6.       In another bowl add both your flours, along with your baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

7.       Stir this flour mix into your apple mix.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: My mix began to froth quite alarmingly here. I powered on, hoping this was ok, and everything was fine. Just make sure you’re using a large mixing bowl so that your lively mix doesn’t have the chance to froth over the edges!

8.       Gently fold your apple chunks, raisins and pecans into your bread mix.

9.       Pour your finished mix into a loaf tin lined with baking paper.

10.   Safely transport into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the bread looks golden on top, your house smells like an orchard and a sharp knife jabbed into the middle of the bread comes out clean.

Fresh from the oven!

And that’s all there is to it! You just baked up (I presume) your first loaf of special apple bread. High five! Now, run a knife around the edge of your loaf to loosen it from the tin, then leave it to cool in the tin for about twenty minutes. After that, you can either transfer it to a Tupperware to finish cooling, or slice your loaf up and serve warm! Spread with butter or apple sauce, for a taste sensation.

Here’s my warm n gooey lunch…

This was such an exciting recipe to bake! We had half of the ingredients in the house already and the other half I found in Asda, on shelves I don’t usually notice, like the ‘Free From’ foods. Baking this bread involved lots of measuring and lots of chopping. Quite a lot of fretting over whether or not it was going right! And then a little hardship in peeling the baking paper away from the loaf at the end. But it was so worth it! 

This loaf is more a cake than a bread, really. It comes out very moist and sweet, and is packed full of fruit. The loaf is very moreish to eat. And tastes incredible! Super indulgent. And my favourite recipes are the ones where you can bung it in the oven for an hour while you have a hot drink, so this was perfect! No sieving or decoration or fuss. And, once again, having sampled a decent slice, I’m giving away most of my baking as gifts to friends when we meet up later tonight. So my loaf is all sliced up and Tupperwared, and ready for the off!

Packed and ready to go!

So, what do you think? If you aren’t coeliac or vegan or lactose intolerant, but you know someone who is, are you brave enough to give this a go for the next time that they visit? If you ARE on any of those diets, is this something you’d like to try to bake for yourself? Have you had anything like it in the past? And to anyone who’s had a crack at baking this, how did it go?? Success? New favourite recipe? Orrrr not so much? I’d love to know! And I hope that this helps some of out, maybe, when catering for That Person this Christmas. They’ll love you for trying, at least.

Everyone, bake safely and remember to watch those buffets!


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