Pumpkin, Walnut and Raisin Loaf

I just ended a three month baking hiatus and this was a yummy way to end it 🙂 I will put the original site I got the recipe from but I did change it just a little, increasing the amount of butter, walnuts, raisins and spice and I made the method easier. Served hot with butter it’s very delicious, on day 3 it still has a nice and moist texture.


4 oz (100 g) butter

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 eggs,

1/4 cup water

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 2/3 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup walnuts

3/4 cup raisins or sultanas

Preheat oven to 350 (180) deg and prepare 1 large or 2 small loaf pans.

Soften butter and cream with sugar. Add eggs and beat, add pumpkin puree and water and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients – the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and soda. Fold in the walnuts and raisins, pour into tins and bake a large one 55 – 60 minutes, smaller ones around 35 – 40 minutes.

The original recipe was found at About.com – submitted by Diana Rattray




Nut and Seed Bread (Flourless)

I came across this gorgeous recipe on Pinterest. Made with rolled oats and psyllium (to bind) it is studded with nuts, seeds and dried fruit. The original uses goji berries and hazelnuts, which looks delicious, however I just used what I had in the house – dates, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.


1 cup nuts (any type) I used walnuts

1 cup of mixed seeds

1.5 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup dates

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons honey or molasses

4 flat tablespoons of psyllium

1.5 cups of water

I added 1/2 tsp salt (not in original recipe)

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the water mixed with the honey and oil – if the mixture is too wet add a little bit more water but I found mine was fine. I left mine in the bowl to absorb all the water for 1/2 hour, then tip into a paper lined loaf pan and press in firmly. Leave to sit for 2 – 4 hours until it is firm t touch and appears crusty along the top.

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.Bake for 30 minutes until browned on top and feels firm. Remove from oven, gently remove from tin onto baking tray and put back into oven, upside down for a further 20 – 30 minutes till baked and crusty in appearance.

Leave to cool, wrap in paper overnight before cutting. Serve in thin slices.

I love this and can imagine making it often but will experiment with the nuts and fruits.  The recipe on Pinterest was from a Belgium site which needs to be translated, find here http://gotujebolubi.pl/niezwykly-chleb-bez-grama-maki/along with her lovely photos, one of which I have pinched because it just looks stunningImage

The woman who originally came up with this recipe can be found on My New Roots http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/02/the-life-changing-loaf-of-bread/ and she also has gorgeous photography and writes much more about this so please do pay her a visit if you are going to be trying this!

Nut milks (and using leftover pulp)

I just changed from dairy to nut milks a couple of weeks ago. This is expensive to buy, it’s cheaper and very easy to make. I will be making the walnut milk in future as we have heaps of these already. A bonus using the almonds is the leftover pulp which is delicious and can be used to lots of different ways.

Almond Milk:

Take one cup of almonds and soak in two cups of water for a minimum of four hours (overnight is fine).


Drain and rinse the nuts. I leave the skins on feeling no need to remove them, the resulting milk is still white.

Put the nuts in a blender with 3 cups of fresh water. Blend till milky and almonds quite fine. Strain through a fine sieve or



That’s it 🙂


(Edited) see Narf’s interesting comments below about how she makes her almond milk.

Walnut Milk:

Made the same way as above but us 4 cups water. The walnuts are alot softer and I find very little pulp remains at the end.

Almond Meal:


This can be used as is or dried in the oven on a low temperature for several hours. It can also be frozen if desired for later use. I have been using it in smoothies, porridge and baking but am wanting to try some “cheeses” and pates. Below are some links for some recipes I have tried that are both delicious (the pulp must be dried for both) and a link for some others that sound nice.

Coconut and Almond Macaroons:

8oz dried almond meal

3/4 cup toasted coconut

2 egg whites

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 deg. Toast coconut by putting into small fring pan and cooking over lowish heat, stirring till golden. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Whisk the egg whites, sugar and vanilla together till blended and add to combined nut mixture. Drop heaped tablespoonsful (is that a word?) onto tray and bake till browned around edges and golden on top.


Quinoa Almond Joy Bars:


The recipe can be found here http://skinnyms.com/skinny-mini-desserts-quinoa-almond-joy-bars/

And a link with a few nice recipes is here http://cafe-janae.blogspot.co.nz/2008/07/what-to-do-with-nut-pulp.html

And one for Banana Bread courtesy of Jamie 🙂 http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-banana-bread/

Cinnamon Honey Roasted Nuts / Peanuts


I love sugar spiced nuts but wanted to find a healthier option and found this recipe on http://skinnyms.com/slow-cooker-cinnamon-honey-nuts/. These can be cooked in a slow cooker but I did mine in the oven. I tried it with peanuts and they are good, very easy to make.

3 cups nuts of preference

1 egg white

1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Whisk or beat one egg white till soft peaks form, add the honey and cinnamon and mix well.


Fold in nuts and pour into paper lined tin or onto lined tray.


Bake for 20 minutes, tossing 2 or 3 times to prevent scorching.

Tip out onto bench to cool and crisp up.


Chocolate Brownie….a healthier version


This is nice, rich and has a nice texture, but it’s not as sweet or chewy as traditional brownies. I think next time I would use butter as the original recipe suggested, instead of coconut oil (I have had some sitting in the fridge for ages that needed using but won’t be buying any more) just for a bit more buttery texture. And I’ll put chocolate bits in….I thought about it lol. The original recipe is at http://www.beyondthepeel.net/2013/06/unbelievable-chocolate-coconut-brownies.html I replaced the sugar with date sugar and used walnuts instead of coconut.

1/2 cup coconut oil or butter

1/3 cup cocoa

6 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup date sugar

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut flour

pinch salt

3/4 cup walnuts

Line an 8″ square tin and preheat oven to 325 deg. Melt coconut oil. Whisk the wet ingredients together till well blended. Mix the flour, cocoa and walnuts together then pour over wet ingredients and mix well to combine. Spread into greased tin and bake around 20 minutes or till cooked but still soft.

Cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with icing sugar. Slice into squares.


Large Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing


When you have carrots going rubbery in the vege bin, a cup of yogurt ‘cheese’ that tastes sort of like cream cheese (made last week) – doesn’t that all sound appetising lol – and walnuts waiting to be used there’s only one thing for it, carrot cake. I used to make this when I did catering and it was always a favourite but I have adapted the recipe to do without the tinned pineapple. My husband didn’t realise he had yogurt cheese on top. For the sake of others who prefer real stuff I have put the original cream cheese icing recipe 🙂

This makes a large cake.

Carrot Cake:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Sift all into a large mixing bowl.

4 eggs

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 cups grated carrot

3/4 cup walnuts (optional)

1 cup coconut

3/4 cup raisins or sultanas

In a large bowl mix together eggs and oil, then add sugar and whisk till well combined. Stir in other ingedrients then fold into sifted flour mixture. Turn into a large cake tin or small roasting pan and bake in preheated oven at 375 deg.


Beat together 175 g softened cream cheese and 25 g butter. Add the grated rind of 1 lemon and the juice of half. Add 1 1/2 – 2 cups icing (powdered) sugar till it’s a good spreading consistency and spread over cooled cake.

Homemade Toasted Muesli (with figs, walnuts and feijoa)


Rolled oats are the cheapest cereal we can buy, coconut is cheap and with whatever dried fruit is in the pantry muesli can be made quite a bit cheaper than is purchased from the supermarket. I used dried apple, feijoa and figs I have done myself with the addition of a handful of dates chopped finely. The walnuts were grown locally and purchased for a very good price, the only things worth any expense were pumpkin and sunflower seeds, which are optional.

7 cups of rolled oats

1 cup of coconut

Mix these both together in a roasting dish and melt together 4 tablespoons oil (I used rice bran) and 1 heaped tablespoon of honey (this makes just a slightly sweetened version). Place in a preheated oven at 175 deg and bake for around 20 minutes, stirring often. Bake only till golden brown taking care to mix well each stir so as not to scorch. Note that this will continue to brown a little once removed from the oven.

Add whatever dried fruit, nuts and seeds (long thread coconut is nice added here too) you like to this basic mix and leave to cool before storing. If the dried fruit is added before cooking they will turn as hard as stones…! Dried apricots and slivered almonds used to be a favourite but now I just stick to what I can grow myself.


An autumn weekend….ending with a bath tub full of grapes!

The big clean up in the garden continues – what is so beautiful and productive in summer becomes a whole lot of work in the autumn doesn’t it…in harvesting, preserving, removing huge spent plants and finding the weeds you couldn’t see before! The garden is mostly empty now, we harvested the rest of the pumpkins, pulled out the tomato plants to hang in the basement while the remainder slowly ripen. Roger asked me if I wouldn’t like to make Green Tomato Chutney and no sweetheart, I wouldn’t! Over chutney making 🙂Image

What’s left of the beans are being left to dry out for next years seed and cooking, there’s still alot left on the plants.


So, while Roger hauled out dead plants and transplanted some currant bushes I got the easy? job of pulling apart a massive bale of half rotted peastraw and wheelbarrowing it to the garden and spreading it on. Slimy, stinky as hell and verrry heavy…..gosh, what a lovely job! I was soo looking forward to a bath after that one but never got it, I’m sure I smell ok this morning though I did get to wash over the sink 😦 Our bath is full of grapes. Sitting there sore and tired after a rather long few day we got a phone call to ask if we still wanted to try making our own wine – a local vineyard owner Roger knows still had plenty on his vines after the harvest. So, without really thinking; we have no idea how to make it, do we have the necessary equipment, how can we store it etc etc we take off to collect around 130 kg (or more!) of red grapes.Image

6 rubbish sacks, 1/4 – 1/3 full sitting on the back of a truck means alot of juice already by the time we got home so the only place really for these was the bath I was so desperately needing. THEN, we look on the computer to find out what we need and how to do this. Quite involved….ay?! We bought two food grade 200 lire plastic barrels that we had on our watch list on an auction site (we were still considering buying for next year) and today I am off to the library for some information and to the wine making supply shop for advice and some chemicals and equipment. When hubby comes home from work he needs to drive 55 km to get these barrels, and this afternoon I will start de-stemming and mashing. Roger has made a wee bit of wine in the past, at boarding school he and some friends made a still in some empty lockers they bashed the walls out of….so he feels he knows a little bit about the process, I am not so sure we can handle such a great quantity in our first attempt but…..watch this space I guess!!

I managed to locate some cheap walnuts, an elderly lady we know was selling them for the local Guides, so I finally have the bin full as I try to do each year. Today I will be making museli with walnuts, dried apples, figs and feijoas and seeds. I have not bought any muesli for months so am looking forward to this.


And, with the cold weather the chooks have stopped laying so we are having to buy eggs. My son took this photo a couple of weeks back when my granddaughter went down to collect them as she always does. Rather than lay in the hen house our chooks prefer the big nest my husband made from branches cut down from the garden, he built a little house for them under the gum tree which they love. It needs either a little person or a very flexible one to collect these!


So, today my jobs are sorting out the grape problem we have created for ourselves and making muesli and doing another batch of dried apples. I’m actually a bit worried about going into town fearing I might smell still of rotten peastraw, I just won’t look at people’s faces I think…. they say ignorance is bliss!!

Spicy Fruit Loaves


I rarely bake these days, not like when all the kids were home and I’d do 3 batches every few days. Up till a few months ago I would make a cake every Sunday for my husband’s lunches. we stopped that when we decided baking involved buying groceries we didn’t really need, and our diet was good without all the “extras”. However, while I, the chubby one have not lost a single ounce eating out of the garden my husband, the thin one, is losing weight. Ain’t that just typical!! So I decided today baking was in order.

This is a loaf I have been making for 30 years and hubby loves it. An elderley neighbour gave me the recipe when my kids were little. This makes 2 loaves however I just chuck it in a large cake tin. This is spicy, fruity, moist and lasts well. It’s nice cold with butter, yummy hot with cream.

In a pot put :

2 – 3 cups of golden raisins (sultanas) depending on whether use dates or not

1 cup dates

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups water

Bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool then beat in 2 eggs.

In a large boil sift 2 cups of flour, 1 good teaspoon baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1/4 tsp salt, walnuts or pumpkin/sunflower seeds as desired. Add the wet mixture 1/2 at a time, mixing well.

Tip into lined tins and bake 35 – 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Leave in tins for 10 minutes then cool on rack.