‘Eggy’ Pumpkin Bundt Bread & Salted Caramel Apples

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Ima gonna keep my babble to a minimum today because the length of this recipe more than makes up for any word count I may rack up with my mostly pointless witter. I’m not sure if you know (or if I’ve mentioned it before – pardon me if I have) but my blog posts are usually a spur of the moment type thing. That is, I rarely plan what I’m going to cover, usually relying on my gut instinct (quite literally at times) when snapping shots of whatever I’m eating, wearing, using, whatever.

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This post is no different. I made a bread. I decided to give it the ‘eggy’ treatment. And this was the result.

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The one clause I will flag up at this stage is that it is paramount you do not use the fresh loaf to make the ‘eggy bread’… leave it for a few days until it’s verging on stale otherwise it will completely fall apart when you soak it in the mixture. M’kay? M’kay.

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for the bread

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1 cup plain white flour

3/4 cup rye bread

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 cup vegan sweetener (agave, sweet freedom or other)

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup soya yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup oil

2 apples

1/4 cup hazelnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

pinch salt

1 tsp vegan margarine

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Pre-heat the oven to 180degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

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Place both flours, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a bowl along with the nutmeg and allspice. Lightly stir to disperse the ingredients.

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Whisk together the pumpkin puree, yoghurt, vanilla extract, oil and water in a bowl until fully combined.

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Core and peel the apples, and chop into small bitesize chunks. Place in bowl and coat in the cinnamon. Roughly chop the hazelnuts.

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Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the pumpkin mixture. Fold together until fully incorporated but be careful not to overwork the mixture.

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Lightly grease the bundt tin (or loaf tin) and pour in the batter. Tap the tin on the surface to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

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Set aside to cool before removing from tin.

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 for the ‘eggy’ bread mixture

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1 banana

1 heaped tablespoon of coconut cream

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup soya (or other plant) milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp sweet freedom (or agave)

nutmeg/cinnamon (optional and to your taste)

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Mash the banana to a puree and whisk all the ingredients together until smooth – you could also bung it in a blender for ease.

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Divide the bread into medium-sized slices and allow to soak on both sides for around 5 mins each.

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Heat a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of vegan butter in a pan. Add the ‘eggy bread’, frying until golden before carefully turning over to fry for a further 5 minutes on the other side.

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for the salted caramel apple slices

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2 apples

nutmeg/cinnamon

1 heaped tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 tsp of rock salt

1 tbsp oil

1/4 tsp vegan butter

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Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-based skillet.

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Peel and core the apples and cut into medium slices, and add to pan along with as much (or as little ) nutmeg and cinnamon as you like.

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Fry for a few minutes before sprinkling over the sugar. Let it dissolve into a caramel before adding the seasalt. Fry until just soft (but not mushy!), remove from pan and set aside until needed.

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for the whipped coconut cream

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1/2 cup UHT coconut cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp sweet freedom or agave

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Whisk together until fluffy. Set in fridge until needed.

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Once the bread has a crispy exterior on both sides, transfer to a plate and top with the salted caramel apples, coconut cream and generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

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Anchors Aweigh!

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The past two weekends have been all about getting out and about, exploring the surrounding area and taking in the incredible scenery that we are, so far, not all that familiar with. Having been somewhat cooped up since we arrived here in Falmouth, this is our way of getting back to what we love (walking) as well as introducing us to parts of Cornwall we have never before seen. It really is a case of small steps (we’re taking the coastline section by section) but it’s definitely doing the job in getting our heads and bodies in gear for what will hopefully be a sun-filled summer of seaside fun… and today was just a glimpse of what will hopefully be in store.

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Of course, Cornish weather can be pretty unpredictable (I’m sure the phrase ‘four seasons in one day’ was coined in specific reference to the place) so we try to always prepare for the worst with our outdoor attire… wellies are not optional, they are a must! I have to admit though, I’ve been bored with my current raincoat for quite sometime and even though the fabulous licorice red was what drew me to it in the first place, it’s not the most practical of colours for matching with my wardrobe and it seems to be dying a slow death in terms of proofing me from the Cornish elements.

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Last week was the absolute final straw and having arrived home drenched to the bone (the red jacket also happens to be lacking in length) I decided I needed to invest in a new waterproof coat. I knew exactly where I would find such an item so it was straight to Seasalt to make my much needed purchase. Whilst I did find a couple that were pretty much perfect, unfortunately the toggles were made of leather so they weren’t an option for me (insert sad face here) but the lovely sales assistant suggested we try the sale shop instead… ‘Sale shop did you say? You are talking my language girl!’

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We didn’t have much time to get there so immediately bolted to the store before it shut at 4.30, arriving about 10 minutes before it closed… it truly was a smash and grab shopping spree but oh so worth it because I not only walked away with an awesome black organic cotton raincoat (with the most adorable anchor print lining) but I also managed to bag a pair of blue-black wellies I’ve had my eye on for an age. I love a good bargain (heck, who doesn’t?) so the Seasalt sale shop was like a little piece of heaven. In fact, my poor Husband had to remind me several times to remain focused, as I was getting distracted with all the amazing dresses, trousers, shoes and pretty blouses…  I’ve a funny feeling I’m going to do some serious damage the next time I’m in there. Anchors (and credit cards) aweigh!

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what i wore… jacket and wellies/seasalt clothing… pink top/tartan and headscarf/vintage… vegan satchel/nica… gloves/beyond retro 

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Rosemary Infused Cashew Cheese

 

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I’ll keep this short and sweet given the workload I’m currently weighing my way through at present. I am literally up to my eyeballs in recipes and writing although there’s always enough room in the day for cashew cheese, am I right? This is barely a recipe, given that all you require is a hand blender and the ability to press ‘on’, but I thought it was definitely blog worthy given that I am attempting to space out my intake of the stuff (and failing), which in essence means it’s phenomenally good.

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I’ve taken to creating a zen place for myself as I work and so far it seems to be doing the trick. It requires several of the following components and, for those of you who’ve been in a ‘working from home rut’ like myself, then I really hope any or all of the following are in some way helpful to regaining some of that much needed focus.

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A decent scented candle… mine is soy based and smells of Bluebells.

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Glass of cooled water… essential for keeping hydrated when you spend hours staring at a screen.

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Herbal tea… or any other hot drink of your choosing. Taking a break from your work is of paramount importance I find and tea-making mixes up that stagnant cycle perfectly.

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Notepad and book… I often get my best ideas about other projects when I’m engrossed in a particular task so I like to have a pen and pad nearby to jot down my thoughts.

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Iphone… because Instagram will always have that lure and it’s always great to take your mind off things for a few minutes before returning refreshed to that pulsating horizontal line on the page.

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ingredients

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3/4 cup soaked cashews

juice 1/2 lemon

1 garlic clove, minced

1 sprig of freshly rosemary finely chopped (reserve a little for sprinkling on top)

salt (to taste but I add at least a 1/2 tsp)

pepper (again to taste but I am reasonably generous… around 1/4 tsp of frshly ground black pepper)

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method

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Put the chickpeas in the blender and blitz to a pulp before adding the lemon juice, minced garlic and salt ‘n’ pepper. Blitz again to fully incorporate before adding the rosemary to the blender… blitz until completely smooth and check for seasoning – it may need a little more salt and pepper.

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Serve immediately or keep covered the in fridge until needed.

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additional notes: if the texture is very thick you can add a splash of water to help it along but be careful not to add too much – begin with 1 tsp and go from there.

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Brooding blogger

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“I refuse to give up the faux-fur until at least March!”

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WAVING HELLO TO 2014

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I’ve been brooding on this post for quite some time now (looooong before New Years Eve even reared its ugly head) and even as I sit here, having given it a relatively significant amount of thought, I’m still not entirely sure what I should be writing. You see, I’m not really the resolutions kind of person (it’s just never been my thing) and, in fact, I can pretty much count on my right hand how many times I’ve ‘celebrated’ the New Year in the typical champagne quaffing/dancing till the wee hours fashion, having always preferred a more low key event to wave in another twelve months of who-knows-what; and none of it came with a do-to list either. With that said, I feel it would be rude not to put my thoughts on paper, as it were, regarding what 2013 has meant to me and how I hope 2014 will unfold. After reading several terrific posts on the matter (Bonzai Aphrodite, Joy The Baker and Oh Dear Drea said it the best in my opinion), I’ve at least got a starting point. I think. Bear with me, this might not be pretty.

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“Cupboards full of crockery makes me happy”

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SAYING NO TO RESOLUTIONS

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Cutting to the chase, I will be making (count them) zero resolutions, which may just render this post null and void already but stay with me just a second longer to let me explain further. Of course, I’m not saying making plans is a bad thing – I make plans all the time (ALL THE TIME) and I have the countless notebooks full of lists to prove it. However, I understand ‘resolutions’ (and correct me if I’m wrong) to mean something more than simply planning for ones future whilst remaining firmly in the present… as I see it, they certainly have the air of feeling more binding – and in some ways negate the way you have thus far chosen to live your life. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with learning a new skill etc. the pressure that comes with ‘New Year Resolutions’ automatically makes me feel like a total failure – perhaps that’s a silly reaction to such a positive initiative but I can only be honest about my attitude towards such things, and it’s quite clear to me as I iterate it now that my attitude clearly stinks. And, for me, that’s fine.

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Please don’t mistake my intentions here because it is not to rain on anybody’s parade. I actually admire those who embrace the New Year with this gung-ho, feel-good, head-on action but I know myself well enough to realise it’s just not for me. All of this doesn’t omit me from the reflective mood everyone seems to be in though, and indeed it’s made me realise how little need I have for so-called resolutions in my life right now. After a reasonably eventful year (moving to Cornwall, getting a book deal were just two highlights) and becoming ever more comfortable in my own skin (currently loving my thirties), I’m confident the only thing I require in my world is what I already happen to have… my Husband, family, health and happiness.

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“Christmas drinks are still on the menu in our house”

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LIVING IN THE PRESENT

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I’m excited for the future but am so firmly in the present right now, it’s difficult for me to think more than a few days ahead, which is why I’ve put a line through the resolution thing and I can safely say I’m all the better for it. This self-called ‘stinky’ attitude has even extended to my eating habits (no cleansing diets for me – hurrah!) and work ethic (I never miss my deadlines, so why the unnecessary stress?), which means I’m not even fully acknowledging the Christmas period has officially ended. Delusional, moi? Sure, I’d like to bring my violin skills back up to scratch but what matters more to me is simply enjoying playing again, as well as regaining my love for an instrument that permeated my life for so many years. And yes, I desperately want to write more, and am hoping my creativity will manifest itself in a film script I’ve put on the back burner for way too long now, but (but, but, but!) I’m more interested in finding a great writing partner that I can collaborate with because I miss bouncing ideas off another brain. Okay, so I’ll semi-concede that these ‘loose plans’ are maybe, possibly (in that they totally are) actually resolutions masking themselves as a no pressure mini to-do list but the great thing about ‘loose plans’ (which these emphatically are) is that you have nothing to lose… and right now that is music to my resolution-phobe ears.

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“Refamiliarising myself with a very old friend”

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At present, I feel totally comfortable in letting 2014 organically unfold. Quite honestly, I am just eternally grateful for everything I do have and whilst I’m anxious (in a good way) for what the new year will bring, my happy-self remains firmly in the moment… which, when all is said and done, is all we’ve really got. I’ve never been sure about the reckless nature the ‘live every moment as if it were your last’ sentiment promotes but I can totally get down with Whitman when he said:

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Happiness, not in another place but this place… not for another hour but this hour

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Right on Walt. Right on.

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“Getting back to basics with some old school writing tools”

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