Avocado Chocolate Cookies (gluten-free, diary free and refined sugar free)

Okay I know this sounds gross. But hear me out.

Avocado is oily with a soft mushy texture, a bit like butter, right? But bursting with nutrients and healthy fats, and without the saturated fat that makes butter so bad for you. In fact, avocados can actually help lower cholesterol, and the fat they contain helps you absorb nutrients from plant foods. Basically, they have earned the title of ‘superfood’ with a pretty high level of certainty.

IMG_0443

IMG_0439

So why put them in cookies?! Aren’t cookies all about being indulgently unhealthy? Isn’t that the point?! Avocados, when really ripe and mushed, are the perfect butter substitute, in that they are oily enough to hold other ingredients together, and have a mild taste that is easily masked.

IMG_0421

These avocado cookies are actually, believe it or not, also delicious. Seriously. I’m pretty bad at making cookies, but these are amazing. Definitely the best I’ve ever baked. They are super gooey and squigdy, and deliciously chocolatey but also surprisingly healthy.

IMG_0431

They are not only vegan, but gluten free and refined sugar free. Divinely delicious and heavenly healthy. They have, as the cliche goes, all of the taste with none of the guilt. Perfect!

IMG_0428

Avocado Chocolate Cookies

1 large avocado

1 large egg

1 tsp baking soda

15og runny honey

5og cocoa powder

pinch of salt

5og rice flour (or your favourite gluten-free flour)

1oog dairy free chocolate (most dark chocolate is dairy free, but make sure you check!)

Preheat your oven to 18o degrees, and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Scoop out the flesh of your avocado into a large bowl and mash it well until it is a smooth consistency. Once it is completely smooth (lumps of avocado will not be good in a cookie- trust me!) beat in egg, then stir in the dry ingredients. Stir in the lumps of chocolate.

Then, spoon out dollops of mixture onto the baking tray. These cookies don’t spread as much as normal cookies (I left them quite chunky expecting them to spread and they didn’t!) If you want them chunky and fudgy, leave them piled up quite high, or, if you’d prefer a a thinner cookie, spread the batter out more.

IMG_0420

Bake them for 12-15 minutes, or until the top feels slightly crispy. The inside will still be gooey- so don’t worry!

Devour them fresh out of the oven while they are still warm!

IMG_0424

IMG_0447

xxR

Mexican Summertime Bowl

Mexican food has always been my favourite- I grew up eating black bean burritos and shoving salsa laden tortillas into my mouth.

IMG_0227

When we moved to England, we were shocked to discover that it was nearly impossible to find black beans anywhere. In America they are basically a food staple. We scoured every supermarket, occasionally managing to find them dried, which then involved soaking overnight and hours of cooking.

Luckily, for us and the rest of the UK population, black beans are more a thing in this country now. You can find them in a can or carton in nearly every supermarket, accompanied by salsa, tortillas and all the other ingredients you might need to make your own Mexican feast.

IMG_0220

I still live on beans. I’m never happier than when tucking into a whole bowl of BBs, dressed with lime, plenty of fresh coriander and a good dollop of salsa. Unfortunately, the burritos that I used to adore as a child are less easy now that I’m coeliac. Gluten free wraps are pretty hard to come by, so I’ve developed new ways to enjoy my favourite food.

IMG_0225

This is a light, summery way to get a taste of Mexico in your kitchen. A huge bowl, brimming with black beans, accompanied by a salty, fresh corn salad, guacamole (of course!) and crispy sweet potato wedges. Perfect!

Mexican Bowl

serves 4

for the beans:

1 small onion

1 red pepper

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 cans black beans

pinch of chilli powder

Heat a splash of oil in a large saucepan. Finely dice the onion, pepper and garlic. Add the onion to the saucepan and cook for about two minutes before adding  the pepper.

Cook for a further three minutes until the onion and pepper and soft but not burnt, then add the garlic. Sprinkle the ground cumin over the onion, pepper and garlic and allow to fry off for about one minute.

Open your cans of beans and pour off the liquid into a glass. It’s good to have this handy to add to your beans if they are looking dry. Tip your beans into the saucepan, and leave to cook until they are bubbling, then add a pinch of chilli powder. Let the beans bubble over a medium heat until they have started to thicken up, adding the juice from the can if they start to run out of liquid.

for the corn:

4 ears of corn

100g feta, crumbled

1/2 red onion, finely diced

handful of fresh coriander

1/2 lime

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, then add your corn and simmer for 1o minutes.

When they are cool, slice the kernels off the cob and place in a bowl with the feta, onion and coriander. Squeeze the lime juice over the mixture before serving.

IMG_0223

IMG_0226

for the guacamole:

3 ripe avocados

1/2 red onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely diced

salt and pepper

juice of 1/2 lime

Begin by mashing your avocados. You want them fairly smooth but with some chunks. Then add in your onion and garlic and season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice.

IMG_0222

for the sweet potato wedges:

2 sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chilli power

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Peel your sweet potatoes and cut them into wedges.

Arrange the wedges on a well-oiled dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and the cumin and chilli powder.

Cook for 40-50 minutes, or until the wedges feel soft but with a crisp outside.

IMG_0217

To serve:

Place big dollop of beans in a bowl, followed by a generous serving of wedges, corn and guacamole. Squeeze a little lime juice over everything and top with a handful of chopped coriander.

IMG_0230

xxR

Veggie Moussaka

My mum makes the best moussaka. It’s a huge dish overflowing with cinnamony lentils and covered with the most luxurious cheese sauce. The recipes comes from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection, and is so well loved that the book falls open at the moussaka page, which is stiff from being touched one too many times with slightly sticky fingers. (By the way, I would highly recommend this book if you are vegetarian, have vegetarian friends or are even a fan of vegetables yourself. It is probably one of the oldest cookbooks on our kitchen shelf and one that we always refer to for new recipe inspiration and old favourites).

IMG_9899

IMG_9904

Since being gluten-free, the cheese sauce is off limits (I suppose you COULD make it with gf flour…) so together we have invented this all new and improved Rosie friendly version, which, I think is actually better (believe it or not!) My family might disagree, but I think that feta works much better as a topping.

IMG_9898

I made this for a big supper I held a few weeks ago- served with a crunchy, rustic loaf (or not, if you too are gluten free!), a big salad and a large glass of wine, it makes for the perfect mid-week supper.

IMG_9903

Veggie Moussaka

serves 6

100g green-brown lentils

1 veggie, gluten free stock cube

1 aubergine

olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

1 large red pepper, deseeded and diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

100ml red wine

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

salt and pepper

1 block of feta

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Begin by cooking the lentils. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the lentils and stock cube and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are slightly soft but still have some bite. No one likes a mushy lentil.

Meanwhile, prepare the aubergines. Slice into fairly thin round disks and fry on a griddle pan with a splash of olive oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until they are soft and starting to brown. When they are cooked, put them on a plate and place to the side.

Then, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are just starting to go brown, then add the pepper and cook until that is soft and slightly brown. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute before adding the chopped tomatoes. Leave them to bubble for a few minutes, then add the wine, cinnamon and cooked lentils. Finally, stir in the parsley and season well. Transfer the lentil mixture to a ceramic dish.

Then, arrange the cooked aubergine in a layer over the top. Crumble the feta over the aubergine in an even layer. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, so that the feta on top is slightly melted and brown and crispy. Serve hot and enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean.

IMG_9891

IMG_9897

xxR