3 articles Tag family food

Vegan Coconut and Chocolate Cake Recipe

On Saturday afternoon, I was bored. We didn’t have much to do, the housework was mostly done and the kids were just doing their own thing. We didn’t have much in the cupboards, but I decided to have a rummage around to see what I could find. Two things I did happen upon were a bag of unopened cacao powder and some dessicated coconut, both of which had been bought for other projects, but never used.

I wanted to have a go at making a cake, but we didn’t have any eggs in the house, so I decided to see if I could knock up a decent vegan cake without going to the shops for ingredients. It turned out that not only could I do it, but it tasted GOOOOOD!

Vegan Chocolate and Coconut Cake
The cake part was chewy and dense and super coconutty and the chocolate icing that I made for the outside was so rich and delicious that I’m thinking of making it my go-to icing next time I make a chocolate cake. Our vegan chocolate and coconut cake would also be great for people dealing with allergies as it contains no dairy, no eggs and no lactose. Obviously there’s wheat flour and coconut, which I know can cause people issues, but if you’re okay with coconut, maybe substitute the flour for almond flour, Buckwheat Flour or rice flour instead. Here’s how I did it:

Vegan Coconut and Chocolate Cake
 
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A chewy, sweet chocolate and coconut cake which is egg-free, dairy-free and lactose-free.
Author:
Recipe type: Baking
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • For the Cake
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 200g white sugar
  • ¾tsp salt
  • 160g dessicated coconut
  • 360ml Full Fat Coconut Milk
  • 120ml Coconut Oil (Melted)
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • For the Icing
  • 420g Icing Sugar
  • 120g Raw Cacao Powder
  • 110g Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 60ml Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsps Dessicated Coconut (for decorating)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Rub two 8 inch cake pans with a little coconut oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and then add the sugar, salt and dessicated coconut. Mix together well.
  4. Then add in the coconut milk, melted coconut oil, vinegar, and vanilla and stir into a thick batter. Make sure it’s well mixed, you do tend to find pockets of dry ingredients if you don't.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and spread it out to the edges of the pans with a spatula or the back of a spoon, the batter will be too thick to spread out on its own.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.
  7. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing.
  8. Prepare your icing by adding the icing sugar, cacao powder, coconut oil and coconut milk to a mixing bowl and mixing with an electric mixer starting off slow and then gradually increasing speed until thick and smooth.
  9. If your icing is too thick, add a tiny bit more coconut milk, a drop at a time until you reach the right consistency, if it’s too thin add more icing sugar.
  10. Ice your cake and decorate it with plenty of dessicated coconut.

We’re trying really hard at the moment to reduce the amount of animal products we eat and knowing that we can still have a properly indulgent treat without using any animal-derived ingredients at all is so encouraging. I think that added drop of virtue made this cake taste even better! Let me know if you give this a go and if you make any tweaks to the recipe, I love to see variations and changes that other people try. Next time, I’m going to try to find some vegan pouring cream to go with it!

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Caribbean Flavours at Turtle Bay

When we first found out that we were going to be reviewing Turtle Bay, my first thought was how happy Husband would be as he’s a HUGE fan of Caribbean food. My second thought was “will the kids cope with the spice?”. It has to be said, my kids aren’t total chilli wusses, BB has been asking for sriracha on her food since she was about 2 and Sausage copes with things like hot wings, so I figured we’d just see how they fared – besides, there was a kids menu to choose from.

Turtle Bay Collage

The Turtle Bay we visited was in Chelmsford, just outside the High Chelmer Shopping Centre and in a nice location with an outdoor seating area. The first thing you notice about Turtle Bay is just how vibrant and beautifully styled the whole place is. From the bright colours that scream Jamaica to the wall of guitar amps and the reggae playing in the background, the restaurant felt themed in a way that managed to avoid the pantomime-y feel of other themed restaurants.

We did the usual ‘sit down, peruse the menu, give our drinks order’ and were informed that cocktails were currently 2 for 1, so mine and Sausage’s virgin cocktail orders meant we’d be brought two drinks each – quite a bonus and one to remember next time we’re out for dinner and I’m not driving!

While we were waiting for our food, we were given colouring stuff for the girls, but also a Connect4 game, which made the time between ordering our food and it arriving pass really quickly. Not only did we love the fact that the kids were catered for, we loved the implication that this wasn’t a place where kids had to be seen and not heard, that they were allowed to have fun and be kids.

BB ate from the kids menu, and her main arrived at the same time as our starters, which worked well as she’s a SLOOOOW eater! Serving it this way meant that by the time we’d eaten our starter and mains, she was just about finished too.

Caribbean Flavour at Turtle Bay

In terms of the food, here’s what we ordered:

 I’m not going to bore you with a description of every single morsel of food that we ate (ALTHOUGH, the prawns I had for my starter were TO DIE FOR, and I said to husband that I could quite happily have eaten it ten times over), but every single one of us loved all of our dishes. The jerk chicken and ribs were SO beautifully seasoned and spiced, not so much that it blew your head off, but just enough to make you feel warm down to your flip flops. Husband’s curry goat and my ribs were so tender, the meat melted in your mouth and all of the desserts were perfect and sweet, after such a savoury meal.

The meal was, in fact, such a resounding success, that the whole family declared it the best place we’ve ever reviewed, and we’ve been to a LOT of restaurants in the last eight years! Unless you’ve got kids who are exceptionally fussy with what they eat, please don’t think you can’t eat as a family at Turtle Bay because there are plenty of dishes which cater for those with more delicate taste buds, and everyone else gets to enjoy the deep flavour of Jerk wonderfulness!

It would also be an amazing place for dinner and drinks with friends (not least of all because the cocktails are 2-for-1!), and the decor and atmosphere would really lend itself to relaxation and socialising. All in all (for three starters, three mains, a kids meal, four desserts, four virgin cocktails, two pints of Red Stripe and a soft drink) our meal would have cost £82.60, which I think is excellent value.

As we were leaving, the manager mentioned to us that a new Turtle Bay is going to be opening in Southend, which is even closer to us, and all I can say is, I really  hope he’s correct!

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7-Day Slow Cooker Challenge – Macaroni Cheese

Slow Cooker Macaroni CheeseToday is day 2 of our slow cooker challenge and in the slow cooker today we have macaroni cheese! This one is quite a leap of faith for me because not only have I never made macaroni cheese at all, I’ve never even tasted it (other than one mouthful of the stuff you get from a can). We opted for this today as yesterday’s dinner was very rich and meaty, so we wanted to have something which is totally different, and it’s also one of the days when Husband does his longer run, so some carbs will be very welcome! The recipe is super simple:

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese

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Mum's the Word 7-Day Slow Cooker Challenge - Macaroni Cheese
 
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A slow-cooked oozy, cheesy pasta dish with bacon, served with garlic bread
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: American
Serves: up to 10
Ingredients
  • 300g grated cheddar
  • 900ml milk
  • 200ml evaporated milk
  • 500g elbow macaroni
  • 1 tub of cream cheese
  • 150g streaky bacon
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
Instructions
  1. Begin by dicing the bacon and browning it lightly in a frying pan
  2. Pat the bacon with some kitchen paper to soak up some of the grease before adding it to the slow cooker
  3. Chuck in everything else, give it a stir and cook on low for 2-3 hours
  4. Serve with garlic bread or a side of your choice

In terms of slow-cooking, this recipe couldn’t be any easier – you could probably even forgo the frying off of the bacon and just chuck in some lardons raw, but I wanted to get rid of some of the fat, and also have that lovely salty flavour of bacon when it’s been browned. The result was an oozy, gooey cheesy delight which the whole family absolutely loved. What’s most impressive is that this dish, which was absolutely huge and could have served a whole other family as well as us, costs around 91p per portion, including the garlic bread, which seems brilliant to me.

Both girls absolutely loved this and I think it’s a meal which would also work really well cooked the day before and eaten cold for lunch, or even at a picnic or barbecue as a really tasty side dish.

Have you tried slow cooker macaroni cheese before? What did you think? Have we inspired you to try it yourself?! Leave me a comment below…or even better, join in with our 7-day challenge and blog your own recipe, then come back and link up below!

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