Vegan chocolate, beetroot and walnut cake

Today is my birthday, the day I look forward to all year...

I'm a child when it comes to my birthday, I start counting the days from August.
You would think I have it all planned out, but indecisive as I am about this -on the day- no reservations for dinner have been made and no outfit is chosen.
The only certain thing is that I will most likely be in a little village in East Sussex.
Today is my day, the day that I am allowed to be a child again, sing very loud, blow out candles and dance in the street.
I don't care what people think, I hold on to this joyful occasion and cherish it.
Because you have to hold on to your inner child and keep that little fire burning. That's where creativity thrives and tales are invented.
Today anything is possible, I have wings to fly to magical places, where the grass is greener, the flowers enormous and the food, of course the food delicious and plenty.
Today I fall into a hole in the ground and have tea with talking rabbits.
Today is truly mine.

So on this day I bring you a birthday cake.

The past year a lot of things changed, I started this blog, got married and got to know who my friends are. I feel I grew up just a tiny bit more.

One of the new things in my life is experimenting with vegan cooking, especially for cakes and cookies. I love to make sweet things slightly more healthy and as I don't really have a sweet tooth, I don't make them overly sweet.
As you might have guessed from my Parsnip and apple breakfast cake, I have a thing for putting vegetables into sweets. The classic carrot cake used to be my all time favourite tea time treat, until this cake came along...
This mouth full of yummyness is moist, full of the darkest chocolate and contains one of my favourite veg: beetroot.
Beetroot is incredibly healthy as it is a rich source of antioxidants, nutrients including sodium, magnesium and vitamin C.

I love the way beetroot colors your hands...

What do you need
220 g wholemeal spelt flour
40 g walnuts or pecans
baking powder: 2 heaped tsp
cocoa: 4 heaped tsp
100 g dark chocolate
360 g cooked red beetroot in cubes
50 ml olive oil
50 ml maple syrup
1 cup of soy yoghurt
a pinch of seasalt

• Peel the beetroots and slice into 1 cm cubes, cook until soft and mash.
• Preheat your oven to 160°
• Get your dry ingredients in one bowl and your wet ingredients in another.
• Add the baking powder and soda last as it has to get in contact with the wet ingredients straight away to give the best result.
• Melt the chocolate and add to the wet ingredients, mix the ingredients.
• Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix.
• Line a spring form with baking paper and dust with some cacao.
• Pour the batter into the springform and put in the oven for 55 minutes.
• Be very careful when you take it out of the oven, let it cool in the tray.

Decorate with some melted chocolate drizzled over, and serve with yoghurt mixed with a teaspoon of beetroot juice

Enjoy with a glass of oat milk or Earl grey tea!

Home made butter, the best

I've always wanted to make my own butter so when my friends Sarka and Giulia made their own in januari I decided to finally give it a go. I started this butter making adventure on a sunday morning while the rain outside in the garden became snow and snow turned to hail. B was reading a book while I was shaking a jar and soon he joined in and we were shaking and tapping together, sitting on the floor with our backs against the heating.
I can't believe I didn't do this sooner, the rewarding taste of homemade butter is yet to be equaled. The butter made me want to bake delicious bread to go with it and left me inspired to cook and write all day!

What do you need
Organic double cream
good quality sea salt
Jars, solid ones as you don't want them to break
Tea towel
optional: herbs or garlic 

Follow the steps

1. Pour the double cream in to a jar and fill it for two third.
2. Close the lid
3. Start shaking the jar. After 5 minutes the double cream should be very thick
4. Shaking might be difficult now so wrap the jar in a tea towel and tap it on the floor.
Turn it up and down again while you tap it.
5. At this point the buttermilk should be starting so separate from the butter, drain the buttermilk by squeezing it out with a spoon or spatula. Keep the buttermilk.
6. Try to get out as much buttermilk as you can, keep squeezing until it becomes to look more and more like butter.
7. Pour water into the jar to wash away the last of the buttermilk from the butter.
8. Use your spoon or spatula to squeeze out the remaining water.
9. Now add seasalt and herbs or garlic.
Keep the butter refrigerated.
You can use the buttermilk to bake delicious pancakes


butter on speculoos, delicious!

Home made butter, the best!

Please leave a comment, I love reading them!

Chicken tarragon pie, bringing back memories

Chicken and tarragon pie will always make me think of my wedding dress.
Last year in april I had my first dress fitting in London, it was a terribly hot day and everyone was out enjoying walks along the Thames. The queues in front of the ice cream vans were long and the dresses short.
I arrived in London at 11 and had to be back on a plane by 5.
Obviously I didn't have a lot of time but for some reason I was very relaxed and enjoyed my short visit to 'the big smoke'. I took the underground to Neil's Yard dairy and bought cheese and artisan bread, did some shopping, dropped of 3 jars of apple syrup I brought with me for one of my readers and set sail to the bridal shop.
By then my dress was soaked, the sun was burning and my bag of cheese was so heavy it started to be a burden to drag along. 

I was so glad to get out of my clothes and I just stood there behind the red velvet curtain enjoying the cooling feeling before I had to get into my huge petticoat. It's an emotional moment, the first time you are wearing your actual wedding dress. When I left the bridal shop, I headed over to a bench in the shadow looking over the Thames and just let it all sink in. I was in London and just tried on my -terribly over budget- wedding dress. When I was sitting there I looked up at a clock to see its was actually just before 3. I had to get my flight in Stansted at 5, I did the math and realised there was a good chance I would miss my flight. I started to run to the underground but passed a pie shop, knowing I was out of time I went in anyway and ordered two chicken and tarragon pies to go. Now I really had to rush and I did almost miss my flight.
The entire journey home, I smelled the chicken and tarragon pies in my purse.
I almost missed my flight for them, but they made a fantastic dinner in the garden when I got home that evening. No regrets! Oh well, perhaps I do regret not having the time to stop for a pint of stout!

What do you need (serves 2)

2 free range chicken breasts (350g)
1 cube of chicken or vegetable stock or real chicken stock (you need 250 ml liquid)
2 small carrots chopped into fine cubes
3 finely chopped sjalots
3 spring onions (only the light part)
3 tsp of fresh tarragon leaves
2 tsp of double cream
1 bay leaf
100 ml white wine (dry)
1 clove of garlic
3 tsp of dry roux -> see method for roux below
olive oil