Vegan Spiced Tahini and Orange Cake aka Tahinopita

Vegan Spiced Tahini and Orange Cake aka Tahinopita

My daughter has started going through a fussy toddler eating stage. It’s not that she doesn’t like the flavours, it’s because she’s defying me and just wants to be stubborn.

The one thing she will eat though is cake.

So everything that comes out of our kitchen is now called cake.

Savoury quiche for dinner? We’re having “ham cake” for dinner tonight! Hooray!

Breakfast? “It’s tomato and cheese omelette cake” Hooray!

After saying the word cake 3 times a day for the last week, I actually woke up with a craving of cake today but couldn’t be bothered to venture outdoors. With no eggs or milk left in the fridge, I started trawling the internet for vegan recipes and came across this beauty. Tahinopita, a Greek tahini cake that is completely vegan and uses no fat, except for the natural oils found in tahini. Hooray!

This cake is not overly sweet. It is however quite dense and a stick to your teeth kind of cake. The tahini flavour is quite dominant but the subtle orange zest does shine through. Perfect with a cup of tea for breakfast!

Vegan Spiced Tahini and Orange Cake aka Tahinopita

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 ¼ cups plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon oil to grease the cake pan

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease your cake pan of choice

Before you pour a cup of tahini, be sure to use a spoon and give the jar a good mix. Beat tahini, sugar and orange zest for 3-4 minutes until fluffy on a high speed. Gradually and slowly add the orange juice until all combined and smooth.

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Meanwhile sift together all the dry ingredients and fold into the tahini mix

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The mix will be quite dense and not at all like a traditional cake batter. Pour it into you pre-greased tin and bake for 40 minutes. Let the cake cool down before you remove it from the tin.

Pour yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy.

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Homemade Ricotta Cheese! Easier than you think!

homemade ricotta cheese recipe

“Cheese, I just love cheese! Really I do!!”

Does anyone else remember this cartoon? A little female mouse declaring her love of the good stuff? I remember watching this cartoon on 1001 Rabbit Tales as a young child and it’s the one line that has stuck with me throughout the years.

I can’t say the word ‘Cheese’ without putting on my best southern belle accent ‘I love cheese, really I do!’

Once you’ve tried my recipe for homemade ricotta you’ll never buy the supermarket version again. It’s almost too easy to make it at home and the taste is out of this world. Eat it warm, eat it cold, bake it, spread it, sweet or savoury.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

  • 2 litres full cream milk
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or plain white vinegar

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Pour the milk, cream and salt into a saucepan. Heat the milk, stirring it constantly to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Just before it comes to the boil, add the lemon juice or vinegar, stir it once only and let it simmer it 1-2 minutes only. Remove from the heat and let the pot sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.

seconds after the lemon juice was added

seconds after the lemon juice was added

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth (minimum 2 layers) and place it over a large bowl. Pour the curds and whey gently into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. The liquid collected in the bowl is whey.

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After straining at room temperature for an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese.

I usually discard the whey into our vegetable patch, however there are many uses for it from baking with it to bathing in it a la Cleopatra

Homemade ricotta cheese will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge, in a sealed container.

homemade ricotta cheese recipe

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2 ingredient Banana and Egg pancakes!

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What to have for breakfast? Hmmmm fruit bowl has a banana, eggs in the fridge. Banana in a shake or boil up a couple of eggs? Why not combine the two and have these delicious gluten free banana pancakes that call for NO sugar, flour, salt and no nasties.

That’s right, 2 measly ingredients!!

What results is fluffy, and delicious pancakes that are good for you and you could eat more and more without the guilt. Now, what you choose to pour on top may not make these ‘healthy’ anymore if you’re thinking slatherings of butter, syrup or ice cream, but who cares, the pancakes themselves are guilt free so go nuts!

Perfect for adults and babies alike, this is a great food option for parents who are practicing baby led weaning.

Gluten free Banana pancakes.

  • 1 large banana
  • 2 eggs
  • Oil to grease the pan.

Pick the most ripe banana and mash it up until its gooey. Whisk eggs and combine with the mashed banana. Pour into a hot greased pan and cook on a low to medium heat until one side bubbles. Flip and cook the other side for 30 seconds or until golden brown.

Serve with berries, cinnamon, ice cream, maple syrup, honey, sugar and lemon, coconut butter or whatever floats your boat!

banana egg pancakes

Full after eating Ful? You better believe it!

Ful Medames

I’m terrible at eating breakfast, you’d be forgiven for thinking the opposite though! I quite like my snooze button and I’m known for pressing it numerous times on a weekday. I’ve trained my daughter well too, she knows not to wake Mummy before 8.30am

I’d rather get that 5 minutes of extra blissed out sleep then wake and make myself a proper breakfast.

Shameful, I know. I can hear your tsk tsk tsk from here.

Weekends are a completely different story though. I actually wake unassisted, make myself a gorgeous cup of chai tea, and have this hearty breakfast/brunch which lasts me all day and keeps my belly happy.

Ful Medames, or commonly known as just Ful is the Middle Eastern version of baked beans.

Ful is a flavour packed bowl of hydrated Fava Beans that is cooked with garlic, lemon herbs and spices and every time I eat it, I can’t help but say ‘There’s a party in my mouth, and everyone’s invited!’

Fava beans are traditionally cooked very slowly overnight in a copper pot, and as much as I would love to do this one day, the canned variety works just as well

Here’s my ‘Wog Fusion’ version of Ful, every Middle Eastern person would have their own favourite flavour combination. Feel free to play around with these ingredients and measurements. I personally like my bowl of Ful quite tangy and put extra lemon, where my husband prefers his more earthy without as many add-ons.

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Lisa’s Ful Medames: serves 2-4
* 1 can of Fava Beans
* Lemon
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
* 2 cloves garlic
* 2 table spoon pepper/tomato paste
* Fresh chilli
* 2 tablespoon raw tahini paste
* Olive Oil
* 2 tomatoes, diced
* Fresh parsley/fresh oregano

Method: I like to drain the liquid from the canned Fava beans and rinse the beans well under the colander. I hear this is sacrilegious as the canned liquid is the best bit, however I personally don’t want all those salty nasties and prefer to add fresh water to the beans. Add washed beans to a saucepan and cover with enough water to completely cover the beans and then some. Add crushed garlic, cumin, paprika, generous pinch of salt and cracked pepper. Bring your bean mix to a boil, then simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Ful sauce

Meanwhile in your serving bowl, add the tomato paste, tahini, lemon juice of ½ – 1 lemon (depending on taste) and plenty of olive oil. Mix well. You will find the tahini will thicken up the sauce and it will become harder to stir.

Ful Medames

Once your beans have simmered for a bit, add spoonfuls of the beans liquid to your tahini sauce and mix well, this will make the mixture smooth again in texture. Add your diced tomatoes, chilli, freshly chopped parsley or oregano (or both!), the remainder of the beans and the simmering liquid. Mix well to bind the beans to the sauce and drizzle with lots of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Mop it all up with fresh Lebanese bread and drown it with another cup of tea.

Make sure your other half eats this with you as you don’t want to be the only one with garlic breath first thing in the morning!

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