january-february: kerri’s (ovenly’s secretly vegan) chocolate chip cookies

When I saw this recipe a few months ago, it sparked my interest because it claimed that you would never know they were vegan. No butter in a cookie? Really? No eggs? Really?

But it wasn’t just that. Six out of nine of my nieces and nephews have / have had food allergies. So this theme is close to my heart. For the past 17 years, our family get togethers changed from let’s-cook-whatever-we-want to still-yummy-but-much-more-considered meals, and especially desserts, of which I’m usually in charge. One of my nieces is anaphylactic to nuts. That means contact with nuts could be life threatening for her. So I’ve learnt to be very careful when I know I’m going to see her, and especially if I’m baking. I’ve tried a few different recipes over these years, and there was always something about them that wasn’t quite perfect.

But when I found, tried and tested this recipe, I knew it was a winner, on all counts. As well as being friendly for people with dairy, egg and nut allergies, it is also one of the quickest, simplest recipes I {now} have in my go-to collection… and yes, it’s one of the yummiest choc chip cookies I have ever had.


No mixer needed, just a whisk, 2 bowls and a spatula for mixing. Flour, rising agents, salt and choc chips in one bowl. Sugars, oil and water in the other. Mix together. As simple as that.


The time {but no effort} consuming part of this recipe is resting the mixture for 12-24 hours. So you do need to think ahead if you want these for a particular day.


An optional step is to freeze the dough for around 10 minutes after portioning to help them retain their shape. I’ve not tried baking them without this step {because I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I like them to look uniform} but go ahead if you don’t want to wait, and let me know how they turn out!


I’ve made them on a few occasions now, and undoubtedly they get the most compliments than any other cookie I’ve baked. And no one really believes me when I tell them they’re vegan. They all give me the same incredulous look until they realise I’m not lying, and then they just have another one… and another… and another.

You can find the recipe here.


Jan-Feb: Grace’s Christmas Spiced Carrot Cake

When I was little, some of the best school days involved cake. Bake sales, birthdays, school fete’s… cake’s were a very regular occurence. There were no rules; anything and everything was gobbled up- sure, most of us ended up a little too hyped up on sugar but the worst parental nightmare was usually just someone throwing up from mixing rainbow cake, chocolate icing, fairy bread, a lot of running around and hanging upside down from monkey bars. There may have been a nut allergy or two among the class but it was a simpler time.

These days, the world of food allergies seems to have just exploded and it’s all a lot more complicated. There are consent forms, disclaimers, rules on where things can be served and terrified teachers on constant watch for any signs of accidental cross contamination from sticky fingers. No more bringing in a supermarket mix cake for the entire class, you’ll need a few varieties of cupcakes whose recipes have been pre approved! 


With this in mind, I decided to just tackle the “allergy of the moment”-gluten.  Humble gluten, responsible for the elasticity in dough, is found in many staple foods from obvious wheat based candidates like bread, to rye, barley, and any foods containing these grains- so most cakes involving flour whether it be plain, self raising, cake or pastry. So what to do? With Christmas is still on my mind and a desire to throwback to those cake filled childhood days, I settled on a gluten-free variation on my beloved carrot cake, which can be found here 


It’s a simple recipe really, the most tedious thing was grating up all those carrots! It’s also relatively healthy with refined sugar replaced with honey. and I personally loved this variation on the traditional cream cheese icing- the orange zest and orange juice really brightens things, although traditionalists may resist. My husband will attest to the fact that I’m renown for tampering with dessert recipes in an effort to “healthise” them but I’m happy to report that in this case, no one will be the wiser and everyone will ask for seconds.DSC_7214