Christmas Chocolate Bark

Happy Christmas all! I know it is Christmas Day, but I really wanted to post this and the last few days have been a little chaotic. I finished work on Friday and tonight I fly to Australia. But right now it is Christmas Chocolate Bark time!

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I saw this recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine when I was in the UK in October and, since I have a minor chocolate bark obsession, I thought yes!


400 grams chopped dark chocolate
Pretzels (halved if you wish)
Red M&M’s
Flaked almonds
1 candy cane crushed


Line two 20.5cm brownie tins with baking parchment.
Melt the chopped dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. While the chocolate is melting, prepare the decorations.
Use halved pretzels to create antlers, red m&m’s for the nose, and flaked almonds dotted with a little melted chocolate for the eyes. I left the pretzels whole as it ended up being easier – maybe gluten-free pretzels don’t break as nicely as normal ones! Once melted and smooth, pour the chocolate into the prepared tin – allow to stand for a few minutes until beginning to set, this will make it easier to decorate.
Decorate making Rudolph faces. Finally sprinkle over 1 crushed candy cane, and chill for 2hr until set. Chop around the Rudolph faces with a sharp knife to create shards.

(I may have found some gold glitter in my cupboard and gone a little mad with it, as one does).

They also had a Snowman Bark recipe that uses white chocolate, white chocolate buttons, pretzels for snowman arms, mini Reece’s peanut butter cups for the hat and sprinkles for the eyes. I was not sure if I could find gluten-free white chocolate buttons so I rather made the Rudolph bark. But as with all things, always check the ingredients as they can vary country to country.

Have a happy gluten-free holiday!

You can find the original recipes here


First stop – Notting Hill

I have just spent 8 days in London, rushing around visiting what felt like the world, whilst trying to consume every gluten-free item that came my way (literally). I feel I did not get to eat as much as I would have liked, possibly due to the amount of time spent commuting to see people (but that’s not a negative, just a wish for more hours in the day). I still did manage to fit quite a few things in. My first stop was Farm Girl Cafe in Notting Hill.


I am obsessed with smashed avo (I love brunch what can I say). The fact that I get to sit down like a civilised human being and order avo (well anything really is a win) on gluten-free toast, and I know that it is safe, is still somewhat of a novelty for me. I do not get to really experience this in Johannesburg so I try to maximise my brunch game when overseas.  The avo toast is bejewelled with pomegranate, fit for royalty!

This was followed by (to maximise food exposure of course) banana bread accompanied by a pretty Rose Latte with rose water infused milk & petals.


They also do a Liquid Gold Latte (turmeric, cinnamon, astragalus, honey & coconut milk), Latte Black (activated charcoal, date syrup & cashew milk), Matcha Latte, Hibiscus Matcha (organic red matcha latte with coconut milk) and then the Butterfly Matcha (organic blue matcha latte with almond milk).  The plan was to return to try all of these but somehow I just ran out of time…

And right at the other end of Portobello Road (and I mean literally thousands of steps what I am doing this is miles away) was Pearl & Groove, a small gluten-free bakery where I also forced down a cake of deliciousness. I felt I had earned it with that long walk.

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And then I was not only truly full but tired as well, time to take a good old London bus!

Visit Firm Girl at 59a Portobello Rd, London W11 3DB.

Find Pearl and Groove at 341 Portobello Rd, London W10 5SA.


Flourless chocolate espresso cake

It’s been nearly 6 weeks since I made this flourless chocolate espresso cake, the recipe thanks to the marvellous Martha Stewart. I had a friend’s birthday around Easter and I thought it would be the perfect time to try this recipe and throw on some chocolate speckled eggs whilst I was at it. Which I did. And then the world, fatigue and the general thrills of the auto-immune life got in the way, and now I find myself at the end of May… so before the month completely comes to an end let us discuss this cake and the chocolate glaze that comes with it!



3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces/170 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped (ideally 70%)
6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extra

For the glaze

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Invert the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (so the cake will slide easily onto the serving plate) and line with a parchment round and butter the parchment.
Melt butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth, in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
Beat together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Add espresso powder and salt; beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and melted chocolate mixture; beat about 1 minute more.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase speed to high; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold into chocolate mixture in 3 batches. Transfer batter to pan and bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

For the glaze, combine the chocolate, butter, and vanilla in a bowl. Bring cream, sugar, espresso powder, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar and espresso powder are dissolved. Pour over chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Serve alongside the cake.

In the spirit of the holidays, I may have gotten a little carried away and flung not just the eggs but everything chocolate related at the cake. So I decorated it with chocolate eggs, flake, chocolate buttons and even some honeycomb (all gluten-free of course). And then we had the chocolate glaze on the side. But guess what? There was none left, so thanks to Martha! This takes a bit of effort with the additional step of the glaze, but it is worth it.

P.S Did I ever mention that I like chocolate! 🙂


Easter chocolate bark


I spent the whole weekend telling myself that I would not make Easter chocolate bark…chocolate eggs on top of chocolate is that really necessary I thought? But then I kept seeing this one picture online that just kept following me (you know how it is) and yesterday afternoon I relented. I realise Easter is now over, but if you have some eggs left lying around then this might be what you need to do; just in case you did not eat enough chocolate this past weekend!



  • 150 grams dark chocolate
  • 150 grams white chocolate
  • 100grams speckled eggs

Melt the chocolate separately. Pour the dark chocolate onto a baking sheet, then add the white chocolate and swirl together.
Place your eggs in a zip lock bag and smash away.
Add smashed eggs to chocolate and place in the fridge to set.

This is ridiculously easy to make and really rather good to eat.
I think that making this bark, or any type of bark, is really a great idea. It looks really impressive yet takes minutes to make, and as I have said before, you can control your ingredients and make sure that everything really is gluten-free!

Gluten-free chocolate pistachio fudge

I have a huge pile of cookbooks, with a slight skew towards baking and gluten-free of course. But nowadays there are so many other sources of recipes that daily I am distracted by some fantastic idea that comes across my screen. The struggle is real and my “to bake” list just gets longer and longer… this recipe appeared in my Facebook feed (I think) and I thought yes time to make fudge. This recipe is Nigella’s gluten-free chocolate pistachio fudge. And it’s oh so good!

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Ingredients (makes 64 pieces of rich fudge)

  • 350 grams dark chocolate (chopped, minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 1 x 397 grams can condensed milk
  • 30 grams butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 150 grams pistachios

Put the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, butter and salt in a heavy-based pan on a low heat, and stir to melt.
Put the nuts into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until broken up into both big and little pieces.
Add the nuts to the melted chocolate and condensed milk and stir well to mix.
Pour this mixture into a foil tray size 23cm smoothing the top.
Let the fudge cool, and refrigerate until set. You can then cut it into small pieces approx. 3x 2.25cm. Once cut, it can be kept in the freezer – no need to thaw just eat straight away.

Note: I could not find pistachios so I used a mix of macadamia and cashew nuts.

“Rich” is most definitely the correct word to use; but it is very good, and so very easy to make.  And you get to take out your latent aggression with a rolling pin on some unsuspecting nuts, so win win all round really.

You can find the original recipe here

Gluten-free chocolate zucchini bread

Zucchini is a huge favourite of mine in any way shape or form, so gluten-free chocolate zucchini bread was oh so tempting to try. I found this recipe in The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook by Erica Kerwien.


So the recipe notes say this can be baked in a loaf tin as bread, a square baking tin to make cake squares or a muffin pan to have cupcakes. I made the bread, had it for brunch, and thought of it in the same way one eats French toast or a chocolate croissant (not that I personally have eaten these, the joy of being of being a coeliac since the age of 1 and living in South Africa). So I had some jam, some nut butter and banana and even some blueberries. I believe everything is better with blueberries, and now with blueberries and zucchini, how good can this be?


  • 2 cups (200grams) grated or finely shredded zucchini
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil or unsalted butter or ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (106grams) maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) coconut flour
  • ¼ cup (20 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.Grease the baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Dust the sides with coconut flour.
Using a food processor or mixer blend together the zucchini, eggs, oil, maple syrup and vanilla. A food processor will further break up the zucchini so you won’t see it in the baked bread (unless like me you love zucchini and feel no need to hide it).
Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt to the mixture and stir well until blended. Let the batter sit for a few minutes.
Mix in the chocolate chip sand pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool and serve.

Notes: some of the bread’s sweetness comes from the sweetened chocolate chips but if you don’t want to add them it is still sweet on its own. If you find it’s not sweet enough you can add another tablespoon of maple syrup or honey, a teaspoon of coconut sugar or a drop of liquid stevia.

They key to using the zucchini is to remove any excess moisture so place the zucchini in a towel and squeeze.

So the verdict… hmmm I am not sure if I would make this again . I enjoyed it with all the toppings but not so much by itself. I think it could be more to do with the coconut flour (although such a small amount) than the zucchini, or maybe it wasn’t sweet enough for me. But it was nice. Enough said.

Roasted Beetroot Hummus

As usual I had some wonderful gluten-free meals in Australia over the holidays, and I was particularly inspired by one. At Nood Cafe in Leederville, Perth the full menu is gluten-free which, for obvious reasons, is very exciting. If I lived in Perth I would be there every other day (my other favourite place is in the same street so all just too marvellous for words)… if only I actually lived in this city!

Below from Nood Cafe we have toast toppers with avocado pesto and beetroot hummus with dukkah. And so begins my obsession with beetroot hummus…


I searched for a simple recipe in order to replicate this wonderfulness at home. This is by Devon O’Brien, you can find the original here.


  • 1 15 ounce/425g can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed
  • 8 ounces/225g roasted beetroot, coarsely chopped and patted dry
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Combine chickpeas, beetroot, tahini, oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt in a food processor.
Puree until very smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Eat and enjoy.

Yes it’s that easy. Happy days.

You can visit and see what you are missing out on!

And just for fun, below is toast toppers with natural peanut butter with strawberries (they were out of chia jam), and salted caramel with banana. Sounds nice doesn’t it?