Vegan, Gluten-Free Plum Crumble – Nice, But Not Too Naughty!

You may remember in my previous post I was asked what I ate if I couldn’t have anything ‘naughty’ (see here). Well, that day, our neighbour gave us some plums from his garden and as our teenage friend was coming to visit again the next day – this time with his dad and dad’s partner – we decided to make a huge plum crumble. If you read the earlier post, you’ll understand why it had to be huge: teenage boy/growing/neverstopseating!

Here’s the recipe: no refined sugar, just a little maple syrup and a lot of natural flavour! Unfortunately, we didn’t weigh the plums, there were enough to fill a supermarket ice-cream box.

The topping can also be used for an apple or any other fruit crumble.


(Organic where possible, all quantities are approximate)

Plums, washed, stoned and cut in half

Cinnamon to taste

1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

A Few Tbsps of Apple Juice, but don’t drown them



4 oz Gluten-Free Oats – if you prefer a finer texture, grind the oats and buckwheat flakes into flour

2 oz Buckwheat Flakes

2 oz Almonds, finely ground

(You could replace the almonds with desiccated coconut for an alternative flavour)

Approx. 2 oz Raw Virgin Coconut Oil, gently melted over warm water

1-2 Tbsps Maple Syrup

If you want a little more sweetness, you could add a small handful of raisins, either to the plum base or to the crumble topping.


Place the plums cut side up in an ovenproof dish

Add Apple Juice

Sprinkle with Cinnamon

Add Maple Syrup

To make the topping:

Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together

Stir in the coconut oil and maple syrup (and raisins if using)

Mix together well with a round-bladed knife and then through your fingers to create the crumble effect

Cover the plums


Place dish in oven at 170C for a Fan oven for about 40-45 minutes. Keep your eye on it, it needs to be golden, not dark brown!

Serve hot or cold with custard or plain yogurt, or Nana Rhys Cream with Mango, Cacao & Peanut Butter – the men had custard, I had CoYo plain coconut yogurt. I think it’s even better the next day when the crumble has soaked up some of plum juice.


Makes enough for about 6 or 7 servings.

Our teenage friend gave it the thumbs up and had his two servings as per normal!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Cauliflower Oats (Don’t Laugh, It’s a Thing!)

imageNo really.

I know, you thought courgette (zucchini) oats and beetroot oats were pushing it, but Rachel at Healthy and Psyched raised the bar considerably: she challenged me to try cauliflower oats and I am pleased to say I not only rose to that challenge, I reached the bar and leapt over it!

I know it’s weird, but if you change your perspective a little and see oats in the same way as, say, rice which you have either savoury (risotto) or sweet (rice pudding), or even a mixture of both – we put raisins or dried apricots in some rice meals – then it’s not quite so odd.

Not convinced?

Look at the photo, it’s sweet and fruity and has peanut butter too – I love cauliflower with peanut butter (we put it in a casserole with cauliflower and cashews) – and peanut butter goes well with banana too.

You can use whatever berries you want, Rachel used blueberries, I thought raspberries would go well but there was half a pomegranate to use up, so in it went. You could add cacao, if liked.

Cauliflower is a good source of B Vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C; peanut butter and oats also have B Vitamins and protein and more magnesium in the oats – necessary for healthy muscles, preventing cramps, keeping you calm – and the nut milks are equally nutritious as well as sweet and creamy. Pomegranate is a nutritional superfood, with plenty of phytochemicals that help reduce blood pressure. The whole bowl is filled with dietary fibre.

Here goes for the  first attempt: All ingredients are organic (except pomegranate), vegan and gluten-free.


1/2 Cup Oats

3/4 Cup Boiling Water

1/4 Small Cauliflower, grated

1/2 large Banana

1 Medjool Date, chopped

1/2 Cup Tiger Nut Milk or Almond Milk (click links to make your own)

1/4 Pomegranate or Berries

1 Tbsp Peanut Butter

A few Slices of Banana to Serve


Soak the oats in the boiling water in a saucepan for a few minutes while you prepare the cauli and get everything else ready.

Add the grated cauli, the banana, the chopped date and the milk

This bit is important:

Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, to ensure the cauli is cooked.


(If you’d like it extra smooth, you could blend it with a stick blender)

Pour into a bowl either on top of frozen berries of your choice, or just add fresh berries, peanut butter and slices of banana for the topping in whatever fashion your creative juices dictate.


It really works! Go on, who’s going to be first to give it a go? If it makes it easier, adding the cauliflower gives you 1 of your 5 a day veg and it is soooo filling – this bowl filled me up until mid-afternoon. It’s far more than I would normally eat that early in the day.

I said to my husband that there was enough for two, but he didn’t take me up on it, he suddenly remembered he had a bike to fix!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Zoats: Mark 2 (I like this one better!)

imageWell, only one person had any enthusiasm for the original savoury porridge or Zoats (zucchini or courgette oats), so here is my second try and I liked this much better. I left out the cacao and made it with tiger nut milk which is sweet and creamy (recipe here), but you can use nut milk or soy or rice milk – though the latter will give you a thinner porridge and doesn’t have the same nutritional value. I also used raisins instead of dates to sweeten it, which is what I would normally put in straightforward, everyday porridge.

Courgettes contain heart-healthy potassium, folate (necessary for cell-division), anti-oxidants, B vitamins, iron and zinc.

Have a go, it won’t do you any harm and it might very well do you some good!

Vegan and Gluten-Free if you use gluten-free oats.


1/2 Cup Oats

1/2 Cup Tiger Nut Milk or Horchata

1/4 Cup Water

1/2 Courgette/Zucchini, grated

1/4 Cup Raisins

1 Dsp Shelled Hemp Seeds*

1 Dsp Lucuma Powder* (mild, malted flavour)

1 Tsp Wheatgrass Powder (for extra nutrients – optional)

Goji Berries* and Raw Chocolate Mulberry Chips* to serve.



As before, add oats, milk, water and courgette to pan and warm imagethrough until it starts to cook, stirring well. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add raisins and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add hemp seeds, lucuma powder and wheatgrass powder, of used. Mix well.


Transfer to a bowl and add goji berries and raw chocolate mulberry chips, and a little more milk of desired.



I loved this version! Of course, this is only a template, add whatever flavouring and fruit you like and happen to have.

This is such a satisfying breakfast and starts you off with 1 of your minimum 5 a Day veg and fruit.

We buy our tiger nuts from

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Have You Tried Savoury Porridge Yet?


imageApparently, the latest health food trend is savoury porridge. Yep, that’s porridge with veg in. Weird, huh? Except that it’s not that weird. The Scots have been making their porridge with water and salt rather than milk and sugar since I don’t know when and I quite like it for a change. So when I saw Blogger of the Year Healthy and Psyched post a photo of her Zoats or Zucchini Oats, I decided to give it a go. We used her recipe as a template for the first try then we made another two recipes of my own. My husband wasn’t impressed! But he is a traditionalist and is very hard to shift when it comes to new culinary ideas. I liked them. They are extremely filling and satisfying, I didn’t need to eat again until halfway through the afternoon. Plus, you’re eating a portion of your day’s veg with your breakfast which gets your day off to a great start.

So don’t turn your nose up and click onto the next post. Give it a try at least once and stir up your breakfast routine a little! You don’t have to have it just for breakfast of course. It makes great comfort food on a chilly day. I promise you you can’t taste the courgette, it just adds a little texture and extra nutrients. It would be good for a weaning child, without all the extras of course!

Here’s the first effort:


1/2 Cup Oats

1/2 Cup Almond Milk (try making your own recipe here)

1/4 Cup Water

1/2 Courgette/Zucchini, grated

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds (optional)*

Optional FlavouringsChoose your own combination:

2 Medjool Dates, chopped

1 Tbsp Cacao Powder*

1 Dsp Lucuma Powder (it has a mild malted flavour)*

1 Dsp Açaí Powder*

1 Tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar*

1 Tsp Wheatgrass Powder if you want to go hardcore!

Dried coconut to sprinkle on top

Extra milk if liked


Warm the oats, milk, water and grated courgette in a pan, stirring

Cook for about 5 minutes until it starts to soften and thicken.

We then added a chopped Medjool date for sweetness, saving the other to put on the finished porridge, and cooked for a couple more minutes.

In went some chia seeds to thicken it up, for healthy fats and protein and because I like them, but you don’t need them. Add a little more milk or water if necesary.

Next was cacao powder – the original recipe uses a lot more than here, but I found it too much, especially first thing in the morning.

Pour into a bowl and top with your favourite fruit. We used Blueberries and Red Grapes.

Sprinkle with coconut and extra date, add a little more milk if liked.


I’ll post the next 2 recipes separately: you’ll never guess what’s in the first one!

To sweeten the pudding, here’s a classic sketch from the BBC series ‘Porridge’ with the late Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale. (If you’re reading via email, you need to click onto the blog).


Copyright: Chris McGowan