By Mary Mahabir, White Swan Tea Rooms, Monmouth.
Don’t be short-changed on how your food tastes and looks just because you don’t want certain foods in your diet.
At the White Swan Tea Room in Monmouth we aim to provide a menu to suit all tastes. We also make a point of ensuring a gluten/dairy-free or vegan afternoon tea will look and taste just as good as all our other afternoon teas. Why should your food be dull just because you can’t eat certain ingredients? A little bit of time and effort goes a long way when you want to create a tasty treat. Try these brownies but never be shy about swapping ingredients for alternatives that suit your preferred diet. Don’t worry about adding vegetables to the mix as they’ll disappear during cooking but will add moisture to your brownies and make them squidgy. You can used flavoured chocolate too to enhance the taste of the brownies, or try a bar of hazelnut chocolate for added crunch. Most supermarkets sell gf/df/vegan chocolate.
White Swan Tea Room Avocado and Courgette Brownies – Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan
- 150g of vegetable oil OR coconut oil OR melted dairy-free spread OR a mixture of oil and melted spread
- 150g of vegan dark chocolate such as Lindt Excellence ‘dark’ or your own preferred brand of chocolate
- 125g of light muscovado sugar
- 125g of self-raising flour OR Doves Farm gluten-free self-raising flour OR your chosen brand or blend of flour(s). If using gluten-free flour, add half a teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder to the mix when adding the flour
- 2 tea spoons of vanilla extract (optional)
- Half a medium courgette AND half a medium-sized ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
- A pinch of salt
- Warm water
- 100g of chopped walnuts OR pecans OR hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas4. Line an 8” square cake tin with greaseproof paper. Warm the oil gently in a saucepan. Whilst that is warming, melt your chosen chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water until it is runny and smooth. Add the warm oil slowly to the chocolate, stirring continuously until it has blended thoroughly with the chocolate.
Finely grate the courgette and mash the avocado. Using an electric mixer or blender, beat the courgette and avocado into the sugar, adding spoons of warm water to help create a batter. Stir in the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract, making sure that everything is thoroughly blended together. Fold in the flour and salt and stir in the nuts. Alternatively, stir in two-thirds of the nuts and scatter the rest on top of the brownie before it goes in the oven. Fold in your chosen flour.
Pour the batter into your tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes depending on how squidgy you want your brownies. If in doubt, push a knife into the brownie and ensure it comes out with a little of the mixture attached to it – this means that the centre of the brownies should be soft and gooey when you eat them. Let the brownie cool in the tin for at least twenty minutes and then transfer it, in the lining, to a cooling rack. When it’s cold peel off the greaseproof paper.
These brownies may sink in the middle as they cool but that is normal. They can be served as they are or warmed with a small dish of melted chocolate to dip them in. They’re also delicious served with a chocolate sauce such as Sweet Freedom Chocolate Pot and some Swedish Glace ice cream. ENJOY!