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Ever since I saw the chocolate cherry cupcake recipe in Nigella Lawson’s The Domestic Goddess, I’ve wanted to make my own healthy version – who am I kidding, how can chocolate be healthy? For those who have been reading my previous posts, you will notice that I seem to have an aversion to butter. Let me come clean: I have nothing against butter – I love my crossaints and pastries, but I work in a sedentary job 5 days a week and my exercise consists of walking half an hour or so per day. This is obviously not a good combination, which is the reason I try to follow a healthier diet. This also allows me to experiment using different grains, nuts and seeds in my baking, which is perfectly suited to my cooking habits, because I never follow a recipe to a tee.  
Instead of cupcakes, I made a loaf – because loaves are so much healtheir than cupcakes, am I correct? The recipe that I based my version on called for oats, so I did include it, but I won’t be doing that soon again – when incorporated with the wholemeal flour, it made the loaf very dry and crumbly. I used Coles brand dark cooking chocolate, which turned out quite well, but milk chocolate would work just as well. From Nigella’s comments about the cherry jam, it seems to be difficult to find in Great Britain, but luckily for us, the cherry jam was quite easy to find, and I used Bonne Maman cherry jam.

You will notice that this is a similar recipe to the Berry linseed loaf , and I am using it again, because it uses only one bowl, which means less cleaning afterwards!

Chocolate and Cherry Loaf
Makes 1 medium sized loaf

1/2 cup EVOO
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup soy milk (regular milk is fine)
1 1/2 cup SR Flour
100g dark chocolate (melted)
1/2 cup cherry jam

1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Line the base and sides of a loaf pan with baking paper.
2. Mix all ingredients together.
3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested.

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I recently bought a packet of linseeds from the supermarket, so on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, I decided to include it in the cake to see what the taste will be. I had never seen linseed in baked goods before, except in bread, so it was interesting to experiment. I didn’t know much about linseeds, except that it needs to be ground in order for the goodness to be released. After intense session of research some googling, I learn that it contains abundant levels of omega 3 oils (which is usually found in fish) and also high dietary fibre.

As I was baking it, an alarming thought crossed my mind – if the oil component of the linseeds was so high, would that change the flour-sugar-fat ratio of the loaf? Images of the loaf pooled in oil flooded my mind. To my relief, it was just my imagination going overboard, and I can happily continue to substitute the flour components of recipes with ground linseed without worry!

For those who are unfamiliar with linseeds, it is important to grind the linseed as you use it, as ground linseed can easily become rancid (because of the omega oil content). Ground linseed should be stored in the fridge/ freezer for a maximum of 6 weeks.
Whole linseed last for 1 year when stored in a dark, cool and dry area.

Berry and linseed loaf
Makes 1 medium sized loaf

½ cup EVOO
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup berries (any berry is fine)
½ cup soy milk (plain milk is fine)
1 cup wholemeal SR Flour
1/4 cup ground linseed

1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Line the base and sides of a loaf pan with baking paper.
2. Mix all ingredients together.
3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested.

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