Thursday, 27 February 2014

Roast Raspberry Salad


Roast Raspberry Salad title



I have a thing for Salad. I eat a lot of Salad. Pete and I went out last night (he had a Burger the size of his head - I won't tell you how gross it was, I'm sure you can imagine) and I had a Sweet Potato Curry. The Curry came served with Rice and Salad, I left most of the Rice, and ate the Salad. We had a bit of a laugh because the chances are most of the food that goes back into the kitchen is probably the bit that I ate!



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I do try and create different Salad's - because if it was up to me, I'd eat Rocket, Walnuts and Beets for life. No Joke. 


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I really struggle with Quinoa, I don't particularly like the taste of it on it's own, and every time I go to cook it, I realise that it's going to take half an hour, get bored and make Cous Cous instead. I love Cous Cous. Only I decided that Quinoa would go really nicely with some Roast Veggies. Mainly because the time it takes to cook them, the Quinoa will be done. See. Match made in heaven!



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Those little unnasuming balls, that look so nice, but take so long!
The instructions for cooking Quinoa on the back of the packet were. . well. . wrong. But I find that my way gets it cooked first time every time. Who needs packets anyway? Eat less from packets, and more from nature.

I'm not big into creamy Salad Dressings, I much prefer Balsamic. I have a bottle of Raspberry Vinegar my Aunt made for me for Christmas, so I thought that it would be the perfect time to use it to make a sort of dressing for this Salad. 



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She's such a culinary genius. haha, I think that's probably where I get my intrigue for trying something new from, no one else in my family is particularly big on trying new flavours and tastes. 

My Uncle actually refused to eat Rice for years. That was too exotic for him. (deadly serious)

That's why I don't tell them what is in something until after they have tried it! - Is that legal?!!

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My family does not use salt. Like, just does not use it! It took me a while to even think to put salt in recipes, I've grown so accustomed to just leaving it out. 

I'm still not super sold on putting it in cakes and the such like, is it really necessary? Are we just adding extra Salt to our diets? Everywhere you look people are trying to cut back on the amount of Salt they consume.

Personally I think they would be better cutting out processed food, because with processed foods goes the majority of sugar and salt. 

That said, sometimes I will use a tiny bit of Salt in my food. This recipe really does need the Salt and I love this Chilli Rock Salt. If you want to make your own, just combine some Chilli Flakes with some Rock Salt. It really boosts the savoury flavours in this Salad and prevents the Raspberries from being too sweet. 

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I did serve this with my version of the Chia Seed Bread from Oh She Glows (still love that blog) and it was amazing, although I think any form of crusty bread would be nice.





Recipe :

1/4 Cup Quinoa
1 Tbsp Chili Oil
3" of Sweet Potato, cubed.
(see notes)
Small handful of Cherry Tomatoes
4 French Beans
1/4 Small White Onion
2 Tbsp Raspberry Vinegar (see notes)
1/2 Tsp Chili Rock Salt
1/2" Ginger, Grated (see notes)
1/4 Cup Frozen Raspberries (see notes)
2 Handfuls of Rocket



1. Toss the Sweet Potato in the Chili Oil and place in the oven at 180° for 20 minutes. (Whilst this is roasting proceed to the next steps!)

2. Whilst the Sweet Potato begins to roast, Place the Quinoa in a sieve and rinse. Then, to a ratio of 1 part Quinoa to 5 parts water, place the rinsed Quinoa into a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Once it reaches the boil, turn the heat down slightly and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Halve the Tomatoes, dice the onion and cut the beans into 1" long pieces. Place these into a small mixing bowl with the Raspberries, Vinegar, Salt and Ginger. Toss.
4. When the Sweet Potato has been roasting for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and while it is still hot, add the vinegar mixture and the vegetables. Quickly place back in the oven so as not to loose too much heat. Allow these to continue roasting for 10-15 minutes.
5. When the Quinoa is cooked, remove from the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes (all of the liquid should be soaked up)
6. Fork through the Quinoa, to separate the grains.
7. In a large mixing bowl add the Rocket, the Quinoa and the cooked Vegetables. The vinegar and salt will create a sort of syrupy dressing in the roasting tin, tip these juices in too!
8. Toss everything together and serve with Oh She Glows' Chia Seed Bread , your own variants or even just Rye Bread!




Notes :


Sweet Potatoes come in SO many different sizes. I've found I like to measure by inches, however if we are being all technical. 1/3 cup of cubed Sweet Potato. Remember the smaller you cut, the faster it will cook. I like to cut them into about 1" cubes.

Raspberry Vinegar. This stuff is so amazing. My Aunt makes it from scratch with the Glut of Raspberries she has from her garden. I don't like Raspberry Balsamic, as I think it's a bit too sweet (it would probably work here though) but this Vinegar makes the best salad dressings. Here's how it's made!  
Raspberry Vinegar : 
1 pint of Vinegar (White Wine, or Cider)
1lb of Raspberries
In a bowl, and left for 5 days, stirring occasionally
Strain - disgard the fruit, then place the liquid in a pan with 2oz of Sugar, bring to the boil for 10 minutes, and then bottle.

- That's a secret recipe. Don't tell anyone I've told you!!!


When I grated the Ginger, I used a microplane because I prefer smaller chunks, I normal grater would work just as well. Or at a pinch, you could probably just chop very finely. I have put Ginger through a Garlic Press before, which produces similar results to that of the microplane.

As I've mentioned before. The freezer here is stuffed with frozen fruit. I always have an endless supply of frozen berries. I totally recommend that in the summer when the berries are in season, you freeze a load, that way you don't have to shell out in the colder months, and you don't have to ship food from miles away! The Berries I used were the "waste" fruit, the ones that have been smushed up, because it didn't matter in this recipe, the idea is that they cook down with the vinegar to make a salad dressing.

Substitutions :




Quinoa - You could always use Cous Cous - which cooks faster (and I actually prefer it!!)



Raspberry Vinegar - If you can't find it (or don't have 6 days to make it!!) any white vinegar would work, I also think that Red Wine Vinegar would be nice.



Chilli Rock Salt - Basically just Rock Salt and Chilli Flakes!!


  Stay in touch with me, either on twitter or by email! I'll always be ready to talk.

#AccidentalVegan #SuperSimpleVegan 


Monday, 24 February 2014

Avocado Cake


Avocado Cake Title


I can't be the only one in love with Avocado's. Can I?

I wrote a comment the other day about someone finding me an AA group (Avocado Anonymous). The problem really has got that bad. There are only so many Avocado Salads a girl can eat!. . .


I know I'm not the first to come up with this idea. I'm also quite well known in my family for putting strange fruits and vegetables in places they do not belong. (proof here!)

I had a quick scour of the internet to see what other people have done.

Joy, of Joy The Baker's version.
Veets Cuisine version (am I the only one who loves Australian blogs? They just appeal to me, and I don't know why!)
Ms I-Hua's Version
Lyuba of Will Cook For Smiles' version

As you see, it's been done.
But that wasn't going to stop me. . . Oh no! 1 ripe Avocado (come on, we know they are under-ripe, under-ripe, under-ripe, READY - EAT ME . . oh no. too late!) and 1 ripe Banana later.

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Now prepare yourself, because that beautiful green goes from looking like that to . . . . 

this.

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Not a pretty sight I know, but bare with me here, because it will soon turn into something magical .

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With Banana flowers, because I can't help myself. I made this batch for my sister when she came home from school, flowers and all. (she did whinge about the "leeeeaves" mind!)

These are tried and tested. My sister ate them by the bucket load. (at one point I do believe she plunged her face into the plate) If you think it's odd to put fruit and veg where they don't belong. . . think again, I totally urge you to try it, the results are absolutely worth it. Promise.



Recipe :

1/2 cup Almond Milk (see notes)
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar (see notes)
1/3 cup Oil (see notes)
3/4 cup Self Raising Flour
1/4 cup Oat Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 cup Sugar (see notes)
1/4 cup Stevia
1 small ripe Avocado
1 small ripe Banana


1. Begin by curdling the Milk. Add the Milk and the Vinegar into a measuring jug and stir, set aside for a couple of minutes.
2. Meanwhile add the Flours, Baking Powder, Bicarb, Sugar and Stevia into a large mixing bowl.
3. In a seperate bowl mash the Banana and Avocado. (see notes)
4. Add the Oil to the Milk and Vinegar mixture. The milk should have curdled, and begun to seperate. Don't worry if you don't see any immediate signs of this happening. I find that some brands of milk curdle better than others.
5. Add the fruit mixture to the Flour bowl and stir until just combined.
6. Pour in the Milk mix and combine. Once combined spoon into your cake tins. Tap the tins on a work surface firmly, you should see some bubbles come to the surface.
7. Bake in the oven at 180 for 20-25 minutes, or until when a toothpick is inserted, it comes out clean.








Substitutions :

Almond Milk - There are many different types of non-dairy Milks to choose from, I prefer to use either Rice Milk, or Almond Milk (both unsweetened) but you could choose to use Soy or Oat milk as well.

White Wine Vinegar - Usually with baking I choose to use either White Wine Vinegar or Cider Vinegar. When the Cake is baked, you can't detect the vinegar so there is no reason for me to be picky! - you could use pretty much any type of Vinegar here at all.

Oil - I usually use either Vegetable Oil or Sunflower Oil. Occasionally I will use Coconut Oil but I wouldn't recommend using Olive Oil, as the taste is a little too strong.

Sugar - As always feel free to play around with the types of sugar you use, just be aware that it may change the bulk of the recipe. If you choose to use a liquid sweetener such as Agave, be sure to reduce the liquid content.


Stay in touch with me, either on twitter or by email! I'll always be ready to talk.

#AccidentalVegan 
#SuperSimpleVegan

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Pina Colada Pantry Balls


pina colada title

One of my worst habits, food wise that is, is picking at food. I can't help it, whether I'm hungry or not I'll pick at food. 

This year I've promised myself to stop it, and I'm proud to report I'm doing pretty well, but to help along the way I love having little healthy snacks to pick at. 

I'd rather pick at one of these, than a biscuit or something like that. 

Now I've never been over-weight (I know this because I visit the hospital constantly, next visit is tuesday this week, and then wednesday as well, and every time I go in, they weigh me, measure me, and ask if I'm pregnant! haha. I'm not. Pete: breathe now), and some articles you read would have you believe that picking at food is better than a few big meals, only I'm not sure. The French would have you believe that snacking is terrible, the Americans would have you believe that it is the best, and we are just confused!

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I've recently re-discovered my love for these lovely little balls of fruit and nut. Thanks to Janet! And I've been picking my brains to see which flavour combos I can put together next.

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Every Sunday evening, me and my mother sit down with a cocktail (virgin or not) and watch Mr Selfridge (I freaking love period dramas, my mother always told me I was born in the wrong era and she was sooo right!) So whilst we were sipping cocktails I thought to myself that a Pina Colada ball would be amazing. 

I sort of think that these would be an awesome alternative to be served at a Cocktail Party!

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Dried Pineapples
Dried Apricots
Dessicated Coconut
Almonds

Rum

Now that's a list of ingredients I like the look of!

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I stopped drinking nearly three years ago now. I wouldn't say I drank a lot in the first place, only when I went out with my friends. At the time I was going through a pretty rough patch and it took nearly three months of soul searching before my mam said she could see "the old me" back again. Regardless, I promised myself I wouldn't drink, that I didn't need to drink in order to have a good time. I stopped drinking, and drank nothing for nearly two years. I then allowed myself a 1/4 of a pint of cider at Christmas, and since then I maybe have drunk cumulatively a pint. Maybe
Since I stopped drinking, Pete, my other half, has curbed his drinking massively as well. Completely unintentionally. But like he said, we just don't feel the need to drink.

We have also witnessed the behaviour of drunk people (not happy drunk, but out of their faces drunk) and it seems almost embarrassing to me that they act like that where as before I think I would have brushed it off.

I am most certainly not condemning drinking. I just do it in a bit more of a classy way now! (yep I know how that sounded! *cringe*)

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Rice flour is not an ingredient I use all too often because I find it sucks up all of the moisture out of the mixture almost immediately. But I am trying to incorporate it into more recipes (stock pile needs depleting).

I thought it worked quite well in this recipe actually, and the texture it provided was really complimentary to the almonds. 

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I know. I'm overanalysing. That's nothing new, it's how my brain works!

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Today, being Saturday is going to involve:

1. A film
2. Some Popcorn
3. Not much else!

I hope y'all have a really nice Weekend, recharge for the week to come, and relax.

Now, I'm off to do some Yoga! (and possibly eat something.)

As an aside, I just want to say I am praying for Ukraine, and I hope everyone else does too, I hope those in power work out a truce, and I pray for the lives lost. I recently read a blog post that said it seemed almost silly to post things like recipes when people are out there losing lives. I totally agree. Ukraine is in my heart. 



Recipe :

2/3 cup of Ground Almonds
3/4 cup of Dried Pineapple (see notes)
1/3 cup Dried Apricots
1 Tsp Rum (see notes)
1/8 cup Rice Flour
1 cup Dessicated Coconut
1 Tbsp Agave (see notes)


1. Add the Ground Almonds, Pineapple, Apricots, Rice Flour and Rum into a food processor. Process until all of the ingredients are well combined.
2. Tip the mixture into a mixing bowl and add the Agave and Coconut. Stir until evenly distributed.
3. At this point your mixture will still look very crumbly. Roll up your sleeves and bring the mixture together into a dough with your hands.
4. Using a Tbsp measure to evenly (ish!) segment the mixture, roll into small balls.







Substitutions :

Sweetener - There are many different types of sweetener you can use. The type you use is up to you and your lifestyle preference. I know a lot of people do not like Splenda-style sweeteners as they are artificial. Personally I have no issues with Splenda. I like to use Stevia, but I know it is sometimes difficult to track down. If you use a dry sweetner, remember you will need to add moisture back in. e.g. I choose to use Stevia instead of Agave.1/2 tsp of Stevia and 1 Tbsp of water will roughly equal 1 Tbsp of Agave.


Notes :

Dried Pineapples are sometimes a little hard to work with as they do become very dry. The best way I feel to combat this is by taking half of the Dried Pineapple and soaking it in Boiling Water for 10 minutes.

You don't necesarrily need to add the Rum, they will be perfectly tasty without, I just wanted a bit of a naughty streak! I did find some Rum Flavouring which may also work!



  Stay in touch with me, either on twitter or by email! I'll always be ready to talk.

#AccidentalVegan 
#SuperSimpleVegan


Monday, 17 February 2014

Beetroot Pasta


Beetroot Pasta Title

So how do you get kids to eat anything other than Carbs? Vegetables? Not a chance. My Aunt used to call Green Beans, "Green Chips" to make my cousins eat them! 

I'm going for a more stealthy route. 

I had some beetroot lying around after I made some puree for my Beetroot Salad, and I didn't really want to pickle it. Don't get me wrong, I love pickled Beetroot, but we have jars and jars of the stuff lying around and don't really need any more. 

I have made pasta before, with my Grandma, which is how I got lumbered with given the Pasta machine I used to make this Pasta with. Only, I don't mind because it is so much fun to make, and ridiculously rewarding when you take something that looks like a murder scene . . . (see below)

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and turn it into something that looks like the Pasta we all know and love!

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As I was kneading and working with the Pasta I found that using a silicone mat worked really well. It usually hate using them because they are so difficult to work out how to wash . . . but it prevented me having to add too much extra flour which would have eventually seized the dough up.

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I tried this recipe without kneading the dough first and it was almost impossible to roll through the rollers. I found that a quick knead first made it so much easier.

The first couple of passes will look disastrous - like the dough is going to fall apart, but in actuality it suddenly goes from looking like a train wreck, to coming together super quickly.

Be warned. The red colour of the Beets stains. Everything. 

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The Flour is so fine, it gets EVERYWHERE!! Uber messy job!

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I also had so much fun winding the handle of the Pasta machine.

Yes I do love blending. There is nothing like standing expectantly over the top of the blender waiting for something to be ready, but there was a certain child-like enjoyment to the manual labour I endured to create this! 

I actually love doing this so much, that I have a really long list of different flavours to try next! I think Spinach and Garlic will be next on the list - I plan to leave that in sheets and create a green Lasagne with Cauliflower Bechamel, and Soy Mince "Meat". . . only that's another day. I sometimes get a little ahead of myself. My imagination works three times as fast as what I am physically capable of doing. 

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I decided to dry my pasta, I rolled it out and cut it into strips, I then placed it on a non-stick silicone mat (Greaseproof Paper would work too) on top of a baking sheet and placed it in a warm dry place overnight. (Above our cooker, which powers our heating and warm water so is on 24/7 ).

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You don't necessarily have to dry the Pasta out, instead you could freeze it (I didn't do this because I have NO room in my freezer!)

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To cook the Pasta, add it to a pan of boiling Salted Water for 4 minutes.

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Before I dried the Pasta out I separated it into portion-sized piles which would make it easier for working out how much Pasta I would need to cook per person. (1 each . . . and 1 for luck!)



Recipe :

2 Beets
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
2 Cups Type "00" Flour (see notes)
1 Tbsp Chilli Olive Oil

1. Cook the Beets however you prefer. I recommend wrapping in foil, and roasting in the oven for about an hour at 180 until tender. Allow to cool then rub gently to remove the skins. (see notes)

2. Add the Beets and Lemon Juice into a food processor and blitz until a paste is formed.
3. Add the Chilli Oil to the food processor and process for a little while until it begins emulsify.
4. Add the Flour to the processor and turn on, it should fairly quickly come together into a dough. I leave the processor running until a dough forms and begins to clunk around. The moment that happens I turn the processor off so as not to burn the motor out (although I'm pretty sure that would take some doing!)
5. Knead the dough on an un-floured surface for a couple of minutes.
6. It is now ready to pass through a pasta machine. (see notes)
7. On the largest setting feed 1/3 of the dough through the rollers. When it appears the other side, take the dough, fold in half and dust with flour. Repeat this process twice more on the largest setting.
8. Working from largest setting to smallest setting, feed the dough through the rollers, then fold in half, dust with flour, repeating three times in total on each setting.
9. As you get to the last pass, do not fold in half. Instead, pass the dough through the cutters. (see notes)




Substitutions :

Beets - It is possible to use a variety of different vegetables to achieve different effects. It is usually the 'watery' vegetables that work best. Spinach, Peppers, Tomatoes all work really well. 
Chilli Olive Oil - I've found that this dough, although doesn't technically need the Oil, works best with it. You don't have to use Chilli Olive Oil - I just like the bit of spice (any excuse to put chilli in something and I'll take it.) Garlic Oil would be nice, or if you don't really want any added flavour, you could use either plain Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil or Vegetable Oil. If you're funny about Oil (I know the feeling, I'm super funny about it) you can just omit the Oil completely.

Notes :




The flour I used was Doves Farm Organic Pasta Flour - Type 00. You don't strictly have to use Pasta flour, although it is well worth the effort to track some down. I usually like to use Organic ingredients where I can, and this flour is really nice. Most supermarkets do have Pasta Flour available, however if you can't track it down Plain Flour will work in a pinch. I have used Wholemeal Flour in the past with some pretty decent results.


I usually cook Beets all at the same time, because I can't really think of a time where we'd want to eat raw Beets!! Therefore we usually have an abundance of cooked Beets. Most supermarkets will sell cooked Beets anyway, usually sold in vacuum sealed packets. This, surprisingly is quite a good way to buy Beets (it means you don't dye yourself pink in the process of cooking them!!!) and is usually really cost effective. If you are determined to cook them yourself, there are a few ways of doing so, I just prefer the roasting method.


Using a Pasta machine is by far the best way to do this, although is not completely necessary. If you don't have one, or can't get hold of one. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. After you have kneaded the dough, using a rolling pin roll out the dough to about 1/2'' thickness. Fold in half and dust with flour. Roll back out to 1/2'' and repeat once more. Then roll out to 1/4'' thickness, folding in half and dusting with flour, repeating twice more. With every three rolls reduce the thickness by half, until it is thin enough. When the desired thickness is reached you can slice it into lengths using a pizza cutter (or normal knife, but pizza cutters are easier), or cut into shapes with small cutters.


There are so many different shapes you can cut your pasta into. You don't have to simply slice it into tagliatelle -style strips. If you are clever-er than me you could make ravioli, spaghetti or even tortellini!



Stay in touch with me, either on twitter or by email! I'll always be ready to talk.

#AccidentalVegan

#SuperSimpleVegan


.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Desserts


Peanut Butter Cup Dessert Title

I don't know what it is at the moment, but all I'm really interested in cooking is desserts.

I know, I know, I'm supposed to like cooking desserts, but I've always been more of a savoury person. Cheese on Toast used to be my favourite meal. 

Only I love baking, so Cake is always on the cards. This week has brought with it a few failed experiments and I needed some cheering up (I really, really want a decent vegan Doughnut. Baked. Not fried. I'm struggling to make one)

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So I started perousing the world of Pinterest **ooohs & aaahs here** for some inspiration and I came across Peanut Butter Cup Desserts. Every one of those words hits a home run with me at the moment.

I love Peanut Butter. (when it's combined with Chocolate!) I'm lying, I have never liked the stuff much, I didn't like it as a kid, I didn't like it with Jelly. In fact I have quite a vivid memory of it actually making me gag at one point. 

That's the thing with me, even if I don't like it, I'll try and convince myself that it wasn't that bad, and try it again, and again, and again and . . . . you get the picture. I love Peanuts, so why shouldn't I like Peanut Butter?! I did come to the conclusion that it's probably the way it sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Anyway. 

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Peanut Butter Cup Desserts sounded like a really fun thing to try! I ended up making them for my Pete, however, he then decided to tell me that he likes Sundae's more. (AGHHH!)

Allow me to enlighten you with a peak inside our relationship (Those of a nervous disposition may want to look away now) :

Last night he said :
"Han, you want to know a secret?"
"what?" (I was watching a CSI, not in a talkative mood . . . !)
"I don't like Dark Chocolate"

Now, that doesn't sound that bad, just a bloke telling his girl he doesn't like Dark Chocolate, had I not just made Chocolate Mousse, and had he not just inhaled the whole thing.

Yep. Diplomacy, not his greatest skill.

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This recipe is (surprise surprise) based heavily on one from Angela, and (my mother is going to hate me for this, she has issues with desserts in Jam jars, but they are cute!) I even styled them similarly because I liked how they looked!

I will say though, if you choose to do the same, it is bloomin' difficult to aim the mixture into a Jam jar!

4


I did however change the original Graham Cracker Crust to this one ( I use this in place of Pastry a LOT. I don't really like Pastry.) It worked really well and these taste. . . 

No. I don't need to tell you how great they taste do I??

If you have doubts about using Tofu in a dessert. Stop it! - I promise you 100% you can't taste Tofu, it's more for adding body and texture, with minimal calories and dairy products. It really does work, I often make Chocolate Mousse with Tofu!




Recipe :
1/2 Cup Walnuts (obliterated in the food processor!) (see notes)
2/3 cup Ground Almonds
1 Tsp Butter Extract
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Granulated Sweetener (see notes)

200g (ish) Tofu
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1Tbsp Agave
2Tbsp Sucanat (see notes)
1Tsp Vanilla Paste

*1/4 Cup Cocoa
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Agave
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Paste.


1. In a mixing bowl add the Walnuts, Almonds and Sweetener. Mix until they are fully combined.
2. Stir in the melted Coconut Oil and Butter Extract, The mixture should resemble wet sand**
3. Press into your serving dishes (see notes) and bake at 180 ° for 20 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool whilst you prepare the filling.
5. In a food processor add the Tofu, Peanut Butter, Agave, Sucanat and Vanilla. Process until the mixture is fully blended.
6. Spoon the mixture over the bases and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.
7. Melt the Coconut Oil and mix with the Cocoa, Agave and Vanilla. Carefully spoon over the Tofu and evenly distribute *.
8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until the Chocolate mixture has set.

*See notes for Chocolate.
**Attractive sounding, I know!




Substitutions :

Walnuts - I used Walnuts, because I wanted a bit of a crunch to the bottom layer, almost mimicking the biscuit base of the original recipe. I think you could get away with a plethora of different nuts in place of the Walnuts. I personally think Salted Peanuts could work really well.

Sweetener - There are many different types of sweetener you can use. The type you use is up to you and your lifestyle preference. I know a lot of people do not like Splenda-style sweeteners as they are artificial. Personally I have no issues with Splenda. I like to use Stevia, but I know it is sometimes difficult to track down.

Agave & Sucanat - Again, there are loads of different types of sweeteners you can use here. Man made or natural. Maple Syrup may work well. The original recipe used only dry sweetener in this step, so when I used a liquid sweetener I took out the milk. If you wish to use a dry sweetener only, I suggest adding the 1 Tbsp of Almond (or any other non-dairy) milk back in.


Notes :

The serving dishes you use do need to be oven-proof as they will go in the oven in order to bake the base.

The topping mixture I used is in fact Katie's 3 Ingredient Chocolate Bar recipe, and I just prefer it to traditional Chocolate, however it is totally possible to use Angela's original plan and use Vegan Chocolate. I would suggest you use Dark Dark Chocolate though, otherwise I fear it may be too sweet.


  Stay in touch with me, either on twitter or by email! I'll always be ready to talk.

#AccidentalVegan 
#SuperSimpleVegan

Friday, 14 February 2014

Raw Apple Pie Truffles



Raw Apple Pie Truffles Title

First off, let me say I know there is not supposed to be three f's in Truffles. . . but I'm currently being too lazy to go and fix it. I'll get round to it sometime!

I made little fruit and nut truffles like these years ago (I found a few that didn't get eaten not so long ago. Not sure how I managed to miss them/ forget about them/ I binned them, don't worry!) and I really liked them (although, not too much it would seem, being that I forgot about them. . . ) however when I saw the combo Janet (one of my favourite blogs) had made here, I jumped right on that. 

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Dried Apple (got some of that, check!)
Cinnamon ( one of my favourite flavours, check!!)
Coconut (yup, got some of that lying around too. Triple check!!!)

Let me tell y'all. The weather has been gross. 

I know loads of you are under a foot of snow, and trust me, I'd prefer that. As it is we have 80mph wind and rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain. When it's windy. What happens? It rains bloomin' sideways.

I'm not going out in that. No way. January for me was a car-less month (Car, truck, ditch, crash, sad!) so I couldn't really go anywhere, now I have my car back (or a new car, my car has gone to the great scrapheap in the sky) I'm not really that confident at driving. Which is sad, because I used to love driving. Anyway, this means I didn't really want to go out anywhere, so I've been scouring for recipes where I can use up what we have accumulated in the pantry. 

Don't worry, for valentines day I did splurge on some Tortilla's, Rocket and a fresh block of Tofu! Can't have my man eating just old food now can I. (haha, I lie, I totally can, and if it was my way I totally would. If it was his way he would just be eating chips. I swear before he met me he had the WORST diet ever, It's taken me literally years to try and persuade him otherwise . . . I'm getting there. We currently have a deal. He will eat vegan 90% of the time if I give him a free pass for (eugh) Fried Chicken once in a while, but that's another story. . .)

Anyway. Pantry Balls. That's what I should have re-named these!

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I think this is a bit of a hand-me-down recipe from a million different sources, but that's fine by me. I love it when recipes are passed from one person to another and tweaked along the way!

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I lined these up all neatly in little sweet cases and I think they would make a really nice gift for someone. 

You honestly can't even tell they aren't REALLY bad for you (nothing's as bad as fried chicken)

If I was going to make this version again, I think they would be really yummy with some Ground Ginger added in. Or some different spices, to make them really Apple Pie-y.

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Oh and I almost forgot. I have a question I've been dying to ask some other vegan converts. 

The idea of eggs, and meat, and gelatine really freak me out at the moment, which is super odd because I never really gave a flying whatsit one way or another before. I'd been cooking with all three since I was about 12. Only recently has the idea of them, eggs in particular, started to make my stomach turn, eugh, does anyone else feel like this or is it just me? Being weird again!

Anyway, muchos besitos,  I hope everyone is surviving the weather, I hope those affected by the floods are doing ok, those that are dealing with trees toppling due to the winds are safe and those in the snow.  . . no wait, y'all get no sympathy, send some of the cold this way!



Recipe :
2/3 cup of Ground Almonds
3/4 cup Dried Apples
1/4 - 1/3 cup Dried Prunes
(see notes)
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Cup Dessicated Coconut
1 Tbsp Agave (see notes)



1. Add the Ground Almonds, Apples, Prunes and Cinnamon into a food Processor. Process until all of the ingredients are well combined.
2. Tip the mixture into a mixing bowl and add the Agave and Coconut. Stir until evenly distributed.
3. At this point your mixture will still look very crumbly. Roll up your sleeves and bring the mixture together into a dough with your hands.
4.Using a Tbsp measure to evenly (ish!) segment the mixture, roll into small balls.



Substitutions :
Prunes - The original recipe calls for Medjool Dates. I wish someone would buy me a Medjool Date. I have never seen one, never found one . . . I just genuinely don't know what they look like! I can imagine, but I don't know for sure and I feel like I'm missing out! I used Dried Prunes for a mixture of reasons. #1 I had Prunes and no Dates. #2 I figure they are all the same anyway!

Agave - Maple Syrup is ridiculously hard to get hold of at a decent price. So I used Agave!


Notes :



My Dried Apples were very . . . Dried. So I added a couple more Prunes into the mix as they are moister fruits.

Under NO circumstances should you attempt to eat the spoon of Cinnamon. It always ends BADLY . . . Unless you are my brother, who I'm pretty sure is a machine!

  Stay in touch with me, either on twitter or by email! I'll always be ready to talk.

#AccidentalVegan 
#SuperSimpleVegan

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Lemon Creams



Lemon Creams Title

I Love Peppermint Patties.

I hate the word Patties. (RE-NAME TIME!)

So when I stumbled across Angela's Vegan recipe for Peppermint Patties, Angels started singing. The sun started shining and all was right with the world.


OK. So I went a little too far!

I immediately went about summoning the ingredients for this recipe, soaking my Cashews overnight ready for the morning, and preparing myself for the awesome-ness that was to come!

I think we can all agree, Oh She Glows is one of the most inspiring blogs around, and I have total faith in her recipes so I was never in any doubt that these were going to turn out awesome.

Guess what?

They were! - My Boyfriend even asked for more as I left his house. That got me thinking. What other flavours could I concoct?!

My mother did point out that perhaps this only worked because of how strong the peppermint flavouring was, but I was always going to attempt something else anyway.

In a box of Chocolates, the ones that always go first are the Strawberry Creams, the Orange Creams and the Lemon Creams. I wanted to try and make Orange Creams (but I had no Orange Extract). Right. Plan B. Lemon Creams it is. . . and I am proud to report, they work just as well as the originals, are fun to make, and taste amazing!

Boyfriend Approved
Mother Approved
Sister Approved!

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My first set, the Peppermint ones, I dipped in the Chocolate Mixture, and set on a wire rack over some greaseproof paper, bad move. They stick. If you place them directly onto the greaseproof paper they don't. Ah well. Trial and error!

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Nom! I did manage to restrain myself from eating all of these! - mainly because I think they would make a really lovely valentines gift for someone.



Recipe : 
1/2 cup Cashew Nuts, soaked overnight (or 2/3 hours)
1/2 cup Coconut Oil (melted)
3 Tbsp Agave
2 Tbsp Rice Milk
(See Notes)
1 Tsp Lemon Oil
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
(See Notes)
Finely Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Agave


1. Drain the soaked Cashews and rinse. Add to the blender with the rice milk.
2. Blend until they form a paste. (See Notes)
3. Add the Lemon Oil, Lemon Juice, Agave, and Coconut Oil to the blender, continue to blend until a smooth, custard-like consistency is reached.
4. Spoon 1tbsp amounts into small cupcake liners (See Notes). Place in the freezer. (See Notes)
5. Mix the Coconut Oil, Agave and Cocoa until combined.
6. Coat the Patties with this mixture and set aside until set. Best stored in the fridge.




Substitutions :

Rice Milk - This is just what I had opened. In order to prevent death by Milk (I usually end up with a million different types open!) I just used it. I'm pretty sure any type of non- dairy milk will work, try Soy, Almond or Coconut for extra rich patties.
Notes :

I didn't really want huge chunks of Lemon Zest in my Patties, so I used a microplane to get it fine enough. It works really well. I'm not sure whether the blending has anything to do with that though!


When you blend the Rice Milk with the Cashews, the paste may at first be a little lumpy, don't worry about this, every time I've tried this, the moment you blend with the other ingredients a smooth liquid always appears. Angela specified a high speed blender, but I'm pretty sure you could get away with a slightly slower one.


Miniature Muffin Liners are what I used for this, I believe the original specified sweet liners, which are foiled/coated (I could be wrong!) but I found they do not need to be. I do have a set of miniature liners made from silicone, and next time will definitely use these as it would save the waste. I found that most supermarkets sell miniature cupcake liners and I found the silicone ones in the local discount "single-coin" store (if you catch my drift!!!) so they are not expensive!


When I first attempted the original Peppermint version, I put them in the freezer for about two hours. The lemon version, more like half an hour. I couldn't even detect a difference. They were pretty much identical. Half an hour was definitely enough.


I live in a pretty cold climate. Even in the dead of summer coconut oil will still be solid. This means I don't really need to bother keeping these in the fridge, but if some of you lucky lucky people who live in a warmer place ( a place where at room temperature Coconut Oil is a liquid) I suggest keeping them in the fridge. Otherwise you will end up with a puddle. !!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Greek Orange and Rosemary Cake with Blackcurrant Glaze.


Greek Orange and Rosemary cake Title

I've been seeing so many different tasty looking recipes with Rosemary recently, such as this one, however they all seem to contain chocolate. I don't really like the idea of sickly chocolate desserts at the moment, but I really wanted to incorporate Rosemary into a recipe.

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I read somewhere the other day that the scent of Orange as they are peeled is really good for mental attitude. I'm not too sure on the science behind it, but apparently somehow the scent triggers something in the brain which then releases endorphines and promotes happiness. (I'm almost sure my lay-man's description there is way off, but I like to think I'm right!) I've been particularly emotional recently and I'm not sure why. Something to do with the Doctors getting no-where, the endless trips to hospital for no apparent reason and the constant pain may have something to do with it! So when I read the powers of Oranges late one night I decided Orange Cake was definitely on the horizon!

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I was brought up never to waste food, so the idea of using an entire Orange (pith and all) excited me a lot. I was watching King of Tarts (I think. It's an Australian Cheffy program anyway)and I first saw the whole Orange being used. A quick trundle of the internet and a few pins later I had a guideline. Then I Vegan-ified and tried to cut down the bad ingredients. The result was this surprisingly delicious cake!

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Even if my brain science was off, the colours of the Oranges certainly cheered me up no-end on this particularly grey day. So as far as I'm concerned. Mission. Accomplished.

Plus, aren't they so pretty to look at. It almost makes me thirsty!!

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After combining all of the ingredients, you will almost immediately see the Baking Powder begin to react with the wet ingredients. At this point you have to move quite swiftly. This is how I managed to pour the mixture into the middle (I know, I know) of the cake pan, you know, the bit with the hole. I do astound myself sometimes. 

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Mess aside, the cake turned out well, something I am always terrified won't happen when I use a Bundt tin, I think the fact that this one is silicone helps a little.

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The freezer is completely stuffed with Berries of all types, including these Blackcurrants, so I just pulled out a box and de-frosted a few. I suggest in the summer, picking as many berries as you can as they will save for a really long time and are so much cheaper than buying them out of season!

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Recipe 
2 Oranges
Sprig of Rosemary
1/4 Cup Oil (see notes)
1 Cup Rice Milk (see notes)
1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar (see notes)
1 Cup Self Raising Flour (see notes)
1/4 Cup Oat Flour
3/4 Cup Ground Almonds
2 Tbsp Cornflour
2 Tbsp Warm Water
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup of Granulated Sweetener (see notes)

1 Cup Blackcurrants (plus a few extra for decoration)
1 Tbsp Coconut Milk


1. Place the Oranges in a sauce pan, cover with Cold Water and bring to the boil. When they reach the boil, drain. Repeat this process twice more. After the third boiling, cover the Oranges in Cold Water to cool them slightly.

2. Chop the Oranges roughly, removing the large strand of pith from down the centres. Place the Oranges and the Rosemary into a food Processor and process into a paste-like-consistency.

3. In a Seperate Bowl combine the Rice Milk, Oil, Water and Vinegar. Leave to one side.

4. Sieve the Self Raising Flour into a mixing bowl, add the Oat Flour, Ground Almonds, Cornflour, Baking Powder, Sugar and Sweetner. Mix roughly.

5. To the Flour mixture add the Orange Puree, mix roughly. Then Pour in the Milk Mix. Combine all of the Ingredients together.

6. Pour the Batter (it will be more of a runnier batter than a traditional Sponge mix) into a greased Bundt tin.

7. Bake in a preheated oven at 180° ° for 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

8. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

9. Turn out onto a Serving Platter and leave to cool even further.

10. Whilst you wait, make the glaze. Cook the Blackcurrants in a saucepan until they begin to burst open, remove from the heat and add to the Food Processor. Process until a smooth paste is achieved. Stir in the Coconut Milk and Mix until Combined. Taste. (you may have to add a little Stevia here (1tsp) as Blackcurrants are sometimes a little bitter)

11. Spread over your now-cooled cake. Finish with some whole Blackcurrants as decoration.




Notes
I have found that the younger and fresher the Oranges are, the less bitter. If you have some older, tougher fruits that need using up, I suggest boiling them a fourth time before pureeing, that way it removes some of the bitterness.

This cake is not supposed to be light and fluffy, but instead dense and sticky, don't worry if it takes longer than you expect to cook, and if it seems a little squidgy when baked, as it cools it will firm up.


Substitutions

Oil - Any type of Vegan-friendly Oil can be used. I like to use sunflower oil because it is light and relatively flavourless. I am not particularly a fan of Olive Oil, or Sesame Seed Oil, but I know some people have some great luck with Olive Oil in Orange Cakes.

Rice Milk - Any non-dairy milk will work, try Almond Milk, it will really compliment the Ground Almonds in the cake.

White Wine Vinegar - I like to use 'white' Vinegars such as White Wine and Cider. Champagne Vinegar could also be used, but I wouldn't recommend Malt or Red Wine, they may be too strong.


Flours - I used a combination of Self Raising ( to make the cake raise a little better) and Oat flour (I like how dense it is) but I'm sure you could play around with the flour varieties to make this recipe Gluten Free.

Sugars - I am currently trying to avoid processed White Sugars, (and Brown sugar. . . ) so I was a little hesitant to put sugar in here, I did alternate and use some Stevia as well, although I would prefer to cut down the sugar amounts, and perhaps look at replacing some of the Sugar with either more Stevia (The reason I didn't is that, a. I sometimes find Stevia bitter and b.I finished the tub!) or Agave, although if Agave were to be used, the Liquid content would have to be rectified. As is, I don't mind a little sugar once in a while, to be completely honest I gave most of this cake away so I didn't have to suffer eating it myself!!!


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