Sunday, 30 March 2014

3 Ways With Raw Dough


Turkish Delight Brownies Titles

Raspberry Titles

Monkey Balls Titles



I absolutely love the versatility of raw dough's made from dates and nuts. You can substitute in a million and one different combinations of different dried fruits and different nuts. I love using walnuts and cashews. These are three of my favourites. 


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

#AccidentalVegan #SuperSimpleVegan 

Turkish Delight Raw Brownies



Turkish Delight Brownies Titles

When I was little I remember having Turkish Delight with my Grandad. 

Not the chocolate covered, gelatine filled version sold in every corner shop, instead the traditional version gently flavoured with rose water. 

The fact that I shared it with my Grandad, makes it somewhat more special. I've tried to make it, both the traditional way, and other ways for him many different times. I still haven't succeeded. 

We've had Turkish Delight sauce.

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One of my favourite recipes I found on Pinterest years ago. Courtesy of Judita via Pure Mamas

I love it, and I've adapted it a million different ways since then. I highly recommend trying the original recipe at least once (even if you do halve it. . . the quantities are massive!)

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The whole concept of raw interests me so much. I'm currently just not ready to attempt it, nor do I have sufficient knowledge to go that way!

Is anyone out there Raw? I'd love to hear from you, tips/ tricks/ favourite recipes etc!

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Until I know enough, I'm going to continue educating myself  (I did read about warm raw soup. .  I didn't really understand it. . . although I do know that there is a certain temperature things aren't supposed to go over)

And I'm going to educate myself with more of this!

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I made a batch of this for an 80th birthday party. . . sometimes I add 1 tbsp of Carob in, but I've learnt that people of that generation can be quite blunt and cutting. They say what they mean without thinking twice. I've also learnt that if they don't like something. They'll let you know. 

Carob is so subjective. I know most find it crazy bitter. (I love it - I took most of the refined sugar out of my diet, and I have less of a sweet tooth now. Since January all I have eaten is one doughnut, and I really didn't even enjoy it. It sounds ridiculous I know, but I'm more than content with these raw brownies, which are, FYI, amazing!)

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If you're not a fan of rose water, just replace it with vanilla, and these will make some delicious raw chocolate brownies. 



Recipe :
for the base

1 1/2 cup cashews (see notes)
1/2 cup almond meal
1/3 cup apricots (see notes)
1/3 cup dates
1/3 cup cacao powder
1 tsp rose water (see notes)
2 tablespoons water


for the glaze


1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp agave
(see notes)
1 tsp vanilla
rose coloured food dust (optional!) (see notes)



1. In a food processor, blitz the cashews, apricots and dates until it looks like wet sand.
2. Add in the almond meal and cacao and pulse a little more until combined. (it will be a little drier, but don't worry)
3. Add the water and rose water to the food processor and pulse once more. The mixture will be sticky and often rolls up into a ball of it's own accord. If it doesn't stick together and is still a little too dry, add in some more water, 1 tsp at a time until a dough is formed.
4. Press the mixture into a 9" cake tin, lined with greaseproof paper.
5. Once the mixture has set ( most probably a couple of hours in the fridge will be long enough) mix together all of the ingredients for the glaze. Pour into the cake tin on top of the dough mixture and roll the tin from side to side until all of the top is covered.
6. Place back in the fridge to set, usually for about 10 minutes. Then, remove from the tin and cut into desired shapes.
7. For a little extra touch, (and because I love playing with food colours!) I dusted the tops of the slices with a rose coloured dust using a paint brush.





Substitutions :
Cashews - whole almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts all work really well here.


Apricots - This recipe is pretty flexible and a lot of different dried fruits work. I have tried many different variations of this, using raisins (as the original recipe does), apricots, cranberries and even dried apples.


Agave - Agave can be substituted for maple syrup or even honey if you are not a strict vegan.

Notes :

Rose water is SO hard to find. I remember when I was younger and me and my mother had spent days trying to track it down. Since then I've been able to find it in one of the more expensive super markets near to where I live. However the other day it became apparent to me that it is actually often sold in health food shops. I had a look and it's true. It is. Not only is it there, it's in a much bigger bottle and is much cheaper. So if you are struggling to locate it, I suggest the health food shop is your first port of call. As a last resort, Amazon sells it!

The coloured food dust I used is intended for use with roll out icing. It's for colouring during sugar-craft without adding any more liquid to the mixture. It's almost like really really fine edible glitter (which I think would look super pretty too!). Don't try to use food gel or food colouring for this, because as much as I love them, they really wouldn't work here!

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

#AccidentalVegan #SuperSimpleVegan 


Raspberry Breakfast Bars


Raspberry Titles

OK, so it is a well known fact that I am the worst person in the entire world for eating breakfast. 

My excuse was that it takes time for my stomach to wake up. . . If I eat when I just get up, I end up feeling really sick for the entire morning.

One of my New Years Resolutions was to make time for eating breakfast,  only, we don't always have time to wake up in the morning, spend an hour or so, then have something to eat, then get ready. On the weekend, it's fine, but sadly, not every morning is a weekend morning!

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That was a very rambly way (I'm good at rambling!) of saying that portable breakfasts are saviours!

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Our freezer is full of literally nothing but fruit. 
fruit. fruit and a bit more fruit.
My brothers nightmare!

I've been slowly working through the bags of frozen berries, trying to use them up. This is one of my favourite recipes. I'm not entirely sure where it has evolved from, but I'm almost 100% certain it will be a mixture of recipes from my own head, Katie and Angela

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Flax.
What do you do with flax?!

I know some people mix it with warm water and drink the goopy mixture. Can't say that particularly appeals to me. At all. And truth be told I'm not too fond of the taste. 

For some unknown reason,  I decided to combine the flax with this raspberry protein bar recipe. I really like the outcome (I've made multiple times. Can't complain!)

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I also love wrapping up little parcels. I.e. I like to mess around with my food. 
I had way too much fun wrapping them all up.
Trust.

This really did inspire me to try a little harder with breakfast. In fact I'm considering making a fresh batch tomorrow to take to my loves house. (he never eats. unless it's fried.) I'm currently trying to improve his nutrition. We are both on a mission to get healthy. 
Nutrition.
Exercise (check!)

Now I just need to stop smoking and doing drugs. *

*please excuse my terribly sarcastic sense of humour. I am fully aware there are only a handful of people who find me funny. One of those is me. 




Recipe :
2/3 cup walnuts (see notes)
2/3 cup cashews
3/4 cup dates
1/2 cup raspberries (see notes)
1 tbsp agave
1 tbsp flax
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp freeze dried raspberries, to serve


1. In a food processor, grind the walnuts and cashews until they look like (gritty, stony) wet sand! (see notes)
2. add in the dates,raspberries,agave, flax and cocoa, and continue to pulse until a dough forms.
3. Press the dough into a tin, approx 9" square, lined with greaseproof paper, and sprinkle over the freeze dried raspberries.
4. Leave to firm up, usually overnight in the fridge.
5. Tip the mixture out, and using a pizza cutter (see notes) slice into bar shapes.




Substitutions :
walnuts/ cashews - really a lot of different nuts can be substituted into recipes like these. You could try whatever you felt like, although I recommend nuts with a milder flavour.


Notes :



Raspberries - depending on how fresh your fruit is, you may find that you have too much water in your dough, therefore sometimes I find that I need to add a couple of tbsps of almond meal in as well.

Wet Sand! - You can leave your nuts as chunky as you wish, I just prefer them finer (I came to this conclusion today, the chunkier versions get stuck in my teeth!)

Pizza Cutter - I just find it SO much easier to cut mixtures like this (and get a relatively straight line) with a Pizza Cutter.

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

#AccidentalVegan #SuperSimpleVegan 


Monkey Balls


Monkey Balls Titles

I'm such a child I find this title massively amusing!

I'm not sure what that says for my sense of humour. . . but I can tell you that it probably isn't a good thing!

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I know I'm not the only person who likes to have some food to pick at. When you're not hungry enough to make something more substantial, but you really want to eat something. 

Believe me I know, this is where people usually end up eating junk. This is where my Pete would end up eating an entire package of cookies. (at least) 

One of the ways I've found quite effective to stop the need to eat rubbish, is to nibble at something like this!

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And come on. I know I'm not the only person who absolutely loves blending. 
I made a comment the other day that it made me feel like a mad scientist. Hey, what can I say blending is fun!

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In other news (I just spelt 'news', 'knews' and couldn't work out exactly what was wrong. I'm an English Literature graduate. That's embarrassing!) I am obsessively listening to Shakira's new album (I can now proudly say I own all of her albums, including a lot of her original, older stuff). 

I have a bit of an obsessive personality. I find something that I love, and go full pelt at it, then I lose interest and find something to obsess over. A fleeting obsessive personality maybe?

There are a few things which I have obsessed over, which I have stayed in love with. Shakira. Is one of those things. I have a hilarious memory of me and my mother stood in our apartment in Cairns (Queensland) when I was about 10/11, in front of Shakira's music video to Whenever, Wherever, trying to belly dance like she does.  Needless to say, we never got it down. My dad, brother and sister found it hilarious. Looking back it is funny!

This album, is my new workout album! It puts me in a ridiculously good mood and makes me want to dance (which is not very common)

Well either that or I wish I was Shakira (if she was 2' taller!)




Recipe :
1/2 cup dried bananas (not the chewy kind)
1/2 cup almond meal
1/8 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup dates (see notes)
coconut water


1. In a food processor, grind the dried bananas until the majority are of a meal-like texture. It's ok for there to be a few larger pieces.
2. Add in the dates and pulse until combined with the bananas.
3. Combine the date and banana mixture with the cacao and almond meal.
4. Stir in enough coconut water (1 tsp at a time) to bring the mix into a dough.
5. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls. I used a tsp measure to maintain size (more or less!)





Substitutions :

Dates - As a general rule, dates are fairly easy to get hold of, and really quite inexpensive. They also have a nice natural sweetness, no overpowering taste and are so versatile. However I have been known to use prunes (which are waaay cheaper). However I would suggest that if you go down the prune road, you probably won't need the coconut water.

cacao - You can substitute the cacao for carob. I really like the bitterness of carob powder, but I know a lot of people don't.

Notes :


If your dates are really dried, boil some water and soak the dates for 10 minutes in the freshly boiled water. Drain and then use as directed.

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

#AccidentalVegan #SuperSimpleVegan 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Cherry "Cheescake"


Cherry cheesecake titles

Happy #MeatFreeMonday of #MeatFreeWeek!

Monday 24th of March until Sunday 30th of March is Meat free week! 

OK OK so for me every week is meat free! - Only I quite like the idea, the challenge if you will for people to try and give up meat. If only for a week.

The most common thing I hear from people when they ask me about veganism is 
"I could never give up meat/cheese/milk etc"
I think most people would surprise themselves at how easy it is. . . mainly because there are so many awesome (if not awesome-er) alternatives!

This cheesecake is totally inspired by two things.
1. Bakewell tarts - almonds. cherries. childhood
2. Mango cheesecake I saw on instagram one day (If I can find the link I will link it here)

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One of my New Years resolutions was to stop or at least significantly reduce my refined sugar intake. I discovered that dates were awesome and their versatility is totally suited for making 'biscuit' bases for cheesecakes.

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Obviously there is no cheese here! Cashews are used to make the cheese, and I love this technique, the first time I tried it I didn't think it was ever going to get smooth, but the minute you add in a tiny bit of coconut oil, it smoothes immediately. I used my magic bullet (BEST GADGET EVER!!) which you may know doesn't run for a very long time, so quick pulses were plenty to make this smooth cashew nut cream.

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This is a must try recipe! 

The quantities I specified only makes two 4" cakes (which my family and I cut in half, to make four servings - my brother doesn't do fruit!! so it was all we needed!)



Recipe :
For the crust
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup dates
1/8 cup dried cherries (approx 4!)
(see notes)

For the "cheese"

1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight (see notes)
1/2 cup fresh cherries (frozen is OK too!)
1/8 tsp Almond essence
2 tbsp coconut oil
1. Place the cashews into a food processor and pulse until a biscuit crumb texture is reached.
2. Add the dates and cherries into the processor with the cashews and continue to pulse. Don't worry if the mixture doesn't appear to be sticking together.
3. Tip the mixture into two 4" cake tins (see notes) and press together. Place in the fridge to set a little whilst you prepare the cheese mixture.
4. In the food processor, blitz the drained, soaked cashews. They more than likely will not become smooth on the first process, don't worry.
5. Place the cherries and almond essence into the processor and puree together with the cashews.
6. Add the coconut oil and continue to process until smooth.
7. Pour the cheese mixture onto the base, return to the fridge for a couple of hours.
8. Before serving, loosen around the edge with a knife and remove from the tins.




Substitutions :
Cherries - Really any fruit will work, unlike some traditional cheesecakes set with gelatine, the enzymes in some fruit (such as mango) won't prevent the cake from setting.

Cashews - I'm not sure if any other nuts will soak like cashews do, other than walnuts

Coconut oil - I have seen some people use nut butters to set cheesecakes, however I know a lot of nut butters, are really quite liquid at room temperature, some people do keep these cakes in the freezer, but I prefer them somewhat warmer!!


Notes :


The tins I used were actually not tins, but rings, that is why they are placed on the baking sheet. If you use traditional tins, I suggest either line the bottom with greaseproof paper, or use a loose bottom tin.

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

#AccidentalVegan #SuperSimpleVegan 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Quinoa Bread, Avocado and Goji Ketchup


Quinoa Bread Title

I, like a lot of others, love finding new recipes. Recently I've been on a mission to collect and try out as many different bread recipes as I can.

This is my new favourite. 

Ashley's Quinoa Oat Bread initially attracted me because I just received a sack of Quinoa flour in the post! I've said it before, I'm not really that struck on Quinoa (nor am I that struck on writing it, such an annoying word to type!) but I keep trying it with the hope that one day I'll like it!

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The first attempt at this recipe didn't go that well, mainly because in my haste I put the mixture into a cold tin, lined with greaseproof paper.

Bad idea. Don't do it. A hot pan is definitely the key.

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I also used a tin with a removable bottom which I'm sure did help with the removal, I was anticipating a struggle the second time I made it, just like the first, but it worked brilliantly.

I made this bread, and then instead of slicing and turning into a sandwich to serve with the Goji Ketchup, I spread the bread with the Ketchup, covered it in Spinach, Sweetcorn and onion and then sprinkled it with a little Soy Cheese, baked it for 5 minutes and served with a simple salad. 

Trust me, it's brilliant that way too!

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I am currently using Kiwi Compote- unsweetened, however that's just due to a little Kiwi Accident I had the other day! I was really quite surprised that the flavour of the compote did not affect the overall taste of the bread. At all. 

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If you've been reading some of my posts, you'll understand that I love Avocado. Therefore this Sandwich of grated Carrot, Avocado, Salad and Sliced Tomato was one of the best lunches I've  had in a long time.

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I'd love to try different herb (and fruit!) combinations as well as different fillings. I'd also like to give this bread recipe a go with more Chia and/or Flax.

This Ketchup Recipe is SO simple, really all you do is blitz in a food processor. The original recipe is one I found in the book Raw Magic (my sister bought me it!) but I made a few of my own alterations (because, I can't help myself!)

I also 100% reccommend Kate Magic's book Raw Magic, it is not only full of tasty things, it's also a really interesting read! (but maybe you have to be strange like me and actually enjoy reading cookery books as novels. . . ) I'm not raw, but the idea really intrigues me. . . I'm just not sure I'd want to eat cold food all the time, but that may just be my lack of knowledge!



Recipe :
Quinoa Oat Bread
1/2 cup Oat Flour
1/2 Cup Quinoa Flour
1/4 Cup Rice Flour
(See notes)
1/4 Cup Almond Flour
1 Cup Water
2 Tbsp Milled Chia Seed (see notes)
1 Tbsp Flax Seed (see notes)
1 Tbsp Kiwi Compote (see notes)
1 Tsp Oregano (see notes)
1 Tsp Basil
1 Tsp Celery Salt

For the Goji Ketchup

12 Cherry Tomatoes (see notes)
1 Cup Goji Berries - Soaked over night
(see notes)
1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
1/4 Red Onion
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil (see notes)
4 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar (see notes)
1 Tbsp Agave (see notes)
1 tsp Tahini (see notes)


1. In a small bowl mix the Water and Compote together.
2. In a seperate mixing bowl add the Flour's, the Chia Seed, Herbs and Celery Salt and mix together.
3. Grease a 10" tin, and place in an oven at 180c to warm for 5 minutes.
4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.
5. Carefully remove the tin from the oven and pour the mixture in, levelling off with a palette knife (or any other knife!)
6. Place the tin back in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Ketchup:

1. Blitz all of the ingredients in a blender (see notes)!




Substitutions :
Rice Flour - The original recipe did not have the 1/4 cup of Rice Flour, instead had an extra 1/4 cup of Quinoa Flour

Milled Chia Seed - I have only recently been able to source Chia Seed that has been milled, usually I can only locate whole Chia Seed. I have found however, if you put the Whole Chia Seed into a blender or food processor (I used my magic bullet) and pulse the seed, you get a close result.

Flax Seed - I added the Flax Seed in because I like Flax! However it is totally not necessary!

Kiwi Compote - Unsweetened Apple sauce was used originally, however I had a little bit of an accident with a Kiwi recipe the other day and have been overrun with Kiwi Compote, I'm positive that any unsweetened - fairly neutral compote would work. (or not so, Kiwi tends to be quite acidic! and worked regardless!)

Herbs - The herbs are completely subjective, these are just those that I used. I really would like to try with Rosemary because it is a herb I usually neglect, Sage would also be nice.

Cherry Tomatoes - I used Cherry Tomatoes, but the original recipe used large tomatoes, I was initially worried that there may be too much tomato skin, but this was not the case.

Coconut Oil - Any Oil would work here, I am almost certain as the amount is so negligible, I'm also sure you could leave it out if you wanted.

Tahini - As with the Oil, it would be perfectly fine to leave the Tahini out.



Notes :


I soaked the Goji Berries overnight, as I found that the hard berries I used on my first trial, did not blend very well. I don't think they really needed all night, and would have been really useable after only an hour.

I used a lot more Vinegar than originally directed as I felt that it needed it, and I prefered the taste with it, you may need to fiddle around with it a little to get the right amount for your tastes. I suggest starting with 1 Tbsp and building up from there.

I added the Agave in because I felt it rounded out the flavour, I don't think that it is necesarry.



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

#AccidentalVegan #SuperSimpleVegan 


Monday, 10 March 2014

Vietnamese Spring Rolls - With Agave Roast Carrots.


Vietnamese spring rolls title

We all know that feeling. 

The, I-really-can't-be-bothered-to-cook-anything feeling, it's usually followed with either the rapid consumption of junk food, or the speedy dialling of the local take-away.

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The only problem with this is that, actually, you always feel really guilty, stuffed, lethargic and poor-er than you did before.

Monday usually is the culprit to this. I don't like Mondays. (I currently am not a fan of weekdays either, but that's another deal)

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I really like this recipe. If you can even call it that. Maybe I should call it assembly instead.

I really like this assembly, it's super quick, super tasty, and doesn't make you feel like a whale afterward.

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How cool do rice wrappers look?! I can never quite believe that they are going to turn from their glass-like state to something so squidgy. But they do. 

When you are soaking the wrappers, don't be tempted to hold them under for too long. 10 seconds is plenty, even if they feel a little brittle still, in about a minute of sitting on the side, they will be malleable. Promise!

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Time for a little origami!

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Basically fold the top and bottom into the centre. . . 

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and roll horizontally!

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Although there is a little bit of give, don't over-fill the wrappers or it will be really difficult to roll up, other than that, it's so simple.

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This is really nice served with salad for a light tea or lunch, the best bit is they keep quite well in the fridge for a couple of days, so you can make them in advance and pull them out when you need them. 

Before I had ever tried them, I did think the idea of the wrappers not being baked or fried like the more pastry-like wrappers of other Asian spring rolls of which I was used to, was a little strange. Only once you get over the fact that the outside is not crispy (although sometimes I like to bake them for 5 minutes to crisp them up anyway) I think I actually prefer these. They are lighter and I don't feel as guilty afterwards!



Recipe :
2 Carrots, julienned (see notes)
Agave (see notes)
1 Tsp Chilli Rock Salt
2 Spring Onions
1/4 Cup Glass Noodles
1 Tsp Harissa Paste
6 Rice Spring Roll Wrappers



1. Place the Carrot sticks in a roasting tin and drizzle with a small amount of the Agave, sprinkle with the Salt and place in a pre-heated oven (180c) for 10 minutes, or until soft.
2. In a bowl, cover the Noodles with Boiling Water, leave to soften for 5 minutes.
3. Drain the Noodles and stir in the Harissa.
4. Slice the Spring onions.
5. In a large mixing bowl, fill with tepid Water.
6. Take a Wrapper, soak it in the Water for 10 seconds, shake off the excess water, then place on a flat surface. The wrapper will continue to become more malleable after you remove it from the water.
7. Fill the wrapper with some of the Carotts, Onions, and Noodles.
8. Fold the top and bottom to meet in the middle. From the right side then roll the side in and then continue to roll over. (see notes!)
9. Sometimes I like to take the finished Spring Rolls and bake them on a tray for a couple of minutes in order to crisp the outside, but this isn't necessary! Serve with Soy Sauce and heaps of Leafy Salad.




Substitutions :
Carrots - Any veg can be used, I particularly like roasting Butternut Squash or Sweet Potato.

Agave - This is what I use, instead of the traditional "honey" roasted veg. I know strict Vegans don't use Honey, but the reason I don't use it, is mainly because I'm not really big on the flavour of Honey.

Notes :
Glass Noodles are sometimes just called Rice Noodles. I like them because they are not like Egg Noodles in any way whatsoever, they are really quick to prepare, and when they are wrapped up all tightly like this, they really add a lot of texture.

It is very difficult to explain how to roll these up, but I hope the pictures demonstrate pretty accurately! I've heard people struggle with it the first time, however I never had any problem. The wrappers, when damp become slightly tacky and stick together really well.


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

#AccidentalVegan #SuperSimpleVegan 


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