Monday, 20 October 2014

No-Bake Raspberry Cream Bars (cashew-free)

I'm one of those people who cooks through a crisis. It's therapeutic and a great distraction. And out of tension and worry, lovely and nourishing food is created.

My dad recently had a pretty major operation and is still in hospital. I created these raspberry cream bars one night to cheer myself up (or numb my anxiety by eating, you be the judge!). 

I love using cashews for raw cheesecake type sweets, but I didn't have any handy this time. Using coconut milk makes these bars lighter and less rich than the standard raw cheesecake, but still lovely and creamy. 

Peanut butter, banana, raspberries and coconut - yum! 

Other recipes containing raspberries from the blog:
Raspberry Cake
Raspberries and Cream Overnight Oats

No-Bake Raspberry Cream Bars

1 cup ground almonds (I used almond meal from a packet as I had some leftover)
2/3 cup soft medjool dates, packed
1/3 cup peanut butter
pinch of salt

1 banana, thinly sliced

1 cup of raspberries (if using frozen, thaw first)
1 cup coconut milk (from tin)
3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1/3 cup rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp icing sugar (or to taste)
juice of half a lemon

To make the base, put the ground almonds, dates, peanut butter and salt in a food processor and process until the mix sticks together as a dough. Press into your cake tin, cover with the sliced banana and put aside.

To make the topping, blend the raspberries, coconut milk, coconut oil, rice malt syrup, vanilla, icing sugar and lemon until completely smooth. It will be quite runny. Pour this on top of the base.

Put it in the freezer until the topping is set. After about 2 hours, it is set enough to eat but may still be a bit soft. I liked it like this, but it's also nice when left longer in the freezer and the topping has hardened completely. 

Store in the freezer. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Vegan No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

The moment Sylvia and Lexie tried ice cream on a cone (from Vegan's Choice in Newtown), they fell in love. They got it all over their faces and clothes, didn't accept any help when it was dripping down their cones and our car was never the same again, but it was worth it to see their delight!

Now, whenever Lexie sees a picture of an ice cream in a book, he demands "Lexie, eat!" and proceeds to make his way to the kitchen (where an ice cream is supposedly waiting for him, I guess).

We don't buy ice cream much because it's either got a load of additives or is really expensive. So I thought I'd make a healthy and easy ice cream for the kids to enjoy in the heat. 

I made a very slightly different version of this ice cream last year for Sylvia when she asked for her Fancy Nancy parfait. I thought it would go well on a cone, and I was right! The kids loved this ice cream and so did everyone else. 

It's really creamy and scoop-able, and very simple to make. 

do you know how hard it is to take a photo of ice cream when it is being held by a hungry 4 year old?
Vegan No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup cashews (I didn't soak mine, however it would be a good idea as they will blend more easily)
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup maple syrup
Blend all ingredients until completely smooth. This took quite a few minutes for me. 

Put it in the freezer in a container, stirring every hour or so until it reaches desired consistency. For me this was about 4 hours. After this period, just leave it in the freezer and take it out of the freezer about 20 minutes before scooping and eating it. 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Vegan Blueberry Frozen Yoghurt Ice Blocks

As the weather is warming up, Sylvia has wasted no time in requesting ice blocks! 

Ice blocks bring back memories of primary school for me. I remember eating those long thin ice blocks in the sweltering heat. I used to make sure that I had 40 cents in my pocket ready to buy them for myself and my best friend. Yes, they were 20 cents each - that dates me!

I love these frozen yoghurt ice blocks. They are fruity and creamy at the same time. You can make them chunky or smooth. 

I'll be trying many more fruit combinations over the summer!

Vegan Blueberry Frozen Yoghurt Ice Blocks (inspired by 5-Minute Healthy Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt)

2 cups frozen blueberries ~ or try another frozen fruit!
1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
1/4 cup rice malt syrup
squeeze of lemon juice

Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor to desired consistency, put into ice block moulds and freeze!

Related: Instant Raspberry Frozen Yoghurt

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Raw Hazelnut Caramel Slice (100th post!)

This delectable, (practically) raw slice is my celebration of 100 posts on this blog! 

Good excuse, anyway...

It is seriously addictive. I made it last night and it's almost gone. Even Lexie, almost two, likes it!

This recipe requires no soaking and nothing too complicated. It is rich and sweet, yet feels so wholesome. The hazelnuts are so delicious with the peanutty caramel - swoon.

I hope you enjoy it, and thanks so much for reading and visiting my blog!

Raw Hazelnut Caramel Slice (inspired by Raw Millionaire's Shortbread from Milking Almonds)

2 tbsp shredded coconut for "flouring" pan

1 cup roasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup ground almonds (I used almond meal from a packet as I had some leftover)
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, packed
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp peanut butter
2/3 cup soft medjool dates, packed
3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
Dash of vanilla

Chocolate topping
3 tbsp each of coconut oil (melted), cocoa and maple syrup

"Flour" your pan with the shredded coconut. I used an approx 9 inch square cake tin.

To make the base, blend the hazelnuts until they are powder. Transfer to a food processor with the ground almonds and dates and process for about a minute. Add the oil, salt and maple syrup and process until the dough starts sticking together. Press into your tin.

To make the caramel, process the peanut butter, dates, oil, maple syrup, water, salt and vanilla until smooth. This took a few minutes for me. Spread this on top of the base.

Put your slice in the freezer for about 20 minutes. 

To make the chocolate topping, whisk together the oil, cocoa and maple syrup. Spread over the top of the slice and pop it back in the freezer until the chocolate sets. 


Store in the freezer.  

Saturday, 13 September 2014

My Top 5 Healthy Desserts/Snacks

My top 5 this week, anyway!

When you like sweet food as much as I do, it's a good idea to have a few healthy desserts/snacks in rotation. To be honest, I never miss the refined flours and sugars when I'm eating stuff like this.

1. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites

This dough was lucky to make it to ball form. A lot was eaten straight from the blender. 

2. Snack Pack Cheesecake

I love this idea of having ready made little raw sweet snack packs to take places. Even though I did eat them all at home. Standing at the fridge. 

3. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

These have chickpeas in them. So it's acceptable that I ate them for dinner, right? As stated in the recipe, these are best eaten warm so if you don't eat them all in one sitting after they're baked (ahem), warm them up in the microwave for a few seconds.

4. Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

I had some strawberries to use up so I used them instead of blackberries in the original recipe. As you can see in the photo, pieces were either frantically hacked off or eaten with spoon straight from the tin.

5. Peanut Better Balls

These only have a few ingredients, but are very addictive - a bit salty and a bit crispy. They would make great Christmas gifts! 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Easy Pink Kid's Cupcakes (no artificial colouring!)

When did I realise the power of the cupcake?

It was before I was vegan and a time of my life when I didn't enter the kitchen for any reason other than to boil pasta or make coffee. I visited a friend of a friend's place and she was making cupcakes to take to a party from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess. They looked beautiful in a simple and honest way. It struck me that they are such heartfelt gift or contribution to a party.  

Over the years, I have made many cupcakes and I never tire of seeing people's faces light up when they taste and see them. I've made them for friend's and family gatherings, work events and weddings. I'm kind of known for them - not through any skill, but the sheer frequency! People, vegan or not, love them. 

And they are easy and fun to make, eat and decorate.

They are even more fun to make now that I have a daughter to help me! Sylvia and I made these for her friend's birthday party yesterday. 

Sylvia told me the specifications: vanilla cupcake, pink icing, with strawberries and sprinkles. One of her more reasonable and achievable requests!

I used this recipe for the vegan vanilla cupcakes from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken. They were lovely and light. The recipe for the icing is below. I don't mind using food colouring occasionally, but I love it when there is an alternative. You could make them pinker by adding more raspberry purée and slightly increasing the amount of icing sugar. 

Naturally Pink Icing (enough icing to pipe onto 12 standard cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes)

1/2 cup vegan margarine (I used Nuttelex)
2 cups icing sugar
dash of vanilla
2 tsp raspberry purée (see below)

To make the raspberry purée: Blend 1/4 cup of raspberries (I used frozen). Pass them through a sieve and there you have your purée!

I made my icing in my food processor. Process the margarine around for a second. Add in 1 cup of icing sugar, the vanilla and raspberry purée and blend for a few seconds. Add the remaining cup of icing sugar and blend until smooth.

Other cupcake posts:
Vegan Wedding Cupcakes
Bananas 'n' Cookies Cupcakes
Quinoa and cupcakes for meat eaters

Monday, 18 August 2014

Spaghetti Pie

Why have pasta on its own when you can have it encased in pastry?

One day, I inexplicably felt like making a pie with a spaghetti filling. This filling would have been a fine dinner on its own. I may have had too much time on my hands to think of putting it in a pie, not something that happens often! 

This was one of those weird ideas that worked out really well. Is spaghetti pie even a thing? I have seen it as a crust but not a filling. 

Sylvia thought this idea was hilarious and loved the end product. Peter thought I had gone completely around the bend, but also loved the end product. Lexie was too confused to even try it!

This pie is definitely comfort food, and fun to make and eat!

Vegan Spaghetti Pie

Pastry (slightly adapted from barley poppy seed crust from Vegan Lunch Box)

2 cups plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


approx half a packet of angel hair pasta (about 250g I think)
2 tbsp olive oil 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 zucchinis, grated
approx 2 cups passata/tomato cooking sauce
dried basil and oregano to taste
2 tsp sugar
salt to taste

White sauce 
2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 tbsp plain flour
approx 1 cup non-dairy milk
dash of garlic powder and salt to taste

Preheat oven to 190C.

Make the pastry: Combine flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil and mix with your fingers until the flour has formed small crumbs. Add the water and vinegar and stir with your fingers until the dough holds together. Knead the dough a few times and divide into two pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured surface to fit your pie dish and line your pie dish with one of them. Put the other crust aside and make your filling.

Filling: Cook the pasta - this only takes two minutes - and put aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the garlic, carrot and zucchini for about 10 minutes. Add the passata, herbs, sugar and salt and cook for a few more minutes. Add the pasta and combine. If you want it a bit more saucy add some more passata, but you don't want it too runny. 

Make the white sauce: Melt the margarine in a small saucepan. Add the flour and garlic powder and cook on low heat for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the milk, only adding enough to reach desired consistency, until it thickens but is not too gluggy. Add salt to taste.

Fill the pie with the spaghetti mixture, spread the white sauce over the top and top with piecrust. Cut a small slit in the centre of the pie. 

Bake for about 35 minutes until lightly browned.