Monday, 21 July 2014

Bananas 'n' Cookies Cupcakes

This idea came to me when I was swimming laps. Sometimes I think the only reason I go swimming is to have uninterrupted time to think about food!

I made these mini cupcakes for a birthday party yesterday. I loved this flavour. It is a nice change from the standard chocolate or vanilla. The pieces of chocolate biscuit make these really fun and interesting.

I made these mini cupcakes using the banana split cupcake recipe (without the pineapple preserves) from the brilliant Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World with half a cup of roughly chopped chocolate biscuits (cookies) folded into the batter (about 5 Arnott's Choc Ripple Biscuits - they're vegan!), then piped on some vanilla buttercream icing, threw some chocolate ganache over the top and sprinkled on some crushed biscuit crumbs.


Then, of course, Sylvia added coloured sprinkles. 


These were so much fun to make and decorate!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Vegan Almost Raw Tropical Cheesecake

Raw desserts are a bit of a passion of mine at the moment. They are magical. This (almost raw) cheesecake I whipped up yesterday is creamy, fruity and heavenly. 

Calling this cheesecake "tropical" is probably a bit of poetic license on my part (especially as I remember myself chucking random fruits into my blender whilst tasting the mixture), but I think the combination of pineapple, banana and coconut really do create a tropical taste! 

I made this based on ingredients I had on hand and wanted to use up, but you could easily play around with it to make it raw. 

Peter and Lexie loved this cake, but unfortunately Sylvia refused to try it. Must remember to call it an "ice cream cake" next time I make it, and maybe throw some coloured sprinkles in!



Vegan Almost Raw Tropical Cheesecake (adapted from Pineapple Coconut Cheesecake Bites)

Base
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, packed
pinch of salt
1-2 tbsp shredded coconut for "flouring"

Filling
2 cups cashews, soaked for a few hours
2/3 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup (scant) rice milk
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp rice malt syrup
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1 large banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Combine ingredients for the base except for the shredded coconut in a food processor until it clumps when squeezed together. Scatter the shredded coconut into a pie dish or round cake pan to "flour" it. Press the mixture into the dish.

Combine all filling ingredients together in a blender until really smooth (this will take a while depending on the speed of your blender). Pour the mixture onto the base and freeze for about 2 hours.

I think this cheesecake tastes best when it's a bit soft, so if it has been in the freezer for longer than two hours or so I would defrost it a bit before eating it. 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Vegan Snacks for Kids... that they actually eat!

Are my kids the only ones in the world who tire of freshly baked muffins, slices, cakes and cupcakes? 

Maybe there's a little to much desperation in my eyes and my voice is just that bit too high and insecure when I offer them?

Recent exchange between Sylvia and I on the way to the park to meet some friends:

Sylvia: Mum, did you bring some food for us to eat at the park?
Me: Yep, I brought the muffins I made!
Sylvia: Oh. Did you bring any fruit or anything else?

Hmmmmm...

Seriously, my kids seem so picky these days with what they eat. This seems to be confined to the food I make. From a packet? No problem! I could go on strike to make them appreciate my food more and ease off a little on my baking binges, but that would be too much of a deprivation for me! 

Anyway, I've had some success with the following items. Granted, two of them contain chocolate chips... 


These vegan goldfish crackers are really delicious, and a nice change from sweets! I use this recipe but use a bit less water than recommended, and I also add some onion powder. 



These chocolate chip muesli bars were pretty popular. Sylvia added the sprinkles because apparently everything is better with sprinkles! I used this recipe but substituted Nuttelex and rice malt syrup for the butter and honey.  


This is the only granola the kids will eat because they don't like bits of nuts and seeds. Lexie likes to eat the granola clumps on their own. We all love this one!


My mum used to make semolina for me when I was little, only instead of chocolate chips she put a mixture of cocoa and sugar on the top. To make this, I heat a cup of non-dairy milk, then add a heaped tablespoon of semolina and sugar and simmer until it thickens a bit but is still pourable (it sets as it cools). 





Friday, 27 June 2014

Vegan "Tuna" Salad

This salad is the best thing I've eaten on bread since vegan scrambled eggs

There are loads of mock tuna salad recipes on the internet. I've made one with chickpeas, which is delicious, but then I came across this version made with soaked almonds and sunflower seeds. I adapted it to suit my supplies and time constraints and loved the texture and taste of this one!

Of course, it's not in the least bit fishy (I guess it would be if you added kelp) but the combination of mayonnaise, celery and red onion does remind me a bit of the tuna salad I ate before I was vegan. 

The mayonnaise I used in this salad is this one from Vegan Dad. It's so easy to make - I never buy mayonnaise any more!




Vegan "Tuna" Salad (makes 2 large servings) (inspired by Save the Tuna Salad by Kris Carr)

2/3 cup almonds, soaked overnight or for a few hours
2/3 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight or for a few hours
2 celery ribs, chopped 
A quarter of a red onion, chopped 
2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise 
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in a food processor until desired consistency is reached.

I had mine on toast with avocado, extra mustard and pepper - yum!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Our Perfect Pizza

Unfortunately, dinners that please everyone in our household are becoming a rarity. I am happy with a basic salad or brown rice and veggies most of the time, but I have my two gorgeous little fussy kids to cater for, as well as Peter's mysterious and changeable "allergies" (read: preferences, ha!).

But thankfully, this is one of those rare dinners! 

I have blogged about pizza a few times, fancy pizza and topped with vegan cheese, but this pizza is the reliably delicious and easy one I keep coming back to. 

This is a simple dinner as long as you remember to leave time for the dough to rise - only about an hour or even less. 

This recipe makes two pizzas, plus about four mini chocolate pizzas. Sylvia loves these! They are simply vegan chocolate chips on pizza dough baked in the oven for about 10 minutes. 




Our Perfect Pizza (makes 2 pizzas plus 4 mini chocolate pizzas)

Dough (slightly adapted from the Traditional Pizza Dough in Vegan Planet)
3 tsp instant yeast
1.5 cups warm water
few pinches of sugar
2.5 cups plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Topping
Pasta sauce (about half a jar - I use tomato, basil and garlic sauce)
Sliced mushrooms (about 3 cups)
Olives (about half a cup)
Diced capsicum (I used half a red one)
Drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste

Make the dough: Stir the yeast and sugar into half a cup of warm water. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until a bit frothy/bubbly. 

In the meantime, in a large bowl combine the flours and salt. 

Add the oil and the remaining cup of warm water to the yeast mixture and pour all of it into the flour mixture. Stir the liquid in and then knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. 

Form the dough into a ball and rub a bit of extra olive oil around it. Put it in a large bowl with a tea towel over it to rise (around 45 minutes to an hour). 

While your dough is rising, prepare the toppings and preheat oven to 210C.

When your dough has risen, punch it down and remove a bit of dough for the mini chocolate pizzas if making. Divide the rest of the dough in two and roll out two pizza bases and place on pizza trays. Spread on the pasta sauce, then the mushrooms, capsicum and olives. The secret is to cover all the dough without overloading it! Drizzle with some olive oil and add a bit of salt to taste.

Cook in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how well done and crunchy you like your crust. 







Saturday, 24 May 2014

Healthy Chocolate Chip Pikelets (Mini Pancakes)

It's a half an hour before we need to leave for a play-date and I want to make something to take and share. None of us are dressed. I know I don't have time to bake anything (oh no!). Then the brainwave of chocolate chip pikelets comes to me! 

They were gobbled up by adults and kids alike and can even be made one-handed whilst holding a one-and-a-half year old - need I sell them more?



Healthy Chocolate Chip Pikelets (Mini Pancakes) (slightly adapted from the Flaxjacks in Raising Vegetarian Children)

1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder 
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tbsp oil, plus more for frying
a handful of vegan dark chocolate chips and a handful of vegan white chocolate chips (the combination is really good but of course just use whatever you have)

Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the milk and oil, stir until just mixed and leave to sit for 5 minutes. 

Heat a frying pan with a dash of oil in it to medium heat. Give the mixture another little stir (a few little lumps are fine). Put in small dollops of the mixture (I do about 4 at a time) and turn over once a few bubble start to appear. Cook until nicely browned. Put a bit of oil in the frying pan before cooking each batch. 

These are nice warm or cold!










Sunday, 18 May 2014

Rawsome Vegan Baking

I think I could live on raw desserts. If money was no object and I had better kitchen equipment, that is! 

I really wanted to buy this book, Rawsome Vegan Baking, because I like Emily's blog This Rawsome Vegan Life. She has a very bubbly and fun way of talking about her recipes, and her love for raw desserts is contagious. 

Cashew Coffee Vanilla Crème Cake with Cinnamon Chocolate Crust
Another thing I like about Emily's recipes is that they are achievable with fairly basic blenders and food processors and (mostly) do not contain obscure ingredients such as Irish moss paste (I don't even know what that is but it sounds hard to find and expensive!).

Jungle Pie with Chocolate Crust, Banana Slices & Chunky Coconut Topping

The book is gorgeous and Emily's playful personality really shines through.  
I've only managed to make a few recipes so far, but there are so many I can't wait to make. 

Ultimate Caramel Chocolate Squares
Other vegan cookbooks I've recently blogged about: The Oh She Glows Cookbook