Monday, 11 June 2012

Sometimes you just need cake

And I mean cake. With the sugar, white flour and fat not replaced with healthier alternatives.

Here is the cake Sylvia and I made yesterday, for no other reason than that we felt like making and eating it:

I'd forgotten how much fun it is to make a cake for no particular purpose or occasion. Normally when I make cake like this, it's for a party and I can't really sit down, relax, cram a piece into my mouth and truly enjoy it. I love baking healthy breakfast-y things like muffins, but there's just something special and frivolous about making a cake with absolutely no nutritional value.

On the topic of cakes, I've had a lot of fun making Sylvia's birthday cakes over the past two years. I made this tiger cake for her first birthday: 

Of course, she was too little to request anything in particular, but she was born in the year of the tiger and has always loved toy tigers so that was enough for me. Also, it seemed like one of the few decent cakes I could make with my limited cake decorating abilities!

For Sylvia's second birthday, I made this cake:

I hope that you can tell that it's a rabbit! In case you're wondering, it has a bow tie. It does look slightly demonic. In the weeks leading up to her birthday, Sylvia alternated between wanting a rabbit cake and a 'moon and stars' cake, but finally decided on the rabbit cake.

I used the same recipe for both cakes, as well as the one we made yesterday. It's a chocolate cake because Sylvia loves chocolate. Like mother like daughter. I found it here online. It is a fantastic, simple recipe and always turns out very moist and delicious. Kids especially love it. I use the 'chocolate buttercream' from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

I also have to include a link to an amazing beetroot chocolate cake from Nuts and Seeds which I've also made several times. It's so nice not to have to use artificial colouring to make the pink icing - just add a bit of beetroot juice! I'll never use red colouring again.

It will be interesting to see what kind of cake Sylvia requests for her third birthday. With her will and determination growing stronger by the day, I am just hoping it's nothing that requires any engineering/construction ability!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Hungarian Cabbage Noodles

My mum is Hungarian so I grew up eating a bit of Hungarian food. It is quite a heavy cuisine - lots of meat, cream, butter and rich delicious cakes. It evokes lots of happy childhood memories for me, so I've tried to veganise a few Hungarian dishes over the years. 

I have to mention that my mum is a brilliant and versatile cook and has also veganised many amazing dishes for me, including an incredible chestnut chocolate freezer cake. I'll have to post the recipe up here one day!

Hungarian noodle dishes often blur the lines between sweet and savoury, combining onions, sour cream, sugar, pepper and cottage cheese. I created this recipe after I made the sour dressing from Vegan Deli, which immediately reminded me of these flavours. It was an exciting discovery because it is such a comfort food for me!

This may not be to everyone's taste, but I love the combination. I've made it at family gatherings and it is pretty popular.  I have also tried it out successfully on non-Hungarian friends! 

If the amount of sugar and pepper scare you a little, just add a bit at a time and keep tasting as you go. I usually add less pepper when I know Sylvia will be eating it.

Hungarian Cabbage Noodles

Sauce (Sour Dressing from Vegan Deli by Joanne Stepaniak)
1 1/2 cups silken firm tofu (I use a whole 300g packet)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
a pinch of ground coriander
2 tbsp canola oil

Cabbage noodles
Half a cabbage, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sultanas
1 tsp black pepper or to taste
salt to taste
pasta of choice, about 300g

Make the sauce by putting everything except the oil in a blender and processing until smooth. Slowly add in oil and mix until smooth. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Fry onion and cabbage on medium heat until slightly browning and soft, about 15 minutes. In the meantime, cook your pasta.

Combine the pasta and sauce in the large saucepan along with the sugar, pepper and sultanas. Heat on low heat for a few minutes. Stir to combine and serve!