Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Rich Chocolate Chia Mousse + Other Healthy Chocolate Adventures

I've changed a lot from the days when I used to come home from uni or work feeling a little flat and consume a whole block of dairy chocolate. 

Or have I?  

I went to see a movie on my own a few weeks ago (total bliss), and I ate almost a whole block of chocolate. Yes, it was organic and raw, but I guess the tendency is still there!

These days I mostly gravitate towards more wholesome and raw chocolate sweets. 

It all started with my raw chocolate cupcakes

Then I made these raw cakey brownies from Feasting with Fruit. They're made with only cocoa, oats and dates but are so delicious! I ran out of dates so improvised a yummy raw icing out of blended banana, cocoa, coconut oil and maple syrup. So decadent!


Then my partner's sister very kindly made me this: 


The BEST chocolate mousse I've ever had! It's a Jamie Oliver recipe, made with avocado, coconut cream, melted chocolate, cocoa, maple syrup and vanilla. I'll definitely be making this myself. I love it when non-vegan friends introduce me to new vegan recipes!

On a chocolate roll, I made up this rich chocolate chia mousse to use up some thickened coconut cream (I use Alpine) I had lying around in the fridge. It's probably more of a dessert, but I had it for breakfast. It's very creamy and thick after being in the fridge overnight. I loved this one a lot!





Rich Chocolate Chia Mousse

1/2 cup thickened coconut cream (coconut yoghurt would probably work)
1/2 cup soy milk
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp chia seeds 
2 tbsp maple syrup/agave or to taste
dash of vanilla

Combine all ingredients and pop in the fridge overnight. Toppings as desired!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Raw Chocolate Cupcakes

So, my raw dessert obsession has reached new heights since my visit to Sadhana Kitchen!

These little gems came together the other day when I felt like something chocolatey. They are indulgent, nutty and rich. A great bite sized snack or dessert to have on hand in the freezer!



Raw Chocolate Cupcakes (makes about 12 mini cupcakes)

Cake
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup soft medjool dates

1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tbsp cocoa
dash of vanilla
pinch of salt

Icing
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp agave/maple syrup
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp cocoa

Blend the cashews, walnuts and coconut together until a coarse powder. Transfer to food processor and process with the dates, peanut butter, cocoa, vanilla and salt until the dough starts to stick together. Press the mixture into a mini muffin tray (it makes about 12). 

Blend the icing ingredients together and spread on top of the cupcakes. Place in the freezer until set. Store in the freezer. 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Sadhana Kitchen: Sydney Organic Wholefoods and Raw Cafe

I've been wanting to go to Sadhana Kitchen for ages so I was very excited to have lunch there recently with a friend. A little too excited, perhaps. As my friend suggested: "You should get out more often!" Ha!

In short, this place is basically food heaven for me. As much as I love cooking, I do sometimes dream about having a personal chef to cook me all the food I adore. Which is the kind of food at Sadhana. So sitting down to eat all of this gorgeous and nourishing food prepared by someone else, and not having to worry about the kids being entertained, not destroying the place etc., was a total treat!

To start with, we had some Better Than Tim Tams, just to make sure we could fit in as many sweets as possible! Chocolate cream between cashew cookies coated in raw chocolate. Yes, definitely better than the original biscuit! Rich and indulgent.


We moved onto legitimate lunch food. I ordered Sadhana Lasagne, layers of zucchini pasta, cashew cheese, pesto, walnut mince, spinach and tomato sauce. This was absolutely amazing. The tangy creamy cheese really made this dish.


My friend ordered Prana Pad Thai, kelp and zucchini noodle, salad, veggies and raw pad thai sauce. This was lovely and fresh, but I think the lasagne really stood out.   


We also had smoothies with our lunch: The Daily Green and Smooth Criminal. Very refreshing!


I wanted to order every single one of the raw desserts on display. My friend decided on the Mango Float Cheesecake. The texture of this was so creamy and light. 


I chose the White Chocolate Banoffe Pie. I'm not sure what was in all the layers, but it was one of the best raw desserts I've ever had.


I have no idea why anyone would eat the traditional dairy and egg laden versions of these desserts when these are an option. I love the care taken with every detail of these desserts.

I can't wait to go back. Check out the Sadhana menu if you're interested, or even better, go there to support this brilliant place. 

Sadhana Kitchen
147 Enmore Rd. Enmore, Sydney

{I have not received any compensation for this review. These are my independent thoughts!}

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Easy Carob Fudge

At my primary school canteen, they used to sell carob buttons. I tolerated them and didn't mind the flavour (faintly minty it seems to me), but I do remember viewing carob as a poor chocolate substitute.

Ricki Heller's carob fudge, on the other hand, is a totally delicious sweet in its own right and, as Ricki says, will make a carob lover out of anyone!

After reading Kari's post on a carob latte (which I am looking forward to making tonight), I'd had it in my mind to give carob a chance. I hadn't eaten it in years. It seems that most carob bars available contain milk solids. So when I saw some pure carob powder recently in a health food shop, I grabbed it! 

I had to make a few changes to Ricki's recipe based on the ingredients I had on hand. Instead of the stevia and the vegetable glycerin/yacon syrup, I used 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 2 tablespoons of agave. I also substituted peanut butter for the almond butter. 

The result is gorgeously rich and melts in your mouth. Everyone loved this, even Sylvia and Lexie. Give it a go!




Tuesday, 6 January 2015

101 Yummy and Healthy Breakfasts!

I used to skip breakfast. Now I'm planning what to eat for breakfast as I drift off to sleep! 

And how could I miss one more opportunity to cook and experiment with food?!


Ice cream breakfasts

I have been loving eating variations of "soft serve" ice cream made with frozen banana and other frozen fruits this summer. 

Mango and banana 
Apricot and banana 
It's like magic! You just blend frozen fruits (in food processor) with a bit of non-dairy milk, sweetener such as maple syrup or agave, and vanilla. Add toppings as desired!

Banana and raspberry




Raspberry, banana and cherry
Eggy breakfasts

I certainly don't miss eating eggs, but I love these faux egg recipes using chickpea (besan)flour. 

I've raved about these scrambled eggs before. So delicious!


This spinach omelette is also really really good. Actually, I might make this for lunch!


Muffin breakfasts

I love muffins, even more than cupcakes! My favourite breakfast muffins are the bran muffins from How It All Vegan. I usually add raspberries or blueberries. 


I tried these almond apple muffins the other day and was really impressed by them. They have no flour or oil!



Toast breakfasts

I love toast for breakfast when I can find bread I really like. 

Avocado with nutritional yeast is a favourite with Sylvia and Lexie. 


I love tahini, molasses and nutritional yeast. This is an idea from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook.



Porridge breakfasts

This overnight raw buckwheat cashew porridge is my absolute favourite at the moment. It is divine topped with fruit and walnuts. 


This is my standard cooked porridge recipe. I use 1:3 oats to liquid ratio, and stir in ground flaxseed after the porridge has cooled a bit. I love the texture of this! 



These are my overnight oats (without the raspberries) with puréed stawberries, agave and vanilla on the top. 


Raw desserts breakfasts

It is totally legitimate to have raw desserts for breakfast!

This is my raw hazelnut caramel slice that I've been known to have for breakfast on occasion.


I made this amazing raw strawberry cheesecake for our friends on New Year's Eve. Loved this so much! And the leftovers were the best breakfast to start the year with. 










Thursday, 1 January 2015

Chocolate Granola + Top 5 Posts for 2014

Happy New Year! I thought I'd begin the year by sharing my simple one-bowl recipe for the chocolate granola that I made for family Christmas gifts this year. 

salt dough ornaments made by Sylvia from Johanna's great recipe
I made so many batches of the stuff that I've been making it in my sleep ever since! 


I do love this recipe, though. It's very easy and crunchy but not too hard, just the way I like it. A totally legitimate way to work chocolate into your breakfast!

Chocolate Granola (adapted from Chocolate Cherry Almond Granola by Live.Learn.Love.Eat)

4 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup cocoa
pinch of salt 
dash of vanilla
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup maple syrup 
1 cup sultanas

Preheat oven to 350C.

Combine all dry ingredients except the sultanas. Stir in wet ingredients. 

Spread out on a tray and bake for 10 mins, stir it around a bit, and bake for a further 10-15 minutes. 

Add the sultanas. 

Now, onto the top 5 posts for 2014...

I always love seeing everyone's most popular posts from the year! Here are mine:

1. Raw Hazelnut Caramel Slice (my favourite too!)


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


3. Spaghetti Pie (love this one too) 


4. My Top 5 Healthy Desserts/Snacks


5. Healthy Chocolate Chip Pikelets (mini pancakes) (I make these at least once a week)




Saturday, 27 December 2014

Vegan Celebration Trifle!

I made this monster-sized trifle to take to my mum's place on Christmas day. 
 
In all its glory, before chocolate grated on top
It was an architectural feat as well as a test of my organisational skills! 

Happily, none of the individual components are difficult at all. You just need to plan to make sure all the components are made and ready to go. I made all the different parts over a day in between preparing other dishes for Christmas, making granola for presents, etc. 

I have to stress that this trifle is really really worth making. It is especially great to feed a large crowd. The taste of all those layers together is decadently delicious.

Practically everyone asked for second helpings and for the recipe. I love that it is pretty, yet can be just slopped onto a plate gracelessly!

The bowl I used was very very deep!
This recipe is pretty versatile. You could add alcohol and different fruits!

Vegan Celebration Trifle  

Components

2 x round vanilla cakes (I used this recipe)

Double batch of vegan pastry cream (I used the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, recipe also here)

2 x coconut thickened cream (I used Alpine Thickened Coconut Cream)

2 x large punnets of strawberries, sliced

2-3 cups raspberries mixed with a bit of sugar (I used frozen, defrosted)

About half a block of chocolate for grating

About 1 cup of black coffee

Construction 

I divided each component into three to make three layers. 

I did my layers in this order:
  • cake, sliced to fit shape of your bowl 
  • pour a few tbsp of coffee over the cake
  • spread the pastry cream on top of the cake
  • spread the thickened coconut cream on top of this
  • place the strawberries around the side so it lines the bowl (this looks pretty in a glass bowl)
  • add raspberries
  • add grated chocolate
  • repeat!