Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Vegan Walnut Plum Cake

For someone who makes and eats so many desserts, it's surprising that I haven't made up a cake completely from scratch before. 

Well, here it is!

After a challenging day, and with about 10 minutes to spare before bath and bedtime for Sylvia and Lexie, I was determined to create a comforting cake to finish the day on a high note. 

My mum had given us a load of sugar plums. It triggered a memory of a cake she makes sometimes with walnuts and plums or apricots. I asked her how she makes it, but my mum is an instinctive cook and never measures anything so I just had to fly blind.  

The kitchen was in quite a state by the time the cake was in the oven, but it was worth it!

It's just a humble cake, but a delicious one and I'm proud of it! Everyone in the household loved it, which is always an unexpected joy with the variance in ages and preferences!

The walnut and cinnamon go so well with the soft baked plums, and I think the coconut yoghurt gives the cake a lovely texture. I actually had intended to use a bit of oil, but in my flurry totally forgot! In the end, it definitely wasn't missed. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Vegan Walnut Plum Cake

1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water
1 cup white spelt flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice or brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp baking powder
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 cup coconut yoghurt
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used coconut rice milk)
About 10 plums (I used little sugar plums), sliced or halved
bit of extra cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180C and oil a square cake tin. 

Firstly, whisk together the flaxseed and water and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, pinch of salt, sugar, cinnamon and walnuts in a large bowl.

Add the yoghurt, milk and flaxseed mixture and stir until just mixed.  

Put the batter into the cake tin and place the plums on the top. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and sugar on the top if desired.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned and firm in the middle.  

Monday, 17 February 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Dough Balls

I love all manner of raw bliss ball type snacks, but these are my absolute favourite. 

There's just something about peanut butter and chocolate, and the soft doughy feel of these. Once refrigerated, they have a firmer, cakey texture which is also quite addictive.  

And just four ingredients!

I used to make a version of these years ago with soy powder. I remember arriving home from work needing something rich, sweet and fast to make and they always did the trick. 

However, soy powder is not usually something I have in my cupboard. I decided to recreate a healthier version of these dough balls using coconut flour. Also, I have quite a bit of coconut flour to use up! The coconut flour is perfect in texture for these balls and doesn't have an overwhelmingly coconutty flavour. 

Ah, first my obsession with besan flour, now coconut flour! I've tried baking with coconut flour a bit, but I prefer it in raw recipes. 

Janet at the Taste Space has some fantastic vegan coconut flour recipes I am looking forward to trying. 

What are your favourite recipes using coconut flour?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Dough Balls

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup rice malt syrup

Combine all ingredients and roll into balls! 

They are softer at room temperature and firmer once refrigerated. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Vegan Lunch Boxes for Preschool!

Sylvia started preschool this week! To distract from the emotional turmoil of being separated from my baby girl (dramatic, much?), I threw myself into planning her lunch boxes. 

Nothing revolutionary. Yet challenging. And fun! I'm trying to strike a balance between healthy food, convenient finger food and what Sylvia likes and will actually eat.

I seriously felt like a domestic goddess as I cut out Sylvia's sandwiches in flower shapes!

Chocolate spread sandwich, rockmelon, cherry tomatoes; rice crackers,
hummus, blueberries and more rockmelon
Coconut yoghurt and berries; sushi, cranberries and Vegemite sandwich
Sylvia's morning tea and lunch needs to be nut, egg and fish-free as per preschool policy. The last two are easy, of course, but nut-free takes a bit more thought. Luckily, seeds are allowed.

I made some tamari-roasted chickpeas and banana, oat and chia seed muffins, but unfortunately they were vetoed by Sylvia before they made it into her lunch box. They were enjoyed by the rest of us, though!

Sylvia liked most of this stuff. Some of it came back, but I think that was partly due to all the excitement and nervous energy of starting preschool. 

Much inspiration is from Sarah at Play.Love.Vegan. She prepares the most amazing lunch boxes for her children. 

There are also lots of creative ideas in the great book Vegan Lunch Box

Most importantly, Sylvia is enjoying preschool and was eager to return on the second day. It's amazing to see her world opening up.