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Valentine’s Cupcakes

Valentine’s Cupcakes

Valentine's Cupcakes...

Valentine’s Cupcakes…

Last year for Valentine’s I made Strawberry Cheesecake, this year I thought I’d try my hand at cupcakes. I had a look around Google for some vegan Victoria sponge recipes and eventually came to a recipe by vegan extraordinaire Isa Chandra Mozkowitz that was posted on this blog page. There is a link to the frosting as well, but I made my own strawberry sauce and bought heart decorations to make them into suitably themed Valentine’s cupcakes.

Apart from the crunchy sugar hearts on top, the cupcake tasted like a classic Victoria sponge, so I was very happy about that especially as they were so light and fluffy.

Here is the recipe for the Strawberry Sauce which is inside the cupcake, the actual link is for Blueberry, but you can substitute any fruit you like of course.

To decorate see photos:

Just out of the oven...

Just out of the oven…

Tops cut out and saved...

Tops cut out and saved…

Fill with Strawberry sauce and replace top...

Fill with Strawberry sauce and replace top…

Use pipe to decorate with icing & sprinkle on hearts...

Use pipe to decorate with icing & sprinkle on hearts…

Lentil and Mushroom Meatlessballs

I decided to make some meatlessballs after seeing a recipe on Whole Food Plant Base Diets Facebook page. The RECIPE they shared seemed simple and the photo looked appetising. I decided they would go really well with a homemade tomato & basil sauce, recipe below. I used a spiral pasta made from buckwheat. Highly recommend for a healthy dinner full on flavour.

Lentil & Mushroom Meatlessballs

Lentil & Mushroom Meatlessballs

Tomato & Basil Sauce

Ingredients:

1x punnet Cherry Tomatoes

2 large Red Onions

1 tbsp Basil

1 tbsp Thyme

1x tbsp ground Black Pepper

3x Garlic Cloves

3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 pint Vegetable Stock

1 tbsp Oil (coconut preferably)

5 Bay Leaves

1 jar Passata

 Method:

  1. Fry onions until soft.

  2. Add red wine vinegar & simmer until evaporated.

  3. Add herbs & pepper (not bay leaves) stir for a moment.

  4. Add chopped cherry tomatoes & stock, simmer for 10-15 mins.

  5. Remove from heat & blend.

  6. Add passata & bay leaves, stir & leave for 30 mins – 1 hour.

  7. Reheat & remove bay leaves before serving.

Note: This makes a BIG pan, so you could halve the quantities or freeze any leftovers.

Coconut, Banana & Date Muffins

I needed to use up some bananas, but instead of just eating them, I decided muffins were the best option…I’m sure you’d agree. I googled for a recipe and was tempted by this link TastyVeganWays. The only difference was I added 1/3 cup of chocolate chips, which I think they definitely needed for the sweetness factor. The muffins were really quick and simple to make and I must admit, I think mine look pretty good. Also they’re healthy too with no actual sugar, butter or oil. I tested one when it was still warm and it was light and delicious! 🙂

Chocolate, Banana & Date Muffins…

Raw Cranberry & Almond Chocolates…

Cranberry & Almond Chocolates…

The benefits of raw chocolate are quite vast, see the link. It’s also exceedingly good for you, being one of the richest antioxidants on the planet and let’s not forget it’s rich in the energy mineral & vital electrolyte, magnesium.

Anyway, I found some raw cocoa butter in my local health food shop yesterday and bought some immediately as I’ve been wanting to make my own chocolates for ages. My first attempt was pretty good. In future though I’d invest in a proper silicone mould, instead of using an ice cube tray. The flavour was okay, the ground mixed spices made them taste quite christmassy.

Chocolates are something you can experiment with, I think next time I’m going to try mocha chocolates. I’ll let you know how they turn out. In the meantime, here is the recipe for the Raw Cranberry & Almond Chocolates.

Ingredients:

100g Organic Raw Cocoa Butter

6 tbsp Organic Raw Cocoa Powder

3 tbsp Organic Raw Agave Nectar

Pinch Himilayan Rock Salt

¼ tsp Organic Vanilla Extract

¼ tsp Ground Mixed Spices

¼ cup Dried Cranberries (halved)

½ cup Blanched Whole Almonds (halved)

Method:

1. In a silicone mould or ice cube tray place a few of the cranberries & almonds in each section.

2. Melt cocoa butter in a bowl over hot water.

3. Add cocoa powder & whisk together.

4. Add agave nectar, salt, vanilla extract & mixed spices.

5. Pour into a jug and then pour into the mould.

6. Freeze for 30 minutes.

The Ingredients…

The Ice-cube Tray…

Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins

Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffin…

I haven’t baked for a while and I fancied something with pumpkin after just having bought one this morning. After looking online I found a recipe here that seemed good. I didn’t have pumpkin purée or apple sauce, but I did have a pumpkin and an apple! I steamed the pumpkin and then when it had cooled down I blended it. I stewed the apple and what leftovers I had of the two I put in the freezer. So then I had all the ingredients and it was very simple to make.

The only thing is with the frosting using coconut oil, the muffins have to be completely cooled and I put the frosting in the fridge for an hour. The muffins must also be kept in the fridge or the icing will just melt.

Best eaten quickly and they are very delicious indeed! 🙂

Set The Juice Loose!

Set The Juice Loose!

I’ve recently discovered the power of juicing for health. I’d seen many documentaries that talk about juicing Hungry For Change and Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead the most impressive for me though was listening to Charlotte Gerson talking about The Gerson Therapy for healing life threatening ailments. I decided to buy a book by the UK Juice Master, Jason Vale called Ultimate Fast Food: The Power of Raw Juice and also a good Omega Juicer. So after this bit of research, watching, reading and checking out various websites, I started to set the juice loose! I buy, where I can, organic fruit and vegetables, which are obviously pesticide free, but you can clean non-organic produce.

Fruit & Vegetable Stash…

Although I have plenty of recipes, it’s nice to experiment.  I have learned however that some fruits and veggies can overpower the taste of others, so you only need a little. A perfect example of this is accidentally using too much ginger in my first juice. Wow was it strong, but as my husband was ill this week, he definitely benefited from it’s healing properties! We’ve been juicing for four days, not exclusively, as we’re not on a juice detox. We have one juice and one smoothie a day to complement our vegan diets (though my husband is not wholly vegan). I can’t say I’ve noticed too much initially, although I feel extremely well and we’re both very inspired to keep juicing daily. If you want to know more about juicing for health, click on any of the links I provided above.

Kick Ass Ginger Glory

The Juice Master Complete

Here are two photos as an example of the juices I’ve made so far. I also like making Smoothies, here is a link to a previous post for an Aloe Vera & Chia Seed smoothie which was very nice and I made one called Carob Cream Dream that I drank before I remembered to take a photo, but here’s the recipe, as it was so so heavenly, you must try if you get the chance.

Ingredients: 1 pear, 1 cup melon, 1/4 pomegranate (seeds only), 250ml soya yoghurt, 2 tsp mixed ground spices, 2 tbsp organic raw carob powder, 2 tbsp hemp seeds, 1/3 cup shelled natural almonds…blend together and enjoy a health sensation.

(The Juice Master complete is on page 192 of the book I mention above, is a meal in itself and a complete A-Zinc of nutrient goodness).

I hope you decide to give juicing a go. Contrary to most people’s opinion, that it’s time consuming, takes ages to clean the juicer, it uses a lot of produce etc…I have to say, what is the price of your health? Juices go a long way to deliver living nutrients right to your cells, drank regulalrly and with knowledge of what you’re doing this really is a great preventative measure, like insurance against the most common diseases that affect the human body. I’d much rather spend 20 minutes a day making a juice (including cleaning time, my machine is very very easy to clean) than not juice and pay the consequences in bad health and chronic diseases later in life. There are so many examples of people living long, healthy and disease free lives thanks to a healthy, balanced whole food, plant based diet that includes regular juicing with fresh produce. And in the mean time, I get to feel fantastic as I know the juices are doing me good. 🙂

Aloe Vera & Chia Seed Smoothie…

Aloe Vera Leaf…

I happened upon a tiny market stall in town today and spotted a large Aloe Vera leaf. I’d never seen one on sale before and as I don’t have my own plant at home, I bought it. So what to do with it? Well, I’d just watched a documentary called Hungry For Change and it talked about how good gelatinous foods are, these being aloe vera and chia seeds. One thing they are good for particularly is detoxing the liver. The gelatinous fibres move through the intestinal tract absorbing things like the bile salts and with it fat soluble toxins that the liver tries to get rid of. The fibres bind them and passes them through helping to really clean out the liver.

There are multiple uses for aloe vera, including a facial moisturiser, which I’ll try out later with the left over leaf parts I saved. Anyway, I decided to make a smoothie to drink. Here’s how to make it (use organic ingredients where possible):

1 aloe vera leaf (all the green cut off)

1 tbsp chia seeds (soaked in water for 15 mins, don’t drain, it’ll be gel like)

1 banana

2 cups melon

3 tbsp agave nectar

1 tbsp cinnamon powder

1/2 cup soya yoghurt

Blend the aloe vera until its smooth and then add remaining ingredients. Check for taste and enjoy.

Aloe Smoothie…

Coconut & Lime Cheesecake…

Coconut & Lime Cheesecake

My latest experiment to find a good consistency of cheesecake filling using vegan cream cheese and cream has worked out well. Finally, after a few runny attempts, I got the filling to set by deciding to use the oh so wonderful agar agar. The texture came out a little like a mousse, which to me was fine as my taste testers all really enjoyed the results. On the flavour side, the sour of the limes with the sweetness of the coconut cream balanced out perfectly to create a wonderful treat for the taste buds.

Coconut and Lime Cheesecake…

INGREDIENTS:

Base:

350g Vegan Digestive Biscuits

¾ cup Walnuts

¾ cup Coconut Oil (melted)

Zest of 1 Lemon

Juice of ½ Lemon 

Filling:

2 tubs (450g) Vegan Cream Cheese

500 ml Vegan Cream

250 ml (1 made up 4g packet) Agar Agar

Juice of 5 Limes

Zest of 5 Limes

1/3 cup Agave Nectar

1 tbsp Vanilla Essence

Topping:

 425g can Coconut Cream (refrigerated overnight)

4 tbsp Icing Sugar

METHOD:

  1. Line base of 9 inch spring-form tin with greaseproof paper.

  2. In a food processor process biscuits and nuts.

  3. Pour in coconut oil whilst processing and repeat for lemon juice and zest. (Crumbs should not be too dry, they should stick together when pressed between fingers. Add more coconut oil if necessary).

  4. Press into base of tin and place in fridge whilst making filling.

  5. In a bowl, use electric whisk to blend cream cheese and cream for 4 minutes.

  6. Whisk in agave nectar and vanilla essence, then the lime juice and zest.

  7. In a pan, add the 4g packet of agar agar to 250 ml of cold water, bring to boil whisking continuously for 1 minute.

  8. Pour into cheese mix and whisk until blended.

  9. Pour over base and place in fridge for at least 2 hours.

  10. Spoon the coconut cream into a food processor and add sieved icing sugar, blend until smooth, then place in fridge.

  11. When ready to serve either drizzle coconut cream over the individual slices of cheesecake or pour over the top when whole.

    Coconut and Lime Cheesecake…

    I hope you give this one a go, its easy to make and absolutely worth it! A very good cheesecake if entertaining. I had non-vegans tasting this and they all enjoyed it.

Gold Rush Macaroons…

Gold Rush Macaroons…

Gold Rush Macaroons...

Gold Rush Macaroons…

My love of ‘easy to make’ and raw awesome things continues with this inspired recipe adapted from Mind Body Green’s website. These taste deliciously Macaroony, as you’d expected with an added bonus, they’re totally fresh tasting. None of this plastic wrapped, mass produced tasting effect you get from shop bought attempts. Using Maca Powder really turns these into a healthy snack full of energy, protein and essential minerals. Along with the Etherium Gold that increases alpha brain wave activity, these are great for a mid-morning or afternoon boost! (See the links in the recipe for more details on these two super powders).

So here is my recipe (use organic where possible):

1/2 cup Brazil Nuts

1/2 cup Macadamia Nuts

1 cup natural Dates (pitted)

1 1/4 cups Dessicated Coconut (plus extra to roll balls in)

1 1/2 tbsp Maca Powder

1 tbsp raw Cocoa Powder

1 tsp Etherium Gold (optional but then they’d not be ‘Gold Rush’ Macaroons)

1/4 tsp Himilayan Rock Salt

2 tbsp raw Agave Nectar

1 tbsp Vanilla Essence

Method:

In a food processor, pulse nuts and dates to crumbs. Add other dry ingredients pulse together. With machine on, add in agave nectar and vanilla essence.

Mixture should be soft and stick together, but still be a bit crumbly.

Roll in hands into small balls and roll in dessicated coconut. EAT…

Gold Rush Macaroons…

Bite Me Raw Energy Bars…

Bite Me Raw Energy Bars…

Raw energy bars are great for a boost between meals, but like most things these days, the shop versions usually contain a load of added sugar or syrup of some kind, or honey to bind (so non vegan). Shop bought are also heavily processed and low in protein, which isn’t what you really want for sustained energy or good nutrition.

However, I must admit Holland & Barrett do very nice vegan wholefood energy bars, Trek or Naked (click to see my fave flavours & ingredients).  Saying this, to keep buying is counter-productive to my pocket, financially speaking, when making them is ever so easy.

So here is a recipe, based on one from a book I have called Practically Raw by Amber Shea Crawley. Use organic where possibly, for your own good!

Recipe (which is easy to double):

3/4 cup Mixed Nuts (Shelled)

1 cup Pitted Dates (buy natural, soak if necessary for 15 mins before)

1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

Pinch of Himilayan Rock Salt

1/8 cup Raw Cocoa Powder

1/8 cup Dessicated Coconut

1 tbsp Hemp Seeds (Shelled)

Seed of 1 Vanilla Pod (or 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence).

Method:

Simply whizz nuts and dates in food processor, add dried cranberries, whizz again, then add everything else & whizz until combined well. (You may be able to see tiny pieces of nuts still, this is fine).

Press into a lined tin or shape into bars or balls. Put in fridge for at least 2 hours and eat as and when. Note: When pressing use only your hands (no spoon) this way your energy’s are mingling and infusing positivity into the bars as well!

Bite Me Raw Energy Bar