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Friday, October 12, 2012

Serious Chocolate Raspberry Bars

Alright! Here's a decadent chocolate bar I created for lunch dessert today. If you are in the mood for serious chocolate, this is for you! 

Makes 9 generous chunky squares. 


No bake base:
Approx 2 cups ground almond meal
Approx 1 cup pure cocoa powder
Approx 3 TBSP honey
1 TBSP vanilla extract
A pinch of sea salt

Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl and mix into a firm but pliable smooth ball. Press and flatten onto a flat baking sheet covered in grease proof paper. Create into a even square shape and form a ridge on the edges to secure the filling.

* You can also create a pretty contrast by making a double layer base using a white almond mixture something like the above replacing the cocoa powder with almond meal instead and less honey. Experiment and learn - don't be afraid of your ingredients!! :-)

Approx 1 1/2 cups firm fresh organic raspberries, rinsed and drained or patted dry with a paper towel

Arrange in even rows on the base, filling the whole surface. Set aside.

*If you have time and inspiration, you can fill the raspberries with something yummy and non runny before arranging them on the base. E.g. my choc avocado mousse.

Topping 1:
1 bar of 75%  unsweetened dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Add water to a pot, place a double boiler on top and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low once boiled. Add chocolate pieces into double boiler and allow to melt. Stir occasionally. Turn off heat once melted.

Pour the melted chocolate over the raspberries covering evenly. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to flash freeze it.

Topping 2:
1 heaped cup pure semi sweet chocolate chips (or milk or white chocolate which creates a lovely contrast against the dark chocolate - as you wish)
1 1/2 tsp coconut cream or coconut oil

Add chocolate pieces and coconut cream into double boiler and allow to melt. Stir occasionally. Turn off heat once melted.

Remove raspberry bar from the freezer, and again pour the melted chocolate mix evenly over the raspberries. Now is the time to sprinkle with toasted almonds etc., if you would like to garnish it - I left mine plain. Return to freezer for another 10-15 mins to set. 

Remove from freezer, cut into squares and arrange as desired on a serving plate. Offer with love! :-)


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Green Avocado Broccoli Salad

Hey folks!

So here is a simple, satisfying salad recipe which I made for lunch today. The mini broccoli pieces have a lovely crunchy texture contrasting with the creamy avocado. :-)

Serves 4, vegan.

4 medium-large perfectly ripe avocado's, peeled and cut into cubits
1 cup of mini pieces of broccoli
2 TBSP toasted almond slivers (optional)

Mix the above in a salad bowl, keeping an avocado stone in the bowl to help retard blacking of the avocado's.

1 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp hing
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried dill (optional)
1/2 tsp sea salt

Blend all the above ingredients. Mix evenly into avocado and broccoli. 

*Here is another variation of this dressing which I really like because it has a nice kick to it:

Approx 1 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP plain yellow mustard
2 1/2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp hing
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
pinch of black pepper

Offer with love. Serve as a side to a larger meal.

Aromatic Sunflower and Basil Rice

Here's a tasty fancy rice I whipped up for lunch today. :-) Its tasty, vegan, and super quick to make - done within 1/2 an hour. 

Serves 4 as part of a larger meal. Bon Appetite! :-)

1 cup quick-cooking scratched brown basmati rice (Trader Joe's)
21/2 cups water
1 tsp oil of choice
1 tsp sea salt

Combine the above, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook til soft and fluffy - approx 15-20 mins.

2 TBSP safflower oil or as you choose
1 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp paprika flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup cherry tomato's

Heat a cast iron pan with the oil in it. When hot, drop in the spices and after a few seconds add the tomato's. Lower heat to medium low and lightly sautee tomato's stirring occasionally. When the skins have split and darkened a little remove from heat and add in the following:

1/4 cup fresh basil, washed and chopped roughly
3 TBSP green stuffed olives, rinse and cut in halves
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 tsp sea salt or to taste

Add in the rice to the sauteed tomato's and gently mix everything together. 

Offer with love. Best served hot.

Here's how I served my rice - from left to right; curried tahini veggies, avocado broccoli salad, sunflower basil rice, stewed cinnamon apples. :-)

  I also made spicy vegan bean quesadilla's served with a choice of humus dip or ketchup.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blueberry Ginger Choc 'n' Lemon Muffins

OK, I just invented my own favorite muffin recipe of all time! :-) The decadent combination of juicy blueberries with melting chocolate, candied ginger and tart fresh lemon zest is dangerously addictive! Oh yummmmmmmmmmy!! 

This a perfect consolation dessert in the cold wet weather, when you just want to snuggle up with a book in a cosy corner somewhere. And the rich welcome aroma of warm cinnamon and chocolate fills the house while these are baking - good for chasing away the pre-winter blues methinks! :-)

Makes 14 medium sized muffins. Vegan.

Moist, fluffy and bursting with goodies and sweet spice flavors. . .

Approx 2 1/4 cups sprouted wheat pancake and waffle mix (Arrowhead Mills)
Approx 1 cup sprouted wheat flour (Arrowhead Mills)
1 heaped tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
A pinch of clove powder
A pinch of sea salt
2 TBSP lemon zest
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger (Trader Joe's)
1 cup frozen organic blueberries

Mix all dry ingredients. Add lemon zest, choc chips and candied ginger. Mix, then add frozen blueberries and mix again.

Blend together the following til smooth:
I banana
1 1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup safflower oil
1 TBSP vanilla essence
 Approx 1/2 cup of water

Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix evenly. Fill into paper muffin cases in a muffin tray. Allow to sit for 20 mins or more before baking. 

Make sure you lightly oil the muffin tray to avoid burning the muffin cases and muffins while baking. Bake for approx 35 mins in a pre-heated oven at 380 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Peel off paper cases from the muffins before completely cooled. Offer with love and serve with tea, or however you desire. Very more-ish!! :-)

Basil Lime Potato wraps

Good evening folks! :-)

On this wet, cold, indoor weather day I decided we needed filling comfort food for lunch. Brrrrrr it really feels like winter is coming, I'm already missing the sun and it's only September! 

So I did a twist on the traditional Indian paratha (stuffed griddle bread) - which is usually ghee laden - and decided to make it into vegan wrap! :-) 

Potato's and fresh basil seemed like a lovely combination - add a squeeze of lime juice to give it a little tartness - and coconut oil to replace the ghee. That's a bunch of lovely flavors right there!!!

Make approx 10-12 large paratha's.

1 cup sprouted wheat flour
1 cup sprouted wheat pancake and waffle mix
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 TBSP dried basil
2 TBSP coconut oil
warm water as needed to make an elastic dough

Mix all dry ingredients. Add coconut oil and water and mix evenly. Knead to an elastic dough and let sit for minimum 20 minutes.

I bunch green asparagus, washed and removed from woody part of stem, snapped in halves
1 tsp curry powder
pinch asafoetida
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp sea salt

Heat pan, add coconut oil, add spices. Stir-fry a few seconds and throw in the asparagus halves. Add a few TBSP water, cover and cook for 7 mins or so. Sprinkle with salt and remove from heat. Use this to garnish the paratha's later.

6 medium red russet potato's, sliced and steamed
2 TBSP coconut oil
1/2 cup fresh basil washed and chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp blk pepper
1/2 tsp asafoetida

Mash the potato's with the above ingredients. Set aside to cool.

Roll dough into golf ball sized rounds. Roll out into a thick circle. Add 2 TBSP of filling.

 Pull edges of circle together over the filling like a drawstring purse. Squeeze closed, making sure its fully sealed.

Gently flatten in palms and using a rolling pin, roll out as thinly as possible without breaking the pastry.

Heat a cast iron griddle, adding 1 tsp of coconut oil. Place paratha on hot griddle and allow each side to cook. Add more coconut oil as needed.

It should be dappled dark and golden brown. Stack the paratha's on a flat dish to soften. Makes approx 10-12 medium thick paratha's.

Spread homemade chickpea sesame hummus or another dip of your choice on one side of each paratha. Carefully and tightly roll paratha's up like a pancake. Cut it in half. 

Gently spear 2 curried asparagus onto a toothpick and push into each half of rolled paratha wrap. Drizzle with a zigzag of ketchup or pesto or whatever sauce you like. Serve with love! :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Creamy Dreamy Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake

Good evening folks! :-)

So I had another wonderful creative day in the kitchen experimenting with how to make delicious vegan desserts and this dreamy creamy chocolate blueberry cheesecake is the result! I got inspired by recipe I found online and made it my own. :-)

Madhva, Kunti and I love this combination of melt in your mouth chocolate frosting with the tart blueberries and the hint of cardamom spice which adds a new dimension of flavor. :-) This is Madhva's favorite of all the vegan cheesecakes I have made so far. As we savored this we were exclaiming that if vegan cheesecake can taste this good and light on the tummy then we will have no desire to eat a dairy cheesecake ever again! :-) 

Easily serves 8 generous helpings. :-) Its vegan, no-bake, raw, and contains all good ingredients - can you beat that?!  Made with love and honored with joy. :-)

Cheesecake Base:

1 cup organic toasted walnuts
1/2 cup organic toasted almonds
Approx 1/4 cup organic cocoa powder (optional)

11/4  cup organic mejool dates, pits removed (if you skip the cocoa powder, then 
also remove 1/4 cup of the dates)
1 tsp organic vanilla essence
A pinch of sea salt

Whiz the nuts in a spice grinder til fairly fine. Chop and mash up the dates. 
Then evenly mix the nuts, dates vanilla and salt, kneading it into a smooth patty.
Press evenly onto the base of a spring form pan covered in grease-proof paper 
smeared lightly with coconut oil. Lightly oil sides of the spring form pan too.

Creamy Berry Filling:

4 cups frozen blueberries
2 cups organic raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup pure organic maple syrup 

8 TBSP organic virgin cold pressed coconut oil (melted)
2 TBSP fresh lemon and lime juice
11/2 tsp pure organic vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup organic shredded coconut
Strawberries, kiwi's and blueberries to garnish

Blend the following until smooth and creamy: 
3 cups of the blueberries, cashews,maple syrup, coconut oil, lime juice, vanilla extract, cardamom and salt. Set aside.

Arrange 1 cup of blueberries over the crust pressing them lightly into the crust. 

Sprinkle the shredded coconut on top (to help absorb the water from the frozen 
berries. (The cake will also taste just fine without the extra berries so this entire 
step is optional).Pour the berry filling over this or the plain base - as you choose.

Put it in freezer for approx 10 mins to set a little. Then garnish the top with cut 
strawberries, kiwi fruits and blueberries, pressing them lightly into the top so they 
are even with the face of the filling.

Place in freezer for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight to set fully.
Remove from freezer approx 1 hour before serving to soften and keep in the fridge. 

Take it out of the spring form pan and base. Place on a flat cake plate of your 
choice. Be aware - if it thaws out fully it will basically just melt like ice cream - so 
keep chilled.

This is how mine looked after a night in the freezer and an hour of thawing out - I 
already garnished with flowers and sprinkled the sides with shredded coconut to 
absorb moisture because it looked a little mushy.

Chocolate frosting cream:

2 medium sized perfectly ripe avocados, peeled and sliced, remove any dark spots/blemishes
Approx 1 cup maple syrup
Approx 1 cup of organic cocoa powder
Approx 3-4 TBSP extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil or to taste
Approx 1 tsp vanilla essence
4 mejool dates, pitted

Blend everything together til silky smooth. Put into a piping bag with a small round hole nozzle. Seal and set in fridge overnight.

Before serving the cheesecake decorate it with the frosting cream as you like - I did a retro filigree design - above. Garnish with flowers and shredded coconut if you like.

Very delicious! I served with an extra dollop of the chocolate mouse which I'd used for the frosting - Yummy! :-) 

Dig in folks! Look at that creamy texture, oh la la! :-D

Creamy Yam Sesame Veggie Burgers

Hey folks,

So here by popular request, is the recipe for my yam sesame veggie burgers, which I created for lunch today. I love the combination of creamy yam and potato at the heart of the burger with the rich texture of toasted sesame coating the outside.  

This recipe makes approx 16 burgers and is vegan.

1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Approx 3 1/2 -4 cups of water, or as needed

Rinse the rice. Add water and bring to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot. Lower heat to medium low and add salt and olive oil. Cover and cook til soft and a little mushy. Add extra water if required.There will be holes in the layer of rice when done. In the end if there is any excess of water, cook uncovered over low heat to allow steam to escape. Remove from heat and set aside. 

While rice is cooking prepare the following:

1 cup organic orange yams, peeled and chopped small
1 1/2 cup organic potato's, peeled and chopped small
1 small organic red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped into small cubes
1 small organic zucchini, shredded
1 stick organic celery, finely chopped (optional)

Steam all the above vegetables, adding the zucchini towards the end. When tender remove from heat and place into a bowl. Mash well with the following seasonings:

Approx 1 tsp beribere spice
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
1/4 tsp black salt
Approx 2 TBSP coconut oil
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely shredded (optional)

I like to let the mixture sit for approx 1/2 an hour before using it. Form into balls a little bigger than a golf ball. Roll in a bowl of toasted sesame seeds, and press into a round thick burger patty, avoiding any cracks. 

Add a 1 TBSP coconut oil to a hot griddle - it should be on medium low heat. Place the burger patties on the griddle and cook each side til browned nicely. Be careful when turning them to avoid breakage - use a pan knife for the job.

Put burgers on paper towels to absorb excess oil. They will firm up as they cool. 

Drizzle with a dip of your choice, garnish with fresh basil sprigs and offer with love. :-) I made a mustard tahini honey dip to dunk them in, which was a great combination! :-)

Great served warm or cold. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kiwi Fruit Popsicles

Hi folks,

Good morning! :-)

Yesterday - inspired by our friend Advaita - I made kiwi fruit popsicle's for lunch dessert. Madhva really loved them! :-)

Kiwi fruit is packed full of the good stuff like vitamin C, Vitamin E, anti-oxidants, potassium, lutein, zeaxanthin and fiber - in short it is really great for your health. 

These popsicle's are simple to make, and would work with other fruits like strawberries too! I love the fact that they only contain 2 ingredients and are practically sugar free. :-)

3 medium firm kiwi's with a nice round shape
Approx 1/2 - 3/4 of a bar of 70% dark chocolate, broken up 
Wooden popsicle sticks

Melt chocolate in a double boiler (set on a pot of hot water). 

Wash kiwi's and peel carefully. Cut into thick slices - you will get 3-4 slices per kiwi.

Carefully insert a popsicle stick about 3/4 the way into each slice. Lay on paper towel and gently press another on top to absorb excess moisture from the kiwi slices on sticks.

Dip the kiwi's into the melted chocolate and set on a tray covered in grease proof paper. This can get a little messy so it's best to avoid getting excess chocolate on the kiwi's because it will just spread out around the kiwi. If you desire, you can add extra sprinkles, toasted almond pieces etc., onto the kiwi's while the chocolate is still liquid. :-)

When all the kiwi popsicle's are covered in chocolate, place in the freezer to set. They will be ready to eat within an hour.

These cute popsicle's make a lovely inexpensive Summer treat for the kids and adults alike! :-)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Curried Mung Bean Sprouts

I tried out something completely new today! Recently I have been venturing more into the world of raw and sprouted foods, inspired by some friends of mine who have "gone raw". I'm not quite that adventurous, but I do want to implement more raw foods into my diet. :-D 

Sprouting seeds and legumes greatly increases their nutritional content and digestibility, so sprouts are considered to be a super-food. And they are really simple to grow, so why miss out on such an inexpensive supplement to your diet?! :-)

Over the course of three days I sprouted mung beans, and then wondered - how can I use them - apart from in salad?! I don't particularly like the taste of raw mung sprouts myself, although they are so healthy, and I wondered how to make them more palatable.

I asked around, and a friend suggested lightly sauteing them with some seasoning. This idea worked out great for me because it changed the earthy raw taste to a surprisingly lovely nutty bean flavor. So here is the recipe which is the result of my experiment! :-)

This is how my fresh mung bean sprouts looked before I cooked them - I think they look abit like tadpoles with their funny tails!

Here is how my curried mung sprouts looked like when done:

I must say this dish is delicious, really quick to prepare and I will definitely be making it again! :-) Serves 4 as part of a larger meal.

Here is the meal I served along with the curried mung sprouts; roasted potato's on fresh rosemary skewers, home made hummus dip, curried sprouts, kiwi chocolate ice popsicle, raw zucchini veggie hummus wraps, lightly spiced wholewheat couscous. It was a super yummy lunch! :-)

Approx 3 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
1 large organic tomato, washed and diced
1/2 TBSP coconut oil or ghee 
1 tsp curry powder (Frontier)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (Trader Joes)
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp black pepper
Sea salt to taste
Juice of 1/2 a fresh lime

Add oil or ghee to a pan set over medium heat. When hot drop in the curry powder, asafoetida and paprika. Stir-fry for a few seconds. Add in tomato, sautee a few minutes and add in the sprouts. Sprinkle with black pepper and salt, stir to mix. Add 1 TBSP water. Lower heat, cover and cook for approx 10-15 mins. Remove from heat and add in the fresh lime juice. That's it - its so simple! :-) 

Offer with love. Great warm or cold, and can be added to sandwiches etc.

Tip: You can also add in other chopped veggies and fresh herbs like cilantro if you like.