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Monthly Archives: January 2010

For the love of Fruit..

There’s something about cold weather that makes me love warm desserts. Although, to be fair, I do love them in summer too, especially topped with some vanilla ice cream. Just thinking about the sweet smell, the warm gooey texture with that cold ice cream. It’s absolutely perfect. My stomach is growling and i’m drooling at the thought of it.

We all have overly ripe fruit in our kitchens at some point. Those apples that you bought from the market thinking “I’ll take one to work with me every day!” and never do, and those pears that have sat there just that little bit longer than you hoped. Well, you have to do something with them – you can’t just leave them to rot or grow extra…bits!

This recipe is perfect for using overly ripe fruit, with that added sweetness. Note however that I said overly ripe and NOT mouldy! No extra growths are allowed – that’s just gross!

Ingredients

  • 2 very ripe pears, peeled, cut into quarters and cored
  • 2 apples, peeled, cut into quarters and cored
  • Broken pieces of 1 stick of cinnamon (you can just as easily use ground cinnamon – about 1tsp – or more, depending on how much you love cinnamon)  
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 lemon, zest peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • Juice of 3 oranges, zest from 1 orange peeled into strips
  • 75g raisins or sultanas (any dried fruit will do)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the pear and apples quarters in an ovenproof dish with the cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, lemon and orange juice with the zest strips. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the fruit is just soft.

It’s that simple! Serve warm with a scoop of soy vanilla ice cream, or eat on its own. Great as leftovers too – cold with musili as breakfast. Amazingly satisfying!

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2010 in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Recipes, Vegan, Weight Loss

 

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For the Love of Apples

For me, no meal is complete without a pudding of some sort, and I don’t know what it is about the combination of apples and cinnamon that makes me feel like it’s christmas all year round. The combination forms part of my ultimate comfort food, and it’s most definately on the frequent cravings list. That sugary, gooey, sweetness that completes any meal absolutely perfectly is generally what i’m after.

Ingredients

Apples:

  • 5-6 apples, sliced in 1/4-inch slices or so
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. nutmeg
  • 1/8 t. allspice
  • 1/16 t. cloves
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar + 1/2 c. water
  • Topping:

  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/6 c. canola oil (or 1/2 of a 1/3 measuring cup)
  • 1.5 T. soy milk
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • Preheat oven to about 180.

    In a bowl, mix together the cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, brown sugar and water. Place the apples in a bread-loaf pan and then drizzle the mixture all over the apples.

    In a separate bowl, mix together everything for the topping and sprinkle this mixture on top of your apples. Cover with tin foil–bake for 10 minutes. Remove tin foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes.

    This is perfect served with some soy vanilla ice cream or soy cream, or perfect on its own. For your non-vegan buddies I suggest serving with custard or regular vanilla ice cream!

     
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    Posted by on January 25, 2010 in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegan

     

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    For the love of Breakfast

    Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, and nutritionists have advised that skipping breakfast affects not only your concentration, but your metabolism and your weight too. However, aside from these amazing breakfast banana muffins I made before, I really struggle with finding something other than fruit or cereal with soy milk that suits my needs.

    I’m honestly not a morning person so breakfast for me has to be something easy, that I can prepare in advance or something that seriously excites me.

    One breakfast food I do remember from when I was younger is mum’s french toast. That smell waking up in the morning, of sugary sweetness, is absolutely heavenly. I was determined to find a vegan recipe for this all time favourite sunday breakfast just like my mum used to make..and you know what? I did!

    And it’s SUPER easy!

    ½ cup soymilk
    ½ tsp vanilla extract
    2 tbsp oil
    ¼ tsp salt
    1 tbsp flour
    2 tbsp cornstarch
    2 tsp sugar
    ground cinnamon to taste

    Dip 4 slices day old bread in the mix and fry it lightly on both sides using a tiny bit of oil. See? I told you! Simple!

     
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    Posted by on January 21, 2010 in Breakfast, Food, Recipes, Vegan

     

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    For the Love of Cupcakes..

    I have been umming and ahhing about putting this recipe online. I made these AMAZING rainbow cupcakes awhile ago and everyone LOVED them, so part of me wanted to keep my recipe a secret. Something that was just mine, that everyone loved. It made me feel amazing. But then I thought I would get much more joy out of sharing my recipe, all of you trying it, and then seeing your amazing feedback.

    I must confess I’m a little addicted to checking these blog stats, as much as I don’t always have a new recipe to post. Recently i’ve been getting super excited because you guys have been googling for me! I am so thankful that you love to read the rubbish I write. I hope you continue to come back for more. If nothing else, the following cupcake recipe will definately make you feel that way!

    Ingredients

    1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    1 ½ cups plain soymilk
    2 1/8 cups flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    ½ tsp. baking soda
    ½ tsp. salt
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    ½ cup canola oil
    1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

    How we do it…

    Preheat the oven to 350º
     
    Place the apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup and fill the cup with soymilk to equal 1 ½ cups. Stir well and set aside (the mixture will curdle so don’t stress).

    In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl whisk together the soymilk mixture, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth using a hand-held blender.

    Fill each cupcake cup with batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

    Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack.

    Make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

    I actually used this recipe to make the following awesome rainbow cupcakes:

    These are dead easy! Simply make up the batter as above, divvy up the mixture into 6 bowls. Add your colours to each individual bowl. Once you have all your colours ready simply put 1-2tsp of each colour in the cupcake cups, layer it up and then bake as directed. You’ll end up with these AMAZING looking cupcakes that taste like like, fluffy, vanilla cupcakes. Except they’re far more fun to eat.

    Just ensure that when you buy your food colouring it is vegan – read the ingredients, and if you’re not sure just ask and I’ll try my best to help you!

    Another trick to making these cupcakes if you don’t have time for the recipe above is to buy a pre-packaged vegan white cake mix and then add about a can of diet sprite…depending on the size of your box mix…it results in super sweet light fluffy very vegan cupcakes. Quick and easy. But don’t tell anyone else I told you to cheat!!!

     
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    Posted by on January 20, 2010 in Dessert, Recipes, Vegan

     

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    For the Love of Risotto

    If I didn’t convey just how much I loved Tal Ronnen’s cookbook in the previous post, his recipe for Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Risotto should do the trick. I did modify his recipe slightly and instead of using Arborio rice, I used unbleached barley and I cut the quantities down considerably and it took AGES to make, but the end result was so amazingly perfect that it was totally worth the wait!

    The recipe calls for Meyer lemons which you don’t seem to get here – so I simply used the mix of lemon and orange Tal Ronnen suggested and it worked out beautifully!

    Ingredients

    Sea salt

    500g Asparagus – cleaned and chopped into 1 inch pieces

    Freshly ground black pepper

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    2 shallots, chopped

    1 clove garlic, chopped

    1 cup barley alternatively you can use 1 cup Arborio rice

    1/2 cup plus a splash of dry white wine

    6 cups vegetable stock (it seems like a lot but barley needs a lot in order for it to soften)

    Grated zest of 1 large lemon and 1 clemantine

    Juice of 1 large lemon and 1 clemantine

    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

    Method

    Fill a small pot with water.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.  Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water for 1 minute, then chill in an ice bath, drain, and sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Set aside.

    Place a large saute pan with steep sides over medium heat.  Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute.  Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke.  This will create a nonstick effect.

    Add the shallots and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.

    Add a pinch of salt and the rice and saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Add the ½ cup wine and cook, stirring constantly, until it has been completely absorbed and evaporated.  Add the stock, 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring after each addition until all the liquid is absorbed. 

    As you cook the rice, season periodically with salt and pepper, tasting after each addition.

    Fold in the citrus zest, the asparagus, and a splash of wine and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, until the asparagus is heated through and the risotto is thick and creamy.

    Remove from the heat and gently stir in the citrus juices.  Adjust the seasoning as necessary. 

    Serve immediately with a few toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top.

     This risotto turned out perfect, tart but not too tart, creamy without being heavy and I was left feeling completely satisfied.

    The verdict: Definately making this again! And I would wholeheartedly recommend you give it a try!

    NOTE: This is a modified version of Tal Ronnen’s Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Risotto – for the original recipe you will have to reference his book The Conscious Cook, as mentioned in my previous post.

     
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    Posted by on January 15, 2010 in Cookbook, Food, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

     

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    For the Love of Vegan Cookbooks

     

    The Conscious Cook - Tal Ronnen

     

    Unfortunately I live in a city where being vegan is virtually unheard of, and an absolute struggle. Walking into a bookshop to find a vegan cookbook was a challenge in itself, there were only two, Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet just did not seem to excite me when I picked it up and thumbed through it – I wanted to see pictures of food, not pictures of her. Then I laid my eyes on Tal Ronnen’s The Conscious Cook, and instantly I knew I was in love. Every picture inspired me, and every recipe filled me with confidence.

    I know that you think i’m crazy. I mean, how can someone fall in love with a cookbook? But trust me, when you are running low on inspiration, sometimes a book to inspire you is all you need. 

    I first heard about Tal Ronnen in September when reading about Oprah’s 21 day vegan detox, following that he catered Ellen De Generous and Portia de Rossi’s vegan wedding. I never thought to look out for his book though! It was also voted one of the best cookbooks of 2009 by Epicurious.com

    Featuring  wholesome, rich, creamy, and hearty soups, to sensational salads and finger foods, to a striking array of vegan entrees – all of which I am SO excited to try! 

    The Verdict: Please buy it. It’s amazing. In the days / weeks following this post I guarentee you will be seeing Tal Ronnen’s recipes appear..

     
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    Posted by on January 14, 2010 in Cookbook, Food, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan, Weight Loss

     

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    For the love of Ginger..

    Have you heard the latest news about us entering into a mini ice age? Aparently this is the start of a global trend towards cooler weather which is expected to last for the next 20 – 30 years! It’s most certainly a disturbing scientific finding but I must remember to steer clear of discussing environmental issues on here, it could get heated.

    In light of the cold weather sticking around for awhile, it makes me crave comfort food – stews, soups, and hot, sweet, sticky puddings. If you care to remember anything about me, know this: I love to eat. I absolutely whole heartedly love to eat, and I could eat all day. More than that, I love puddings, and I will rarely skip dessert at the end of a meal.

    If you care to remember anything else about me, remember that I have a love-hate relationship with microwaves. I understand the convenience of them for re-heating food, but never have I ever cooked something in a microwave from start to finish. That was true until last night. I was umming and ahhing about this pudding when I found the recipe and then decided to throw everything i believed about cooking in a microwave aside and try it out, and honestly, I was pleasantly surprised.

    Ginger Sponge Pudding

    Ingredients

    225 g self-raising flour  
    125 g  brown sugar (I use organic raw cane sugar in all my recipes)
    1 heaped tsp baking powder
    a 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated (You can substiute for ground ginger i’m sure but I haven’t tried that..) 
    250 ml water
    150 ml vegetable oil
    2 tbsp maple syrup
                           
    Method
    1.         Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into a big microwave proof bowl, add the ginger and mix.
    2.         Stir in the water and oil and mix well.
    3.         Drop the syrup into the bowl, and ease it down to the bottom with your spoon.
    4.         Place cling film over the bowl and pierce a hole in the top. Microwave on full power for 7-8 mins, then leave to stand for another 2 mins.

    I would serve this with custard or vanilla ice cream – soy versions of course. In this instance I didn’t, and I was quite content to eat it on it’s own, steaming hot. I must confess though, once I mixed all the ingredients together I added about 1tsp of mixed spices to it, just for that extra kick, and it tasted wonderful. It could have done with a bit more sweetness, but would have been perfect paired with Ice-cream or custard.

    As i’m still without a camera to take pictures, my handy dandy blackberry served me well yesterday:

    Ginger Sponge Pudding

     

    The texture was soft, almost creamy and as much as I would have loved to turn it out onto a place and slice it up, I simply spooned the pudding from the bowl into individual servings, very rustic and homely! A definate must-try!

     
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    Posted by on January 13, 2010 in Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

     

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