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Category Archives: Chocolate

38 Days

38 Days – that’s how long my vegan “stint” lasted this time. It’s no secret that i’m not a full-time vegan. As much as I would like to be, it’s incredibly difficult in a city like Hong Kong, especially for a foodie like me. I always struggle with what to do and where to go to eat out. As much as there are fabulous vegetarian restaurants and one in particular is a vegan favourite – they are few and far between and life as a vegan if you eat out, get’s very repetative – same places, same dishes – i’m not that kind of girl.

So i’ve opted for a semi-vegan lifestyle – vegan lunches and non-vegan dinners. Eventually, when I find myself willing to spend more time working out a vegan menu at home, it will mean vegan full time again – when? I don’t know. For how long? Again, i don’t know. But the challenge awaits.

In the meantime, a new challenge – to lose weight. I find, that everytime i do a vegan “detox” when i come off it, i put on all the weight i may have lost as fast as lightening. So i’ve decided now a food diary is the way to go. This inherently makes me feel guilty if/when i snack on anything as I don’t want to write down any seemingly unhealthy foods, so if i’m writing down everything that i’m eating, i can’t eat any inherently bad foods. Not as easy as it sounds.

Additionally, a lovely friend of mine signed me up to a 1-month trial at a gym – complete with Bollywood aerobics and Yoga…so attempting to frequent that, get into a routine, then hopefully – not give it up. The classes provide the structure and the motivation that I lack because once you get home after a long day – the last thing you want to do is change into trainers and trackies or swimmers and head down to the gym/pool. Even though they’re only a stones throw from home. Instead, the structure of going to classes (not close to work or home mind you but that’s another story..) seems to work. I just hope it lasts.

I am the kind of person that gets more motivated when I see results, and so far…no results. Reducing portion sizes at both lunch and dinner, limited healthy snacking during the day – let’s see how we go. I’ll keep you posted. But do bare in mind that this is no longer my whole-ly vegan blog…it shall return one day, just not today.

If you do however, need advice on being vegan…I can still give you that – so don’t hesitate to ask or post questions.

I leave you now..with some fabulous gluten-free / vegan cookies I discovered awhile ago and didn’t get round to posting:

They are fab, available in Hong Kong and I would totally buy them again – bonus point: you can’t really tell they’re gluten free.

I also experimented with some gluten free vegan chocolate cupcakes…but that’s another post altogether.

Rxx

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Baking, Chocolate, Cookies, Gluten Free, Vegan

 

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For the love of…Dinner Parties (Part 2)

So yes, I’m still in a funk. And this weather doesn’t really help. And when you tell someone you’re in a funk in the vague hope they cheer you up, it backfires. So I really have to bring myself out of this funk. But I don’t know how.

So I started thinking about mum’s potential dinner party again. And I started thinking about chocolate again. (My best friend has realised I have a chocolate craving every 15.5 seconds which combined with the funk lead to a considerable consumption of chocolate during my working day in less than 10 seconds…but we won’t mention that). Moving on…

Where was I? Oh yes, mum’s dinner party and chocolate, which then got me thinking about these amazing chocolate pots my sister had brought back from waitrose one evening and it was the tiniest little chocolate pot but the most heavenly and the most satisfying and one little pot was all I needed to completely satisfy that craving. So, if my sister could buy it from a supermarket, then why couldn’t I make the equivalent at home for a dinner party? It would be IDEAL…make in advance, set in the fridge until ready to serve, no hassle no fuss right? But I don’t have a recipe. It surely can’t be as simple as melting chocolate with a little cream and/or  butter and pouring it into a pot?

You’re right, it’s not. But here is a pretty simple recipe:

Ingredients

1  14 oz can of full fat coconut milk

200g soy chocolate (your fav kind, could even be some kind of raspberry chocolate..seriously..ANY chocolate you like..)

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

– Break the chocolate up into pieces, put it into a food processor with the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon

– Bring the coconut milk up to a simmer on the stove, and then pour it over the ingredients in the food processor

– Blend everything together until smooth and creamy, pour into espresso or sake cups or even shot glasses and chill (takes about 5 hours for them to be firm and creamy) before serving.

See..then I started thinking some more (don’t you just love how I involve you in my thought processes these days?) and I thought how about some kind of ginger-chocolate pot dessert thing? So what would happen if I grated some fresh ginger into that? I’m not entirely sure, I’ll have to try it out and let you know…

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2010 in Chocolate, Dessert, Dinner Party, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

 

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For the love of…Brownies

It’s been about a month since I baked anything, let alone anything worth mentioning on the blog. I’m not really sure what got into me, April has been crazy. My weekends have been filled with birthday celebrations (family, friends and my own), and weekdays have been filled with..well..work. I lead a boring life! I started getting these horrible cravings…for sweets, and no matter how many chocolate bars or how much ice cream I had it just wouldn’t do the trick, so I decided to bake.

I decided to bake the most amazing chocolate brownies I have ever tasted! (ok, so i’m boosting my own ego here but hey, I think I have a right to!)  THey were *almost* perfect – so soft and gooey on the inside, and cake-like on the outside. The only problem was they started to fall apart when I pulled them out of the tray. So they don’t look like the kind of brownies that you get in a restaurant, but they are very rustic, home cooked and full of chocolatey gooeyness…enough to satisfy anyones cravings and go perfectly with a dollop of vanilla ice cream..

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar (use what you wish, my preference is usually raw cane sugar..)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
  • Ok so I didn’t follow this recipe EXACTLY, i had a little less sugar, and a little less cocoa powder, and I added a whole lot more chocolate buttons…BUT, that’s the beauty of experimenting – you do what works for you! Next time i’m probably going to add walnuts…and yes…there is going to be a next time for baking these 🙂

    The Verdict: I LOVE THEM!!!!

    R xx

    As per tradition, a photo from the handy dandy blackberry:

    They turned out to be more like Molten Chocolate Brownies when warm...still YUM!

     
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    Posted by on April 29, 2010 in Baking, Chocolate, Dessert, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

     

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    For the love of…Cookies

    My sister is fantastic. Seriously. My mother thinks my sister and I have switched places because I’ve been doing copious amounts of baking recently, because my sister is the baker in our family. She is honestly amazing, she sent me a few vegan cookbooks amongst which was Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and my mouth simply started watering.

    This book features a selection of mouth watering recipes for all kinds of cookies you never imagined would be vegan, including vegan style oreo cookies! Now that really excited me, especially with my new found oreo cookie cupcake fetish!

    So over the weekend I decided to refrain from baking cupcakes in order to try out a vegan version of traditional chocolate chip cookies and I was happily surprised!

    These were whole wheat chocolate chip cookies that were perfectly chewy in the middle, and crunchy on the outside. The kinds you dream about dunking in a glass of milk (soy of course) and enjoying as a midnight snack!

    Once again as proof I did actually bake, my handy dandy blackberry provides you with an image:

    I do promise I will be investing in a camera soon – I just havent found one I liked yet! For now the handy blackberry will have to do!

    The Verdict: I would recommend you buy this book in a heartbeat! I’m excited to try out more cookie recipes along side my cupcakes!

     
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    Posted by on March 24, 2010 in Baking, Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert, Food, Recipes, Vegan, Weight Loss

     

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    Chocolate Temptation

    I am an avid reader of TheBittenWord.com. They have fabulous recipes and ideas which they pull from various magazines, try out, and write about. Fab really! Although they next to never post anything vegan, they appear to be avid carnivores! However, a super surprise entered my inbox this morning – Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake!

    They have taken this from GourmetNovember 2009 and it looks so amazing I simply must try it out! Although you know me, my lack of time these days doesn’t usually allow for much baking, so as usual, I’m posting the recipe before trying it out for myself, let me know what you think if you try it before me!!

    Note: I would substitute all sugars for organic raw cane sugar, and all my graham crackers are organic with no refined sugars, and my chocolate is soy, but it’s entirely up to you.

    Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

    Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake - Gourmet

    Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake - Gourmet

    yield: Makes 12 servings
    active time: 35 min
    total time: 10 hr (includes chilling)

    INGREDIENTS
    For graham cracker crust:
    1 1/4 cups chocolate or regular graham cracker crumbs (from nine 5-by 2 1/2-inch graham crackers)
    3 tablespoons sugar
    4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, melted and cooled, plus additional for greasing pan

    For chocolate tofu filling:
    2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
    1/3 cup water
    8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao), chopped
    2 (1-pound packages silken tofu, drained
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
    2 (8-ounces) containers soy cream cheese at room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
    Equipment: a 9-inch springform pan
    PREPARATION
    Make graham cracker crust:
    Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in middle and lower third and put a baking sheet on lower rack. Flip bottom of springform pan so lip is facing down, then lock in place. Grease bottom and side of pan.
    Stir together all crust ingredients, then press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of pan. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes, then cool completely, about 45 minutes.
    Make chocolate tofu filling:
    Heat 1 cup sugar in a 1 1/2-to 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling pan occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber. Remove from heat and carefully stir in water (mixture will bubble up and steam and caramel will harden), then cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until caramel has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until smooth. Cool fudge sauce slightly.
    Purée tofu and cocoa in a food processor until smooth.
    Beat soy cream cheese and remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy. At low speed, beat in tofu purée, vanilla, salt, and fudge sauce until incorporated.
    Pour filling into crust and bake on middle rack until top of cake is shiny but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave cake in oven 1 hour more.
    Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen, then cool completely in pan on rack (cake will continue to set as it cools). Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving if desired.

    Cooks’s note: Cheesecake can be made 3 days ahead and chilled.

     
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    Posted by on November 13, 2009 in Chocolate, Dessert, Food, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

     

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    The Binge…

    Every once in awhile we have cravings, every once in awhile we allow ourselves a time to binge. To eat what you want, in moderate amounts of course, and shock some sense back into your system. Don’t let anyone talk you into believing that this is not ok. It is perfectly normal. If you don’t do this, then you’re continuing to starve your body of what it needs, and what you want, and the cravings just get worse. Trust me.

    My sister has been home for a visit for a week and a half now, she leaves this Saturday, completeing an entire two week vacation at home. It has been lovely having her around, but not so lovely for my waistline. So this time with her, has been my binge. But let me tell you, I have NOT binged the entire two weeks. Just a little here and there.

    My sister has a few traditions every time she comes home, much like I did when I lived abroad too. She must have her favourite carrot cake from Dan Ryan’s – it is to die for. So after suggesting we go for coffee and pick up the carrot cake to go so she could enjoy it over a few days from the comfort of the sofa, we decided to have it there, complete with a tall glass of sweet iced tea. Now I couldn’t really sit there and watch her eat the whole thing now could I? This sweet, moist cake complete with cream cheese frosting is the perfect accompaniment to a tall glass of sweet iced tea with fresh lemon. Heavenly!

    My second indulgent treat came on sunday afternoon, at lunch with my mum and my sister. Some quality bonding time, combined with retail therapy and dim sum. Oh I do love dim sum. Most of it is made with rice flour and steamed with vegetables, so it’s not *that* bad…

    My third, and hopefully final (I’m not sure, still got 4 days left with my sister in town), was an excessively indulgent 3 hour, 3-course dinner complimented with 2 beers. The ultimate indulgence in comparison to how I have been prior to this. Beginning with lobster nachos (less cheese, more lobster), and salt and pepper crispy calamari, followed by pan fried snapper with creamy mash and roasted vegetables, followed by the most amazing Banoffee Pie EVER. Overlooking the waterfront, and watching fireworks being set off in the distance, it was a perfect end to my long weekend, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty for it.

    What I do know is that as of Saturday it will be hard-core training back at the gym and seriously healthy eating, because now, I do feel incredibly exhausted after eating so much, and lots of fatty foods, but you know what? Sometimes, it’s worth it.

     
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    Posted by on October 20, 2009 in Chocolate, Dessert, Exercise, Food, Indulge

     

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    The Taste Test

    I had previously bought these Linda MaCartney Vegan Sausages, they were TERRIBLE. I can’t even begin to describe them to you. My sister, genius that she is, came up with the perfect way to mask their awful taste and make a delicious stew out of them with some canellini beans and chopped tomatoes. It is SUCH a simple recipe, makes 4-5 servings and i recommend you try it, vegan or not vegan..substitute what you need to…it is amazing.

    1 can canellini beans (i used waitrose organic ones, but you can use any beans you have, my sister swears baked beans would work too)..

    2 cans chopped tomatoes (again, i used waitrose organic ones with chopped garlic, but you could use fresh tomatoes too..5 ripe medium sized ones should do…)

    2 leeks

    3 cloves of garlic

    300-350g of any kind of sausage you like, pre-cooked and chopped into pieces as big or as small as you wish….(i told you it was a serious no-fuss recipe)

    place everything into an oven proof dish, sprinkle in any dry or fresh herbs you have on hand (i used dill, sage and some dry chilli flakes as well as freshly ground sea salt and black pepper), give it a quick stir, whack it in the oven at 180 degrees for anywhere between 45mins – 1.5hrs depending on how much time you have. Once it’s ready, serve with some crusty whole wheat bread or mashed potatoes or even on it’s own and enjoy!

    As you can tell i’m not much of a recipe writer, but this is soooo easy you can’t go wrong! I topped off my evening with a small bowl of that soy dream chocolate fudge ice cream and Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol in bed. Perfect Saturday. I’m looking forward to making those banana muffins for breakfast tomorrow.

     
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    Posted by on October 10, 2009 in Chocolate, Food, Ice Cream, Recipes, Vegan

     

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