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Archive for the ‘Tea-time’ Category

It’s been a while since my last entry, but I’m slowly recovering from post-holiday blues…That doesn’t stop me from reminiscing though – which is exactly what this Carrot Cake is about! My mum’s friend and I had planned to make this to keep us going on our long car ride to Croatia (7 hours!), but it never lasted that long – we ended up having to bake a replacement at the last minute. Turns out my Dad has a strict ‘No eating in the car’ policy, so the Carrot Loaf came all the way to Croatia with us and ended up a blessing amongst the lack of veggie food…My family agreed that this was the best Carrot Cake they have ever had, and couldn’t believe it was made without Eggs or Butter. This recipe is based on one from Ricki Heller’s book: Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar, which I absolutely LOVE as all the recipes are without refined sugar or wheat – my kind of Dessert book! The combination of Carrot, Cinnamon, Lemon & Coconut is heavenly, and the Lemon Glaze on top (suggested by my Dad’s girlfriend) adds just the right amount of tartness…

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups finely grated Carrot, unpacked

1 Tblsp. ground Flax Seeds

1/4 cup Agave Syrup

1/4 cup Maple Syrup (or 1/2 cup of Syrup of choice)

3/4 cup Soy Milk

1/3 cup Canola Oil

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tblsp. grated Lemon Zest, fresh

1 1/2 cups Whole Spelt Flour

2 tsp. Cinnamon

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded Coconut

 

Method:

– Preheat oven to 180C/350F, and spray a 8″ loaf pan or 9″ square pan.

– In a medium bowl, combine Carrots, Flax Seeds, Agave, Maple Syrup, Soy Milk, Oil, Vanilla, Vinegar and Lemon Zest. Set aside for atleast 2 minutes.

– In a large bowl, sift together Flour, Cinnamon, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt. Add Coconut, and stir to combine.

– Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir just to combine. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

– Bake in preheated oven for 35- 45 minutes (the loaf pan takes longer than a square pan), or until a tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

– Allow to cool completely until removing from pan, and covering with Lemon Glaze.

For the Lemon Glaze:

1 cup sifted Icing Sugar

juice of 1 Lemon (add half first, then more if needed)

 

– Slowly add Lemon Juice to Icing Sugar until the right consistency is achieved. Pour over Carrot Loaf and allow to set.

*Warning: Will make a mess if eaten in the car…

PS: This would be delicious with the inclusion of Nuts, too!

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What do I look forward to the most when I come to Austria to visit my family? -Apfelstrudel! (And the fam, of course…!) More specifically, Geli’s Apfelstrudel! Ever since my dad’s girlfriend veganized her Apfelstrudel for me last year, I have been waiting in anticipation to return and indulge in it again. Seeing as I’m Austrian, I think it’s about time that I shared a traditional dish from my country of birth… In Austria we buy a ready-made pastry that is especially for the Strudel, but it can be used interchangeably with Phyllo – which is what I recommend for this recipe. When you prepare your pastry Geli suggests leaving it to sit for a few minutes after brushing it with oil, so that the Oil can soak in and make the pastry a bit more flexible. Just make sure you have it lying on a damp cloth to stop it from drying out. According to Geli, the trick to making a juicy Apfelstrudel is to grate the Apples instead of just slicing them – it works a charm! The measurements are all a bit rough as she eyeballs her ingredients, so be sure to add more or less, according to your taste.  So here it is – Geli’s delicious (and easy) Apfelstrudel!

Ingredients: (makes one medium-sized Strudel, about 5 servings)

2 sheets Phyllo (if using frozen you need to defrost in refrigerator over night)

Canola Oil to brush pastry

4 large (or 6-7 small) grated Braeburn Apples, or a mixture of Granny Smith & Gala [slightly sour Apples are better than too sweet]

juice of 1 Lemon (or less, depending on how sour/sweet your Apples are)

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 cup Brown Sugar (again, you might need to add more or less, depending on the Apples)

2 Tblsp. Maple Syrup

generous amount of Amaretto, or Liqueur of your choice (about 1/4 cup)

Optional: handful of Raisins

Icing Sugar, to decorate at the end

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 160C, and lightly grease or line a baking tray.

– Have two cloths ready: wet one of them with hot water, and wring it out so it isn’t dripping wet. Lay it on the counter, and cover with the other dry cloth. Remove one sheet of Phyllo and lay it over the top of the cloths, then thinly brush it with Oil covering the whole surface. Carefully lay the other layer of Phyllo over it, and allow the pastry to stand whilst preparing the filling.

– Place the grated Apples in a large bowl and add fresh Lemon Juice, Cinnamon, Sugar, Maple Syrup and Raisins. Pour the Amaretto over it, and mix well. Taste and adjust sweetner/Lemon Juice as needed.

– Spoon the Apple mixture over the bottom third of the Phyllo square, shaping it into more of a dome (don’t make it too flat or your roll will end up flat). Carefully lift the towel up from the bottom edge and use it to slowly roll the pastry over the filling, making sure not to touch the pastry, and also keeping it rolled tight over the filling. Do this all the way to the end until you have a tight roll that is nicely shaped. Tuck it in at both sides, and then using the cloth from underneath, slowly move it to the tray.

– Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. until the top is browned and the Apples are cooked through. Once out the oven, allow to cool and dust with Icing Sugar.

*Traditionally served with Vanilla Custard, but Vanilla Ice Cream will do the trick…

 

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Raw Carob Cheesecake with Almond Crust...

As I may have mentioned before, I always found raw food recipes to be rather intimidating with all the soaking, dehydrating and time consuming preparation, and have therefore hesitated to try my hand at raw desserts…Well, I don’t know what took me so long! The actual assembly of this dessert is simple & fast – all you really need to do is blend the ingredients & pop it in a dish. The only advanced preparation needed is to soak the cashews the night before, and even this isn’t completely necessary,  but I would recommend it as it gives the nuts a creamier texture as well as activating the enzymes in them and making them easier to digest. Coconut Oil can be a bit pricey, but you will need it for this recipe as it is responsible for ‘setting’ the cheesecake (Coconut Oil solidifies in cold temperatures) – it’s also worth investing in to use for baking & cooking, as it is safe to heat to very high temperatures [incidentally, my Indian friends swear by using it on their hair once or twice a month!]. These ‘Cheesecakes’ are so much like the original, in texture and taste, you wouldn’t guess they are raw…Here are two variations for you to try out:

Raw Lemon Cheesecake (modified version of the one found in Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes)

Ingredients:

Crust

1 1/2 cups Nuts (your choice, I used a mixture of Hazelnuts, Walnuts & Cashews) or 1 cup Nut Meal (eg: Almond or Hazelnut)

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 cup pitted Dates (soaked in hot water for about 15 mins. to soften)

1/4 cup shredded Coconut

Filling

3 cups raw Cashews (soaked overnight, or atleast 8 hours, in filtered water) and rinsed

3/4 cup fresh Lemon Juice

3/4 cup Agave Syrup (or 1/4 tsp. Stevia powder & 1/3 cup Agave)

3/4 cup Coconut Oil (liquid form)

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

zest of 1 Lemon (optional)

1/2 cup Water, as needed (use the soaking water from the dates)

 

Method:

– For the crust: Process the nuts into small pieces with the salt in a food processor. Slowly add Dates and mix well, then mix in Coconut. Press ‘dough’ into the bottom of a Cheesecake dish or pan (9-inch), and place in refrigerator until needed.

– For the filling: Blend Cashews, Lemon Juice, Agave (and Stevia, if using), Coconut Oil, and Vanilla (and Lemon Zest, if using), in your blender/food processor. Add just enough Water to blend into a smooth ‘cream’. Pour onto the crust in the dish and place in freezer for about an hour until firm. Then refrigerate until serving. (Keeps for about 5 days, if it lasts that long…)

Raw Carob (or Chocolate) Cheesecake (based on a recipe in Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Desserts: Delicious & Easy Raw Food Recipes for Cookies, Pies, Cakes, Puddings, Mousses, Cobblers, Candies & Ice Creams)

Ingredients:

Crust

1 cup Almond Meal

dash of Salt

1/2 cup of pitted Dates (soaked for about 15 mins.)

1/4 cup shredded Coconut

Filling

3 cups of raw Cashews, soaked overnight (or atleast a few hours) and rinsed

1/3 cup Agave Syrup

1/4 tsp. Stevia powder or another 1/3 cup Agave

1/2 cup fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 cup Water (use soaking Water from Dates)

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

3/4 cup Coconut Oil, liquid form

3/4 cup Carob powder, or Chocolate powder

 

Method:

– For the Crust & Filling: Same as with Raw Lemon Cheesecake, but adding Coconut Oil and Carob powder at the end for the filling, after blending the rest of the ingredients.

Raw Lemon Cheesecake...

 

*Keep in mind that this dessert is packed with calories, albeit good ones, so take it easy…(says me, who devoured a whole Cheesecake to myself in a matter of 2 days -whoops!)

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Banana Bread is always a hit – this is my tried & tested recipe that I have shared with many, and it never fails! It’s just the way Banana Bread should be: moist, crunchy & not too sweet, with a delicate crust. I decided to jazz it up a bit by adding some Cocoa (so good!), but if you want to leave it out then add an extra 1/4 cup of Sugar. I didn’t want to overpower the Banans in this loaf, so if you want a stronger Chocolate flavour increase the Cocoa to 1/2 cup…And for extra chocolatey goodness, add Chocolate Chips instead of Nuts! Buy yourself some Bananas today, and let them sit for a few days until they are nice and spotty, before making this Banana Loaf.

Ingredients:

(adapted from You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan!: 200 Recipes for Simple and Delicious Animal-Free Cuisine)

2 1/4 cups Barley Flour (or 2 cups All-Purpose Flour if you don’t want it Wheat-free)

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 cup Canola Oil

1/2 cup Brown Sugar or 1/2 tsp. Stevia (increase to 3/4 cups Sugar or 3/4 tsp. Stevia if making plain Banana Bread)

1/4 cup – 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 cup Soy Milk (may need a little more if using 1/2 cup Cocoa)

1/4 cup Maple Syrup

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

4 mashed, ripe Bananas (add extra 1/2 Banana if using Stevia instead of Sugar)

1/2 cup chopped Walnuts, or Chocolate Chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C/350F, and lightly oil 9X3 inch Loaf pan and set aside.

– In a large bowl, sift Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Cocoa.

– In another bowl, mix together Oil, Sugar/Stevia, and Salt. Stir in Soy Milk, Maple Syrup, and Vanilla. Add the Bananas to the mixture and mix well.

– Add the Banana mixture and the Nuts to the dry ingredients and stir in thoroughly.

– Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 – 50 mins., or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

– Allow to cool in pan 10 mins. and then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

*Makes 1 delicious Loaf…

 

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Mmmmm…There’s nothing better than the smell of a batch of cookies baking in your oven filling your apartment (or house, if you’re lucky!). These aren’t actually Coconut cookies, but they both have coconut in them – as you can see, I’ve been on a bit of a Coco-hype lately since my holiday in Thailand… This is my favourite cookie recipe from a book called Simple Treats: A Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Guide to Scrumptious Baked Goods, and I usually just modify it depending on what I feel like. You’re welcome to play around with it, there are so many possible variations! I like that it uses Maple Syrup instead of Sugar (which can be a bit pricey, but totally worth it), as well as Barley & Oat Flours in place of Wheat – making them easier on your digestive system. Incidentally, I just found out today that I have a Wheat intolerance, so I guess I’ll be making these more often! This particular batch was photographed in the plane on my way to visit my dear friend in the Philippines, and was made especially for her, as she is a fellow Vegan 🙂

Lemon-Poppy Seed-Coconut Cookies (makes 18 cookies)

Ingredients:

1 cup Rolled Oats

1/4 cup Canola Oil

1/2 cup Maple Syrup

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

2 Tblsp. fresh Lemon Juice

1 cup Barley Flour ( Spelt or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour will do too, if you prefer)

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 3/4 Tblsp. Poppy Seeds

1/2 cup dessicated Coconut

1 Tblsp. Lemon Zest

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F/180 C.

– Process Oats in Food processor or Blender until they are the consistency of coarse flour.

– In small bowl, mix Oil, Syrup, Lemon Juice and Vanilla.

– In a separate bowl, place ground Oats, Poppy Seeds, Coconut and Lemon Zest. Sift in flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salt.

– Pour wet ingredients into dry, and mix with a spatula until well incorporated.

– Using 2 spoons, scoop out 1 heaped Tblsp. of batter onto lined cookie sheets. Flaten cookies slightly with bottom of a cup or glass (Dip in warm water before).

– Bake for 11 mins. then rotate cookie sheets a half turn (to ensure even baking), and bake 5-6 mins. more – until cookies golden around the edges.

– Let them cool on the cookie sheet 5-6 mins. and then remove onto a cooling rack.

 

Chocolate Chip-Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies (18 cookies)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup Rolled Oats

1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. Canola Oil

1/2 cup plus 2 Tblsp. Maple Syrup

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 cup Chocolate Chips

1/4 cup dessicated Coconut

1 cup Barley Flour

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

dash Nutmeg

 

Method:

Follow method for previous cookies (Lemon poppy-coconut), only processing 3/4 cup of Oats, and adding the rest whole to the dry ingredients.

* Enjoy with a cuppa

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While my friends where digging into the Almond cupcakes, I was munching on a more innocent option: these can’t really be classified as brownies, as they don’t contain any chocolate and have quite a different texture and taste. However, if that’s what you’re craving but you feel like a healthier option – these are for you. They contain Spelt flour, which is not gluten free, but much easier to digest than wheat flour and most wheat-intolerant people can have it. They are also sugar-free, which is always a plus – using apple juice and bananas instead. The use of carob in place of cocoa makes them caffeine free, and the added oats/raisins/coconut/nuts contribute to their nutritional value as well as giving them a great crunchy/gooey texture. These brownies are dense & rich, without an overpowering sweetness. I would recommend them to people with a taste for more ‘natural’ flavours – I found them quite addictive! My friends opted for the cupcakes…

(Recipe taken from  ‘All-Creatures’ webpage)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Spelt Flour (or Whole-wheat if you prefer)

1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats, ground in blender

1 cup Raisins

1/2 cup shredded Coconut, unsweetened

1/2 cup chopped Almonds (i mixed with Hazelnuts)

2 Ripe Bananas

1/2 cup Apple Juice (I used Freshly squeezed)

1/2 cup Carob Powder

1/2 Tblsp. Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon (optional)

 

Method:

– Preheat Oven to 350 F/175 C, and grease square brownie tin.

– Mix Spelt and Oats in a medium sized bowl until combined. Add Coconut, Nuts and 1/2 cup of Raisins and mix well to make sure Raisins are coated with Flour and not sticking together.

– Place Apple Juice, peeled Bananas, 1/2 cup Raisins, Carob, Vanilla & Cinnamon in Blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined and smooth. Should look like a ‘fudge’ sauce…

– Add liquid mixture to dry mixture in bowl, and combine thoroughly with a spatula. (If dough is too stiff, add a little more Apple Juice/Water – but it should be quite thick.)

– Spread Brownie dough into the pan, and smooth the top with a spatula.

– Bake around 20mins. depending on oven. Brownies should be firm, but not hard – do not overbake.

– Remove from oven, let cool before slicing.

 

* Eat with a guilt-free conscience…

 

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Almond Cupcakes…

 

A friend of mine adores these cupcakes, and recently before she left town she begged me to make them for her again… so i invited the girls over for tea, and a bit of indulgence! The texture is moist, light & fluffy, with delicious subtle tones of Almond, and they can be whipped up in just a few minutes. They remind me of my favourite Almond Tarts i used to devour when i was young, from The Nutshell in Fish Hoek (sadly they closed, but now i can make them myself  & they’re Vegan!). The original recipe comes from the amazing book Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World 75 Dairy-free Recipes for Cupcakes That Rule, but i’ve modified it slightly by emitting the Apricot preserves and topping the cupcakes with a simple almond-flavoured Icing…Anyone who loves Marzipan will go crazy for these little pieces of Heaven!

Ingredients: (Makes 12 cupcakes – i usually halve the recipe as my oven is too small!)

1/3 cup Canola Oil

3/4 cup Granulated Sugar

1/4 cup Soy Yoghurt

2/3 cup Soy/Almond milk

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 tsp. Almond Extract

1 cup + 2Tblsp. All-Purpose Flour (I use half Whole-wheat, half Unbleached White)

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/3 cup Almond Meal

Method:

– Preheat oven 350F/180C, and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

– In large bowl whisk together Oil, Sugar, Yoghurt, Milk & Extracts.

– Sift in Flour, Baking Powder & Salt, and mix just until the batter is smooth. Add in Almond Meal and mix to combine.

– Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full.

– Bake 24-26mins, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or the tops spring back when pressed.

– Transfer to a cooling rack, and take cupcakes out of muffin pan after 10 mins to cool completely before frosting.

 

For the Frosting:

1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer (Equivalent of one Egg)

2 Tblsp. (30ml) Water

1 tsp. Almond Extract

1 1/2 cups (150g) Icing Sugar, sifted

Method:

– Beat Egg Replacer with Water on high with an electric mixer, or food processor, until thick and foamy (about 2mins.)

– Add Almond Extract and beat to combine.

– Slowly add sifted Sugar until mixture is smooth. (Add more Water  or Sugar, if consistency is not as you would like it to be)

– Frost cupcakes once cool, and allow to set in fridge +- 20mins.

*This can be made without the Egg Replacer too, but the frosting just wont set as much. Make sure to keep it quite thick, so it doesnt run off the cupcakes.

**These look good decorated with Almond flakes…

 

 

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