Super Rich Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan, Wholemeal, Low Sugarย 
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Remember when I made those chocolate orange cupcakes and told everyone they were the best healthy chocolate cupcakes ever? Well that proved that none of you can trust me ever again, because it was a lie. These here today are the best. cupcakes. EVER.

They defy science. When I was making them, I felt very apprehensive about the large blobs of chia gel floating on a sea of cold coffee and mashed banana. I had a sinking feeling I would have to throw it all in the bin, and waste my precious stash of frozen bananas. But then, somehow in the oven a miracle occurred. Maybe someone came into my house and replaced them, I don’t really know. But they came out as literally the richest, *moistest* cupcakes of all time.

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We first tried them warm from the oven, when the chocolate chunks were still melted and squishy. They were so amazing I almost decided not to ice them. But they looked so ugly! Literally like little cooked pots of dirt. Also is it a cupcake without icing? Somebody tell me because I really don’t know.

So, I made this avocado mousse and covered them all in that. Holy crap! They became even better. They tasted like little chocolate fondant mousse explosions. I thought I was up to the challenge of eating two, and it was so rich I almost had a hard attack right there. HOW!

I actually don’t understand. The ingredients list reads more like a healthy breakfast than a cake. And somehow it’s richer than the Sarah Lee pudding I may or may not have sampled in the darkest moments of the holidays. What is life.

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Being away so long I’ve gotten quite rusty with the whole photography process, so apologies for the very moody Dracula lighting. I was feeling very dark and existential today. Not really, I just couldn’t find my white backboard and the sunlight disappeared behind a cloud for a good four hours.

Also, when I finally did manage to take a good shot, I excitedly slapped the backboard down onto the table and crushed three of the cupcakes. (Don’t worry, my sister ate them). You don’t have to ice these if you don’t want to. If you don’t, you can warm them up and make the chocolate melt. If you do though, you won’t regret it. They are literally so rich. Have a great week errybody :)

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Rich chocolate cupcakes:
3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 7 tbsp water
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup (80ml) brewed coffee or espresso
110ml (1/2 cup) olive or sunflower oil

100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar
120g (1 cup) plain or wholemeal flour
120g (1 cup) raw cacao powder
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
60g chopped dark chocolate
opt: 1 tsp cinnamon

Icing:
1 large ripe avocado
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
4 tbsp raw cacao
1-2 tbsp soy or almond milk

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Preheat the oven to 180C (360F) and line 10 cupcake holes with papers. Mash the bananas well, then blend with the chia gel, coffee and oil. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients well. Use a spoon to gently fold in the blended wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks Spoon into the muffin tins until 3/4 full and bake for 13-15 minutes, until risen and springy when you touch them. Allow to cool completely.

Blend together the avocado, cacao and honey and add the soy milk until you have a mousse-like consistency. Either use a piping bag, or just a knife to ice each cupcake. Once iced, store the cupcakes in the fridge and eat on the day you make them.

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Purple Kumara and Broccoli Pasta Salad

Vegan, Wholemeal, Low Fat
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Guys I’m back! For good this time!! Come on everybody and hulla dance with me :) :) Happy New Years and Christmas, Happy holidays, happy everything I’ve missed in the last few months.

I got a bit overwhelmed keeping updated on this blog at the end of last year, I don’t know if any of you noticed. It can be so stressful thinking of things to post and taking photos etc I just couldn’t find the time to put everything together! So I decided to take a month or two completely off and just think about whether I actually wanted to continue the blog.

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I realised that yeah, of course I do! I love blogging and I’m proud of what I’ve created here. I really appreciate all of you, especially those who have supported me from the beginning! And I want to keep pushing to make this better and better.

So there’s lots of very exciting recipes coming up over the next month. This pasta dish may look like a strange jumble of ingredients, but it is so tasty and perfect. The kumara is soft and sweet, the broccoli crunchy, and the whole thing is doused in a salty/sweet balsamic onion relish that I could (and do) eat off a spoon.

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You can replace the purple kumara with normal sweet potato or pumpkin, but I love the chewy texture of purple. You can also change the broccoli for asparagus, broccolini, green beans, peas, anything you like. Just remember to tear through a big handful of basil at the end and season generously with pepper and it will be so yummy.

When I made this the first time we ate it warm, but it’s great at room temperature too. And it’s full of healthy whole grains and vegetables, perfect for New Years resolutions (of which I have none… please someone inspire me to kick start some new goals).

I promise I will be back soon and not disappear again! Hope all your holidays are going great :)

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Wholemeal Pasta Salad with Kumara and Broccoli
serves 4-6

400g wholemeal (spelt is good too) pasta
1 tsp salt

1 clove garlic
1/2 spanish onion, peeled
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large or 2 small purple kumaras, washed and peeled
oil to drizzle
1 large head of broccoli or equivalent greens, cut into florets
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

salt and pepper, to taste

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Chop the garlic and spanish onion very finely, and put in a small bowl. Stir in the oil and vinegar and leave to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 200C (390F) and slice the kumara in inch thick slices, then cut in half. Drizzle with oil and toss on a baking tray. Bake for about 20 minutes, until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water with the teaspoon of salt and cook your pasta until al dente. Heat another pot with water and either steam or boil your peas and broccoli for just 2-3 minutes, until crunchy but cooked.

Drain vegetables and pasta and toss everything together with the vinegar and onion sauce. Season to taste and serve.

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(Almost) Raw Tiramisu Cups

Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Raw (almost)
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I’m going to be honest with you. Throughout the entire process of assembling, chilling and photographing these cakes, I was convinced they were so butt-ugly that not only would people be repulsed at the sight of these brown, poo-coloured blobs, they would be so offended as to all unanimously unfollow me never to return again.

But it had been two whole weeks since I’d posted anything! That’s an eon! And I had a sneaky feeling these tarts would be super tasty. And guess what. I WAS RIGHT! I ate one at about 4am this morning, having sleep-walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge door, as I am want to do.

Holy mama! The tastiest early-morning snack I have ever come across. I ate another one in the morning just to check I hadn’t dreamed it. So creamy and chocolatey and rich from the coffee! I think this is the best cashew cake recipe I’ve discovered so far. (Of course that’s not true – I don’t think anything in life will ever beat this cake that made all dreams become reality). But these were so easy to make as well. And they taste PHENOM frozen.

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Moccona sent me a pack of their instant coffee and a cute li’l mug this week. (This isn’t a sponsored post – I just have no idea what else to do with two giant jars of coffee). And that got me thinking about tiramisu and how vegans might feel sad that tiramisu is no longer there for them to enjoy. Cue vegan reinvention! These tarts are almost entirely raw as well, although I used coffee (instant to be precise – not my healthiest moment!) Although for those wanting the truly raw dessert you could either leave it out or use raw coffee beans? I don’t know if that’s even a thing… Maybe just go with chocolate instead :)

Also I started a new personal blog called That Nowhere Feeling. It’s just my photography and bits and bobs of the creative writing projects I’m involved with at the minute. I’m thinking of slightly switching up my uni degree to swap law for photography and continuing with the creative writing, so probably going to be blogging and photographing a lot more next year! Have a little squiz at it if you so please :) Have a great week guys!

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Raw Vegan Tiramisu Cakes:
2 cups cashews, soaked for 5-10 hours in cold water
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup brewed espresso or dissolved instant coffee
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp raw cacao powder

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Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Pat dry and put in the blender with all the other ingredients except the cacao. Blend thoroughly, pausing every minute or so to give the motor a rest, until everything is smooth. Take out half the mix and spoon into muffin or tart cups. Add the cacao and blend again until combined. Spoon this over the bottom layer. Freeze or refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. Makes 6-7.

Rhubarb and Coconut Cobbler

Vegan, Refined Sugar Free
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Oh my goodness why have I been so bad at posting lately! I’m so sorry, I actually have no excuses other than me being born a lazy bum. After this week though exams will be over, it will be summer holidays and I very much doubt I will be able to find a job by then (seeing as I’ve been looking for the last six months already with very little luck, mostly due to the fact that every time a place gets back to me I tell them I’m too busy.)

I’m sad. I didn’t even make a Halloween post for you guys. To be real though, there were so many awesome ideas already that I felt my contribution would probably be poorly received. This Halloween me and my sister had a li’l party (sorry Mum and Dad), and I dressed up as a swimmer being eaten by a giant octopus. Which I made out of pink stockings stuffed with all my socks!! I thought it was such a cool costume, until everyone thought I was getting strangled by a giant worm…

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I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with a bunch of rhubarb we got last week, which is strange because I’m obsessed with rhubarb. Probably the nicest cake I’ve ever made was this rhubarb slice, which people are still raving about. But I can’t make that again!!! And I didn’t want to do what I always do, which is just cook it with vanilla and sugar and eat it on yogurt, because I’ve stopped really eating any dairy now. And stewed rhubarb on its own is kind of weird to me…

Thank God for Donna Hay right. I’ve been steadily cooking and eating my way through her cookbook since someone gave it to us for Christmas. The photos of her rhubarb and pomegranate cobbler were so pretty I literally died looking at them! Seriously how are her photographers so talented! I’m almost embarrassed to even show these photos today because they’re so average, but the cobbler was so tasty I really wanted to share it.

It’s completely vegan too! I haven’t experimented with gluten free yet, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to adapt. I added apple too because I didn’t want to use so much sugar. So tasty! I promise to be more on top of posting this week friends :) See you soon!

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Rhubarb and Apple Cobblers: Inspired by Donna Hay

2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2oog melted coconut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw sugar

750g rhubarb, chopped into 4cm (2inch) pieces
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
4 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1 orange

3 tbsp desiccated coconut
3 tbsp sliced almonds
icing sugar optional, to dust

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Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, coconut butter, vanilla, salt and raw sugar and stir until just doughy. Add more flour if the mix is too wet, or a splash of almond milk if it’s too dry. It should be the consistency of biscuit or scone batter.

Mix the rhubarb, apple, orange juice, cinnamon and sugar together and spoon into an oven-proof baking dish or skillet. Using your hands, grab clumps of the cobbler and press over the fruit roughly to form a lid, with some holes for steam to escape. Top with the coconut and almonds, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden on top and the fruit is cooked through. Sprinkle with sugar and serve with coconut ice cream or cream.

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Vegan Caramel Coconut Ice Cream

Vegan, Gluten Free
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I don’t know if anybody noticed this, but I’m extremely obsessed with ice cream. In the last 28 days, I have eaten ice cream at least once a day. Sometimes twice, and one time three and a half times. (I’m not proud.) When I was little my Mum once called me an Ice Cream Monster and said if I didn’t watch out I’d become obese. That was because I tried to eat an entire ice cream cake in two days, but still…so harsh!

Most of the time, I’ll admit it, I do buy ice cream by the giant tub. Sometimes gourmet tubs of Maggie Beer, most often whatever brand of mango sorbet is available and Blue Ribbon vanilla. I also buy gelato ridiculously often as well, sometimes by myself which I’m sure is some kind of social taboo.

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I do love making ice cream though! As you can see from the countless recipes on this blog. Highlights include banana bread flavoured frozen yogurt, Mango Frozen Yogurt, and the most epic of all vegan birthday ice cream cakes. All delicious and frozen by me, therefore slightly less guilt-inducing. What can I say, some people spend $4.00 on a coffee every day, I spend that on ice cream. And while we’re being 100% honest, I also spend that on coffee. Plus an extra 50c for soy milk :)

Recently I’ve been committing to an almost completely vegan diet, save the occasional egg when eating out. Because of this I have been having some MAJOR creamy ice cream withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms include irritation, yelling at passers-by and eating tub upon tub of mango sorbet. It was definitely time to make a coconut ice cream.

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I have major beef with ice cream recipes that don’t make ice cream, but instead make ice cream flavoured blocks. The whole point of an ice cream recipe is that it makes ice cream…which must be scoop-able immediately, not half an hour later after sitting it on the bench. When I want ice cream I don’t want it in half an hour, it’s usually a give-it-to-me now kind of deal. Otherwise call it a popsicle! Ok?!?!?!

But I do get it, it can be really hard to make a somewhat healthier ice cream recipe that doesn’t freeze too much. I usually add alcohol to sorbets (sorry children) to keep them soft. I didn’t want to add alcohol to coconut ice cream though, and my sister accidentally bought “coconut drink” instead of milk, which had way less fat and was in general way less awesome. But waste not want not right?! So I decided to experiment with the controversial ingredient of glucose syrup.

Controversial because it’s 90% glucose, made from refined starch, basically just terrible for you. But it does completely stop ice cream from freezing solid! It’s crazy. This recipe had almost no fat in it at all, just 2 tbsp of syrup. And days later it still scoops fine! The drawbacks are that the syrup is super super sweet, and I didn’t adjust the sugar enough to compensate. For me, who doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth (hah I know) it was almost too sweet to eat. So I’ve given instructions in the recipe for both with and without, you decide. Use the syrup if you want to make low-fat ice cream with light coconut milk, or just use honey if using full-fat and tell me how you go with that scooping. Or just eat it straight after you make it! Never a bad idea ;) Have a great week guys!

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Caramel Coconut Ice Cream: Inspired by My Darling Lemon Thyme

1 litre full-fat coconut milk (2.2 cans)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
EITHER:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
OR:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp glucose syrup

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Mix a few tbsp of the coconut milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry. Put all of the other ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently, whisking in the cornstarch mixture. Let the mixture come to the bowl, whisking constantly as it heats. (It’s important to reach this temperature or the floury flavour won’t cook off and it won’t thicken enough). Turn the heat off and pour through a sieve in to a bowl. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then cover the surface in plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming. Chill overnight, then freeze in an ice cream maker following the manual’s instructions. If using glucose syrup, you may get away with not churning it although I haven’t tested this!

Optional: stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips, berries, caramel drops, chopped dates etc

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Crispy Cauliflower with Torn Basil and Lemon Dressing

Vegan, Gluten Free, Low Fat IMG_2309 Guys, where have I been the past few weeks?? I’ve been so slack! Holidays are only three weeks away though and assignments will be done and dusted so get ready for some very exciting posts coming up!! (Salted coconut gelato anyone?!) Also, it’s almost mango season. If you don’t know what that means for this space, perhaps consider checking out last years mango frenzy, when I went a little cray cray and made about ten mango desserts in two months. (Mango Honey Tart, Mango Froyo, Coconut Mango Tarts… I am obsessed.) But before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s time to have some salad appreciation. This salad is literally the best combination of flavours. See that platter of salad in the photo? I ate the entire thing over about two hours, no joke. And I have zero regrets too. IMG_2293 Also, you can spruce it up with all kinds of fun things like broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, some lettuce if you want. The dressing is so tasty you can just dip fresh vegetables in it and call it a day. If you’ve never tried roasting cauliflower before, you are living a half life. I was a roasted cauliflower sceptic until I had it at a restaurant one day and my mind was BLOWN. Such a simple vegetable, transformed! If you follow my Instagram you probably know I eat this salad all the time, in some form or another. But that’s because it only takes 30 minutes and it’s better than any other meal I can think of! I’m notoriously bad at making nice food when I’m going to uni and always end up spending $15 on random snacks because I convince myself it’s cheaper than just buying a sandwich. I made this salad last week though, and it tasted just as good a few hours later. Very impressed with myself :) Have a great week guys! I will be back soon with ice cream. One Year Ago: Vegan Chocolate Fudge Jaffa Cupcakes (GF)IMG_2317 Cauliflower Salad with Basil and Lemon Dressing:

1 small cauliflower head, cut into florets

1 small butternut pumpkin, sliced in half long ways, de-seeded and sliced into 1cm strips

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp za’atar

1 large handful fresh basil

1 small handful fresh coriander

Dressing: 3 tbsp tahini juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp warm water ย IMG_2306 Preheat the oven to 200C/390F and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Toss the cauliflower and pumpkin slices in a tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and spread out on the tray. Sprinkle all over with za’atar. Bake for about thirty minutes, until the vegetables are crispy. Tear up the herbs and toss with the vegetables. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and stir well. Spoon over the vegetables and serve either warm or at room temperature. Serves 4-6 IMG_2292

Orange and Garlic Humus

Vegan and Gluten Free
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When I was little I used to hate Middle Eastern food. I don’t think I even tried it before I had decided. Falafels and humus were just not for me.ย The only thing I liked was the greasy deep fried cauliflower, which I would steal from the rest of the table and eat by the bowlful. (Soooo good.)

Luckily times have changed! I think I realised how much I liked this kind of food when I was in Europe, which hasย amazing Middle Eastern food literally everywhere. You’re so lucky! I’ll never forget the humus plate I had in Munich. Swirled with baba ganoush, beetroot dip, and covered in dolmades, falafels, tabouli and fattoush it was the nicest thing I’ve ever eaten in my whole life. Oh my gosh! Just thinking about it makes me weep.

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Fast forward to now and I’m kind of obsessed. Like, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have some element of za’atar or humus or sumac at least once in the day. I realised it was probably time to give homemade humus a whirl, what with me wanting to have it at every meal.

I used the recipe from Jerusalem as a starting point, but halfway through realised I didn’t have any lemons! Oh no! But then I remembered a recipe in Moosewood Cookbook that had used orange juice instead. I don’t want to brag, but it turned out so amazing! I couldn’t stop eating it. I had it on sweet potato fries (the best kind of fries) but you could do so much with it!

I’m excited to experiment with all the different legumes. I’m also super excited to make homemade falafels now. I might just have to make an official falafel month! Who knows, it could be even more exciting than Dumpling Month.

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This week is the first week of uni holidays and I’m so excited. Hopefully I’ll be able to find time to post all the recipes I’ve been promising to make on Instagram for ages! Saying that I can already tell I’m going to spend most of my time at the beach sunbaking or watching Shrek and eating ice cream…(don’t judge me.) But I will try!

I’ve been dreaming of making some coconut ice cream with brownie chunks for a while now, if anyone is interested in that…have a great break every body! xx
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Orange and Garlic Hummus: Adapted from this book

250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 tsp bicarb soda

270g tahini (hulled)
4 tbsp orange juice (or lemon)
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander and ginger
100ml ice cold water

parsley and olive oil, to garnish
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Drain the chickpeas and put a pot of water on to boil. Add the bicarb soda, then the chickpeas, and boil for about 20 minutes, until the skins come off and the chickpeas can be easily crushed between your fingers. Drain and peel off any remaining skins. You can use canned chickpeas, but you will have to pick off all the skins yourself. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes. The final weight should be about 600g of chickpeas.

Add to your blender along with the tahini, spices, orange juice and a pinch of salt. blend until combined. Slowly pour in the ice water, blending as you go until the humus is completely smooth and of the desired consistency. Leave to settle for about half an hour before stirring in any crushed chickpeas and herbs for texture.

Top with fresh parsley and olive oil. Keep in a sealed container for up to a week in the fridge, although it’s best fresh.

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