Raw Lime and Coconut Tarts (vegan and gluten free)

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free and Refined Sugar FreeIMG_9863_2 copy

 I had the scariest nightmare the other day. It was so weird! I woke up in this parallel universe where everything was almost exactly the same as real life, but something was….different. I couldn’t put my finger on why everyone was slightly stranger than normal and why my house looked so different. And then it hit me. Everyone was RAW VEGAN! The whole human population! There were no ovens or stovetops, just built-in blenders and chopping boards.

Don’t get me wrong I think foregoing animal products is a great lifestyle, I basically am vegan myself. But raw vegans scare me. I didn’t even realise quite how scary I found them until my nightmare. I literally woke up feeling really weird and almost went down just to check we still had an oven. 

I know it’s a really healthy lifestyle. I mean have you seen raw vegans? They practically glow. They look like superhuman aliens that have come to earth to live forever and take over the future. But eating only raw products for the rest of my life…makes me want to cry. Very slightly steamed broccoli with some lime juice is the best thing ever. However completely raw broccoli is disgusting. Roasted pumpkin in cumin and olive oil is like heaven to me. But raw pumpkin is disgusting. I guess I just don’t see why it all has to be raw. Why the broccoli?! Why??

IMG_9873 copy

 Well, I think these tarts could possibly change my mind. The other day I made the girl I babysit lime slice for her birthday, and as I was making it I couldn’t help fantasise about a completely natural version using avocado as the filling. It was one of those things where I thought the first time I made it would end in me throwing the entire thing in the bin, but something magic happened in my blender. 

They came out so nice! I took a little taste of the filling and actually went ‘huh!’ in surprise. It’s super creamy and sweet from the banana and agave syrup, and somehow the tiniest pinch of salt just makes it really moreish. I promise, it’s nothing like guacamole. It was hard to ignore the fact that the recipe was very similar…but just turn a blind eye to that green colour. And who would put banana in guacamole? No one that’s who. 

IMG_9844 copy

 The base is the typical walnut/sultana/coconut base I made for my mango and banana coconut tarts and chocolate tarts, which I just pressed into tart moulds and froze for half an hour while I made the filling. I’m just going to put it out there, I could eat the filling with a spoon. You could definitely just make an avocado lime mousse and forget the tart base altogether for a simpler dessert, but it really does taste pretty good assembled as the full thing. 

You can top it with berries too. I piled on heaps of frozen blueberries to two of them and ate it in about 10 seconds flat as soon as I finished photographing them. You may or may not want to try that for yourself…

If you have any raw vegan friends coming over for dinner, this would be the ultimate thing you could make them. Or if you are a raw vegan, first of all I’m sorry for saying I was scared of you, and second please accept this tart recipe as a peace gift. Have a great weekend everyone 🙂 

One Year Ago: Chocolate and Raspberry Layer Cake

IMG_9855 copy

Raw Avocado and Lime Tarts:

1 cup walnuts, crushed

1 cup sultanas, briefly soaked in water

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

1 large fully ripe avocado

juice of 2-3 limes (taste as you go)

3 tbsp agave nectar (the light kind)

1/2 a ripe frozen banana

pinch of salt

IMG_9861 copy

Method:

Blend the walnuts and sultanas together until crumbly. Add in the coconut and blend until a dough forms. Press into 5-6 small tart tins that have been lined with plastic or foil, to make them easier to remove. Keep in the freezer until ready to fill and serve. 

Blend the avocado, lime juice, agave, banana and salt until smooth and creamy. Spoon into the tart tins and keep refrigerated or even in the freezer until ready to serve. These tarts will last a while, but they look/taste best within the first three hours. You can keep them in the freezer and eat them the next day though, they will just lose their bright green colour.

IMG_9834 copy

Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, naturally Sugar FreeImage

 I was so unprepared to go back to uni this year. For starters I didn’t realise we went back a week early until the Saturday before, so I turned up to my first class with a highlighter and a notebook from last year with half the pages ripped out. I sat down in the wrong room, finally arrived to my class 20 minutes late and had to sit by myself in the front row. I’m a smooth operator what can I say. 

For another class I have a presentation that I haven’t started due next week, where I’m pretty sure I have to do a standup poetry and video performance in front of the class…lord help. 

Image

As a result of my study stresses I’ve been making this chocolate mousse on a weekly basis. The only thing standing between me and chocolate mousse every day for breakfast is the price of avocados! I mean come on green grocers. 2 avocados for $10 is not a laughing matter. 

The other day as I was preparing to watch an entire season of Supernatural instead of reading my TORTS cases, I struck upon chocolate mousse gold. It was so amazing I had to instagram it before I’d even eaten it! Noooo way. 

Image

 I had decided to take it down the Mexican chocolate road and added a pinch of cinnamon, a teeny tiny bit of ginger and the TINIEST little wisp of chilli. It was a flavour explosion in my mouth, all I’m going to say. With a sprinkling of fresh raspberries on top you can’t really get any closer to chocolate heaven. 

I promised myself this week I would try and make something without chocolate for the blog. But then I realised it’s been two whole weeks since I posted a chocolate recipe! That’s not right and it sure isn’t normal, so chocolate mousse get in my belly. Also how cute is my new rose teacup! The family I babysit for gave it to me as a present and I got way overexcited…I might have scared the children a bit. You can play with the flavourings of the mousse to suit your preferences. Even leaving out the spices all together tastes great. My favourite at the moment is just with cinnamon and almond milk, but I can imagine a little vanilla wouldn’t go astray. 

One Year Ago: Fluffy Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

Image

Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries:

2 medium avocadoes, perfectly ripe

2 medium bananas, perfectly (not overly) ripe and frozen

1/4 cup coconut or almond milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger, or chilli, or both

3 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp agave nectar or runny honey

Fresh berries, to top. 

Blend everything together and pour into cups. Top with fresh raspberries or other mixed berries. Chill for at least an hour before eating. 

Image

Chocolate and Blueberry Mousse Tart

Vegan, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, optional Raw

Image

 Guess what day is right around the corner! It’s……VALENTINES DAY! To celebrate I made a chocolate mousse tart topped with fresh blueberries. It’s the perfect valentines day dessert because it’s rich, creamy and chocolatey, and will win you love from whoever you decide to give it to. It’s also super easy to make and very comforting. It can be eaten with a spoon, by yourself, in your pyjamas. I won’t judge you. 

Valentines Day is always such a weird day. Last year for the first time in my life I actually had a real valentines, so me and my boyfriend went out for dinner. He ordered four dishes all for himself while I got just one…and then could barely move after eating them all. And then the waiter dropped his dessert on his lap and looked like she (he? we never really found out) was going to cry so we had to comfort her (or him) while we waited for a new one. It was sooo romantic.

Image

 This year I think I’m just going to make him some kind of warm chocolate brownie pudding and homemade ice cream. Because that’s his favourite and eating warm brownies and ice cream is the best way to celebrate any occasion. If someone wanted to make me a chocolate dessert for the special day (hint hint…) it would be this chocolate tart. I’ve been wanting to experiment more with silken tofu ever since I made mango pudding with it. I saw some amazing looking chocolate tarts that used it as a base and got so excited to make a chocolate mousse tart! With fresh blueberries because you should always add fresh blueberries when they’re cheap and in season. Am I RIGHT???

I didn’t want to use all melted chocolate as the sweet component, but I didn’t want to just use cocoa powder and sweetener. So I ended up using a balance of 100g melted dark chocolate with some vanilla, agave and raw cacao powder. I was so so happy with how it came out! The flavour was intensely chocolatey and rich, but the texture was just perfect! Super creamy and light. You’d never guess how light and healthy this tart is.

Image

 I decided to make a raw walnut and sultana base because I wanted people to have the option of making it completely raw. If you want to, just replace the 600g of silken tofu with two perfectly ripe avocados. You may want to increase the agave as well. It won’t last as long in the fridge, but it will have a deliciously smooth texture and lots of healthy omega fats. Put your hands up for healthy fats! 

The blueberries tasted so good with this tart as they sunk into the chocolatey custard layer, but you could top it with anything you want. Orange slices, strawberries, coconut cream, banana slices, nuts, praline! The list goes on forever. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can also replace the walnuts with a combination of flax and sunflower seeds. I don’t have a powerful blender and I still managed to make this tart in about half an hour, not including freezing time.Just bash up your nuts in a mortar and pestle first and soak your dried fruit so it blends faster. Happy Valentines Day! 

Image

 Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Berry Mousse Tart: Inspired by Baking = Love

For the Base:

2 cups walnuts or sunflower and flax seeds, bashed into crumbs in a mortar and pestle

1 cup sultanas, soaked briefly in warm water (about 20 minutes)

3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

For the Filling:

600g (21 ounces) silken tofu, drained

100g (3.5 ounces) dark semi-sweet chocolate, or more or less depending how rich you like

3 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

500g (1 pound) blueberries

Image

Start recipe a day before. Line a 20cm tart or cake tin with plastic wrap of foil (not baking paper as this will disintegrate when you freeze it). Blend together the walnuts and sultanas, adding the cocoa powder as you go to reach a thick, cookie dough like consistency. You may need to add a teaspoon of water or milk if it’s too crumbly. Press with your fingers into the tart tin, pushing the dough out to make an even layer on the bottom and sides of the tin. Keep in the freezer for at least 4 hours, until ready to fill. 

To make the filling, blend the drained tofu with the melted chocolate until smooth. Sift the cocoa powder well, and blend in, tasting as you go to reach the desired chocolatey flavour. Blend in the agave syrup and vanilla to sweeten, adding more if it’s too bitter. Pour into the tart tin and keep in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Top with the berries when ready to serve. Lasts well in the fridge for a day or two. 

Image

Apple, Almond and Raspberry Crumble Cake

Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free, opt. Vegan

Image

 The first cake I ever made was a peach upside down cake. I was on holidays at Jervis Bay and me, my sister and friend were thinking of something to do. It was raining, so we couldn’t go swimming or bike riding. And it was still those olden days when kids didn’t have Iphones or laptops until they were at least thirteen. So we decided to make a cake. We cut up a peach and put it in the bottom of a cake pan. Then we got a Green’s cake mix and added the water and eggs, then poured it over the top. Pretty impressive for some little kiddies right? If only we’d buttered the pan. 

I remember making that cake was the first baking I’d ever seen or done in my life. No one baked in my family and we didn’t even really eat sweets, besides for cream and jam sponge cake on our birthdays. I thought the cake was incredible! The peaches sunk into the cake and made a crispy, jammy layer on the bottom of the pan. The cake was raw in the middle and overflowing at times, but it was a real cake! Full of fresh peaches no less. It made me think of all the other possible things you could try to put in a cake. It made me realise that cakes don’t have to only be one flavour! Recipes are just a guideline ripe and ready for adapting!

ImageImage

 While it can be fun to follow a recipe exactly, especially a complicated one, and come out on the other side with the perfect chocolate mousse or the perfect meringue, making your own way usually leads to the most memorable desserts. This cake/crumble/fruit blob today is the perfect example of where deviating from the recipe can end up in something way yummier and more exciting than you originally intended. I had been dreaming of these rhubarb crumble bars for ages, and was planning on making an apple and rhubarb version with cinnamon instead of coconut. And then I lost the rhubarb…apparently it was in the drinks fridge. (Yes, the most plausible place to keep rhubarb, I agree) But I’d already cut up all my apples!

I used London Bakes Blackberry and Oat Crumble as a base and decided to adapt it to make some gluten free raspberry and apple crumble bars. Everyone likes raspberry and apple right? But when the “bars” came out of the oven, bars they were not. I’d added too much fruit to base ratio to start with, and the crumble was freestyling all over the place, more like an apple crisp than a bar! Oh no! But then I tried it. Wow. It was so rich and almondy and tart from the berries, gooey and sweet from the apples, crunchy and coconutty, cinnamon flecked, vanilla scented, heaven. I wouldn’t change a single thing in this recipe. It’s the perfect comforting bowl of crumble, because there’s a nutty almond base that tastes exactly like the filling in an almond croissant! And it soaks up all those pesky fruit juices. Vanilla Ice Cream is the only thing that should accompany a big, steaming serve of this apple and raspberry almond…cake? Crumble? Let’s just call it pudding. 

Image

Apple, Almond and Raspberry Crumble Cake: Adapted from this recipe

300g (2.5 cups) chopped apple (about 3 medium)

50g (1/3 cup) raspberries

30g (2 tbsp) demerara sugar

50g (1/2 cup) almond meal

55g (1/2 stick) butter or coconut butter, cold and cubed 

30g (1/4 cup) oats

20g (2 tbsp) mixed seeds and slivered nuts

 

110g (1 stick) butter or coconut butter

160ml (3/4 cup) honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs or 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 4 tbsp water and left to gel

100g (1 cup) almond meal

1 tsp baking powder

Image

Use your fingers to crumble the 50g almond meal, 50g butter and raw sugar into a bread-crumb like consistency. Stir in the oats and seeds. Preheat the oven to 160C (340F). Line a 20cm x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) pan with baking paper. Beat the 110g butter and honey together until smooth and fluffy. Add in the chia eggs or normal eggs and beat until smooth. Add in the vanilla, then the almond meal and baking powder. Mix until smooth. Pour into the bottom of the tin and smooth down. Sprinkle over the chopped apple (you can leave the skin on) and the raspberries. Sprinkle over the crumble mix. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the fruit is soft and oozing and the cake edges are set. Eat warm with ice cream! 

Image

Layered Chia Coconut & Fruit Puddings

Vegan, Refined Sugar and Gluten Free

Image

 The first time I made chia pudding I had a horrific experience. I ate too many chia seeds, my stomach swelled up, I didn’t put any yummy maple syrup in it, it was just miserable. I did kind of like the pudding itself though, even though I was still in my early chia pudding days. The chocolate chia pudding I made next was out of this world good. Creamy from avocados, chocolatey, sweet and peanut buttery. But it wasn’t really breakfast material. It was more dessert territory. I wanted to master the perfect fruit chia pudding. And I finally did it. 

I thought I must be some kind of colour goddess when I thought up this beautiful layered effect. But then I went to the bathroom and realised I had made an exact replica of my bar of soap…it’s exactly the same! I must have been subconsciously inspired whilst I was washing my hands! The bottom layer is mango and coconut milk, the middle layer is strawberry coconut and the topping is blueberry and almond milk. This is complete sacrilege because mango is always my favourite, but this time the blueberry was actually the star of the show. It was so sweet and jammy. It tasted like blueberry cheesecake ice cream, which was my favourite flavour when I was nine. Fun fact I know.

Image

The key to making good chia pudding is to put in lots of yummy ingredients as the backbone of the recipe. Chia has no flavour. None at all. It’s packed full of iron, antioxidants, vitamins and is a complete protein, but it tastes like nothing at all (That makes me not trust it…what is chia hiding from us?). The coconut milk makes the pudding deliciously creamy and rich, and the high ratio of fruit makes the pudding really sweet and hearty. Add some maple syrup if your fruit isn’t very sweet, and only use perfectly ripe and flavoursome fruit. Don’t use mushy or bitter berries, because they will taste even worse mixed up in a pudding.

Feel free to mix up the flavours and layers as well! Use whatever fruit and milk you prefer. You can use rice, almond, or soy. Just remember the flavour- it will come through! And guess what. You can totally eat these for breakfast. Just layer them in a jar, stick in some chopped fruit, and away you go. 

This post is similar to an old chia pudding recipe I made (even the photos!) but the subtle changes really make it so much yummier! That’s why I’m putting it up again. PS whoever can spot where I edited my reflection off the back of a spoon gets a shout out.

Image

 Layered Chia Pudding Recipe:

For 4 jars of chia pudding:

8 tablespoons chia seeds 

2 cups of coconut milk, almond milk, soy, rice or dairy

1/2 a medium mango, sliced

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) defrosted if frozen

1/2 cup strawberries, cut up in chunks

1-2 tbsp maple syrup, optional Image

Separate the chia into three even sized bowls. Put the mango in a blender with 1/3 of the coconut milk and blend well. Pour into one of the bowls with chia and stir until well combined. Wash out the blender and repeat with the other two fruits, until you have three bowls of pudding beginning to set. Pour in your first layer carefully so it doesn’t splash on the sides. Wait to set (about ten minutes, not much longer) and repeat with your next layer. Add the final layer and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight, so they’re fully set. 

It’s easiest to fill the jars with the pudding when it’s still slightly runny, otherwise it’s hard to scoop in. You don’t need to use jars- cups look good, or bowls as well. Jars are just handy because you can put a lid on them and take them to work in the morning. Add the maple syrup to any fruits that weren’t very sweet, or as a nice top layer add a little dollop that you can swirl through. And remember, chia is really filling! You don’t need much to feel full at all xx

Image

Creamy Vegan Mango Pudding

Gluten Free, Vegan, Sugar Free

IMG_7502

 Yay it’s officially my first mango post of the season! And my first mango post ever! I’ve already made mango sorbet three times this spring. I haven’t posted about it, because I keep on eating it before I have a chance to photograph it. One day my friends. I made this mango pudding as a little experiment with an ingredient I hadn’t tried before in the land of vegan mousses and puddings. And guess what! It was as creamy and smooth as the chocolate and peanut butter mousse made with avocados. It was thick and comforting, like the rice pudding from the other week. And it tasted of nothing but delicious sweet mango. The perfect mousse for summer! And guess what else? Each cup, which is about 220g of pudding, not a piddly little cup, is only 140 calories. 

What is the secret you ask? Silken tofu! I’ve heard of silken tofu in desserts before but never really given it a try. Now I really want to try making a silken tofu chocolate pie. And about a billion other silken tofu combinations some of which will probably taste horrendous. My favourite dish ever in the world at a restaurant is teriyaki silken tofu. Oh my gosh. I’m obsessed with it! So I originally bought the tofu to try and recreate that. Then my brain caught up to me and I realised that was very unlikely to happen, considering my inability to cut silken tofu without turning into mush. (Is there some kind of secret?!?! Please someone enlighten me!)IMG_7513

The other day my friend and I, after I will admit, quite a night on the town, really felt like a froyo. We went to a self-serve place (bad idea) and I bought half a kilo of yogurt with mango pearls on top. An entire pound is not a laughing matter. I have never eaten so much yogurt in one sitting and NEVER had the same tummy ache the next day like that night! It was worth every mangoey bite though, and it inspired me! Mango was the best idea for this pudding because it made it go yellow like those mango sago puddings you get at yum cha! And they pour the little bowl of condensed milk on top and put the slices of mango on for you. Bless their little yum cha souls. While I was eating this I thought how good it would be to get some of those mango pearls and put them on top! I don’t even know where you get them, but that would be delicious. As long as you don’t eat a whole pound though!

I found the basic recipe for this incredibly simple combination at Fresh Tastes. Really you can almost guess what goes into it, there’s only three ingredients. I think you could take this pudding in any direction you really wanted, maybe with banana and coconut on top, or honey and berries. Mango worked great because it’s such a substantial and sweet fruit. I added some agave syrup mainly to get rid of the slight soy taste of the tofu. I think you could do this with any strong flavour, like some coconut milk if you’re making a fruit dessert, or peanut butter if it’s more chocolatey. Oh my gosh. Peanut butter pudding! Caramel pudding! So many different puddings that I have to try it isn’t even funny! I seriously want to make this mango pudding into a layer in a multi-layered fruit trifle. It might just happen. This may be the beginning of a pudding phase. 

IMG_7507

Vegan Mango Pudding: Adapted from here

300g (10.5 ounces) silken tofu

120g (3/4 cup, 4.3 ounces) mango, sliced (about half a large mango)

2-3 tsp agave nectar, depending on your tastes. 

 

Blend all the ingredients together until completely smooth. Divide into glasses and chill until completely cold and set. Serves 2-3. The recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled though. 

IMG_7516

Creamy Vanilla Rice Pudding (vegan and gluten free)

Vegan, Gluten Free and Sugar Free

Image

When I was young my sister and I went through a rice pudding phase. A rice pudding phase so intense that for a while afterwards, every time someone mentioned eating rice pudding I thought back on that experience as the dark days. I can now think of that time quite fondly, when I would eat one or two packets of cold, gloopy rice pudding every single day. It was an important part of my childhood, and many people’s childhoods, to get completely obsessed with a certain packaged product and eat so much of it you eventually want to exorcise every box from the face of the earth (for me this includes Easy Mac, frozen packets of dim sims and Yoplait vanilla cream…shudder). 

It was a shame to get sick of rice pudding though because I’d never actually tried the real deal, not straight out of a packet. I mean…has anyone? I know people in Europe eat it on Christmas Eve and hide an almond inside as a prize, but in Australia the only rice pudding I’ve ever seen is in a packet or a can. We’re not really rice pudding people. Come to think of it, the only place I’ve seen rice pudding as a popular choice on the menu was at the old person’s centre I used to volunteer at. Image

Well things are about to change! Because rice pudding is actually really delicious, and it’s naturally gluten free. You can use basically any milk you want, including soy and almond (the best is coconut) making it naturally vegan as well. I made a seriously vanilla-flavoured simple rice pudding with almond milk, topping it with fresh blueberries. I was tempted to make a coconut version and top it with mango slices, or maybe a cinnamon and ginger version topping it with poached rhubarb. But I decided to stick with simple for the first go. 

I used a mash-up recipe from Jamie’s America and Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert, for the sole reason that the recipe claimed to make the ‘creamiest rice pudding ever’. I don’t know about you, but I can never resist a recipe that claims to be the best. I know! So naive. I chose to make my pudding over a stove, meaning I had to stir it basically constantly for the last twenty minutes. If you really don’t want to do that I guess you could do it Jamie’s way and bake it in the oven, but it’s pretty fun stirring the rice until it’s as creamy and thick as you like it. I had so much fun making and photographing this pudding because it was so easy and homely. There was no fear of melting ice cream or ugly brown or strange flavours. Just simple old vanilla rice pudding. 

Image

This pudding is really delicious and thick despite the handful of humble ingredients and minimum fuss to make it. It’s delicious warm but also great cold, so try it both ways and see what you prefer. Experiment with toppings and different milks and tell me how they go! 

On another note, I’m getting super excited about summer and going away! I’ve been busy making lots of posts that I can put up over the weeks I’m not here so there’ll be lots of things still going on, don’t worry! Hopefully there will be wifi and hopefully that wifi will allow wordpress to be accessed…otherwise I don’t really know what’s going to happen! I’m also hoping that it won’t actually be minus 13 degrees in Budapest but hey! We can only hope and pray. 

Image

Creamy Rice Pudding: Adapted from here

150g (3/4 cup) aborio rice (risotto rice)

1.25 litres (1.32 quarts) almond, rice or coconut milk (or cows milk) 

100g maple syrup or honey

1 vanilla bean, split in half

1 pinch salt

Image

Put all the ingredients in a medium-large saucepan over a low heat, scraping out the vanilla seeds into the pot and putting in the bean as well. Stir to combine the syrup and bring to a simmer. Stir every now and again to stop a skin forming and stop the rice from sticking. As the rice thickens stir constantly until the pudding looks like a soupy risotto. Turn the heat off and the pudding should thicken a little immediately. Serve with fresh fruit or stewed fruit. If refrigerated first, add a little more milk to thin it down a bit. Serves 4-5 people.

Image