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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Tropical Fruits and Coconut Granola Bars (vegan and gluten free!)

Vegan, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Sugar Free

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 At the end of my two month holiday a few months ago, for the first time in my whole trip I had two days by myself. I left my sister and friend at a bus stop in Sukhotai, Thailand and began the seven hour journey back to Bangkok on my own. I shed a little tear watching my friends getting smaller through the window, knowing I wouldn’t see them for a whole month. It’s strange spending every waking minute with someone for so long, and then suddenly not at all. 

By the time I arrived in Bangkok the sun was setting. By the time I got to my hotel and checked in, it was well and truly dark. I had told myself I would get my last street food meal for dinner that night, but I confess I got a veggie subway and a bag of fresh fruit instead. Sitting in my hotel room eating mango slices, watching reruns of The Texas Bachelorette, I felt homesick for the first time. I missed my dog, I missed my family and the friends who I hadn’t seen in weeks. But mainly I just missed talking to people I knew. 

In the airport (which I accidentally arrived at 6 hours before my flight…curse you 24 hour time!) I spent all my remaining money on presents for my family, including two huge bags of dried fruit for my Step Dad. My plans were to make him some tropical granola bars as soon as I got home, because he love granola bars. 

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 My grand plans got sidetracked by a number of other exciting dishes that had to come first, and somehow three months passed before I could get around to it! Better late than never right?

These granola bars are packed full of tropical flavours and they’re the best I’ve ever made, hands down! I have so many issues with granola bars. I hate when they crumble. I HATE IT. I hate when they’re overly sweet or so chewy your teeth almost fall out. Granola bars aren’t something I wanted to settle with, they had to be juuust right. 

It’s hard to get a balance between making a super healthy bar, which is so easy considering how much goodness you can pack in, as well as making them taste as good as a cafe-bought bar. These bars have found a happy compromise. They are rich from a maple syrup and coconut butter caramel, but also bursting with superfoods like goji, sunflower seeds, coconut and mango. 

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 I’m sad that the granola bars were oh so good, but the photos came out oh so bad! Sometimes I just can’t even deal with my photos. I mean, please. There needs to be an intervention. Someone needs to come and sit me down and explain everything there ever is to know about anything to do with my camera because my brain has turned to mush after all the uni work I did this week and I can’t improve by myself. I JUST CAN’T. 

You’re just going to have to trust me with this one. It’s such a great recipe, I know I’ll be using it from now on when the need for granola bars arises. You don’t have to take it down the tropical road if you don’t want to, that’s just an idea I had while I was waiting in Bangkok airport for my lonely flight home. 

I also ate four scoops of banana and chocolate ice cream while I was there, but that’s another story. 

If you try adding different flavours, let me know how it goes! And happy May! 

One Year Ago: Chocolate and Caramel Banana Muffins

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Tropical Granola Bars: Adapted from Ottolenghi

45g each hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and desiccated coconut

190g rolled oats

30g ground almonds 

50g dried mango

50g dried pineapple

50g dried goji berries

1 ripe banana

 

For the caramel:

75g raw sugar

85g coconut butter, or oil I think would work too

85g maple syrup (or honey for non-vegan)

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Method:

Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line a 20 x 23cm tin with baking paper. Soak the fruit briefly in water to soften a bit. Cut into small chunks, about the size of the goji berries. Roughly chop up the nuts. Stir together all the ingredients except the caramel and the banana in a large bowl. 

In a small saucepan, melt the coconut butter and syrup and sugar and stir well so that everything is combined. Cook for a minute, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir well. Mash the banana and stir through the mix. Pour into the lined tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden on top. Allow the bars to cool completely before chopping with a serrated knife. 

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Guest Post: Healthy Apple and Cinnamon Coconut Crumble

Vegan, Wholemeal, Low Fat, Sugar Free

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Hey guys! I’m doing a guest post over at Smoothie Lover today with this recipe and a little about my food philosophy so go check it out!
Josefine’s blog is seriously beautiful. She makes healthy vegetarian food and her desserts are always amazing! I’ve been following her for a while now and am constantly impressed by how quickly her blog has grown and how lovely her photos are becoming. This apple crumble started life out as a simple way to use up all the apples in the fridge, but it turned in to one of the tastiest crumbles ever especially with all the coconut going on in there.

Also I’m sad about the photos. Everything was going along great until the sun decided to abort mission early and set at 4 in the afternoon! Before I’d finished taking my photos!! So please forgive the lack of an inside shot and just trust that it tasted epic. I’m going to try and do another post before Easter but if not, happy holidays guys!!

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 Some of the beautiful things you have to check out on Josefine’s blog:

Her honey and dried fig scones. The combination of honey and fig anything is just out of this world and combined with a scone!!!

These perfect raw tarts would make the best fancy dessert ever!

And the tastiest looking falafel recipe ever. 

Thank you Josefine for having me on your blog today! 

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Vanilla Bean and Coconut Scones with Rhubarb Compote

Vegan! Dairy and Egg Free

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 I’m doing the 30 day vegan challenge everybody! I’m quite excited. I’ll admit, this morning when I got up and made breakfast I did spend quite a while just standing in front of the fridge debating if yogurt was really, truly not vegan. I mean, it’s already in the fridge right. The cow doesn’t want it back. But NOT YOUR MUM NOT YOUR MILK am I right?!?!

So I made oatmeal with almond milk and figs. Pretty good start hey? If I do say so myself. For the blog I actually make a lot of vegan stuff. The most popular by a mile being Vegan Banana Bread, which somehow tastes better than normal banana bread and is somehow also sugar free and wholemeal (miracle bread). But in real life I eat lactose-free yogurt basically every day and more eggs than is probably necessary or normal. 

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 I’ve been a vegetarian for four years now (another five previously as well) and I have an embarrassing habit of tearing up at stupid vegetarian things like when people talk about fois gras or veal meatballs. I cried in Marley and Me, I can say it. At the beginning. When he had to say goodbye to his little baby brothers and sisters (so, sooo sad). Animals are friends! Not food, so it’s probably time I take that a little more seriously. (Although I can’t see myself stopping eating honey. Bees probably love it when we take their honey). 

This morning to celebrate the beginning of the challenge I made vegan scones! Scones are kind of the best thing ever, especially with jam and cream. But they’re often made with cream, buttermilk, eggs or both! So at first I didn’t really know how to approach making them. And then inspiration struck!

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 Coconut! I followed a regular scone recipe, subbing in coconut butter and coconut cream for the diary versions. I also added the seeds from a vanilla bean because coconut and vanilla are a match made in heaven. I was pretty nervous while they were baking. Would they turn out really crumbly and weird? Who knows! And I forgot to glaze them so I was expecting them to be super ugly as well. But when I ate one, slathered in sweet and tangy vanilla rhubarb compote. Oh my God. 

They were so good! Crunchy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside, warm and coconut scented and vanilla flecked deliciousness. Rhubarb and raw sugar with the seedless vanilla beans made the easiest and tastiest compote I’ve ever tried. The scones didn’t even need extra coconut cream, which I had at the ready. That’s how good they were! 

I can’t even express how happy I was with these scones. I even gave them to my mum’s very sceptical non-vegan friend, and she said they were ‘divine’! Do the 30 day challenge with me! And if you can’t be bothered to go the whole 30 days, at least make these scones. You know you want to. 

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 Vegan Coconut and Vanilla Bean Scones: Adapted from Marian Kayes Saved by Cake

265g (1.6 cups) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean, scraped out

65g (1/3 cup) caster sugar

100g (3.5 ounces) coconut butter, cut into cubes

180ml (3/4 cup) coconut cream, stirred well

Almond milk, for brushing
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Preheat the oven to 220C (428F) and line a large baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt together well. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla seeds. Use a knife to ‘cut’ in the coconut butter to form a sandy, breadcrumb-like texture. Slowly pour in the coconut cream, continuing to cut with the knife until well combined.

Turn onto a floured board and knead very lightly, just enough to combine the ingredients into a dough. Press down to about an inch thick and use a cup or scone cutter to cut into even rounds. Don’t twist the cup to separate the scones, just press straight down or they won’t rise properly. Brush with almond milk and bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden. 

Top with the rhubarb compote: 1 small bunch rhubarb poached in half a cup of water with 100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar and the leftover vanilla bean. Cook on low heat for 10-20 minutes until soft and sticky. Makes 8-12 scones

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Chocolate and Blueberry Mousse Tart

Vegan, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, optional Raw

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 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.

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 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.

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 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! 

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 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

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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. 

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Creamy Vegan Mango Pudding

Gluten Free, Vegan, Sugar Free

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 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. 

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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. 

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Wholesome Vegan Banana Bread

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 I had a friend in high school who bought a slice of banana bread from the canteen almost every day. Cruelly in year eight they stopped making the chocolate chip banana bread, as if removing that sprinkle of happiness would really make a difference to the health of the banana bread! But that’s not the point. Lot’s of people stopped really buying it after that, but not this friend. I remember it clearly because every time she bought a piece she’d get attacked and harassed by her friends until she’d given them at least half. And by her friends, I mean me. It was good banana bread, it really was.

But as we grew older, we learned to read the ingredients list. And with knowledge becomes great responsibility. It wasn’t a very appetising group of products they squeezed in there. One of the ingredients was beef lard, all I’m gonna say. After that I became a believer in home-made banana bread. Just as delicious without the beef lard! This banana bread today is one of the family recipes that makes the best banana bread (in my humble opinion). 

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 I know the title makes it sound a little…bland. But it really isn’t! The recipe is from the Moosewood Cookbook, which is one of my favourite cookbooks ever. So many childhood staple meals came out of that book. Vegetable ratatouille, Cheesy polenta, Bean Burritos, all the old classics. And this banana bread. I’ve mentioned it when I made these delicious banana choc chunk muffins. The recipe says to coat the pan in sesame seeds to stop it sticking but I used baking paper because we didn’t have sesame seeds. Also I had a feeling it would probably come out looking like a lizard bread, something I don’t think would photograph well. 

Can you believe I’ve had this blog for seven months and this is the first Banana Bread recipe I’ve put up? What is that about! Well partly the reason is that muffins are way easier to serve and photograph. I’ve adapted lots of breads before, like the sticky Banana Caramel Muffins that were originally going to be a loaf. Loaves have benefits that muffins can’t really trump, because you can toast them and put toppings on them. What is a banana bread without peanut butter and banana slices? Or ricotta and honey? You tell me. You tell me friends. 

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This banana bread is way healthier than your classic shop-bought plastic wrapped slice. It’s light but still moist and fluffy. The crust is super crispy and maybe my favourite part, because it’s so thin you don’t get that terrible hard edge that takes away from the squishy middle part. I adapted it to make a vegan version with vegan butter and chia eggs, but you can sub in normal eggs and super soft butter, or even olive oil. 

You can tell hippies wrote the recipe because there are a few rather strange instructions. Or rather lack of instructions. (I love hippies! But you can’t deny they can be vague! ) I should have known that hand whisking soft butter and eggs would end in lumpy egg-butter, but I tried it anyway. The result was a super sore arm from about an hour of trying to get the butter pieces small enough to combine with the other ingredients. And I couldn’t heat it up so the butter would melt because that would cook the eggs! So I’ve kindly amended the instructions out of respect for your arms. 

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As I’ve mentioned, this banana bread is great toasted and served with jam, nutella, peanut butter, butter, honey, ricotta, banana slices, mashed banana, melted chocolate, desiccated coconut, coconut cream, ok you get the picture. I could go on all day. But it’s also great plain and fresh from the oven. It freezes really well, lasts wrapped really well, and can be fancied up with chopped nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, seeds, anything you like really! 

 Here are some delicious banana bread recipes I’ve been drooling over this week on other awesome blogs:

Check out the amazing banana bread photography at The Munch and Crunch

Cookie and Kate’s amazing looking banana bread looks like it could feed multiple athletes

Almond Banana Bread by Bakerita looks amaaazing. 

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Wholesome Vegan Banana Bread: Adapted from Moosewood Cookbook

2 medium bananas (2/3 cup) mashed well

80mls (1/3 cup) brewed black coffee (NOT GRANULES – LIQUID)

3 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 6 tablespoons water and stirred well (OR 3 chicken eggs for non-vegan)

110ml olive oil or 1/2 cup vegan butter, very soft

100ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup or 1/2 cup brown sugar

125g (1 cup) white flour + 120g (1 cup) wholemeal flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp each cinnamon and allspice

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Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a loaf pan. Beat together the soft butter and sugar until fluffy, then add in the eggs, one at a time. If using oil and honey, just mix all these ingredients together. Stir in the mashed bananas and coffee well. Sift the flours, salt and raising agents, then gently fold into the wet mixture. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until brown on top and a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy! Serves 8-12

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