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. 

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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. 

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 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

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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. 

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Layered Chia Coconut & Fruit Puddings

Vegan, Refined Sugar and Gluten Free

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 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.

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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.

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 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

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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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Creamy Vanilla Rice Pudding (vegan and gluten free)

Vegan, Gluten Free and Sugar Free

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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. 

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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. 

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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

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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.

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pudding (vegan + gluten and sugar free)

 Vegan, Gluten Free, and Refined Sugar Free

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It’s been a wild couple days in Sydney if you haven’t heard. Yesterday a cloud of thick red smoke settled over the entire city. At first some of the city kids at uni were saying it was just another dust storm, but it was clear to most of us who’d lived or spent time in the country what it must mean. Bush fire. The crazy winds and high temperatures sparked fires all over NSW and ran out of control through most of the day yesterday, and the cloud of smoke spread over thirty kilometres right across the harbour.  

Hearing of friends who have had to return home to absolutely nothing left, of families who had to leave their pets inside to escape in time, it’s just so sad. Thank goodness no lives have been lost so far, although the razed houses haven’t been searched until today. The smell of smoke in the air has only just seemed to fade in the last few hours. I always feel intensely the fire season of Australia because my aunt is a fire fighter, and my boyfriend and his family live in the Blue Mountains, which was one the places badly affected yesterday. This summer is predicted to be the hottest summer in over two decades, and it’s only the beginning of spring!Image

I made this pudding this morning while the air outside still smelled of smoke and charred wood. It’s very creamy and comforting, so it seemed like a good fit. You may think it sounds gross, but the creaminess comes from the avocado and blended up banana. Don’t hate before you try it though! I was very wary when I first made chocolate avocado mousse, but it actually tastes really good. And I don’t mean it tastes edible with the bonus of being slightly sweet and ‘naughty’ tasting. It really does have a creamy, mild and perfectly sweet flavour. 

So many puddings and mousses made of health ingredients like coconut and banana can taste kind of strange…sometimes a bit bitter from the raw cocoa, or watery from the fruit. This pudding doesn’t have any of that. It’s a decadent and creamy version of this strawberry chia pudding with a delicious addition of peanut butter. I rave about peanut butter too much. I know. I’ve already mentioned it this week in these cookies for goodness sake! But it’s so creamy and goooood I eat it every day, so talking about it twice a week is actually showing real restraint.  Image

You don’t have to follow this recipe exactly, you can mix and match it up depending on your tastes. There are some ground rules though. You have to use avocado! Don’t try and substitute more bananas or coconut cream or anything, unless you want a completely different mousse experience. Use a perfectly ripe and squishy avocado with not a hint of overripeness, but DEFINITELY not a hint of under-ripeness. If you don’t know if your avocado is ripe yet, leave it another day. Better to err on the side of squishy than watery and stiff. Believe me. I discovered this the hard way. 

The chia seeds make the pudding set thick and gooey like real mousse. If you want a softer, more spoonable mousse, leave them out. If you have a powerful blender, don’t let the lumpy photos scare you. Your mousse will turn out way smoother than mine. If you’re allergic to nuts, leave out the peanut butter completely. The pudding is still delicious without it. You could add almond butter, some coconut milk in place of the soy or almond milk, some chocolate chips, anything you feel like! 

Here are some other delicious looking healthy puddings I’ve been reading recently:

Foodie Fiasco’s Yogurt Chocolate Mousse looks amaaaze-baalls

Such an interesting looking Tofu Chocolate Mousse from Chocolate Covered Katie

Choosing Raw’s simple Vanilla Chia Pudding looks so delicious! 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding: Adapted from Treehugger’s recipe

1 large avocado

1-2 medium bananas depending on taste (if frozen, don’t defrost)

30ml (2 tbsp) maple syrup or agave nectar

2.5 tbsp cocoa powder

50ml (1/4 cup) soy, coconut, rice or almond milk

2 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp chia seeds

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Blend everything together in a powerful blender until smooth and completely combined. Spoon into serving bowls and chill for at least a few hours before serving, to give the chia a chance to thicken the mixture. 

Optional additions: you could stir in some chocolate chips, berries, desiccated coconut or nuts to the mix as well. You could add some vanilla extract or a pinch of cinnamon, or even some melted chocolate to be really fancy!

Makes 3-4 servings depending on how generous you are.

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Strawberry Chia Pudding Cups (gluten free and vegan)

Gluten free, sugar free and vegan

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 Whenever I think of chia seeds I think of my last year of high school, when they had just become all the rage. Going to an all-girls school it was almost normal to see girls walking around with water bottles full of ridiculous things like cucumber slices and lemon rind. But when chia seeds started being added as well? I honestly thought they were fish eggs for about six months. I thought they were the grossest thing ever. Like umami plums or quinoa, I associated them with superfood fads and mud face masks and beautiful people like Miranda Kerr. I never wanted to try them in any shape or form if I could avoid it. 

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 But these pesky little seeds are everywhere! Blended into smoothies, sprinkled on porridge, used as vegan eggs, added to bread, muffins, cakes, they are literally taking over the world. I kept reading about chia pudding in places like here and here, and it actually sounded kind of cool. More than just that, I couldn’t believe anything would be that easy to make and not taste like…well fish eggs mixed into milk. I couldn’t find the source of the chia pudding idea, but I first read about it on Pastry Affair and used that as an idea starter. The first pudding I made I got a bit obsessed with the chia seeds. I stirred in one tablespoon to half a cup of milk and waited. Then I poured in another one, waited about 30 minutes, poured in another one, poured in a teaspoon more, and then left it overnight. People, I overdid the chia seeds. It still tasted ok, if a little thick, but about half an hour after I ate it, the seeds expanded in my stomach and I literally couldn’t get off the floor. I was rolling around, moaning, for about an hour. Don’t eat too many chia seeds! They can absorb 9 times their weight in liquid and lemmee tell you that’s like your whole stomach. 

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 Chia seeds have some pretty impressive credentials if you haven’t ever heard of them before. They are super high in dietary fibre and things like Vitamin C and Iron. They turn into a gel when mixed with liquid which makes them ideal for making pudding, because you don’t need any heat or gelatine or eggs to thicken it. They are naturally gluten free, and they can be used to make recipes vegan and dairy free. They have literally no taste at all which is kind of unnerving…but good as well. When dry they’re kind of gross to eat, even though they are a popular sprinkle for cereal and porridge, because they get stuck in your teeth and start absorbing your saliva! But soaked they become most similar to something like tapioca pudding.

I watched a really disturbing American show on chia seeds, where fat women drank three heaped tablespoons mixed with water to “curb their outrageous appetites”. Sorry if you also drink chia with water, I’m sure a little bit is good for you here or there, but the thought of chia slime clogging up your stomach to stop you eating is so gross to me. Eeeew. 

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 This pudding today is a really simple strawberry chia pudding. It’s more of a starting point for what ever direction you want to take it. Lots of people seem to like this for breakfast so there isn’t any sugar in the beginning recipe, but depending on how sweet your fruit is you might want to blend in some honey or maple syrup (or sugar, of course). As well as that, you could get creative with the milk as well. Coconut milk would go well with blended banana or berries, or almond milk could make a lighter alternative. Some people stir in melted chocolate, or cocoa powder and honey, or cinnamon, vanilla, fruit compote, as you can see there are many different ways to take this pudding. Just remember to be patient, and not stir in three more tablespoons than directed. 

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Strawberry Chia Pudding: Adapted from this recipe:

1 cup soy milk (or almond, coconut, or actual milk)

450g (1 pound, 2 punnets) washed and hulled strawberries

1 tsp vanilla extract (good quality, you’ll be able to taste it clearly)

3 tablespoons chia seeds

Blend strawberries, vanilla and milk until completely smooth and chunk free. Stir in the chia seeds well. Pour into 2-4 cups depending on serving portion and chill overnight. Stir after about an hour well to break up clumps, and again before serving. Serve with a drizzle of honey or more cut up fruit. 

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