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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Dumpling Month part 1 – spinach and tofu (vegan)

Vegan
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You may or may not already know this, but I have a mild (to moderate) obsession with dumplings. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would probably be some form of dumpling. And when I say probably, I mean definitely. The challenge would be what type of dumpling. Preferably a selection. A ‘mezze’ of dumplings, covering all the best flavours.

I think 50% of why I like dumplings is the fact that I drown them in vinegar and chilli oil. Sometimes the dumpling is more a doughy, vegetable filled vehicle transporting dumpling condiments to my mouth. When my friend told me she only ever used soy sauce as a dipping sauce, I literally stopped eating mid-bite. What?! What are dumplings without vinegar and chilli?! I shudder at the thought.
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Considering my healthy love for dumplings, recently I felt a building pressure to make my own. But I was so nervous! For some reason I thought dumplings were one of the hardest things to make, ever. reserved for the realm of highly talented chefs working in restaurants.

But when I saw these beautiful dumplings and these I felt slightly reassured that it could indeed be done at home. Commence the Sugar and Cinnamon dumpling month. That’s right, this whole month I’m going to explore the impossible, magical world of dumpling making and hopefully come out with some life-time skills and a whole freezer-full of dumplings, ready to get in my belly.
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To kick off I made the simplest dumplings, that also happen to be my favourite. I made the classic flour and boiling water dumpling dough, with a classic mixed veggie and tofu filling. I actually managed to crimp my dumplings. Yes, they look a little funky. I didn’t have to worry about finding which ones were perfect for my photos, because not a single one came out perfect. They each had their own lopsided, floury charm that just could not be tamed.

I definitely recommend making these with a friend. Otherwise the rolling and cutting of the dough can take a really long time and it may even dry out a little before you finish filling them all. I watched this video before I started and it was really helpful seeing how to actually do it in action. I definitely did not make a video of myself shaping dumplings because I am highly uncoordinated and my dumplings came out looking like little trolls, but maybe one day I will be dumpling GIF quality.

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I’m so excited about how these turned out! They were so yummy. Just as I went to cook them I realised our steamer has mysteriously gone missing, so I had to make do with boiling a few and pan-frying a few. Both worked well, but I think steaming would be the ultimate here. Post-stickers are always lots of fun, but I might save that challenge for the next instalment of dumpling fun.

You can always buy wonton wrappers as well, but the dough is super easy to make. And the dumplings come out tasting so fresh and soft and just uuugh. Amazing. If you don’t have vinegar and chilli, go out and buy some. Seriously! You will not regret it 🙂

One Year AgoHummingbird Maple Cake
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Vegetarian Dumplings: Adapted from this recipe
Makes about 30
For the dough:
2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup boiling water (plus a few teaspoons extra, in case)

Put the flour and salt in a bowl and whisk well to get out any lumps. Boil the water (measuring it after in case some is lost as steam) and pour in a trickling, continuous stream into the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon as you go until a crumbly dough forms.

Turn the dough out on to a clean, lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until the dough comes together. You may need to add a pinch more of water or flour to reach a soft, usable consistency. Put the dough into a sealed container for at least fifteen minutes (no longer than 2 hours) to let is rest before filling.

Cut the dough into four even pieces, and place all but one back in the container. Roll out with a rolling pin to 1/8 inch thickness (not too thin or they will fall apart as they cook) and cut with a cookie cutter into rounds. Lightly flour the rounds and keep on a plate covered in baking paper until ready to use.
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For the filling:
1 cup shredded English spinach
0.5 cup shredded napa cabbage
1/2 a carrot, grated
175g (6 oz) firm tofu, chopped into tiny pieces
60g mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 stalk green onion, finely diced

To make the filling, mix all the ingredients well until combined. Holding a dumpling wrapper in your hand, use a dessert spoon to put about half a spoonful of filling into the middle of the wrapper. Use your fingers to hold up the sides kind of like you are holding a taco. Use your thumb and other hand to crimp the side closest to you against the opposite side, closing the end. Push the filling in a little further to get in as much as possible (this gets easier as you get a feel for it. No one likes an under-filled dumpling!)

Continue to crimp the side closest to you against the other half of the dumpling, completely enclosing the filling and sealing off the end. Complete the rest of the dumplings. Store on a plate covered with baking paper and try to stop them touching, to prevent sticking. You can either freeze them straight away on the plate and then store them in a ziplock bag, or steam/boil them for about 5 minutes until tender and cooked through. Serve with vinegar and chilli oil.
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The Best Vegan Pizza and the Best Kind of Holidays

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 This past week me and a couple friends stole a few days to drive down the coast. One of my friends grandfather’s has a beautiful beach house that he kindly shares with the whole family. Even in the first month of winter the weather was amazing. So sunny and beautiful! We spent the whole time sun-baking, reading and eating pizza. 

Best holiday ever??

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I wasn’t even allowed to swim because of my recent tattoo but my new swimming costume literally arrived in the mail the day before! It was a sign that I should definitely put it on and pretend right? Also the water was absolutely freezing so I feel I may have got the best of both worlds. Plus the sun setting over the ocean was worth seeing just in itself. I can’t get over how beautiful the colours were. 

Going away even for just a handful of days made me realise how claustrophobic the city can get sometimes. Especially during semester when you spend so much time indoors working or staring at some kind of screen. It felt so good to get away from it, even briefly, with some of my favourite friends. 

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It’s become a tradition to make pizza every time we go to the beach house together. I think this year’s pizza definitely deserved some kind of medal because it was the best thing ever. If you follow my instagram you might have seen just how many vegetables we managed to squeeze on top. I know it’s not traditional! I know my version of pizza is sacrilege to any one who has been to Italy and eaten real pizza. But think of it more as a vegetable dish that happens to be constructed on a pizza base. 

Literally the best pizza I have ever eaten was sitting in a gutter. I was in Rome, we’d just been to see the Vatican, it was drizzling with rain and we were all starving. I got a piece of the tomato and pepper pizza with drizzled olive oil. Holy moly it was incredible. This pizza is inspired by that, with the addition of a wholemeal base and a few added flavours. 

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I think my favourite part is the tangle of basil and spinach leaves tossed over the tomato base, but you can really stylise your pizza to suit whatever you want. I baked slices of pumpkin as a topping but you could also use zucchini, flat mushrooms, sweet potato, onion, any root vegetable you like! Whatever you want really. 

If you eat cheese I highly recommend adding feta or halloumi as well 🙂 Have a nice week everyone! 

One Year Ago: Chocolate Caramel Truffle Cake

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Wholemeal Vegan Pizza (Based on Bourke Street Bakery) – Makes 1 pizza

300g strong wholemeal flour

1 sachet dried yeast (7g)

1/2 tsp sea salt

220ml lukewarm water

10ml olive oil

***

1/3 butternut pumpkin, sliced and roasted until soft

1/2 jar of tomato paste

1 garlic clove, crushed

large handful of chopped basil and spinach leaves

1-2 sliced tomato, capsicum, zucchini

handful of sliced mushrooms

handful of sliced and pitted kalamata olives

optional: handful of feta, cheddar, mozzarella, halloumi, or all of the above

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Combine all the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and beat slowly for 3 minutes. Increase to high and beat for 7 minutes. Put ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to proof for 20 minutes, then turn onto a floured board and use a rolling pin to flatten. Carefully transfer dough onto a baking sheet lined with paper. Preheat the oven to 220C (428F). Top pizza with tomato paste, then crushed garlic, then the spinach and basil. Arrange the vegetable slices according to what is flattest and fastest to cook from the bottom up, starting with the pumpkin. Top with olives and optional cheese. 

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the base is crispy and the vegetables cooked. You can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd. Makes about 4 servings. 

Chilli and Basil Mushrooms on Avocado Toast

Vegan and Gluten Free

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 I LOVE MUSHROOMS. 

I love them. I don’t know about any other vegetarians out there, but the only thing I kind of miss from eating meat is eating chewy food. Vegetables can be crunchy and tempeh and tofu can be crumbly, but there isn’t much chewy food in a vegetarian diet. (Unless you count chewy worms and jelly snakes, which I do…) So whenever I feel like all I’ve been eating is soft and mushy food and get scared my teeth are about to fall out,  I crave mushrooms. 

Last week the farmers market had the best mushrooms! We bought four boxes of them! I ate mushrooms in four different meals in a row. By the last one I will admit I was feeling a little over-mushroomed. We made mushroom stir fry, baked mushrooms, mushroom pasta sauce, and my favourite way; chilli basil mushrooms on toast. 

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 The number one crime when making mushrooms on toast is to only use one type of mushrooms. ESPECIALLY if you just use button mushrooms. Button mushrooms are great, but they aren’t very flavoursome by themselves. They need the help of their little mushroom friends enoki and oyster. I went to Bill’s Cafe with some friends recently and got the mushrooms on toast, and I think there must have been four different types used! It was incredible. This recipe is partially inspired by that breakfast because it was amazing!

The number two crime is overcrowding the pan. Don’t do that. Mushrooms release juices when they cook and your pan will fill with liquid and they will broil. You will be sad. They will be sad. Make sure there’s lots of room for them to get brown and crispy and soak up all the flavours you add. (Thank you Julia Child!)

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I’m so excited to keep posting savoury recipes on this blog. This recipe is so easy, even if I haven’t quite mastered the ‘how to take a photo of a hot pan without burning yourself’ skill yet.  But I’m hopeful for the future. I used sour dough bread as the base of choice but the recipe is really about the mushrooms, so you can use gluten free bread or serve it over pasta or rice if you want. 

For the chilli jam I used a homemade jar made by a friend, so you could either make your own or buy a good quality one from a deli or market. I wouldn’t recommend a commercial brand just because they’re so much sweeter and less spicy than homemade, but if that’s all you have I’m sure it will taste fine. If you don’t like spice, you can also leave it out. 

You can put a poached egg on top too if you eat eggs. That’s what my sister did this morning, after I finally let her have the plate when I was finished photographing it. And it did look pretty good! Enjoy!

One Year Ago: Wholemeal Brown Sugar Strawberry Cake

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 Chilli and Basil Mushrooms on Avocado Toast:

For 2 people – 

30 ml (1.5 tbsp) olive oil 

2 small cloves of garlic, chopped 

2 big handfuls chopped field mushrooms

1 handful oyster mushrooms

2 handfuls mixed other mushrooms like enoki, button, flat etc

2 tsp chilli jam

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 handful torn basil leaves, split in half

2-4 pieces of bread (gluten free fine)

1/2 an avocado

Optional: poached egg, grilled tomato, lemon juice to serve

salt and pepper, to serve

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 Fry the garlic in the oil in a large pan on a gentle heat until soft. Increase the heat to medium and add in the mushrooms, chilli, and vinegar and sauté. Fry the mushrooms so that they become crispy and brown. Taste to check the seasoning. Grill your toast and spread with avocado. Squeeze on some lemon juice if you want and spoon over the mushrooms. Top with salt and pepper and extras, if you want. Serve hot!

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Spiced Pumpkin Fritters with Roast Garlic Tahini Sauce (gluten free!)

Gluten Free
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 Oh my gosh guys. Today might just be the biggest day of the year. Possible EVER. Sugar and Cinnamon has officially started doing savoury! I can hear you thinking ‘but the name sugar and cinnamon suggests you know, sugar…and cinnamon…’ I knooow. But I thought that was a silly reason at the end of the day to not do something I’ve pretty much been thinking of doing since I started this blog. 

This year I wanted to focus more on making healthy, wholesome recipes packed with loads of good for you things. In my real life I’ve actually started making savoury food all the time, as you can probably tell if you follow me on Instagram (I over-gram. I can admit it.) So I thought it was time to start sharing the successful recipes on here with you guys. Because everyone has to eat savoury food. You can try and live off cake, weetbix and toast, I did that very well all through school. But once you start making awesome stuff like these fritters it’s kind of hard to go back to those sad breakfast foods for lunch. 

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I think the photography is going to take a while to catch up in the savoury department…I did try and do some ‘stylistic’ swishing of sauce and fancy herb placement as you can see but fritters are hard. Fritters are just so ugly. They make up for it though by tasting amazing. Packed with pumpkin, carrot and zucchini as well as cumin and tumeric they’re so flavoursome! And the roasted garlic sauce…oh my goodness. I might of eaten the whole bowl while shooting photos…I’m not going to lie. 

I’ve given quantities for the amounts of vegetables I used but you can sub in sweet potato, more or less carrot and zucchini, basically whatever you have really. I bet even corn would be nice! Just try and keep a good ratio of firm roots (carrot, potato, sweet potato) and the watery vegetables (pumpkin, zucchini, spinach). I used quinoa flour as a little experiment and they worked out so well! You can’t taste the difference at all. Feel free to sub back in plain white flour if that’s what you have though. And you can double or even triple the recipe too if you want, they’re so easy! I have a sneaky feeling they’d taste epic in a sandwich or burger as well. 

I haven’t tried making these fritters without eggs but you could try flax as a binding substitute. If you do let me know how they go! Otherwise these fritters would be completely vegan friendly 🙂 

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 Vegetable Fritters with Garlic Tahini Dipping Sauce:

350g grated zucchini (about 4)

350g grated pumpkin (1/4 large pumpkin)

250g grated carrot (4-5)

1 handful chopped coriander

2 shallots, finely sliced

2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp each cinnamon and tumeric

100g quinoa flour

4 large eggs, or 4 tablespoons flax mixed with water

Olive oil, for frying 

Mix everything together in a large bowl, seasoning with a little salt and pepper at the end. Heat a large fry pan with a good splash of the olive oil to shallow fry the fritters. Use a big spoon to scoop ladles of the mix (about 3-4 tbsp) into the pan. Using the back of a spatula, push down the fritters carefully so they are flat. Fry on each side for about 5 minutes, draining on a plate with paper. 

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For the dipping sauce:

Roast 4-5 cloves of garlic in the oven until soft in the middle, about 10 minutes. 

Blend with 4-5 tablespoons of tahini and the juice of 2 limes. 

Keep blending, slowly adding water until the sauce is as runny as you like it. Drizzle over the fritters with extra coriander to serve. 
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