Almost Raw Chocolate Cheesecake for Valentines / Pod Espresso

Happy Belated Valentines! This Valentines I got my gift early from Marco. He surprised me early in the week with some lovely lilies and some vegan cupcakes. He also put together our new desk, which I have been harping at him for the last few weeks. Considering he forgot our engagement anniversary and didn’t get me a DSC01932present for Christmas, he wanted to make sure he got in early this time.

For his gift he wanted me to make a nice dinner and following by a Chocolate cake. I spent most of the last couple of days at work looking a different recipes online. I didn’t want to make a traditional chocolate cake, I wanted to make something a bit more special. I came across The Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie by Chocolate Covered Katie and thought I had to try this. I love vegan cheesecakes and pies. Whenever I get the chance to order one I always do. I never tried to make one myself so I thought this was my chance.

I adapted the original recipe a bit by making a brazil nut base and changing the amounts of ingredients a little to taste. This recipe was really easy to make and doesn’t take long to make at all. It was also really delicious and I swear you can’t taste the tofu. Marco didn’t even know that it was made of tofu and he can usually pick these things. He was a little disappointed he didn’t come home to a death by chocolate cake, but he still did like it. He also took a nice big piece to work and professed this afternoon that it was much better then he thought.

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Almost Raw Chocolate Cheesecake (vegan, no bake, gluten free)

Ingredients for base:

1 cup brazil nuts

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons cacao peanut butter

Ingredients for filling:

1 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Sweet Williams)

350g organic tofu (semi firm)

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 tablespoons cacao

3 tablespoons coconut oil

3 tablespoons plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate; more if you need)

Method:

1. First make the base by placing the brazil nuts in a process and wizz until they have broken down a little. Add the rest of the ingredients for the base into the processor. Don’t over process the brazil nuts too much, leave a little chunky.DSC01954

2. Take a springform baking pan and place baking paper on the bottom and grease the inside edges with coconut oil.

3. Place the base mixture into the pan and push down with a cake spatula, making sure that it is equally distributed.

4. Next prepare the filling. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler use a small heavy based pot and add a couple of tablespoons of milk, so that it doesn’t stick.DSC01963

5. In the processor add the tofu, melted chocolate and the remaining ingredients. Continue to process till smooth. While its processing you may have to wipe down the edges with a cake spatula so that all the ingredients combine well.

6. Pour the filling on top of the prepared base. Smooth the top with the cake spatula.

7. Place the cake into the fridge or freezer until ready to serve. The longer it sits the firmer it will get. I put mine into the freezer until it firmed up a little, then into the fridge and served about an hour later.

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Before I go I wanted to share a new vegan friendly cafe just down the road from my place. Pod Espresso is a little cafe in Stafford just of the main road. They serve great coffee, breakfast, lunch, desserts, cold press juices and smoothies. They are more then just a cafe, they are also an organic supermarket. They sell organic packaged and fresh products and were quite reasonably processed.  Marco and I went in for brunch last weekend. I wasn’t sure if they were vegan friendly, but I have seen many vegan options on their facebook page.

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On the day they only had a couple of breakfast options. I ordered the Avocado on Sour Dough with Dukkah, Rocket and Lemon juice. It was really delicious and a nice change from the usually Avo on Toast.

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Next I had to try their coffee and Vegan Mint Lamington. I haven’t had a lamington in years and I have never seen a vegan one before. This was absolutely delicious. I just wish Marco ordered his own so I didn’t have to share. The coffee was also great.

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We are very happy that we have such a nice cafe so close to home. Hope to visit Pod Espresso again soon.

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Pizza, Soup and a Chocolate Berry Breakfast Suprise

A  couple of nights ago we got invite out to dinner with some friends. But with the rainy weather and my cold feet about going somewhere that didn’t cater to me, we decided invited them over for homemade pizzas. We had some leftover pizza dough so last night I made the most delicious pizza with a few simple ingredients. This wasn’t the main event but to accompany this Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup.

For breakfast I prepared the most delicious overnight oats. I included a few extra healthy ingredients such as cacao, maca, chia seeds and goji berries.  I nice to be able to have guilt free chocolate oats for breakfast.

Just as I was writing this post, I got a call about a job. I’m going in for an interview tomorrow. I only send in an application yesterday to them for a different job, but they liked my previous work experience in mentoring and in a call centre. Fingers crossed they hire me!

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Browned Onion and Garlic Pizza (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

pizza dough for 1 pizza (wholemeal or gluten free)

1 large brown onion, thinly sliced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more to brush pizza)

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 tablespoon fresh/dried rosemary

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Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Heat a large pan with olive oil, then add the onion. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until onion has softened, but not browned (Its best to use a nonstick pan for this).

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3. In the meantime roll out pizza dough and place into a pizza pan/stone. Brush base with olive oil. (If you are using a pizza pan brush that with oil before placing the pizza ontop, so that the base will brown)

4. Take pan off the heat, then add garlic and stir though the onion.

5. Top pizza with the onion and garlic. Then sprinkle some rosemary, sea salt and black pepper.

6. Bake pizza for 15 mins or until the base is cooked and the onions are lightly browned.

*Makes 1 pizza

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Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 large brown onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 stalk of celery, diced

1 swede, diced

2 parsnips, diced

2 red skinned potatoes, diced

1 sweet potato, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground ginger

4 cups vegetable/vegan chicken liquid stock

sea salt to taste???????????????????????????????

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot, then add the vegetables and spices. Saute for a couple of minutes.

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2. Add the liquid stock and bring to the boil, then cover and place on a simmer. Cook for 20 mins or until the vegetables begin to soften.???????????????????????????????

3. Add the red lentils and sea salt if you need. Continue to cook covered on a simmer, until both the lentils have cooked and the vegetable are completely cooked.

4. Take off the heat and puree the soup with a bar mix, until you have the desired consistency. If the soup is too thick add some filtered water to thin it out.

5. Reheat on the stove to you are ready to serve.

*Serves 6

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Chocolate Berry Overnight Oats (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup instant/rolled oats, preferably organic

3/4 cup plant milk (coconut, rice or oat;  almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1/2 cup mixed frozen berries

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1/2 tablespoon maca powder (optional)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1.5  tablespoon maple syrup (I used blueberry maple syrup)

1 teapsoon goji berries to serve

1 teaspoon cacao nibs to serve DSC05483

Method:

1. Combine the oats, milk, frozen berries, cacao, maca, chia seeds and maple syrup in an airtight container and stir to combine all.

2. Seal the container and place in the fridge over night.

3. In the morning serve with goji berries and cacao nibs. If you don’t have these any other dried fruit, nuts and/or dark chocolate chips would go nice. If the consistency of the oats is too thick add a dash of milk.

*Serves 1

Raw Cherry Ripe Buckwheat Porridge

To finish off the last of my batch of buckwheat porridge I decided to make something different. I still had some cherries I froze from a few weeks back, so I tried to make a cherry ripe like layered dessert . I only made enough for one, so I think Marco is going to be very jealous when he sees this. It was such a filling breakfast, not sure if I’ll be able to have lunch today.

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Raw Cherry Ripe Buckwheat Porridge (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup raw buckwheat porridge

2 teaspoons cacao or cocoa powder (more to sprinkle)

1/2 cup pitted cherries (fresh/defrosted)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon toasted coconut

Method:

1. Combine the buckwheat porridge and the cocoa powder and stir through till it is brown.

2. In the processor add the pitted cherries. While it is still running add the coconut oil and toasted coconut. Whiz until it has combined and has a jam like consistencey.

3. Take a dessert glass and layer the buckwheat porridge and the cherry mixture. Top with with some cocoa powder and serve.

*Serves 1

Last night I was invited over to my mother’s partners house. Since Ted’s been having a few dinners over at my place, I suggested we go over to his for one of his curries and for some air con. He is Mauritian and makes beautiful Indian curries and chapati breads. Lately he has been making more Thai curries. So last night we had a Thai Green Curry with Tofu and Vegetables, Rice and Lentils. He made the spice paste from scratch and he made it vegetarian for me. It was really good! I really like the lentils as well. His family usually make this kinds of lentils on the side, just with garlic and ginger.  I am going to try get some recipes from him soon and try to cook some of them.

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Raw Buckwheat Breakfast Porridge

I discovered a new way to prepare buckwheat for breakfast. I saw this recipe, for Raw Buckwheat Breakfast Porridge, on Oh She Glows and finally got the courage to make it. I love Angela’s recipes. I have been a fan of hers for some time. She has some of the most creative and inventive vegan recipes I have ever seen. She also has an amazing story, so check her out.DSC02642

I was a bit worried that I didn’t have the right buckwheat. I never knew before that soaking them would make them go soft. I just had organic raw buckwheat from Woolworths. They looked the same as the ones Angela used, so I left them over night to soak and this is how they looked. They were tender, but if you apply a bit of pressure to them between your fingers they break.DSC02647

I actually made a half portion of this recipe, as I only had 1 cup of buckwheat left. Other then that I followed her recipe all the same. Once I rinsed the buckwheat well, I put them in my processor and added soy vanilla milk (use rice, oat, almond or soy), chia seeds, agave, vanilla extract and cinnamon. I processed them till the entire thing is nice and smooth.

To serve it I just added slices of banana, toasted slivered almonds and toasted shredded coconut.

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Later, when Marco came home I made him a portion as well. He wanted it to be more like a dessert, so made a Raw Chocolate Coconut Buckwheat Porridge. I added cocoa powder, more agave and toasted shredded coconut. He really liked it too, so I think this will be a regular for a while.

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Chocolate Orange Muffin with Coconut Orange Sauce

This experiment was dinner tonight. I’m alone and I wasn’t hungry enough to cook a meal. I wanted to make something sweet without sugar and to make use of the oranges that are going uneaten in my fridge. It is sugar free and oil free and can be made gluten free if you use gf flour & gf baking powder.

I used brown rice syrup instead of sugar, but after being cooked the muffins weren’t as sweet as the batter was . So I made a sauce that was originally meant to be a sugar free icing. It started with only coconut cream, brown rice syrup and orange juice. But then when it started to melt with the heat here, I thought I could add some coconut to thicken it up. It turned out to be a nice sweet sauce to go with the bitter chocolate orange flavor of the muffin.

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Chocolate Orange Muffin with Coconut Orange Sauce (gfo, sf, nf)

Ingredients:

1 cups unbleached white flour

1 cup wholemeal pastry flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup desiccated coconut

1 tablespoon orange zest (2 oranges)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

3 oranges

Ingredients for Coconut Orange Sauce:

10 tbsp coconut cream (chilled in the fridge)

4 tsp brown rice syrup

1 tbsp orange juice

½ cup desiccated coconut (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Take a bowl and sift the flours, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. Add salt, desiccated coconut,  orange zest and vanilla extract.

4. Take the 3 oranges and cut off the skin and all the white parts under the skin. Then use  a blender or bar mix to puree the oranges. Leave a little chunky.

5. Combine the orange puree and brown rice syrup with the rest of the mix.

6. Place the mixture into a prepared muffin tray and cook for 15 mins or until cooked inside. DSC01293

7. Meanwhile take a small bowl and add the coconut cream and beat with a fork. Then add remaining ingredients and place the sauce  in the fridge.

8. Once muffins have been cooled on a rack, serve with a dollop of the sauce.

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Minestra di zucca alla milanese with Buttery Biscuits and Chocolate gelato with choc chips

Today we had the kids stay over again. Marco had to work for most of the day. So we had fun eating, swimming, painting, watching movies and playing with the dogs. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but for the most part they were very good. I am so tired now. I never realized how much kids eat and snack a one day. There were so many dishes to do. To be honest, since I cook, Marco usually does the dishes, so I usually get off easy. But today I had to do it all myself and I really realized how many things I use it one day, then times it by 3.

For breakfast I made the kids Vanilla Maple Breakfast Polenta with topped with Blueberry Vanilla Chia Seed Jam. This jam is sensational! It is by Angela, from the blog Oh She Glows. When strawberries where cheap I made it with Strawberries, which was also really good. Strangely enough the kids didn’t like the warm jam. They rather more maple syrup to make it sweeter. For lunch one wanted sushi and one wanted fried rice. At least it was the same grain I was preparing. I separated the cooked rice and made half sushi rice and left the rest for fried rice. However, I didn’t realize I didn’t have any tuna until I was about to make the sushi. The little boy only eats tuna cucumber sushi and was very upset that I ‘lied’. Luckily he ended up eating the fried rice.

For dinner I made the recipes below. They didn’t like the pumpkin pasta soup, but they did love these biscuits. Marco and I both liked both. I think they are not use to the taste of nutritional yeast, which would be strange for anyone trying it for the first time. The soup didn’t really turn out like a soup. I suppose I could of added more water, but to be honest I was in a hurry trying to get it all ready. When kids are hungry they are relentless in telling you. Luckily I redeemed myself with dessert. After walking the dogs and hunting for Christmas lights this was a nice way to cool down.

The Minestra di zucca alla milanese is a veganised version from the Italian website, Giallo Zafferano. This is an ancient Milanese dish that uses a few simple ingredients to create something truly delicious. I never saw this on any menus while I was in Milan, so it must be a dish that is made at home. Its similar to pumpkin mac’n’cheese. I used butternut pumpkin, which made it quite sweet. I only needed to change the milk to soy, butter to vegan butter and Parmesan to nutritional yeast. I wanted to serve it with focaccia bread, but I completely forgot and then it was 6pm. So I made these Quick Buttery Biscuits from Chloe’s Kitchen. This was my first time making them and they are wonderful. The only thing I did differently was use wholewheat flour instead of plain flour.  I am so happy I  have tried this recipe as it is a good way to bring more comfort to a soup, stew or a grate snack with jam.

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Minestra di zucca alla milanese (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)

Ingredients:

600g butternut pumpkin

2 cups soy milk

sea salt to taste

40g vegan butter (nutlex)

200g lumache/ditali/other short pasta/gf short pasta

25g nutritional yeast (more to taste)

Method:

1. Wash and cut pumpkin into small pieces, remembering to remove the seeds and skin.DSC01000

2. Place pumpkin with a pinch of salt, in a steamer or boil in little bit of water, till soft. Then strain. DSC01001

3. Place pumpkin into a processor and blend till smooth.

4. Take a large pot and bring to the boil the soy milk. Then add mashed pumpkin and salt to taste.

5. Add the pasta and cook until pasta is cooked.

6. Add vegan butter and nutritional yeast. Adjust seasoning and serve. DSC01005

*Add more water for a more thinner consistency.

*Serves 4

Quick Buttery Biscuits (adapted from Chloe Coscarelli) (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups wholewheat flour (or unbleached plain flour or gluten free flour)

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon herbamare/salt

1/2 cup vegan butter + more to brush and serve

3/4 cup unsweetened plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

Method:

1. Take a large bowl and add flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk so it is all combined. DSC01003

2. Add vegan butter (don’t mix it too well). Then add soy milk and stir roughly with wooden spoon. (Chloe recommends not to over work it, so that butter is a bit lumpy)DSC01004

3. Place on a flourly board and roll into 2 oblong shapes. then cut them into pieces.DSC01012

4. Place pieces of dough onto a baking tray and brush with melted vegan butter (about 1 tbsp).

5. Cook in the oven for 12-15 mins then place on cooling rack, before serving.

* I made 10 biscuits.

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Chocolate Gelato with Choc chips (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 frozen bananas

1/2 can coconut cream (or just the solid cream part)

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

maple syrup to taste

vegan chocolate chips to taste (I used Sweet Williams)

Method:

1. Place banana and coconut cream in the processor and whiz till smooth.

2. While it is running add the cocoa powder and maple syrup.

3. Lastly add the chocolate chips so that it doesn’t get too blended. Serve with more chocolate chips.

Banana Chocolate Espresso Shake

Ok so I made my first Espresso Shake. I kept it simple, since I was a bit scared how it would taste. But now I think that espresso can be added to just about any milky smoothie. So no more having to choose between soy cap or fruit smoothie for breakfast anymore.  Only thing I would do differently is put some ice so that it is more cooler. The espresso warms there cold milk, so it becomes room temperature.

I am trying to cut down my caffeine consumption so maybe this will just been for my really sleepy mornings. I use to keep it to one a day, but then I went to Italy and go influenced by my aunt who lived on coffee and cigarettes. It was normal to have 3-6 shots a day and for some strange reason it didn’t stop me sleeping. But now in the real world I don’t sleep if I have coffee too late. Below is some pros and cons about coffee.

Banana Chocolate Espresso Shake (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 banana

1/2 glass plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1 shot of espresso

1 teaspoon raw cocoa powder

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Method:

1. Blend all the ingredients and serve.

Peanut butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I have a class party at uni,  so I wanted to make something I could actually eat. I hope everyone will like them and no one is allergic to peanuts. They taste pretty good, but I’m use to people not wanting to try things when I say they are vegan. So I might wait till people have started eating them, before I mention it. The last two times I’ve made cookies I made the silly mistake of not stirring the dry ingredients enough, so when they were ready there were a few salty bits. I think it must of been the  baking soda, it tasted really horrible. So fingers crossed I mix it enough today. For all my Australian friends, you have to try the Organic Macro Peanut Butter. Its 100% peanuts with nothing extra. In fact it doesn’t need anything else. It taste just as good as any brand, just without the extra oil, salt and sugar.

Peanut butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup raw sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or essence

1/2 cup plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons peanut butter

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Take a large mixing bowl and sift flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir it all through with wooden spoon.

3. Add sugar and stir through again.

4. Add vanilla essence, milk, and oil, and stir.

5. Add peanut butter and mix it through.

6. Lastly add chocolate chips and mix it through again.

7. Take some trays with baking paper. Make small balls and place them on tray and then flatten them a little to form a cookie.

8. Cook for 8 mins, then take out and put on a baking rack to cool for 10mins then serve.

This recipe makes 40 small cookies.