Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Divine vegan chocolate torte

Another recipe from the book for you. This one is gluten free and nut free and topped with a lovely, mousse-like tofu/chocolate frosting. And they wrote about it in the Illawarra Mercury today!

¼ cup (35 g) cocoa
1 cup (135 g) gluten-free flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (100 g) sugar
½ cup (120 g) silken tofu
¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup
¼ cup (60 ml) light oil, e.g. sunflower
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons double strength coffee, or coffee substitute

½ cup (120 g) silken tofu
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy or rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bar (100 g) chocolate

Oven: 180°C
Grease and line the base of a 23 cm round cake tin.
To make the torte, sift the cocoa, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Add the sugar. 
In a food processor or blender combine the tofu, maple syrup, oil, vanilla and cider vinegar and mix thoroughly until creamy. Add the coffee and blend again. 
Add this wet mixture to the bowl of sifted flour and whisk until smooth. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes or until cake comes a little away from the sides of the tin. Don’t expect the torte to rise like a sponge, it’s moist and dense and will stay flat, or even sink a little. 
Cool in tin. When cool, invert onto a plate.
For the frosting, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. In a food processor, blend the rest of the ingredients until very smooth. 
When the chocolate has melted add it to the mixture and blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula now and again. Transfer the mousse to a bowl and refrigerate for about an hour until it thickens. Then spread a thick layer on top of the torte.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Blueberry chia smoothie

It's high summer here in the southern hemisphere, so this morning I felt I should honour that with a change from my regular Chocolate Smoothie or Big Purple Vegetable Drink.

I know that blueberries are absolutely amazing (masses of antioxidants, help reduce blood glucose levels and may even help to ward off Alzheimers and dementia).

So I thought if I teamed them with my other favourite superfood chia seeds (bucketloads of Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals) I would be on to a nutrition-packed winner.

It might even taste good too!

Start out by soaking about 3 tablespoons chia seeds in a jar with about 1/4 cup water. After about 20 minutes, this will turn to a gel. Use what you need for the recipe below and store the rest in the fridge. Add to smoothies or just eat a spoonful now and again, it's perfectly pleasant and one of the nicest ways of getting Omega 3s into your diet.

makes enough for 1 serve

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (you could use water)
1/4 cup blueberries
1 banana
small handful of fresh greens - I used the baby leaves of spinach and silver beet (chard)
1 heaped tablespoon soaked chia seed gel

Blitz thoroughly in a blender.
It was delicious, by the way.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Vegan burger recipe

'Can you recommend a good vegan burger recipe?' I've had this question so many times, it seemed time to put one up on the blog. This is a yummy, infinitely variable recipe that changes every time I make it, so feel free to experiment.

The basic burger ingredients: 

protein (nuts, beans, tofu...)
starch (breadcrumbs or gluten free crumbs, cooked quinoa or rice...)
flavour (onion, celery, carrot, apple, herbs, spices, stock, salt and pepper)
something to hold it all together (egg replacer, tahini, flaxseed meal, stock) 

This is the way it came together this time: 

1 onion
1 stick celery
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 carrots
1 tin kidney beans
1 1/2 cups wholemeal breadcrumbs
2 cups almonds
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
egg replacer to equal 2 eggs

Finely chop the onion and celery and fry gently in the oil until translucent. 

Get a food processor out if you have one, it makes all the rest so much easier. 

Grate the carrots. Coarsely pulse the kidney beans, so that some look smushed up and some are relatively whole. Finely chop the bread into crumbs. Finely chop the almonds. 

Put all these ingredients into a big bowl. Add the spices and seasoning. 

Make up your liquid ingredients. So for this one I used egg replacer which was 2 teaspoons No-Egg and 2 tablespoons water whisked until fluffy. If you are using flaxseed meal - use about 2 tablespoons and mix to a runny paste with water. With tahini, mix with water - it will go thicker at first, then as you add more water, thin down again. 

Mix the wet and dry ingredients and work the mixture well, with your hands preferably, until quite squidgy and it clumps together easily. 

Form into burger shapes with your hands and press firmly into shape. Don't make them too small, or they will fall apart when cooking. You can keep them in the fridge for a few days like this. They also freeze ok. 

Fry in a hot pan on one side for about 3-4 minutes until the underside is brown and crispy, then turn and do the other side. I usually use the back of a metal spatula to press down on the top of the burger so that it spreads out a little bit in the pan. But be careful not to press too hard or it will fall apart. 
When both sides are done, turn down and cook a bit more to make sure the burger is heated all the way through. Or you could sear the outside, then transfer to an oven to cook through and keep warm until you need them. If you want to barbecue these burgers, they should work fine as long as you don't mess about with them too much. 

Serve with oven-baked wedges and home-made mustard mayonnaise. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Almond milk

1. Take 1 cup raw unpeeled almonds and soak overnight in filtered water.

2. Next morning, drain the water and place nuts or seeds in a blender.

3. Add 3 cups filtered water and blend until the nuts or seeds are as fine as possible.

4. Place a large piece of cheesecloth or muslin in a sieve over a large bowl.

5. Pour the blended mixture into the cloth-lined sieve and allow most of the liquid to drain through.

6. Here is the fun part! Wash your hands thoroughly or get food preparation gloves, and wear an apron. Gather up the edges of the cloth, twist the top and squeeze the bag with your hands to extract the rest of the liquid. Keep squeezing until all you have left is a bag of dryish nut fibre. You can use this as an addition to stews, pie fillings, cake mixtures or raw biscuits. Store it in the fridge.

7. If you wish to sweeten the milk, add vanilla, a little stevia or agave.

8. Bottle and store in the fridge. Use as fresh milk.

Green smoothie


2 cups water

2-4 pieces of fresh, seasonal fruit

2 big handfuls any kind greens (spinach, silverbeet, lettuce or even wild greens)

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Experiment with different fruits and greens – have a different one every day. You won’t believe how good green veggies can taste!

Wild Greens

You probably know that leafy green vegetables are really, really good for you, but did you know that the same goes for many wild greens, otherwise known as weeds?

Grass, dandelion, nettles, soursops and clover – as well as many other wild plants – are full of protein, vitamins and minerals, and can be harvested for free.

Just follow a few simple precautions:

  • Make sure you recognise the plant – the examples given above are all commonly known, but if you want to try other plants, get a book which tells you which are edible and which are poisonous! 
  • Harvest plants by picking the leaves, don’t pull the plant up by the roots.
  • Harvest well away from roads.
  • Don’t harvest from a place where sprays are used – always check first.