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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Cups

These were absolutely delicious, and easy to put together! But if you can't temper chocolate.... don't try this!

Make sure you have either a muffin tray or a mini cupcake tray (I used a mini cupcake tray)
You will also need either muffin liners or mini cupcake liners depending on what tray you're using.
Recipe will make about 20 mini peanut butter cups, or 8-10 muffin sized cups

You will need:

Two cups of well chopped Dark Chocolate for tempering

Peanut butter filling:
1 cup of peanut butter - smooth
1 cup of soft icing sugar
2 teaspoons of maple syrup
3 tablespoons of almond milk


line trays with liners and set aside
temper a third of the chocolate in a glass bowl over boiling water, keep stirring until smooth.
place a small amount of chocolate into the bottom of each liner (just enough to cover the bottom)
gently tap the tray against the kitchen bench a few times to release any bubbles.
Place muffin/cupcake tray in the fridge to set

Cream peanut butter filling ingredients and form into balls just big enough to fit in your liner (with enough of a gap to fill up with chocolate on the sides)
slightly flatten each ball and place in the center of the cupcake liner, then place back in the fridge

temper remaining chocolate and pour into each liner until chocolate reaches the top of the liner
place back into the fridge to completely set

done. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fluffy Pancakes

Recipe yields about 8 6" pancakes.

2 C Plain Flour
4 TBSP Baking powder
2 C Soy milk
4 TBSP vegetable oil
4 TBSP maple syrup or agave nectar
1 TBSP vanilla essence

In a bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder.
Add wet ingredients and whisk into a paste (Should be thick, but still run off a spoon) If too thick, add more soy milk.
Whisk until combined - do not overwhisk! A few bumps are OK.

Ladle into a buttered(vegan) pan and cook until bubbled through, then flip.

Serve with maple/agave syrup, butter, berries and lemon juice. Or whatever you want to eat them with!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Raw Almond Milk

You will need:
1/2 cup of RAW almonds + water for soaking
1 cup of fresh water
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp of Vanilla
(Optional) Agave nectar for sweetening

Soak almonds for roughly 8 hours in water
Peel the skins off your soaked almonds -  I'm not even sure that this step is necessary because when you strain it at the end it will probably pick all that stuff, but I did it anyway. If you pinch/rub the almond between your index finger and thumb the but basically 'pops' out of the brown skin.
Place almonds with fresh water into a blender and blend on high for 5+ minutes.
To get a smooth milky consistency, you can either drain almond milk through a cheesecloth, or do what I did and throw it in a coffee plunger! Worked a treat.
Add salt and vanilla. Taste - if you find you want it sweeter, add small amounts of agave at a time and keep tasting it until it's how you want it.
If you want more milk, you can add extra water to the mixture, but I like mine nice and creamy.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines Day Cherry Ripe Bites

I made these for Mr. Monster and myself as a treat on valentines day, the easiest part was the cherry filling..... please take caution when trying to make anything chocolate coated, there will be plenty of mistakes and frustrations!

Cherry ripe filling:
1/2 cup of glace cherries (up to 1 cup if you want it to be more cherryish)
4 cups of Shredded Coconut

Condensed milk:
3/4 cup of soy milk or coconut cream
1 tablespoon of Xantham gum
1 tablespoon of Agar Agar powder
2 tablespoons of cherry(or strawberry) essence
1 teaspoon of red food colouring

Chocolate coating:
700g Dark Vegan Cooking chocolate
2 tablespoons of grated vegetable shortening.

Firstly make your condensed milk:
Gently boil soy milk/coconut cream in a pan over medium heat
once boiling take off heat and whisk in Xantham gum, Agar Powde, Essence and colouring into milk until thick.

Blend 2 cups of shredded coconut and the glace cherries in a food processor until well combined, add this and the remaining shredded coconut to the condensed milk and combine.
Shape into balls (or hearts) and place in the freezer to harden.

Temper chocolate:
break up your cooking chocolate into similar sized pieces and place in a glass or plastic bowl which is sitting over a pot of boiling water, you do not want to cook your chocolate directly in a pan or you will burn it.
Add shortening and keep mixing until melted - do not attempt to add any milk (or get any water in it) or your chocolate will clump up and harden and be completely spoilt!

Take cherry mixture out of the freezer, skewer the ends with toothpick (much like fondue) and coat cherry mixture in chocolate, place on a baking sheet to set, or into the fridge for a quicker setting time.
You can also do up a few fresh strawberries the same way, they taste delicious!!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mexican Baked Potatoes

This one is pretty simple, but extremely tasty. It's basically just a fancy baked potato because I was craving something naughty, but needed to put a good twist on it. It's a baked potato stuffed and topped with Mexican 'mince', salsa and avocado.

The easiest way to bake your potatoes is in their skin. Place a small/medium potato on a lined baking tray (one which fits nearly into your hand is ideal size) and spray lightly with soy spray to keep from burning, also prick deeply with a fork so that it cooks better.
Potatoes should be cooked for roughly 1 hour at 180-190C or until a skewer can easily penetrate the potato (You don't want it too soft or it will fall apart)
I only made it through one potato, Mr. Monster made it through 3..... so I'd suggest maybe preparing two per person to be on the safe side. They'd make good leftovers!
Once cooked take out of the oven and leave to the side while you prepare the toppings/fillings for them because they'll stay hot for quite a while.

For the mince, you will need:
1 cup of 4 bean mix
1 tin of refried beans
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
oil for frying
mexican spice (I used a sachet of taco seasoning)

To cook:
Place onion, oil and garlic in a pan, fry until translucent - add spices, 4 mean mix and carrot, cook for a further few minutes.
When ready to be taken off the heat add refried beans and mix until well incorporated
done, set your mince aside.

You can make it yourself, or buy a tin of it like I did

1 mashed avocado with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to keep it lovely and green should feed two people (4-5 potatoes)

To assemble:
gently cut open your potato, take a small amount out of the center to place your bean mix in. I prefer to keep most of the potato to eat, and opt to overload and top it more than fill it, who cares, you're only eating it... right!?
Then add your salsa and avocado. You could add vegan sour cream or cheese if you wanted, but I was trying to opt for lower fat. I also garnished with spring onion as it's super tasty and finishes the dish off.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter/Vanilla frosting and Chocolate Ganache

Made these for a friends birthday, they went down a treat. Must say I had trouble getting through one of them though!
Recipe makes about 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the peanut buttercream:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup vegan margarine
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp soy milk

Vanilla buttercream:
1 cup of vegan margarine
3 cups of powdered sugar
2 tbsp of vanilla
3 tbsp soy milk

Vegan Ganache:
1/2 cup of dark cooking chocolate (vegan)
2 tbsp vege oil
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 tablespoons of soy milk

To prepare Buttercream:
Beat peanut butter and butter until smooth, add vanilla and soy milk, once soft beat in icing sugar until light and fluffy

for vanilla, same concept except without the peanut butter

To prepare cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a muffin pan with liners (I always lightly spray with cooking spray too).
Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until no lumps remain (a few small ones are ok)
Pour batter into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

To prepare ganache:
Temper chocolate in a glass bowl over boiling water, when melted add remaining ingredients. Lightly drizzle over prepared cupcakes.

For the two tone effect you need to set up two different piping bags (1 with peanut butter, 1 with vanilla) and then place them both into 1 prepared piping bag with the nozzle you wish to use.
If unsure you can always google great tutorials on how to do this, it's simple once you get the hang of it
Drizzle prepared cupcakes with ganache, this will harden some on cooling.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vegan Fridge Items

I thought it would be best to actually discuss the basics of my fridge. I find that I get a lot of messages in regards to how to go about starting a vegan diet, it's not hard by any means, and I guess posting pictures and explanations of the foods which I keep in my Fridge might bring that home for anyone who is curious, my fridge looks pretty similar to what most other peoples should. I should have gotten a photo of my Fridge door also, but it only holds soy milk and water.

One of the most basic products that a person will have in their house. But many people think this is something vegans cannot eat? Most of them are safe, unless you purchase a 'fancy' type which has added extras like honey, or whey, but this is easily checked by looking at the ingredients.
Want to get this vegan at the shops? Look out for Helgas brand, they're vegan friendly!

Another basic fridge item, there are additives which will easy make this product unsafe for vegans, such as the obvious - DAIRY.
Want to get this vegan at the shops? Look out for Nuttelex, it's dairy free and safe for vegans!

The great thing about fruits is that it's all safe for vegans! You don't have to buy a million different kinds of fruits every week, you can just mix it up week to week depending on what is on special at the time. Some of the fruits I have almost every week in my fridge include Bananas, raspberries, blueberries, and apples. They're a great and quick snack item.

Tofu is something which is ALWAYS in my fridge. If I want to add it to stir fry's I stick to extra firm organic tofu's, if I want to add it as a base for cheesecakes, sauces or dips, I will purchase a silken tofu. Trust me... there is a difference!

Mock Meats
I would almost go as far to say this is a must for anyone transitioning from an omnivorous diet to a vegan/vegetarian diet. For us long-time vegans, sometimes it's nice to get them to mix things up a little bit. There is a lot of debate regarding whether vegans should eat anything resembling meat... but that argument is made invalid by the fact that most people don't go vegan/vegetarian because they hate the taste of meat..more-so for their health, or ethical reasons in regards to the slaughter of animals.
It's always good to have some handy for a quick 'meat' and 3 veg style meal. Be careful, there are many mock meats on the market which are not vegan friendly and contain either whey or egg white powder.
Want to get this vegan at the shops? Look for Frys, Eatwell or Linda McCartney. Some of the Sanitarium range is vegan such as their roast and soy sausages.

Pretty Obvious, right? Try and keep a good supply of these in the fridge. Some of my regulars include: Pumpkin, Zuchinni, Carrot, Mushroom, Squash, Eggplant and Corn. Also make sure you have some green leafy vegetables such as Spinach - Very important!

Not a necessary item, but a good one nonetheless. Here in the fridge I have Semi-Dried Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, and chargrilled eggplant. They all make for a mean sandwich, wrap, pizza, or even snack! I like to keep some on hand for all of the above.

Sandwich Spreads
Another which is always popular. I'm just going to go ahead and list some vegan options for these: Kraft Peanut Butter (smooth or crunchy), Sweet Williams Mud, Vegemite, Most preserves (check ingredients to be safe), Most pickled products, Corn Relish, Praise 97% fat Free Mayo......

That's all for now. Keep your eyes peeled for my next blog entry... I'll make my pantry a little more presentable and do a write up on the bare essentials I keep.
Hope you've enjoyed reading, if you have any queries, please comment below and I'll do my best to answer/help out :)