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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.