Yay! It’s the weekend at last! For those of you who are planning to spend their Friday night watching films or their favourite shows, I happen to have a perfect little snack. It’s easy to make and super tasty. I made a big batch of sweet’n’salty maple-miso caramel popcorn. Man, it’s sooo good. It isn’t exactly health food, but it is certainly way less unhealthy than its non-vegan equivalent. This version uses no refined sugar, coconut cream instead of a dairy cream and a bit of almond butter instead of regular butter. Not too bad, is it? I borrowed the idea of adding miso to my caramel from Aussie Masterchef and this flavour combo is a definite keeper! It gives sweet caramel a bit of a ‘je ne sais quoi’, as I like to call it, or ‘umami’ as it’s conventionally called. The only drawback is that this stuff is a bit addictive! – sorry about that, next week will be all about healthy stuff! Promise! 😉
I’ve always loved sushi, but eating so much white rice always makes me feel a bit guilty. My today’s take on sushi is a tad healthier yet just as tasty. It features red Thai rice, which is certainly way more nutritious. According to this website, it is very rich in manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and molybdenum (each cup providing between 80-20 percent of the daily value for each of those minerals). It also contains useful if smaller quantities of zinc and potassium, plus a lot of fibre. Knowing this makes me feel less guilty about scoffing a plate of red rice futomaki rolls for my lunch or dinner.
Another cheesecake? I hear you say…I’ve been working on a perfect oil-free cheesecake recipe for so long that now, that I’ve finaly hit the jackpot, I was dying to try other flavours out. As strawberries are in season at the moment, I figured that strawberry cheesecake should be very well received. Once again, it took a few trials to get the amount of agar agar spot on as strawberries have a surprising amount of water in them, it turns out, but I’ve done it. It’s smooth, creamy, fragrant and very strawberry 🙂 . This time, I have gone for a fully fledged cake rather than cute individual cheesecakes. As you might have noticed, I like baking small and cute things. I don’t know why that is? I reckon some part of me secretly believes that having one small (teeny weeny) cheesecake is not as bad as having a slice of a big guy. I know it doesn’t make sense, but hey, I often don’t… 😉 so here is a big (ish) cheesecake for you.
Apparently, last Friday was International Hummus Day, did you know that? I don’t know if it is just me but I cannot ever keep up with all these International Food Days – every day appears to be celebrating something else and I always find out about these things too late. Who comes up with all these strange celebrations anyway? I have a sneaky feeling I know the answer to that…Anyway, for me almost every day is a hummus day so I don’t need much of an excuse. Inspired by Australian Masterchef, which I’m currently watching with passion (what a crazy way to relax for a food blogger, eh?), I’ve whipped up a bowl of creamy carrot hummus with a side of crispy quinoa cumin crackers. The crackers are inspired by those I saw on said Masterchef. They looked really tasty and earned the maker of the dish, Olivia, a lot of praise so I thought I will try to re-create them in my own kitchen. Cumin and carrots make a great combo so carrot hummus it is.
I am insanely excited to share this recipe with you today. It was a true labour of love and at some point, I wasn’t sure if I am ever going to have a ‘cheesecake’ recipe I’ll be proud enough to share. When it comes to my previous attempts, there were a few issues at play. I do not own a Vitamix or an equally powerful blender so in order to get my cashews blended super smooth, I had to add quite a lot of liquid to them. Normally, this could be remedied by using coconut oil as part of that liquid, which solidifies in cold temperatures giving a cheesecake its texture, but I was not terribly keen on this idea. As I live on a small island, sometimes it is really difficult to get some things here. The only type of coconut oil I was able to buy was an extra virgin coconut oil, which is healthier but it makes everything taste and smell of coconut. Secondly, I simply couldn’t bring myself to add oil to a dessert that is already pretty indulgent. My heart was set on either making a creamy cheesecake with no oil at all…or nothing
Pad Thai (or Phad Thai) has been one of my favourite dishes for a while now. Apparently, it’s also one of the most popular Thai dishes outside Thailand so I’m hoping this simple recipe will be a welcome addition to the blog. It’s one of these dishes that are not that difficult to veganise. I used a colourful array of crunchy veg in my version, but golden-fried tofu cubes would be great addition too. The only reason I did not include tofu is that I simply ran out. The most tricky thing to replace is the fish sauce. This ubiquitous Thai condiment gives this and other Thai dishes their rounded flavour. If there is a will there is a way though. You can either buy a non fish-based fish sauce or simply prepare your own by infusing soy sauce (or tamari) with a bit of seaweed and dried mushrooms. If it sounds like too much effort and you’re only after a quick lunch, just use a straight soy sauce instead…You’ll still be licking your lips after, promise!
Brownies have always been one of my favourite sweet treats. Today, after quite a few rounds of testing (which wasn’t all that bad), I bring you a tray of perfect fudgy vegan brownies. They are crispy on the inside and fudgy on the inside, the way every good brownie should be. They are intensely chocolatey, come together quickly and due to their small size, bake so quickly that you’ll have plenty of time to make yourself a cup of coffee before they are out of the oven. The key to the fudgy interior is taking them out of the oven just in time. They may look underdone as the tops harden and crisp up as the brownies cool down, but trust me – they are not. They are heavenly!
Today’s recipe is a quick and easy affair. It also happens to be very nutritious. Half a portion contains 15 g of protein, which is approximately 1/3 of your daily recommended allowance. It makes a great lunch and breakfast alike. I like its taste and convenience as I am a little snowed under lately. I’m putting finishing touches to a big project, so aside from the meals I make for the blog, I try to keep it simple. This one went down so well with Duncan and myself that we have pronounced it blog-worthy. I’ve taken the liberty to call it ‘Greek’ chickpeas on toast as I used cinnamon in the tomato sauce, which is something Greeks do a lot and despite my initial scepticism it works really well. I’ve embellished this delicious dish with plump Greek (of course) olives. They provide a salty accent against a delicately sweet tomato sauce. Finally, my recommendation is to serve this on good quality bread. We are spoilt for choice here as all the local bakeries make an array of beautiful breads. We went for slices of toasted sourdough as it provides a pleasant crunchiness against melt-in-the-mouth beans.
After Tuesday’s cupcake indulgence, I have a healthy and super easy recipe for you today. It’s an idea for a healthy breakfast. It’s not a new idea by any means, but I’ve fancied doing my own take of it for a while now. Now that it has finally got warm, I’ve decided to give it a go. Turns out that Duncan isn’t much of a fan of smoothie bowls as, in his mind, they mean a ‘hungry 30 mins later’ kind of breakfast. I quite like them, especially in warm weather when your body naturally craves lighter and more hydrating meals. And I never go hungry as I pack them full of fibre, fruit and nuts. Plus, for me, a smoothie bowl is a perfect opportunity to smuggle some powerful leafy greens into your daily diet without much sacrifice.
I could hardly wait to share this recipe with you as I think you’ll love these syrup-infused orange semolina cupcakes! Last time I baked these was before I went vegan and I remember it well for a reason. I made them into a cake for the French TV crew who came to film us for an episode of a French travel show Echappées Belles. The episode was about several Cycladic Islands and foreigners who chose to live on them. The producers seemed quite keen on our back story of escaping the rat race in the search of Aegean-tinted bliss.