Archives for category: snack

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Pana Chocolate is a little bit too good. Their chocolate is “raw, organic, handmade, vegan, no dairy, no soy, gluten free, no refined sugar”… and delicious. It is made in Melbourne but you can buy it at various stockists around Australia.

My previous experience with their chocolate was limited to receiving a wonderful gift box from a work colleague… until recently. It happened like this: The supermarket where I usually shop used to sell some vegan chocolate that I liked, but lately they’re not stocking it.  So I had to look further afield, namely, the nearby health food store. The health food store sells many flavours of Pana Chocolate bars like these. Now I am obsessed.

The Orange flavour is amazing and is my favourite, but I also like Strawberry and Pistachio and the Sour Cherry and Vanilla you see in the picture.

Their chocolate is covered with hearts and the message “Love the Earth”.  Well, I love Pana Chocolate.

PS  When I decided to become vegan, more than 4 years ago, I thought it meant giving up chocolate. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!  (-:

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These are gooey black bean brownies from a recipe by Ella Woodward. Some of Ella’s recipes appeared in the paper when I was last in the UK, nearly 18 months ago, and my mother-in-law showed them to me. I was intrigued by this particular recipe, which uses black beans to make brownies. I finally got around to making them, and I’m still not entirely sure what I think of them, to be honest.

The recipe is… odd. It calls for an enormous amount of apple puree, an enormous amount of milk and quite a lot of maple syrup. I cut back on all of these, because I was worried about how sloppy the mixture was getting, and I didn’t want it to be too sweet. I had already messed with the recipe by using almond pulp instead of ground almonds, as part of my eternal quest for ways to use up almond pulp.

Perhaps I should have used a smaller sized baking tray, given that I’d reduced the volume, so it’s not surprising that my brownies turned out quite flat. They’re certainly gooey: mine are so moist that I had to use baking paper to stop them sticking together when I packed them into a container. (Maybe I should have cooked them longer?)

I kind of like these brownies, but they really are a little odd.  Maybe they’re just too moist for me. Ella is right, you can’t taste the black bean, even with the reduced amount of maple syrup that I used. I’m not entirely sure that I’d make this recipe again, though it was an interesting thing to try.

 

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I needed a beetroot recently but had to buy a bunch of three. I roasted the remaining beetroot and used most of it to make a big batch of Minimalist Baker’s roasted beetroot hummus. I used about half the lemon zest suggested by the recipe (because I only had one lemon and was making a double batch). I believe that it’s fine to freeze hummus so I’ve got half of this beautiful stuff in the freezer, and have been enjoying the other half on crackers and as a sandwich spread. What a gorgeous colour!

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Earlier this year, I received a bundt cake mould for my birthday. Today I realised that I still hadn’t used it. So I made this soft molasses gingerbread cake from Veganissimo! by my sister, Leigh Drew.

Instead of blackstrap molasses I used treacle (are they the same thing?… very dark liquid sugary stuff, anyway). I didn’t have any flaxseed meal, which is there to bind the cake together. So I tried to grind up some white chia seeds, which should be able to play the same role. But the chia seeds didn’t seem to want to grind up! so I just gave up and added them to the cake looking almost whole. They seemed to do the necessary, because this cake has a lovely soft texture and a very warm flavour from all the spices.

I admit that I did not include any crystalised ginger because (a) I don’t really like it, (b) I didn’t think my kids would like it, (c) I didn’t have any in the house or (d) all of the above. [Answer: (d)]

I decided to make the (optional) lemon icing, but my icing was a little too runny so it doesn’t look quite as artistic as the photo in the cookbook, which you can see on this blog post from veganopoulous.com.  It doesn’t matter at all, because the cake really is the star attraction. My eldest child said “It’s really yum”, and that seems to sum it up.

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As soon as I read this recipe one One Green Planet, I knew that I had to try it.  I’d never made a cheese using chickpea liquid before. The recipe was very easy to make, combining soaked cashews with the chickpea liquid, and some flavourings, before stirring over heat to make the mixture thicken, then cooling overnight. As you can perhaps see from the photos,  what I ended up with was a kind of soft spreadable cheese… and that’s fine with me.

The cheese is tasty, though mild. Next time I make it I might try increasing the quantity of lemon juice and nutritional yeast a bit. But it definitely pressed all the right buttons when served with tomato slices, home-grown basil and olive oil.

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Next I tried the mozzarella in a toasted sandwich. It didn’t form any long strings when I bit into it but it tastes cheesey and comforting. Again, this is totally fine by me. I guess the next step would be to try it on a vegan pizza.

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Just about every week I make a batch of fruity seedy biscuits, to use up almond pulp from homemade almond milk. I posted a recipe last year, but thought I’d give you an updated recipe to show you the variation which has become my favourite: the short version is that it involves cocoa powder, dates and some cranberries.   With no added sugar, these biscuits  are tasty little slow-release energy bombs to power me through busy afternoons at work.

Ingredients:

These go into the food processor:

  • pulp from 1 cup of almonds (leftover from making almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit: I like medjool dates with a couple of tablespoons of cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • about 3 tablespoons raw cacoa powder (or cocoa powder)
  • pinch of salt

These are mixed in later:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats,
  • 1/4 cup mixed seeds (I use pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds),
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or canola oil,
  • 1 tablespoon of apple sauce (or more if the mixture needs help sticking together)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the almond pulp, flour, baking powder, cacao/coca powder and salt in a food processor. If the dates are soft they can go straight into the processor: otherwise, soak them and the cranberries in some warm water for a couple of minutes to soften, then drain and add to the processor.

Process the mixture until the fruit is broken up and the mixture starts to clump together. The mixture should be moist and hold together if you press it.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well: I usually use my hands, to work the moisture through the mixture evenly.  Form the mixture into a big ball.

From the ball of mixture, rip off biscuit-sized pieces and roll into balls, squish down a bit, and put on the baking tray. Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes or so, until they are starting to brown on top. Leave to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack.

 

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Ah, Melbourne. I love visiting Melbourne, where I lived for three happy years, quite a long time ago now. I love walking around the streets of Carlton, Fitzroy, Collingwood… and I really love going to new vegan food places. I’d heard so many good things about Smith & Deli, on Moor St, not far from Brunswick St in Fitzroy… I knew I had to try it. By chance I got there just before 11:30am, which is when their extensive sandwich options become available: more than 30 sandwiches to choose from! You can see the two blackboards full of sandwich choices in the photo above. Everything in the whole place is vegan. Bliss.

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I chose the Temple of Doom: (vegan) turkey, jalapenos, roasted corn, pickled cabbage, (vegan) cheese and chipotle aioli. So good! So delicious! I savoured every moment of eating this sandwich, sitting on a bench in a nearby park among the autumn leaves.

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You can buy lots of other treats at Smith & Deli, including croissants!  I chose a chocolate croissant and enjoyed it immensely. It was my first croissant since I became vegan more than 3 years ago, in fact. Now I just have to figure out when and how I can get back to Melbourne to work my way through more sandwich options…. or possibly to book a table at Smith & Daughters. One day…