Archives for category: sweets

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I just got back (well, on Monday) from two weeks in Canada.  I spent the first week in Vancouver, where I found some yummy things to eat.  I had some time to kill on my first day before I could check into my hotel, so I walked to Kokomo in Chinatown and ate a Breaky Bowl, featuring tofu scramble, spicy tempeh crumble, roasted squash, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, rice and seeds.  A very healthy and tasty start to the day (and a nice change from airplane food!).

The next day I planned a walk specifically to grab brunch at Edible Flours, a vegan bakery in Kitsilano.

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So many vegan treats, both savoury and sweet, and several gluten free options. Not a great photo (below) because of the reflections, but you get the idea.

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I had a spinach, tofu and artichoke roll (right) and a cinnamon roll (left) with a coffee: from memory, an oatmilk latte.  All were delicious.

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Then it was time for the conference which I had come to Vancouver to attend.  Imagine my joy when I noticed that there was a hole-in-the-wall selling vegan puddings, just across the road from the conference venue!

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The people at Vegan Pudding & Co are really onto something. I had a strawberry pudding, topped with whipped coconut cream and double-chocolate sauce.  It was rich and creamy and I wish I could eat another one right now.

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My last lunch in Vancouver was at Nemesis where I had the vegan version of the Raddest Cauli Hash.

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My friend had the non-vegan version and she was jealous:  I got avocado on top of mine and a really fresh pesto underneath. This dish was a really nice mixture of flavours, colours and textures.

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My kid #1 informed me that she wanted to make toffee for her Dad for Father’s Day this year. He is very fond of hard English toffee, which is almost impossible to buy here in Australia. We had tried to make toffee for him once before, and it turned out a bit burnt. How did we go on the second attempt?

I used the same recipe again: the plain toffee recipe from One Green Planet. The main difference was that I was much more relaxed about the whole process. Having tried it before, I knew that it would take a long time: in fact, I was stirring the pot for about an hour. I gave up on having the sugar thermometer attached to the side of the saucepan (with a clip that it has on the back), because I was worried that the bulb wasn’t really covered by the mixture. So I just lay it into the saucepan on an angle, and stood it upright from time to time to check the temperature.

I am very happy to report that the resulting toffee does not taste burnt!  It tastes sugary and buttery, like proper hard English toffee that you can buy in the UK. And it’s vegan! Hooray.

Pana Chocolate

I did a favour for a work colleague, and he bought me a box of chocolates from Pana Chocolate as a thank-you. These are amazing chocolates from Melbourne, and happily for me they can be purchased in Sydney too. Flavours included pink lemonade, turkish rose, caramel lava drop and chocolate orange bomb. These really are special chocolates.

vegan english toffee

My partner is English, and though he doesn’t really have a sweet tooth (compared to me!), he does really like toffee. But we can never buy toffee for him in Australia which is as hard as the English toffee that he likes. For his birthday this year, rather than go on a wild goose chase to sweet shops looking for proper hard English toffee, I decided that we would make some. That meant, it would be vegan (and I could eat it too!).

After some googling I decided to use the “plain toffee” recipe from One Green Planet. Luckily I had recently bought a candy thermometer for my homemade vegan marshmallow experience. I used a mixture of brown sugar and raw sugar (since I ran out of brown sugar!) and I just used Nuttelex (lite) for the vegan butter. (Nuttelex is an Australian vegan margarine.)

making toffee

I found it a relatively terrifying process, especially when the kids wanted to keep checking up on how the toffee was doing. It’s the closest most of us ever come to cooking with boiling lava, I guess. This is the first time I’ve made toffee as an adult (I vaguely think I may have helped Mum make some at some point). There was a LOT of stirring, and stirring, and wondering if the toffee would overflow the pan (I poured the bubbling mixture into a bigger pan halfway through, then had to attach the candy thermometer to the new pan while continuing to stir! not recommended). Finally, the temperature reached the line marked “HARD CRACK” on the thermometer, so I added the vanilla and poured the toffee into a prepared tray. Sure enough, after some time in the fridge it really did set into hard, proper English toffee.

Cracking the toffee into bits was great fun: my nearly-8 year old particularly enjoyed that part. I’ll admit that the toffee does taste slightly burnt: I was concerned that the temperature wasn’t climbing high enough, so I turned the heat up a little too far. Now I know to just trust, and keep stirring. But my partner is very impressed with our homemade toffee, and we all think it tastes delicious.

Homemade vegan marshmallows

It’s been a bit healthy around here lately… we can’t have that! So yesterday I made vegan marshmallows using this recipe from Seitan is my Motor. It’s another use of the magic chickpea liquid that makes vegan meringues.

I’ve never made marshmallow before, and it was an interesting process with a couple of surprises. At one point you have to put some sugar, syrup (I used glucose syrup) and water into a saucepan. I had first poured in the sugar, then syrup on top, and then water. When the water hit the sugar, the sugar started dissolving and let out air bubbles, which rose up slowly through the thick syrup like bubbles in hot mud in New Zealand somewhere. That’s some kind of science at work there. (This was before the saucepan went on the heat.)

I’m pleased with how these marshmallows turned out. They aren’t as light as store-bought marshmallows, and they’re a bit more rubbery (my 6-year-old said they were more like a jelly) but with all that sugar, they can’t fail to be delicious. Next time I might try adding some food colouring and maybe some flavours (maybe a drop of rosewater).