Plummy Blueberry Cherry Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been a while since I’ve made one of my famous raw cakes, much to the distress of my poor husband, who then has to resort to junk-food sweets to stave off his inner sugar-monster. Part of the problem has been my new blender. I was kind of dreading facing the reality of having swapped out a seriously mean machine for a pathetic piece of you know what.

It’s part of being a mum. When your son says how much he loves and misses the blender (after he moves out) and you know he probably won’t eat fruit otherwise, it’s hard not to resist giving him the mean machine. The things that love does. Sigh. Continue reading

Lavender Fudge Cheesecake

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1 cup macedamia nuts

1/4 cup toasted buckwheat groats

1 tablespoon of unhulled tahini

8 pitted medjool dates

Put all of these ingredients in your food processor and crush/blend until the mix looks like cooked cake crumble or fresh bread crumbs. To check whether you need more dates, pinch some of the mix between your fingers to see if it squeezes together and holds together if you roll it into a ball in your hand. A taste test at this stage helps too! Is it sweet enough for you?

“Why do they have to be medjool dates?” my husband asks.

“Because they are THE dates. Manna from heaven!”, I replied. They aren’t just sweet, they make everything stick together. It’s got to be sticky enough to firm a fairly firm base in the bottom of your dessert dish, without being too sweet. Add coconut oil or prunes for extra moisture if your food processor isn’t powerful enough to pull this off. Not water- that makes the cakes icy instead of creamy. These are freezer cakes, so keep in mind that they won’t shrink and pop neatly out of a cake tin when you turn it upside down, so be clever about the dish you choose to put your mix into.

MIDDLE

1/2 – 1 *banana

1 cup of walnuts

1 cup of cashews

12 pitted medjool dates

Vanilla essence or seeds (a splash or 1-2 seedpods)

*Bananas are surprisingly strong in aroma and taste, so their use needs to be careful, if you don’t want it to over-power other flavours, but they do give you more bulk without needing extra nuts. If you don’t like the taste of banana in this cake, replace the banana with another cup of nuts

Blend everything in the food processor. Keep going until it clumps together and becomes fairly smooth. I actually prefer texture in most of my meals/dishes, so I don’t make it completely smooth. More moisture does help with smoothness so if you prefer your cakes this way, add coconut oil or use cashew butter instead of cashews.

Remove 1/4 of the mix and put it aside (in the freezer) to use as the base for the ‘icing’ (the top layer).

Now add 1 tablespoon of cocoa or cacao powder to the remaining mix and blend again (Use even more if you really love chocolate and your food processor is tough!) Yum! Spread this mix over the base layer and put your dish into the freezer.

TOP

1 tablespoon of melted cacao butter

1 tablespoon or more of lavender flowers

You can adjust the lavender quantity and add more, but lavender is powerful, so a little bit goes a long way. Stir these ingredients into the 1/4 mix you had set aside in the freezer. If you want some more vibrant colour in this layer, mash/stir/blend in some blueberries.

Spread this mix over the middle layer of your cake and your cake is finished! Put your cake in the freezer over-night and serve the next day. These cakes can last months in the freezer, but do keep them covered.

My daughter (the tea-tasting expert) suggests having a cup of lavender or cocoa husk tea with this cake. We love cake with tea! The flavour balancing is so much fun!

Enjoy

Love Om

Flowers and Berries Ice-cream Cake

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Being a herbalist I often don’t see much distinction between food and herbs. They all contain the same phytochemicals and can have a therapeutic effect, they are simply used in different ways. Many herbs used in herbal medicine are also considered foods and visa versa, such as oats, nettles, dandelion leaves, artichoke, aniseed, rosemary, turmeric, alfalfa, fennel, ginger, garlic, kelp, tamarind, peppermint and so on. For me, the lines tend to blur between them at times. I delight in pondering the herbal actions of specific foods and exploring the food-like uses and qualities of herbs. And when I’m in the kitchen, this merging of herbs and food can be a lot of fun! Continue reading

Scrambled Tofu and a discussion about soy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made some yummy scrambled tofu today. I made up my own recipe. First I sautéed some garlic, using extracted oil for a change, instead of cooking with water. It’s a lovely treat to cook with oil on the very odd occasion. So many meals can be done without it, like the curry I made last night. I cooked the vegetables in water and curry spices and then I added coconut water at the end after I turned the heat off. I also added some pasta made from konjac. Very yummy!

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Sticky vegan cheese (no nuts!)

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This is a vegan cheese recipe I found in the ‘Vegan Health and Fitness’ magazine, in an article by Dr G. Dr G (Brooke Goldner Tadlock MD). Brooke found this recipe on the VeganYumminess site. The original called for peeled potatoes and carrots. Brooke’s variation keeps the skins on, which I love, if you can source organic, of course! If it isn’t organic, you might decide to peel them after all. I found it a little too mild for my palette after the last cheese I made, so I added more lemon juice, as well as a whole clove of garlic. Here is the recipe:

2 medium potatos

2 large carrots

Steam the potatoes and carrots until they are soft, then put them in a blender or food processor with the following ingredients:

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs lemon juice

1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt

optional: 1 clove of garlic

Post-note: I made this earlier today and it has a serious dent in it already. Everyone has tried it and they love it. My son, who still eats a little dairy from time to time, says that it’s spooky how much it tastes like real cheese. My husband and daughter enjoyed it as a spread on toast. 

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Om’s lentil patty recipe

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These are always popular with non-vegan family and friends because they have a familiar and reassuring meat-like texture and flavour.

You can use tinned lentils, or cook your own from scratch. When I cook them myself, I tend to flavour them with spices as though I were making a dahl.

Use 3 to 4 cups of cooked lentils. The trick is to make sure they aren’t too wet before you start adding the other ingredients. They need to be well drained.

1 finely cut onion.

Instead of eggs, use 1-2 heaped teaspoons of Organ’s egg replacement powder. This helps the mix stick together, but mashing the lentils slightly as you blend everything together really helps too. If you use too much egg replacement powder, your patties will become rubbery.

For flour, you can use Orgran’s gravy powder or a gluten free flour. Start with a couple of heaped tablespoons. Taste test as you go to make sure it doest become too salty. If you use the gravy powder, you won’t need to add any salt. If you have use plain flour, add salt or all purpose seasoning.

My favourite flavours to add are a fairly generous splash of cumin (at least 1 teaspoon), and an equal quantity of rosemary leaves. I don’t know why, but these two combined make for a really good flavour.

This is a truly indulgent food guaranteed to make the inner child happy. Just like raw vegan cakes! *happy sigh* And for a bit more happy indulgence, cook them so they are crispy. The crispy outside makes all the difference, eliciting groans of pure happiness from your guests. Well what do you know, maybe vegans don’t starve themselves after all!? Haha!

I could have made a vegan cheese to go with these but I’m mad about avocados, so I made a delectably thick avocado dressing to go with this meal. My avocado mash contains lemon juice from my own back yard, garlic, and a little salt.

(The patties are often nicer if you add plenty of finely chopped onion, some chopped mushroom, and some even some breadcrumbs.)

Coffee Caramel Cake in Ireland

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10-15 pitted dates (medjool and/or organic)

1 and a half cups of almonds

Combine and pulse together in food processor until the mix becomes crumbly. Taste test for preferred level of sweetness- add dates gradually as you go. If your dates are a bit dry, the mix won’t be sticky enough so you will need to add a little water, or pre-soak the dates.

1 cup of almond paste

1 vanilla pod (or some vanilla essence)

4-6 dates

pinch of salt

Blend together in food processor, until it becomes smooth. Add water if you need to. Again, taste as you go: I’m writing this recipe from memory! Spread over the base and put in freezer while you are preparing the next layer.

Teaspoon of coffee. (I used a mix of real and dacaf)

Heaped tablespoon of cacoa or cocoa

1 cup of hazelnut spread

approx 6-8 dates

A handfulor walnuts

A heaped teaspoon or two of coconut oil

Blend everything together in food processor until relatively smooth. Add water if need be. Spread over the previous two layers and put in the freezer to set. Cut into chunks when set.

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Coconut Cheese Cake

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Last friday a friend gave me some fresh young coconut meat that she was given by a man at the local markets. This was an ingredient I had tried previously to source with no luck, so I was absolutely delighted by her gift and it inspired an evening spent in the kitchen being creative.

First I made a coconut cheese cake with the fresh young coconut meat. No nuts! Lots of people are allergic to nuts so it’s lovely to invent dessert recipes that don’t include them. My recipe was inspired by Emily’s von Euw’s coconut cheese cake recipes, but I changed a few things! The problem is, I can’t find the envelope I scribbled this recipe down on so I’m going on memory here. This place is crazy at the moment with us packing for the Europe trip! Continue reading