Summer corn custard with blackberries, sage and roasted hazelnuts

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‘And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer’

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is an elegant vegan dessert bursting with summer flavours and combining the texture of silky corn custard, juicy tart blackberries and toasty crunchy hazelnuts

I am not one with a sweet tooth, like Mr. B. so this desert really suites me as it has a little salt in the custard base, making for a salty sweet combination that dances a tango on your tongue

The recipe is from Vedge, the exciting vegan cookbook out of Philadelphia using innovative techniques and flavour combinations to elevate the humble vegetable to its rightful place

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1/5 cups vegan cream (mayonnaise/aquafabba can be used)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. agave nectar or raw honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. agar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 2 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (thin strips)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup shelled, skinned hazelnuts, chopped

Method

  • Shave the kernels off the cobs into a medium saucepan
  • Add the vegan cream, coconut milk, agave, vanilla, salt and the agar. Heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil, about 10 minutes. Keep the mixture at a rolling boil for c. 5 minutes to allow the agar to fully dissolve, stirring occasionally.
  • Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, add the cornstarch and blend for 30 seconds
  • Strain the contents through a sieve into a clean saucepan, bring just to a boil and immediately remove from the heat
  • Ladle the custard into six ramekins, or glasses if you don’t have any
  • Allow the custards to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator. Let them chill for at least 2 hours before serving
  • Toss the blackberries in a small bowl with the sage, lemon juice and remaining 1 tbsp. agave, cover and refrigerate until ready to use
  • Place the hazelnuts in a small sauté pan, sprinkle with the remaining ½ tsp. salt and dry roast over a medium heat until golden brown (the smell is amazing). Allow the nuts to cool
  • When the custards are ready to serve, toss the hazelnuts with the blackberries, then spoon some on top of the custard.
  • Serve immediately

Quinoa Granola Bar (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Granola Bar

‘Each day is a gift, don’t send it back unopened’

I like to eat every two hours or so, little and often is my motto, so it’s important to have healthy easy snacks with me at work and when I travel. I like this recipe as it can be used as a snack or a homemade granola and is another recipe to add to my love affair with quinoa collection, as Mr. B calls it. It is relatively easy and can be adapted to whatever you have in the cupboard. This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from the ambitious kitchen, a beautiful healthy food blog from an inspiring author who used healthy food and blogging to overcome her eating disorder.

A slight detour…

As I was writing the first sentence of this blog, ‘I like to eat every two hours’ I was struck with gratitude for being able to say that.

Some people don’t have the luxury of eating once a day, not only in developing countries due to poverty levels and famine but also in our own back yard.

Two organisations that are dedicated to this cause are Mary’s Meals, which supplies food at school in developing countries, to help lift children out of the cycle of poverty, www.marysmealsusa.org and the Woman’s Lunch Place in Boston, www.womenslunchplace.org, which aims to supply at least one good meal per day as well as helping to restore dignity and hope to vulnerable woman. I support these two charities and would urge you to read about they work they do. They certainly help me to be more mindful when I sit down for a meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • ½ cup uncooked Quinoa
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¼ cup vegan dark chocolate (can use non-vegan chocolate if preferred)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Add oats, Quinoa and pumpkin seeds to a large baking sheet, spreading evenly
  • Toast for 10 minutes
  • Once toasted pour into a glass bowl and add the chia seeds
  • Whilst baking, melt the almond butter in a shallow pan on a low heat, add the coconut oil, salt, honey and vanilla
  • Once melted, take off heat and allow to cool slightly
  • Add to the mixture and combine
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and pour the mixture in, spreading out
  • Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the top
  • Place mixture into the freezer for 10-20 minutes or until hardened
  • Remove from the freezer and cut into 8 bars, use any that has crumbled as granola

Beetroot Chocolate Pot (Vegetarian/Gluten Free/Nut Free)

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I am always trying out new and interesting dessert recipes to satisfy Mr. B’s sweet tooth and when I found this recipe in Verge, one of my favorite veggie cook books, it seemed the perfect balance between healthy yet indulgent

This is a rich and impressively heady desert and easy to make given the few ingredients and little process. The recipe serves, 2-4 people, but I would suggest it for 4-6 at least, due to the decadence

The beetroot can not be seen as the deep purple is swallowed by the chocolate (see picture below for the proof it is in the pudding…), so if you want your guests to know that there is beetroot, then you may want to sprinkle some crushed beet chips on top

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, use dairy free chips for the vegan option
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup red beetroot juice

Method

  • Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl
  • Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the cornstarch and salt, whisking to ensure that it is fully dissolved. The cornstarch will start to thicken the coconut milk after a few minutes, as soon as this happens, stir in the beet juice and then strain through a sieve over the chocolate chips
  • Whisk the chocolate mixture thoroughly until all of the chips are melted. Portion the mixture into serving dishes and chill for at least 1 hour to set

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Beet tartare

Processed with MOLDIV

Life is your canvas…paint it with your dreams!

My dreams are normally full of food. If you know me well and see me staring off into the distance, you’ll know its because I am thinking about my next meal, the meal I just had or a recipe I am working on. It is therefore natural for me to combine food and art.

Beetroots have such amazing colors, my favourite is the deep ruby red because of the colour but also the antioxidant qualities you get with it.

This recipe is my healthy vegan version of beef tartar using those beautiful red beets to create a hearty, beet tartare. The dish has a lovely crunch and salinity from the capers and a smooth heat from the mustard.

I loved playing with this dish, as when you have finished you have a pink paint and a white cream cheese base to play with. It lets your inner artist (and child out) and what could be more fun than that!

This is a Tasha. Kitchen original, feel free to copy, creativity should be shared!

Ingredients

  • 2 small beets
  • 1 tsp. capers
  • 1½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. vegan cream cheese (see prior recipe)
  • Chives, chopped (for garnish)

Method

  • Preheat an oven to 350c
  • Bake the beetroots in salt for 40 mins or until slightly tender
  • Remove from the oven and let cool
  • Once cooled chop into roughly 1cm x 1cm pieces
  • Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, and salt.
  • Transfer beets to a small bowl and mix with the dressing
  • Smear plate with the vegan cream cheese and place the beetroot on top using a cookie cutter or ramekin
  • Garnish with chopped chives

Popcorn Beets

Popcorn Beets

‘Creativity is a way to share your soul with the world’

This is my healthy vegan version of Amanda Cohen’s popcorn beets, which have been deemed better than popcorn shrimp by the food critics.

Mr. B loves popcorn shrimp, so although I haven’t tried Cohen’s dish, I was inspired to make my own version and see what he thought.

Cohen’s version is soaked in buttermilk spiked with bourbon and deep-fried. I wanted to make a healthier and dairy free version, so I soaked mine in almond milk and baked them to make them vegan and a guilt free snack. She served her dish with a green curry sauce; I used vegan cream cheese and jalapenos to replicate the creamy and spicy compliments.

Mr. B loved this dish, noting it as moreish (as shown by the disappearance of the dish in 5 seconds) and addictive. Success! Thanks Amanda Cohen for the inspiration!

This is a tasha.kitchen original recipe, feel free to copy it, creativity should be shared!

Ingredients

  • 2 red beetroots
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegan cream cheese
  • I tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced

Method

  • Preheat an oven to 350c
  • Bake the beetroot in salt for 20 mins until slightly tender
  • Take them out and let cool, once cooled chop into roughly 2cm x 2cm pieces
  • Pour almond milk into a shallow bowl/dish and cornmeal into another
  • Coat the beet pieces with the milk and then the cornmeal
  • Place pieces on the a baking tray with coconut oil and place in the oven
  • Flip over half way and back until the cornmeal is hard
  • Sprinkle sea salt on the pieces
  • Serve with vegan cream cheese and slices of jalapeño

Vegan Pistachio ice cream

Vegan Pistachio Ice Cream

This blog is dedicated to my grandma, as it is her birthday today and she would have been 93.

My grandma loved Pistachio ice cream. We would buy it from all over London are were so excited to give her the bag and watch her taste the ice cream. The look on her face when she tasted good pistachio ice cream was pure delight and happiness, like she was trying it for the first time and her smile always so radiant that it would light up the whole room. My Grandma usually fasted for most of the day, so the evening meal and desert was extra special too.

My grandma was amazing in so many different ways. Many people called her a pure soul and felt better just to be in her presence. She was such an inspiration, teaching us all to be better every day through her generous love and acceptance. I never felt like I had to be anything but me when I was around my Grandma and I couldn’t be as she would see straight through to my core and loved me for all that I was. I miss her every day, but am thankful for her many lessons and for all her unconditional love. Happy Birthday Bigmama.

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This dish takes less than 5 minutes to make and so if you really want to show off you can make it in front of your guests! The ice cream is made in the blender with avocado for creaminess and frozen banana for sweetness as well as the ice cream temperature and texture.

I found this recipe in vegetarian living, a UK magazine, featuring Rens Kroes and a few recipes from her book, Power Food: original recipes for healthy happy living.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of shelled pistachios (divided into 2)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ avocado
  • 2 frozen ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tbsp. almond milk (optional)

Method

  • Roughly chop a handful of pistachios and toast them in a dry frying pan with the salt. Add the maple syrup, stir, then set aside and allow to cool
  • Put the avocado, frozen bananas, vanilla extract, almond extract, almond milk (if you want a thinner mixture) and the remaining pistachio nuts into a food processor, and process until a creamy ice cream has formed
  • Serve the ice cream in bowls, with a good sprinkling of the toasted caramelized nuts

Miso Hummus

Miso Hummus

‘Balance is not something you find, its something you create’.

Mr. B loves hummus and I love Miso, so when this recipe fell into my lap, it was like the same serendipity that brought us together.

They say opposites attract and that was certainly true for the two of us. Mr. B is a night owl and I am a morning person, he has a sweet tooth and mine is salty, I like to eat every two hours and he likes to eat once a day, I like to swim and he likes to run, I like classical music and he likes rock. I don’t think that we agree on anything, apart from loving each other, but we certainly do balance each other out.

I love this recipe for the clash and ultimate balance, the unapologetic salinity and intensity of the umami-rich miso, which is balanced by the mellow richness of the tahini and chickpea.

This blog comes a little early as I am attempting to get some balance by taking my first day off this year.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) blanched almonds
  • 2 cups (450 g) cooked chickpeas or 1 can of cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup (60g) tahini
  • 1/4 cup (60g) white miso
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon/ 2 tbsp. plus more as needed
  • About 1/2 cup (120 ml ice water)
  • Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted sesame oil (optional)

Method

  • In a food processor blend almonds meal, chickpeas until the beans are crumbly and light
  • Add in the tahini, miso, garlic and lemon juice. Blend again for 2 minutes or so, then scrape down the sides of the machine
  • Switch on the blender start drizzling in enough water so that the hummus billows up, aerated and fluffy
  • Depending on the beans, you may not use all the water, or you might need more
  • Let the machine go for 2-3 minutes after the consistency seems right. Taste and check for seasoning
  • For a roasted accent, drip in some toasted sesame oil