Mini Pistachio Baklavas (Vegan)

Mini Baklava

This is one of those desserts…. one bite and addictive!

‘I don’t often eat Baklava, but when I do, I eat the whole tray…’

Here is an easy, peasy, lemon squeezy recipe for you to try out at home. It is such a beautiful taste and the smell of toasted pistachios is an added bonus. I used creamed honey from the farmers market as it is a little mellower, but any high quality honey will work.

This is a little healthier than your normal Baklava as it doesn’t have multiple layers of syrup. It is also easy to serve with cocktails as a canapé. I’d suggest adding a little rose water to some prosecco would be a good pairing, bringing out the fragrance and smells of a souk in both.

Ingredients

  • 15 mini tart shells
  • 3 tbsp. vegan butter
  • 1 cup raw unsalted pistachios
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. cardamom
  • Pinch salt

Method

  • Bake the tart shells
  • Melt the butter in a medium pan, add pistachios and stir for c. 2 minutes until they start to have a nutty aroma
  • Add the honey, cardamom and salt
  • Take off the heat and mix
  • Use two spoons to scoop the filling into the shells
  • Cool before serving and make sure you don’t get any sugar on your skin as it will be super hot (I may be talking from experience…)
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Cardamom Ice-cream (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cardamom Ice-cream (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cinnamon Icecream

I love the simplicity and pureness of this recipe, filled with amazing ingredients straight from Mother Nature’s door!

I adapted this recipe from my plant lab raw desserts classic, bringing a little Indian Flair with the cardamom. If you don’t like cardamom, cinnamon works well or vanilla if you’d prefer a less dominant flavour profile

Did you know Cardamom has impressive medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It has antioxidant and diuretic properties, which are said to stop the growth of tumours, lower blood pressure, prevent inflammation and act as an antibacterial.  Cinnamon has similar such properties, so you are good either way. Mr B doesn’t like Cardamom, so I tend to use cinnamon for him or during the holidays a little pumpkin spice (a US classic. I can not account for the medicinal properties I am afraid, just the smile invoked by the scent of the holidays)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup soaked cashews
  • ½ cup. Young coconut meat or coconut cream
  • ¼ cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp. crushed cardamom seeds or cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Blend all the ingredients together until smooth, except the coconut oil
  • Stream coconut oil in last
  • Process in an ice cream maker, or if you don’t have one (like me), place in a tub and freeze

Chickpea Blondies (Vegan, DF, GF)

Chickpea Blondies (Vegan, DF, GF)

Blondie Brownies

Oh so gooey, tasty, yummy, fudgy brownie blondies..

This is an easy blend and bake recipe, so you can do it when whilst you are waiting for the kettle to boil or whilst you are making the kids lunches

The Japanese tend to use sweetened bean pastes, like red bean, in their pastries and this is a nice parallel. It has the texture of a fudge brownie and is sweet but not too sweet, making it great for a midmorning snack

This recipe is super high in protein from the chickpeas and triple use of almonds in the almond meal/flour, almond butter and almond milk. It is gluten free also with the almond flour the only flour used

Mr B has a prolific sweet tooth and he loved these and found them more satisfying in a way as they kept him fuller for longer, whilst still satisfying that sweet craving in a natural way

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2, 15oz cans of organic chickpeas
  • ¾ cup almond butter
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Method

  • Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until well combined
  • Pour into an oiled bread tin
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

 

Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Raw Toffee Apples

‘Here’s to the crazy one. The misfits, the rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. Some may see them as the crazy some genius. But it is only those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, that do’

Matthew Kenney was one such crazy person, who created a plant-based culinary nutrition education program. He is a true believer that food is our medicine and through his own personal experience has seen a plant based diet bring him back to life. His culinary school is dedicated to showing the world that healthy, plant-based foods can be delicious, sexy, vibrant, beautiful and can be consumed without compromise.

I am a true believer in this philosophy and whilst not 100% plant based, I am making my way down this path. My dream is that food is used to fuel our body, minds and souls and the more I learn about the nutrient content of our basic plant friends, the more I feel like our health care is easily accessible and available to all.

Of all the courses that the PlantLab Culinary school runs, the one I choose to start with was their raw desserts course. You can do it online over 6 months, so pacing it with your own schedule. Desserts have always been my weakest point; due to my body not reacting well to gluten and dairy, so this course is an eye and palate opener. Mr B who loves his desserts is super happy too as he can now eat dessert for breakfast.

This was the first recipe I used at my vegan dinner party and the guests where in love with it. The whole plate was dairy, gluten and nut free and they were super surprised that it was a possibility. I hope Chef Kenney is proud of the impact he is having, I believe this revolution and evolution has just begun!

Ingredients

Apples

  • 1 apple

Caramel

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted and soaked
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1/3. Cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. mesquite or maca powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. Water

Pumpkin seed crunch/raspberries

  • ½ cup, plus 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freeze dried raspberries

Method

  • Using a melon baller, make apple balls, place in a bowl with some lemon water to make sure it doesn’t brown. Place to the side
  • Blend all the caramel ingredients until smooth. Pour caramel to the side and move to the side
  • Grind all the pumpkin seed ingredients together, place in a bowl and move to the side
  • Crush the freeze dried raspberries, place in a bowl and move to the side
  • Take one of the apple balls, dry off, place a toothpick through the center, roll in the caramel, roll in topping of choice
  • Place in fridge to set (min 5 minutes)
  • Serve once set

 

Healthy Pop Tarts (GF, DF)

Healthy Pop Tarts (GF)

Pop Tart

Who would have ever thought you could make such a thing as a healthy pop tart?? It sounds like a contradiction in terms

The pop tart for those of you who don’t know was introduced to the world in 1964 by Kellogg as a pre-baked toaster convenience food and soon became popular as a kids breakfast. It is made out of two layers of pastry and has a sweet filling inside. The basic pop tart without frosting has approximately 16g sugar and 200 calories

The reason I know anything about Pop Tarts at all is due to Mr B, who recently admitted to me that when he is stressed at work he goes to the vending machine and liberates a pop tart. This surprised me, as Mr B is a firm believer in clean eating, and generally sticks to that during the week

I therefore decide to seek out the ultimate treat for him. A pop tart that he could eat, that would be healthy and clean but taste just as good. This recipe is adapted from Lexiscleankitchen.com and doesn’t disappoint. It has Pataya, blueberries, chia and almonds as the main ingredients and so has plenty of antioxidants. It is sweet, but the sugars are natural. The biggest difference is that unlike the shop bought version, it wont outlast a nuclear incident, but given how quickly Mr B ate them, that was rather unlikely anyway!

Ingredients

For the tart

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large egg

Homemade Chia Jam

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds

For the glaze

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. cashew milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. pataya powder

Method

  • To make the dough, combine all the ingredients in a blender and leave to chill in the fridge (very important)
  • To make the jam, put all the ingredients in a deep pot and cook on a low heat until broken down, be careful not to burn
  • Turn off an let cool
  • Combine the glaze ingredients and set aside
  • Between two pieces of parchment, gently roll out the dough and cut out rectangles using a sharp knife
  • Place half the rectangles on parchment paper, place a teaspoon of the jam in-between, wet the edges and press down with a fork to close
  • Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and preheat the oven
  • Once the oven is hot, bake the tarts for 12-15, until golden brown. Let cool
  • Once cooled use a pastry brush to add the glaze
  • I added the pataya later after brushing first so that I had two different colours and used the glaze as a drizzle

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Fancy Four Ingredient Chocolate Tart (Vegan)

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Fancy Four Ingredient Chocolate Tart (Vegan)

A friend of mine wants to make this before the weekend, so you get an extra recipe this week. You should all make it, as it’s an easy blender recipe with only 4 ingredients!

I served this at my Mexican dinner party as a light dessert and my guests thought it was made with cream. If you want to create more of a Mexican accent, add a pinch of chilli powder to the blender to end your night with a bang!

Needless to say, Mr B ate his portion and all the leftovers!

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of silken tofu
  • 100g vegan chocolate
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Vegan pie shell

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/250c. Cook the pie shell till golden brown
  • In the mean time, press the tofu against a sieve and squeeze as much water as possible out of it
  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl over some hot water
  • Put the tofu in a blender and when you get a silky texture (like cream) add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract and blend until fully combined
  • Once the pie case is baked, let it cool down, once cooled add the chocolate mixture
  • Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to set and decorate in whatever way takes your fancy
  • (If you want to make the base yourself, mix a cup of walnuts and a cup of dates in a blender with a pinch of salt and press down in the tin)

Easy, Delicious, Healthy Churros

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Easy, delicious, healthy oven baked Churros

You may say these are not healthy, but a healthy lifestyle is all about balance and on balance these are healthier than the traditional deep fried Mexican dough version

This puff pastry version is really easy and the aroma you get from the cinnamon sugar is wonderfully warming and provides an inviting fragrance as a bonus

I served these as part of a vegan Mexican night I had last week and they went down a storm. I served vegan pulled pork (see earlier post), vegan chorizo empanadas (see future post) and Mr. B our Harvard bartending graduate (a gift I gave him for this exact purpose) made a variety of tequila based drinks. I hope you like them as much as our guests did!

Ingredients

Churros

  • 1 sheet thawed vegan puff pastry
  • ¼ cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup melted vegan butter
  • Coconut oil for greasing

Caramel

  • 10 pitted dates
  • 1 can coconut crème

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/250c. Unfold and cut puff pastry into 1 inch by 6 inch strips
  • Place the strips on a lightly greased piece of parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown
  • Whilst the pastry is baking, mix the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl
  • Melt the vegan butter
  • Once the pastry is cooked, remove from the oven, brush with the butter and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture
  • To make the caramel, blend the dates, then add the coconut to the blender and blend till smooth, pour into a bowl and serve with the hot churros, straight out of the oven