Dear Friends of Tasha. Kitchen,
Happy New Year!
My wish for you is to Live Better, Strive Harder, Be Bolder, Dream Bigger, Climb Higher and Seek Greater.
These too are wishes for myself and in the pursuit of this at the end of the year I took some time out to self reflect on all I have learnt over the last year.
In 2018, I completed my certificate in Plant Based Nutrition with Cornell and have used this and some great books (e.g. how not to die – Gene Stone and Michel Greger), articles and blogs to learn more about the hard science behind food and disease. Many of you may have seen my blog evolve over that time, from broad based healthy food to more of a plant-based blog. This is a reflection of my learning and has caused me to sit back and think about what my own philosophy is and what the blog should centre around.
After much study, contemplation and a recommitment to both my followers, and myself I am pleased to announce a new blog coming soon. The blog will be dedicated to Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw recipes with a focus on Plants and Whole Foods to maximise the nutritional content. There will also be a new section where I will share scientific research, so you can learn with me.
The blog will be called PlantToTable.com and exists today but with a redirect to Tasha.Kitchen until it is ready for launch in early 2019. Tasha.Kitchen will resume this Saturday and an announcement will be made when the new blog is ready.
I hope that this news allows you to forgive my absence and I look forward to continuing our journey together.
Cardamom Ice-cream (Vegan, DF, GF)
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)
- 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
- 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
Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)
‘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!
- 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
- 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
Nori Macadamia Nut Cheese (Vegan, DF, GF)
What do you do when you can’t eat dairy anymore but you love cheese…make your own of course!
Some of you may think that this sounds a little extreme, but I used to eat so much cheese that my brother nicknamed me, cheese please! I therefore had to work out a way to reintegrate this into my diet and the best thing about making your own, is that you can make it to your own palate
You may think that making vegan cheese sounds difficult but it is really a blender recipe with just a few ingredients. I got this recipe from Plantlab, my favourite raw plant power recipe book, which just blows my mind with every recipe. I love learning the new techniques and intensity of flavours you can achieve through raw preparations. You’ll need a dehydrator for this, but an oven on low will work just as well.
Mr B couldn’t work out what this was at first glance, but once he decided to try it, he loved the smooth texture and tangy taste
For the cheese
- 3 cups macadamia nuts, soaked
- ½ cup of water (just enough to blend thoroughly)
- 1 probiotic capsule
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp. lemon juice
For the nori powder
- Pulse nori in blender until it becomes a powder, about 1 minute
- Blend the macadamia nuts, water and probiotic capsule in a high speed blender until smooth, about 3 minutes
- Place the mixture in a shallow glass bowl and cover with cheesecloth. Let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours to culture
- Mix in the sea salt, nutritional yeast and lemon juice
- Roll the cheese into a cylinder by first placing a 12-inch piece of plastic warp on a flat surface
- Place half a cup of cheese in the middle and flatten it out into a rectangular shape
- Carefully roll the plastic wrap over the cheese and twist the sides to create a tight cylinder
- Tie the ends securely, starting with one and then twisting the other carefully and tightly before tying
- Place the cylinder in the freezer for 2 hours
- Remove the plastic wrap, roll the cheese in the nori powder and dehydrate for 115f for 24 hours to develop the rind
- Refrigerate until ready to use
Coconut-Lime Avocado Dressing on Kale (GF, DF, Vegan, Raw)
I adapted this recipe from Matthew Kenney’s PlantLab – creating the future of food book, which is centred on nutrient dense plant based recipes
It is a beautifully vibrant salad with the coconut and lime reminding you of the tropics as well as doing a good job at breaking down the kale
I had half of this for lunch and served the other half with my lentil tart over dinner to bring something bright and light to the dish
You can use this as a base and add anything your heart desires. I’d also recommend using the coconut-lime dressing on other salads and vegetables, as it really is sublime
- 2 bunches of Kale, de-stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 3 Avocados
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Sea Salt
- Place the coconut oil, lime and sea salt in a blender and blend until well combined, taste and add salt
- Place the kale and half an avocado in a bowl as well as the dressing, and massage for at least a minute until well combined, add the rest of the avocado and more salt if needed
- Garnish with anything else you like for colour or texture, I added some California walnuts for crunch
Mushroom Pate (Raw, Vegan, GF)
This is a lovely starter/canapé. It has a silky texture and earthy tone from the walnuts and mushrooms so your carnivorous guests will think it is made of liver, whilst your herbivore guests will lap it up for exactly the opposite reason.
It takes 5 minutes preparation and can be used for many different things, including a pasta sauce, an umami topping on a burger or a dip for crackers. I edited the recipe, which I took from Plant Food (Matthew Kenney, Meredith Baird, Scott Winegard), decreasing the amount of mushroom powder used to decrease the saltiness and adding fresh thyme to give a little brightness.
Mr B who is not a fan of liver Pate, loved this, although thought I was trying to trick him into eating traditional Pate until I showed him the process pictures.
- 3 cups mushrooms (Portobello’s, Oysters, Shitake)
- 1 cup walnuts
- ¼ cup mushroom powder
- 1 tbsp. agave nectar
- 1 tbsp. tamari
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp. agar
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- Blend all ingredients, for around 8 minutes or until the blender is warm. (I wouldn’t usually recommend this, but in this case you need it to get warm to activate the agar)
- Pour into a lined terrine mold (I used a small bread pan) and refrigerate for 2 hours to set
Porcini Cracker with Chives
The wonderful thing about dehydrating food is that there is very little method involved (blend, spread, dehydrate), the food retains it nutrients due to the low temperature and the flavors of whatever you are cooking intensify
This is my second attempt in the dehydrator, adapting a recipe from Matthew Kenney’s Plant Food, to create an umami savory sweet cracker. I offered these crackers to my tasters, without telling them about the method, and they loved them. It is hard to believed that there is no grain or flour in them, just almond and flax seeds and a little seasoning. If you don’t have a dehydrator, an oven, whilst you are in the house on a cold afternoon does the trick just as well
I liked these crackers with a little tofu cream cheese and fresh chives (see previous recipes) but Mr B is quite fond of them on their own, as a portable snack
- 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight
- ½ cup water
- 5 tbsp. tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp. porcini powder
- 1 tbsp. agave
- ¼ cup flax seeds
- Tofu cream cheese
- 1 bunch chives, chopped to ½ cm pieces
- Mix the porcini ingredients together in a blender. Spread 1.4 inch thick on parchment paper and dehydrate for 4 hours at 115f. Punch out shapes with a cookie cutter. Return to dehydrator on screens until dry and crisp, approximately 12 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator, use the oven on the warm setting.
- Pipe or spread on the tofu cream cheese
- Top with chives