Monday, January 26, 2015

Vegan Blackberry Cheesecake

With the last dish of this month, I wanted to talk about indulgence.  In the new year, after feasting deliciously over the holidays, most people like to start January with more heath conscious eating or some sort of diet or cleanse.  I shared a lot of dessert recipes this month and they were some pretty indulgent recipes too.

Oh well...

CRUST  Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup Walnuts, soaked
  • 1 cup Pecan Nuts, soaked
  • 1/2 cup Dates
  • 1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. of Ground Cinnamon
  • a dash of Salt

CHEESECAKE  Ingredients: 
  • 3 cups Cashews;  soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Juice (the juice of 2 large lemons)
  • 3/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Vanilla Bean
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • fresh Blackberries

  • Soak the nuts for the crust and the cashews separately in water for a couple of hours; ideally over night.
  • Drain the nuts after soaking.
  • In a food processor, combine the nuts, dates and maple syrup with the cinnamon and salt.  Run the machine until the mixture resembles a fine moist crumb but still retains some texture.  The dough should stick together slightly when you press it together with your fingers, however it shouldn’t be super sticky either.
  • Evenly crumble the dough over the base of your pie dish.  Starting from the middle, press the mixture evenly but firmly into the pie form, moving outward and upward along the side of the pie dish.  Due to the oils in the nuts, it’s not necessary to grease the baking pan.
  • Bake the crust, uncovered for 10 minutes at 350° F or until lightly golden brown at the edges.  After baking set the pie crust into the freezer to cool for 15 minutes.
  • To prepare the filling, combine the cashews, the lemon juice, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla bean and salt in a food processor.  Blend until the mixture is smooth and fluffy and then poor it into the crust. 
  • Refrigerate the cake for about one hour before slicing it up to serve.
  • Serving suggestion:  Sprinkle the cheesecake with a light dusting of sea salt and serve each slice with fresh blackberries and a homemade blackberry sauce.
       Nina & Spencer

Monday, January 19, 2015

Toffee Banana

A delicious and simple dessert made with bananas. Yes, fried bananas wrapped in a golden coat of homemade toffee.
This dish may fall under the category of Medieval food joke. It looks like it's something not so vegan friendly but it's actually a dessert.

Yes, January is turning into a whole month of desserts.  Oh well, what a way to start the new year...

  • 1/2 cup self-raising Flour (for a homemade version mix: four, baking powder and salt) 
  • 1/4 cup Corn Starch
  • 90 ml cold Water
  • Vegetable Oil for deep frying
  • 2 ripe Bananas;  thickly sliced diagonally
  • 2/3 - 1 cup white Sugar
  • Sesame Seeds;  for garnish
  • a bowl of ice water

  • To make the batter, whisk together the self-raising flour and cornflour, then add the water and mix until smooth. Stir in 1 tsp of vegetable oil.
  • Fill frying pan or deep-fryer one-third full of vegetable oil and heat to 190°C. Toss the banana slices in the extra cornstarch to lightly coat them all around.  Using a skewer, dip each banana slice in the batter. Cook in the hot oil, in batches, until golden and crisp. 
  • Let the bananas then drain on paper towel.
  • Place the sugar in a frying pan over medium heat and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until a caramel forms. 
  • Remove the caramel from the heat, then working quickly and one at a time, add the fried banana to the caramel and turn to coat. Drop into a large bowl of iced water to "set" the caramel. Drain immediately, then sprinkle with white sesame seeds.  Serve with fresh fruit.

       Nina & Spencer

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pear and Grapefruit Crumble

Warm pears and juicy grapefruits are buried beneath a crisp oatmeal crumble topping. The pear crumble is nice on its own, but it is particularly nice when its paired with ruby red grapefruit supremes and yogurt.

  • 3 Bartlett Pears;  one of them grated the other two cut into slices
  • 1 Ruby Red Grapefruit
  • 3 Tbsp. Sugar
  • A pinch of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Vanilla Bean;  seeds only
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Cranberries
  • Serving suggestion:  Coconut Jogurt

CRUMBLE  Ingredients: 
  • 4 Tbsp. plain Flour 
  • 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Vegan Butter;  chilled and cubed
  • A pinch of Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. gluten-free Rolled Oats

  • Wash and clean the pears.  Cut the pears in quarters and core them. Cut two of the pears into thin slices and use a hand grater to process the third pear.  There is no need to peel the fruit when using Bartlett pears.
  • Also, peel the grapefruit with a sharp knife and then carefully cut the sections out between the skins.  When this is done set the sections aside in a small bowl and press the rest of the grapefruit juice out of the skin and into the same bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  • Heat a small pan, add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice.  Swirl the pan to combine and then cook for about 5 minutes until it caramelizes and turns from clear to a slight golden orange.  Add the cinnamon, vanilla seeds and the grated pear and cook for 1–2 minutes.  Stir in the pear slices, then mix in the cranberries, and the rest of the grapefruit juice.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • To make the topping, place the flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Then add the rolled oats and mix until everything is evenly distributed.
  • Scatter the crumble topping over the fruit and heat the dish again on the stovetop.  Once the pear mixture is bubbling, transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 12–14 minutes until the topping is a deep golden color.
  • Remove and serve warm with the grapefruit slivers and your favorite kind of plain vegan yogurt.  Enjoy!
       Nina & Spencer

Monday, January 5, 2015

Our Favourite Miso Soup

I love miso soup!  Well, we all know how much I love soup in general, but I quite enjoy the brightness of the clear broth and the abundance of green veggies in this miso soup.  This is an easy, nourish and attractive from scratch recipe of miso soup that has just enough different textures and tastes to make it an interesting supper and not just a before dinner soup.

Usually the base of a flavorful dashi, a Japanese-style soup stock.  I suppose you could make this dashi out of a variety of ingredients but for this Nina-friendly recipe we chose dried shiitake mushrooms, fresh ginger and fresh cut celery.  This shiitake dashi is earthy and rich, but it also has the spice and brightness of ginger. 

DASHI  Ingredients: 
  • 5 cups Water
  • 7 dried Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 7 slices fresh Ginger
  • 2 stalks Celery;  sliced

SOUP  Ingredients: 
  • 4 ounces extra firm Tofu;  cut into small cubes
  • Pad Thai Noodles
  • 1 cup packed Baby Spinach leaves;  julienned
  • 1 cup Snap Peas;  sliced on a biased 
  • 1/4 cup mellow white Miso
  • a splash of Rice Wine Vinegar;  to taste
  • a few drops of Toasted Sesame Oil;  to taste
  • a light sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes;  to taste (a little goes a long way/ they get spicier the longer they sit in the soup)

  • Wash and clean all fresh produce. 
  • Place all of the dashi ingredients into a small soup pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil.  Then lower the heat and let the broth simmer for 30 minutes.
  • While the dashi is simmering, cook the noodles and also heat a small pan with cooking oil and then fry the tofu cubes in medium to high heat until they are golden and crispy on all sides.
  • Strain the vegetables from the hot dashi and, when they are cool enough to handle discard the ginger and celery pieces and thinly slice the mushroom caps into strips. 
  • In a small bowl, stir together the miso and a ladleful of the dashi and then stir it into the soup.
  • Place the tofu cubes, pad thai rice noodles, the mushroom strips, snap peas and the julienned spinach into soup bowl and then ladle the miso broth over top.
  • Finally, add a few drops of sesame oil and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes into each soup. 
  • Serve immediately while it is still hot.  Enjoy!
       Nina & Spencer

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Blogging Anniversary.

Hello friends and Happy New Year.  This week, my blog celebrated it's 1st Anniversary and today I wanted to think back on all the Sunday posts and Monday recipes of 2014.  In the fist two months of blogging, I was only posting about lifestyle and health related topics, but then I got the courage to post recipes of the things I love to eat.  I really enjoy sharing these recipes here, because it lets me show all the yummy things that I can eat and I can also show that vegan cooking isn't gross or a form of extreme dieting.  I know that I still have a lot of things to improve, but I will keep on working in that direction.

This year has been a rather turbulent year of my life and one I will never forget!  So many beautiful moments and amazing experiences, but also so many heartbreaking and literally breathtaking ones when I felt helpless and couldn't breathe for hours or days.  I’ve loved harder and cried harder than any other time in my life, and it humbles me.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog or left a comment.  I really appreciate it.

I have the feeling that 2015 is going to be pretty incredible.
Here is to a beautiful new year!

♡ Nina