Sunday, 18 November 2012

Recipe for delicious vegan chocolate and strawberry pie

This one is all kinds of sinful, but no animals were harmed in the making of, the karma must cancel out some of the calories, right? :-) This has been a *huge* hit every single time I've made it - and it looks pretty, too! Don't be daunted by the recipe: Yes, it comes in three parts, and yes you need to make it in stages (the chocolate ganache needs at least a few hours to cool and set in the fridge before you can make the strawberry topping), but none of it is complicated. I purchased a pie tin with a removable bottom a while ago, and it's fantastic for this kind of pie. A spring-form tin will do the job well too, but I wouldn't use a pie tin with a fixed bottom as it will be hard to remove the pie from the tin and serve it without it falling apart.  


Biscuit pie crust:
  • 150 - 200 g vegan biscuits (I use wholemeal wheat and oat cookies, but any dry biscuit will do)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder 
  • 75 g vegan margarine
Chocolate ganache 
  • 400 g dark chocolate (most dark chocolate is vegan, check the ingredient list to be sure) 
  • one 400 ml can of coconut milk
Strawberry topping: 
  • 400 g of fresh strawberries
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tsp of agar agar powder 
  • 200 ml water
Pre-heat the oven at 180*C

1) Melt the margarine over a low heat  
2) Pulverise the biscuits using a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, try putting the cookies, 2-3 at a time, in a zip-lock bag, and rolling a glass bottle over them until they are crushed.
3) Stir the cocoa powder into the cookie crumbs, followed by the melted margarine, until they are well mixed
4) Press the sticky crumb mixture into a 22 cm pie tin to cover the bottom and sides. If you are using a higher spring-form tin, cover the sides up to about 3 cm.  
5) Bake at 180*C for 10 minutes, then set on a rack to cool. 

Chocolate ganache:
6) Break the chocolate into pieces, put into a heat-proof bowl (e.g. stainless steel or pyrex) with the coconut milk
7) Place your bowl on a small saucepan filled with water, so that part of the bowl is submerged in the water. Place the saucepan on the stove over a low heat, and stir the chocolate and coconut milk until fully melted and combined
8) Pour the chocolate mixture into the crust, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours (or longer of course, if that fits your schedule better), until the ganache has set. Only then prepare the strawberry topping.

Strawberry topping: 
9) take about 100g of the least pretty and ripe strawberries, and puree them with the water, lemon juice and maple syrup or other sweetener. Taste and add more syrup if necessary. 
10) halve the remaining strawberries, and place them cut-side-down on the chocolate ganache. I like to make concentric circles, but be creative and turn it into your own work of art :-) 
11) In a saucepan, gently bring the strawberry puree to a simmer, stir in the agar agar, and allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
12) Carefully pour the mixture over the strawberries on the pie, until the top is evenly covered. Do this right after removing the saucepan from the heat, as the agar agar will begin to solidify immediately. 
13) Place the cake back in the fridge, until the topping has completely cooled down and set. In hot weather, store the cake in the fridge until use, or your ganache might melt :-)

This. Is. Fricking. Delicious.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Delicious raw vegan fennel, orange and avocado salad

A very tasty, whole food, quick and easy new salad to share today! Don't worry, there's a chocolate ganache and strawberry pie recipe coming up soon to compensate for for all this healthiness :-)

Serves 1 as a full meal, or 2-4 as a side dish

  • 1 large fennel bulb, very thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)
  • 2 oranges, peeled and pith removed, halved and segmented 
  • 1 avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 30 grams of rocket (I'm sure more would be tasty too, this was all I had) 
  • 40 grams of currants (or raisins or sultanas, but note these are often coated in vegetable oil if you want to avoid that)
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped (optional) 
  • salt and pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix them thoroughly, and season to taste. There is no separate dressing for this: The oranges, which will give off some of their juice, provide the acid you would usually add in the form of vinegar or lemon juice, the avocado provides the fat in stead of oil. If your avocado is nice and ripe it will partly 'dissolve' and form a creamy dressing together with the orange juice. I didn't have any, but I imagine some chopped toasted walnuts or toasted almond flakes would be very nice with this too! 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Easy vegan Sushi Salad recipe

During the summer, I eat a *lot* of salads, especially for lunch at work. I have quite a variety, but this remains one of my absolute favourites: I call it my sushi salad as the combination of flavours reminds me of sushi. You can up the sushi-ness by adding some shredded nori, leaving out the orange juice, and adding a small amount of wasabi to the dressing, also very tasty!

Serves: full meal for one hungry person
1 cup cooked brown rice, cooled
1 avocado, diced
2 spring onions, chopped
75 g grated carrot
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
75g bean sprouts (mung or soy)
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

juice of one orange
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
(adjust to taste)

1) Mix salad ingredients.
2) Mix dressing ingredients.
3) Stir dressing into salad.
4) NOM :)  

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Vegan Olive Tapenade Recipe

I love olives and olive tapenade, but almost all the supermarket varieties contain anchovies, so I decided to make my own, and it turned out raaaather good:

Olive-rocket tapenade
115 g pitted black olives
30 g rocket (rucola) leaves
40 g raw unsalted cashew nuts
heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast
heaping teaspoon miso

Put it all in a deep bowl, and blend. YUM.

Be sure to store in the refrigerator. I finished this amount in about a week, and my guess would be that it wouldn't have kept much longer than that with the rocket... oh well, I suppose I'll just have to make more :)