Homemade Raw Bars

After giving up refined sugar I got hooked on these things.  They are an absolutely delicious, feel-good treat (Pulsin is on the ethical chocolate list) which is almost guilt-free.  Almost.  Unfortunately they’re wrapped in plastic.  So, to avoid that, I decided to make my own – and they are equally yummy, if I do say so myself 😀

I ordered my supplies from the Zero Waste Club – a wonderful new company from whom you can order all sorts of healthy staples without plastic wrapping.  The following is my first attempt and it made a lot of bars.  In future I’ll halve these measurements 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Almost 3 mugs full (500g) of organic pitted dates
  • About 2 mugs full (about 350g) of organic cashews
  • About 1 mug full of organic raisins
  • About half a mug full of organic cocoa powder (to be truly raw, substitute raw cacao)
  • About a mug full of organic cacao nibs
  • Some organic oats (to be truly raw, omit these)

First soak the dates and the cashews in water (separately) in the fridge for a couple of hours to soften.  Afterwards, drain and rinse the cashews in a colander.

I don’t have a food processor (I used to have one but it broke and I refuse to buy another one which will also break at some point and add more plastic to landfill) so I used my beloved manual juicer to process these ingredients.  This is a simple, hand-crank machine made of stainless steel which I believe will last me a life time.  I highly recommend it 😀 (BL-30 Manual Stainless Steel Wheat Grass and Vegetable Juicer)

  1.  Process the softened dates into mush and put them in a large mixing bowl.2.  Process the softened cashews into mush and add them to the bowl with the dates.3.  Mix the stiff mixture of dates and cashews until thoroughly combined.4.  Process the raisins into mush and mix them into the mixture.5.  Add the cocoa and the cacao nibs and mix until everything is fully combined into a lovely chocolatey mixture.6.  If you don’t want to add the oats, you’re finished so you can spread the mixture into a tin or onto a plate or container.  It is delicious now but you won’t be able to pick it up with your fingers to eat it, like a shop-bought bar.  You’ll need a plate and a fork coz it’s mushy.  So, I added a few oats to stiffen it up.  Just add a few at a time and mix them in until you’ve got the consistency you want.7.  When the mixture is the right consistency, spread it onto a lined cookie sheet (I lined it with eco-friendly grease proof paper from If You Care)  Flatten it with  the back of  a wet spoon.8.  Then cut it into bars and chill in the fridge.  Easy 😀 Yum 😀

 

Easy Gluten-Free Flatbread

This is so easy and absolutely delicious 😀

No fat, no yeast, no gluten and no frying.  Just oats and water.  Baked.

You’ll need:

8 oz rolled oats

400 ml of water

parchment paper to line your baking trays so that you don’t need to oil them.

** For garlic bread version see bottom of post 🙂

First pre-heat your oven to 220°C (less if it’s a fan oven).

Then weigh out about 8 oz of rolled oats and mill it into a flour in your food processor (with the S blade).

Add 200ml of water, whiz to combine with the flour and then add another 200ml and whiz again so that you’ve got a runny, pour-able mixture.

Line two baking trays with parchment paper, and pour half the mixture onto each of them.

Then spread it thinly and evenly with the back of a spoon, and put the trays in the oven.

After about 20 minutes remove trays from the oven and turn the bread over.  Turn the trays around so that they get evenly baked and return to the oven for another 6 or 7 minutes.

Remove and put on plates 😀

If you want them crispier, bake them for a little longer but keep a close eye on them because there is a very fine line between crisp and burnt.

Now do what you like with them.  Add your favourite spreads, cover them with beans, use them as pizza bases, make sandwiches with them …. whatever you like.

** To make amazing garlic bread just add a few cloves of fresh garlic to the oats when you mill it into flour (I use 4 fat ones to this amount of oats but if you like your garlic stronger, add as much as you like).  The garlic will be finely minced and combined with the oat flour.  Then, instead of using parchment paper on the trays, generously grease them with vegetable oil and preheat the greased trays before adding the runny mixture.  This will produce delicious crispy garlic bread ready to eat with no need for margarine.

Presents!!!

But before they sat down to tea, Kauri gave Grandpa his present.

“Happy Birthday Grandpa, I made this for you,” he said.

vegan children's story

“Oh thank you Kauri,” said Grandpa when he’d unwrapped it, “I just love it!”

vegan children's story

And Myrtle gave her present to Grandpa.

“Happy Birthday Grandpa,” she said, “I made this for you.”

vegan children's story

“Oh thank you Myrtle,” said Grandpa when he’d unwrapped it, “I absolutely love it!”

vegan children's story

And he was thrilled with the delicious birthday tea the children had made for him.  But Cedro was too excited to wait for everyone to finish the savouries before they got to his present …

vegan children's story

… so he cut a slice for Grandpa straight away and said

“Happy Birthday Grandpa, I made this for you.”

vegan children's story

And with a great big smile Grandpa took it and said,

“Oh thank you Cedro, I really really love it.”

vegan children's story

And he really REALLY did.

vegan children's story

vegan children's story

The End 😀

You can read the whole story here and it is available in paperback here 🙂

vegan story book

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vegan children’s story, vegan cake, vegan recipe, vegan children’s book

Time for tea!

By then it was time to get ready for Grandpa Wollemi’s Birthday tea.

Everyone was very excited.

vegan children's story

There were crisps and cookies and mini pizzas;

vegan children's story

there were crackers and pasta salad and pineapple on sticks;

vegan children's story

and the big birthday cake, made entirely by Cedro, was the centrepiece.

vegan children's story

*************

continues tomorrow 😀

but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole story here now 🙂

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vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, vegan cake, vegan party, vegan party tea, vegan birthday party

The Cake!

… when the buzzer went off he put on his oven gloves and carefully removed the cake from the hot oven.  He took it out of the tin and put it on a wire rack to cool.

vegan children's story

When it was cool, Cedro sliced it in half and spread jam in the middle to make a big jam sandwich cake.

vegan children's story

Next, Cedro weighed out 4 ounces of icing sugar and sieved it into a bowl.  To that he added about 3 teaspoons of water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and stirred until the icing was thick and smooth.

vegan children's story

He spread the icing on the cake.

vegan children's story

Then he decorated it beautifully with deliciously sweet organic raisins.

vegan children's story

***************

continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole story now 😀

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vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, vegan picture book

Buckwheat Brown and White Cookies

Buckwheat flour

I’ve recently discovered buckwheat which is naturally gluten free as it is not actually a grain – it’s a fruit seed.  Buckwheat is related to rhubarb and the flour has a subtle sweet fruity taste to it which means you don’t need so much sugar.  This organic Doves Farm pack is not certified gluten free because it wasn’t bagged in a totally gluten-free environment, but I have been told they do do a certified gluten-free version for those who are highly sensitive.  My recipe is very simple:

8 ounces  organic buckwheat flour

3 ounces organic fair trade sugar

100 ml organic sunflower oil

4 tablespoons of water

organic fair trade cocoa

***

First pre-heat the oven to 180°c.  Weigh out half of your dry ingredients (ie 4 oz flour and 1.5 oz sugar) and place in a mixing bowl with a dessert spoon or two of sieved cocoa.  Mix well and then add half the wet ingredients (50 ml oil and 2 tablespoons of water).  You might need a dribble or two more of water to compensate for the cocoa and make a soft, moist cookie mixture.

buckwheat cookies

  (Bear in mind that I had doubled the recipe the day I photographed it so you won’t have this much mixture unless you do the same).  Put the chocolatey mixture to one side and mix up the other half of ingredients (minus the cocoa) in another bowl.

buckwheat cookies

Then spoon teaspoons full of ‘white’ mixture onto ungreased baking trays.  Flatten with the back of a spoon.  (These look quite big because I had doubled the recipe that day)

buckwheat cookies

Then add another teaspoon of chocolate brown mixture to each cookie and press it on like so:

buckwheat cookies

buckwheat cookies

Bake for 20 minutes and then remove to a cooling tray.  There is no need to double the mixture, the 8 oz mixture makes 20 to 24 cute little cookies, but if you want big fat ones like these you know what to do!  Oh, and if you do double it they’ll need cooking a bit longer – say 30 mins at 170° in a fan oven.

These are so yummy that I forgot to take any pictures of them after they came out of the oven.  When they’ve cooled they’re kind of hard, like a ginger nut, but a little bit chewy on the inside.

buckwheat cookies

O is for omelette

Oo

Omelette    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  beaten eggs fried and often folded over filling.

Our definition:  Omelettes are made from eggs laid by birds (usually chickens) kept in unnatural, confined conditions, more often than not in over-crowded barns with no access to the outside and no natural light or fresh air.  Their miserable lives are short, ending when they begin to lay less eggs at about 12 to 18 months of age (naturally, healthy chickens could live into their teens if not taken by a predator, though those rescued from chicken farms don’t usually live longer than 4 years due to their harrowing start in life).  Contrary to popular opinion, buying free range is not the cruelty free option since these birds’ lives will also end in brutal slaughter by the tender age of 18 months.  NB farms can label their eggs free range if there is access to an outdoor area from the chickens’ barn even though most of the birds in the overcrowded barn are never able to reach the door.  Male chicks are horribly killed en masse shortly after hatching.

Buying tofu, on the other hand, is the cruelty free option and if you love eggs, you’ll really love tofu 😀

Spinach Tofu Scramble. Photo by Evelyn Oliver

Spinach Tofu Scramble. Photo by Evelyn Oliver

For the rest of the dictionary, click here

Being Resourceful

It got to that time of week again – the day before food shopping.  The cupboards were looking quite bare and Miranda and I were feeling very peckish.  We’d finished off the last flapjack the day before and there were no munchies left in the house.  There must be something I could make, I said to myself, but what?  I had no flour left.

But I was determined.

What I did have was some rolled oats, some sugar, some olive oil, some cocoa and some sultanas.

*And this is what I did:

Weighed out 8 ounces of rolled oats and put them through the food processor to make a rough oat flour.  Put the flour in a bowl, added 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 ounce of cocoa, a generous load of sultanas and 4 ounces of sugar, and mixed it all together thoroughly.  Then I added 4 fluid ounces (120 ml) of olive oil and 5 tablespoons of water to the dry mixture and combined to form a very moist cookie mixture.  I put heaped teaspoons of this onto lined baking sheets and baked at 180°c for 20 minutes.

vegan chocolate cookies

Oh wow!

These are amazing!

Even better than when I make them with spelt.

vegan chocolate cookies

So quick.  So easy.

So beautifully crisp on the outside, moist on the inside, chocolatey, delicious, fair trade, organic,

vegan,

and gluten free 😀

Oh wow!  These are amazing!

* Adapted from the chocolate chip cookie recipe in the brilliant Unqualified Education

C is for Cake

C is for cake

I’m working on the Cs now and was delighted to find that the first word which needed redefining was Cake:

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Mixture of flour, butter, eggs, sugar etc. baked in the oven.

Our definition:  There is absolutely no need of eggs and butter when making a cake.  There are so many delicious vegan, and even raw vegan, cake recipes – some very sophisticated and complicated and some, my favourites, needing nothing more than flour, sugar (or other natural sweetener such as agave), vegetable oil and water.  And I do not exaggerate when I say that they taste better than any cake I tasted in my pre-vegan days.  But you don’t need to take my word for it, look at oatielover’s chocolate cake and Lisa’s vanilla layer cake or any of the thousands of vegan cake recipes out there – there’s something for everyone.  All this typing’s making me peckish, please excuse me a moment while I grab one of the blueberry muffins I made earlier 😉

And talking of Blueberry Muffins – this is how I made them:

I mixed together 8 ounces of organic spelt, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 4 ounces of organic sugar, 4 tablespoons of organic vegetable oil, and about 150 ml of water.  Then, when that was all combined into a smooth mixture I added a load of rinsed organic blueberries and mixed those in well.  I then generously filled 6 large paper cake cases with the mixture and baked them in a muffin pan at 180°c (fan oven) for half an hour.  Easy as pie! Or rather, cake!

blueberry muffin

Icing is optional but highly recommended 🙂

Don’t fancy blueberries?  What about a butterfly cake?

vegan butterfly cake

Same recipe, minus the blueberries.  When they’re cold, scoop out the top of the cake, fill the hole with icing, cut the cut-out bit in half and stick it in the icing to look like wings.

Anything omnivores can do, vegans can do better!  Stick that in your cake-hole Oxford Dictionary!

Yule Log mark 1

I want to make a yule log for Christmas day so I thought I’d better practise.  I found a vegan recipe and really helpful instructions at Vegan Good Things but, being both lazy and impatient, I decided to try to make a simpler version.  I am very grateful to Leinana at Vegan Good Things for the how to part of the recipe and you should check out her post as she explains it much better than I will 🙂

1

So, I adapted the raspberry buns recipe from Well Fed … like so:

(Oh, first I preheated the electric fan oven to 190°c)

7 oz organic spelt

1 oz organic fair trade cocoa

3 tsp of organic baking powder

1 tsp of organic fair trade vanilla essence

150 ml – ish of organic Agave nectar

4 tablespoons of organic olive oil

enough organic oat milk (you can use any plant milk or even water) to make the mixture quite wet

Can anyone spot my mistake?  Look at the photo above.  Well, I didn’t realise what I’d done until I looked at the photo when I came to write this post.  Have you spotted it? …….

Yes, I used corn flour instead of baking powder!  Well the packaging is exactly the same, apart from the big black letters that spell CORN FLOUR!!!!

Ok, so I mixed all those ingredients together and poured the mixture onto the tin.  Oh, I forgot to tell you – first prepare a flat tin by covering it with parchment paper smeared with margarine.  See, I told you Leinana explains it better than me.

2

Then I smoothed it over with the back of a spoon so that it filled the tin.

3

Like so.  And bunged it in the oven for 10 minutes.  While it was cooking, I laid a clean tea towel on the work surface and covered that with another sheet of parchment paper.

4

Dusted the paper with organic icing sugar.  When the ten minutes was up, I took the cake out of the oven.

5

And tipped it over onto the dusted paper.  You have to do it real quick.  I was a bit too cautious and it cracked at one end.

6

Nevermind.  Then I quickly peeled the parchment paper off the top and, using the tea towel, rolled up the cake.  Again, Leinana explains it better, pop over to her place.

7

Then I put it to one side to cool.  Next the icing, and again I kept it simple.  Just vegan margarine, icing sugar, cocoa, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a little drop of hot water from the kettle.

8

I don’t measure, just wing it and then adjust to taste.  I did of course sieve the icing sugar and cocoa to get rid of all the lumps so I’m not irredeemably lazy 😉

9

When I was happy with it I put it in the fridge.  The next challenge was to distract myself so that I wouldn’t try to ice the cake before it was fully cool.  And it was taking a long time to cool.  Too long.  I gave in in the end – well, it was cold on top 😀

10

And when I unrolled it, it broke into strips.  I continued undeterred.  Each strip was still curvy so I hoped it would work.

12

I pasted generous amounts of icing over top of all the bits and then, using the parchment paper, rolled it back up.

13

Not bad considering.  It did slide a bit – it was too warm and the icing was melting a bit but, nevermind.  I put it on a plate and covered it in more icing which helped hold it together.

14

Then I dragged a fork over it to make bark grooves

14a

Then sieved some ‘snow’ over it

15

et voilà

16

Then chill.

And the verdict?  Despite being made with corn flour instead of baking powder, the cake itself is very nice.  The icing makes the log a bit too sweet and sickly for me, although husband and daughter didn’t think so 🙂 , so I think for my next attempt I will use a raw recipe for the icing – that way the whole thing will be sugar free!

I’ll let you know how that turns out on Christmas Eve 😀

DSCN2781

Raw Chocolate Nut Truffles

raw vegan choc nut truffles

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of organic raw almonds (soaked over night; thoroughly rinsed, then spread on a clean tea towel to dry for a couple of hours)
  • 200g pitted fresh dates (soaked for 2 to 3 hours)
  • 1 tablespoon of raw cacao or carob powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Some sultanas
  • 60g of raw melted chocolate

1.  In a food processor/chopper/mixer process the dates and then transfer them to a mixing bowl.

2.  Then process the almonds until finely chopped and add to the dates in your bowl.

3.  Add the cacao/carob, vanilla, as many sultanas as you fancy, and the melted chocolate and mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined.

4.  Then return the mixture (a bit at a time if necessary) to your food processor and process together briefly until you have the right truffle consistency.

5.  Finally, with a teaspoon spoon little truffles onto a plate and decorate with walnuts (if you like)

Will keep in the fridge for a few days.

It’s as simple as that!

Absolutely scrummy! 🙂  

raw vegan chocolate nut truffles