{Recipe} Chocolate, Coconut and Pecan ‘Ice Cream’ Cake

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Yes, more chocolate. 🙂 I make no apologies for that.

Today’s recipe is a nearly raw, gluten-free, no-bake, ice cream cake-style dessert. It is perfectly suited for an Aussie Christmas.

This recipe is inspired by a raw chocolate ‘gelato’ recipe that was distributed at a raw food preparation course I attended in Brisbane about 6 years ago.

This recipe consists of water and flesh from a young coconut. I live in a rural area, but I have no trouble sourcing young coconuts at the supermarket, in the fruit and vegetable section. They may also be labelled as drinking coconuts or Thai coconuts.

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The thought of cracking open a young coconut (or an ‘old’ one for that matter!), may seem a little intimidating at first.  Just take your time, and focus on the task. Do not assign this job to a child. And if they want to watch – and they will– make sure they stand clear.

You actually only need to remove a tiny amount of the husk – just enough to release the water and accommodate a spoon. I pour the water into a jug, then I use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.

Click here to watch an interesting instructional video on how to open a young coconut easily and safely (it will only take a couple of minutes of your time). If you haven’t opened a young coconut before – and want to make this recipe – I suggest that you view the video.

The opening of the coconut is the only [slightly] complicated part of this recipe. The rest is easy! The coconut flesh is delicious. I usually eat (and share) the leftover flesh as I prepare the recipe. It is very moreish.

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Ingredients

(requires overnight freezing; Serves: 12-14 slices)

1.5 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked in water for 4 hours

1/2 cup raw cacao powder (ie. raw chocolate powder)

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

generous 1/4 cup of coconut flesh

1 cup coconut water

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or agave syrup, if you want a raw ‘cake’.)

1 – 2 Tbsp cacao nibs (or choc chips)

2-3 Tbsp chopped pecans

1/2 of a vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

1. Drain and rinse the macadamia nuts in a colander. Set aside.

2. Safely open your coconut. Pour the water into a metric jug until you have 1 cup. Store the remaining water in a separate container in the fridge (for a smoothie) or drink it now. Scoop the flesh out, measuring out a generous 1/4 cup. Store the remainder in the fridge for a smoothie, or eat it now. 🙂 If your young coconut has less than one cup of water (unlikely, but possible), make up the remainder with filtered water.

3. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Ensure that the paper hangs over the sides of the tin – this will assist you to remove the dessert from the tin once it is frozen. The folds of the paper may leave imprints on your dessert (as you can see in my photos) so if this concerns you, make an effort to smooth the paper.

3. To a [high-speed] blender, add the coconut water, coconut oil, maple syrup, macadamia nuts, coconut flesh, and cacao powder. Cut your vanilla bean in half, then cut open one of the halves, lengthwise. Scrape the seeds into the blender.

4. Blend until smooth. [On my Blendtec, I use the XL smoothie setting.] Once the mixture is smooth, pour the cacao nibs and pecans into the blender – do not blend! Use a spatula to fold the nibs and pecans into the mixture.

5. Once the cacao nibs and pecans are incorporated, pour the chocolate mix into the loaf tin. Smooth the top with the spatula. Cover the tin, and place it in the freezer overnight (or until frozen).

6. Once frozen, remove the cake from the tin. If the paper sticks to the tin, run a knife along the edge of the tin to separate the paper from the edge. Invert the cake onto a serving plate (so that the base now becomes the top), and decorate with pecan halves and additional cacao nibs (or choc chips).

7. If the cake is too hard to slice immediately, allow it to soften a little. Slice, then serve immediately.

Store leftovers in the freezer.

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The tiny vegans’ verdicts

7-year-old tiny vegan informed me that he prefers my ‘banana ice cream'(the one that involves whizzing frozen banana in a food processor). I can’t complain about that. 🙂 He commented that he didn’t like the chocolate that I had used. The flavour of the cacao powder was too strong for him. Perhaps cocoa powder would be more suitable in this recipe for some children’s palates.

My daughter ate half of her slice and commented that it was delicious but very rich. Obviously, smaller slices are the way to go for kids. Some kids…

4-year-old tiny vegan was happy to eat his slice, and his sister’s leftover half-slice. He was the most enthusiastic fan of this recipe – apart from me, that is. I adore it!

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

Ally 🙂

{Recipe} Creamy Mushroom Sauce with Spelt Spirals

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This simple, quick and tasty recipe uses ingredients that are fridge and pantry ‘staples’ at my house.

My sons aren’t keen on mushrooms, so I don’t even attempt to serve this meal to them. This is a good lunchtime option for Mat and I when the (older) tiny vegans are at school (and pre-school).

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Ingredients

(serves 2)

2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms, white or button

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 can/400ml organic coconut cream

1 Tbsp organic cornflour

1 generous Tbsp chopped, freshly-picked parsley leaves

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

black pepper

2 tsp olive oil, divided

Spelt spirals (or your preferred pasta)

Method

1. Cook the desired amount of pasta according to the directions on the packet. Once cooked, strain and set aside.

2. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the cornflour, and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Shake the can of coconut cream before opening it. Add the coconut cream gradually, stirring continuously with a whisk, to avoid lumps. Once all the coconut cream has been added, use a wooden spoon to stir the sauce periodically as it thickens. The sauce will take several minutes to thicken. Add the salt, a few grinds of black pepper and the mustard. Mix well. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and set aside. The sauce will thicken further on standing.

4. In a separate saucepan, heat 1 tsp of olive oil. Add the garlic, stirring until fragrant. Then add the mushrooms. Cook them for 3-4 minutes, until they begin to release water.

5. Add the cooked mushrooms and garlic to the sauce and stir well, on a low heat. Bring the sauce to a warm serving temperature. Stir the parsley through just prior to serving.

6. Spoon the spirals into bowls, and top with the mushroom sauce. Decorate with a sprig of parsley, and serve immediately.

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The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

As I mentioned, this recipe is not popular with most of the tiny vegans. My daughter is the only one who enjoys this meal. Little Baker likes spelt spirals but is not impressed with mushrooms. Yet.

I am hopeful that he will eventually succumb to the charm of mushrooms. My daughter disliked mushies until recent years. Now she is enchanted by buttons and shiitakes. 🙂

Dr. Joel Fuhrman says this about the mighty mushroom:

‘In one recent Chinese study, women who ate at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms each day (which equates to about one button mushroom per day) had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer.

All types of mushrooms have anti-cancer properties. Plus, mushrooms are unique in that they contain aromatase inhibitors — compounds that can block the production of estrogen.

Aromatase inhibitors are thought to be largely responsible for mushrooms’ preventive effects against breast cancer. Even the most commonly eaten mushrooms (white, cremini, and Portobello) have high anti-aromatase activity…

Keep in mind that mushrooms should only be eaten cooked: several raw culinary mushrooms contain a potentially carcinogenic substance called agaritine, and cooking mushrooms significantly reduces their agaritine content’.

***

Ok, fess up! Do you eat raw mushrooms? Did you realise that you were messing with agaritine? 🙂

 Every Monday, I feature a delicious recipe that is enjoyed by [some of the members of ] my own family- I hope your family enjoys it too. 

Ally 🙂

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Apricot Coconut Delight

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It’s Sunday, so that means it is time for another simple, no-bake treat. And if you are a fellow Australian feeling wiped out by the result of yesterday’s federal election, you may need a treat. I know I do.

Apricot Coconut Delight is reminiscent of the coconut and apricot squares that are available in the dried fruit section or health food aisle of supermarkets. They are usually coated in shredded coconut or finely granulated sugar.

This recipe is free of added sugar, unless you choose to incorporate the chocolate coating. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to add the chocolate?!

 As a compromise, we’ll coat some of the balls in chocolate, and some in coconut. 🙂

Of course, if you decide that you want all of your apricot coconut delight coated in chocolate, you will need nearly double the amount of chocolate specified in the recipe.

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Apricot Coconut Delight

Quantity – 20 balls

Ingredients:

2 cups dried apricot halves

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

100g/3.5oz vegan and gluten-free chocolate, melted (optional – yeah right!)

additional desiccated coconut for rolling

Method

1. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and set it aside.

2. Add the dried apricots to a food processor and process for 30 seconds.

3. Add coconut and orange juice, and process for 1 minute.

4. Take a small quantity of the mixture (about 1 tablespoon) and form it into a ball, using the fingers of both hands to shape it. Then roll the ball between your palms. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

5. If not using the chocolate: Roll all of the balls in the additional desiccated coconut, placing them on the tray as you go.

6. If using the chocolate: Roll 8 of the balls in the additional desiccated coconut. Then, coat the remaining balls (12) in the chocolate, one ball at a time. Put each ball into the bowl of melted chocolate, and use a spatula to cover it with the chocolate. Use a skewer to lift the ball out of the chocolate. Place the balls on the tray. Drizzle a tiny amount of chocolate over the hole that is left when the skewer is removed.

7. Refrigerate for half an hour before serving.

Store leftovers in the fridge.

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The Tiny Vegan’s Verdicts

Do I really need to comment? The chocolate coated balls, in particular, are very popular with the tiny vegans – except Little Baker. He’s not allowed to have a chocolate one until he’s older. 🙂

Ally

{Recipe} Chickpea Curry | Tofu and Coconut Curry

Back in the mid-90’s when I was a uni student and a ‘pescy-vegetarian’ living in Sydney, I frequently ate at cheap and cheerful Indian food establishments.

With names like North Indian Diner and Tandoori Palace, this type of eatery presents the curries in bain-maries, ready to be slopped on to a large plate with rice. A garlic naan or a couple of pappadums would complete the meal. I only required a $10 note to access this comfort-food indulgence (and I usually left with change). Once I became vegan, I ditched the cream-laden curries, but continued to enjoy the (small) range of vegan offerings.

Growing up in Sydney, I was fortunate to have access to great Indian food (beyond the cheap and cheerful places!). My mum exposed my sister and I to foods from many cultures – both in our own kitchen and at local restaurants.

I indulged in delicious Indian food in Malaysia when I holidayed there in the late 90’s. I can’t even recall what I ate (maybe Susykat can help me out here!), but I do remember that it was totally scrumptious (and vegan).

I adore lentils and chickpeas, potatoes and eggplant. I particularly appreciate them teamed with the flavoursome spices that make Indian food so tantalising – cumin, ginger, cardamon, coriander, asafoetida, cinnamon, mustard seeds, and the rest!

Today’s recipes

I recently discovered the blog, Soul of Spice. If you are a fan of Indian food, you will adore this blog. I have fallen in love with the Kala Channa recipe. The combination of cayenne pepper, garlic, freshly grated ginger, cumin seeds, turmeric, asafoetida, and fresh tomato is spectacular.

‘Kala channa’ refers to small, brown chickpeas. For this recipe, I use the variety of chickpeas that is commonly available in my neck of the woods – small, pale brown, dried chickpeas. chickpea1

The recipe is available here.

This recipe requires a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  Although I prefer a ‘heaped half teaspoon’ version, with a big dollop of coconut yoghurt to relieve the spice edge, I only use a quarter teaspoon when preparing it for the whole family. Additionally, I use a medium-sized tomato (which is slightly more than the 1/2 cup of tomato specified), and I add the garlic and ginger once the onion is cooked.

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Last week, I served the chickpea curry with basmati rice, potato and pea curry, pappadums, sliced banana and shredded coconut, sliced cucumber and coconut yoghurt, green mango pickle, and sliced avocado. It was a veritable feast!

***

Last night, I made Tofu and Coconut Curry. 

Readers of this blog know that I occasionally refer to my 6 year-old son as our Least Adventurous Eater.

Well, this curry was a hit with him! First, he exclaimed: ‘This is actually quite good’. That is high praise from him!

Then, later: ‘I love this tofu’. Ah, how my heart sang.

He reiterated his high praise by declaring that we should have it for dinner  ‘tomorrow night too’. No problem! We have enough left over for a side dish for tonight’s dinner.

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Tofu and Coconut Curry

Adapted from: Tempeh Curry recipe in Wolf and Lamb: Animal Free Cooking, by Marijonas Vilkelis

Serves 4, with rice.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil (or 2 Tbsp water, for oil-free)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1tsp cumin seeds

1tsp turmeric

2 tsp ground coriander

A pinch of dried chilli flakes

1 tsp salt

1/2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)

2-3 garlic gloves, crushed

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

400g/14oz organic, firm tofu (preferably calcium-set) OR 400g/14oz tempeh 

3/4 cup/200ml  coconut cream 

1/3 cup of loosely-packed, freshly chopped coriander (cilantro)

Method

1. Cut the tofu (or tempeh) into cubes. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil (or water) in a wok, then add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir regularly until the seeds are browned.

3.  Add onion, ginger, chilli and garlic. Stir regularly, and fry until onion softens. (If cooking without oil, you will need to add additional water at this stage to prevent the onion from sticking.)

4. Add tomato, salt, and 1/3 cup of water. Stir well.

5. Add the tofu (or tempeh) and stir until it is well coated.

6. Add the coconut cream, and stir well. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Add the chopped coriander (cilantro), and stir until incorporated.

8. Serve immediately.

Last night, I served the curry with brown rice, chickpea curry (kala channa), pappadums, green mango pickles, and mango chutney.

What is your favourite type of curry?

Each Monday I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or two) that is enjoyed by my own family. I sincerely hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

{Recipe} Chocolate Coconut Slice

Warning: This is not a health bar.

Chocolate Coconut Slice

This is a chocolatey, fudgey, sugary, decadent treat.

When I was a child, my mum was famous (at least in my eyes) for making a slice that we called chocolate fudge. It was delicious. However, it contained butter. After I became a vegan, this was one of the first ‘treat’ recipes that I ‘veganized’.

I started calling it Chocolate Coconut Slice to differentiate it from the non-vegan version. I do not know where the original (non-vegan) recipe came from. My ‘veganized’ version is scrawled on a piece of lined notepaper. Perhaps the original recipe came from a 1980’s edition of Women’s Weekly or Family Circle?

Recently, I attempted another overhaul of this recipe. I was hoping to improve its nutritional worth by reducing the sugar and oil (margarine) content. My attempt was not successful. Dry and crumbly is not the desired texture!

The beauty of this slice is in its fudgey-ness. My plans to ‘healthify’ it were abandoned!

Chocolate Coconut Slice

You will need:

1 3/4 cups self raising flour

2-3 tbsp cocoa powder

1 cup shredded or dessicated coconut

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup walnut pieces

180 g vegan margarine, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp golden syrup

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C/350 F. Line a baking dish or tin with parchment/baking paper.

2. Add flour and cocoa to a large mixing bowl. Combine.

3. Add coconut, sugar and walnuts, and mix well.

4. Melt margarine on stove top. Pour margarine into a small mixing bowl.

5. Add vanilla and golden syrup to margarine. Stir.

6. Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.

7. Press mixture into baking dish:

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8. Bake for 20 minutes.

9. Allow to cool completely before icing.

Chocolate Icing:

You will need:

2 cups icing sugar, sifted

2-3 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

30 g vegan margarine

2-3 tbsp hot water.

Method:

1. Sift icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Add cocoa, and combine.

2. Add margarine to the mixing bowl, then pour 2 tbsp of hot water over the margarine. The margarine will begin to melt. Add vanilla extract.

3. Stir ingredients until well combined. Add additional tablespoon of hot water if required.

4. Spread icing over the slice, using a knife or spatula. Be generous!

5. Sprinkle with shredded or desiccated coconut.

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6. Refrigerate to allow the icing to ‘set’.

7. Cut the slice into squares (or rectangles!).

Choc Coconut Slice

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe – one that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too. 

Ally

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