{Vegan MoFo} Wearing Pyjamas to the Farmers’ Market

My part of the world is home to many farmers’ markets.

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This post highlights some of the local, vegan and gluten-free products (and produce) available at the Byron Bay farmers’ market.

On a recent visit, Tiny Vegan, 4 years old, decided to wear his pyjamas. Over his jeans. Who was I to cramp his style (or lack thereof!)? In my neck of the woods, PJs over jeans does not warrant a raised eyebrow or a second glance.

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Each week, we purchase a large quantity of green leafy vegetables for salads and green smoothies – young kale (just $2 for a large bunch), coriander, basil, baby spinach leaves, cos (romaine) lettuce, tatsoi, watercress, mixed salad leaves.

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We purchase Davidson Plum chilli sauce, raw macadamia nuts, and macadamia butter from a local macadamia grower. Davidson Plums are native to this part of Australia.

A local company sells soy-free tempeh in two varieties – fava bean and wakame, and chickpea.

flaxc

Recently, we bought nut cheese and a packet of flaxseed and macadamia bread from a local raw food company. This raw ‘bread’ is delicious. I cut it into smaller squares, and packed it for a picnic. We topped the bread with hommus and homemade pesto.

The bread is made of organic flax seeds, macadamia nuts, spring onions, tomatoes, dates, olive oil, Italian herbs, and celtic sea salt.

macacheese

I used the nut cheese in a pesto, and as a topping on homemade flax crackers. It contains organic macadamia nuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, smoked paprika and salt.

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Sometimes we indulge in a raw dessert and a cup of locally-grown coffee. The avocado key lime pie (on left of plate) is particularly delectable. And if we call it second breakfast, rather than morning tea, the wearing of PJs is totally appropriate. 🙂

Tomorrow: A closer look at the fava bean and wakame tempeh.

{Recipe} Raw Brownie

If you are looking for a chocolate treat that isn’t laden with refined sugar, this is the recipe for you.

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Raw Brownie

This recipe is a Dreena Burton creation, from one of the most used cookbooks in my house, Let Them Eat VeganDreena calls it Frosted B-raw-nie, and mentions that she took home first prize when she entered this slice in a baking contest.

The frosting is moreish and decadent.

My children enjoy the brownie as an afternoon snack. I have also found it to be very popular with my non-vegan friends. It is scrumptious with a cup of vanilla rooibos tea or a soy latte.

I store it in the freezer, unsliced. Upon removal from the freezer, it can be sliced effortlessly with a sharp knife whenever a chocolate fix is required!

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The recipe is available here.

***

Variations

CAROB – My children’s school does not permit them to bring chocolate-based foods to school in their lunchboxes. To ensure that this slice is suitable for their lunchboxes, I replace the cacao with carob.  I also jazz it up by sprinkling the top with shredded coconut. This is a delicious alternative.

VEGAN WHIPPED CREAM  – On one occasion when I was making the brownie, I decided to top the chocolate frosting with Orange-Scented Whipped Cream. This cream is based on Dreena Burton’s Lemon-Scented Whipped Cream (also in Let Them Eat Vegan).

I am a fan of the coupling of chocolate and orange. The ‘experiment’ was a success, and I still make the slice this way occasionally.

I trust that Orange-Scented Whipped Cream would be a delicious accompaniment to other chocolate-based treats. I also imagine that this cream would be delicious without the orange zest if a plain cream is required.

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To Assemble

Once the chocolate frosting has set on the brownie, spread the whipped cream over the top of the unsliced brownie. Place in the fridge to allow the cream to ‘set’. It will be ready to slice (and eat!) in a couple of hours. Store the uneaten portion in the fridge.

***

I celebrated my birthday last week. My beautiful mum made a scrumptious Chocolate, Beetroot, and Walnut cake.

The cake is sweetened with maple syrup, rather then refined sugar. It uses spelt flour, and contains walnuts. And, beetroot!

It was very popular with the party-goers. The cake has an earthy, rich taste without being overly sweet.

My mum iced it with a rich chocolate ganache (rather than the icing mentioned in the recipe). She decorated it with chocolate shards and finely grated white chocolate (dairy free, of course).

My mum is quite the vegan baker. Chocolate cakes and cheesecakes are her specialties!

This was the second birthday cake that she baked this month. She also made a delicious car-shaped chocolate cake for my son’s 4th birthday earlier in the month.

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The recipe is available here.

What is your favourite flavour (or type) of birthday cake?

Each Monday, I feature a couple of delicious vegan recipes that are enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys them too.

Ally

{Recipe} Raw Chocolate Tarts

A few years ago, a dear friend loaned me a book called Naked Chocolate. That’s all I needed to know.  Naked chocolate…. Naked. Chocolate…

A ‘special note’ on the back cover states:

‘The recipes in these pages allow you to find that perfect alchemical potion that causes all heaven to break loose’. 

I knew that tantalising, chocolaty delights awaited me. I actually still have the book! Sienna, if you are reading this, let me know if you want your book back. 🙂

The book, written by David Wolfe and Shazzie, basically pays homage to the wonders and magic of raw chocolate, otherwise known as cacao (pronounced ka-cow). It includes such delightful recipes as: chocolate pizza, chocolate cheezecake, chocolate banana bread, chocovanilla shake, mint and choc chip ice cream……chocolate, chocolate, chocolate….All of the recipes are raw, and all of them contain cacao.

In all honesty, it is enormously beneficial to have possession of a dehydrator if you want to experience the great heights of chocolate ecstacy that this book offers.

Shazzie and David clearly love and respect cacao. The introduction to the book announces:

‘There is nothing in the world like chocolate. It is luxurious, sensuous, delightful, passionate, inspirational, sexual and exciting to all senses’. 

Naked Chocolate discusses comprehensively the history, uses, and properties of chocolate, before launching into the sensuous recipes. The book comes with a warning:

‘Reading this book may cause you to have The Best Day Ever!’ 

Ah, their enthusiasm is infectious.

raw choc tarts

A recipe that has become a personal favourite is Chocolate Tarts.

The recipe requires a dehydrator. I am fortunate to have a dehydrator in my kitchen, so I use it whenever I make these tarts. However, I experimented with preparing the tart shells in a low oven, instead of a dehydrator, and I achieved a good result . I have included the oven option below, in case it appeals to you.

I varied the chocolate sauce by adding macadamia nuts, coconut water and vanilla. This tempers the bitterness of the cacao, without the need to add more sweetener. The shells are reminiscent of a chewy, apricot muesli bar.

These tarts are luxurious, delightful, and sexual…ah, I mean sensuous!

Sienna will definitely want the book back now.

CHOCOLATE TARTS

Recipe from: Naked Chocolate by David Wolfe and Shazzie

(quantity – a dozen)

You Will Need:

1 cup dry oat groats OR rolled oats*

1 cup raw almonds (do not soak)

1 tsp flax seed

15 dried apricots, soaked for 4-6 hours (whole dried apricots, not halves)

1 serving of dark chocolate sauce (recipe to follow)

12 almonds (for decoration)

tart collage 2

Method for tart shells:

1. Add the flax seed, almond and oats to a food processor, coffee grinder or high speed blender, and grind until a fine flour consistency is achieved.

2. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour, and set aside to assist with rolling the dough (step 4).

3. In a food processor, process the flour while dropping the soaked apricots down the chute. As the apricots are processed, a dough-like consistency will form. If the mixture appears dry rather than doughy, add a tiny amount of the apricot soak water. Once a ball of dough has formed, turn off the food processor and remove the dough.

tart collage 3

4. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour onto a wooden board, and place the dough on the board. Sprinkle the remaining flour on the ball of dough. Flatten and roll the dough with a rolling pin, until it is about 4mm thick.

5. Cut 12 circles with a cookie cutter.

6. Place a sheet of cling wrap over a tart (or shallow muffin) tray.

7. Place the circles of dough into the sections of the tray, moulding the pieces with your fingers (see photos below).

8. Set the dehydrator to 105-115 degrees F or 40-46 deg C.

tart collage4

9. Place the tart tray into the dehydrator for 2 hours. The tart shells will harden. Remove the shells from the tray and turn them upside down on a dehydrator  tray, and leave for one hour.

***

Oven option for tart shells:

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‘Oven-hardened’ shell

If you do not have access to a dehydrator, you can use a low oven heat to harden the shells. Once you have used the tart tray to mould the shells, remove the shells from the tray and place them on a baking tray.

In my pre-heated, fan-forced oven the shells harden in about 15 minutes. I set my oven for the lowest temp that is achievable on the dial (80 deg C), placing the shells cup side up for 10 minutes, then turning them upside down for 5 minutes.

***

Dark Chocolate Sauce

Adapted from: Naked Chocolate

You Will Need:

4 heaped tbsp of cacao powder 

4 tbsp liquid sweetener (eg. agave syrup, maple syrup,** etc. )

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

2 tsp coconut water OR water

2/3 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked for 4-6 hours

Seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod OR 1/4 tsp vanilla extract 

1-2 tsp additional liquid sweetener (optional) 

2 tsp additional coconut oil (optional)

Method for chocolate sauce:

1. Add all ingredients (except additional liquid sweetener and additional coconut oil) to a small food processor and blend until smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion (hand-held) blender.

2. Taste the sauce. If it requires more sweetener, add an additional 1-2 tsp of sweetener and blend until combined. If a smoother consistency is desired, add an additional 2 tsp of coconut oil, and blend again.

To assemble the tarts:

1. Scoop the chocolate sauce into the tart shells, and top each one with an almond. Serve.

2. Store leftovers in an air tight container.

3. Leftover chocolate sauce can be added to smoothies.

Notes:

* Use certified gluten-free oats if you want to ensure that the tarts are gluten-free.

** Maple syrup is not a raw product, but it works well in this recipe if you do not have agave syrup available.

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What is your favourite raw dessert? Do you enjoy cacao? 

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

 

Ally

This recipe was submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays. Check out the other delicious recipes.

 

{Restaurant Review} Cardamon Pod Vegetarian, Broadbeach

We visited Cardamon Pod Vegetarian restaurant for lunch this week. Cardamon Pod is located at Broadbeach (on the Gold Coast), just a couple of blocks from the beach. This Hare Krishna restaurant continues to impress me with its vibrant and tasty vegan food.

My strongest memories of Hare Krishna food are steeped in my university days. The Hare Krishna food on campus had few vegan options, and I can recall lots of dairy-based foods. That is not the case at Cardamon Pod. Vegans are catered for, more than adequately. There was not a dairy-based mango lassi in sight! (Disclaimer: there may be one on the menu, somewhere….).

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***

We were famished on arrival. There was a hive of activity – it was 1pm, peak time. We had no trouble finding a table, and chose to eat inside. We sat at a large table with a long bench seat covered in about a dozen colourful and cheerful cushions. The décor is very eclectic, and visually pleasing to the eye. The tables are mismatched. There is a couch outside. There are purple plastic chairs, and there are wooden-framed chairs with soft, bouncy seat cushions (like the ones we sat in). There are grand looking chairs, with high backs and wide arms. We saw parrot candle stick holders, with melted wax covering the birds. The food is also visually appealing.

ecclectic decor

***

Diners at Cardamon Pod can choose from a variety of hot and cold dishes. The hot dishes are presented bain marie style. I noticed one of the staff members using a thermometer to check the temps of each hot dish, which may be reassuring for those who have concerns about eating food from bain maries.

Mat was excited to notice that they had vegan kofta balls. We only know of one other restaurant that makes vegan kofta balls, so Mat was thrilled to have the option.

I was feeling overwhelmed by my hunger and the plethora of choices. I knew that I wanted salad. Mat suggested that we order a Vegan Platter. It consisted of our choice of 2 hot dishes and 2 salads, rice and a samosa. We chose vegetable curry, Kofta balls (of course!), Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Sesame Tofu salad and Dutch Carrot, Almond and Rocket salad. The platter cost $26. It consists of more food than one person can comfortably eat.

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***

We also decided on vegan nachos and an additional samosa as we knew the kids would enjoy both of these. We also shared our salads with the kids. The samosas are huge, so 2 samosas between 3 kids and 1 adult is adequate (Little Baker and I didn’t indulge in samosa).
The curry, nachos and salads were gluten-free. The nachos cost $16. The samosa cost $4 and came with a sauce that was called ‘tomato chutney’. However, it had the smooth consistency of a sauce – there were no tomato chunks. Mat and my daughter couldn’t stop raving about the chutney (sauce). This was also the sauce that was poured over the kofta balls. They were right in their assessment, it was scrumptious.

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***

My daughter tried all of the dishes, and informed me that her favourite was the nachos, specifically the kidney bean concoction covering the corn chips. The beans had a subtle hint of lemon. The boys loved the samosas, and corn chips -of course! Mat’s favourite were the kofta balls. The Dutch Carrot salad had a surprising, but welcome, bite of chilli to it. I also enjoyed the taste and consistency of the triangles of tofu. Little Baker enjoyed them too – these are easy finger food. He was trying to use a fork at one stage, imitating his siblings. I watched him attempting to balance a piece of rocket on the fork.

I did worry about Little Baker spilling food on the beautiful cushions. He had grains of rice spread across the table and stuck to his shirt. At one stage, our 3 year old clearly forgot that we were in a restaurant. After he scoffed his samosa, corn chips and broccoli, he curled up like a cat on a couple of cushions. He was set for a nap! Someone knocked over a glass of water. Ah, eating out with 4 children is rarely completely relaxing!

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***

Cardamon Pod also has a juice and smoothie bar, and serves raw desserts like chocolate mousse. We didn’t order a drink or dessert on this visit. On a previous visit, I ordered The Hulk (they had run out of baby spinach, so I was offered a double dose of spirulina. I agreed. It was the first time I had consumed spirulina in a smoothie. It was radio-active green, and delicious. Afterwards, I felt incredibly energised).

There wasn’t room for a Hulk or a dessert this time. Mat suggested that we visit solely for dessert one day. Great idea!
So, for a grand total of $46 my family of 2 adults, 3 children and a baby left Cardamon Pod with full and happy bellies, eager to visit again soon.

Look at what we spotted across the road, etched into the footpath……

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Cardamon Pod Vegetarian

11/110 Surf Parade,

Broadbeach, QLD

Phone 0452 218 108 for opening hours.

***

RP

I want to extend my gratitude to those that have voted for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Vegan and Vegetarian Moms 2013

I am currently in the number 2 spot! This is very exciting! I would love to maintain this position. If you enjoy reading Made of Stars, please vote for me here.

I really appreciate your support. 

You can vote for me once every 24 hours. You are not required to register, or provide your email address. You just click. It’s really quick!

The competition ends on 7 February. Thank you. 🙂

 Ally

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