{Recipe} Cucumber and Nori Cups

I was inspired to create Cucumber and Nori Cups after seeing a recipe called Cucumber Cups in the Veggieful e-book, Vegan Party Food. With beautiful photographs and scrumptious recipes, this e-book is a bargain at only $2.95.

I wanted to make an after school snack for my kids that fit the following criteria: healthy, visually appealing, simple to prepare, and not requiring cooking.

I was planning to make Cucumber and Nut Cheese Bites (using hommus instead of nut cheese) when I remembered the Cucumber Cups I had seen in Vegan Party Food. Veggieful’s Cucumber Cups are packed with satay tofu. I am yet to make them, but they look truly delectable.

I packed my cucumber cups with ingredients that were available in my kitchen. Then I wrapped them in strips of nori (seaweed).

Cucumbercups

Ingredients

Continental (telegraph) Cucumber

hommus

grated carrot

chopped pineapple

cubed beetroot

raw cashews 

sesame seeds

poppy seeds

raw cashews

nori sheet

Method

1. Cut the cucumber into 3 cm pieces (approximately). Obviously, the length of your cucumber will determine the number of cups. Use more than one cucumber if you want to make a larger quantity.

2. Scoop out some of the flesh using a teaspoon:

cups2

3. Add a dollop of hommus to each cup. Add the grated carrot. Then add pineapple, beetroot, and cashews. Sprinkle some cups with poppy seeds, and some with sesame seeds.

4. Cut thin strips from a sheet of nori. Wrap each strip snuggly around the cups, then moisten the end with water to ‘stick’ it down.

5. Serve.

cup4

This is a very ‘flexible’ recipe. You can use a different combination of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Use nut cheese, nut butter, vegan cream cheese, or other dips instead of hommus. You can omit the nori.

cups3

This recipe need never be the same each time you make it. Be guided by the ingredients in your kitchen.

A tip: If you don’t use hommus, use a ‘thick’ dip. A runny dip will spill over the sides when you add the rest of the ingredients. Yes, it happened to me. 🙂

What is your favourite party food? 

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

Sharing this recipe with Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Ally

{Recipe} Pecan Date Nibblers | Cinnamon Date Slice

firstimage

Both of these recipes feature dates. One is raw, one is baked. Both are suitable for school lunchboxes, or an afternoon snack. Cinnamon Date Slice is gluten free and refined sugar-free, with an oil free option. My children adore this slice.

Pecan Date Nibblers are wheat free, oil free, and refined sugar-free. There is a variation to make them gluten-free. They are very popular in my household.  The recipe lists lemon or orange zest as optional. I always use orange zest. I think it should be compulsory! The orange flavour is very appealing.

pecan1

Pecan Date Nibblers

Recipe from: Let them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton (yes, another Dreena recipe!).

Quantity: 12-15

Recipe available here.

***

dateslice1

Cinnamon Date Slice

Adapted from a recipe in Fresh Blends, the book that accompanied our Blendtec blender.

Quantity: 20 squares

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw almonds

2/3 cup raw macadamia nuts

1 cup ground flax seeds 

1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup date paste, store bought or homemade (recipe below)

1/3 cup sultanas

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 Tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)

Topping: 2 Tbsp ground almonds, 2 Tbsp shredded coconut, 1-2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, 20 walnut pieces.

Method

1. Add almonds, macadamia nuts, cinnamon, and sea salt to a food processor, and process until nuts are ground.

2. Add nut mixture and ground flax seeds to a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

3. Add date paste and agave (or maple) syrup to the mixing bowl, and stir until incorporated.

4. Add sultanas and walnuts. Mix well.

5. Line a large baking dish with baking paper* (parchment) and scoop the mixture into the dish. Flatten the mixture with the back of a large spoon.

6. Sprinkle the top with ground almonds, shredded coconut, and sunflower seeds.

7. Refrigerate (or place in the freezer) for a few hours before cutting into 20 squares. Place a walnut piece on each square. Store slice in fridge or freezer.

Date Paste

Quantity – approximately 1 cup

Ingredients:

10 dates, pitted

2 Tbsp agave syrup (or maple syrup)

2 Tbsp coconut oil (optional, but the slice is drier without it)

1/4 cup dried apricots

1 cup of water (for soaking dates)

Method

1. Soak dates in water for 1-2 hours. Reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking water for step 2.

2. In a small food processor, add ingredients in the following order: soaking water, dates, agave (maple) syrup, coconut oil, and dried apricots.

3. Process until smooth.

Store the leftover date paste in the fridge. Date paste is yummy on bread or crackers, with macadamia butter.

dateslice2

* I had run out of baking paper on this occasion. It is much easier to extract the slice from the dish if you use baking paper, but it is not essential.

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:

IMG_0577

‘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.

final pic

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.

 

{Recipe} Cucumber and Nut Cheese Bites | Lime Cheesecake (vegan).

We celebrated my dad’s 70th birthday yesterday.

My sister, my brother-in-law, and my dad’s brother arrived from Sydney to join our family and local friends for the festivities.

We enjoyed lots of delicious food, and I indulged in a couple of drinks. My brother-in-law makes a mean Espresso Martini!

We shared tonnes of laughs. As the evening progressed, we put on our dancing shoes. We sung, we reminisced. The evening will always hold a special place in my memory.

On to the food!

We all pitched in to prepare a scrumptious vegan spread. I made Uberdish’s gluten-free  savoury crepes. They are delicious smeared with non-dairy cream cheese and other dips. I also enjoy them plain.

Savoury crepes

Savoury crepes

Mat made cucumber and nut cheese bites (recipe below).

My mum baked two birthday cakes (both vegan, of course) – Chocolate Cake with Cacao Icing, and Lime Cheesecake (recipe below).

***

Delicious finger food

Delicious finger food

Cucumber and Nut Cheese Bites

Ingredients

1/2 continental cucumber (or 1 large Lebanese cucumber)

1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered

Nut cheese (recipe below)

Alfalfa sprouts

Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

Method
1. Slice cucumber into the desired number of pieces.
2. Smear nut cheese on each piece of cucumber.
3. Top with olives, tomato and sprouts in preferred combinations.

***

nut cheese

Nut Cheese

Adapted from: Living on Live Food by Alissa Cohen (Mozarella Cheese).

Ingredients:

1 cup raw macadamia nuts (soaked overnight)

1 cup raw cashew nuts (soaked overnight)

1 Tbsp soy sauce/tamari OR 2 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 – 1 Tbsp water (optional)

Cashews and macadamia nuts

Cashews and macadamia nuts

Method

1. Add all ingredients, except optional water, to a blender (I use an immersion blender).
2. Blend until all ingredients are smooth. Add additional water if required (I added an additional 1/2 tbsp).

* Use leftover nut cheese on crackers, or as a dip with raw vegies. It complements beautifully this raw pasta dish.

***

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Lime Cheesecake with Soy Whip

My mum is the vegan cheesecake expert in our family. This Lime Cheesecake recipe is the product of two recipes, plus some trial, error and ingenuity.

Incidentally, my mum is well known (in our family at least!) for a delightful dessert known as Upside-Down Cheesecake. The secret method for Upside-Down Cheesecake is to cause the bottom of the springform pan to collapse as you are removing the baked cheesecake from the oven. This takes great skill and timing! Then, salvage the cheesecake that has fallen onto the oven door, and transfer it to a container. Refrigerate. Serve in a bowl, eat with a spoon. Delicious!

lime cheesecake1

Lime Cheesecake

Ingredients

For the base (adapted from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook) –

125g (4 oz) vegan margarine/butter

200g (7 oz) plain, sweet vegan biscuits, finely crushed

2 tbsp brown sugar

Method
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C/350 F, and line a springform tin with baking paper.
2. Melt the margarine in a saucepan, then add the biscuit crumbs. Mix well.
3. Stir in the sugar.
4. Press the biscuit mixture into the base of the springform tin. Smooth the top.
5. Refrigerate the base while you prepare the filling.

For the filling (adapted from this recipe by Michael Greger) –

450g/16 oz non-dairy cream cheese

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp lime zest

2/3 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp cornflour

Method
1. Process the cream cheese in a food processor.
2. Add the caster sugar, lime juice and lime zest. Process again until ingredients are incorporated.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add water and cornflour. Whisk until combined.
4. Add the cream cheese mixture to the mixing bowl, and combine.
5. Remove cake tin from the fridge.
6. Pour filling into cake tin, and smooth the top.
7. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, until a golden brown skin forms on the top.
8. Allow cake to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with homemade non-dairy cream or Soyatoo soy whip.

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Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or two!) – one that is enjoyed by my family (and a few friends). I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

{Recipe} Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms | Potato Salad | Tabouli

Now that the silly season is (almost) over, it is time to return to healthful eating. I certainly indulged in a few sugary delights on Christmas day and Boxing day – pudding, fruit cake, trifle, pistachio and craisin bark (yum!).

I did eat other, non-sugary things too! I enjoyed nut roast, roast vegetables, fruit, and an abundance of colourful, delectable salads.

 

It is time to get back on the healthful eating track!

Portabella mushroom and salads

Portabella mushroom and salads

Tonight we had Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms, Potato Salad with a zesty tahini dressing, and Tabouli – with a twist. This tabouli uses cauliflower instead of burghul, making it gluten-free and raw.

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

recipe adapted from: Living on Live Food by Alissa Cohen

Serves 5

You will need:

5 portabella mushrooms

1 avocado

1 tbsp finely sliced spring onion (shallot)

1/2 tomato, diced

a pinch of sea salt

soy sauce/tamari/Bragg liquid aminos

Method

1. Wash and de-stem the mushrooms. Place them upside down on a plate:

De-stemmed mushrooms

De-stemmed mushrooms

2. Mash the avocado in a small bowl, and add the spring onion, salt and tomato.

3. Place spoonfuls of the avocado mixture into the mushroom cap.

4. Drizzle soy sauce (or tamari, or Bragg liquid aminos) over each mushroom:

Drizzle with soy sauce

Drizzle with soy sauce

5. Serve to hungry little critters:

Serve!

Serve!

***

Potato Salad with Tahini Dressing

Serves 4 as a side salad

Dressing adapted from: Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney

You will need:

4-5 medium-sized potatoes, washed, peeled or un-peeled (your preferred variety. I used Red Delight)

Dressing Ingredients:

4 tbsp tahini

1/2 tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

4 tbsp water

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce

1/2 tsp maple syrup

a pinch of sea salt

a pinch of cayenne pepper

Method

1. Chop potatoes and place them in a saucepan of cold water. Bring water to the boil. Simmer gently.

2. Cook potatoes until they can be pierced with a fork. Do not overcook. Drain, and allow to cool.

3. Process all of the dressing ingredients in a blender (I use an immersion blender). Alternatively, mix the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, using a fork.

4. Transfer the potatos to a large mixing bowl and add the dressing. Stir well. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a parsley sprig:

Potato Salad with Tahini Dressing

Potato Salad with Tahini Dressing

***

Tabouli

Recipe adapted from: rawpleasure.com.au (the original recipe was inspired by Storm’s Garden Diet e-book)

Serves 6 as a side salad

You will need:

400g cauliflower florets

1 large bunch of parsley

1 small bunch of coriander

2  1/2 spring onions (shallots)

2 large kale leaves, de-stemmed

2 sprigs of mint

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of sea salt

juice of 1/2 a lemon

juice of 1/2 an orange

Method

1. Process cauliflower to a grainy consistency:

'Grainy' cauliflower

‘Grainy’ cauliflower

2. Transfer cauliflower to a bowl and set aside.

3. Process parsley, corinader, spring onions, mint and kale leaves. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the cauliflower, mix well:

Combine greens and cauliflower

Combine greens and cauliflower

4. Add the tomato and avocado, mix well.

5. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil and salt. Stir with a fork.

6. Pour dressing over the salad, and mix well:

Raw tabouli

Raw tabouli

Ah, we could taste the health in this meal tonight! The tahini dressing is truly delectable. It would be lovely as a dip too, with less water added to give it a thicker consistency. The tabouli tastes fresh and summery.

Our Least Adventurous Eater was not keen on the potato salad or the mushroom, but he ate the tabouli (plus a couple of store-bought, gluten-free, sugar-free falafels and a salad sandwich). Our daughter enjoyed all three dishes. Our 3 year old son was happy to eat the avocado out of the mushroom, but not the mushroom. Our boys are not big fans of mushrooms. I, on the other hand, adore them.

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or three!) – one that is enjoyed by (most of) my family. I hope your family enjoys it too. 

Ally

{Recipe} Macadamia and Basil Pesto with Marinara Sauce and Zucchini Ribbons

The days are starting to heat up in my part of the world. It is time to farewell the comforting soups and stews of winter and early spring, and commence RAW FOOD indulgence!

This pesto is a concoction that I developed after discovering that my family’s preferred nut and herb combination (for pesto) was macadamia and basil. I added english spinach on an occasion that I was a little short of basil, and it became a regular addition to the recipe.

The marinara sauce is adapted from Alissa Cohen’s Living on Live Food. We discovered zucchini ribbons (or ‘noodles’) when we first became interested in raw food 5 years ago.

Macadamia and Basil Pesto

Macadamia nuts

Quantity -2 cups

You will need:

4 cups basil leaves, tightly packed

1 1/2 cups English (baby) spinach leaves, tightly packed

2 1/2 cups raw macadamia nuts

2-5 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup plus 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

English spinach and basil leaves

Method

Wash basil leaves and baby spinach leaves, pat dry or use a salad spinner.

Place leaves in food processor with macadamia nuts and garlic. Process for 30 sec. Turn off, then remove lid. Use a spatula to scrape mixture down the sides of the jug. Replace lid, process again and add 1/3 cup of oil and salt while blades are spinning. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape ingredients down side of jug with a spatula.

Once ingredients are well incorporated, do a taste test. Add remaining 1/2 tbsp oil or additional salt if it is required. Process again to combine.

Pesto

We use the full amount of oil. We only use 2 cloves of garlic, as my children comment that the pesto is ‘spicy’ if we add any more. By all means, add more if that won’t be a problem in your house. I’d certainly add more garlic if it wasn’t for fact that my kids find the strong, spicy flavour of raw garlic overwhelming (when someone calls out ‘water, water’ I know I’ve gone overboard with the garlic!).

Set pesto aside.

Marinara sauce

Quantity – 1 3/4 cups

2 cups fresh tomato, chopped

15 sundried tomatoes soaked for 2 hours

5 dates, pitted and soaked for 2 hours

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

Method

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process on medium until ingredients are blended well, and desired texture is achieved. I like it to be a little chunky.

Marinara sauce

Zucchini ribbons:

You will need:

1/2 – 1 medium zucchini (courgette) PER person

Method:

Wash and dry zucchini. Use vegetable peeler (or spiraliser) to create ribbons. If using vegie peeler, peel zucchini along the entire length.  Discard skin if  preferred. I use it. Use as much of the zucchini as possible. Set ribbons aside.

Zucchini ribbons

Additional ingredients, PER person:

2 small button mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup diced red capsicum (bell pepper)

1 tbsp sliced olives

A sprinkling of savoury yeast (nutritional yeast)

4 slices of avocado

A few sprigs of fresh parsley

To assemble:

For each person:

Place ribbons in a bowl. Add desired amount of pesto. Mix with a spoon to coat the ribbons, or you can use your hands to work the pesto through the ribbons.

Add desired amount of marinara sauce, mix well.

Add vegetables, stir.

Sprinkle with savoury yeast flakes (nutritional yeast) and place avocado slices on top. Top with parsley.

Enjoy!

with nutritional yeast.

***

without nutritional yeast.

***

Variation: My kids aren’t keen on raw zucchini (or cooked, or any form really. But they do like zucchini cake – especially when I call it Maple Syrup and Walnut Cake 😉 ).

So, we serve their meal with wholemeal wheat spaghetti instead of ribbons.

***

Leftover pesto can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge, for about a week. My daughter and I enjoy pesto on whole wheat toast for breakfast.

Leftover marinara sauce can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.

What is your favourite pesto combination?

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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