Vegan merengue, finally!

It was all over internet the past few months, vegan merengue. As sweet and tasty as the original, but made with an unexpected – and vegan – ingredient: Aquafaba, the water in which your chickpeas have been soaking; the water from the chickpea can. I used to pour this down the drain, just like most of you I guess, but now there’s a sweet alternative. Chickpea dinners now come  with almost instant sweet deserts.

Aparently, the chickpea water has the same qualities as egg white. Is it the proteins from the beans? or something else? I haven’t had time to look up the theory behind this, but I did some experimenting, and Oh boy! whatever it is that causes chickpea water to be turned into sweet tasty merengues, it must be a good thing!

If you want a tried and tested recipe, or if you want to be inspired by tasty pictures of numerous posibilities for vegan fluff, vegan marshmellow and vegan merengue, jus go to Pinterest! 

vegan merengue

Here’s how I made mine:  This is NOT a sugarfree recipe!

Drain the water of a 400 ml can of chickpeas. Make something tasty with the chickpeas.

Use a mixer or kitchen machine to whip the chickpea water into a smooth, white creamy substance. This is remarkably quick and easy.

Meanwhile, add 5 spoons of sugar, slowly one by one.

I also added 2 drops of vanilla essence, and for half of the mixture, some red, vegan foodcollouring to create pink merengues (too pretty, we ate them before I could take a picture).

Heat your oven up to 110 degrees Celsius. Place a sheet of baking paper on a tray, and  spoon small amounts of fluffy stuff on your paper (about a soonful each). Leave some distance in between. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour. Check if they are dry, and adjust baking time if necessary.

we like’m crispy on the outside and just a tiny bit chewy on the inside.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container….or eat…..

 

vegan merengue christmas

As you can see, we had company, enjoying this vegan merengue! Now where did they come from? I guess they have been hiding among the Christmas decorations for almost a year. They seem happy enough to be let out again!

Christmas decorations……. something to write about in a next blogpost, soon!

 

 

 

 

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Vegan bananabread

I think it’s two years ago since I first participated in the Vegan Challenge. During the Vegan Challenge, hundreds of people  sign up to eat vegan for an entire month, to share experiences and to receive tasty recipes in their inbox. The next edition starts on October 1st, over 1700 people have signed up,  and I’m in!

Ever since that first Vegan Challenge, I’ve started eating vegan more and more. I remember feeling like a failure when, during that first challenge, I somewhat gave up after a week or two. Nevertheless, that challenge taught me a couple of succes recipes that I still use. And over time, I tried again and again to eat 100% vegan. That, however is something I haven’t achieved as yet.

I do believe a plantbased diet is better for the environment, and for a lot of animals, and I feel healthier and ‘cleaner’ when eating vegan. Participating in this next edition of the Vegan Challenge I hope will help me focus more, and be inspired to cook, bake and eat vegan more and more…..

To get in the mood, I explored the Vegan Challenge website, looking for new recipes. I came across a recipe for vegan banana bread (hurray! all other recipes I found contained eggs or dairy), and this was a real must try since I had a couple of brown spotty bananas waiting on the kitchen table.

The orginal recipe can be found here, but I made some adjustments because:

A. it was Sunday evening when I baked this, and I had to work with what was available (use what you have etc…..)

B. I am trying to cut down on my sugar consumption so I wasn’t comfortable with adding 150 grams of sugar

C. I had only 2 bananas instead of the required 3, so I adjusted the quantities of the other ingredients a bit.

vegan banana bread

First, I pre-heated the oven at 180 degrees Celsius, Then, I mixed the following dry ingredients in a bowl:

250 grams of whole wheat spelt flour, 50 grams of coconut blossomsugar, 50 grams of oatmeal, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 75 grams of chopped apricots, 75 grams of mixed nuts (walnut and pecan), 2 table spoons of cinnamon (because I looooove cinnamon, and because an extra touch of cinnamon can compensate for the lack of sugar, I hoped).

Then, in the blender I mixed:

100 ml of water, 100 ml of sunflower oil, 2 ripe bananas and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

I added the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stirred a bit. Then I filled a small baking tray with this batter. I added  some raw cocoa nibs to the rest of the batter and filled 6 cupcake molds with this. I put it all in the oven and removed the cupcakes after 25 minutes. I baked the larger cake for 40 minutes, let it cool down a bit, put the kids to bed and made myself a cup of tea…..oh boy.

vegan bananabread2

From now on, I know what to do with overripe bananas!

Sugar free granola and crumble

Inspired by Sue Quinns ‘Everyday Sugarfree Cooking’, I decided to experiment a bit with using (dried) fruit as sweeteners in some of my favorite recipes.

In her book Sue Quinn clearly explains what refined sugar does to your body and why it’s not good for you. The book is also filled with 65 delicious recipes. This time not using stuff like agavesyrup to replace sugar, but using (dried) fruits as a source of sweetness. And that, I tell you, is very inspiring!

Her recipes are sugarfree but not necessarily vegan aswell, some are though, and with some creativity you’ll come a long way with the non-vegan ones.

sugarfree granola

The granola and crumble I made are not recipes out of this book, but where inspired by it. Next time I’ll be making stuff right out of the book. There’s a jar all set and ready, waiting to be filled with Sue Quinns home made sugarfree ketchup. And her chocolatemousse made with dates and coconutcream made my mouth water just by reading the recipe, yumm!

Today, I tried making granola without sugar of any sort, and well, it worked! I won’t give you and exact recipe because I was too busy experimenting to measure properly and to write everything down, but this is what I used:

dry ingredients: oats, flaxseed and chopped nuts

wet ingredients: coconut oil and some organic sugarfree peanutbutter.

I mixed the wet and the dry and spread it all out on a baking tray. After baking for 20 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius, I added:

chopped dates, chopped dried apricots and grated coconut

I mixed it all together, and baked for another 5 minutes. After letting it cool down I stored the granola in a jar in the fridge. I must say it’s a bit less sticky than the one I made last week, perhaps because of the lack of sugar. But…later today I found out that my foodprocessor is quite capable of mixing dates, apricot and coconut oil into a sticky, sweet paste, so that’s worth a try on making the next granola batch…learning by doing so to speak…..

sugarfree crumble

For desert I made an apple crumble, using organic apples that I found at our local supermarket, and some cinnamon. For the crumble: a mixture of oats (grounded in my foodprocessor until it looked like flour), some semolina, ground walnuts and some grated coconut. To turn it into a crumble, I added a mixture of coconut oil, dates and dried apricots. I let the foodprocessor do its magic, having it work for about a minute, and got a really sticky paste. I added the dry ingredients, spread everything out on top of the apples, and baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 150 degrees.

The outcome was tasty, sweet and crumbly…yes crumbly…but oh so tasty! I think this calls for some more experimenting, but the beginning is promissing.

I’ll definitely use fruits as sweeteners more often, I’ll experiment some more with my crumble and granola, and I really should start making the recipes from Sue Quinns book!

sugarfree crumble2

PS: I was a bit terrified to try at first, becaus what if they’d break? But it turned out these milkglass dishes I hunt for in the thirftstore are very good at standing the heat, and are very suitable for baking. I’m happy…they come in so many sizes and designs, can be found in most thriftstores, and doesn’t every dish look prettier in a bowl like this?

Home made Granola

For the first time ( but very, very probably not the last!) I made my own granola.

School started again this week.  And on Sunday I tried to prepare  myself for our hurried morning routines and quick, quick breakfasts. Let’s make things a bit easier by at least having a tasty (but quick… ) breakfast to look forward to.

So, on Sunday evening I decided to make a nice, big jar of granola. A treat, on those busy mornings! I choose to use only ingredients I already had in my kitchen. I guess the good thing about granola is you can toss in whatever you like and it still tastes good…most of the time….

granola 1

I used:

  • 300 gr. oatmeal
  • 250 gr. mixed nuts ( hazelnut, pecan and walnut), chopped
  • a handfull of flaxseed
  • 3 spoons of coconut oil
  • 4 spoons of coconutblossom sugar
  • 4 spoons of agave syrup
  • 2 spoons of crunchy peanut butter
  • a handfull of dried cranberries, chopped
  • 2 spoons of cocoa nibs
  • 3 spoons of grated coconut

granola 2

And then:

Mix the oatmeal, nuts and flaxseed in a bowl.

In a large pan, mix the coconut oil, sugar, syrup and peanutbutter and stir on low heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the oatmeal mixture and stirr well.

Spread out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes at 120 degrees Celsius. Stirr every 10-15 minutes.

granola 3

Take the tray out of the oven and add cranberries, coconut and cocoa nibs. Mix well.

Allow to cool down and store in an airtight container.

This should be enough for the first few breakfasts of the new schoolyear!

granola 4

This was an experiment that turned out surprisingly tasty. Have you ever made your own granola, and what’s your favorite recipe? Please share!

Chocolate covered dates

This sunday the kids did nothing but R.E.L.A.X. And they deserved it, I should say. After dancing three performances in a row yesterday, a sold-out theatre for each show, they were quite entitled to a day of watching series, playing with their mother’s make up, braiding each other’s hair and some crafting.

I’m not so good at relaxing though, so I filled my day with chores in and around the house, a good run, and some kitchen stuff.

Recently I was introduced to the oh so tasty phenomenon of chocolate covered dates. Have you had them yet? when I stumbled upon a huge packet of dates at the supermarket ( Ramadan, thank you!), I decided that today would be a great day to try and make some myself.

chocolate dates 1

For 16 chocolate covered dates, I used:

16 dates (really?…yes, and seedless, you might want to mind your teeth when making these)

90 grams of pure chocolate, melted

a bit of ground coconut

a bowl, a plate, a spoon and two forks.

And this is how you make them:

Melt your chocolate, au bain marie or in the microwave (in which case; check every 30 seconds or so, and stirr. You want your chocolate melted, not burned!)

Place a bit of coconut on a plate, and spread around.

Add your dates to the melted chocolate, stirr, and take ‘m out with your spoon, allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl, and carefully place them onto the ground coconut on your plate. Gently swirl the plate or use some extra ground coconut to cover the top of the dates. If you like roling your dates around the plate, forks are very useful.

chocolatedates

You can ofcourse skip the coconut part and just cover the dates in chocolate only.

Place your plate in the fridge, eat the remainder of chocolate from the bowl, wash up, make some tea. Take your plate from the fridge, eat and enjoy.

chocolatecoconutdates

Noodles in a jar

Are you also fond of noodles? Easy to take along to work, hot and spicy, warm and tasty… it’s a perfect snack or office lunch.

Those packages of noodles are also packed in multiple plastic sachets, and are filled with E-numbers you don’t want to know you’re eating….

I found a healthy, greener…and tastier!…. alternative: noodles in a jar!

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All you need is a  500 ml glass jar, a family size package of noodles, spices and vegetable stock, and fresh vegetables.

Before you leave for work, fill your jar with fresh vegetables that don’t require long cooking ( sprouts, frozen peas, leek, paprika, carrots, use your imagination…and whatever is available in your kitchen).

Add a big teaspoon of organic vegetable stock, and spices to taste. I usually add a spoon of curry powder and some extra black pepper.

Then, fill your jar to the top with noodles. You may need to break them a bit to fit in.

If you’re in a hurry in the morning, you can also prepare this the night before and keep it in the fridge.

At work all you’ll need is a bowl, a spoon, and some boiling water. Pour the contents of your jar in a bowl, add hot water until your noodles all well covered. Cover and wait for a minute or so, stirr, then eat.

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Enjoy!

The day after & an easy peasy cranberry-coconut-lemon cake

I promised you the recipe of my pre-Mother’s day easy peasy me-time cake.

So, here it is.

You will need:

– 2 cups of flour, one cup of sugar and a sachet of baking powder ( 16gr).

– 400 ml of coconut milk

– a handful of dried cranberries

– the juice of one lemon

– powdered sugar.

– mixing bowl, wooden spoon, baking tray, a bit of oil to brush on your tray.

Oil your baking tray  ( I used one 20 x 30 cm tray, and a tiny round one to make a cute little extra cake). Heat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Mix you flour, sugar and baking powder. Stir in coconut milk slowly. Your batter should not be too liquid. Nice and firm will do. Add the cranberries en stir briefly to mix them with the batter.

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Put into your baking tray(s) and bake for 45 minutes below the centre of the oven.

Allow to cool down a bit before removing the cake from the tray. Meanwhile sqeeze your lemon and stir in enough powdered sugar to make some nice icing.

Carefully pour the icing onto the cake and allow to set. Once the cake has cooled down and the icing is firm…..enjoy!

Bon apetit!

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PS: guess what happened yesterday? I got spoiled rotten by those sweeties of mine! Cake, coffee, candy, drawings, letters, and afternoon at the beach in.the.sun. And only some mild tantrum-y stuff by the end of the day. But then it it was almost bedtime, and we’d had such a great time together…I just didn’t mind anymore…..

Hurray for unexpected perfect days.

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