Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

I have an incredibly simple, 2-ingredient recipe for chocolate mousse my daughters love to bits. So instead of making them a cake for their 7th birthday this year I decided to put it on a pie-crust base…here is the result.

Ingredients – Pie Crust

10 oat brits, crushed finely (or 2 ½ cups of rolled oats)

⅔ cup spelt wholemeal flour

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ cup light virgin olive oil or almond oil

½ cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

½ cup water + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + 2 Tbsp chia seeds (chia “egg” replacer)

Ingredients – Chocolate Cream

500g firm tofu

At least 250g vegan cooking chocolate (I use 3 bars of Kinnerton dark chocolate)

2 tsp vanilla bean paste and ⅓ cup maple syrup *optional if you like your chocolate mousse less rich and sweet!

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C, or 160°C if fan-forced. Grease a 3cm-deep, springform pan with light olive oil.

Whisk chia seeds in water and apple cider vinegar and leave for 10 minutes to thicken to a raw egg consistency. Meanwhile, combine crushed oat brits (or oats), flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl.

Whisk oil, almond milk and chia “egg” together. Add to dry mixture and stir until well combined. It should resemble cookie dough so if it doesn’t, add a little more milk until you get the sticky dough texture.Vegan chocolate cream pie base

Press the dough into the springeform pan and prick all over with a fork – my fork was dipped in chocolate 🙂 . Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Unfortunately you can see mine burnt a little. Allow to cool for a few hours.

Meanwhile, break up the dark chocolate and melt it in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of near-boiling water; make sure no water splashes into the chocolate as it won’t melt! If you have a double boiler definitely use it.  Stir consistently until it has completely melted and is smooth.Chocolate cream

Chop up the tofu into inch-long pieces then add to a mini food processor or blender and pulse 5-10 times. Scrape the sides, then blend continuously for at least 15 seconds or until mushed. Pour in about half of the chocolate and blend for another 15 seconds.Chocolate cream 2

Vegan chocolate cream whipTransfer the tofu to a mixing bowl, using a spatula to scrap it all, then add the remaining melted chocolate and mix gently until all combined. Using an electric mixer (or hand-mixer?), whip at high speed for at least 3 minutes. *At this point you may wish to add vanilla bean paste and maple syrup if you like your mousse a little sweeter and not so rich. Whipping at high speed is important to add air and lighten the dense chocolate mixture.

Finally, spoon the chocolate mousse cream onto the cooled pie crust and spread evenly with the spatula. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving a la mode, or, if you prefer, it goes down a treat with a berry coulis or cashew cream.Girls 7th birthday

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Recipes

My Yoga Easter

yogabunnyfront

Now the dawn of buns and chocolate is rapidly approaching, I’ve found myself reflecting on what this time of the year means to me now.

Baptised Catholic at just one month old, I went rogue in my teens as religion just wasn’t addressing the questions important to me at that time. I have since found in Yoga philosophy many answers to these questions. The Yoga practices of asana, pranayama and meditation have also become an avenue for me to experience spirit, to feel love, hope and faith. Does this mean Yoga is slowly making me religious? I don’t think so, but Yoga’s teachings are so simple and widespread that it has given me a more patient understanding and acceptance of all religions.

Consequently, I do feel a little emotional on Good Friday. Not necessarily for the crucifixion of Christ but certainly for the symbolism it represents of the suffering faced by many right now in my lifetime. Even as a non-Catholic I can try to celebrate Easter Sunday with a sense of resurrection, or perhaps more appropriately with the secular tradition of the Easter egg, with the joyfulness of rebirth; No matter their age or their past actions, everyone has limitless potential for happiness that is real, right here and right now.  In every moment we can create a new life of hope and joy…especially when running around with the kids collecting and chomping chocolate eggs!

Tagged with:
Posted in Inspiration

Home Grain Bakery

 Home Grain Bakery food

How would you spend a wet and grey Autumn day? Does that weather make you crave comfort food? At the time of writing I’d just returned home from a fun-filled mini road trip to the Home Grain Bakery with a fellow vegan/yogin mate, Nick. We were on the hot search for what has been touted as S.A’s best vegan sausage rolls.

Nick had heard around town that this little seaside country bakery prepared delicious vegan pasties and vegan vanilla slices, but Wednesday are the only day of the week where they really water the vegan tastebuds with sausage rolls. This really sparked my interest as I’ve been playing around with various recipes but haven’t quite come up with anything worth sharing. Nick had the insight to ring ahead, given they are only baked on Wednesdays, he feared they might sell out. Sure enough, he promptly placed the remaining 4 sausage rolls left in the store on hold.

Immediately after a dynamic and sweaty Vinyasa class to amp our appetites, we followed the coastal road south to Aldinga. We were not disappointed, both agreeing the sausage rolls alone were worth the drive – we ate them seaside at the Star of Greece with his gorgeous dog, Chester, begging for a taste and gobbling up any flaky pastry that fell his way. You couldn’t drive all that way, however, and not enjoy something sweet to finish. With a warm cup of chai he enjoyed a vegan vanilla slice and I a vegan chocolate muffin.

But that’s not all, between the both of us over $100 was spent stocking up on comfort food goodness – they also sell vegan pasties, finger buns, choc-nut slices and scones. Their bread is also delicious. I got a large loaf each of their sourdough ciabatta and sourdough wholegrain (the latter weighs a tonne!). Everything is made fresh that day and never sold old, so it’s all good to freeze. For the gluten free, check them out on a Tuesday, that’s your day!

Finally, the fine folk at the Home Grain Bakery also support April as supermarket-free month, but they go all year round by sourcing all of their produce from nearby local producers.

 

 

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Vegan About Town

Chunky Monkey Vegan Protein Pudding

Chunky monkey protein pudding

After 2 years off I’ve just resumed teaching Bodypump at 6:05am on Thursdays. Most of us know now that protein is best consumed post weight training but now my brekkie is after class I’m looking for something more substantial than a shake.

This ticks all the boxes – high protein (about 30g from different sources), high mineral content for muscle recovery (magnesium, calcium and potassium from bananas and cacao), antioxidant rich (cacao has high levels of resveratrol, also found in red wine as well as polyphenols), low sugar, low fat and scrummy taste!

Ingredients

1 ripe banana, broken up

100g firm tofu, chopped (you can use silken but this has lower protein content)

2 heaped tsp raw cacao powder

1 tsp maple syrup or other sweetener (I use stevia)

¼ cup unsweetened almond milk

½ scoop (about 15g) of pea protein isolate (I use vanilla flavoured from Vital Protein)

2 tsp smooth peanut butter (I use 100% peanuts no added anything)

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a mini food processor or blender and pulse 5-10 times. Scrape the sides, then blend continuously for at least 15 seconds or until completely smooth. Serves 1 hungry Bodypump monkey 🙂

This tastes just as nice as a post-workout smoothie – just add extra almond milk to your favourite smoothie consistency (about ½ cup should do it).

Chunky monkey protein pudding raw ingredients

Chunky monkey protein pudding processed ingredients

 

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Recipes

Vegan Choc Chip Oat Brit Slice

Vegan choc chip oat brit slice

My kids are notorious for eating a particular breakfast cereal for months and then exclaiming out of nowhere that they don’t like it and won’t eat it anymore. Last week I found a box of oat brits behind the 6 other cereal types in our pantry that my girls emphatically expressed they’d never eat again (despite eating them for the first 6 years of their life). I hate waste so I’m always sneaking such decidedly “yucky” food into my cooking….Here is the sweet result that the girls love, stay tuned for a savoury oat brits concoction (Vegetarian Sausage Rolls).

Ingredients – dry

8 oat brits, crushed finely

⅔ cup spelt wholemeal flour

1 cup vegan choc chips

⅔ cup stevia (you could use packed brown sugar)

1 tsp baking powder

Ingredients – wet

½ cup light virgin olive oil (almond oil also adds a nice flavour)

½ cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

½ cup water + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + 2 Tbsp chia seeds (chia “egg” replacer)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C, 160°C fan-forced. Line a 3cm-deep, 18cm x 28cm (base) slab pan with baking paper.

Whisk chia seeds in water and apple cider vinegar and leave for 10 minutes to thicken to an raw egg consistency. Meanwhile, combine crushed oat brits, flour, baking powder, choc bits and sugar in a large bowl.

Whisk oil, almond milk and chia “egg” together. Add to oat brits mixture and stir until well combined.

Press mixture into prepared pan using the back of a spoon. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and set.

Makes about 24 squares.Vegan Choc-chip Oat Brits slice

 

 

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Recipes

Jackie’s Chocolate “Super-bars”

Jackie's Chocolate Superbars 1

Most of you have come to realise by now that I’m a choc-aholic sweet-tooth. I came up with this recipe with two goals in mind; to satisfy my mid-afternoon cravings for a naughty treat but also as a new vegan twist on those expensive protein/energy bars at the store.

The resulting bars are Super in more ways than one – they taste super rich and chocolatey, contain super foods, provide super protein power and give you tons of super energy!

Ingredients

1 cup freshly ground almond meal

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 cup quick oats (or quinoa flakes if you prefer gluten free)

1 cup raw cacao

1 cup chocolate flavoured protein powder (I use Sun Warrior raw sprouted brown rice protein)

1 cup medjool dates, finely chopped (or what ever fired fruit you wish…I’ve also used dried cranberries, sultanas and pear)

¼ cup pure organic maple syrup

1 ¼ cups coconut oil

Instructions

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Bring coconut oil and maple syrup to a liquid on low flame then pour into dry ingredients. Mix everything together well, the consistency should be like a rough but gooey cookie.

Chocolate Superslice uncutPress into a 28cm x 18 cm baking tray lined with non-stick paper. Score with a knife into rectangles then freeze for at least 30 minutes. Remove from tray and cut into the scored rectangle-shaped bars. Store in the fridge or freezer…I usually eat mine straight from the freezer as I love to take my time and crunch away. Makes 16 big bars.

Chocolate Super bars

Tagged with:
Posted in Recipes

Vegan Spanokopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Vegan Spanokopita sliceEver since they came home from kindy with a recipe for spinach pie, my girls have been freely eating spinach without protest in all kinds of dishes. I often make the traditional version for my family and miss out myself due to the cheese and egg content, so I thought I’d try out some new flavours that we can all enjoy – this is the result…

Ingredients

1 bunch of organic spinach (about 4-5 cups of stems and leaves), chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

good quality olive oil for sautéing

1 heaped Tbsp basil, finely chopped

1 tsp dill, finely chopped

2 Tbsp tamari

fresh cracked black pepper and pink salt

60g vegan cheddar, grated

60g vegan parmesan, grated

2 sheets frozen reduced fat vegan puff pasty, thawed (I use Borg’s)

unsweetened almond milk for brushing

 Instructions

Sautéed Spinach and Onion

Preheat oven to 170C (150C fan forced). Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, add spinach and cook for a few minutes. Add tamari and seasoning to taste. Add basil and dill and cook for just another few minutes. Cool slightly then mix through grated cheddar.

Spinach Pie AssemblySpread spinach mixture evenly over 1 sheet of puff pastry and sprinkle grated parmesan over the top. Cover with second sheet of puff pastry, seal edges with a fork and prick top to prevent “ballooning”. Brush pastry with almond milk and bake for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is crispy and golden.

Served with steamed vegetables or salad for a delicious light lunch.Cooked Spinach Pie

Addison with her Spinach Pie

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Recipes

Asana Practice and the True Goal of Yoga

Autobiography of a Yogi book

Autobiography of a Yogi book

Recently I re-read one of the most influential Yoga books in recent history, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. There are so many thought-provoking messages in this text that you could blink through a line of prose and miss out. One teaching that seemed particularly relevant to Yoga practice on the mat occurred to me in chapter 7. Here, the author describes his first encounter with the levitating saint, Bhaduri Mahasaya, and his remarkable feats. During this first encounter, the Saint and the young Paramhansa enter the meditative state. After about an hour, the spiritual teacher rouses Paramhansa from his silence and cautions him on not confusing the technique of meditation for the goal. The young man loves to mediate and his teacher can see how fond he is of entering the meditative state for the feelings it gives him. Yet the true goal of meditation is not just to quiet the mind and “drop out”, it’s a method for developing actual perception of the Divine.

I can see many parallels in this wise teaching to how we all in the West sometimes confuse the practice of Yoga asana for the true goal of Yoga. We can become very attached to how well we perceive we “perform” in Yoga class, with judgements about how we can’t do this pose or think we are really good at that one. We can become attached to the buzz, the way that yoga class makes us feel afterwards. We can find ourselves growing fonder of practising asana to improve our physical body. We can get caught up in the belief that Yoga class gives us an opportunity to also “drop out” of the world, when in fact the true goal is to more fully “drop in”. All of these scenarios mask the truth. So like Paramhansa with meditation, we shouldn’t confuse the technique of asana for the ultimate goal – that asana practice is a method for purifying our karmas to liberate us from feeling separateness. It can lead us to the true goal of Yoga, realisation of our own union with the Divine.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Inspiration

Cannellini Bean Pesto – Yummy as a Dip or Pasta Sauce!

Cannellini Bean Pesto

Cannellini Bean Pesto Dip

My husband and I both love pesto sauce with our pasta but up until a few weeks ago I’d never made it at home, so my daughters hadn’t tried it before. I set about following a standard pesto recipe but wanted to sneak in some extra protein, hence the introduction of the cannellini beans. My kids and my husband were none the wiser…until now I guess!

The result was a nice thick pesto that could serve as a healthy dip, or you could thin it out like I did with a little water to stir through your favourite warm pasta. We had it with some wholegrain penne and chopped cherry tomatoes – it even tastes great cold (I had left-overs the next day), so an easy recipe for a picnic or bbq side.

Ingredients

45g vegan parmesan cheese

⅓ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

2 organic garlic cloves

1 ½ cups packed organic basil leaves

½ tsp pink magnesium salt

½ cup cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

400g can organic cannellini beans, rinsed

Instructions

Pulse chop the parmesan 5 times in a food processor, then process continuously until ground. Reserve in a bowl. Pulse chop the pine nuts 5 times in the food processor and reserve with the parmesan.

Process the garlic for 5 seconds in a food processor with the salt, scrape the sides of the processor bowl then add the basil leaves and half of the olive oil. Pulse grind about 10 times then scrape the bowl and process well (about 15 seconds). Add the cannellini beans and process until smooth. With the processor running continuously, slowly add the remaining olive oil in a steady stream. After all the oil is added, process well for an additional 10-15 seconds.

Add the reserved parmesan and pine nuts and pulse process 10 times to combine. If using as a dip, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with extra toasted pine nuts and a sprig of basil. The dip will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. If using as a pasta sauce, you will most likely need to add about ½ to ⅓ cup of water to thin it out before stirring through your warm pasta.

Serves 2 adults and 2 small kids as a delicious pasta sauce.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Recipes

Vegan Portobello Mushroom Lasagne

A creamy "meaty" but vegan lasagne

Vegan Portobello Mushroom Lasagne

This is a recipe I adapted from an Italian friend who loves to cook and try new menus such as gluten-free and vegan 🙂

Her lasagne was layered with eggplant and fried tofu, but I made it recently and substituted loads of “meaty” organic portobello mushrooms that we were lucky to score at the market. She also used soy milk for the béchamel, but I prefer almond milk, she used dried gluten-free lasagne sheets but I like dried wholemeal organic spelt…you get the idea.

Lasagne Sauce

2 small onions, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 bottle (680ml) organic tomato puree

2 carrots, grated

2 zucchini, grated,

6 large or 10 small portobello mushrooms

Salt, pepper & oregano, basil to taste

In a pan sautée the onion and garlic in olive oil then add all other ingredients and cook for about 1 hour on low flame.

Bechamel  sauce

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 cup vegan parmesan cheese, grated (I use “Cheesly”)

2 Tbsp cornflour

Salt & pepper to taste

In a small saucepan over a low flame, melt vegan parmesan cheese into the almond milk, stirring often. Add salt and pepper, stir to combine then add the cornflour. Stir constantly until desired thickness and remove from flame.

Assembling Instructions
Unbaked vegan portobello lasagne - ready for the oven

Unbaked vegan portobello lasagne

Vegan lasagne with a side of rocket, ready to eat!

Vegan lasagne with a side of rocket, ready to eat!

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. Spread a thin layer of tomato vegetable sauce and 1 cup of water in the base of a large pyrex-type rectangle oven dish. Place a layer of lasagne sheets on top – if using the dried spelt, this is just 2 sheets side by side with a gap between (see photo below). Start layering béchamel sauce, then tomato vegetable sauce. Include any other vegan cheese if you want, but I didn’t both as the béchamel was enough. Continue to layer pasta, béchamel and vegetables. I usually have 4 – 5 layers of pasta, finishing with sauces. Sprinkle with extra cheese then cover with alfoil & bake for about 30 minutes.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Recipes