Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

As I am writing this, the peanut (aka my dog) snoozes her way on the couch and feels happy and satisfied. Can we all just stop for a minute and appreciate the life we live? Our pets teach us that every single day; to be happy with little things in life. We don't need money to feel rich, nor a lot of friends to feel loved. All that matters are the small things we have.

I wish you all think of something that you really love and appreciate tonight. Have a wonderful Christmas eve and be marry! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Need some cookie inspiration?

You have probably realized that we are thiiiiis close to Christmas, right? If you are like me, you are freaking out a bit because there is so much to do with so little time. My plan for this week is to prepare the Christmas eve menu.

If you are deciding what to bake, let me help you with some suggestions. Click on the image to see the recipe.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Frosted Gingerbread Bites

Finding a perfect gift for me is always easy peasy. Just buy me an Essie polish or one or two a pair of shoes and that's it. I would also be happy with a cookbook since I love to try out new recipes and treat myself. I came across the Thug Kitchen Cookbook the other day and I love it. It is one of the best cookbooks I have ever read. So witty and fun with lots of good recipes that will make you hungry instantly. Those Frosted Gingerbread Bites are the first thing I had to do when I read the recipe. Besides, who can resist gingerbread in December?? What I absolutely love about those Gingerbread Bites is the fact that they are made in no time. I love Gingerbread Men, but hate to stand in the kitchen for two hours to finish one batch of pastry.

Since the recipe is written purely humorously, I present it to you just as it is. You can find it here.

1 ½ cups flour
2 tea spoons ground ginger
1 tea spoon ground cinnamon
¼ tea spoon ground allspice
1 tea spoon baking powder
½ tea spoon baking soda
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup canned coconut milk
½ cup blackstrap molasses
For the frosting:
1 table spoon coconut milk
¾ tea spoon lemon juice
1/3 cup powder sugar, sifted 

Warm the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 x 8 baking pan and put a square of parchment paper at the bottom so this motherfucker won’t stick. Grab a medium bowl and dump in the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Whisk all that shit around to get out any brown sugar clumps.

In a small saucepan mix together the coconut milk and the molasses. Put it over a medium low heat until the mixture just starts to bubble on the edges. Slowly whisk the coconut milk mixture into the dry ingredients until there aren’t any more dry spots. The batter is going to be thick like a brownie batter but a little spongy. Calm the fuck down before you email me and just trust that shit is correct. Pour the batter into the baking pan and gently move it around so that it is mostly even. Bake for 25-30 minutes. An easy way to check if it’s done is to poke the middle of that motherfucker with a toothpick and if it comes out clean, it’s done.

Once you see that shit is done, pull it out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Be sure to turn the oven off. Go check that shit right now, since we’re talking about it. Now you should be able to gently slide the cake out of the pan and let it finish cooling on a wire rack or plate or whateverthefuck you got. When it’s cool enough, cut it up into two-inch squares. If you want to frost that shit, I recommend doing it the day you serve the bites. 

Grab a small saucepan and gently warm the coconut milk at a low-medium heat for just about 15-30 seconds. You don’t want that shit boiling, just hot. Turn off the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and lemon juice. If the frosting looks too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. Before it starts to harden, take a spoon and drizzle it over the cake. Crisscross the drizzle and make it look all fancy or just pour that shit on if you don’t give a fuck.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Carob Cake Bars

One of my dearest friends gave me a package of Carob Powder for my birthday. At first I was overwhelmed because the only childhood memory of carob is somehow a blur, but also horrible. I just couldn't stand carob when I was a kid; the smell and the looks were awful. 
My birthday is in August and until this day I just couldn't find any good-looking recipe on the internet with carob powder as the main ingredient. Crazy, right? Do people resent carob powder as much as I did? Anyway, I called my grandma for advice and she gave me the following recipe. It included chocolate so I decided to give it a try. Guess what, I am hooked! The carob powder is not dominant in these bars, and I love that it has some fruity flavor because of the apple. Carob powder for the win.

You need:

2 cups milk
2 cups carob powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup sunflower oil (or any other neutral oil)
4 eggs
1 apple, peeled and grated

For the chocolate ganache:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sunflower oil

Put all of the ingredients in your stand mixer and mix it up. You can also use a hand-mixer, if you wish. Pour the batter into a greased baking tin of your choice (the bigger the tin, the flatter your bars will be) and bake for 25 minutes on 190°C. Once baked, let cool and prepare the chocolate ganache meanwhile. 
For the world's easiest chocolate ganache just put the chocolate chips and oil in a small oven-proof dish and put it in the still hot oven. Leave it there for five minutes, then stir until smooth. Now pour the ganache over the bars. Leave to cool completely. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pecan Date Bars

Hello dear TCB readers! Long time no see, right? I was literally shocked when I saw that there was no entry in September. Not even a Pinteresting post. Wow! A lot has happened since I last posted a recipe. As you know I tend not to reveal much of my personal outside-the-blog life, but I sure can tell now that life happens when you're busy making other plans

I am delighted to share a great recipe with you today. It is another vegan, no bake recipe which I love so much these days. Pecans are my number one snack - they are so nutritious and rich in taste you should definitely buy some. I carry a small zip-lock of pecans in my bag as an emergency when I get hungry or need a snack right away. 
These bars are totally addictive. I love them as an afternoon snack or pre run fuel. You can even enjoy them for breakfast if you wish.

You need:

1 cup pecans
1 cup dates, pitted
1 cup shredded coconut
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate (I used 80% cocoa)

Gather your ingredients and put them in your food processor. Mix until everything holds together and it is a sticky mess. 
Put the mixture in a brownie pan or any other pan you have on hand (just make sure it is not too big). Press down with your hands firmly. Put the pan in the fridge for one hour to set. Meanwhile melt the chocolate - my trick is to put it in the microwave for one minute and there you have it. 
After one hour, remove the pan from the fridge and drizzle the chocolate over the bars. Let cool in the fridge for another hour. Slice into bars and dig in.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chocolate Popsicles

Summer calls for ice cold desserts. I crave popsicles / ice cream / semifreddo's almost every night and therefore the ice pop mold I bought a few months ago comes in handy. There are many popsicle recipes on the internet, but I don't like the majority of them because it takes so much time to prepare all of the ingredients, and cook a syrup, and so on. These chocolate popsicles are made in no time and taste so amazingly like a chocolate cake. Plus, they're vegan!
What other excuse do you need for a brain freeze?

You need:

2 ripe bananas
2 table spoons cocoa
3 table spoons natural peanut butter
a dash of salt
1 tea spoon vanilla

Put all of the above ingredients in a blender. Mix until combined, use the pulse function to make sure everything is mixed and there are no banana chunks. 
Pour the mixture in a popsicle mold. 
Freeze overnight or for at least 5 hours.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Orange Pancakes (Vegan)

Everyone who loves pancakes get ready. These pancakes will blow your mind. They are so easy to do (3 ingredients!) and taste like fresh oranges squeezed into it. Okay, I really love pancakes and since I try to veganize some of my favorite recipes (nothing major, just trying to eat healthier) I came up with this one. 

You need:

1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 table spoon baking powder

Mix the above ingredients until combined. Bake pancakes. Serve with blueberry jam or plain. Eat. 

Now go and bake some! You can thank me later. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mini Vegan Cheesecakes

Hello dear readers! It feels so good to be back again. This past month was crazy - with some health issues, and mentally I wasn't quite prepared to blog. I am glad that it's all behind me and I can focus on much more positive and fun things. 

Sometimes when life gets difficult, I crave something sweet but don't want to bake and go through the whole process of it. Ahh, the cosiness of no-bake desserts!
So, I came over this blog and found the perfect little treat to do. It takes some time to make it because you have to soak the cashews, but it is worth the try! I prefer making such treats late at night, and then finishing it the next morning before work. Then I know a little something will wait for me in the fridge when I come home.

You need:

4 table spoons cashews
1 table spoon agave
4 table spoons coconut, shredded
2 table spoons oats
fruit of choice for the topping

Put the cashews in a bowl, pour enough water over it and leave to soak over night. The next day, put the cashews, agave and coconut in a blender (I use my Magic Bullet) and blend until smooth.
Put the oats in a small saucepan, add two tablespoons water and cook for two minutes or until the oats soak up the water. 
Prepare a mini pie dish by covering it with foil. Spread the oats thinly on the bottom and put in the fridge for a few minutes. Then put the cashew batter over the oats, slightly pressing it down with the backside of a spoon or a spatula. Put your fruit on top and let sit in the fridge for a few hours to cool completely.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Chia Fresca

Hot summer days are just around the corner and I can't wait to relax at the pool. Nothing better than a cool drink in your hands, a great book, good friends and music. With a proper drink I mean water, of course. You can add a twist to your daily water intake by adding some Chia seeds. What you'll get is a natural energy drink called Chia Fresca. It is an amazing drink and so easy to do.
When drinking this in public, a lot of people will stare at your bottle suspiciously because it looks really amazing. Probably they won't ask you what it is, though. 

You need:

2 table spoons Chia seeds
1,5 litres water

Pour the water into a glass or bottle, add the Chia seeds and mix well. Let sit for 15 minutes, then mix again to break the clumps. Enjoy! 

Look at those little energy seeds!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chia Banana Bread

Let me introduce you to my latest obsession: 

I absolutely love Chia seeds. They are so rich in fibre, protein and omega-3. You can easily add chia seeds to your diet; I sprinkle them over pancakes, blend them into my smoothie, or just enjoy them on my banana. A friend introduced me to this little superfood seeds and I can't have enough of them.

Banana bread with chia seeds is also a great way to sneak some superfood into your diet. This is such an easy recipe for banana bread, and it also contains chocolate!
Recipe adapted from here.

You need:

1/2 cup chia gel (1/2 cup water with 1 table spoon chia seeds; soaked for 30 minutes)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tea spoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tea spoon baking soda
2 table spoons chocolate chips (or more, if you wish :)

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the chia gel into a small bowl and mix it up with an immersion blender. Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and bananas. Mix until well combined. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until just combined (with a fork or spatula). Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Strawberry-Yogurt Pops

Can you believe it's May already? Summer days are just around the corner and I can't wait to wear flip-flops and sip iced coffee in the back yard. It was hot and humid the other day, and home-made strawberry pops were just the perfect treat to make. I recently bought a popsicle mold, and it was the purchase of the month. Seriously. I love frozen yogurt, but hate spending so much money on the store-bought one.

The peanut snuck her way onto the blog today as she approved the recipe. She has taste! 

I couldn't get a proper picture of her eating because she is so quick.

You need:

1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1 table spoon honey (optional)

Put the strawberries in a blender and mix until smooth. Add the honey and mix well. Spoon the strawberry mixture in a popsicle mold, half full. Put the yogurt on top and insert a wooden stick into each popsicle. Freeze the pops completely before serving (best overnight).

Added to this link-up party.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vegan Banana - Date Buns

My dad is the biggest anti-vegan I've ever met. He truly believes that there is nothing better than meat for dinner and he will never ever eat any vegan dessert. Sometimes I trick him by not telling him what a certain (vegan and non-vegan) dish contains - this is the only way he even tries it. Last week however, he came to me and said he had found a great looking recipe and if I want to give it a try. Can you believe it? Of course I made a vegan dessert for him, and he loved it. He even requested another batch the following day. Win-win.

You need:
100 ml lukewarm water
150 grams whole-wheat flour
50 grams all-purpose flour
3 table spoons light muscovado sugar
pinch of salt
1 table spoon dry active yeast
3 table spoons olive oil

For the filling:
8 dates
1 banana

Put the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside, in a warm place (I love using the microwave or the oven), cover and leave it there for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together all of the other ingredients and make a hole (for the yeast) in the middle. 
Combine with the yeast and mix well, first with a wooden spoon and then knead until you get a nice, stretchy dough. Cover and let sit for one hour in a warm place.
After one hour, knead the dough one last time and roll it out, about 2 centimetres thick. Use a glass to cut out individual circles and put them on parchment paper. 
Put the dates in a small bowl and pour some hot water over them, leave them in it for five minutes, then cut them into small pieces. Cut the banana into thin pieces. 

Put two slices of banana, with a few dates on top on the buns. Cover with another circle of dough, press the edges firmly with your fingers so the two parts will not separate while baking. 
Put the buns into a preheated oven (to 50°C) and let them rise for ten minutes. After that, turn the heat up to 180°C and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.
Let them cool down completely, then sprinkle the buns generously with powder sugar and enjoy.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sesame Seed Buns

My best friend came to visit the other day and she always brings something delicious. This time she brought me these amazing Sesame seed buns. If you like sesame seeds and buttery pastry, you'll love these buns! I demolished a ton of these within minutes and I want to share her recipe with you.

For the dough:
700 grams flour
1 active dry yeast (7 grams)
1 table spoon sugar
200 ml lukewarm milk
100 ml sunflower oil
A dash of salt

For the filling:
250 grams butter or margarine, at room temperature
2 egg yolks + 1 for the top
Mix the butter with two egg yolks with a hand mixer.

Mix together the yeast, sugar and warm milk and let sit for a few minutes, or until it starts to bubble. Then, mix together the flour, oil, salt and the prepared yeast. Use your hands to knead a soft, light dough.  
Form the dough into two buns, put in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise for one hour (make sure you put the dough in a warm place, like a turned off oven or microwave). After the dough has doubled in size, roll each bun out into a square and smear with the filling. 
Roll the dough from the narrower end up, like making a jelly roll. Make sure you roll it tight, enclosing the filling. Once rolled, cut the roll into small triangles. Spread the egg yolk over the top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 
Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.

Added to this and this link-up party.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Oh She Glows Coobook Review + Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte

Angela Liddon started her Oh She Glows Blog in 2008, where she shared her love of vegan food with her readers. Five years later she finally released her cookbook.

The book is divided into 10 recipe chapters: Breakfast, Smoothies, Juices and Tea, Appetizers, Salads, Soup, Entrees, Sides, Power Snacks, Desserts, and Homemade Staples. 

Accompanying the delicious recipes are the most amazing pictures of food I have ever seen. It makes you fall in love with food, again. 

Before you flick to the recipes, Angela explains the importance of some vegan foods, like Nuts, Soy Products, Herbs etc. I like that because you can learn more about the importance of certain food. 

I am not vegan, but I like to mix things up and there is nothing wrong with eating healthy food.

It can be purchased on Amazon, The Book Depository or iBooks.

I decided to try the Chilled Chocolate Espresso Torte because I loved the description of it. I have to admit though, I was sceptical when I saw that the filling is made out of cashews (?!) and cocoa. Ok, cocoa I love, but cashews in a dessert? Let me tell you, the smell of this filling is so amazing, I can't even describe. I have never baked something so amazingly smelling. I could live off this pie forever. 

You need:
For the toasted hazelnut crust:

¾ cup hazelnuts
¼ cup coconut oil
3 table spoons maple syrup
¼ tea spoon fine-grain sea salt
½ cup gluten-free oat flour
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats

For the chocolate filling:

1 ½ cups cashews, soaked
2/3 cup agave nectar
½ cup coconut oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
2 tea spoons vanilla extract
½ tea spoon fine-grain sea salt
½ tea spoon espresso powder (optional)

Make the crust, first. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 23 cm pie dish with coconut oil.
In a food processor, process the hazelnuts into a fine crumb with the texture of sand. Add the coconut oil, maple, sugar, salt, espresso powder, and oat flour and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, add the rolled oats and pulse until they are chopped, but still have some texture to them. The dough should stick together slightly, if not, add some more maple syrup.
Use your fingers and crumble the dough over the pie dish evenly. Starting from the middle, press the dough firmly into the dish, moving outward and upward along the side of the dish. Bake the crust fro 10 to 13 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
Make the filling. Drain and rinse the cashews. In a blender, combine the cashews, agave, oil, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, vanilla, salt and espresso powder. Blend on high, until the filling is smooth. Pour over the prepared crust, smoothing out the top evenly. Garnish with chocolate shavings, coconut, or as I did – with hazelnuts.
Place the pie in the freezer (uncovered) for a couple of hours, then cover the dish with foil and freeze overnight. Remove the pie from the freezer and let sit for ten minutes before serving.

Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.

Recipe added to this link up party.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chocolate Almond Cookies

Whenever I go grocery shopping I always buy things I don't actually need. My heart skips a beat when I see that familiar red "sale" sign. Almonds were on sale the other day and I couldn't resist buying a bag. Come on, I wanted to resist the urge of baking because I simply don't have time these days (writing an MA Thesis, blogging and a job keeps me occupied), but when I saw Lorraine's recipe for Chocolate Almond Cookies I knew the almonds were a good purchase.

Recipe adapted from Lorraine Pascale's A Lighter Way to Bake (My review)

You need:

50g butter
50g light brown sugar (I am in love with Muscovado)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
100g whole-wheat flour
50g ground almonds
50g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Flaked almonds for the topping

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray. Set aside. 
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
Gradually add the flour, almond, cocoa, baking powder and soda. Mix well, then use your hands to form a sticky dough. 
Roll out small balls of dough, set on tray, and flatten each ball with your palm. Put a few flaked almonds on top.
Bake for ten minutes. Once baked, let cool on a wire rack.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lorraine Pascale's A Lighter Way to Bake Review + Oatmeal and Ginger Cookies

Since I am a cookbook lover, I decided to start reviewing cookbooks. These are all my honest opinions, and I am only going to write about books I think are the best. 

Lorraine Pascale is one of my favorite famous chef, I love her passion about food and cooking. She is sincere and her recipes are not boring like most of the fancy TV cooks, that just throw some ingredients in their standing mixers and whip up a dish. 
When I first flipped through the book, I was amazed by the beautiful pictures. Lorraine always features great pictures of her dishes in her books, which is an enormous factor for me. I only buy cookbooks that actually have pictures of the recipes in it, so I can see what the end result should look like. The book contains recipes of favorite naughty treats, only made lighter. Lorraine promises the recipes are lighter in sugar and fat, but still tasty and full of flavor.
A Lighter Way to Bake is divided into nine chapters; Breakfast and Brunch, Bread, Savoury Bakes, Puddings and Desserts, Cakes, Cookies and Traybakes, Teatime Treats, Special Occasions and Entertaining, Pastry and Basics. Another thing I love in this book is the intro to each recipe, in which Lorraine shares something personal or explains her tricks and tips for baking.

I decided to include the recipe for Oatmeal and Ginger Cookies because they are simply delicious. These cookies are so tasty, even though they contain a small amount of sugar. The sweetness was a bit too much for me, so I think halving the amount of sugar would be perfect. It is all about finding the balance!

You need:

50g unsalted butter 100g light soft brown sugar 1 egg, lightly beaten 2 tsp olive oil 125g wholemeal flour 100g rolled oats 1 tbsp ground ginger 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Cream together the butter and sugar until combined then stir in the egg and olive oil until well mixed.Add the flour, oats, ginger, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix everything together until a dough is formed. Using damp hands divide the mixture into 12 or 24 equal sized balls - place on the baking tray spaced out and lightly press them down slightly so they're about 1.5 cm thick. 

Enjoy those beauties with a cup of great coffee.