Speculaas Chocolate Swirl Cream Cake

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The Dutch holiday season begins every November with the arrival of Sinterklaas (the Dutch version of Santa Claus). This bearded old guy arrives on a boat from Spain and hangs around the country for two weeks leaving small gifts in children’s shoes until the real celebration day (his alleged birthday) on December 5th when he leaves the big presents. After that, on December 6th he boards his boat back to Spain, making way for the rest of the celebrations, and just like in most other western countries the excitement continues to build to a frenzy culminating on December 31st. Part of the Dutch Sinterklaas tradition is baking with Speculaas. Speculaas is a mixture of pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg and it is usually added to special nickel size cookies called Pepernoten (pepernuts) as well as larger size cookies, similar to gingerbread cookies which only appear during the Sinterklaas celebration. Speculaas has a wonderful smell and I can understand why any native would become very nostalgic for the magic of childhood just by walking down the street and smelling the aroma coming out of bakeries and supermarkets.

This year I decided to break with tradition and do something else: not bake! Well at least not just yet! The idea of adding Speculaas to something creamy seemed really, really appealing, and combining it with chocolate magical. This cake is sublime and super easy!

Crust

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup dates
a pinch of salt

Filling

2 1/2 cups of soaked cashews
1 2/3 cups of nut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1-1 1/2 tsp speculaas spice (or all spice or cinnamon for the non Dutchies who can’t find this anywhere)
1/4 cup cacao powder

-process all the crust ingredients
-press crust in a cake form and even it out well

-put all the filling ingredients in the blender and blend except for the cacao
-blend very well at high speed until totally creamy
-pour 3/4 of the filling on the prepared crust
-put the cacao powder in the blender with what is rest of the filling and blend well
-pour cacao filling on top of the other filling creating a swirly shape
-shape further with a chopstick or a knife so that the chocolate cream penetrates the speculaas cream
-cover with plastic wrap and freeze for a couple of hours until well set
-sprinkle with cacao nibs

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Banana Bread and Old Book Review

Last night I had a baking attack. The cause of my attack was partly restlessness and impatience because I can’t wait to get The Food Press going, partly gluttony and partly trying to avoid doing yoga (yes I have a problem….). But don’t judge me too quickly because baking late at night when nobody is around was almost as zen as my Kundalini session would have been, plus the way I whizzed around the kitchen at an ungodly hour was a total physical workout. I ended up baking late because I got caught looking through my cookbooks, which for me is more than just looking through recipes, it is more like going through some sort of of nostalgic memory lane. In my recent explorations of my very large cookbook collection (in preparation for The Food Press) I have rediscovered quite a few books. Some of these books I bought more than 20 years ago when I first came to the Netherlands, trying to recapture what I experience as a “cinnamon muffin” sort of coziness which I associate so much with the neck of the woods where I partly grew up(the East coast). I guess creating The Food Press is partially a way of recreating those feelings, smells  and sense of community that I find so particularly American. Among the books that I rediscovered was Laurel’s Kitchen , from which I had never cooked anything until recently when I tried a couple of things that turned out very nicely. Although a bit outdated the book has nice common sense recipes, maybe too simple for the me of 21 years ago, but just earthy enough for the present me, and with lots of room to change things around. Nevertheless the introduction is still my favorite part of this book which gives me a fuzzy warm hippy feeling to which I easily allow myself to succumb.  Another gem I came across was Wake up and Smell the Coffee by Laura Zahn. This book has a unique All-American character and many of the recipes are very veganizable, like the Coffee Cake Muffins I made last night in which I substituted an egg for 3 tbsp of chia seeds soaked in a bit of water. But my all time favorite old cookbook is the Kripalu cookbook. Again, it may be partly nostalgia or maybe some mild form of homesickness, but I love this book, and unlike the other two books mentioned earlier I have used this book throughout the years to the point that it has no cover anymore and many of its pages are loose. This is the book from which I have made my Banana Bread all these years. It is a vegan recipe and I have done nothing  except follow the instructions, knowing that by the time it comes out of the oven I will have a deliciously moist, guilt-free loaf.

At about 11:30, after I had made the Banana Bread and the Coffee Cake Muffins I felt a second wind coming and a feeling that I was just beginning, so I proceeded to go ahead and make a Rye-Poppyseed-Pulp Cake. I really would share this recipe with you but unfortunately I forgot to write it down (I guess the late hour did take its toll on me after all). But since it turned out so delicious I will recommend to not forget that bag of rye flour that’s been sitting around your pantry and use it in baking cakes, it works really well (in combination with other flours). I also used the pulp from my morning pumpkin-carrot-sweetpotato juice as well as some of the pulp of the morning’s nut milk and added chia and linseed as “eggs”. Anyway I am afraid that this post is as endless last night’s baking adventure, so I will stop here and leave you with the best Banana Bread recipe ever.

 

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Banana Bread

2 3/4 cups sliced banana
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup rice syrup
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp all spice
pinch of cardamom
2/3 cups chopped walnuts

-blend bananas and oil
-stir syrup into banana mix and combine with a spatula
-in another bowl mix all dry ingredients except walnuts
-add dry ingredients to the banana mixture
-mix with a spoon until well combined and add walnuts and mix again
-pour batter into a bread form and bake in a preheated oven at 375* F for about 40-50 minutes

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Blueberry Crumble


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I sometimes forget how it was that I jumped into this (healthy, plant based)cooking boat. The other day someone asked me and it brought back a bunch of memories. Although I’ve always enjoy cooking and since my teenage years toyed with the idea of not eating meat, it wasn’t until I first expected a baby that began to read about foods and health. Back in 1992 in Holland vegetarianism and health foods was still in quite a primitive state, but when visiting the American Book Center in Amsterdam I would always come home with a book related to foods in some way(Diet for a New Planet by Robbins and Diet for a Small Planet by Francis More Lappe among others). As I remember before switching definitively to plant foods I used to make a killer (no pun intended) lamb masala which my husband loved. One day after having decided to not eat meat I had the brilliant idea to go ahead and substitute the lamb for tofu…..and what a sad disaster that was! It really did taste horrible or worse yet completely bland. My husband politely ate it all and proceeded to ask (almost cry): “can we just eat meat again?” Insecurity overcame me, but didn’t completely beat me. Lo and behold the next day I received a package from the U.S from a dear friend Ellen who lived in Ithaca, the home of the Moosewood restaurants, containing almost all the Moosewood books available at the time. These books opened up a new world for me, they were my bible, security blanket as well as a key to freeing me up to learn how to cook with vegetables without feeling like a boring freak. After those books came the Kripalu cookbook and many others, over 275 to be precise. I don’t seem to get done collecting cooking books, and don’t have any plans to stop in the near future since it seems that cooking plants is becoming more and more delicious, beautiful and creative by the day and I can’t just walk into a book shop without yet another beautiful book. By this point I don’t usually follow recipes anymore (sometimes I do), but I read them like novels and admire the pictures just like I look at the great Dutch painting masters (okay almost).

This Blueberry Crumble was inspired by one of those beautiful books which I just couldn’t leave in the shop: Green Kitchen Stories. On page 37 of that lovely book (oh, I have the Dutch version so in English it will probably be on another page) you can find the original recipe. My crumble was a result of a quick scanning of the recipe and my pantry and it worked beautifully.

 

My Crumble

3 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)
2 cups oat flakes
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 cups of the milk of your choice (I had hazelnut/pecan homemade milk)
3 tbs chia seeds
2 tbs linseeds
vanilla
1/4 cup liquid sweetener (I had honey)
1 tbs coconut oil
1 cup hazelnuts
1/2 pecan

-mix oat flakes and baking powder
-in another bowl mix milk, seeds and vanilla
-in another small bowl mix nuts, coconut oil and sweetener
-put the blueberries in a baking pan and cover with the oat flake mix
-pour the milk and seed mix on top of oats and berries
-spread the nut, oil and sweetener mix on top of everything
-bake in a preheated oven at 190* for about 30 minutes

drizzle with coconut milk and a bit more sweetener if desired!

 

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Oshawa Cake from the Food Press

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It has been a while since I last made time to write stuff down, but I certainly haven’t been sitting around. I have been cooking and experimenting more than ever and that is because as of November we will be the happy owners of a juice bar/cafe/catering in the center of my town. This is a little dream that has been developing in different ways for the last 20 years and it seems that for some strange reason providence decided that this was the right time for this dream to materialize! In the coming time (if time permits) I hope to be posting about this new baby of mine. We came to live in Almere, a city about 30 minutes from Amsterdam . Almere is an interesting phenomenon since it is a true  example of Dutch ingenuity. It is a city which was created from land gained from the sea. As a result it is nothing like the images that most of us associate with Holland: old, gingerbread style houses, canals, gable stones, small scale coziness and wooden shoes. Almere is new, the architecture here is mostly very geometric, houses are slightly bigger(for Dutch standards) and the citizens keep more to themselves, often commuting to and from Amsterdam for work. Coming to live here eight years ago was a great shock for me, since this futuristic city didn’t feed my imagination and to be blunt I found it quite ugly. But, just like everything in life things, cities and people change and Almere has taken a change for the better. The architecture has become more interesting. Newer trendier shops are appearing and most importantly (to me) I have changed how I see this town. Where I saw lack, I began to see possibilities and that has made all the difference. One of the things that made Almere so unattractive and futuristic to me was what I experienced as a lack of community. Here there have been no tiny cafes or quirky shops, just the “normal” things to satisfy your basic needs (okay, with maybe a tiny bit extra!), for the fun inspirational stuff one has had to go to Amsterdam. Well that’s changing and I am proud to say that our Juice bar-Cafe will a part of the change. Our shop is tiny, just big enough for 5 tables, and big enough to serve as setting for all those like minded souls who are craving for that cozy, trendy, organic, delicious, homemade, healthy hangout. We will be working with local produce and farmers and hope to serve as a source of inspiration and warmth for all those out there who feel the need for a smile and good food. Our baby is called The Food Press  and just like with any regular baby the preparations before its actual physical arrival has been intense. As of now the contractors are running somewhat behind which has made us postpone our opening day, but our goal remains sometime in November.

One of the most important aspects of The Food Press is that we want to only sell stuff that we make ourselves. That means juices, smoothies (made with our own sprouted nut milks), bowls with fresh products from our salad bar, cakes, muffins etc as well as French Press and cold pressed coffee. In the process of preparing our menu I have gone back to look for recipes which are delicious, economically feasible and healthy. I remember that years ago (in my macro period) I often made and eat Oshawa cake. I had a great recipe somewhere from a macrobiotic study I once followed. I used this recipe many times, but it was not part of a cooking book, it was just a lose sheet. Every time I used it I thought: next time I need this I won’t be able to find it. Well yesterday I couldn’t find it, but I remembered the basics, which are extremely simple. Funny enough I happened to look through Rens Kroe’s trendy new book Power Foods and found a recipe for this very old fashion recipe. This helped me with some quantities, but in reality a recipe is hardly necessary. So, enjoy your left over brown rice!

 

Oshawa Cake

4 cups of cooked brown rice
1/2 cup rice syrup
1 cup roasted hazelnuts
1 cup raisins or chopped dates
zest od 1/2 orange
1/2 sesame seeds roasted
1/2 cup spelt flour
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
vanilla
2 Tbs neutral tasting vegetable oil
100 gram (about 11/4 cup) oat flakes

-preheat oven to 325*
-oil a cake form spread three quarter of the sesame seeds on the cake form to cover bottom and cover sides and bottom with three quarter of the sesame seeds
-mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl and put mixture in the prepared form
-press it with your wet hands so that it fills the form well
-bake for about 45 minutes
-let it cool before taking it out of the form

 

 

 

Coconut-Mango Ice-cream with a split baked Banana

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Enjoying this beautiful Dutch spring day!  School vacation is almost around the corner and I am beginning to feel inspired to come out of my long hibernation to the world of ideas and inspiration. One of my main sources of inspiration in the last month has been a recent visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where I followed a route of paintings chosen by the modern Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton under the title Art is Therapy. This exhibit reminded me of the wonderful role that art has in our everyday life. Specially when looking at the famous paintings of Dutch 17th century artists which often play tribute to the  everyday work of art of which we are all part of and in which we all participate, like organizing our linen cupboard, just like in Pieter de Hooch’s painting The Linen Closet. We’ve all organized our closets, washed our dishes or done other less seemingly artistic activities or dignified shores, but what de Botton points to us, among other things is that works of arts such as The Linen Closet can remind us of the significance of our daily activities in creating a pleasant and beautiful life and that maybe doing these activities with a sense of purpose will bring a certain needed dignity, peace and beauty to our lives.

I couldn’t help but to feel a sense of connection between Art is Therapy and The Art is Cooking.

 

“Art can help us to remember stuff.”

“Art can make us less strange to ourselves.”

” Art can make us feel simultaneously happy and sad.” 

 

The Linen Closet

The Linen Closet’, a modest domestic scene by the 17th-century Dutch painter Pieter de Hooch.





Coconut-Mango Ice-cream with a split baked Banana

1 can coconut milk
2 cups of almond milk
2 ripe mangos roughly chopped
honey to taste

-put everything in the blender and puree until smooth
-you can the choose to use an ice-cream machine and follow the manufacture’s instructions or put the mixture in a container in the freezer. In this case after a couple of hours in the freezer blend again with a hand blender to avoid ice crystals and do this every 2 hours until the ice-cream is frozen and has the right creamy consistency.

Extras:

1/2 ripe banana per serving
chopped pecan nuts
about a teaspoon of honey per serving (optional)
a dusting of cinnamon
2 tbs. coconut oil

-cut the banana in 1/2 vertically a and shallow fry in the coconut oil
-place 1/2 of the baked banana in a serving cup
-scoop the ice-cream to the side of the banana
-drizzle with the extra honey (if using) and the dusting of cinnamon and top with the pecan nuts

Brunchner


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Easter brunch is a tradition in our family. Usually the Easter bread with almond filling is made the day before and early on Sunday morning I’ll get up to make the rest which I shouldn’t really call brunch but Brunchner, since I truly fill up the table so that we can be continually eating from breakfast till dinner non-stop. Beside the standard stuff like tea, juice, bread, soy yogurt and some non vegan stuff for the less stricter or non veganlly oriented among us, we always have granola and tofu scramble. The rest of the menu usually depends on how creative I (or my kids) are feeling on that weekend. This year my daughter Ella took care of the Easter bread and the cinnamon rolls, which also have become part of our Brunchner tradition. I made the tofu scramble, which I thought came out finger linking due to a spontaneous brilliant idea I had due to some left over cashew nuts I had soaking on the counter. I also found a fantastic recipe for vegetable rolls rapped with rice paper from My New Roots blog(one of the most inspirational healthy cooking blogs I have seen so far), and concocted a fresh tomato salsa, potato pancakes and chocolate mousse. Daughter Anna took care of setting the table and making tea and coffee and Tim is our house photographer who makes most of the pictures on this blog. Cyrille usually is our D.J. and mostly concentrates on making sure that we get to hear the best possible recording of St. Matthew’s passion. This year however Ella took over the music with a beautiful recording of a Mendelssohn string quartet and Cyrille dug in the garden until the food was ready.Our oldest son didn’t show up until later in the afternoon since he had slept in after having had a recital the night before.

Granola

3 cups of oat flakes
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup of melted coconut oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 coconut (that’s those white little cubes you see in the picture which I got from the farmer’s market, but regular desiccated coconut will due)
any other nuts or dried fruits you like

preheat oven at 180* c

– mix oat flakes, cinnamon, maple syrup and coconut oil in a bowl.
– add seeds and nuts
– put the mixture in an oven tray
– bake stirring regular to prevent burning
– when the flakes are golden brown remove from the tray from the oven and add the coconut and raisins and the optional fruits.
– serve with almond milk or (soy) yogurt

 

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Tofu Scramble

1 block of tofu
1 onion in cubes
2 cloves of garlic minced
about a cup of corn kernels
1/2 red bell pepper in small cubes
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. majoram
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tbs. dijon mustard
1 cup of soaked cashews blended with a cup of water and 2 tsp. umesu vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup minced parsley

– crumble the tofu with your hands into a bowl
– in a broad heavy pan heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes
– add the bell peppers and corn and saute for a couple of more minutes
– add the grated carrots
– add the tofu and the herbs
– cook for 5 minutes stirring regularly
– add the mustard, and salt
– pour the cashew cream and saute a couple of minutes
– turn off the fire and add the parsley

Serve with salsa

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Vegetable Rolls

I would say to just look at this link and while you’re at it look through the whole amazing blog.

 

 

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Chocolate Mousse

For this I mostly just improvised with the following ingredients in the blender:

1 cup soaked cashew nuts
1 cup almond milk
3 dates
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 chia seeds

– blend everything until very smooth
– put in individual serving dishes and refrigerate until ready to serve

Sexy Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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A couple of days ago my 16 year old son Tim, who takes most of the pictures for this blog was in the mood to take a ” food picture”. He has been amazing at getting to know our new Cannon camera and definitely inspires me to make my dishes as beautiful as possible. We have developed a fun collaboration which pushes us both to be better at this. Looking around at the ingredients I had in the kitchen, a carrot cake seemed like a possibility. We decided on an elegant carrot cake, sort of like the refined, well dressed sexy lady who stands out at the party. We wanted the mystery and elegance to ooze from this cake and I think we managed, not only with the beautiful shots he took, but with the taste of the cake as well. To me carrot cake can be a wintery sort of cake, perfectly suitable to the weather and mood here in the Netherlands, due to the carrots and the warm spices. However this winter has been extremely mild and for a while now we have been experiencing symptoms of spring; its a matter of fact Easter feels around the corner. Well, this cake is dressed for Easter, while at the same time keeping the spiced wintery carrot cake feeling to it.

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Carrot Cake

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup neutral tasting organic oil
1 1/2 raisins
1/2 cup maple syrup
grated zest of 1 orange
11/2 grated carrots
2 tsp. grated ginger
2 cups flour(mix whole and white)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 salt
1 cup walnuts chopped
1/4 date syrup
1 can pineapple in juice

-Preheat oven 180* and prepare two 8 inch pans by covering the bottom with baking paper and greasing the sides.
-Put the water, oil 1/2 of the raisins, the syrup and the orange zest in the blender and blend well.
-Add the carrots and ginger and pulse a couple of times.
-Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
-Add the blended wet ingredients and briefly mix.
-Add the remaining cup of raisins and the nuts, stir
-Bake for about 35-40 minutes
-Let it cool off and then transfer to a wire rack to frost
-spread one of the cakes with date syrup, or another sweetener
-put the other cake on top and frost with the cashew orange frosting(below)
-garnish with pieces of pineapple and some more grated lemon zest
(adapted from a recipe by John Robbins)

 

Cashew Orange Frosting

2 cups of soaked cashews
1/2 cup rice syrup or maple syrup
vanilla
juice of 1 orange
the zest of 1/2 lemon
a pinch of salt
about 1 cup water
1/2 tsp. turmeric

-put everything in the blender and blend until creamy, silky and shiny.
-let the frosting rest a bit before using so that it thickens a bit more
-pour from the center of the cake outwards.

*The flower garnish on the picture are dried roses which I found in an Asian foods store

Home Made Pasta and Semolina Cake

Pasta
IMG_2387If I told you that making pasta is easy, that it takes very little time and ingredients and that you don’t need a single machine to make it would you believe me? Well you don’t have to. Here is the deal, you take flour, salt and water and you make a dough that sticks together and is easy to knead. You form a ball, and wrap it in plastic or put it under an upside down bowl. Let it rest for an hour or less if you don’t have that much time and then roll it out using a rolling pin. Cut it in the shape you would like and set it on a clean and dry kitchen towel to dry. You can also hang it on a wooden stick. After you are done rolling and cutting you can either let it dry a bit or cook it right away in a large pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil until al dente. Make sure that the sauce is already done so that your pasta doesn’t have to wait for the sauce.

This is a very easy, not very messy and it tastes a zillion times better than anything store bought.
Try mixing different sorts of flours. For the pasta in the picture I used white spelt and semolina. Don’t be concerned with measurements, for more pasta use more flour and water and for less pasta less. It works!
Besides creating delicious pasta this is a beautifully artistic activity, and just like with bread it connects you with your food in a very basic way.

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Yesterday I was going to make Baklava, but I didn’t have filo. My husband volunteered to go to the store and buy some, but in the time he was gone I made this Semolina Almond Orange Cake with the ingredients I had at home. It came out really well, but it was even better today, when the orange syrup had been absorbed into the cake and the tastes had blended.

Semolina Almond Orange Cake

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Semolina Almond Orange Cake
3/4 c. almond flour
1 c. semolina
1 c. white flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 rice syrup
8 tbs. sucanat
the rasp of one orange
1/4 soy yogurt
1/2 c. soy milk

Syrup

3/4 c. rice syrup or honey
the juice of one orange
a handful of peeled pistachios
a handful of walnuts
a handful of raisins
1 tbs. rose water

-mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
-mix the wet ingredients in another bowl
-add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients
-pour batter in a round cake pan, in which the bottom has been covered with wax paper and the sides have been oiled
-bake for about 30 minutes at 175* centigrades
-in the mean time put all the syrup ingredients in a small pan and bring them to a boil.
-after the cake is done make tiny wholes tooth pick or sate stick and pour the syrup with the nuts and raisins
-let it cool completely

 

Tiramisu

 

tiramisu

 

                                                                                                                                                                      “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” Salvador Dali

At one point, about 16 years ago I chose to almost completely eliminate animal products from my diet. This decision brought about lots of positive things besides a healthier body. It brought my family and me awareness of the effect that our food choices can have on the environment, as well as a sharpened view of what the ethical and moral consequences of using animal lives wantonly can be. Nevertheless as a cook I found it difficult to ignore the traditional kitchens of most parts of the world in which animals had played a critical role. Not only did many past cultures thrive using animal products, but in much of the world’s cuisine animal products play a crucial part. While I haven’t felt the need to run out and buy a steak or a chicken in the last sixteen years, I have endlessly experimented with how to recreate some of the tastes and textures which characterize some of those traditional and maybe not so health or animal friendly dishes into plant based alternatives. I really, really believe that life is much more fun if we create a feeling of abundance and possibilities rather than limitations, and have never felt deprived by my choice to eat mostly plant foods. Veganizing dishes has been fun, not only because when successful I get to enjoy healthier and more compassionate versions of some of my favorite dishes, but also because in the process of veganizing a dish I feel I come to the essence of the dish and as a result get a deeper understanding of what cooking is about and what the actual role of the ingredients are. 

I veganized Tiramisu because it is a dessert I really enjoy and which brings me great memories of vacations in Tuscany and Umbria. Substituting the animal products in some dishes is a process. I have seen many vegan versions of Tiramisu which use tofu to substitute the mascarpone, and while I do understand why tofu seems like a logical choice(it’s white, low fat, neutral tasting…) I think the essence of tofu is opposite to that of mascarpone, which is high in fat. Using tofu to make Tiramisu defeats the purpose! And what about the eggs? They also play a role in this most decadent dish. I think that even though health should have priority in our food choices, substituting ingredients without regard for the role that they play in a dish leaves us dissatisfied and possibly with a sense of dullness regarding the particular dish. In creating art(which we all know cooking is) imitation and substitution of the components which create a particular work require understanding of the role is of these components. Superficially substituting notes or colors in a piece of music or art won’t create a comparable version to that original wonderfully, satisfying work of art. I chose cashews to substitute the mascarpone because they are high in fat and become very creamy when soaked and blended. In my experience cooked pumpkin doesn’t only add an eggy color, but also adds an eggy flavor, which I have often used in puddings and vegan flans to create the rich taste that eggs often add to a dish. I find this version of Tiramisu delicious and satisfying, but I still consider it work in progress since I will not be totally happy until I can make an authentic but vegan version of Lady Fingers.

I am really interested to hear from you about your experiences and ideas on veganizing dishes! I bet there most be some creative cooks out there with ideas as to how to create vegan like lady fingers? 

Tiramisu

Cake/cookie

1 cup white flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
8 Tbs. sucanat
3 Tbs. almod flour
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

-combine the dry ingredients in a bowl
-add the combined wet ingredients
-spread batter on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper
-bake for about 10-15 minutes at 180* C
-when done cut in about 3 by 1 inch slices

Cream

2 cups soaked cashews
1 cup water or soy or nut milk
1 cup coconut milk
a pinch of sea salt
8 Tbs sucanat
a small piece of cooked pumpkin(about 3 Tb. pureed)

freshly made espresso coffee
brandy

-briefly soak each piece of cake in the coffee and make one layer on a broad and not too low form
-sprinkle with brandy
-spread the cashew cream evenly on top of the layer of cake
-proceed to repeat the process and after putting the second layer of cream sprinkle with cacao powder
-refrigerate for about 2 hours before cutting and serving

 

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Sweetness

brownie 2

I had promised myself and my Facebook page to post this post today and it is now tomorrow! But if going to bed late counts as today then I’m all right.
These are two recipes I made this week.The brownies I’ve made millions of times and they work really well(arrowroot being the magic ingredient).  Muffins were part of today’s breakfast. My twelve year old daughter will not eat another bowl of porridge, which seems to be a tradition with twelve year old girls in this family. For years our family was totally happy eating nice large bowls of porridge of all sorts for breakfast, but as the kids got older they began to reject this tradition for something less “bulky”. This has made breakfast a bit more complicated for me since the old trusted bowl of porridge has been boycotted. Specially on cold, rainy Dutch school mornings it’s not always easy to magically create a nutritious breakfast out of the blue, which will sustain everyone until noon. However on lazy Saturdays or Sundays mornings a healthy muffin and a nice cup of tea can be a nice way to start off the day. The parsnip-carrot idea came about because I didn’t have enough carrots in the house this morning(what kind of nut has more parsnip the carrots in the fridge?). It turned out to give the muffins a nice natural sweetness, and as a result 8 tablespoons of sucanat were enough. Great breakfast muffins!

Fudgy Brownies

1 whole wheat or spelt cup flour(you can try substituting 4 tbs of the flour with coconut flour)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup arrowroot
1-11/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 water
1/3 light olive oil
1/2 chopped nuts

-mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
-mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl
-beat the dry ingredients into the wet
-cover a square baking pan with wax paper and pour in the batter
-bake for about 25 minutes at 180* C

muffin 1

Carrot Parsnip Muffins

2 cups flour(1/2 whole and 1/2 white)
1/4 coconut flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbs maca
3 tbs. flax seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
8 tbs. sucanat
1 cup soy milk
cinnamon
1 cup grated carrot and 1 cup grated parsnip

-in a bowl mix all the dry ingredients
-in another bowl mix all the wet ingredients
-mix wet and dry ingredients together and add the grated veggies

-pour batter in muffin tins and bake at 180* C for about 20 minutes

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