Coconut yogurt: this time it worked!

I have been trying out different ways to make vegan yogurt, but so far all of my attempts have failed horribly. There is nothing fun about waking up to a weird and pungeant smell and realizing that it is the soy yogurt experiment that has gone wrong… really wrong!

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Last week however, I realized that I had some boxes of coconut milk in my pantry and that they were about to go bad. I decided that this was the perfect excuse to try making vegan yogurt again.

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Now, my budget this summer is pretty tight, so there was no way I was going to spend 50$ (and maybe more) on probiotic pills. I know that these little pills would mean that I would be able to make hundreds of batches of vegan yogurt, but no. I went to my trusted local health food store, and realized that they didn’t even have those pills. So, double no. They did have already made coconut yougurt however. After checking the ingredients and seeing the “live cultures” listed as part of the ingredients, I decided that I could spare this 6$ for my experiment.

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The process of making yogurt is fairly simple. You mix live cultures with your milk, stir everything well, let this sit overnight in a warm place, move everything to the fridge, and voila! I used to love making goat’s milk yogurt and kefir before going vegan, so my hopes were up on this coconut yogurt.

Here is what I used:

  • 1L coconut milk
  • 350g plain store-bought coconut yogurt (I used the one from Silk)

Here is what I did:

  1. In a large container, I mixed the coconut milk and the yogurt with a wisk until everything was homogenous.
  2. I covered the top of my container with a paper towel tied with a rubber band and placed it in my oven (with the light turned on).
  3. 12 hours later I moved the container to the fridge and let the yogurt set for 8 more hours.

The result? Well, you have two options here. The fattier part of the coconut milk yogurt will gatter to the top of your container and give you this incredibly thick and rich yogurt. The bottom part will be more liquid and perfect to add to smoothies. The first option is to keep these two phases separate and to enjoy the great diversity that this recipe gives you. The second option is to take out your trusty wisk and to wisk everything together. The result will be a smooth drinkable yogurt that is perfect for parfaits and smoothies. I have to say I did both and can’t believe how thick and creamy the top layer is.

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The taste of this yogurt is tangy with the slightest coconut aftertaste. It really is super smooth and so delicious. Now, for the next batch, just remember to keep 1 cup of already made yogurt that you will use as a starter. Infinite vegan yogurt, here we come!

Coconut Tapioca with Mango Topping

In our moving saga, the bad guy would be the appliance store. It has been a month since we went in to buy our fridge and it’s still not in. Let me tell you, we have forgotten how to live without a fridge! Anyways, this morning when I walked in my fridgeless kitchen, I realized that I had two really ripe mangoes. I had to eat them today! I combined them with some deliciously satisfying coconut milk and chewy tapioca pearls to make the perfect tropical pudding. It’s so refreshing, and it makes for a great snack! Miam!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 3/4 cups small tapioca pearls
  • 2 large mangoes
  • 2 passionfruits
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tbs unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 pinch of salt

Here is what you do:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the water, milk, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer on medium heat. Crush the cardamom pods and place them in a tea bag or tea infuser. Add them to the milk and let them infuse for 5 minutes. Remove them and add the tapioca pearls. Mix from time to time, and let simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or until the white spot in the middle of each pearl is gone. You should have a thick and creamy tapioca pudding. Place in an air-tight container and let cool in the fridge.
  2. Peel the mangoes and dice them. Mix in the flesh of two passionfruits. Set aside.
  3. In a pan, mix the sesame seeds, the coconut flakes, and the pinch of salt. Place on medium heat for a few minutes until the start to get golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. To assemble, place a few tablespoons of tapioca pudding at the bottom of a cup. Add a few tablespoons of mangoes and garnish with some toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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This is so good! The chewyness of the tapioca is balanced out by the freshness of the mango, while the passionfruits add that tropical magic. This is perfect as a snack: prepare a few portions ahead of time in jars and place them in the fridge for a ready-to-eat, sugar-free pudding to make you wait for dinner. Let me know if you try this out!

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Pour réaliser ce fabuleux dessert sans sucre et si parfumé et tropical,vous aurez besoin de:

  • 1 tasse d’eau
  • 1 tasse de lait végétal de votre choix
  • 2 tasses de lait de coco
  • 1 c. à café d’extrait de vanille
  • 3 gousses de cardamom
  • 3/4 tasse de petite perle de tapioca
  • 2 mangues bien mûres
  • 2 fruits de la passion
  • 2 c. à table de graines de sésame
  • 2 c. à table de noix de coco rapée sans sucre
  • 1 pincée de sel

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Voici comment préparer ce dessert:

  1. Dans une petite casserole, mélanger l’eau, le lait, le lait de coco et l’extrait de vanille. Faire frémie à feux doux. Écraser les gousses de cardamom et les mettre dans un filtre à thé. Ajouter à la casserole et laisser infuser pour 5 minutes. Retirer du liquide et ajouter le tapioca et mélanger de temps en temps. Laisser cuire à feu doux jusqu’à ce que les perles soient entièrement transparentes (il ne doit pas rester de blanc au centre). Mettre au frigo et réserver.
  2. Éplucher et couper en dé les mangues dans un grand bol. Ajouter la pulpe des fruits de la passion et bien mélanger. Réserver.
  3. Dans une petite poêle, faire dorer les graines de sésame, la noix de coco et le sel à feu doux. Lorsque les graines de sésames commencent à dorer, retirer le mélange du feu et réserver.
  4. Pour servir, placer quelques cuillérées de pudding de tapioca dans un bol, garnir de mangue et saupoudrer de graines de sésame grillées. Régalez-vous!

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Coconut and Passion Fruit Cheesecake

At the moment, my boyfriend and I are completely obsessed with Friends. We are rewatching this show and are loving it like if it was the first time. We love that it’s funny without being stupid and that it’s not violent or graphic for no reason. Before that, we were enjoying Vikings a lot… well the first two seasons anyway. I have been fascinated by Viking mythology ever since I was a kid, and when I got the chance to learn runes in one of my uni classes (how cool is that by the way?) I was just the happiest camper. So of course, when a show on Vikings came out, I just had to watch it. Now, it’s not the most peaceful show, but the characters were interesting, the story compelling and the intrigue was really captivating… until season 3. I feel like season 3 is where the makers of the show have decided to jump on the  Game of Thrones bandwagon and throw in random sex, violence, and torture just because they could. And we hated that! So much in fact, that we stopped mid-season, abandoning Ragnar and his idea to raid Paris (I mean seriously!). Because we were so spooked about one particularly disgusting scene, we jumped on Friends as a safe and funny show.

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All this brings me to me point, I promise. A few days ago, we watched the episode where Chandler and Rachel find a wonderfully delicious cheesecake in their hallway and just can’t get enough. Well, I have been craving cheesecake ever since! This is what I came up with: a tropical, frozen, coconutty version of this rich and decadent dessert.

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Here is what you need:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 6 pitted dates
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil

For the filling:

  • 450g silky tofu
  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 can (400mL) of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 4 tbs maple syrup
  • zest of one lime or lemon
  • 8 tbs lime or lemon juice

For garnish: the pulp a 2 to 4 passion fruits

Here is what you do:

  1. Process the almonds in your food processor until you have a fine meal. Add the coconut flakes, pitted dates and coconut oil. Process until everything is well combined. When pressed, this should stick together.
  2. Place the crust powder in a springform pan and press at the bottom in an even layer. You can use the bottom of a flat glass to make sure everything is flat. Place in the fridge while you prepare the rest.
  3. Rince and dry your food processor, and add all the filling ingredients. Process until smooth. Pour in over the crust and place in your freezer. Let sit until the top of the cake is solid. This is perfect when the center is still creamy, and also delicious when completely frozen.
  4. Wash and cut open your passion fruits. Scoop out the pulp and spread on the cake. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

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This is so good! I love the fact that you don’t need to bake anything and that it’s so refreshing. The coconut flavour is great paired up with the passion fruit. It’s not yet the perfect cheesecake, but it’s really great if you want something easy to whip up. I love how rich and smooth this cake is, while not being too sweet. It’s really perfect for a hot summer day!

I mean, even our cat was intrigued! Let me know if you try this out!

 

The Mango Sorbet strikes again!

Alright, I know, yes, I know! I already have a mango sorbet recipe from a few weeks ago. But, this one is a little bit more elaborate and special. It’s also perfect because mangoes have been teasing me at the fruit store, practically jumping in my hands!

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This time, I decided to make some simple syrup (equal parts of water and sugar), infused it with some ginger and added some kiwi. The result is a smooth, exotic tasting, perfect sorbet.

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Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into strips
  • 4 ripe mangoes
  • 4 ripe kiwis
  • juice of one lime

Here is what you do:

  1. In a small sauce pan, mix the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Mix until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the ginger and turn off the heat. Let infuse for 10 minutes, take out the ginger and let the syrup sit while you prepare the rest.
  2. Wash and peel the mangoes and process them until completely smooth. Pass the processed mangoes through a strainer to remove any fiber. Place the mango purée in the fridge.
  3. Cut the kiwis in half and spoon the flesh into the food processor. Process until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the mango purée, kiwi purée, lime juice and the syrup. Place in the fridge to cool for at least one hour.
  5. Churn in your ice cream machine according to the machine’s instructions. Place in the freezer in an air-tight container until fully frozen. Enjoy!

This is so great! I served this with some shredded coconut for a perfectly tropical scoop! Straining the mango pulp really helps achieving a smooth texture while the kiwi balances out the sweetness. The ginger kicks in at the end of each spoonful and makes this a really interesting dessert.

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Let me know if you try it out!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries, from scratch

I love chocolate covered strawberries because they are easy to prepare, always look impressive and are perfect for warm weather. I was craving these, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any chocolate in the house. I did however have some cocoa powder and some cocoa butter (go figure!). So, let’s make some chocolate from scratch!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter (I usually buy this as a big solid chunk. I cut it up in smaller bits to measure.)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (adjust until sweet to your taste)
  • dash of salt
  • 12 big strawberries, washed and dry (it is important that they are dry: the chocolate will not adhere to wet strawberries)
  • Optional (to decorate): coconut flakes, colored sugar, matcha powder, powdered nuts

Here is what you do:

  1. In a small sauce pan, put all the ingredients and heat up on medium heat.
  2. Mix with a spoon or spatula to help the ingredients combine until you have a smooth and shiny chocolate sauce.
  3. Carefully, transfer the sauce to a deep container. It must be large enough for you to dip your strawberries in.
  4. Prepare your serving plate by cutting parchment paper to cover it. Prepare your decorations as well.
  5. Dip each strawberry in the chocolate and let the excess drip off. Place on your lined plate and sprinkle your decorations on before the chocolate sets. Repeat until all the strawberries are well covered in chocolate. You can use a spoon to spread it evenly. Place your strawberries in the fridge to help the chocolate set and take them out just before serving. Enjoy!

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This recipe is really great if you don’t know what to bring over for a dinner or pot luck. They are easy to make, you can personalize them and they are sure to please everyone! It’s also great to make your own chocolate sauce because you can adjust the sweetness level as well as add any extra ingredients. Let your imagination go crazy, and let me know what you put on your strawberries!

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Raw Vegan Chocolate Cake with Frosting

This is the dessert you need to try out if you are looking for the ultimate chocolate cake. It is full of flavour, rich and satisfying. It is also very quick and easy to make, so it would be a perfect last minute treat for busy days.

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Here is what you need for the cake:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 8 medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Here is what you do for the cake:

  1. Add the nuts into your food processor or blender and mix until finely ground.
  2. Add the pitted dates, cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Process until evenly combined and sticky.
  3. Press a few tablespoon of the cake mixture in a small jar and pat down. Place in the fridge.

Here is what you need for the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • dash of salt

Mix all the ingredients until smooth. Spread on the cake and let sit in the fridge until the frosting thickens up.

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This is a really intense chocolate cake! The flavour is rich, and the texture is smooth and creamy. The frosting makes this extra special and adds some sweetness. I really like how easy this dessert is, while still being impressively delicious! Be prepared for a great chocolate overload! Let me know if you try this out!

 

Vegan Chocolate Tiramisu

I have to admit, I only had tiramisu once before going vegan. For some reason, however, I was craving the smooth layers of chocolate cake and cream. So I made some chocolate cake, thick vegan cream, a rum-chocolate dipping liquid, and here you go!

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Here is what you need for the cake:

  • 120g gluten free flour
  • 60g almond flour
  • 50g oil
  • 250g almond milk
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the oil, milk and vanilla extract, and mix until smooth.
  4. Use a lined cake mold, and bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick put in the center comes out clean.
  5. Set aside.

For the cream, I used my coconut cream recipe, but skipped the Chai spices.

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For the rum-chocolate syrup, mix 1/8 to 1/4 cup of rum with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, and 1 tsp of maple syrup. This is completely optional, but it adds a ton of flavour. You could also use a little bit of chocolate milk.

To assemble: 

  • Add one teaspoon of syrup at the bottom of your jar or container.
  • Place a layer of chocolate cake, add a little bit of syrup, and cover with some cream. Repeat until your container is full and finish with a layer of cream.
  • Sprinkle a little bit cocoa powder on top and serve!

This dessert is best eaten fresh because if you put it in the fridge overnight, it will be thicker and less creamy. Still, this is great! It is full of chocolate flavour!

Let me know what you think, and if you try it out!

 

Simple Curry (for busy nights)

This is the recipe I fall back on when I’m feeling like having some comfort food. It is very quick to make, looks impressive and is really delicious! It also makes for a great lunch!

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Here is what you need:

Part 1: The protein:

  • 1 cup TVP (texturized vegetable protein; I used big pieces. You can find this in Asian grocery stores or in health food stores.)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp miso

Part 2: The sauce:

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 tbp corn starch
  • 2 tbs tamari or soy sauce

Part 3: The vegetables:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil (you can replace this with some water)
  • 1 minced onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 zucchini squashes
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbs garram massala

Here is what you do:

  1. Dilute the miso paste in the warm water and place the TVP in so that it can soak up all the water. Put aside.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients and put aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan, heat up the coconut oil, and stir the garlic and onion until golden and fragrant. Add the spices and give a good stir.
  4. Cut the zucchinis into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan. Mix well.
  5. Add the TVP and the remaining water and stir everything until well coated in spices.
  6. When everything is cooked and ready to serve, add the sauce ingredients and stir until the sauce becomes thick and glossy. Serve with warm rice or noodles.

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I really like this dish because I can pretty much make it with anything on hand: eggplant, chickpeas, mushrooms, tofu or even tempeh! It is also very easy to prepare and quite quick to make. It is supper flavourful and so comforting!

Let me know if you give it a try!

Chai Coconut Mascarpone Cups

This week-end I was craving desserts, in particular yogurt parfaits where you place fruit over yogurt and add nuts, granola or other toppings. I have been experimenting with vegan yogurt, but so far the results have not been to my liking. Yet, I yearned for this rich cream consistency. So, I gathered a few things that I thought would work out and created this!

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Amazingly smooth, rich and thick, this cream is reminiscent of a simple yogurt or mascarpone cheese. I had to add a little bit of excitement to it (even though I was so happy to have cream, I was pretty much already dancing in my kitchen), and so I decided to add some Chai spices: cinnamon, cardamon, black pepper and cloves. This really makes this cream unique and quite spectacular and it reminds me of mascarpone cheese.

Here is what you need for the cream:

  • 250mL of coconut milk
  • 4 tbs of almond powder
  • 4 tbs of coconut oil
  • 2 tbs maple syrup or honey
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 1 cm piece of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of black pepper corns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Topping ideas: Fresh berries, coconut flakes, crushed almonds, shopped dates, chocolate chips, granola, grilled nuts: use your imagination!

Here is what you do for the cream:

  1. In a small sauce pan, heat the coconut milk, oil and sweetener on medium heat.
  2. Crush the cardamon pods in your mortar (or use the back of a spoon). Set aside.
  3. Add the almond powder in the pan and whisk until the mixture starts to thicken up (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add the spices and vanilla extract and let them infuse for 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick to your liking.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain to remove the spices.
  6. Let the cream set and firm up in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving with your favourite toppings.
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I used some fresh raspberries, coconut flakes and sweet samosas.

I used some of the fruit leather to make sweet samosas (how-to tomorrow). It’s fun and easy! And that cream! So much flavours and the consistency is just smooth and thick and wonderful. Of course, you could avoid using the spices for a mellower flavour. This is a great substitution for yogurt and makes for an easy dessert. Let me know if you try it out and if you like it!

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Vietnamese Recipe: Banh Chuoi, Banana Cake

I think it is about time we talk about desserts! This one is one of my mom’s favourite, and I remember her making huge batches of this. I would then bring slices of it as a snack for school: yum! It is very simple, but the lime flavour is super refreshing and light, which goes great with the slightly wet texture of this (almost) flour-free cake.

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Here is what you need:

  • Zest of one lime
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil

To serve:

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1tbsp corn starch

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and place a 9″ square pan in it.
  2. Zest one lime and press out the juice.
  3. Mash the bananas one by one and add a little bit of lime juice to each. Place in a large mixing bowl. The lime juice will prevent the browning of the bananas.IMG_2545.JPG
  4. Add the lime peel, the sugar and salt and mix well.
  5. Combine the water and flour until smooth. Add to the banana mix. IMG_2552.JPG
  6. Remove the pan from the oven (careful, this is hot!), and oil it with a little bit of coconut oil. Pour the dough in and cook for 30 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden. IMG_2561.JPG
  7. For the coconut sauce: In a small sauce pan, pour half the can of coconut milk and put on medium heat. Mix the corn starch to the other half and add to the pan once well combined. Heat up and mix until it is thick to your taste.
  8. Serve hot with a generous dribble of coconut sauce. We cut the cake in half and superposed the two halves to make the cake thicker.

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I really love how the crust of this cake has a slight crunch while the center stays moist and chewy. The coconut sauce balances out the sweetness of the bananas and rounds off the flavours delicately.

Give this a try! It is so easy and simple, yet so flavourful: the lime juice and zest really send you to a tropical island of your choice, or maybe a Vietnamese beach. Let me know if you cook this and devour it!