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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Simple Fruit Leather

I really hate to throw away food. When I see that the produce I bought is getting old and will go bad soon, I try to transform it to extend its life to avoid waste. I have to say, however, that meal planing reduces and often eliminates waste as you are only buying what you need. Still, sometimes, fruits or vegetables get forgotten in a corner. This is what happened to two wonderful prunes this week.

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I few hours later, my two wrinkled prunes were transformed into a magnificent fruit leather that is eaten and not wasted. Cheers to that!

Here is what you need:

  • 2 prunes (or any other fruit that is getting old or very ripe: pears, bananas, apples, oranges, etc..)
  • 2 tbs ground almonds (optional but makes it more filling; use one table spoon per cup of fruit)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice (optional but helps reduce browning)

Here is what you do:

  1. Peel and pit your fruit. This makes your fruit leather smoother.
  2. In a food processor or blender, puree your fruit and ground almonds until smooth. If you are using fruits that have the tendency to brown (bananas, apples, pears for example) you can add a few tablespoons of lemon juice.
  3. On a lined cookie sheet or on your dehydrator mat covered with silicone paper, spread the pureed fruit evenly. Tap a few times to remove bubbles.
  4. If you are using a dehydrator, set to 145F or 60C and let sit for 4 to 8 hours depending on the thickness. If you are using your regular oven, set on the lowest temperature and keep the oven door open for 4 to 6 hours, checking often to avoid burning.
  5. Once dried up, cut the leather into strips, roll and store in an air-tight container.

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This is really super simple and so delicious! It makes for a great healthy, sugar-free snack that can easily be taken with you anywhere. You can also make it your own by adding nuts or seeds to the mix, or by combining different fruits. the texture of this is similar to fruit roll-ups without being overly sweet or filled with artificial coloring. And really, the hardest part of this recipe is to wait for it to be ready!

Let me know what you favourite fruit is for this or what you do with your not-so-fresh-anymore produce to avoid waste. And if you are looking for a dehydrator, I bought an Excalibur a few years ago, and it’s perfect! If you are in Canada, you can check out Upaya Naturals: that’s where I got mine, and the shipping was super quick.

 

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Avocado toasts really are the best!

I know, I know, I have yet again caught the bandwagon late. However, now that I’m on it, let me just tell you that it is amazing!  Avocado toast is so easy, tasty and filling! Plus you can pretty much make it your own with whatever ingredient you have or according to your liking.

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Here are a few of my favourite combinations:

  • Himalayan salt and cracked pepper
  • Capers, shredded carrots and cilantro
  • Cherry tomatoes, hot pepper flakes
  • Cucumber slices and fennel seeds
  • Walnuts, sea salt and honey/maple syrup

I often mix and match a few of these ingredients depending on what’s available, but really any of these combinations make my stomach happy. There is something so satisfying about avocado toasts.

Let me know what your favourite combination or topping is!

 

Indian Dinner: Mixed Bean Curry

When my amazing sister-in-law learned about the Indian dinner, she wanted to participate as well. She made a super mixed bean curry, that was just perfectly seasoned.

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We had pre-cooked some mixed beans: adzuki beans, pinto beans, yellow peas, green lentils and chickpeas. This made making this dish easier, but you can also use any canned beans if this is more available.

Here is what you need:

Onion Garnish:

  • 1 chopped red onion
  • the juice of two limes

Main dish:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 ginger piece (about 1 inch)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha or chilli powder
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 400g beans of your choice

Here is what you do:

  1. Prepare the onion garnish: mix the chopped onion and lime juice, and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onion and ginger and stir until the onion is translucent and fragrant. Add the spices and stir well.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and beans and mix well.
  4. Once everything is cooked, take off the heat and add the onion garnish. Serve immediately.

As you can see, once all the ingredients are prepared, this dish is very simple to prepare. However, the flavours are really amazing! The onion garnish really give a fresh flavour and a nice crunch. The beans are creamy and soft, and oh-so comforting.

Let me know if you give this a try, and I’ll let my sister-in-law know what you think!

Teashop, a cafe review

This week has been incredibly busy with work. You see, I have to give in my grades for next Friday, but I am so tired with just the regular teaching stuff that correcting my 197 writing productions (ranging from 200 to 500 words… I seriously need to make these kids work less) is just killing everything happy inside of me.

So when my colleague suggested that we meet in a tea shop to motivate each other (she is a French teacher, so she knows the struggle is real), I jumped on the occasion. When she mentioned a special place where they boiled fresh chai tea, I was very excited.

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I was even happier when the very nice tea-barista (is there a word for a professional tea maker? please let me know!) told me that he could make it with almond milk.

The result: a light, spicy, foamy, perfectly comforting hot drink. Not that anything would make correcting 197 copies on a nice ans snowy Saturday afternoon better, but almost.

So if you are in Montreal, I really suggest you try the Teashop, on Jean-Talon street as it is very friendly, perfect to work and has a very relaxed atmosphere. Give it a try!

Jackfruit Stir Fry

A few weeks ago (or was it a few months?) jackfruit pulled pork recipes where everywhere. Having tasted jackfruit before I was a little skeptical about the “meatiness” of it. Still, I jumped on the band-wagon, and I have to say, I’m quite happy with the result.

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First, you need to know that you can find jackfruit of the “green and young” variety as well as the “yellow and ripe” type. For savoury dishes, people usually stick with the green type which is kept in brine (salty water). I found mine canned at my local Asian market for around 2$ a can.

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Alright, now, after surfing the internet for some inspiration, I quickly realized that most recipes required some kind of BBQ sauce for the “pulled-pork” imitation in big quantities. As BBQ sauce is not my favourite, I tried a more simple stir fry seasoning.

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Keeping in mind that jackfruit is not protein rich, I also decided to add some chickpeas to it to have a more filling meal.

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 can (19 oz.) of young green jackfruit in water or brine, drained
  • 1 can (19 oz.) of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil or water
  • 2 tbs of soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp of sriracha sauce (or more if you like)- this is optional
  • a bunch of green onions (4-5 heads), chopped
  • sesame seeds to garnish

Here is what you do:

  1. In a skillet, heat the oil and add the onions. Saute until translucent.
  2. Add the jackfruit and turn over once in a while until the fibers start to separate. I used the back of a wooden cooking spoon to press on the pieces to make them come apart. This gives jackfruit it’s pulled-pork texture.
  3. Add the chickpeas and mix until they are warm.
  4. Add the soy sauce, sugar, sriracha and sesame oil and mix until everything is well coated.
  5. Add the green onions and give a quick  stir before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds.

The simplicity of the seasoning really helps bring out the slightly sour flavour of the jackfruit while giving everything a nice sweet and salty taste. The green onions bring some freshness to the mix, while the sesame oil and seeds round everything up.

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We served this with some rice-filled tofu pockets and a young pea shoots salad. The tofu pockets really make this meal look fancier than it is, while adding a little bit of protein, and tackling into the sweet-and-salty front. It really went well with the jackfruit stir fry.

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So, does jackfruit taste like meat? In my opinion, not really. However, I think it brings a nice variety to any stir fry and really has a fun texture to look at. The appearance more than the taste is reminiscent of meat for me. I really enjoyed this, and I think jackfruit will become a staple can in my pantry.

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Let me know what’s your favourite jackfruit recipe that I should try out and if you try this one out!

Oneka Shampoos, a product review

If you have been following me for a while, you know that my favourite place to go is probably Beat et Betterave in the beautiful Frelighsburg village. Well, my friends Eloise and Ludo are not the only ones to have taken this tiny village as their playground.

Two doors away, you can find the Oneka headquarters. Another family business, Oneka offers a range of shampoos, creams, lotions and soaps. I tried their shampoo first last June while visiting the Beat, and thoroughly fell in love with their Cedar and Sage scent.

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After briefly meeting with Stacey and Phillippe at their farm over the summer because of a Joel Salatin workshop, I never looked back. These are two of the most authentic and rigorous people I have met, and it shows in their products.

The shampoos are wonderfully scented with natural, local and organic plant essences. They also do not contain any environmentally damaging chemical components which means that they are good for you, but also for the waters in which they end up.

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As if this was not enough, you can also refill your plastic bottles in different health food stores around the city of Montreal. This is a big thing for me because the use of plastic was one of the reasons why I abandoned traditional shampoos for shampoo bars.

Now the real deal: are they actually good for your hair? YES! These shampoos make my hair soft, cleaned but not dry, and oh so light! I really like how gentle they are, and how they don’t weigh my hair down. As a result I have a ton of volume, and my hair is more manageable. Also, because they all contain rosemary essential oil, these shampoos will help your hair grow strong and healthy. I have seen a real difference in the growth speed of my hair.

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I really enjoy the three scent they offer, but usually use the Goldenseal and Citrus one during the summer, and the Angelica and Lavender during the winter. As for the Cedar and Sage one, I just grab it whenever! Because my hair tend to be dryer during the cold season, I also like to use their Angelica and Lavender conditioner at the tip of my hair. I leave this is as a mask for a few minutes before rinsing, and my hair is much softer! However, if you don’t like scented products, they also have an unscented range.

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So, big love for Oneka products, and to the creators of this great line for making products that are respectful of the environment and people. How amazing! Seriously, you need to smell these!

Pink Sauerkraut Recipe

This week, I went to a Japanese Fermentation workshop which was very interesting (more to come on this soon). So this afternoon, I decided to tackle a favourite fermented of mine: sauerkraut.

I love making sauerkraut at home because 1) it is really easy and fun; 2) it is way less acidic then the store bought versions; 3) it’s pink!

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 small head of green cabbage
  • 1 small head of purple cabbage (this will make your sauerkraut pink, but if you can only find green cabbage, it’s fine too)
  • 2 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • some glass sterilized glass jars and some weight.

Here is what you do: 

  1. Gently rub the two cabbages under water to wash them.
  2. Cut them in quarters and remove the central stem.
  3. Grate them or thinly slice them. Put the shredded cabbage in a salad spinner and gently separate the leaves from one another(especially useful for the purple cabbage). Cover with water and give it a rub to clean everything up. Drain and place the cabbage in a large bowl.
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    Purple cabbage is so pretty!

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  4. Add the salt and rub it in so that everything is well combined. Let sit. IMG_0666
  5. Sterilize your glass jars and let them cool (I usually place my glass jars in the sink and pour boiling water in them, but the “real” method usually requires you to boil the jars).
  6. Place the cabbage in the jars, pressing it down tightly. You want to remove as much air as possible. Pour the remaining water on top of your cabbage. You want it to be completely submerged with liquid. IMG_0667
  7. I use a smaller mason jar to press the cabbage down and some almond milk cartons to put pressure on everything: the idea is that you want the cabbage to always be covered in liquid to avoid rotting or nasty bacteria to develop. I also cover everything with some plastic wrap to keep it clean.

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    A very professional set up! 🙂

  8. Let this sit for a few days, tasting it after two or three days. If the acidity level it to your taste, place the lidded jar in the fridge. This will stop the fermentation process. You will be able to use this sauerkraut in salads or as a side dish for a few weeks.

This sauerkraut will have a lovely shade of pink and can be used in a variety of ways: in salads (it can easily replace the dressing as it provides with acidity and saltiness), in sandwiches, as soup topping or as a side dish. It’s also very easy to make and customize: why not add your favourite seeds to the mix: mustard, fennel or coriander? You can easily adapt it to match your own taste.

As all lacto-fermented food, this sauerkraut is also the home of gut-healing bacteria which will you digest food better and feel better too!

Let me know if you try this out, or if you have any other lacto-fermented food reciped that I should try out. I’m working on fermented beets, and will let you know how it turn out!