Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Yep, there was a time when I disliked avocado immensely. Weird, mushy, avocado. Can you believe it? Thankfully the times have changed – I can’t get enough of it these days and could happily have it at least once a day on toast. Ahhh nature’s butter. While my favourite is probably on toast with chilli, it is also the perfect side to pretty much every dish ever.

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This recipe is a tweaked version of one I posted about three years ago, back when I was living/travelling in a van and my photography was embarrassing. So today I bring to you an updated recipe with a little more stylish photos. Avo is still the main player in this dish, though it is hidden by cacao to bring you a rich and creamy dessert. It is quite thick, and I have seen some people do a similar thing but blend a banana into it or extra coconut cream which I suppose would create a lighter texture, I’m yet to try it though.

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Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse
(serves 2-3)

2 avocados
1/2 cup cacao
1/4 cup coconut cream
4 Tbsp maple syrup or other sweetener
1 Tbsp coconut oil, liquified
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more sweetener if desired, though keep in mind that the taste does settle overnight – I find the avocado flavour mellows completely with some time. Pour into serving glasses and chill in the fridge over night. Top with desired toppings e.g. berries, coconut, cacao nibs, choc chips, banana.

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Peanut Butter Brown Rice Bubble Bars

Again, this is me very loosely following this week’s theme. In actual fact, it’s another recipe I’ve had waiting for months and months for the chance to get onto the blog – how good MoFo has been for prompting me to get these neglected posts up at last. I’m squeezing it in under ‘memories’ as I guess this idea originally came from the memory of those rice bubble marshallow bars designed for kids lunchboxes. I was tempted to call them ‘rice krispies’ or ‘rice krispy treats’ as I’m pretty sure they are called in America, but it didn’t sound right. We ate ‘rice bubbles’ as children, so these are ‘rice bubble bars’. In Australia, the Kelloggs branded bars were called LCMs, and my brother and I very rarely got to have them (probably a good thing). I think they were reserved for special days like sports carnivals.

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I’ve made these a bit healthier than the originals, removing the marshmallows and using natural PB, rice malt syrup and coconut oil with brown rice bubbles instead. That’s not to say these are great for you – there’s still a good dose of sugar from the syrup, but hey, a little won’t hurt. Wink!

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Peanut Butter Brown Rice Bubble Bars
(makes approx 16 squares)

4 cups brown rice bubbles
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt

Topping
I cup dark choc chips
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Line a 20x20cm (8x8inch) pan with baking paper.

In a saucepan, heat peanut butter, rice malt syrup, coconut oil and salt over medium heat, stirring to combine. When the mixture is smooth and creamy and starts to simmer at the edges, turn off the heat and stir in vanilla.

Place rice bubbles in a large bowl. Pour peanut butter mixture over and stir to combine. Press into prepared tin and flatten with the back of a spoon. Put in the freezer to set.

To prepare the topping, heat chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler until melted. Remove base from freezer and pour chocolate over the top. Put in the fridge to set. If you can, wait 8-12 hours before cutting, as it can crumble a bit when you cut it too early, but if you’re desperate you can dig in as soon as the chocolate has set.

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Kiwi Banana Green Smoothie

I had intended to share a delicious creamy green spinach sauce that I often make to put on gnocchi, but I didn’t get around to making and photographing it. Instead, I opted for a fairly quick and easy green option so as not to miss out on today’s prompt – a simple smoothie. The combination of banana and kiwi fruit give a nice balance of sweet and sour, and it’s a nice liquidy one which is refreshing and easy to gulp down. So without further adieu…

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Kiwi Banana Green Smoothie
(serves 2)

1 banana
3 kiwi fruit
2 cups spinach
6 large fresh mint leaves
1 tsp spirulina (optional)
1 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional)
1 1/2 cups water
Handful of ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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Quick Pickled Red Onions

Today’s post was intended for the 17th, as I thought it could fit in with the “colour you rarely eat” theme due to the fact that I rarely eat hot pink foods. So let’s just pretend I posted it then okay? I’ve lost a little momentum over the past week, not helped by my laptop operating at a painfully slow pace (and starting to make internal ticking sounds). It can be hard to sit down and edit photos and build a post when it takes three times as long to get anything done, when it is already quite a time consuming process. Anyway, lets not waste any more time – on to the recipe…

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These are not lacto-fermented onions, rather a quick alternative. Fermenting is a pretty easy process once you get used to it, and the results are delicious and totally worth it. But sometimes you need pickled onions NOW and don’t have a couple of days to wait for them, like when you want to put them on your jackfruit tacos as per my post last week. They do have a very strong vinegar flavour compared with their lacto-fermented brothers because of the, well, vinegar they are soaked in, but I think they are tasty in their own right.

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Quick Pickled Red Onions

3-4 red onions (approx 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1 tsp sea salt

Peel and slice onions into thin rings or half rings. Place in a non-reactive bowl (glass, ceramic, etc).

Place vinegars, sugar and salt in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour liquid over onions and stir so that all onions are coated. Submerge as much of the onion as possible and leave to cool, stirring occasionally.

Once cool, transfer to sterilised jars. The onions can be eaten after an hour or so, but are best once they’ve been sitting for a while – 12-24 hours. Enjoy on tacos, nachos, sandwiches, hot dogs, baked potatoes, salads and more…the possibilities are endless!

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Lemon Saffron Yoghurt Cake with Lemon Yoghurt Glaze

I’m running with this week’s theme (rainbow week) pretty loosely – everything is a colour right? I had big plans for the multicoloured prompt to make a rainbow masterpiece, however as always happens midway through MoFo, I’ve been pressed for time, even with only been putting out a handful of posts per week. For the multicolour prompt, please refer back to my tacos from yesterday….they are quite bright. I suppose today’s lemon cake could fit in with the monochrome prompt from today as it is mostly yellow, with a golden orange crust….lets just roll with it okay?

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Now saffron is not something I cook with often, mainly because of the hefty price tag that comes with it. It’s certainly a sometimes food for me, but it does give a beautiful taste to whatever it touches. This would also be nice as a lemon yoghurt cake alone, but if you happen to have some lying around or can splash the cash, the saffron definitely gives it a lovely depth of flavour. This one is not super sweet, so it’s perfect as a tea cake. You could also just sift a little icing sugar over it in place of the glaze if you’d prefer, but I do like the tanginess of the glaze.

I also want to point out the beautiful plates that the cake is served on. These belonged to my great Grandma (mum’s mum’s mum). Apparently she used them daily way back when, though I don’t remember as I was only a little one and/or probably did not have the same appreciation of crockery as I do now. They are Mikasa Japanese stoneware (how I love Japanese stoneware!) and my Granny (mum’s mum) gifted them to me when I was last in Perth. So beautiful! Only one matching mug survived the years, so I will have to try to scout out some replacements. It feels really special to be able to use them just like my Grandma did 20-30 years ago. I hope they will continue to last so that I can pass them on to another generation one day.

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Lemon Saffron Yoghurt Cake with Lemon Yoghurt Glaze

3/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/2 cup nuttelex (or other non dairy butter substitute)
1/2 cup non dairy yoghurt
2/3 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bi carb soda
1/2 tsp salt

Glaze
1/4 cup non dairy yoghurt
1 1/4 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Pour milk into a saucepan. Rub the saffron between you fingertips to crush it a little and let drop into the milk. Heat over low heat until milk starts to bubble at the edges. Take off heat and set aside until completely cool.

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 20cm (8inch) springform pan.

Cream nuttelex and sugar together until it has light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat to combine. One by one, add yoghurt, saffron milk (when cool) and lemon juice and beat until well combined after each addition.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add wet mixture, and stir until just combined – don’t overmix. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 50-60 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the glaze, whisk together ingredients until smooth. Once cake is cool, pour glaze over the top.

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Jackfruit Tacos with Charred Corn, Cabbage and Lime Creme

It’s still International week in Vegan MoFo, and I’m popping today’s post under the favourite cuisine theme, although it could probably fit under holiday destination as well as I would certainly love to go to Mexico some day. Yep, I’m using one post to cover two days, ha! I have a few favourite cuisines, but Mexican is definitely up there and I have a particular fondness for tacos.

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I was a little late to the party with the savoury jackfruit thing (or even knowing what jackfruit was?!). It started popping up everywhere quite some time ago but I didn’t really have a crack at it until more recently. What was I doing? Think of all the delicious tacos I could have been eating! They are such great warm weather food – just looking at them makes me want to sit outside with a plate full of tacos and a cold beer.

As we make our way towards summer, you’ll know where to find me…

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Jackfruit Tacos with Charred Corn, Cabbage and Lime Creme
(makes about 10 tacos)

Jackfruit:
1 Tbsp oil
1 medium brown onion, cut into thin moons
2 x 560g cans young jackfruit in brine (NOT syrup)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 – 1tsp ancho chile powder
1 1/2 cups veg stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp veg worcestershire sauce

Lime creme:
1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/3 cup soy milk
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pickled jalapenos (optional)

10 tortillas
2 ears corn
2 cups finely sliced red cabbage
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

Optional toppings:
Pickled red onions
Fresh coriander
Hot sauce

Start by heating oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauteeing onion until softened. While this is happening, drain your jackfruit and remove any seeds. Slice the large chunks into smaller ones, cutting through the harder core. Some people like to discard the hard bits, but honestly with a bit of cooking they are absolutely fine so why waste that extra taco filling? Add spices and jackfruit and cook a further 2 minutes.

Whisk together stock, tomato paste, liquid smoke and worcestershire sauce and pour over jackfruit. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for approx 20-25 mins, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed and fruit is tender and comes apart easily. Use two forks or spatula to tear the jackfruit apart. It’s good to use immediately, but as a side note, I find it recooks really well too.

Meanwhile, grill your corn. You can do this on a grill or barbecue, however I did it quickly over the stove flame. Using metal tongs, hold the corn in the flame until it begins to blacken, turning to cook all sides. Careful as it tends to pop! Allow to cool, then cut kernels off the cob and place in a bowl. Add cabbage, lime juice and salt and mix to combine.

To make the lime creme, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick for your liking, add some water one tablespoon at a time.

Assemble tacos! Prepare your tortillas according to packet instructions. Put some jackfruit on each, top with corn/cabbage mix, drizzle over some lime creme and add any optional toppings. Delish!

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Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Dressing

I’ve had today’s recipe ready to go for about the last….oh, I don’t know….4 months? Goes to show how much I had been neglecting this poor old blog prior to MoFo. Lucky for me, after signing up to MoFo and starting to panic about how on earth I would actually get some posts together, I realised that I could sneak this recipe in under the International Week theme, with it’s Lebanese flavours. Excellent (cue Mr Burns hands).

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This salad was actually inspired by one that my Aunty brought along to Christmas lunch one day – I believe it was from one of Ottelenghi’s books (why have I not got my hands on any of these yet?) Prior to this I’d never really given much thought to roasting cauliflower, but now it’s a hot favourite – we have it in salads, tacos, and occasionally even do a marinated and whole roasted cauli as the main meal. Say goodbye to steaming your cauliflower, because roasting gives it a beautiful nutty flavour which is out of this world. Hot damn!

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Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Dressing

1 medium-large head of cauliflower
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sumac
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup loosely packed mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup raw or dry roasted almonds, roughly chopped

Dressing:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 200C, and line a tray with baking paper.

Cut cauliflower into small florets, and place in a bowl. Pour over olive oil and toss to coat.

In a small bowl, mix together sumac, cumin, coriander and salt. Pour over cauliflower and mix well to coat. Spread cauliflower out over prepared tray and place in oven for 20-25 mins, flipping once halfway. When done, the cauliflower should be slightly browned and have a nutty aroma.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing. Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. If too thick, add a little more water, one tablespoon at a time. Taste for seasoning.

When cauliflower is done, remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add herbs, pomegranate and almonds and stir through. Drizzle dressing over and serve immediately – best served when the cauliflower is still warm.

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Quick and Easy Spicy Noodle Soup

Today’s recipe fits in well with today’s theme of “your easy cook meal”. Last year there was a similar prompt of “quick, easy and delicious” for which I made these zucchini and sweet potato fritters with sumac yoghurt. This time I’m sharing an Asian inspired soup that is (in my opinion) equally quick, easy and delicious.

I always have various ingredients on hand to make a noodle soup of this nature, and it’s great as it’s a really flexible meal. You can easily mix up some of the flavours with different sauces and spices, and use whatever veggies you have – depending on how I’m feeling and what I’ve got I might use broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, spinach or bean sprouts. A squeeze of fresh lime never goes astray either. But the point is, it’s a satisfying meal that can be whipped up fairly quickly and without too much stress.

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Spicy Noodle Soup

(Serves 2)

2 tsp sesame oil
4 button mushrooms, sliced (approx 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
2 birds eye chillis, minced (or less, according to your taste)
3 cups veggie stock

200g firm tofu, sliced into small rectangles
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin
2 instant noodle cakes (approx 150g)
1 carrot, sliced with julienne peeler
2 small bunches bok choy, ends removed

Optional garnishes:
Spring onion
Fresh coriander
Black sesame seeds
Garlic chilli sauce
Sriracha

Heat 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a pan over medium high heat and add tofu. Cook until golden brown on most sides, approx 10 minutes. Turn off heat, and pour 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce over. Set aside.

While this is happening, heat the other teaspoon of sesame oil in a decent sized pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute for approx 1 minute. Add garlic, ginger and chilli and saute for another 30 seconds, being careful not to let them stick. Add vegetable stock, the other 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and mirin, and bring to a boil. Turn down and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Prepare other veggies and garnishes while waiting.

Add noodle cakes and cook according to packet, until tender. Turn off heat and add bok choy to the pot, covering with a lid to allow to steam slightly.

Divide noodles and bok choy between two bowls and pour over liquid. Add tofu, carrot and desired garnishes.

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Rosemary Syrup & Rosemary Gin Fizz

Hello and welcome to Vegan MoFo 2016! Isn’t it great to be back here? For those who aren’t aware, MoFo stands for Month of Food, and it’s an annual event during which everyone talks about vegan food every damn day. Sound good?

From the Vegan MoFo website:
As the world catches on that vegan food really is the best choice for animals (suck it, humane meat!), the planet (bite me, melting ice caps!) and people (piss off, heart disease!) let’s show them what vegan eating is all about.

I wasn’t planning to participate this year, as we all know how time consuming it can be and frankly, I haven’t even been posting once a month let alone once a day since who knows when. But at the last minute I had a change of heart – probably a bit of FoMo to be honest – and signed myself up. HOWEVER, I am aiming low – I know I won’t be able to do a post a day this year, so am going for a couple a week instead. I’m just glad to be a part of it, as despite the stress it is always so much fun.

This year there are three options for participation – choose your own theme, go with the weekly themes provided or stick to the daily themes. I didn’t really give myself enough time to plan my own theme, so instead I’m following the weekly themes while sometimes touching on the daily prompts. The first week’s theme is “treat yourself”, and as we move into the warmer weather I thought what better way to treat myself with a refreshing cocktail, while giving a big cheers to all participating this month, in whatever capacity. Happy MoFo!

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A nice and easy one too! First I’ll hit you up with a recipe to make rosemary sugar syrup, after which you can make these babies until your heart’s content. For this recipe, I’ve used castor sugar to produce a nice clear syrup, but you can also use raw sugar for a golden brown syrup – this is lovely in cocktails with darker spirits.

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Rosemary Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
5 sprigs rosemary (approx 10cm)

Stir sugar and water together in a pot, then slowly bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Once sugar has dissolved, add rosemary sprigs and boil for a further minute. Turn off heat, cover, and allow to steep for 1-2 hours. Keep refrigerated.

Rosemary Gin Fizz
(makes 1)

60ml gin
15ml fresh lemon juice
15ml rosemary syrup
Ice
Soda water (approx 90 – 120ml)

Pour gin, lemon juice and rosemary syrup into a cocktail shaker with some ice and shake.

Pour over ice in a glass, top up with soda water. Garnish with fresh lemon and rosemary.

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Almost Raw Lamington Balls

So much for “I’m back!” It’s only taken me another two and a half months to back it up with another post. Ahhh well. Rather than give you a big spiel, I’m going to give you a recipe. Hallelujah!

The Bear and I have never much celebrated Valentines day – perhaps we would have a picnic if it fell on a weekend but there was no going out of our way to make the day particularly special. That was until a few years ago, when we dubbed the day ‘Lamingtons Day’. On this day – February 14th – we make lamingtons in one form or another. Over the years we’ve had lamington cupcakes, a whole lamington cake, lamington ice-cream and of course your stock standard lamingtons. The Bear has one rule – it’s not a real lamington unless it has jam.

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This year Lamingtons day kinda snuck up on us, and I had little inspiration for building epic lamington glory. When I say glory, I’m referring to the likes of the Bear’s two (or was it three?) tiered cake that instead of icing, he covered  with three blocks of melted dark chocolate. After it had set, the shell was so thick we had to hack away at it with our biggest kitchen knife to get a piece.

On the auspicious day itself I was also in the process of preparing some food for the working week. I often make variations of bliss balls to take with as a morning/afternoon snack, so with that in mind, I threw together these dudes and I have to say, was pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Before I give you the recipe, I just want to give a shout out to fellow Australian vegan blogger Kyra at Vie de la Vegan. I was doing a quick image search before the photo shoot to get an idea of how I might present the balls (how hard is it to make balls look good?! Eeeep!) In the process, I came across her very own recipe for Raw Lamington Balls as well. Slightly different, but I’m sure equally as delicious. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out!

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Almost Raw Lamington Balls
(can’t remember how many this makes, eep, will edit after making them again….amateur!)

1 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
3 Tbsp rice bran syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla paste
2 Tbsp non-dairy milk
80g raw chocolate (I used Loving Earth choc-raspberry block)
3/4 cup dessicated coconut

Jam:
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 Tbsp rice bran syrup
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Firstly make the jam – place raspberries and rice bran syrup in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the berries to cook down slowly, gently stirring and squashing them with the back of a spoon every now and then. Cook until berries have broken down, about 5-10 minutes. Take off heat and stir in chia seeds. Set aside.

Place cashews and shredded coconut in a food processor and process until it resembles crumbs. Add rice bran syrup, vanilla and milk and process until mixture comes together and gets a bit sticky. Transfer to a bowl and add chia jam, stir until it is swirled through. Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls.

Prepare a tray by lining it with baking paper. Using a double boiler, heat raw chocolate until melted. Pour dessicated coconut out onto a plate. One by one, cover each ball in chocolate before rolling in coconut and setting on the tray to dry. Store in the fridge.

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