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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Golden Syrup Dumplings

Most retro recipe.

In trying to plan for today’s theme, I was flicking through old Women’s Weekly Cookbooks from the ’70’s, looking for outdated and kitsch recipes (preferably with a pineapple and toothpicks) but nothing really grabbed me. Then I was over at my mum and dad’s place, and mum handed me a Country Women’s Association cookbook from the 1940’s that once upon a time belonged to my great Nanna James. The CWA is the largest women’s organisation in Australia, and since 1922 have been well known throughout the country (mainly for their jams, chutneys, knitted goods and lamingtons amongst other baked goods). The CWA initiated with the goal of improving conditions for women, particularly those living rurally, and have since assisted with emergency relief, education funds and workshops, amongst other benevolent things.

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Flicking through the pages, it is clear that most recipes have similar and basic ingredients, created prior to much multicultural influence in Australia. Common ingredients include butter or dripping, flour, breadcrumbs, sugar and eggs. There are some mock meat recipes which initially had me excited, however I soon discovered that the mock goose was made of liver and the mock brains made of left over porridge and egg. It was certainly an age of ration and limited wastage.

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There are some pretty neat ads to take note of, including the one repping this kerosene operated fridge.

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And this one from the dried fruits board (awesome) spruiking currants, sultanas and raisins. Amazing.

Anyway, I digress. When I found golden syrup dumplings I knew this was the recipe for today, as it fits the retro bill and also brings back nice memories from childhood when mum used to make this for us. Boy were they a treat with their sweet sticky sauce and a dollop of cream or ice cream. Initially when I veganised this recipe directly from the CWA book it did not turn out how I remembered enjoying golden syrup dumplings as a child. The sauce was not as thick and caramel-y, rather a bit too thin. Then I recalled Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe posting a recipe for golden syrup dumplings a while back that I had made and it had turned out wonderfully. So I tinkered with the CWA recipe, adding some sugar to the syrup which made all the difference. Ahhhh sugar.

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Golden Syrup Dumplings
(serves 3-4)

Syrup:
3 Tbsp golden syrup
¼ cup coconut or brown sugar
1 Tbsp vegan butter
cups water

Dumplings:
1 cup self-raising flour
¼ cup vegan butter
1 Tbsp golden syrup
3 Tbsp water or non-dairy milk
Pinch of salt

Place syrup ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, rub together flour and butter with your hands. Add remaining ingredients and mix to form a thick dough. While it will be tacky, you should be able to use your hands to roll it into balls. Get heaped dessert spoonfuls of dough and roll into small balls. Drop the balls into the syrup mixture, and simmer, covered, for approximately 10-15 minutes, until dumplings have increased in size and sauce has thickened. Serve with cream or ice cream.

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