Music for your Mouth: Custard

DAY 30!!!

Can you even believe it? What a month it’s been! Although I planned to attempt a recipe per day for the month, I never expected I would stay on top of it. But here I am – day 30 of 30. I am actually quite proud of my efforts.

I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with food and music this month, although it has also taken a bit out of me. I had thought with a tiny bit of pre-planning, the whole event would be a cinch. Not the case. There were definitely ups and downs, mini kitchen meltdowns and whole recipes thrown away. Not to mention the extra expenses involved – I didn’t see that one coming! Perhaps next year my theme will have to be cheap eats…But anyway, we made it. Hoorah! I think we all deserve a big pat on the back.

Not only have I had my own cooking fun, but I’ve also loved connecting up with the worldwide vegan community. I’ve kept up with many of the blogs I usually read, but also pretty much doubled my reader with brand new (to me) blogs from all over the place. I still haven’t quite made my way through the MoFo Around the World page, but will hopefully get a chance to over the next week or so. It’s been so nice meeting you all and I want to thank you all for the lovely comments you’ve been leaving.

In the next few days I’ll do a round up of sorts and reflect on the month just gone, but for now I have one last musical treat for you. CUSTARD! I’m bring it back to home base with these guys, who are an Australian band that formed in the ’90s. To be honest, I don’t really know how big the band was worldwide, but I remember a whole stack of songs from them from the ’90s – they are so catchy. The most popular, Girls Like That (Don’t Go For Guys Like Us) has such a catchy riff and was played a lot on Rage and I think even Triple J – if you haven’t heard it, give it a listen below.

custard2 This was one of the recipes that took me a few gos. I had never tried to bake soy custard before, and so firstly decided to attempt a custard mix using silken tofu. I used beautiful rhubarb from my mum and dad’s garden, however the custard didn’t quite cut it – was too spongy – and the crust was too thick.

custard3This time I just used the basic custard recipe from the custard powder box (check that you get a vegan brand as some have milk or egg in them), popped some berries in it (after running out of rhubarb) and chucked it in the oven. It turned out better than I expected. Probably could do with some more tweaking, but uh, it’s DAY 30 MoFo’s!!!

custard5

Custard and Berry Tarts
(makes 6)

Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup nuttelex, cold
2 Tbsp icing sugar
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp ice water

Filling
1/4 cup custard powder
3 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups non-dairy milk

Handful of mixed berries – about 1/3 cup plus extra for topping

Mix flour, salt and sugar together in a bowl. Add nuttelex in small chunks, then rub together with your fingers until mix becomes like crumbs. Add water one tablespoon at a time until mixture can form a ball. Cover and chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 180C and grease six small tart tins. Separate dough into six balls. There may even be enough dough for a seventh, however I only had six tins so ya know. On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough out into a circle, about one centimetre thick. Press dough into tins, cutting off any extra. Make a couple of fork pricks in the bottom of each tart, then put some pastry weights on top of each and bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly and remove pastry weights.

In a saucepan, stir together custard powder and sugar. Add a couple of tablespoons of milk and whisk into a thick paste. Add remaining milk slowly and put over medium heat. Stir continuously with a whisk as the mixture begins to thicken – it is amazing how quickly lumps form if you get a bit lax. Once mixture has thickened – about ten minutes – stir in vanilla. Remove from heat.

Place a couple of berries in the bottom of each tart shell. Distribute custard amongst tart shells, then return to oven for fifteen minutes, until custard sets.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

For the topping, I grabbed a few extra berries, one teaspoon of agave and a dash of vanilla and cooked down into a sort of coulis.

custard7Gotta love an inside shot. It reminds me of Peter Everett on Ready Stead Cook. My, how he loved to see food ooze.

custard4

What the hey, it’s the last day, here’s another one!

Congratulations everyone, it’s been a blast! Peace ouuuwwwwttttt!

veganmofo

Raw Lime Coconut Cookies

Last night I had a bit of fun with the dehydrator, and as a result have a few new recipes to share with you – the first one being the title of this post – Raw Lime Coconut Cookies.

So far, apart from drying fruits basically as they are or turning them into fruit leather, most of my dehydrating has resulted in savoury goods – variations of crackers and cauliflower popcorn. As a result, I decided it was about time I came up with something sweet. Enter these babies.

These are SO simple to make, with only a handful of ingredients and minimal prep. The result is a delicious, zesty and healthy cookie. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Image
Raw Lime Coconut Cookies
(makes about 15 cookies)

1 cup cashews (soaked for a couple of hours)
1 cup shredded coconut
2 Tbsp agave nectar (or other sweetener of choice)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp lime zest
Pinch of salt
Paste from 1/2 vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)

Place cashews in a food processor, and process until they resemble course crumbs.

Add coconut and pulse until combined.

Add remaining ingredients and process until combined to form a soft ‘dough’. If they are too wet, add some more coconut. If you find the mix is too dry, try adding a little water or more lime juice.

Roll teaspoons of the mix into balls and place on a dehydrator tray with a teflex sheet on it. Press each ball down to form a flat disc.

Dehydrate at 46C (115F) for 12-24 hours, depending on the texture you’d like. I did mine for about 15 hours, and they were nice and chewy.

Enjoy!

Image

Raw Caramel Slice

While I have been known to enjoy raw desserts, I have been yet to foray into the world of cooking them (cooking? preparing?) aside from variations of the old bliss ball. That was, until now (duh duh duhhhhh!)

I’ve been using mesquite powder a fair bit lately, in smoothies, bliss balls, chia pudding and the like. Mesquite powder is produced from the seeds of the mesquite tree, and I love the naturally sweet, nutty, caramel flavor it adds. It’s also low GI and helps stabilise blood sugars. Oh, and it’s also packed with various vitamins, minerals and amino acids, including calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, lysine, iron and fibre. Yowzers!

But while sipping on my mesquitey smoothies, I had a dream. A dream where the nutty carameliness of the mesquite could really be the star of the show. And what better way than caramel slice? And now I’ve finally done it. It was highly experimental, as is most of the stuff that I do in life, but I think it turned out pretty well. The slice is super rich so it’s not something you can wolf down, but it certainly hits that sweet spot.

Enjoy!

Image

Raw Caramel Slice

Base
1 cup medjool dates (soaked)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup almonds
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cacao powder

Caramel
1 1/2 cups medjool dates (soaked)
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini (less if you’re not the biggest tahini fan – the flavour is quite noticeable. Omit entirely if desired) **edited to say that the tahini flavour settles right down after a day – the next day I couldn’t taste it at all!
3 Tbsp mesquite powder
1 cup cashews, (soaked)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla
Generous pinch of salt

Chocolate
1/2 cup cacao
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
1/2 cup coconut oil

– Line the bottom of a slice tray with greaseproof paper. I used a square casserole dish that was about 20x20cm
– Combine base ingredients in a blender/food processor until they are the consistency of a thick paste. You may need to add a little water if it is too dry
– Press evenly into slice tin and place in the freezer to set

– Next, combine all the caramel ingredients in the blender. I like to do the nuts first, then add the rest.
– Blend until smooth. Again, you can always add a little water if you need to thin the mix out.
– Spread over base, then return to freezer

– Whisk chocolate ingredients together in a bowl
– Spread over the rest of the slice and return into the freezer one last time to ensure it sets

Slice up and devour! Store any leftovers in the fridge to keep them firm.