Music for your Mouth: Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla Fudge are awesome. They do heaps of sweet psychedelic covers of famous songs. Need I say more?

They are also named after a delicious food, which I have quite literally tried to recreate here. I haven’t used cacao butter too much in the past – in fact I’ve only ever used it to make raw chocolate – so I was unsure of how this might turn out. I had hoped that it would help the fudge to be a bit more solid and hold form, which it did. Funnily enough, it turned out tasting very white chocolatey, maybe more so than fudgey. Regardless, I reckon it tastes pretty damn good. I cut it into bit sized squares with the intention that one as a little afternoon treat would be adequate. Obviously I ate it all within a few sittings. Ahem.

vanillafudgeRaw Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla layer:
3/4 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup cacao butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp maca (optional)
1/3 cup coconut cream
2 vanilla beans
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Chocolate topping:
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 Tbsp cacao
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Prepare a slice tin by lining with baking paper.

Blend cashews until they resemble coarse crumbs.

Melt coconut oil and cacao butter over double boiler, then add to blender along with agave, maca, vanillas and salt. Blend until combined. Add coconut cream and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into prepared tin and place in the freezer until set.

For the topping, melt coconut oil over a double boiler. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. Pour over fudge base and return to the freezer until set.

Store in the fridge to avoid meltiness.

vanillafudge2I totally dig this cover of the Zombies song, She’s Not There. Ch-ch-check it out! The last chorus just kills it! Yeeeeow!

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: The Smashing Pumpkins

I bet you were all waiting for these guys to come along. It was definitely one of the first foody bands I had thought of when coming up with the list. Yet another teenage discovery, the Smashing Pumpkins were definitely high on rotation back in the day. I don’t listen to them a lot anymore, but when I do I always feel reminiscent of those days. Just like getting on like a house on fire with an old friend you haven’t seen in years, the music just comes back to me.

For today’s meal, I’ve smashed some pumpkins (sort of? the blender smashed them for me I suppose..) into a creamy delicious risotto. This is actually the best risotto I’ve ever made. I think the taste is great, but I also really just cooked it to perfection – I have a habit of cooking risottos on high heat to try and get them done quickly. This time I was patient, cooked it slowly, and reaped the rewards.

So many songs, how to choose one for this post? I’m playing Tonight, Tonight, because it’s a great song and the film clip is awesome. It’s inspired by the Georges Méliès silent film, A Trip to the Moon. I looove Georges Méliès films, they are so whimsical and wonderful and absolutely captivating. If you haven’t seen any, look them up after watching the Pumpkins homage – you won’t regret it! (The ones with added soundtracks and hand colouring are especially magical!)

smashingpump1

Creamy Pumpkin and Leek Risotto with Crispy Sage
(serves 4)

1/2 butternut pumpkin (about 1 cup once pureed)
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 brown onion, diced
2 leeks, white and green parts, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped sage
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp chili flakes
Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp coconut oil
Sage – approx 20 leaves
Pinch of sea salt

First up, you’re going to want to roast your pumpkin. Preheat your oven to 200C. Remove all bits of skin and seeds, and dice pumpkin flesh. Place in a baking dish, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Chuck in two garlic cloves in their skins as well, just because how can you roast a vegetable without adding some garlic? Exactly, you can’t. Roast for about 25-30 mins until tender.

When the pumpkin is about half done, heat up 1 Tbsp coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and half of your leek, and saute for five or so minutes until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and saute for another minute.

While this is happening, bring your stock to boil in another pot, then turn down to a mild simmer.

Add rice to onion mix and dry fry for about a minute. Add white wine, and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, until most of the wine has been absorbed.

From here, start adding stock. I like to use a ladle and scoop it in one ladle-full at a time. Your rice should always be JUST covered by stock. Turn heat down to medium-low, so that it is never more than a slow simmer. DO NOT walk away from your risotto…this takes some time, but it’s best to be patient. Continue to add stock as needed to keep liquid above rice, then wait for it to absorb. Stir your risotto frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

When your pumpkin is done, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Place in a blender, and squeeze your little garlic cloves out of their skins and into the blender too. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Once all your stock has been added, check texture of rice. If it is al dente – perfect! If it still has a little way to go, you may need to continue adding liquid until it reaches the desired texture.

Add remaining leek, sage leaves, nutritional yeast and chili flakes and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour pumpkin puree in and mix well.

For the crispy sage – heat 2 Tbsp coconut oil in a small pot until very hot. Have some paper towel on a plate ready next to you. One at a time, drop your sage leaves into the oil. Have a fork ready to scoop them out after about 10 seconds, when they become crispy. Follow this process with each sage leaf, then sprinkle the lot of them with a bit of crushed sea salt.

Remove risotto from heat, serve and garnish with sage leaves.

smashingpump2

 

veganmofo

 

Music for your Mouth: Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel are another one of those bands from my teenage-hood – I think I first stumbled across them through the song at the bottom of this post, and I was hooked. I listened to that song alone on repeat for weeks before I even discovered the rest of their music. The whole In The Aeroplane Over the Sea album is just stunning, and even in later years the Bear and I would listen to it start to finish on repeat. I still do!

So I’m not going to take too much away from the song here, but just leave you with a simple, neutral milk recipe.

neutralmilk1Nut milk is so easy to make, and anybody who has done it will vouch for the fact that it tastes soooooooo much better than store bought nut milk. The best thing is you can add your own flavours like cacao or cinnamon or vanilla, and you can make it as creamy or thin as you like.

neutralmilk2As you can see from all the speckles, I added some vanilla bean to mine. Me and vanilla beans are such best buds.

Cashew Milk

I cup cashews, soaked overnight
3 cups filtered water
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 medjool date, pit removed
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Put all ingredients in a blender and whizzzzzzzzz until smooth. For a thinner milk, add one to three more cups of water. If I’m just using the milk for smoothies I like to extend it a bit further with more water, however if I want to drink it on its own or in coffee or otherwise, I like it nice and creamy like this.

neutralmilk4

Far out it’s so freaking beautiful.

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: Chuck Berry

You Chuck the Berry in the salad and what do you get? Strawberry salad, duhh.

Um hello! Day 7: Week 1 of MoFo complete! I can’t believe I’ve managed a post every day, it’s pretty crazy. I’ve been loving reading everybody’s posts, I’m about one quarter of my way though the blogroll – I’m trying to visit every blog by the end of the month. I’ve already found some killer blogs and met some great new people. Yay MoFo!

chuckberry3Onto the food! – This is a lovely side dish, and a winner to take to a barbecue or potluck. With juicy red berries and zesty cashew cheese, I reckon it just screams summer (even though we’re not quite there yet!)

chuckberry2

Strawberry Balsamic Salad with Cashew Cheese

Salad:
3 tightly packed cups of baby spinach
1 1/2 cups strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

Cashew Cheese:
1 cup cashews, soaked
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp water
Salt and pepper

Dressing:
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

First, prepare the cashew cheese. Place cashews in blender or food processor and blend until they resemble coarse crumbs. Add remaining ingredients and blend until desired consistency. It’s nice to make it super creamy, but to chuck in salads, I like it to be a bit chunky/pasty. If you want it smoother, just add a little more liquid.

Put all salad ingredients in a bowl. Take blobs of cashew cheese and toss through salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and toss.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

chuckberry1I wasn’t going to put Johnny B-Goode up, because it’s the obvious choice – but then I went to listen to it and he just rips right in with that opening riff and how could you not? So GOOD!

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: Peanut Butter Wolf

I was just thinking to myself the other day how peanut butter and chocolate is one of the best flavour combinations – you can’t beat salty and sweet. Then, yesterday, out of nowhere, my housemate was talking about how much she loved peanut butter, but hated it with sweet things like chocolate. Whaaaa? Different strokes for different folks I suppose!

Peanut Butter Wolf is a DJ who spins some funky tunes, which are great to listen to in the kitchen. I tell ya, it’s the best for getting into a smooth rhythm of measuring and pouring and sauntering from the cupboard to the bench. And if I were a peanut butter wolf, I would definitely be hunting down peanut butter cups, that’s for sure.

I’ve made pb cups using melted choc and roasted pb before, but when I decided to make these ones I didn’t have any chocolate on hand. As a result I came up with these little raw fellas, and I think they make a pretty sweet replacement.

pb3

Raw Peanut Butter Cups
(makes about 12 cups)

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup agave
Pinch pink Himalayan salt
3/4 cup raw natural peanut butter

Set out twelve small muffin papers or chocolate cases, ready to go.

Melt coconut oil in double boiler, remove bowl and add cacao, agave and salt. Stir well to combine.

Pour about a teaspoon of the mix into cases and spread around the edges.

pb1Place cases in the freezer and allow to set.

Remove from freezer and fill each cup with about a teaspoon of peanut butter.

pb2Fill to the top of each case with chocolate and return to the freezer until set. Enjoy!

pb4

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers! Of course!

So many songs to choose from! I was going to go with something from their funky days, but I was browsing videos and remembered this one, which I love – gosh, all this music clip watching reminds me of staying up late/getting up early to watch Rage. And look at young Anthony, isn’t he cuuuute?!

It’s kind of hard to believe that Soul to Squeeze was recorded back in ’91. That’s 23 years ago! Where did the time go?! I always find it really strange when I hear the Chili Peppers on Gold 104 (the golden oldies radio station) – the songs seem so recent to me still.

I got to see the Chili pepper some years ago, I went along with my mum and brother. We were right up the front, and Mum got her elbows out and ‘moshed’ (don’t tell her that there wasn’t a mosh pit). But if there HAD been a mosh pit, this would be the perfect food to fuel your moshing. GREAT SEGUE!!!!

chillipeppersIn Australia, we don’t really call these peppers, however the Red Hot Chili Capsicums are not a band as far as I am aware. Yep, just googled it and did not find anything.

This was a good opportunity for me to make stuffed capsicums as I’ve never done them before, which is surprising because anybody will tell you that I love food stuffed with food. I thought these were pretty good for a first attempt, and a nice change from the usual tacos or burritos when going for Mexican flavours.

chillipeppers3
Mexican Stuffed Capsicums
(makes 4)

4 red capsicums
1/2 cup uncooked rice (I used one of those rice barley blends)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely1/2 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup corn
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 cup black beans
2 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Juice of 1/2 lime
Cayenne to taste
Salt to taste
Vegan cheese (optional)
Spring onions to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C.

Cook rice according to instructions. I’m sure you’ve all got your methods for cooking rice. I don’t, and I’m terrible at it.

Cut out tops from capsicums with a sharp knife, then remove seeds from inside. Set aside.

In a small pan, heat oil over medium heat and add onion. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute. Add smoked paprika, coriander and cumin and cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds.

Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add corn, tomatoes, beans and cooked rice, and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients – fresh coriander, nutritional yeast, lime juice and salt.

Place capsicums in a baking dish, fill each one with mix, then grate some cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 mins, until capsicums are tender. Garnish with spring onions.

chillipeppers2

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: Blind Melon

I’m not going to muck around too much with today’s post, I only have a couple of minutes to upload it. So straight to the point, today’s Music for our Mouth comes to you from Blind Melon. And what have I made? A blind melon! Party on!

blindmelonI listened to a bit of Blind Melon when I was younger – the song at the bottom is probably their most well known and it’s pretty darn catchy. I had never seen the video clip before though – check it out! The beginning made me really sad (why do I always feel so much empathy for characters, even when I know they are just characters?) but the ending brought me joy! Seriously, I should start watching this every morning. Precious little bumble bees!

blindmelon2
Japanese Slipper

30ml Midori
30ml Cointreau
30ml lemon juice
Ice

Put Midori, Cointreau and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake it like a polaroid picture. Strain into glass and serve with a lemon garnish. Easy.

blindmelon3

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: The Honeycombs

I’m going to be honest with you – I had never heard of the band the Honeycombs until I started researching more foody music. But I found them, and it gave me an excuse to make some honeycomb. The Honeycombs are a pop band from the 60s with catchy tunes and a groovy girl drummer. Yeah, I said groovy.

Unlike yesterday’s recipe, there is nothing healthy about this sweet. It is basically sugar with sugar, coated in sugar. But boy is it delicious! Plus it’s kind of like doing primary school science in the kitchen. Remember making volcanoes erupt with bicarb and vinegar lava? Or what we used to do as kids – go across the road to the park with those little eggs from inside Kinder Surprises. We would fill one half with vinegar and the other with bicarb and you would have to join them together REALLY QUICKLY and throw them up in the air before they exploded. If you timed it right they would explode in the air and we would all rejoice.

honeycombs3Honeycomb

1 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup glucose syrup
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp bicarb soda

Line some kind of vessel (I used a 27x18cm slice pan) with baking paper and set aside. Get baking soda ready by measuring it into a small bowl and ensuring there are no lumps. Grab a whisk and place it nearby.

Place the sugar, glucose syrup and agave nectar in a large pot and heat on medium. Don’t stir the mix while you do this, rather, try to poke it together with a wooden spoon to ensure the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, turn the heat up to high and bring mix to a boil.

Allow to bubble away until it turns golden in colour – if you have a candy thermometer, this should be around 150C.

Working quickly, take the pot off the heat, pour in bicarb soda and whisk together. The mixture will expand rapidly and become foamy. Quickly pour it into your prepared pan and then LEAVE ALONE. It is imperative that you do not touch at this point, or your honeycomb will deflate.

honeycombsAllow to cool for at 45 minutes to an hour.

Once set, break or cut into pieces.

honeycombs2And voila! Your very own bowl of honeycomb to do with what you please.

Obviously, I melted some chocolate and coated it all to made mini crunchie bites.

honeycombs4

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: The Lemonheads

The Lemonheads remind me a lot of being in high school. A time when I was absorbing a LOT of music, much of it from before my time. The song at the bottom of this post was the first I ever heard from the band, and it got me interested enough to find some more tunes, which led me to some of their earlier, heavier stuff, such as the recommended blending song below. I’m pretty excited to spotlight this band, because they’re coming to Australia at the end of the year, and I’m going to see them! Yeehahhhh!

I guess this is kind of a strange dessert to match the Lemonheads – I don’t think they are really a raw dessert kind of band. Nevertheless, these tarts are a tasty treat. To be honest, I just thought it would be an easy lemon thing to make. I’m copping out already – on day two! Ahhhh…who cares, it is a delicious cop out at worst – I can live with that.

lemonheadsApart from setting time (and even then, they only really need about 45 mins), these are such a quick and simple dessert to whip up that is sure to impress any guests. The filling is super zesty and not too sweet, which is how I like my lemony desserts. The tarts have had the tick of approval from the Bear and the family, so they are definitely being added to the repertoire.

lemonheads2
A song for you to drown out the whizzing of the blender:

 

Raw Lemon Tarts
(makes 3 tarts, maybe 4 if you use smaller tins)

Base:
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup medjool dates, pits removed
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of pink himalayan salt

Filling:
1 cup cashews, soaked
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp agave nectar
Pinch of pink himalayan salt

Dash of turmeric for colour

Lemon zest and strawberry to garnish (optional)

Place pecans and walnuts in a blender or food processor and blend until they resemble coarse crumbs. Add dates, vanilla and salt and blend until the mixture holds together. Press into tart tins and put in the freezer to set.

Blend filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. The mixture should be pourable – add a little more coconut milk if necessary. Spread evenly amongst tart bases, then return to freezer to set.

Garnish with some extra lemon zest and strawberry.

lemonheads3As I said, this is the first Lemonheads song I ever heard, and it has always had a knack of sticking in my head for ages – I’m too much with myself, I wanna be someone else, I’m too much with myself, I wanna be someone else.

I love the little vocal harmony from Juliana Hatfield. The folky tune and smooth warm voice meant I could listen to it over and over and over. Sit back, relax and enjoy the delicious tunes.

veganmofo

Music for your Mouth: Bread

It’s that special time of the year – Vegan MoFo is back, and so too am I for my second go at it. This year, my theme is Music for your Mouth (pretend you can see a spiffy banner which will hopefully be ready by tomorrow). Oooh, ahhhh!

Yes, Music for your Mouth – this month I’m dedicating all my posts to bands with food-y names. And what better way to start than with this classic – Bread!

No prizes for guessing what I made to match this band – a good old fashioned loaf of bread. Now this loaf of bread ain’t perfect, but since it’s MoFo, there’s no time for messing around so I’m going to post it anyway (this month will probably see a lot of ‘it’s not perfect but…’ from me). I wouldn’t really eat this bread as bread, as it is super dense – I think it is best suited to toast. It has a rich, dark, sweet flavour from the molasses, and lots of nuttiness from all the seeds. It reminds me of all the beautiful artisan loaves we used to get in Tasmania (in appearance at least!)

bread
Seeded Spelt Bread

500g spelt flour
300ml warm water
2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 pack dry yeast (approx 7g
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil + extra for bowl
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Top:
2 Tbsp non dairy milk
1 tsp rolled oats
1 tsp pumpkin seeds
1 tsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds

Firstly, proof your yeast by dissolving molasses into water, adding yeast and setting aside for 5-10 mins. This is not totally necessary, but it’s fun watching the little explosions of yeast bubble to the surface.

In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Add the yeast mix along with the olive oil and stir as long as you can with a wooden spoon, then turn the dough out onto a floured bench top.

Start kneading away, adding flour if the dough is too wet or extra water if too dry. Knead for 10 minutes, then make into a ball. Get a clean bowl and swish some oil around in the bottom so that your dough doesn’t stick. Put your dough in the bowl, cover with a clean damp tea towel and set aside to rise for a couple of hours (I did two here).

Punch your dough, then knead again for another 2-3 minutes. Shape into a logish loaf shape, then place on a greased baking tray. With a sharp knife, do a couple of slashes along the top of the dough, so that you don’t have any explosions or deformations in the baking process. Set tray aside and allow dough to rise for another hour or so.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Brush dough with milk, then sprinkle seeds over the top. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you knock on it.

Allow to cool on rack before slicing.

bread3

As I said, this bread totally works best as toast. It’s perfect for some avo, chilli and lemon on top. Nothing really beats the satisfaction of eating a slice of bread that you made by hand, it really feels wholesome or something.

Now please enjoy the sweet sounds of bread as you munch away on this.

veganmofo