8

Easy Tips for A Layered Smoothie

Layered fruit smoothies look really easy, right? That’s what I thought, then I ended up with a greeny brown mess despite three different beautifully coloured smoothies having gone in to the glass. Here are some simple tips to get your multi-coloured smoothies.

Tip 1: Use frozen bananas in all your layers as a base. This helps keep it all nice and thick. Other frozen fruits are good too. Keep it thick!

Tip 2: Use oats (or your preferred gluten free alternative) as an emergency thickener if you need it. Start with a bit at a time and make sure everything is well blended.

Tip 3: Use the minimal amount of liquid possible to get the smoothie blended (you may need to thicken it if you add too much).

Tip 4: Use the brightest coloured fruit and veg. In the photo above I’ve gone with baby spinach, beetroot and frozen mango with frozen banana as the base in all three.

Tip 5: Make your layers in different batches, rinse your blender then store your layers in the freezer or coldest part of the fridge while you make the next layer.

Tip 6: Make the green layer last, so it doesn’t start turning that cacky colour.

Tip 7: Pour slowly! Whilst… working quickly. I know, doesn’t make sense. But you want to keep the different smoothies nice and thick and cold, so make these right before serving and make sure all the smoothies are chilled and thick.

 

My first experiments went wrong because the smoothie layers were just too runny. They have to be thick so they don’t mix in to each other. I also poured a bit too carelessly so everything got mixed together and looked awful!

Enjoy xxxx

25

Giveaway: The Chocolate Yogi And Bonus Recipes! Raw Cherry Choc Brownie and Lumberjack Style Parfait

 

*This giveaway is now closed*

The Chocolate Yogi chocolate bars

I first tried The Chocolate Yogi chocolate at last year’s Vegan Day Out here in Melbourne. The Chocolate Yogi were handing out samples at The Cruelty Free Shop and I might have had three samples… of each flavour. In my defense I did buy some bars because it was the best raw organic vegan chocolate I’d ever tried! I’ve since bought bars of this beautiful chocolate for gifts, though there maaaay poooossibly have been this one time where the chocolate I bought as gifts for someone ended up being a gift for my mouth that day.

The Chocolate Yogi team are Malindi and Ed who hand make their chocolate north of Sydney. Each bar is stone ground from bean to the final chocolate bar form and free from dairy, soy, gluten and white cane sugar. Some of the bars are also caffeine and theobromine free. The Chocolate Yogi website states “we see our chocolate as a bridge for those who want to break away from conventional chocolate (which can be quite a tough habit to break!) towards healthier wholefood versions of their favourite treats”.

For this reason, Malindi and Ed have created a series of familiar, classic flavours such as Creamy Mylk (I believe it’s as close to traditional non-vegan milk chocolate as you can get, with the added bonus of being raw, organic and downright delicious!); Deep Dark with 64% cacao solids from single origin Criollo beans; Frothy Toffee (my favourite) which is slightly sweeter with a lovely toffee flavour, and Deep Mint which is infused with peppermint oil.

The flavours listed under the premium range include Cherry Coconut with its soft centre surprise (the cherries are sweetened with organic apple juice); Dreamy Chai flavoured with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and black peppercorns, and Salty Caramel which is a mylk chocolate bar filled with a lovely soft caramel centre made with cashews, maple syrup and coconut oil.

The Chocolate Yogi work with ethical traders who have direct relationships with the cacao growers. Suppliers take care to wash and sanitise the cacao beans with citrus based sanitisers. The beans are then quality tested and hand sorted before being made in to the final product.

The ingredients are pretty delicious too– evaporated coconut nectar, raw coconut, raw lucuma, raw cacao, vanilla and infusions of cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, cardamom, black peppercorns and cloves.

The Chocolate Yogi kindly sent me all their flavours to review and to use in recipe creation. Challenge accepted! I loved the Frothy Toffee flavour so much I knew I had to use that first.

Lately I’ve been a bit obsessed with Lumberjack cake. Not the actual cake itself but more what I can do with the ingredients. My mum’s old recipe has the apples and dates, with a lovely topping of coconut and almonds. I love the blend of caramel or toffee flavours with apple, so my first recipe is a layered apple parfait style dessert (or breakfast!) with The Chocolate Yogi Frothy Toffee cashew cream swirl, topped with toasted almonds, coconut and more Frothy Toffee.

I wanted to keep the chocolate in a raw state so on Malindi’s advice, I very gently melted the chocolate in a bowl over some hot water. This keeps the temperate of the chocolate in the ‘raw’ category. You can make this recipe 100% raw if you like by keeping the apples raw and the almonds and coconut untoasted.

Lumberjack Cake inspired parfait with Chocolate Yogi

Lumberjack Style Parfait with Cashew Cream and Chocolate Yogi Frothy Toffee

Serves 2

For the apple layer: Peel, core and thinly slice two large apples (I used Granny Smith). Place them in a saucepan with a splash of water and a pinch of cinnamon. Cover with a lid and gently simmer until the apples have softened. Remove from heat.

For the topping: Put 1/4 cup of slivered almonds and 1/4 cup of shredded coconut in a frying pan while your apples are stewing. Toast gently until browned. Take your bar of Chocolate Yogi Frothy Toffee and keep one piece aside for decoration if you like. Gently melt the bar in a bowl over hot water. When the chocolate has melted, stir in the toasted almonds and coconut but leave about a tablespoon of melted chocolate aside for the cashew cream swirl.

For the cashew cream swirl: simply swirl a tablespoon of the melted chocolate through a cup (or less if you prefer) of cashew cream. Don’t overmix, you want to keep a swirled effect.

Layer your parfait by placing a layer of the apple, a layer of cashew cream, another layer of apple, more cashew cream then finally the Frothy Toffee almond coconut topping. If you’ve kept a piece of the chocolate bar aside, cut it in to little pieces and sprinkle it on the top. Serve warm if you can!

You can also mix some finely chopped dates through the cashew cream too if you want things a little sweeter.

Note: there are lots of cashew cream recipes online and some recommend soaking your cashews though it can also depend on your blender. I have a power blender so I don’t need to soak. I use one cup of raw broken cashews (these are the cheapest) and whiz them up with a little maple syrup and a tiny splash of water if I find the mixture isn’t blending well. You may have to keep stopping your blender to scrape the sides down a bit. Alternatively try a vegan yoghurt like coconut, or coconut and almond!

Lumberjack Cake inspired parfait with Chocolate Yogi

The flavours of The Chocolate Yogi chocolate bars are so good that I wanted to make something else, this time completely raw. I’m really happy with what I came up with: I’m calling it Raw Macadamia Choc Cherry Chocolate Yogi Brownie with Cherry and Raspberry Coulis. I wanted to use ingredients with a bit of an Australian feel so as well as macadamias, I’ve used olida (also known as forestberry herb or strawberry gum) which is a native Australian plant. Olida has a kind of berry-ish passionfruit flavour and I like to use a little to enhance the flavour of the cherries and the berries, though it’s completely optional in the recipe as it’s not that easy to find! You can find olida at some online stores that sell native Australian herbs and spices. From my reading, olida is best used in recipes that are not subjected to high temperatures so I thought it would be perfect in this raw dessert!

Raw cherry chocolate macadamia brownie with Chocolate Yogi

Raw Macadamia Choc Cherry Chocolate Yogi Brownie with Raw Cherry and Raspberry Coulis

Serves 4 to 8 (depending on the size of your cookie cutters, and how much of the mixture you eat!)

The olida (forestberry/strawberry gum) is optional!

For the brownies:

Put one cup of macadamia nuts, 1/4 cup cacao powder and 1/4 teaspoon ground olida in a food processor and pulse until the macadamias are broken down in to small bits. Stop the motor and add 1/4 cup dried cherries and one roughly chopped bar (watch out for the soft insides!) of Chocolate Yogi Cherry Coconut. Pulse until the chocolate and cherries have been chopped up and incorporated with the macadamias. The mixture should hold together when pinched.

Tip the mixture out of the bowl and on to a surface you can use a cookie cutter on (I used a wooden chopping board). Pat the mixture in to a disc about 1.5cm to 2cm thick, then use a cookie cutter of your choice to cut out as many shapes as you can. Put your cut out brownie shapes in the fridge or freezer while you prepare the coulis.

For the coulis:

Put one cup of pitted cherries and one cup of raspberries (both defrosted if frozen) in a blender along with 1/4 teaspoon of olida. Blend to a smooth puree, then push the coulis mixture through a strainer to get rid of little gritty bits. I prefer the sweetness of the fruit alone but add some of your own sweetener before pureeing if you like.

To serve, place a brownie shape on a plate and drizzle over the coulis.

Raw cherry chocolate macadamia brownie with Chocolate Yogi

*This giveaway is now closed*

GIVEAWAY TIME! Australian readers only sorry!

The Chocolate Yogi are offering one lucky Veganopoulous reader a choice of five bars of their chocolate! To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below. You must leave a comment telling me what five flavours of The Chocolate Yogi chocolate you’d like to try. You can check out the flavours at http://www.thechocolateyogi.com.au/collections/all This giveaway will end on December 17th at 12:00am. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The Chocolate Yogi sent me their chocolate to review. All opinions are my own and I only recommend products I really like. And I LOVE this chocolate!

 

4

Roasted Capsicum And Tomato Pasta Sauce

roast capsicum tomato sauce pasta

I had a kitchen full of red capsicums and tomatoes, thanks to raiding the discount trolley at a nearby supermarket. People of Melbourne (possibly Australia wide), check with your local Woolworths supermarket to see if they bring out a discounted produce trolley during the day! I know of a few that do this, though times and days may differ. The basic gist is that for a limited period (half hour usually) a big cart comes out with produce that would otherwise be binned the same day. You get one of the regular fruit-veg bags and fill it with whatever you like, mixed items allowed, and it costs you $4 per bag. I’ve heard some supermarkets in the western suburbs charge $3. The trick is to stuff as much as you can in the bag before securely tying it. The produce varies daily and if you’re lucky you can bag (har har…) some great bargains. I once calculated that I saved $36 on red capsicums, when they were about $9 per kilo. I ended up roasting most and made lots of meals to freeze. I’ve also saved about $25 on kale, even compared to cheaper small markets. Sometimes you see blergh fruit and veg mixed in but on the whole, the produce has been great quality. I also like to load up on pears that are ripe, then turn them in to pear sauce at home to use in place of oil in some recipes.

Okay, that’s the history there. So I roasted up the red capsicums, then when they were blackened I put them in a plastic bag to steam and then later removed the skins– your standard way of roasting peppers. As I like to avoid using oil wherever possible, I roasted these plain. For the tomatoes, I simply cut them in half and roasted them plain, making sure to later keep all that lovely liquid!

roasted tomatoes

With a little garlic, onion and basil, this was all turned in to a tasty, simple pasta sauce on the stove. I used a teeeensy bit of oil to fry the garlic and onion, added in the chopped roasted tomatoes and peppers plus the liquid from the tomatoes, then served with some capers and olives.

I won’t write this up as an official Veganopoulous recipe cos this is the kind of recipe that’s been done a bazillion times by people all over the world (like my mum). But in general, this is what I did:

– Halve your red peppers, take out the seeds and roast peppers in a moderate oven until well blackened and all collapsed softie like. Put the cooked peppers straight in to a plastic bag and tie it up. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins and discard (unless there’s something you like to do with them).

– Halve your tomatoes, place them cut side up on a baking tray (sprinkle with salt, add some garlic or herb sprigs if you like– mine were totally plain). When done, remove to a bowl along with any cooking juices.

– Chop up the cooled peppers and tomatoes, taking care to keep the juices.

– In a frying pan, sautee some chopped garlic and onion (oil or water/broth, your choice). Add in the chopped peppers, tomatoes and any juices and heat right through. I was impatient and cooked this until it was hot, but if you want to gently cook it longer, go ahead. This was more a quick meal for me.

– Turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and fresh chopped basil and whatever else you’d like. Your favourite vegan Italian sausage would be welcome I’m sure. Generously plop the on your pasta and go for it.

roast capsicum tomato sauce

Simple, delicious and oil free if you want it to be! Whoops, just realised there’s a black bit of pepper skin in the photo that looks like a spider. Anyway. The sauce tastes better the next day too 😀

20

Melomakarona Inspired Scones For International Scone Week

Melomakarona Inspired Scones by Veganopoulous

It’s International Scone Week! Well, we’re at the end of it and so I’ve just been able to sneak in this submission with a day to go. This year’s International Scone Week is being hosted by Tandy from Lavender and Lime. Tandy has listed the participants in the sidebar of her blog, so you can check out their scone recipes which are easily veganisable.

I haven’t made scones in ages and wanted to do something different… but what? Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my vegan melomakarona (Greek honey walnut cakes, though being vegan I don’t use honey). I’ve made melomakarona inspired smoothie bowls and nicecream, so why not scones?

Melomakarona Inspired Scones by Veganopoulous

Now what usually happens when I have a brainwave is this. I act on the brainwave then later on realise there was a big brainfart moment somewhere in the process. Today’s brainfart was leaving out the baking powder, you know, often a really important ingredient. I didn’t have self raising flour and meant to add some baking powder. And I only realised it when eating the scones and they still turned out fine, though I rolled the dough out so it was 3cm high to begin with. Phew, I think that saved me. Aaanyway, I’ve added optional baking powder to the recipe, or you can use self raising flour to begin with.

Being based on melomakarona, the flavours are orange, lemon and cinnamon. I wanted to add walnuts but DeeW hates anything with nuts and would have picked them out so I made a sweet walnut filling first by roasting walnuts, letting them cool completely, whizzing them up in the food processor then adding a little rice malt syrup. You can use golden syrup or agave, whatever you like to create a filling to your preferred level of sweetness.

These took longer to cook than scones usually take. All up I had them in the oven for half an hour and the bottoms were quite brown but gahhh the tops didn’t brown so they don’t look as pretty as regular white flour scones.

With the wholemeal flour, they did go a little ‘heavy’ once they cooled but the kids loved them, which works for me! I’ll have to play with this recipe again before adding it as an official recipe to my site, though I am mostly happy with how these turned out today.

Melomakarona Inspired Scones by Veganopoulous

Melomakarona Inspired Scones by Veganopoulous

Scones:

* 1.5 cups plain flour (or self raising flour)

* 1.5 cups wholemeal flour

* 3/4 cup chilled vegan butter

* 1Tbs baking powder (I know, it’s 2tsp per cup of plain flour but I’m cautious!) Omit if using self raising flour

* 1Tbs caster sugar

* 1.5 tsp cinnamon

* 1tsp fine salt

* 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts (optional)

* 1.25 cups non-dairy milk and a little extra for the glazing

* 1 medium sized orange, zested and juiced

* 1 medium lemon, zested and juiced

 

Walnut Filling:

* 1 cup walnuts, toasted then completely cooled before being very finely chopped in a food processor

* rice malt syrup to your preferred level of sweetness

* pinch of cinnamon

Mix the filling ingredients and set aside (and use it on other stuff too!)

 

Method:

* Sift the flours, baking powder if using, cinnamon and caster sugar. Add the vegan butter in chunks and rub with your fingers until the mixture is breadcrumby. Alternatively, do what I do and use the food processor for this flour+butter step!

* If using a food processor, remove the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Add in the optional chopped walnuts and zest and stir to combine well.

* Make a well and pour in the milk, orange juice and lemon juice. Gently mix to combine it all before turning out on to a floured surface. Knead gently and briefly, just until you get a smooth dough.

* Make a disc about 3cm high and use your favourite scone cutting tool to cut out your scones. Place the scones on a tray (or a greased and floured tray– whatever you usually do!) with about a 1cm or 2cm gap between scones.

* Brush the scones with the extra bit of milk and put a walnut half in the centre.

* Bake until the scones are browned, or sound hollow when you tap them on the bottom. My oven took about thirty minutes which seemed awfully long for scones so please set your timer for 12 minutes and keep on checking every few minutes after that. Even so my scones didn’t go nice and brown, I hope yours turn out better looking!

8

Coming Soon: Veganised Sweets Recipes From My Family’s Archives

I’ve been going a bit silly with aquafaba recently. If you haven’t heard of this amazing amazingness, aquafaba is the liquid from cooked (including canned) chickpeas or beans. I’m ecstatic to report that I’ve had great success in making two of my family’s old recipes with aquafaba but the best bit is that they taste EXACTLY like the non-vegan versions my family make. This is super important to me because of sentimental reasons mainly, but also because I know I’ve succeeded when the veganised versions taste the same, if not better, than the non-vegan versions my extended family loves. My relatives that give up eggs and such for Lent can now enjoy these. Well, next year probably. Because I didn’t do this in time for this year’s Lent…

First up we have what I am calling Faye’s Mousse Your Own Adventure Cake. Because you can be adventurous with the flavours you choose, and stuff. This is a recipe my mum started making over forty years ago and is my number one sentimental favourite, though the non-vegan version is full of eggs, cream and butter. I’ve changed it up a little ingredients-wise, but amazingly it tastes exactly like the non-vegan version that was our family favourite. Introducing Faye’s Mousse Your Own Adventure Cake! The recipe will be up soon, I need to make it at my Mum’s place and take lots of photos for you all to see the process:

Faye's vegan aquafaba moussecake

The first successful aquafaba-ising experiment I made was my Mum’s galaktoboureko recipe. Galaktoboureko is a baked semolina egg custard wrapped in filo pastry, then topped with a syrup after cooking. I’ll also be posting this up on the blog but again, I need to make this with my Mum to take photos (her kitchen has loads of natural light, mine has zero):

Faye's vegan galaktoboureko

If you’re on Instagram or Twitter, check out #aquafaba to see what others are up to. Also, be sure to check out the Facebook community called Vegan Meringue- Hits and Misses! Loads of wonderful creations using aquafaba for meringues, cakes and more. The community is very helpful and people often post their fails to help others. Please check it out as it is full of brilliant!

 

Have you been experimenting with aquafaba?