Tag Archives: Cooking

World Vegan Day

Melbourne is well-known for its shopping, designers and innovative entrepreneurs. Besides having a long overdue break, I was most excited about experiencing the food of this iconic Australian city. It is the cultural hub of our country and I was looking forward to some of that also!

We sure had a good dose of both food and culture on our first day – attending World Vegan Day at the Melbourne Show Grounds (also home to the set of television series ‘MasterChef‘ and their amazing veggie/herb garden). The event was intense, amazing, educational, confronting, sad, crazy…..it was everything crammed under one roof. It was so refreshing to have so many people passionate about our environment, sustainable food sources, and health in the one place. It really had me excited and provided me with a load of inspiration and ideas to bring back and share with everyone up here in the slightly slow (aka backwards) Central Queensland. Don’t get me wrong I am very happy to be raising my young family here and there has been a shift towards healthier living but people up here do not embrace change and the take up of anything new takes a long, looooooonnnnngggg time!

MasterChef Vegetable Garden

 

There is a lot to be said for these events and how surrounding yourself with people who support your ideals and beliefs can influence the conviction you have in your own choices. I often feel a little extreme in my avoidance of grains, dairy, preservatives, chemicals and processed foods because the majority of the people where I live have these things as the staple of their diets. I feel as though I need to justify my choices or that people think I am on some strange fad diet. I am not!  I think that anyone who follows an alternative diet must sometimes feel isolated? Or maybe that is just me? Surely not. People do look at you differently when your children have olives, sardines, cherry tomatoes, spinach, a mango and a coconut flour muffin for lunch. And think my children are ‘odd’ when they hear the latest response to the timely question of what to have for dinner, to which my 2-year-old replied “fish and water”. I loved that this minority group were all together supporting their lifestyle choices and sharing and learning from each other. Not to mention the incredible vegan businesses sharing their delicious creations.

Of the amazing array of food available at the event my absolute favourite was the Vanilla Dream coconut ice-cream I had made by Zebra Dream. It was delicious, thick, creamy and not at all icy and rock hard like other brands of coconut ice-cream I have tried. I was excited to try the Espresso flavour but it was sold out by the time I had worked my way through the crowd. Nevertheless, the Vanilla sure dissipated any disappointment I may have been feeling.

Zebra Dream "Vanilla Dream" Coconut Ice-Cream

The next best thing was being able to order a coffee on almond milk!! Nowhere and I mean nowhere in my town offers this as a dairy alternative and it was delightful to not feel ‘difficult’ when ordering something as simple as coffee.

I fell completely in love with the mason jars from The Raw Food Mum – one of my favourite bloggers! I was so excited to meet her in person and get my hands on a couple of the jars – complete with their own metal straw. They are now used daily and make everything taste that little bit more special.

Cold-Pressed Apple, Carrot and Ginger

So there is a round-up of my first day of adventures. I ventured to many fantastic cafe’s and have picked my favourites to share with you this coming week! If any of you have attended World Vegan Day celebrations what inspired you?

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Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Well my Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes were a hit at my birthday party, so for my business launch last night I decided that this variation would suit the occasion perfectly!  I think I may have found my signature dessert!

Ingredients (makes 12 cups)

Crust

1 cup macadamias (processed until a mix of small chunks and some flour)

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup pitted dates

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Pink rock salt

Cheesecake Crust

Cheesecake Layer

3 cups cashews soaked overnight

1/4 – 3/4 cup coconut nectar (I only use a 1/4 cup but think you may like it sweeter than me so just test the cream and add to suit your tastes. You can also use pure maple syrup or raw honey as a substitute)

3/4 cup organic coconut oil

3/4 cup of lemon juice

1 tablespoon organic vanilla essence

Pinch of salt

Cheescake Layer

Raspberry topping

2 cups frozen organic raspberries

1/2 cup pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 15min then drained)

Raspberry Topping

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (c) and line cupcake tray with 12 liners. I bake the base to give a little crunch but this recipe can be raw by simply throwing the base in the freezer to set!

2. Combine crust ingredients and press a large teaspoon of mixture into each liner. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

3. Drain your cashews and place in food processor with other cheesecake topping ingredients and process until creamy. This will take several minutes. Stop and test consistency – should be smooth and light. Spread evenly into each cup and freeze for an hour.

4. For the raspberry topping blend dates with a tablespoon of water to form a paste. Add raspberries and blend, blend, blend, until the consistency of soft sorbet. Spread evenly into each cup and let set in fridge for at least 2 hours!

Enjoy 🙂

Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Spiced Mandarin & Carrot Muffins

These are a creation inspired by my love of carrot cake and the need to clear out my fridge! They were a delicious afternoon tea and will be breakfast tomorrow too! Dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free.

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup raw honey

2 carrots (grated)

2 mandarins (split into segments)

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons coconut oil

5 medium eggs (when dealing with coconut flour egg size is important, use one less if using extra large eggs)

Directions

1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend for a minute or two

2. Pour into a lined muffin tray and bake @ 180 for 20-25min or until spring back when touched lightly

3. Remove and cool in tray

4. Store in fridge for 3-4 days or freeze!

Serve with a big scoop of coconut cream or yoghurt!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Well it took me an entire 24 hours of scanning recipes to decide what to make for my Birthday (yes I made my own cake – my husband is away and the challenge of a grain-free/dairy-free dessert was a little too much for the rest of my family lol).

I decided on a recipe by Primally Inspired and they were amazing!! This is the recipe as I made it!

Ingredients (makes 10 cups)

Crust

1 cup pecans (processed until a mix of small chunks and some flour)

3 Tablespoons Organic Coconut oil

1 Tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup

1 Teaspoon Organic Vanilla essence

1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Pink rock salt

Pumpkin Pie Layer

1 Cup roast pumpkin

1 Organic free range eggs

1 Teaspoon mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg & allspice)

1-2 Tablespoon honey (to your taste – I just used 1)

Cheesecake Topping

1 Cup cashews soaked overnight

2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup

1/3 Cup Organic Coconut oil

1 Lemon juiced and water added to make up 1/2 cup of liquid

Pinch of salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (c) and line cupcake tray with 12 liners.

2. Combine crust ingredients and press a large teaspoon of mixture into each liner. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool

3. Mix pumpkin pie layer in food processor until smooth. Put about a tablespoon of mixure in each cup, smooth off tops & bake for 45min or until set. Remove and let cool

IMG_5422[1]

4. Drain your cashews and place in food processor with other cheesecake topping ingredients and process until creamy. This will take several minutes. Stop and test consistency – should be smooth and light. Spread evenly into each cup and decorate as you wish!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

5. Let set in fridge for atleast 2 hours and then devour!

I was extremely happy with the consistency of these cheesecakes and the added bonus was that the entire family enjoyed them thoroughly! I think the biggest test when making healthy alternatives is to have people who typically don’t eat as you do rave about your healthy version…and everyone did! Total winner! I think you could get away with blended chia gel or gelatin for an egg free version!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes