Saturday, April 30, 2011

Vegan Snickerdoodles

I have made this snickerdoodle recipe from vegan*core a few times in the last few weeks. I might be obsessed. The first time I made them they were to doughy for my taste so this time I made smaller cookies and turned the oven to 325 F. Perfect!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Welcome Spring Dinner

 Last weekend the weather was beautiful, the sun was shining and it felt like spring had arrived. I was feeling ambitious and decided to make this plate of spring deliciousness. It includes a Stacked Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad with Balsamic Vinegar,  Avocado and Cilantro Mousse, Fresh Cucumber Rolls and Garlic Bread.

Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad with Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup cantaloupe, diced finely
2 tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup cashews, chopped (optional)
Handful of fresh mint, julienned
 Olive oil
 Salt and Pepper

Place balsamic vinegar in a small pot and simmer over low heat until it has reduced and coats the back of a spoon. (should take 15 - 20 minutes). Set aside.

Toast cashew nuts until brown and crunchy.

Sprinkle cantaloupe and tomato with salt and pepper.

Using a ring mold place a layer of cantaloupe at the bottom and pack with the back of a spoon. Place a thin layer of cashews on top of the cantaloupe. Fill the rest of the ring mold with tomato and pack again with the back of a spoon. Pour 2 tsp of olive oil over the salad. Carefully remove ring mold. Pour 1 Tbsp of reduced balsamic vinegar over salad (I did mine in a little criss-cross pattern). Top with mint.

Avocado Cilantro Mousse
2 ripe avocado, halved, skinned and pitted
1 clove garlic
1- 2 Tbsp lime juice
Handful of cilantro
1 tsp salt

Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. You may have to add some water to create the right consistency. Serve with toasted baguette brushed with olive oil and rubbed with a clove of fresh garlic.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chocolate Vegan Bundt Cake

I have been thinking more and more about making bundt cakes lately after my beet bundt cake turned out so well. I decided to make this low fat chocolate bundt cake from Veganomicon. It was very tasty and was gone much to quickly!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vegan Minted Pea Soup

 This soup is quick, easy and tastes like spring. Last year I made it all the time with frozen peas and fresh mint from the balcony.

 Minted Pea Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1 medium potato, diced
4 cups veggie stock
4 cups frozen green peas
1/2 tahini
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, cook onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add potato and stock and simmer until potato is soft, 8 - 10 minutes. Add peas and cook for 2 minutes. Take off heat and add tahini. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth (You can also use a regular blender and add soup in batches - just be careful it doesn't explode everywhere like in my kitchen!). Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thimblecakes Bakery

 Found this lovely cupcake shop Thimblecakes on a recent trip to Ottawa. I had the Chai cupcake but they had these adorable Fruit loop cupcakes as well. Oh plus they have a sugar-free flavour and gluten free flavour everyday! Pretty cool.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Vegan Vietnamese Sandwiches

This idea for this recipes comes from a book called the Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen. I change the recipe depending on what I have around the house.

Tofu Marinade
1/4 cup tamari
1 - 2 Tbsp dijion mustard
1 - 2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 package of firm tofu sliced into 1/4-inch slabs

Lay tofu onto baking dish in a single layer. Mix all ingredients and pour over tofu. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, turning the tofu over half way through.

Carrot and Pepper Slaw
1/2 a bell pepper
1 -2 carrots
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

Julienne the bell pepper and carrots. Mix remaining ingredients and in small bowl pour over vegetables. Leave to marinate while tofu is cooking.

To Assemble
4 demi-baguettes, split
4 Tbsp vegan mayo
4 Tbsp chille oil
Handful of fresh cilantro
Handful of fresh mint
1 ripe avocado, sliced thinly
1/2 English cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise

Spread each baguette with mayo and chili oil. Top with some cilantro and mint, cucumber, avocado, tofu and the carrot and pepper slaw. Cut in half and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pretty Pink Bathrooms

P and I have been talking about re-painting our bathroom and prettying it up a bit. I am gunning for something pink, girly and glam. Here are some great bathrooms.

 1. Delpha Via art-deco-interior 2. Via Bohemian Vintage 3 & 4. Via bijou kaleidoscope 5. Image find 6. Delpha

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Apple Chutney

 We had our new neighbours over for dinner this weekend. The menu included green mushroom curry, dahl, rice and this home-made apple chutney. I got the recipe here but changed the flavouring around. It was very yummy - tart, sweet and spicy.

Apple Chutney

4 small-medium tart apples, cored and chopped (you can peel them but I like the peel)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2-3 cloves crushed finely
1 tsp cinammon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 chilli flakes (optional)


Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover and simmer over low heat for a few minutes more to cook off excess liquid; let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, April 4, 2011

French Onion Soup

Made this very simple but delicious french onion soup the other night. I don't like soggy bread though so I toasted it separately and served it on the side rather than in the soup.

French Onion Soup
3 large onions, sliced thinly on a mandolin
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 - 6 cups broth
1 baguette sliced into 1 inch thick pieces
wedge of Gruyere cheese, sliced

The most important part of this recipe is to cook the onions very slowly. Over low heat cook onions in olive oil for 15 - 20 minutes stiring once and a while. You want the onions soft and sweet but not brown. Add garlic and cook for another few minutes. Add broth and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Traditionally you would put the soup into an oven safe dish and top with baguette slices and cheese and broil in the oven until cheese is browned and bubbling. I just broiled the baguette and cheese slices separately to avoid the soggy bread dilemma. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Birthday Treats

We had a party to celebrate mine and P's birthdays. We bought these two lovely cakes at our favourite bakery De farine et d'eau fraiche to go along with the mocha cake and sugar cookies I made for the party. The yellow one is passionfruit and the pink one is tea and rose.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vegan Sugar Cookies

Finally! I found a great vegan sugar cookie recipe. Rolls out nicely, cut easily, bakes ups wonderfully. I am happy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mocha Birthday Cake

P and I just celebrated our birthdays (which are one week apart). His mom (who is possibly the greatest baker I have ever met) always makes him a mocha cake to celebrate. Since we no longer live in the same city it was me who had to take on the challenge.

2 1⁄4 cups flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 cups instant coffee
1 1/3 cups water
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mayonnaise
3 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled.                 

Sift flour with baking soda. Dissolve coffee in water.
Beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend in mayonnaise and
chocolate. Add flour mixture alternately with coffee, one third at a time on low
speed of electric mixer. Pour into two greased and floured  9-inch pans. Bake at 350 F for about 35 minutes.

4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1⁄2 cup milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 cup butter
3 cups icing sugar
1 egg

Melt chocolate with milk and coffee over hot water. Blend until smooth. Cool.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat at high speed of
electric mixer for about 1 minute. Add chocolate mixture to butter mixture.
Blend well.

To Assemble Cake
Cut each layer horizontally to make 4 layers. (I didn't split them and ended up with just two layers) Spread each layer with 3⁄4 cup of frosting and cover top and sides of cake.