Saturday, April 18

Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Lemon Cream


A raw layer cake!!!
.....Say whaaat?

I know what you're probably thinking here: why? But really, the question you should be asking is, why not?


For years now, I've been whipping up creamy and dreamy raw cheese cakes with a wide array of delectable seasonal fruit. And so far they delight everyone who is lucky enough to snag a slice, but these kind of cakes can be both time consuming and costly to make (unless you're stockpiling shares in cashews). So as one might guess, I was thrilled when I came across the idea to utilise a mix of ground nuts, rolled grains, and coconut to create a rich and moist cake that's healthy enough to eat for breakfast and doesn't break the bank.


Carrot cake just so happens to be one of my absolute favourite cakes by far, yet it always happens to be the worst kind of cake you could eat (and we're comparing it to other cakes here, so you know it's bad). Despite the idea that it must be good for you because its full of veggie (duh?) it's often loaded with more oil and more sugar than your average chocolate cake. And then to make matters worse, most recipes ask for it to be topped with a high fat, refined sugar, cream cheesey mess of an icing. Not really whole foods, and not something one should probably consume for breakfast. This recipe on the other hand utilises the natural sweetness of carrots and dates, as well as the healthy omega 3 fats found in nuts, as wholesome replacements. Refined flour has been replaced with ground coconut which is rich in copper and manganese, both of which help collagen production and maintain healthy connective tissues. To round out the base, gluten free oats are added, which although aren't technically raw, add a ton of soluble fibre. If you'd like this recipe to be fully raw or don't eat oats, you can use raw oat groats, as well as other non-raw replacements such as rolled quinoa or rolled rice. The first time I made this cake, I made it into a traditional style layer cake (filling and all), but for the second time I turned it into a simple carrot cake slice by pressing it into a sheet pan. Both ways are easy to prepare and delicious, so simply take your pick. 



Raw Carrot Cake with Lemon Cashew Cream


Recipe: (Serves 12)

2 Cups Finely Grated (squeezed) Carrots (approximately 8)
1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats (Gluten Free if Possible. Quinoa or Rice Flakes will also work)
1 Cup Raw Walnuts
1 1/2 Cups Medjool or soft dates, pitted
3/4 Cup Dried Coconut
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Cardamom
A Pinch of Salt


Procedure:

1. Begin by grating your carrots on the smaller side of a box grater. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the grated carrots. You will end up with quite a lot of carrot juice. Save it for smoothies or add to soup. Once the carrots have been squeezed dry, measure them until you have about 2 cups.

2. In a food processor, or high speed blender, grind the oats until the begin to make a coarse flour. Set the mixture aside.

3. Next, grind the walnuts until they begin to turn into a flour, but not so much that they turn into nut butter (that's another recipe). Mix into the oat mixture along with the coconut, spices, and salt.

4. Next, add the carrots and dates to the food processor/blender, and mix until the dates become well chopped. You may need to do this step in batches. If you have a Vitamix, I recommend using the tamper. 

5. Once the dates are chopped, combine the wet mixture to the coconut at oat mixture. Mixing well to combine.

6. To make a cake press half the mixture in a small 15 cm (6 inch) pan (or if you're like me and don't have a small pan, try forming them into a symmetrical patty) which has been lined with cling film. Remove and repeat with the other half. Set this mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up. Alternatively, you can press into a lined 20 cm (8 inch) square pan. 

7. Once the two cake have set up, they are ready to ice with the Cashew Cream (recipe below). Reserve 1/3 of the Cashew Lemon Cream to sandwich the two cakes together. Ice with the remaining cream. The bar on the other hand, can be iced right away. Once iced garnished with pumpkin seeds, chopped crystallised ginger, walnuts, or coconut. 

Cashew Lemon Cream 


Recipe:

1 Cup Raw Cashew, soaked for at least four hours if possible
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Water (only if nuts are not soaked)
2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

Procedure:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender. If you haven't had time to soak the nuts, add the extra water. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of lemon or maple syrup if needed. 

xox Sophie 

Wednesday, April 1

Quinoa Baby Cakes with Herbed Tahini Sauce



The other day as I was visiting my favourite grocery store to pick up some of the essentials, I spotted some huge trays of sprouts for sale. Seeing these beautiful little micro greens bursting out of the earth it suddenly made me realize, hey, It's finally Spring! 

Living in Victoria, winter is pretty much non existent. No sleet, no snow, no ice. Instead, summer just transforms into the period of rain. Eight months of rain, that is. So when Spring officially arrives it can be kind of over looked. The idea of waking from the slumber of dark, cold, and long winters doesn't really exist in a city where flowers manage to bloom all year long. 

So to be honest, I felt kind of bad that it took going to the market for me to realize the true excitement for spring, but once I started to look, I saw it everywhere. Fresh baby greens, sprouts, radishes, and herbs, were suddenly at my beckon. Where only days before had been rows of yams and winter squash, there was now asparagus. Grabbing what colourful veggies I could, I quickly ran home to make us a joyful spring lunch. This is a perfect dish to use up left over quinoa and any roast veggies that might be kicking around. I combined my Quinoa Cakes with an array of fresh veggies, making my bowl more of a salad, but it would be delish along side some roasted cauliflower, yams, or beets too. The pièce de résistance of this meal happens to come in the way of the sauce (whose creation I entirely owe to by other half). A very easy sauce to whip together, it is flavoured with the fresh green flavour of parsley, cilantro, and green onions. The addition of tahini helps make it creamy, yet light and refreshing, while it cuts through the spice of the onion. Hopefully you'll be like us, slathering a thick layer on just about everything from Buddha Bowls to sandwiches or just cold leftover roasted veggies. 




Herbed Tahini Sauce

Recipe: (Serves about 4)

1 Bunch Cilantro
1 Bunch Parsley
4 Green Onions
4 Cloves Garlic
A Thumb-sized Piece of Ginger, peeled
1/2 Cup Olive or Avocado Oil
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Tahini
4 Tbsp. Tamari
2 tsp. Honey or Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Procedure:

1. In a blender of food processor, combine the cilantro, parsley, onions, garlic, ginger, oil, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Add the tahini, pepper,  and tamari along and puree until combined. Taste for sweetness and add honey as needed. 


Quinoa Baby Cakes

Recipe: (Serves 2, makes about 10 cakes)

2 Cups Cooked Quinoa (about 1 Cup Raw)
2 Tbsp. Chopped Parsley 
2 Cloves Garlic, grated
1 Cup Cubed and Cooked Squash or Yam (roasted or steamed)
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
A large Pinch Pepper
A little oil to pan fry with

To Serve: 

Herbed Tahini Sauce
Greens such as Lettuce, Spinach, Baby Kale or Bok Choy
Beans like Garbanzo or butter beans
Hardboiled Eggs or Goat Cheese
Avocado, Beets, Radishes, Grated Carrots, Cucumber, and Sprouts

Procedure:

1. Begin by cooking the quinoa and squash, if not using left overs.
2. Combine the quinoa with squash in a bowl along with the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
3. Gently mash mixture together with you hands, just until it comes together.
4. Scoop approximately 2 Tbsp of mixture and shape into a little patty.
5. Heat a frying pan until medium and add a splash of oil. Pan fry patties until they are crisp, but not too dark. Flip and fry on the other side until browned (about 2 minutes). 
6. Serve in a bowl along with the fresh veggies, beans, and Tahini Sauce.

xox Sophie

Monday, March 23

Baked Sweet Potato Samosas with Cilantro + Mango Chutneys


Sometimes you mess around with a recipe and it just doesn't work. No matter how hard you try, you just can make a super healthy and tasty gluten-free vegan fat-free croissant (well, maybe you can, but I can't). Maybe it looks good, and it might taste....well okay, but much like those times you accidentally buy 'baked' potato chips instead of the fried ones, it just doesn't satisfy you in the way you want it to. And you know what, sometimes junk food is better off being junky. But then the other 99% of the time, unhealthy food is made a hundred times more amazing by making it healthier (hello banana ice cream!!!). And this is just the case here. 

While samosas are typically deep fried, often meat filled, and usually made with refined white flour, these little ones are vegan, oven baked, and made using whole spelt. Filled with sweet potato, warming spices like cumin, and fresh cilantro, they are substantial enough to be a light dinner for four, or a hearty lunch for two. I like to serve these along side the sweet Mango Chutney and zippy Cilantro Chutney, both of which help bring a bit of tropical spin to these chilly spring days. To turn this into a compete dinner, try serving along side or as an appetizer to my Go To Ginger Dahl

If you need your samsosa to be gluten free, try using the filling in rice wraps like this 



Baked Sweet Potato Samosa

Recipe: (Serves 16-18)

2 Cups peeled and cubed Sweet Potato
1/2 Cup Green Peas (fresh or thawed)
1 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Cilantro
1/2 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds, toasted
1 tsp. Fresh Grated Ginger
1/2 tsp. Chili Flakes
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Powder
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 tsp. Coriander Seeds, toasted 
1/8 tsp. Ground Cardamom
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

Procedure:

1. Begin by cooking the chopped sweet potato in a saucepan of boiling water for about 5 minutes, or just until the cubes are tender and easily broken by a fork. Drain them and set aside to cool.
2. In a mixing bowl combine the green peas, cilantro, fresh ginger, chili, cayenne, turmeric, cardamon and salt. Gently toast the cumin and coriander in a dry frying pan until fragrant, and gently crush with a mortar and pestle. Add these to the mix as well. 
3. Finally add the sweet potato and stir to combine. With the back of a fork, gently crush about half of the sweet potato cubes, making a nice and chunky mix. 


Spelt Samosa 
Adapted from here 

3/4 Cup Yogurt (if using a thicker vegan yogurt, try reducing the amount by a couple of Tbsp. and add a couple Tbsp. Almond Milk to thin it out)
1 1/2 Cups Spelt Flour
A Pinch Sea Salt
More Flour for Rolling
A little Avocado Oil or Coconut Oil for Brushing
A Tbsp. Sesame Seeds for Sprinkling

Procedure:

1. Combine the salt and flour in a bowl. Add the yogurt and stir until combined. Place the mixture on a work service and knead as you would bread, adding flour as needed. How much more flour you add will depend on the yogurt as well as the grain.
2. Divide the dough in half, then each half into approximately four (so you have eight balls total).  
3. With a little flour, roll each ball into a circle the size of a saucer (about 15 cm or 6 inch). Bring the left edge of the semi-circle over to the right cut edge (see pictures below). Press the seams together to make a little cone. Fill the cone with about 1 1/2 Tbsp of filling, making sure to leave enough dough at the top to seal together. Press the top edges together to seal completely. If you have trouble at anytime sealing your dough's edges, dip your finger tip in water and gently moisten one of the seams.
4. Place samosas seam-side down on a parchment lined tray. Lightly brush or dab a little oil to the tops of the samosas and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in a pre-heated 218 C (425 F) oven for 13-15 minutes, or until the begin to turn golden on the bottom. 
5. Reduce the oven temperature to 180 C (350 F) and flip the samosas. Continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Serve with chutneys.


Mango Raisin Chutney


1 Mango, peeled and chunked
1/2 Cup water
1/2 tsp. Brown Mustard Seeds
2 Tbsp. Raisins
1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Chili Flakes
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Honey
A pinch of Sea Salt

Procedure:

1. Combine the mango and water in a covered saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let simmer gently for 15 minutes. 
2. Remove the lid and gently mash the softened mango. Add the mustard seeds, raisins, cinnamon, chilli, honey, salt, and all but 1 Tbsp of the apple cider vinegar. Simmer with the lid off for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly. 
3. Once the mixture has thickened up a but add the remaining tbsp. vinegar and let cook for just a few more seconds before removing from the heat. Let cool before serving. 


Cilantro Lime Chutney


1 Bunch Cilantro
1 Lime, juiced
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
4 Green Onions, chopped in quarters
1 tsp. Chopped Hot Chili (jalapeno or Fresno)

Procedure:

1. Chop the lower half of the cilantro stems off, using only the softer stems and leaves.
2. Combine the Cilantro, lime juice, cumin, salt, oil, green onions and chili in a blender and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning.

xox Sophie