Thursday, 20 December 2012

the gift of raw chocolate

It is nearly Christmas, and I am still running around making and wrapping last minute presents. If you are like me and are still in the market to grab a present for a special someone this could be for you. 
The typical token present at this time of year seems to be the box of chocolates. Now don't get me wrong I love chocolate as much as the next person but what if you could give someone a box of chocolates that didn't just taste amazing but would boost their health as well? The media loves to tell us about how dark chocolate (along with that glass of red wine) is good for us and is loaded with antioxidants. Unfortuantly so often the chocolate that we buy in the stores is loaded with sugar with cocoa (the good stuff) far down the list of ingredients. Well this chocolate is about to change all of that. By making your own chocolate at home you can pack it full of the good and leave out the scary stuff. Enter raw chocolate. 
Raw chocolate is quick and very easy to make and can be tailored to suit the very lucky person who receives it. If you don't have time to make the chocolates you could even pack up the ingredients and make a chocolate making kit... including cute moulds and a recipe card.  You can split up the ingredients and make two kits for two people for about $40 total. Not bad! Of course you could make up some chocolates and spread the love even further.  
You could grab all the ingredients at a health food store or online here.   
I promise you this is the real deal, proper melt in your mouth deliciousness.... but don't just take my word for it get in the kitchen and give it a go. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

fruit mince pies with almond custard

Like a lot of families when it comes to Christmas we have some very specific traditions when it comes to food. Most of my family originally come from England, so when it comes to special occasion food that is often the type of food we have. Roasts for family dinners, scones with jam and cream for afternoon teas and of course for Christmas its pudding, shortbread and mince pies. 
Growing up we would always make mince pies for when my Nana and Grandad were coming for Christmas. We'd buy jars of fruit mince and packets of pastry to combine together to make little pies. We'd make some with lids and dust them with icing sugar and some we would leave open to eat warm with cream (especially for Grandad). Although it wasn't fancy cooking they were delicious and tasted like Christmas. 
This year I went and looked at the jar of fruit mince wondering if I would make mince pies this year and I was a little shocked by some of the ingredients on the list (LOTS of sugar and creepy numbers). After putting it back on the shelf I decided to have a think about how I could recreate these childhood Christmas treats without the list of numbers and without the animal products. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

summer garden zucchini pasta

 A few months ago I got a little over excited and planted lots of tomatoes, basil and zucchinis for summer. As the warm days keep rolling in we have suddenly been hit by lots of produce (we are not complaining). In order to celebrate my gardening success I decided to cook something to showcase our little garden. 
I love pasta. This recipe was not created to avoid eating pasta but rather as a way to enjoy the idea of pasta on days which are too hot to turn on the stove. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

christmas cooking and gift ideas

Christmas is right around the corner and I can't claim to be at all organised but we have a tree up and I have at least started thinking about the vego food options. 
Every year for the last few years I have given boxes of homemade biscuits as gifts to family and friends. Although it began as a poor student alternative to having to buy presents I now really enjoy choosing what to make and making pretty boxes to give to people. I love receiving homemade presents and since none of us really need anything it is a nice way to give a little something without adding more stuff to peoples homes that they don't want or need.  

Friday, 7 December 2012

peach and walnut oaty biscuits

This week has felt long, maybe it was the warm weather (which I do love) or maybe my body still thinks I am a uni student and is waiting for our summer holidays (sorry body, those days are over) but I have felt tired. So today as the weather cooled down a little I tried to slow down too. Not something I am very good at. My good intentions didn't really last long and after doing food shopping, having some quick baby cuddles with my new nephew, cleaning the house, Christmas shopping and getting my hair cut by mid afternoon my head was spinning. Since I had the house to myself I decided to stop and curl up on the couch with a good cookbook to flick through and a David Attenborough documentary (I'm a geek I know but I love a good nature doco). The cookbook of choice today was one I have read and read and still love "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone. I know what you may be thinking, the actress from Clueless wrote a cookbook? and Yep she did and it is a really lovely book full of delicious vegan recipes and good information about vegan diets. One of my favorite recipes in the book if for the Oatmeal, Walnut and Dried Plum Cookies. I am a BIG fan of oat biscuits. I love that they are chewy and not too sweet but I have never found dried plums in Australia. I have tried this recipe with sultanas and apricots but I had just bought a bag of dried peaches which got me thinking...

Saturday, 1 December 2012

rainbow carrot salad

I wanted to share a really quick recipe today. This is something I made a little while ago and I have been making again and again ever since. So what is special bout this very simple salad? Well have you been feeling like you have been over doing it with the festive season food already? maybe you want something light and delicious for dinner that will make you feel better for eating it? Meet my go to salad. It is super quick (thanks to my food processor) and super tasty even though it has very few ingredients. By allowing the carrots to pickle slightly, it makes them easier to digest and gives the salad a pleasant tang. This salad would make great summer BBQ food as well. Although a bowl of this salad makes a lovely light dinner it also went really well with some of my smokey vegan sausages when you feel like something a bit more substantial.