Apple crumble pie with speculoos & marzipan + cinnamon-infused calvados-raisin ice cream

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Happy 2019, everyone! I wish you 365 days full of flavourful explorations and delicious discoveries, and most of all, with enjoyable and memorable table gatherings with family and friends.

A new year, a new recipe. These are the recipes of the desserts we had at new year’s eve. Or I should say, half of the desserts we had, as we also enjoyed Swedish kladdkaka (following the aquafaba recipe from Karolina Tegelaar, aka the Swedish Vegan) paired with oreo-peanut ice cream. I already posted the recipe for the latter last summer.

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When we recently visited my sister (who’s a very good cook herself, just like our mother), she had baked a wonderful apple crumble pie. When asking for the recipe, she could not pass on any, as she had just improvised. So at home I set out to recreate this apple-speculoos crumble pie. My first attempt was somewhat of a disappointment, as the crumble layer was way too thick and really buried the apple filling (which in itself was good, though). During my second, and very succesful new year’s eve attempt, I reduced the amount crumble, increased the number of speculoos biscuits used, and I also added a fair deal of marzipan.

Although pie is good in itself, I felt it deserved to be paired with a festive type of ice cream. We only celebrate the year’s end once a year, right? For this, I reverted to the magic of calvados. Calvados is an apple-based brandy stemming from Normandy. That it combines well with apple pie is therefore self-evident. I still have a bottle at home which I got several years ago when visiting a Norwegian friend and former colleague, who at that time taught and guided Norwegian pupils in a Bayeux high school. I use that bottle sparingly and for festive occasions. If raisins soaked in rum work well in ice cream, then so do raisins that have welled in calvados, especially when also cinnamon adds a finishing touch to the whole.

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Apple crumble pie with speculoos & marzipan + cinnamon-infused calvados-raisin ice cream

  • Servings: 8 to 12
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

Apple crumble pie

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 2 TB cane sugar or maple/agave syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 TB water

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 cup crushed speculoos biscuits
  • 3 sweet apples, like Jonagold
  • 3/4 cup marzipan, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • 2 TB cane sugar or maple/agave syrup
  • 1 TB cinnamon

For the crumble:

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine
  • 3/4 TB cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Calvados-raisin ice cream

  • 1 cup creamy, thick coconut milk
  • 2 cups soy milk, or any other plant-based milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 1 TB arrowroot
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup calvados

Directions

Apple crumble pie

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius
  • Mix all ingredients for the dough, and knead until you end up with an elastic, non-sticky dough. Add some flour if needed. Roll out and line your greased and flour-dusted pie form
  • Spread the speculoos crumbs evenly over the pie crust
  • Mix the remaining ingredients for the filling, and spread over the speculoos layer
  • Mix the crumble ingredients and evenly top the apple filling
  • Bake for 50 minutes

Calvados-raisin ice cream

  • Let the raisins soak and well in the calvados
  • Bring the coconut milk, soy milk, agave syrup, cinnamon stick to the boil
  • Take off the plate and mix in the arrowroot (which first has been dissolved in some water/soy milk)
  • Let the mixture cool completely, then remove the cinnamon stick
  • Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker (in my machine that takes about half an hour), and add the raisins and leftover calvados during the final stage.

 

 

 

 

Mocha-speculoos ice cream.

Coffee and sugar are an inseparable pair to me. Not to say I take sugar in my coffee; truth is, I do not drink coffee (tea please!) and only take coffee in sugary treats: mocha cakes, coffee spiked chocolate, macchiato soy milk, café noir biscuits, … You name it, as long as it caters to my sweet tooth. Coffee and sugar established their – at least to me – crucial palatal partnership during my early childhood.

When growing up, I did have breakfast with a cup of coffee every now and then. Not to drink, but to dunk my speculoos biscuits in. A delicate operation, demanding experience, as the cookie needed to absorb the exact right amount of liquid that would make it spreadable on my slice of bread. One drop too many, and the completely saturated biscuit would crumble and dissolve, and sink to the bottom of the coffee cup as one irretrievable mash, only to be discarded in the sink at the end of the meal. But with the right instinctive feel, you ended up with a delicacy on your bread.

Entire generations of Belgian children must have grown up having coffee-infused speculoos sandwiches for breakfast. But then came the year 2006 and a reality tv show called De Bedenkers (The Inventors) in which contestants could showcase their inventions to a jury. Obviously meeting some need for ready-made spreadable cookie paste, two participants independently presented a recipe for ‘speculoos paste’. What ensued is quite an intriguing story containing all ingredients for drama, making headlines in Belgian newspapers between 2006 and 2011, the summary of which you can read in this article on the cookie butter patent wars.  It’s about competition, envy, lawsuits, a 180-degree plot twist, an elderly innocent blogging lady as ‘dea ex machina’ claiming to be the ‘real’ inventor (of something widely known…) and a multiply sold and eventually destroyed patent. But essentially that tv programme was the starting point for speculoos paste to surge into the ranks of both edible and non-edible eminent exported Belgian inventions, conquering the world and as such rubbing shoulders with French fries,  waffles, Brussels sprouts, Belgian endive, pralines, chocolate bars and chocolate spread. Some of these better for one’s BMI (also a Belgian invention) than others. The US demand is apparently so high an American production line is being set up. It should be functional in 2019.

Since the ‘invention’ and huge success of speculoos paste, this particular biscuit has slipped into plenty other food items, from liquor (speculoosjenever), over chocolate, to ice cream. Our custom cookie is now more custom than ever. Yet I still only buy the plain biscuits, mainly to use them for layering in freshly made vanilla pudding (a treat!). Never the speculoos paste (its caloric content being high, its nutritional value being zero), and never speculoos ice cream, as the store version is not vegan anyhow. Luckily speculoos ice cream is easy to make, and since speculoos is so strongly linked to coffee (there is a good reason why Lotus branded them Biscoff in the US), this weekend I decided to upgrade my ‘plain’ speculoos ice cream to mocha-speculoos ice cream. With a hint of chocolate, because coffee and chocolate are a good match too. Chocolate is a good match with just about anything, though perhaps not with Brussels sprouts (except as a prank).

The children and the husband were happy with this new experiment, and I doubly so, for not only was the taste just right and exactly as expected, the texture of the ice cream confirmed my suspicions (see my recent blog post on double cherry ice cream) that syrup is better suited for ice cream making than granulated (cane) sugar.

 

mocha-speculoos ice cream

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy, but you need an ice cream maker
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Ingredients

  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) strong coffee
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cup) coconut milk
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) agave syrup
  • 75 g really finely ground speculoos biscuits, the equivalent of about 8 biscuits (I used a wholegrain variety, which I think tastes best)
  • 25 g coarsely crushed speculoos biscuits, so roughly 2 or 3
  • a handful of chocolate slivers/crushed chocolate callets and/or chocolate cookie crumbs [I used both. I started by adding chocolate, but then I remembered the bag with chocolate chocolate chip cookies that got crushed during a day out earlier that week, and decided to throw them in as well.]

Directions

  • Mix the coffee, coconut milk, coconut milk, agave syrup and the finely ground speculoos biscuits and pour the mixture into your ice cream maker.
  • Churn according to the directions of your ice cream maker (in mine it takes approximately 30-40 minutes)
  • Before removing the ice cream from the ice cream maker, add in the chocolate (chip crumbs) and the speculoos crumbs
  • Transfer to a container and let sit in the freezer for 3 more hours

Double cherry ice cream.

As the heat (and unfortunately also the drought) persisted during the first week of August, I made the following my motto: ‘(at least) an ice cream a day keeps the warmth away’. Not really, but still. That week I made several types of ice cream. Creamy fruit popsicles to begin with. Those were coconut milk and fruit-based (#1: banana, orange and pineapple / #2: banana, nectarine and mango), fully naturally sweetened, and mainly for the children as this allowed them to have two ice creams per day ;-). I also churned chocolate-chocolate chip cookie dough and salty caramel pecan ice cream from the (no longer available) ice cream book ‘glass åt alla‘ (ice cream for everyone), starring recipes from five Swedish vegan chefs. They certainly pleased the palates of both our ice cream tasting guest on Wednesday and our dinner (+ dessert) guests on Thursday.

And then towards the end of that week I decided to mix some leftover coconut milk with a jar of my preserved cherries (on syrup) to make some instant ice cream, requiring only few ingredients and little time. The result was rather sweet, but very tasty. If you like cherries, of course, because the ice cream contains both cherry syrup and preserved cherries. As I wanted to eat that ice cream shortly after prepping it, I decided to skip the boiling part which is usually part of the process (since the arrowroot, which prevents the ice cream from crystallising, i.e. turning rock-hard, has to be added right after the mixture has boiled, but at that point no longer is 100 degrees Celcius). So no arrowroot, but no need to let the mixture cool down before churning it either, which saved me 2-3 hours, or actually more, as I usually let the ice cream sit in the fridge overnight.

And guess what, this must be, together with my lavender ice cream, the smoothest ice cream I ever made. Even when taking the last leftovers from the freezer yesterday, the ice cream was still pleasantly soft and had the ideal texture for immediate serving. My first guess would be it is because of the syrup, as syrup – instead of cane sugar – was also what I had used in my lavender ice cream. I will try and have this presumption corroborated in the near future with another ice cream flavour experiment, already having a very good candidate in mind. Never mind the fact that the weather finally is typically Belgian again.

Double cherry ice cream

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy peasy
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Ingredients

  • 300 ml coconut cream
  • 100 ml (whippable, but not whipped) soy cream (I used alpro)
  • 200 ml cherry syrup (from a jar of home-made preserved cherries in syrup)
  • 200 ml preserved cherries

Directions

Mix all ingredients and pour the mixture into your ice cream maker. Churn (in my ice cream maker, that takes about 40 minutes). Thereafter, let the ice cream sit in the freezer a couple of hours extra until it has reached a more solid consistency. Scoop and serve.

This ice cream will remain smooth even after more than a week in the freezer;

Oreo & Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

This July we spent our summer vacation in the UK. And as was the case in practically the whole of Europe, the (unusually) sunny weather and the temperatures we enjoyed (and I actually mean the ‘enjoy’ part, as they were between 22 and 27 degrees Celcius) called for ice cream, as did the plain fact that it was our holiday. So practically every day we went vegan ice cream hunting in the various local supermarkets (any other people out there who classify shopping in foreign supermarkets a full-fledged holiday activity, or are we just weird?) or at ice cream vendors’. Our catch: freshly made fruit and chocolate sorbets, lemon sorbet from Sainsbury’s, cornettos from various brands (Free From 4U and Cornetto), snowconut sticks from the Coconut Collaborative, smooze coconut and mango freezable popsicles, and the Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream range. Alas too many brands and flavours to my liking also were left untried, as there’s only so much ice cream one can digest. Among the ice cream we did eat, though, our number one was Ben & Jerry’s cookie and peanut ice cream. We had not bought that one in Belgium yet, as we frankly find it too expensive. In the UK, however, it was reasonably priced. Food items in general actually tend to be 20% cheaper there on average.

Once back in Belgium, and having to adjust to the scorching hot temperatures of a heat wave, I decided to make my own oreo (I know, palm oil… :-// ) and peanut butter (without palm oil!) ice cream. Making ice cream yourself has several advantages. It is cheaper, you can make a larger batch, you are fully in control of the ingredients (agave syrup, pure peanut butter, & more cookies!), you can pour it into popsicle molds (or not), and you do not support large multinationals (that are not so vegan or animal friendly at their very core, but just happen to have introduced some vegan products into their range now that they have realized that vegans spend money too).

I just improvised with the quantities and the ingredients, but I must have done something right, as the result was a very creamy, scoopable ice cream, which my husband proclaimed to be the best one I ever made. That might have been an exaggeration, but perhaps it was not. It was meant very sincerely, at least, and I honestly can recommend trying this recipe if you’re usually in for B&J’s.

Oreo & Peanut Butter Ice Cream

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 2 cups (creamy) coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup syrup (I used a blend of maple syrup and agave syrup)
  • a pinch of natural vanilla (powder)
  • 2 TB arrowroot
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba
  • 4 – 5 crushed oreo cookies
  • 8 tsp peanut butter (I use 100% crunchy peanut butter)

Directions

  • Dissolve 2 TB arrowroot in the aquafaba and set aside
  • Bring the cashew milk, coconut milk, syrup and vanilla to a boil
  • Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat and stir in the aquafaba/arrowroot mixture
  • Set in the fridge to cool (to speeden up the process, place the bowl with the ice cream mixture into larger bowl with chilled water)
  • Once the ice cream mixture has cooled down, it’s ready for the ice cream machine! Churn according to the directions of your ice cream maker (with mine it takes about 40 minutes). Towards the end of the process, add in the crushed/chopped oreo cookies and the peanut butter (by the dropfuls). If you do not want the peanut butter to dissolve somewhat into the ice cream, freeze it in advance (drop several half teaspoons on a silpat and freeze).
  • Optional: line a popsicle mold with chocolate, place it in the freezer, and fill it with ice cream once it’s ready. Freeze. Once frozen, decorate the popsicles with chocolate/peanut drizzle and oreo crumbs.

Strawberry-lemonade nice cream.

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You all know that moment, right, when your stash of initially halfway greenish and still inedible bananas suddenly, and seemingly overnight, has turned into a bunch of freckled and speckled overripe fruit? My kids call them ‘rotten bananas’, but frankly, that’s a hyperbolically pejorative denotation that does not pay them the honour they actually deserve. Just have a look at  this long list of recipe ideas (some of which are vegan, plenty of which can be veganised).

Baking chocolate chip banana bread is my standard way to use up overripe bananas, and blending them into smoothies is my favorite second. When I don’t want to use them immediately, then I chop them up and freeze them. In this scenario also another option – something I should be doing more often – comes into the picture: making nice cream (aka banana-based ice cream), which is simple, sweet and satisfying. And a totally guilt-free way of enjoying ice cream.

So making nice cream is what I did last Sunday. I had some of spring’s first strawberries in the house, and wanted to add a lemony zing as well. So banana-strawberry-lemon ice cream it was, and really, it was goooood!

Usually, when making nice cream, I start from frozen banana chunks, but this time I reversed the order. I first blended the ingredients, then froze the (delicious!) cream until it solidified. The reason? I wanted to make popsicles. Not just popsicles, but beautifully decorated popsicles with heart-shaped strawberry slices. Not the worst idea ever, and it’s doable, but actually, next time I’ll stick to the usual order of things (as in the recipe below), and reserve my silicone popsicle molds for my regular, ice cream machine made ice cream.

Nice cream popsicles demand that you keep a very close eye on them, and regularly check when they are hard enough to remove from the mold, but not too hard that they’re icy. It can be done, but it’s tricky, as nice cream freezes less well than regularly churned ice cream. My regular ice cream contains arrowroot, an ingredient that prevents crystallization. Arrowroot requires boiling the liquid before cooling, churning and finally freezing it, and in the case of nice cream that process would undermine the exact USP of the concept: the fact that you can turn (frozen) bananas into nice cream in no time, with just a few whizzes of your blender.

In the pics below you can see that the popsicle my daughter holds has more or less the desired consistency. In the first pic, which was taken 1,5h later, you do notice that the ice cream has already turned rather icy.

Anyway, to cut a long story short: the ice cream tasted amazing, the children were happy, and this is definitely something I’ll be making again in the future, be it in the traditional way: freezing, blending, scooping, eating!

strawberry-lemonade ice cream

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 bananas (cut in chunks and frozen)
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (preferably frozen as well)
  • 2 TB vanilla soy yoghurt (can be omitted)
  • pinch of vanilla
  • 1 TB grated lemon (I usually keep lemons in the freezer, which I take out and grate when I need some lemon zest or lemon juice.)

Directions

Blend all ingredients until they have a soft serve-like consistency. If the mass is too soft, then freeze it for maximum one hour before eating it.

Enjoy!

 

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Lemon curd cheesecake.

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vegan lemon curd cheesecake

Everyone knows cheesecake (I guess). But the cheesecake I grew up with was not the kind of cheesecake made with cream cheese. Instead, it had curd cheese in it, and the one my mom used to bake (and still does) was based upon a recipe she had gotten from a neighbour who, in her turn, had it from her husband’s German relatives. In German, this is called Käsekuchen or Quarkkuchen. The Austrians have their own word for it, Topfenkuchen. As far as my research indicated, the correct English term would be lemon curd cheese (the recipe indeed includes lemon zest and juice). But do correct me if I’m wrong.

When turning vegan about 12 years ago, I stopped having this marvellous cake which, apart from curd cheese, also has quite some eggs. But then after analysing numerous recipes of veganised versions, I started making my own curd cheesecake based upon a mixture of silken tofu and firm tofu. It actually worked and it was quite a decent cake. But now I have been able to bring the art of lemon curd cheesecake baking to top-level quality. And all thanks to two new ingredients. The first one being the soy-based curd cheese alpro has launched  (its organic counterpart provamel did the same), and which really tastes like I recall curd cheese to taste. The second one being aquafaba (ok, admittedly, that is not something new, but the insight that this chickpea liquid actually has distinct eggwhite-like qualities still is relatively recent). The addition of aquafaba is not strictly necessary, but it does add a sublime airiness to the cake’s texture. Take these two ingredients, and you’ll get a curd cheesecake that no one will ever suspect to be vegan in the first place.

So here you go!

 

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vegan lemon curd cheesecake

 

Lemon curd cheesecake.

  • Servings: 12 decent slices
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

Crust

  • 300 g flour
  • 100 g vegan butter
  • 75 g cane sugar
  • 15 g baking powder
  • 1/4 cup water

Curd cheese filling

  • 2 packages (400 g each) alpro Go On plain (curd cheese/strained yoghurt)
  • 100 g cane sugar
  • 15 g baking powder
  • 50 gram package vanilla pudding powder
  • 4 TB cornstarch (maizena)
  • 2 tsp vanilla-flavoured sugar
  • 250 g plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • liquid of 1 can drained chickpeas (about 10 TB)

Directions

Crust

Mix all ingredients and knead until you end up with a smooth ball of dough. Roll it out with a rolling pin and line the bottom and side of a (relatively large) springform pan with it. Use a fork to perforate the dough here and there.

Curd cheese filling

Whip the aquafaba until it forms stiff peaks (and you can hold the bowl upside down 🙂 ). Set aside.

Mix all other ingredients. When you have a smooth batter, gently fold in the whipped aquafaba. Pour into the springform pan.

Bake for an hour in a preheated oven on 160-170 degrees Celcius. Your cake will be rising during the baking process, but will somewhat collapse afterwards. When done baking, leave it to cool in the oven (with the oven door ajar) for 20 more minutes before removing it.

Let cool completely (and thus firm up) before serving.

 

 

Apricot-almond bites.

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Raw nut-fruit balls are ideal snacks, because they’re

  • easy to make
  • delicious
  • healthy

What’s more,  they do not require any odd ingredients and the variations are just endless. Any type of nuts or dried fruits will do. Add some flavour (lemon, cocoa, raspberry, almond, vanilla…), add some extra dry ingredients like oats or coconut if you like, or sticky ingredients like maple syrup or nut butters, and wham, you’ve got yourself a nice treat within minutes.

Yesterday I experimented with apricots and almonds. Because I feared those two ingredients’ tastes would be too overpowering, I balanced them out with dates and cashews, and added some orange blossom water (I love that aroma!) and almond essence, together with some cinnamon and cardamom. The taste was quite sweet and mild (next time I’ll give the pure apricot-almond version a go anyway and see what that brings), and my decision to coat the balls with white chocolate turned out to be an extremely good one. Both tastes work wonderfully well together. You can eat the bites as they are, of course, but if you have white chocolate around, you really should add this extra layer of flavour. The proof lies in the fact that all balls – except the ones I saved for the children’s biscuit box for school tomorrow – have vanished within less than 24h.

apricot-almond bites

  • Servings: 18 balls
  • Difficulty: easy
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Apricot-almond bites

Ingredients

  • 80g apricots (about 10)
  • 80g  medjool dates (about 5)
  • 60 g almonds
  • 60g cashews
  • 80g oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • 2TB hemp seeds (optional – can also be replaced by other seeds, like sesame seeds, which probably would work even better here, but which I had run out of)
  • 1,5 TB sunflower seed butter (optional – you could also use any nut butter you like)
  • 1-2 handfuls of vegan white chocolate – optional

Directions

  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix until you have a sticky dough that can easily be rolled into bite-sized balls. If the dough is too sticky, add more oats.
  • Melt the white chocolate, and roll each ball into it. Place the chocolate coated ball on a silicone mat and let cool (in the fridge, when you want to speeden up the process).

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Belgian bread pudding.

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I am all in favour of maximally efficient food use (not that I am a champion in this – I know some who are – but I try my best). Which means that I aim at buying only those items that I need, that I like browsing the fridge for vegetables on the brink of wilting and then transform them into soup, that I save broccoli stalks and so on (also for soup), and that I always keep the leftovers of dinner. It also means that I freeze slices or chunks of bread that have gone stale. And at regular intervals, when having saved up enough of this leftover bread, which then starts to take up too much precious space in my freezer, I decide it’s time again to make bread pudding.

Converting stale bread into bread pudding is apparently apparently also a practice common outside of Belgium. But I haven’t seen any foreign recipes including vanilla pudding, as we usually do over here. Anyway, bread pudding is quite plainly stale bread, soaked in milk, which is baked again in a springform pan, with some vanilla pudding powder and gingerbread spices and raisins added (and traditionally also eggs, but I leave those out). I like having some chunks of apple in it too, as they add moisture to this dense pudding (which in the dialect I was brought up in is called poting), and I usually go for a decent splash of brown rum as well. Not just rum, really. It’s rum turned into vanilla essence, as I at all times keep some stalks of vanilla soaking (for months, for years) in a bottle of rum, turning this amber-coloured liquid into a vanilla spiked delicacy. The end result is a quite heavy cake, which cannot boast of any delicate qualities, but it’s a reminder of my childhood, and I like its moistness, its sturdiness and cinnamon taste. You can have it at tea time, just as a snack, or you might even eat it for breakfast.

The recipe below is the result of some eyeballing. It’s quite hard fixing this recipe in exact measurements, as the amount of bread one works with varies from time to time, and the type of bread used likewise influences the amount of liquid needed.

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Belgian bread pudding

  • Servings: 12 decent pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
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Bread pudding

Ingredients

  • Ca. 750 g stale bread (could be somewhat less or somewhat more, but I usually take an amount which fills my largest baking bowl to the brim.)
  • Ca. 1 l plant milk (again, this is variable. It’s important to use enough milk to soak every tiny bit of bread, but don’t overdo it, otherwise the bread pudding won’t solidify enough during the baking process).
  • 1 package of vanilla pudding powder (the ones I use weigh 50 g a package); if you want a more vanilla-y taste, you perhaps could use two, but you’d need a bit more soy milk in that case, I guess.
  • 1 TB rum + 1 tsp vanilla essence (or you could just use vanilla-infused rum, like I do)
  • 1 heaped tsp gingerbread spices (or if you don’t have that at hand, just mix in some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and/or cardamom)
  • 1,5 tsp baking powder
  • 100 sugar (if you really have a sweet tooth, add some more – I like moderate sweetness)
  • a handful each of raisins, chopped apple and nuts
  • a dash of salt

Directions

  • Take a large bowl for the bread and soak the bread for at least a couple of hours, or more easily, overnight.
  • Preheat the oven (180 degrees C)
  • Mix the bread so that you end up with a sticky, even mixture that shows no more traces of bread lumps
  • Add in all the remaining ingredients, mix well, and ladle into a springform pan.
  • Bake for an hour, until the outide is crispy, and the inside has set.
  • Let cool (more or less) completely before cutting.

Avocado-chocolate pudding.

 
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As with most things in life, also with food items, there’s no use in drawing up strict black and white oppositions of likes and dislikes  (except when garden cress is concerned – I really do not like garden cress!!). Avocados may well fit into a grey zone for many people, and my sister is most likely one of them. For many years, she’s been a self-proclaimed avocado detester, but I think that given the right circumstances, she might actually start developing a certain fondness for this rich and fatty fruit.

Such a grey zone, meaning a context in which you do not actually taste the avocado itself, but nonetheless luxuriate in its lusciousness, would most likely be found within the realm of TREATS! And such a treat, dear all, is avocado-chocolate pudding. My children are not fond – yet! – of eating plain avocado, but mix it into a smooth and silken pudding, together with some cacao, plant-based milk and syrup, and there’s the ideal incentive for having them nicely eat their dinner.

So, dear sister, upon your own request, here’s the recipe for avocado-chocolate pudding. Give at a try, and let this treat open the door an inch for some avocado-loving, even if it’s just within this grey zone.

[This is not a recipe I can get any credit for. It is one of those recipes that has circulated all over the internet for years, but no one has any clue who first came up with it.]

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Avocado-chocolate pudding.

For 2 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup agave or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup plant-based milk
  • 1/4 cup cacao

Instructions

Add all ingredients to you food processor, and blend until smooth.

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Bounty balls.

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Four-ingredient goodness. That’s what these bounty balls are. You only need dates, cashew nuts, desiccated coconut and a smooth chocolate layer to satisfy the cravings of your sweet tooth. They are a way healthier alternative than the original bounty bars, but taste as coconutty and chocolatey as the latter. I’ve handed out the oh-so-simple recipe below several times on request over the past few years, so that definitely speaks in its favour. So what are you waiting for? Grab that food processor and measuring cup, and grind those cashews!

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Bounty balls

ca. 15 bounty balls

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup deseeded dates (make sure they’re not too dry! if  they are, pre-soak them)
  • 1 cup cashew nuts
  • 1 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • pinch of vanilla
  • 3/4 – 1 cup vegan dark chocolate (I use Callebaut’s vegan callets, as the other mainstream Belgian brands Jacques and Côte d’Or contain milk)

Instructions

Mix the dates, desiccated coconut and cashew nuts in a food processor until the mixture is sticky enough to roll into walnut-sized balls by the spoonful. Melt the chocolate in whichever way you like (au bain marie, or like me, just in the microwave – make sure to melt them SLOWLY on a low temperature). Dip the balls in the chocolate, place on a silpat mat, and let cool in the fridge. You can garnish them with some more coconut, with sesame seeds, or hemp seeds (pictured), or whatever you like. Eat! And IF you have some left, they’ll keep in the fridge for a long time.

 

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