Fig-ing Delicious Raw Cashew Cream

Fig-ing Delicious Cashew Cream

Fig-ing Delicious Raw Cashew Cream

This is a ‘figged’ up variation of the traditional cashew cream recipe I posted earlier this year. The figs and banana give it a delicious ‘caramel-ly’ twist- which also happens to be healthy for you-yay licence to eat more! I’ve used this in place of cream and it is delicious on it’s own, or as a super yummy ‘garnish’. You can even impress your family and friends with it- and they won’t even suspect it’s vegan 😉

 

Equipment:

Food Processor

 

Ingredients:

5-6 Dried Figs

4 Tablespoons of water

1 ½ Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup of raw cashews, soaked in water for 4-6 hours

¼ – ½ cup of water for blending

1-2 Tablespoons of sweetener (I use Maple Syrup and light Agave)

¼ teaspoon Natural Vanilla Extract

½ ripe banana

 

Preparation:

  1. Drain Cashews and rinse with water.

  2. Meanwhile, place the figs, lemon juice and 4 Tablespoons of water in the food processor and blend until they become a thick paste

  3. Remove these from the food processor and replace with the soaked cashews. Process.

  4. Slowly add the water, sweetener and vanilla essence and process until you get a consistency that you like (some like it thicker, some like it thin!)

  5. Add the fig paste, along with the ripe banana and process until you get a lovely creamy consistency.

  6. Enjoy this cream on it’s own, or put it on everything that you would normally add cream too (It also goes beautifully with orange cake).

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Dark Side of the Vegan Moon

Admitting our Dark Side

One Vegan’s Dark Side…

The other night whilst taking a few moments to enjoy the silence, I looked up and saw a gigantic Godzilla spider (ok it wasn’t that big- maybe a 50 cent piece in diameter- but for a long term arachnophobic, that IS equivalent to Godzilla). Fear filled me, adrenalin pumped through my veins and my fight or flight mechanism went into overdrive. Fleeing was seriously contemplated, though the thought of not knowing where Godzilla was lurking, forced me to confront the fear.

But then another fear came online- If I am wanting to live a truly compassionate life and extend that to all beings… what was I going to do with this fricking spider? I was terrified to get too close to it, unlike the countless creepy crawlies I capture and release outside. And in my own darkness- I ashamedly admit that I was seriously considering spraying it, despite having always hated the thought of spraying another living being (such a prolonged and agonising death). But then a sobering (and slightly unwanted in that moment) epiphany – Why does humanity seek to destroy what it is fearful of or misunderstands?

All of a sudden I was flooded with images from World War Two where nearly six million Jewish people were murdered under the Nazi dictatorship, in Hitler’s racially motivated ideology for a superior “Aryan race”. I was then transported to Cambodia where a close friend and I had walked in absolute horror through the killing fields and Tuol Sleng, a former high school which was used as a place of torture at the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime. Memories and images which still haunt and sicken me today.

Many other heinous historical moments –towards both mankind and the continual assault on our sentient animal relatives- rushed through me as I stood and stared at this helpless ‘Godzilla’ spider. I was deeply ashamed at my initial instinct to kill what I was afraid of, to eradicate a life which I did not fully understand. As Friedrich Nietzsche so aptly said “Man is the cruelest animal” to walk this earth.

What made me superior to this being, to sentence it to death because I was too fearful to confront my own fears and insecurities? There was only one alternative- capture it so I could set it free and in doing so, acknowledge the dark side of my own humanity.
My methodology for doing this was long, terrifying and quite honestly, ridiculously comical. Thank goodness for empty plastic containers (with opaque walls so I couldn’t see inside), thick cardboard and a dose of courage to make me look at the deeper message of this unwanted visitor. And so as I write this, I am both comforted and unsettled by the Buddha’s wise words: “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways”. Perhaps the world would be a safer place we could all acknowledge our own darkness?

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Words: To Be.

What beautiful words to help us cultivate more compassion towards ourselves and help us learn to listen to the quiet centre of inner knowingness

the unbearable lightness of being me.

words_01

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Almond ‘I can’t believe it’s not cheese’ Parmesan

Almond 'I can't believe it's not cheese' Parmesan

Almond ‘I can’t believe it’s not cheese’ Parmesan

So the one thing I miss most about being Vegan is….CHEESE! I have Italian in me and I’m sure cheese forms part of the essential amino acid make-up in our DNA. I remember piling parmesan and romano cheeses onto the delicious pasta sauce my Nonna would make every Sunday- “Some cheese with your Spaghetti?!” my dad would ask me tongue-in-cheek, as I would cover every inch of my plate. Consequently, finding a decent cheese replacement was one of the first things I set out to do when I became Vegan… and I think I have found it!

As with most of the recipes here, this one is also easy to make and has become a staple item in my fridge. I’ve had quite a few non-vegans try this on top of my pasta sauces- and they have all been pleasantly surprised at how tasty it is!

 

Ingredients:
• 2 cups of raw almonds
• 1 Tbsp of granulated garlic (optional)
• ½ cup of Nutritional/ Savoury Yeast (What is this?)
• 1-2 pinches of salt to taste

 

Preparation:
1. Turn oven to 180 Celsius
2. Place almonds on a baking tray and medium roast for approximately 10-15 minutes
3. Allow almonds to cool and then place them, along with remaining ingredients, into the food processor
4. Process all ingredients until they have formed a smooth powder.
5. Store in an air-tight container. This mix will make enough to fill a 1000ml container and will store for up to two months (if it lasts that long!)

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Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Peas and Fresh Mint

Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Peas and Fresh Mint

Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Peas and Fresh Mint

Continuing with the ‘Quinoa as a Fashion Statement’ theme, I’ve added another one of my favourites – ‘Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Peas and Fresh Mint’ for you. This recipe is Mintox (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) and has become one of my all time favourites. It’s super easy to make and is a mini hit of protein with the combination of quinoa, seeds and nuts- making it filling and super healthy. It’s 100% Deliciously Vegan and your body and conscience will thank you for it!

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups red quinoa
2 ½ cups of Cambells Vegetable Stock *See note
1 ¼ cups of snap frozen peas
1/3 cup of fresh mint, chopped (I usually add about ½ cup as I love the taste in this salad)
½ punnet of cherry tomatoes, chopped
¼ cucumber, chopped
1/3 cup mixed raw pepitas, sunflower seeds and chopped almonds

Preparation:

1. Place the red quinoa and vegetable stock in a saucepan over high heat.
2. Cover the ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked.
3. Meanwhile lightly steam the peas and allow them to cool.
4. Similarly, place the cooked quinoa in a heatproof bowl and allow it to cool (as we don’t want the fresh mint to wilt!).
5. Add the peas and fresh mint to the quinoa and stir to combine.
6. Sprinkle the salad with the raw seeds and nuts and serve immediately.

*Note: Cambells Liquid Vegetable Stock is free from added preservatives and artificial colourings/ flavourings.

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Choc Milk!

A beautiful recipe from a beautiful friend of mine! I encourage you to check out her site at 5minutemiracles.wordpress.com and enjoy this delicious Choc Milk whilst you do so!

5 Minute Miracles

The worlds easiest and most delicious dairy free milk!

Chocolate cocktail

Here I am, 6 years old, standing in the school line with 70c in my sweaty left palm and my heart is beating with excitement. It’s Casual Friday and today mum has given me an open ticket to purchase choc milk from the school canteen! Now this might not sound like the greatest gift on earth, but to me it was. I moved up the line slowly, considering the cold milky substance and how it was going to feel hitting my sugar craved lips.

As I open the carton and glug the contents of the packaged good, my tastebuds do cartwheels and I now have energy to burn. There was really nothing quite like it.

Of course, as I grew older, learned about health, studied nutrition, the process of food production and its effects on our biochemistry…

I decided not to purchase…

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Moroccan Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato

In Vogue: Moroccan Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato

In Vogue: Moroccan Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato

It seems like as soon as you add quinoa to recipes- they suddenly become incredibly fashionable! It’s not hard to see why though, it’s easy to prepare and is full of protein- making it a great substitute for rice. This particular salad is simple to make and is delicious either on it’s own or as a side dish. I always use red or black quinoa in salad as I find it holds its shape when cooked; as opposed to the white quinoa which tends to become ‘gluey’ (though this is great for porridge!).  This salad is completely Vegan (yes even the chicken stock- who would have thought?!) and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

 

Ingredients:

1 medium size Sweet Potato

2 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil.

1 ½ cups red quinoa

2 ½ cups of water

3 teaspoons Massel Chicken Stock Powder (Yes it’s Vegan!)

2 Tablespoons Cumin

1 Tablespoon Turmeric

¾ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika or Chipotle Powder

¾ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

2 Bay leaves

1 can chick peas (I usually add two as I love these)

I cup of fresh spinach leaves or rocket

1 small red capsicum

1 small yellow capsicum

1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves (I usually add more)

2 ½  Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C, fan-forced.

  2. Chop sweet potato into cubes (approx 1 ½ cm in size) and place in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil to coat the sweet potato and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once, or until golden and tender.

  3. Meanwhile, place the red quinoa and vegetable stock in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, bay leaves, ginger and paprika/ chipotle so that the flavours infuse the quinoa.

  4. Cover ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked.

  5. Place quinoa in a heatproof bowl and allow to cool. Add sweet potato, lemon juice and coriander. Toss gently to combine and season with salt and pepper.

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Photo Blog – What are your thoughts?!

Compassion

Today’s blog entry is more reflective in nature. These are two (of the many!) photo’s that I have taken over the years, which I have put with some of my favourite quotes of all times. The first of a beautiful butterfly which connects me eternally with my mum; the second of Moshe, a precious soul who was rescued and now lives in safety at an animal sanctuary I frequently visit in Thailand.

For me, these quotes connect me with my heart and fill me with emotion. They are two of the main reasons for why I adopted a vegan diet and lifestyle. They help remind me to tread lightly on our beautiful planet and to show kindness and compassion to all living beings.

What do they evoke for you? I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings!

In loving kindness,

Fern

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Vegan Chocolate Ganache

Vegan Chocolate Ganache
Vegan Chocolate Ganache

 

This decadent chocolate ganache is super easy to make compared to other recipes you may have used in the past. You can have it warm as a chocolate sauce, or refrigerate it for a thick velvety ganache for cakes and tarts.

 

Ingredients:

1 block (200gm) of Whittakers Dark Chocolate (or any dairy free chocolate)

2/3 of a can of (full cream) coconut cream  * See Note Below

½ Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

3 Tablespoons of Agave

  

Preparation:

  1. Coarsely break up the chocolate and place in a medium size bowl.

  2. Heat the coconut cream in a small saucepan over medium- high heat until bubbles begin to appear around the edges.

  3. Pour the hot coconut cream over the chocolate and allow it to stand for 5 minutes without stirring (allowing the chocolate to slowly melt).

  4. After 5 minutes, stir the chocolate coconut cream mixture until it is glossy and has a smooth consistency.

  5. Add the agave and vanilla and stir until all ingredients are mixed and smooth.

You can pour this on cakes, tarts or any dessert you wish. The ganache will set if you leave it in the fridge.

 

*Note: You can use a full can of coconut cream which will initially yield a runnier chocolate sauce. This will firm up in the refrigerator if you leave  it for an hour. If you are wanting a thicker ganache to start with, use 2/3 of the can as the recipe specifies.

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Kathy’s Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Frosting

Kathy's Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Frosting

Kathy’s Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Frosting

Whoever thought Vegan’s don’t get to indulge in all things chocolate- were wrong! This recipe is completely dairy-free and therefore cruelty-free. A dear friend Kathy bought around this chocolate cake (which she makes without measurements- just a keen eye) and blew our minds- Kathy we are eternally grateful! The peanut butter frosting is equally as decadent and whilst it might sound like an odd combination (peanut butter and coconut cream… who would have thought?) – I guarantee you will love it!

 

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients:
¾ cups grapeseed oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups cold water
3 tablespoons white vinegar
¾ cups + 2 tablespoons of coca
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ½ cups self raising flour

 

Peanut Butter Cream Frosting Ingredients:
1 can full fat coconut cream, chilled overnight.
1/3 cup freshly ground smooth peanut butter(I buy this from the health food store).
2 ½ -3 tablespoons agave syrup (depending how sweet you like it)
½ teaspoon sea salt

 

Preparation:

Cupcakes:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease one 23cmx13cm cake tin or line with cupcake cases.
2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt into a bowl. Add the sugar
3. Mix in the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Beat together on slow speed until smooth.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

 

Peanut Butter Cream Frosting:

1. Open the can of chilled coconut cream and scoop off the solid cream layer on top. Set in a large bowl. Be sure to avoid the liquid left over in the can as it will make the frosting too runny (You can use the left over milk in smoothies).
2. Add the peanut butter, salt and agave and on low speed until fluffy. The mixture won’t take long to whip and will resemble a thick buttery cream cheese-like texture.
3. Place in the fridge until cupcakes are cool.
4. When the cupcakes are cool, spread the frosting over each cake and garnish with Lindt Dark (Vegan) Chocolate.

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