Vegan Mofo 16: Q is for pretty pink breakfast Quinoa in pink guava soup

A nutritious breakfast with a girlish charm.

Perhaps you saw this coming; I mean I racked my brains for other ‘Q’ ingredients but Quinoa is all I could think of. Nevertheless working with quinoa is fun since it’s so versatile and can be used in practically any dish from sweets to savouries. In a double stroke of luck, pink guavas and fresh figs were on sale this week and so I thought of combining these exotic fruits with red quinoa to create a pretty breakfast.

Quinoa is riding a popularity resurgence and much has been written about it (in fact I wrote about it in my Superfood Series which sadly has failed to take off) so there’s no need to delve too much into explanation. A gluten-free pseudo-grain, it is often highlighted for its complete amino acid profile (including lysine and isoleucine – the limiting amino acids in other grains) and highly concentrated nutritive value such as calcium and flavaoids (quercetin and kaempferol). Did you know that 2013 is also officially recognized by the United Nations as the International Year of the Quinoa? In fact, it is the only food ingredient to make this list apart from the humble potato.

Between red and white quinoa, I prefer the former for its more intense nutty flavour and visual impact. Apart from breakfast quinoa porridges and granola, which I enjoy occasionally as a departure from oats, some quinoa recipes I’ve got my eyes on include the famouus Life Changing Loaf of Bread (My New Roots), and a quinoa quiche or pizza. Quinoa flour is also something I want to experiment with, but probably not anytime soon, given the growing number of half-opened bags ingredients in the kitchen.

If guavas are not available, I suppose you may use guava paste of another intense-colored fruit of choice, like mangoes or strawberries. The main idea is to have a nice thick pool of fruity smoothie for the quinoa to swim in. I also added protein powder and pectin to the soup, which added a nutritional boost as well as help to thicken it.

Pretty Pink Breakfast Quinoa in Pink Guava Soup
Serves one.
Vegan.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked red quinoa
  • Flesh of 1 pink guava (about 1/2 cup), seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used hazelnut milk)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp pectin powder (optional – for thickening)
  • Splash of vanilla extract (optional)
  • Dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder (optional)
  • Your choice of toppings (I used fresh figs and desiccated coconut)

Directions

  1. Soak the quinoa overnight in a bowl of water. The next morning, place the quinoa in a sieve and rinse well under running water.
  2. Cook quinoa. Place the drained quinoa into a saucepan. Add about 1/2 cup water, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 mins until the water is absorbed and you can see the white curly rings of the quinoa. Fluff and set aside.
  3. Make the guava puree. Place the guava flesh into the saucepan and add the milk and water. Bring to boil, and simmer for about 5-10 mins or until the guava flesh becomes soft.
  4. Add in the vanilla, cinnamon and other powders (if using). Stir well.
  5. Pour the mix into a blender and blend (for less clean up use immersion blender).
  6. To serve, place quinoa into a ramekin and using a spoon, press down to make the quinoa stick together. Invert the ramekin onto a plate, then pour the guava soup over. Garnish with fresh figs or other fruits and nuts.

 

Vegan Mofo 4: D is for Daring Durian [Birthday] Cake

I may be failing slightly in my commitment to Vegan MoFo but it’s all for a worthy cause – conceiving and creating my first birthday cake. I considered attempting one of Fragrant Vanilla Cake’s beautiful creations, or trying my hand at the equally luscious raw cakes by the Nouveau Raw. Yet somehow I knew I would not be satisfied by just following someone else’s recipe; it had to be an expression of my creativity, and of course, feature my favorite ingredients. Hours of brainstorming and kicthen labour later, this baby was born: Lemon & Rum Durian Mousse with Dark Chocolate Sherbet Surprise.

In the making of this cake, I unearthed some unexpected discoveries and acquired new kitchen knowledge. Like where to find the cheapest nuts (Albert Centre Food Market, Level 3; sold in bulk) and cheap durian (a makeshift stall opposite Bugis Market). Threateningly huge Mao Shan Wang (Cat Mountain King) durians sold at $15 per durian – can you beat that?! To put that in perspective, two durians yielded three large boxes, all for $30, and all of premium quality – small seeds with undulating layers of potent creamy rich non-fibrous bittersweet deep yellow flesh. In terms of culinary skills, it was the first for many firsts – making coconut whipped cream, homemade ice cream/sherbet, using xanthan gum and chocolate art. All in all, making this cake was a pretty insightful experience.

Oh yes, and a spanking new Bosch food processor as a birthday gift from Mum! Although KitchenAid is by far the most popular in the (American) market, it is unfortunately not sold in Singapore and I was put off by the hassle of shipping it. Nevertheless, this multi-function Bosch food processor packs quite a mean punch too – it comes with multiple attachments including the S blade, cutting disc, shredding disc, slicer, grater and dough hook, as well as juicer and blender. In fact I’m not sure if I’m ever going to utilise all its functions! So far it works like a silent workhorse and I’m more than pleased!

So back to the cake. This completely vegan, almost raw frozen cake is full blown TREAT. YO. SELF. birthday territory. The ingredients are decidedly luxe with durian (a whooping 800g), copius coconut milk, dark bittersweet Valrhona, and lots of nuts. It’ll take a bit of time, with multiple washing of the processor after making each layer, manual stirring the sherbet every so often (no ice cream machine), messy drippy chocolate and more washing of various kitchen equipment. But it’s my birthday and an excuse to create my ultimate birthday cake and have fun in the kitchen!

I understand that durian is not a readily accessible fruit, but at least you can learn some chocolate art, the resource and links which I have put up below. Believe me, waking up at 6AM to pipe chocolate on templates is very therapeutic.

I’m a pretty visual person, so I like to plan recipes visually. The crust is a basic nut/date crust but with cacao added in. The durian mousse is separated into two contrasting flavours: a lower boozy rum/vanilla layer and an upper zesty lemon layer. Sandwiched in between the two creamy durian layers is an icy bittersweet dark chocolate sherbet “surprise”. Indeed, there is a lot going on here but the play of flavours and textures all works out beautifully. The subtle hint of tartness of the lemon durian mousse provided just enough to cut through richness, while the creamy-icy-creamy-nutty mouthfeel was simply delightful. As for the cake decoration, I got my inspiration from the breathtaking delicate chocolate art from 100daysofevelyn, or more specifically her chocolate cage cake. However as a beginner I went for a simpler design of flower ornaments.

Lemon & Rum Durian Mousse with Dark Chocolate Sherbet Surprise
1 8″ cake.
Vegan. Gluten-Free.

Ingredients
You may also refer to the image above for the ingredients for each layer
 
For the Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup soft medjool dates (about 9), pitted and chopped
  • 8 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Rum Durian Mousse

  • 450g durian flesh 
  • 3/4 cup whipped coconut cream
  • 1/3 cup cashews, soaked
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp rum essence

Dark Chocolate Sherbet Surprise (inspired by CakeBoule’s Raspberry Blast Secret Centre)

  • 3/4 cup gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) syrup (100g + 200ml water)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 100g dark chocolate (I used Valrhona Guanaja – 70%)
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp pectin (optional, supposedly lowers melting point)
  • 1/8 tsp xantham gum (optional, for stabilization & texture)

Lemon Durian Mousse

  • 350g durian flesh 
  • 140ml whipped cream
  • <1/3 cup cashews, soaked
  • <1/2 cup silken tofu
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tsp lemon zest

Lemon Cashew Frosting (from the Nouveau Raw)

  • 1 cups raw cashews, soaked
  • 6 tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp raw agave syrup
  • 1/4 tsp each of vanilla, rum
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Chocolate Decoration

  • Dark chocolate, melted (I used Valrhona Guanaja – 70%)

Directions
 
For the Crust
Add nuts, cocoa and salt into food processor and process until nuts are fine crumbs. Then add dates and process until the mixture is smooth and holding together. Press into 8″ cake pan. Set aside in the freezer to firm up.  
 
For the Durian Mousse Layers
Place tofu, soaked cashews in food processor and blend until smooth. Add in durian flesh and and vanilla/rum and blend until just combined.
Prepare coconut whipped cream. Measure out 3/4 cup and fold into durian puree to form mousse. Pour mousse on top of the crust and place back into freezer.
Repeat the same for the lemon durian mousse layer, except replacing the vanilla/rum with lemon juice/zest.
 
Dark Chocolate Sherbet Surprise
First prepare the gula melaka syrup. Place chopped pieces into a saucepan and add the water. Bring to boil and stir until all the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5-10 mins until the mixture thickens slightly. Pour out syrup into a large bowl.
Measure out 3/4 cup of the syrup and return it to the saucepan. Then add in almond milk and coconut milk and heat until simmering. Add in chopped chocolate and cacao powder, stirring until everything melts and dissolves. Add xanthan gum and pectin, if using. Then pour mixture into a aluminium baking tray and place into freezer (no ice cream maker method). Stir the mixture vigorously every 30 mins to break up large ice crystals.
After about 4 hours of frequent stirring, chop up the chocolate sherbet and place into the blender and blend until very smooth. Then pour the mix on top of the rum durian mousse.
 
Chocolate Decorations
I got the floral ornament template from Sabrina Sue (hey, we got the same name!).
Print out the template and place it on top of a rough flat surface (eg. bread board). Place wax paper over. Melt your chocolate using a bain marie or microwave. Pour into pipig bag (I used a ziploc). Cut a very tiny hole at the tip and trace according to the pattern (note: best to let chocolate cool until lukewarm for easier control). Place wax paper in freezer. About 5 mins later, peel off the decorations and stick onto sides of cake.
 
Serving
Remove cake from freezer about 15 mins before serving.

 
I had so much fun making [and eating] this no-holds-barred dream durian birthday cake. The texture of the mousse layer could certainly be improved (it was a bit icy rather than moussy); otherwise just treat it as a giant ice cream cake!

Vegan Mofo 2: B is for Buckwheat – sprouted Buckwheat, quinoa & oat granola

Vegan MoFo Day 2 and I’m back with a big bang for the letter ‘B’: Sprouted Buckwheat, Quinoa and Oat Granola (technically this may qualify for letters Q, O or G, but stop being nitty-picky). Homemade granola has been a stubborn stain on my Recipe Bucklist List. Although crunchy granola can never replace pillowy soft doughy freshly cooked hot-off-the-stove oatmeal for breakfast, it comes in handy for hunger crisis or snack-attack situations. This is one of the things I love about Vegan MoFo – apart from getting to know other bloggers and sharing recipes – the impetus to tackle the Bucketlist.

Commercial granolas often come sweetened with refined sugars and many unnecessary ingredients. The “healthier” types like Back to Nature or Love Grown Foods Granola are expensive. Others contain too many raisins, too many nuts or too much coconut. With homemade granola, you are the boss; you get to control and customize the add-ins to your heart’s content. My ideal granola? A simple blend of medium-sized chunks of grains, nuts, seeds, with the grains predominating. It should be lightly sweetened without being cloying. Flavour-wise, I’m a traditionalist preferring the classic combination warm vanilla and cinnamon.

I initially considered doing a basic oatmeal granola. But the masterchef in me was not satisfied. I thought: if you are making your own granola, why not make it the best it can be? I decided to put the best use of the multiple grains at home to create this Sprouted Granola, made with buckwheat, quinoa, steel-cut oats and rolled oats.

Why soak and sprout your grains? Grains contain phytic acid which behaves as an anti-nutrient; it binds to zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium in the intestinal tract and has reduces mineral absorption. Phytic acid is also an enzyme inhibitor of digestive enzymes (eg pepsin, trypsin and amylase), and thus may further interfere with digestion. Studies have shown that soaking, fermenting or sprouting the grains before cooking or baking reduces the phytic acid content, so that the minerals and nutrients become available for absorption. A wonderful summary about phytic acid in grains and legumes can be found here.

This recipe will take three days: soaking on day one, draining on day two and finally baking the granola on day three. Technically, buckwheat and quinoa need only be soaked for a few hours because they do not have a high phytate content. However because oats have significant levels of phytic acid, it’s recommended that you soak them for 24 hours.

Another perk of this recipe is that it is mainly fruit sweetened with banana puree. Coating the grains with the banana puree also reduces not only the amount of honey used, but also the oil. **Bonus!** To make the granola you can either use a dehydrator or conventional oven. I used the oven and baked them at low heat (300°F/150°C) for one hour.

Three days worth of effort culminated in a most delicious granola! Loose clusters of lightly sweetened buckwheat, quinoa and oats kissed with the warmth of cinnamon, vanilla and coconut. The grains, nuts and seeds and dried fruits were in perfect harmony in terms of proportions; not one overwhelmed the other. I’m really pleased with the results of my first attempt at homemade granola!

If there is anything I’d change, it would be to bake at an even lower temperature or shorter amount of time. The buckwheat came out a bit hard and popcorn-ish, perhaps being over-dehydrated. But a good soak in almond milk would soften the texture a little, with still lots of crunch factor to enjoy!

Sprouted Buckwheat, Quinoa & Oat Granola
Makes 16 oz (slightly more).
Vegan.

Ingredients
About 1/3 cup of each grain

  • 50g raw buckwheat groats
  • 50g raw quinoa
  • 40g steel cut oats
  • 40g rolled oats **See Note**
  • 4 tsp shredded coconut
  • 1/6 cup seeds (I used a blend of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, 4 tsp each)
  • 2 tsp flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup banana puree (mashed from 1 small banana)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey (if non-vegan)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup nuts, coarsely chopped (I used a blend of almonds and walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup dried fruits (I used a blend of dried cranberries and sultanas, 4 tsp each)

Directions

  1. Three days before baking the granola, soak your grains. Place in three separate bowls raw buckwheat groats, quinoa and steel cut oats. Cover with at least twice the volume of water. Let soak overnight or at least 8-10 hours.
  2. The next day, drain the water from each bowl and rinse through thoroughly until water runs clear. Buckwheat in particular exudes a mucilaginous slime, but that is normal. Once rinsed, leave the grains in the sieve overnight to let it drain fully and sprout. You may choose to combine the grains in one large sieve or use three separate sieves (if you have that many!).
  3. On the third day, you may start to see tiny tails sprouting from the grains (only the buckwheat grew sprouts in my case). You can choose whether to allow the grains to sprout. If not, proceed to start making the granola.
  4. Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the soaked buckwheat, quinoa and steel cut oats. Then add in the rolled oats, flax, seeds and coconut. Mix well.
  6. In another bowl, mix together the banana puree, coconut oil, honey and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients to the grain mixture. Stir well to coat the grains with the banana mix.
  7. Spread out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then bake for 60 mins at 300°F/150°C until dry and crispy. Make sure to stir every 15 mins to break up large clumps and prevent burning.
  8. (Receive copious praise from your family or flatmates as you make the house smell incredible.)
  9. Remove from oven and let cool before storing in an air-tight container. It should keep well for about a week.

Note: I did not soak the rolled oats as I was afraid it might be too soft. But feel free to soak it if you prefer, and do share how it turns out!

 

Have you tried sprouting grains before? How did it turn out and how did you use them?

Rawsome Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frawsting

Attending the IRFD has been a monumental event. Although I’ve always had a plant-based diet, I did not consciously eat raw foods, salads and such. However of late I’ve been purposefully trying to incorporate more raw veggies into my diet, usually in the form of salads during lunch. As you know, typically Chinese like to have their veggie stir-fried, and while that’s not detrimental in itself, I can sort of feel the difference in “energy” when consuming raw veggies vs cooked ones; it leaves my body and spirit more energetic.

But sometimes one has and needs to be a little naughty and indulge in some desserts, so why not make it raw? A raw carrot cake is pretty common, which there are many recipes online. The basic ingredients for the cake body are shredded carrots, nuts, dates and spices. Most recipes also include shredded coconut, and even more elaborate recipes may call for crushed pineapples. My ideal carrot cake is dense and jam-packed with carrots, so I upped the ratio of carrots in my recipe. Since this is my first attempt at a raw carrot cake (or any raw dessert for that matter), I made a mini-cake and kept the ingredient list fairly simple. The deal breaker was really the “cream cheeese” frawsting. Although it certainly did not have the mouthfeel of real cream cheese (or maybe because I added too much soy milk), it still paired beautifully well with the carrot cake. All it all, one word – RAWsome!

A minor modification in the future would be to use just one medjool date for the cake (it was a tad sweet). Otherwise, it was perfect! Of course, maybe some experiments with other nuts such as pecans instead of walnuts and a different flavoured frawsting can be done also!


Cake ingredients pictured above: carrots, walnuts, coconut, dates, spices, orange peel.


The ingredients mixed together…


And placed into a mini springform pan. Alternatively, you may use muffin tins or molds to make it single-serving.


The cake unmolded after an overnight refrigeration. Looking good!


Decorated! I’m so happy I finally fixed the problem with the piping gun! Yay for beautiful desserts. 🙂


Another shot just to appreciate 🙂


Sliced up and time to serve. You want a slice, don’t you?

Rawsome Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frawsting
Makes one small (4.5″) cake.
Vegan. Gluten-free. Raw.
Recipe adapted from here and here

Ingredients
Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 1/2 large carrot)
  • 1/4 cup (35g) walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup (22g) shredded coconut
  • 2 large medjool dates (may use just 1 as I found the cake a little sweet)
  • 2 tbsp dried fruits (I used a mix of cranberries & raisins)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg or ground ginger)
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 small orange
  • 1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger (if not using ground ginger)
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Cream Cheese Frawsting

  • 3/8 cup (48g) cashews, soaked for 6-10 hours and drained
  • 2 tbsp soy milk
  • 3/4 tbsp manuka honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of the other 1/2 orange
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil/butter

Directions

  1. To make the cake, place all the cake ingredients into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds, until slightly crumbly. Do not over-blend or the cake will end up pasty!
  2. Pour out “batter” into a mini springform pan or muffin tins/molds, pressing down slightly to compress.
  3. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or better yet, overnight.
  4. When about to serve, make the cream cheese frawsting. Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Pipe onto the cake, and let chill again for another 30 min until slightly firm.

 

Irrelevant to the carrot cake, last night I had a supper, a rare event. However I’m getting serious about gaining weight now and not just dabbling around like I used to in the past. It was a Nakd bar (Cocoa Loco). Initially I planned on having just half the bar but ended up consuming the whole thing, partly because it was so tasty I couldn’t stop and partly because I wanted to challenge myself. Feeling somewhat ambivalent about this; mostly proud that I didn’t restrict myself, yet a teeny sense of fear that one day I might loose control (this sounds silly as I’m typing out now). But overall, mostly proud of myself. People say, “no pain, no gain” when it comes to losing weight; but the converse applies for myself to gain weight. Gotta push aside all doubts and just do it! Best of all, I daresay I had a better sleep because my stomach was happily filled.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately; I’m in the midst of applying to medical schools (finally made the decision) and I’ve got tons of administrative stuff and essays to write!

Tipsy~

Ever since I bought that bottle of tokubetsu sake, I’ve been finding creative ways to use it. Today I share two sake-containing dishes: a common dish called Gindara Misozuke (miso-marinated black cod), and Sake-poached Pears Steel-cut Oatmeal.

Gindara Misozuke
The signature of Nobu restaurant that has been replicated all over the world, this piece of silky cod fish oozes a sweet-savouriness, thanks to a 36-hour miso marinade. I prepared the fish on Sunday, and after a pain-staking wait, finally it was time to cook it last night. I used snow cod instead of the usual black cod (sablefish), but I doubt it would make much of a difference. Heck, it would probably work with any mild-tasting white fish, but the fattiness of cod adds a touch of velvety luxury.

Gindara misozuke [feature] (030713)

Broiled in the oven for exactly 15 minutes, the sugars caramelized to form a paper-thin crispy glaze. Beneath it belied the most tender piece of snow-white flesh, its myotomes held together precariously by collagen-rich myocommata. It fell apart at the slightest touch. Gingerly, I tasted a piece; it was mind-boggling amazing! It was a complex cacaphony of flavours – umami, sweet, savoury and resembled somewhat like a teriyaki glaze, but had the touch of elegance and sophisicated, a certain je nai se quois that I can’t put my finger on. It must be the sake.

Best yet, the marinade it so simple to put together (miso, sake, mirin and sugar) and you don’t have to bother about it except to wait patiently for three days for the marinade to penetrate the fish. I held back on the miso paste, concerned that it would be too salty, but my advice is do not. I would definitely up the miso content next time.

Gindara Misozuke
For one piece of cod fish.
Adapted from TheKitchn
Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp miso (shiro miso recommended; also I recommended using more miso)
  • 3/4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 piece (150g) cod fillet

Directions
For the Miso Marinade

  1. In a small saucepan, bring sake and mirin to boil. Boil for about 20 secs to evaporate the alcohol.
  2. Add the miso paste and stir with a wooden spoon until it dissolves completely.
  3. Add the sugar, raise the heat to high, and stir continuously until it has dissolved completely. Leave to cool until it marinade reaches room temperature.

Marinade the Fish

  1. Pat the fillet thoroughly dry with paper towels. Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a nonreactive dish or bowl (I used a ziploc bag). Leave to steep in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Broil the cod

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly wipe off any excess marinade clinging to the fillets but don’t rinse it off. Place the fish in oven and broil until the surface of the fish turns brown (about 12-15 mins).

 

Sake-Poached Pears on Steel-Cut Oatmeal
This was a happy accident. I had initially planned on apple steel cut oatmeal but my sister had apparently ate up the last apple. Thankfully I had back-up plans (by this you can probably tell how much I daydream about breakfast). Here, instead of the usual wine, pears are poached in sake and honey and spiked with vanilla, cinnamon and star anise. I used Taylor’s Gold pear from New Zealand, which is similar to Bosc or Comice. Just make sure you use a firm pear (not overripe) so that it doesn’t disintegrate upon poaching! Since I knew the pears would be plenty sweet, I used plain oatmeal as a base. The pears, infused with the warm spices and a hint of booziness from the sake, were dribble-juicy good!

Oatmeal pear sake-poached (040713)

Sake-poached pears
For half pear.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 a pear (eg Bosc), sliced thickly

Directions

  1. Bring water, sake, honey, vanilla extract and spices to boil.
  2. Add pear slices to saucepan and spread out in a single layer.
  3. Cover and simmer for 20-25 min.
  4. Serve atop oatmeal.

 
Have you tried sake before?

Peaches n’ Coconut Cream Oatmeal

One of the perks of having a sister as a flight stewardess is that you get to enjoy a carefully curated international selection of goodies, that is, the “best of” what each country has to offer, and at the cheapest price. Going to Australia? Nuts! New Zealand? Honey and kiwis! Belgium? Chocolate! Yesterday When she returned from London with a bagful of Summer, namely, summer nectarines – at three for a pound to boot. In Singapore it’ll cost more like one for three dollars instead. In this sense, the title of this post is a misomer; it should be “nectarine n coconut cream oatmeal,” but its more fun to say “peaches n cream,” no?

Oatmeal peaches coconut cream [peach] (030713)

These sun-kissed orbs of gold were bursting to its seams (or or accurately, skin) with nectar-sweet juices. To do this delectable summer treat justice, I decided to feature them au natural with oatmeal. No stirring them in as it would dilute out its peachy flavours; no baking as it would destroy its vitamins. Simplicity is the call of the day.

Oatmeal peaches coconut cream (030713)

The “cream” here is actually coconut butter. The creamy melted coconut butter helps enhance the delicate fragrance of the nectarines. I think peanut butter will be too assertive. The oatmeal is made even more creamy and nutritious with protein powder, and sweetened with medjool dates.

Oatmeal peaches coconut cream [top] (030713)

Embrace summer with this peachy/nectariney delight!

Peaches n’ Coconut Cream Oatmeal
Serves one.
Vegan.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats (I use Country Choice Organic)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, coconut)
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (I use Garden of Life)
  • 1/2 large nectarine or peach, sliced
  • 1/4 medjool date, chopped
  • Coconut butter, to drizzle

Directions

  1. Bring oats, water and chia seeds to boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 20-25 mins until thick or when most of the water has evaporated.
  2. Add milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Continue to simmer for another 10 mins or until it reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Towards the last 2 minutes add in protein powder and stir in thoroughly.
  4. Pour out onto a plate or bowl, decorate with nectarine/peach slices and top with dates and coconut butter.

 

Naked Carrot Cake

Happy Monday! Here’s a healthy Naked Carrot Cake to chase away the Monday blues. I certainly did not envision another baking session so soon after the red velvet cupcakes just two days ago. But as they say, once you start, you can’t stop! I had an unexplained urge to bake carrot cake so after googling some recipes, I came up with my own version.

Carrot Cake Quick Loaf

It’s scary and mind-boggling how some carrot cake recipes can call for up to 3/4 or 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of oil. Does it really need all that refined sugar and oils? After all, the star of the show should be the earthy natural sweetness of the carrots. Here are the healthy changes that I made to a typical carrot cake recipe:

  • AP flour Whole wheat flour
  • Vegetable oil Coconut oil + mashed bananas
  • Sugar Manuka honey
  • Milk Non-dairy (soy+coconut) milk
  • Additionally I also nixed the frosting because I don’t really care for icing sugar. On another note, I totally unintentionally forgot to add in the nuts and raisins! As a result, the carrot cake was missing a little crunch, but I made up for it by serving the cake slathered with macadamia nut butter after it was baked! I added the coconut milk only towards the end only because the batter was a little dry. It may or may not have imparted an ever-so-slight hint of coconutty flavour. Because this carrot cake is as pure as it can get with minimal sugar/oil/frosting/nuts/raisins, I christian it the Naked Carrot Cake.

    Carrot Cake Slice

    You know how it is always recommended to let the bread cool completely before slicing? Breakfast being more than an hour’s late, I couldn’t hold the temptation any longer and ate it steaming hot, fresh out of the oven. Since the steam hadn’t evaporated, it was slightly on the mushy side, but I guess once it was cooled down fully, the texture should be just right. Also, even though the recipe uses just 3 tbsp of honey and no raisins, I was surprised at how sweet it was. I suppose even 2 tbsp honey (or agave or maple syrup) should work just fine as well. Next time I would also increase the carrot: flour ratio, because I like plenty of crunchy carrots! Oh yes, and I highly recommend using a food processor to grate those carrots instead of manually using a box grater. It does make a good workout session for your biceps though!

    Naked Carrot Cake
    Makes one 8″x4″ loaf (8 1-inch slices).
    Vegan.
    Adapted from Oh She Glows.

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups carrot, grated
    • 3/4 cup almond milk
    • 2 tbsp coconut milk (optional)
    • 3 tbsp honey or maple or agave syrup
    • 1 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax seeds)
    • 6 tsp (2 tbsp + 2 tsp) coconut oil
    • 6 tsp (2 tbsp + 2 tsp) mashed banana
    • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tsp lemon zest, grated
    • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used 3/4 cups each of WW pastry flour and WW pancake mix)
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1/4 cups raisins (optional)
    • 1/4 cups nuts/seeds (optional)

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
    2. In a large bowl mix together wet ingrediets: grated carrot, milk, honey, chia seeds, oil, mashed bananas, vinegar, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
    3. In another large bowl sift together dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
    4. Make a well in the dry ingredients, then pour in wet ingredients and mix well until just incorporated. Fold in nuts & raisins (I totally forgot about this!)
    5. Grease loaf pan, pour in batter and bake for 45 min.
    6. Let cool completely (if you can endure the temptation) before slicing and serving.