A Food & Travel Blog

Sassi Ice Cream – A Delicious New Non-Dairy, Vegan Ice Cream Selection

26/07/2019 | By

Food connects cultures and builds ties – and that’s just what Sassi Ice Cream, in a range of stunning Middle Eastern flavours, was created to do.

sassi ice cream cones

I’m sure all of my Australian readers are aware that Masterchef Australia has been in the news for the last couple of weeks – for all the wrong reasons (revelations of cheating, stealing, allegations of arrogance and greed – and that was the judges!). 

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Cookbook review & a Lime Tart from Divine Vegan Desserts

19/03/2013 | By

Wickedly indulgent, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, decadent – these are not words that I usually associate with vegan food.  The words wholesome, nutritious and healthy are more likely to spring to my mind in association with this particular dietary regime – and don’t the latter descriptors actually preclude the former?  Read on, dear friend, because I might just have been wrong!   To be perfectly honest, I have always found the concept of veganism (or any restrictive form of diet) a little confronting – cutting myself off from entire food groups is not something that this greedy girl could ever contemplate.  So when a copy of Wakefield PressDivine Vegan Desserts” found it’s way into my inbox for reviewing I was a little unsure how to approach it.

Well, it turned out that was simple.  It seems that finishing off a meal with a sweet treat is not out of the reach of those who are endeavouring to make a switch to a healthier lifestyle (and even those who aren’t) and after a quick flick through these lavishly illustrated recipes I was making a list of what I would make first!  Many will be relieved to know that vegans don’t proscribe chocolate and the recipes, all dairy and egg-free, with many gluten free, low sugar and nut-free choices, are enough to lift the spirits of any dessert-lover and go a long way towards redeeming the reputation of the dessert course.

Apparently, most vegan recipe books are from overseas and contain ingredients which can be difficult to source here in Australia.  Author Lisa Fabry avoids the use of these and explains clearly and simply how to make brilliant dairy free desserts with ingredients many of us will already have on hand – or at least be able to source easily.  Fabry originates from London, but now lives in Adelaide indulging her two great passions – food and yoga. She shares her own dishes, plus a selection of vegan desserts being created by chefs in cafes, restaurants and cooking classes from around the world.

The book begins with a guide to the key ingredients in vegan baking, some baking tips and how to substitute natural colours for artificial in your cooking.  It is divided up into chapters covering baking, tarts, pies, puddings, fruit dishes, ice creams and sorbets, custards and creamy desserts and small treats, with each dish beautifully photographed.  The range of desserts is extensive and covers everything from wickedly indulgent Double Fudge Pecan Brownies, to decadent melt-in-your-mouth Banoffi Tarts and a traditional creamy, custardy trifle.  I challenge anyone to resist these dishes – they look, er, divine!

I road tested a couple of the recipes – the Las Vegan Sour Cherry Muffins and (in a diversion from my usually predictable preference for chocolate) the refreshing Lime Tart.  The muffins rose perfectly and were deliciously moist and sticky, without being too sweet, but the Lime Tart was the absolute winner.  It was so quick to make, with at-hand ingredients and has a delicious zesty zing to it.  I’d happily serve it to anyone as a dinner party dessert – even those who are cynical of raw foods.  This would certainly change their minds.

I can’t say this book would convert me – I still find veganism far too restrictive and just a little confusing – but it certainly is proof that a vegan diet can have plenty of indulgence in it.  Divine Vegan Desserts is perfect for those who are interested in pursuing a healthier diet, but reluctant to give up on their sweet tooth.

Lime Tart

A gorgeous, summery, zesty, dessert tart that comes together quickly and will please everyone.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dessert, raw, vegan
Author: From Lisa Fabry"s Divine Vegan Desserts

Ingredients

  • Base
  • 1 cup 140 gms brazil nuts
  • 1/2 cup 50 gms dessicated coconut
  • 1/3 cup 70 gms medjool dates, chopped
  • Filling
  • 2/3 cup 90 gms raw cashews, soaked for 1-2 hours
  • 1 medium avocado about 120gm flesh
  • pinch of salt
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/3 cup 80 mls agave nectar
  • 1 tsp lime zest plus extra for garnish
  • 2/3 cup 160 mls lime juice or lime/lemon combined
  • 1/3 cup 80 mls coconut oil

Instructions

  • Grease 4 individual tartlet pans or one 23 cm fluted pan.
  • For the base, place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until you can pinch the mixture together and it sticks. Press firmly into the pan and refridgerate for at least one hour.
  • For the filling blend all the ingredients, except the lime juice and coconut oil, in a food processor until very smooth and creamy.
  • Melt the coconut oil.
  • Gradually pour the lime juice and then the coconut oil into the processor while the motor is still running.
  • Pour over the crust and refridgerate for at least 3 hours, or place in the freezer for 1 hour.

 

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Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

21/09/2012 | By

It’s going to be a long day today.  My son was up and out the door at 0430 hrs this morning on his way to catch a plane to Brisbane for his football trip/weekend.  Football trips have been in the news in Australia of late for all the wrong reasons and, like most 19 year-olds, my sons impulse control and decision-making can be a little flawed when wearing beer goggles.  But, like most 19 year-olds, he assures me that he is an adult, can look after himself and is allowed to have a good time so – like every mother before me – I have to let him go, keeping fingers and toes crossed that he comes home in one piece. The fact that he has gone off for a beery weekend with his third bout of tonsillitis this year only added to my concerns and I lay in bed worrying for 10 minutes after he left, then gave up and got up.

Given that I now had an extra two hours in my day, I decided to comfort myself with baking – my go-to remedy for most unsettling emotional disturbances.  I have a fabulously active sourdough starter bubbling away on the kitchen bench at the moment.  That this is so, is no real credit to me.  It is a starter given to me by my dear friend Isabel and which I brought back from the US earlier this year.  I wickedly neglected it over the last three months, leaving it languishing in the back of the fridge.  In a guilt-induced panic last week, I pulled it out, whispered a prayer to the gods of fermentation and started feeding it.  Like magic it kicked back into life and I baked with it earlier this week.  I intend to use it again, to create something special later today but what I needed this morning was something a little more immediate, preferably with chocolate in it – I’m a bit predictable like that.

Now that my kids are well past the stage where nuts are a threat to their airways, I’ve become quite addicted to them.  I have at least four different varieties in the house at any given time and try to get them into as many different dishes as possible.  Somehow (yet another failure in efficient domestic management according to The Husband) I managed to buy almonds three times in one week a while back, so I started thinking about ways to use them up this morning and came up with something I’m really rather proud of.  I have a Thermomix, so used it to make this, but any decent food processor will do the job, it will just take a little longer to process the nuts.  I’ll give the exact quantities for the ingredients I used, but I think you could cut back on the sugar if you wanted to.

Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

A quick, flourless cookie recipe that can be whipped up in a Thermomix or food processor in no time.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Cookies
Servings: 36 cookies
Author: Amanda McInerney

Ingredients

  • 250 gms almonds
  • 4 tsps solid coconut oil
  • 180 gms soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 good pinch of sea salt
  • 100 gms dark choc chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Put almonds in the Thermomix, speed 9 for 1 minute. Scrape down, add coconut oil, speed 9 for 30 seconds or until a paste. OR
  • Process almonds until finely ground, add coconut oil and continue processing until consistency of a paste.
  • Add sugar, egg, vanilla bean paste, salt and bicarb of soda to Thermomix, speed 4, 10 seconds or process until combined.
  • Add choc chips, speed 3 Reverse, 10 seconds, or pulse until combined.
  • Roll teaspoons of batter into balls, place on prepared cookie sheet and press down with a fork.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Cool on tray for 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.

 

 

 

 

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