Month: May 2014

Artichoke Spinach Spelt Crust Pizza + 5 ways to make your Pizza Healthier

In my mind pizza is a full on hassle laden thing to make, hence I rarely make it but what’s up with me? This is quicker than most evening meals I make! Oh and delicious too, really delicious. Plus there’s something therapeutic about making your own dough from scratch and flinging it around like a pro. I’ll definitely be having homemade pizza more as it is EASY! Plus we all know pizza is good. So good that no one should ever have to do without, whether you’re gluten free, dairy free or full on raw, there’s a pizza for everyone!

vegan pizza

I never did buy into the thick doughy bases with more cheese than veggies but that’s just me.

Vegan pizza
The thing is pizza can be really quite a healthy meal depending on the crust and toppings so here’s a couple of suggestions on how to lighten up your favourite pizza:

– Use half the cheese you normally would or ditch it all together. With a focus on tasty quality ingredients and a well made dough, the cheese is secondary anyhow.
– Ditch white refined bases and swap to wholewheat, spelt or wholegrain gluten free varieties.
– Make a thinner crust for a less dense and calorific pizza.
– Load it with colourful veggies and lots of fresh greens.
– Or if you really wanna lighten up the load and ditch the carbs altogether use a cauliflower crust.

vegan pizza

Just make the pizza of your dreams ­čÖé This is the pizza of my cravings. Artichokes, spinach, red onion, a little dairy free ‘parmesan’ + chili. That’s it.

vegan pizza

Artichoke + spinach spelt crust pizza

(makes 2 small pizzas or 1 big one- 2 people tops)

spelt crust:
2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
1/2 teaspoon himalayan sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon xylitol or sugar
2/3 cup warm water

tomato sauce (shop bought or this one is nice)
toppings: cooked artichokes, spinach, red onion, olives, chili, dairy free cheese.

1. Preheat oven to 200 ºC (if using a pizza stone, preheat this too). Combine warm water + yeast + sit for 10 minutes. Add to the remaining ingredients, stir well, knead for 10 minutes + allow to sit for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prep your pizza topping ingredients, stretch the dough out onto a pizza stone or baking tray. I sprinkle a little cornmeal on the pizza stone to prevent sticking or if using a baking tray just a little oil.

3. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Enjoy your masterpiece!

Raw Berry Coconut Cheesecake

cheesecake vegan

So, when you’re having hardcore meat and dairy lovers round for tea, what in god’s name do you make for them and more importantly what about dessert? You make this of course, this raw berry coconut cheesecake.

Yep, it’s vegan AND raw, so I’m breaking them in gently but boy it’s good and nuts don’t need cooking. This is pure heaven on a plate and our guests thought so too. Thank the lord.

vegan cheesecake

There’s something about inviting meat eaters round for tea, like I almost feel guilty about subjecting them to plant based food as a break from their meat twice-daily norm. Really, come on, it’s not that bad – some veggies just for one meal for one day of your life. I like eating this way, I know how good you can feel so for me I just cannot believe how much of a novelty it becomes for other people. Y’know – not having meat or dairy at lunch time is like, so weird? What’s happening to the world when we can’t seem to have a couple of animal free days a week? Ah man, c’mon stop breaking my heart.

cheesecake vegan

Who were these ‘people’ anyway? Russ’s parents, who love their meat and love their dairy desserts. The thing is we don’t actually broadcast our food choices unless at family occasions where we’ll always cater for ourselves and take an appropriate dish. I gotta say people are generally OK when you’re a vegetarian, ‘but you still eat dairy and eggs, right?’, followed by a deep breath and then an ‘oh good’ when you nod yes. That’s why we haven’t gone there with family, it really feels like treading cement so when Russ’s Mum asked whether we ate dairy and Russ answered no, I really was not prepared by the reaction which was a mixture of disappointment, disapproving, judgement, bewilderment and slight anger. Really, I was cringing inside and upset for days after. It was just plain awkward.

Anyway, I had to have a show stopping dessert, a dessert that says yep there’s no egg, milk or cream in me but geez i’m the best god damn cheesecake you ever ate. Period.

This did it. Thank you raw berry coconut cheesecake. You made my day. You made that cringeworthy moment not so bad.

vegan cheesecake

Raw berry coconut cheesecake

(8 slices)

crust:
1 cup almonds
1 cup dates
1/2 cup dried coconut
pinch of sea salt

cream:

2 cups cashews (soaked for 4 hours)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
juice of half lemon
pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup of berries (I used frozen raspberries + blueberries)

berries + raw coconut for dressing (entirely optional)

method:

1. In a food processor or blender pulse the nuts to a fine crumb. Then add the coconut, dates + salt continuing to pulse until a sticky smooth dough forms. I used a Vitamix so had the push the ingredients around a little to get it all smooth. Press mixture firmly, evenly + smoothly into a 7 inch springform pan.
2. Drain + rinse cashews. Blend with remaining cream ingredients apart from the raspberries. Pour half the mixture over the almond crust + place in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
3. Add the raspberries to the remaining cream mixture + blend to a pretty smooth mixture. Pour the pinky/purply cream over the cheesecake. Freeze for 4 hours until set or overnight.
4. Remove from freezer 2 hours before serving + top with delicious things like more berries + coconut.

 

 

Super Moist Wholegrain Carrot Cake + Why You Don’t Have to Ditch the Sugar!

Since being pregnant I am into Cake. Like really into it. But I’m also quite health conscious and I don’t see why my poor baby has to suffer processed white flours, refined sugars and trashy fats. But that’s fine because there is no need with cake like this, a cake that, to be quite frank is wholly acceptable to eat EVERYDAY – hell twice a day. What….I’m pregnant and finally past that nausea stage which means food is my friend again! There’s so much stuff out there suggesting we give up sugar, I agree, I really do but we don’t need to give it up 100% but rather the refined processed junk, yuk! I’m gonna tell you about sugar that is actually a health tonic- truly and sincerely. It’s all OK.

carrot cake vegan

So anyway, I made THIS fruit cake and it knocked my socks off (yeah I like old lady cakes mostly) but the thing is I ate most of it and that makes me feel bad cos it’s Russ’s favourite cake too. My excuse is pregnancy. No matter, I’m gonna make this badass snackage again and ice the hell out of it.

So this one’s for you Russ. Well just a slice or two maybe!

Sorry to go on but gosh I love small wonders like this….. a carrot cake that’s healthy as hell. Yeah yeah what does that even mean- it means this:

WHOLEGRAIN
NO REFINED SUGARS
ZERO TRASHY FATS
THERE’S VEGETABLES, OH AND FRUIT
HIGH FIBRE

vegan carrot cake

Now about the molasses…..hello…sugar with health benefits is good enough for me. This is the good stuff that’s left behind after we’ve taken the toxic stuff from sugar cane. It’s dark, rich, sweet, healthful- this IS the good, good, good stuff. With such a low glycemic load, it’s even fine for diabetics. Good for regularity if you know what I mean, owning 14% of our iron and 12% calcium needs in 1 heaping tablespoon and also linked to improved hair health. Blackstrap molasses are literally a health tonic. There you go, no need to give up sugar! Other lovely healthier alternatives to refined sugar are dates, xylitol and coconut sugar. Sugar is not evil ­čÖé Just on the phone to Mcvities and Mr Kipling now to tell them, lol!

carrot cake vegan

And about the spelt flourÔÇŽ..I know it’s not strictly a GF flour but hey it’s pretty low in gluten and a breeze to bake with. You can literally sub white flour in EVERY recipe and it works brilliantly. It’s tasty too, like in a sweet nutty way. The truth is I wanted to add walnuts but I was out, I think I ate them on my porridge so I used coconut and I was loving it.

Fear not, it’s not one of those – ‘this tastes healthy’ cakes. It IS NOT at all.

Vegan Carrot Cake

Super moist wholegrain carrot cake

1 heaping cup coarsely grated carrot
3/4 cup raisins
1 1/4-1/2 cup water
1/2 cup molasses
30g vegan butter or coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 160ºC. Combine first seven ingredients in a saucepan. Stir over a low heat until smooth, simmering + the dried spices are dissolved.

2. Allow to cool. Stir in sifted flours, salt & baking powder + soda with coconut.

3. ┬áPour into well greased 7″ cake tin.

4.  Bake for 1 ¼ hours. Remove. cool. Tuck in. Save some for others.