THE BEST vegan superfood double chocolate brownie

Hi all!

The recipe I want to share with you today is insane. Like, full on mind blowing, I-can’t-believe-that’s-vegan, off the charts deliciousness. Seriously, not exaggerating here – have a look…..

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12837756_10207892947509331_1803316321_oYeah. It’s as ridiculous as it looks: rich, decadent and fudgey, with that perfect gooey centre and crisp, chocolate-drizzled top.  But the even crazier news?  That bad boy is completely dairy, gluten, refined sugar and flour free. AND….. it contains fruits & vegetables (apple, dates, black beans – hands up).  Whoodda thought: an everything-free brownie that taste better than the real deal, and is actually really really good for you.  I’ve taken to keeping a little square of it on me at all times – it’s the perfect partner to my mid afternoon Americano.

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This recipe was actually my mum’s brainchild so I can’t claim 100% ownership – but we collectively get so much joy out of it that I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing!  Here we go:

INGREDIENTS (makes quite a lot)
• 90g walnuts, toasted
• 90g almonds, toasted
• 230g cooked, drained black beans (no added sugar or salt)
• 60g coconut oil, melted
• 50g raw cacao powder
• 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
• 100g soft dates, pitted (Medjool are the best for sure)
• 2 scoops (60g) vegan chocolate protein powder  (the Arbonne one is my favorite by far)
• 1/2tsp sea salt
• 1tbsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
1 Preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4.
2 Toast the nuts under the grill.
3 Line a square tin 20cm x 20cm with greaseproof paper.
4 In the food processor, add the nuts and blitz briefly to chop until
fine. Add the remaining ingredients and process again until it forms a thick soft batter.
5 Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread with a knife to smooth it out
6 Bake in the oven for about 40 mins or until thoroughly cooked
7 Leave in the tin to cool down. Use a hot knife and cut brownies in to squares.

Enjoy! I guarantee you will 🙂

4 vegan substitutes for your favourite sweet treats

Hey everyone!

I took on an exciting new role this term – I’m Food and Drink Editor of The Cambridge Student newspaper! I love food, I love writing…. it’s the dream job!

I’ve been working on putting a healthy, local and sustainable spin on the section this term, featuring plenty of independent cafes as well as lots of veggie/vegan friendly recipes and recommendations.  In line with that, here’s a link to an article I wrote on giving some classic desserts a vegan makeover… enjoy!

http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/fooddrink/0035033-four-vegan-substitutes-for-your-favourite-sweet-treats.html

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Review: WooGo Juice – California Smoothies

Anyone who knows anything about me can tell you what a huge fan I am of a proper smoothie!  Sweet, thick, creamy – it’s all the joy of an ice cream but infinitely more refreshing and better for you!  For this reason, I was so excited to hear about the opening of WooGo Juice, a California style smoothie bar, just minutes from Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT.

IMG_8438Tucked away in an alley behind Ming Yao department store, the place was hard to miss with its big purple sign and distinctive surfboard menu.
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Inside, the space is small, clean, friendly and (mercifully!) strongly air conditioned.  There’s free wifi access and a few seating areas, so its a nice place to grab a refreshing afternoon pick me up and catch up with emails.

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The menu is available in Chinese and English and boasts a wide range of options.  They’re all blended with frozen fruit, nonfat froyo and fruit sorbet, which gives them a deliciously thick and creamy consistency – just how I like it! They’re very reasonably priced too, with 400ml (medium) costing around 75NTD and 600ml (x-large) around 105NTD.

I tried the Berry Puff Girl and Raspberry Mojito, both of which were delicious.  The first is your classic berry smoothie whilst the Mojito was zinger and sharper thanks to the addition of the fresh mint.

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They also serve a wide range of bagels and cream cheeses (the two together costing 65NTD) if you’re looking for a more substantial snack

I really like the WooGo cup – its biodegradable and just a lot of fun to read!  Also when I saw the following….IMG_8450

I knew I must be a true WooGo drinker.

Even better, I recently discovered that WooGo is less than one street from Taiwan’s coolest new fitness class, SpaceCycle.  (Asia’s answer to my love, SoulCycle).  If you’re in the Zhongxiao Dunhua area, be sure to head up to the 13th Floor of Ming Yao Department store (above Uniqlo) and try it out – first one for free! And of course, there’s only one place to go for a post-workout protein pick me up …..

WOOGO JUICE: No. 42, Lane 233, DunHua S. Road, Sec. 1, (02) 2778-0182

Raw vegan cookie dough protein truffles

Yes, you read that correctly.

vegan + cookie dough + chocolate chips + all natural, ultra healthy ingredients = a recipe for success.

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I am a huge of health bars/balls (Quest bars, Bounce balls, Larabars, Luna bars, Nakd bars, Kind bars – I’ve tried ’em all!) but I’m not such a fan of how expensive they can be!  My desire to indulge in my favourite yummy, healthy, snacky things without destroying my bank balance led me to come up with these super-simple protein truffles. They really do taste like cookie dough, but are packed with nutritious ingredients and  – due to the high protein content – really filling! They’re also really easy to make;  here’s how:

INGREDIENTS (makes a big tupperware full)

50g vegan protein powder

50g coconut flour (desiccated coconut blitzed in a food processor for 2 mins or so will get you there)

3tsp melted coconut oil

60g almond butter

a big splash of almond milk

2tsp vanilla extract

a handful of dark choc chips or cacao nibs

5 medjool dates

1tsp cinnamon  & a tiny pinch of salt

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METHOD

In a food processor, blend the dates with the almond milk until it forms a paste (it really doesn’t have to be smooth!).  Add the protein powder and the flour and blend again, giving the sides of the processor a scrape if necessary.  Add the melted coconut oil, vanilla, almond butter, salt and cinnamon and blend again until you have a big, sticky ball of cookie dough.  Finally, use your hands to mix in the chocolate/cacao nibs.  Roll the dough into little balls and store in the fridge for up to a week (if there’s any left before then!)

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Hope you enjoy 🙂

Sweet Potato Ice Cream Sundae

Hello!

I haven’t been posting much recently (sorry!) because of my travels; I’ve been away from both my kitchen and a reliable internet source.

Nevertheless, I have a really fantastic recipe saved up that I can’t wait to share! It’s the perfect summer treat – sweet, cool, indulgent and icy, with very little hands-on kitchen time required.

This recipe was created in collaboration with the lovely folk over at Sweet Freedom.  They sent me a bottle of their low GI, all natural liquid sweetener as a thank you for sharing my Chocolate Fudge Sundae recipe, which can be found here.  I’m loving their range of sweeteners and sauces – if you haven’t tried them already, I’d definitely recommend! I’ve managed to drizzle their famous Choc Shot over 95% of my food this summer….

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The holy trinity
 
 
Anyhow, back to business. Take a look……..
 
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Not only is this Sweet Potato Sundae really photogenic, its also delicious, packed with health benefits and ridiculously easy to make.  Here’s how…
 
Ingredients
– 1 large sweet potato (peeled, steamed until super soft & frozen)
– a squeeze of Sweet Freedom
– 1 large ripe frozen banana
– 1/2 scp vegan vanilla protein powder (can be omitted or subbed with soy/Greek yoghurt)
 
Method
The day before
Chop the steamed sweet potato flesh and banana into chunks and place in a ziplock bag. Freeze overnight
The day of
1) blend all the ingredients in a food processor.  Keep blending until you have an ice-cream like consistency
2) scoop into a bowl and allow to harden in the freezer for 30 minutes.
3) top with all your favourite yummies and enjoy!
 
Some topping ideas….
-Choc Shot (essential! so yummy)
-mulberries
-chopped nuts
-cacao nibs
-goji berries
-coconut flakes
-almond butter
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The consistency of this is incredible – sweet potatoes are naturally smooth and sweet so they make a perfect base for this creamy desert.  They’re also packed with beta carotene and vitamin A so they’re brilliant for your skin.  By eating this ice-cream, you’re getting two of your five a day, 213% of your Vitamin A AND and a serious complexion boost.  Now how many puddings can you say that about?!
 
So there you have it : vegan, veggie-filled ice cream that can be whipped up in seconds from whole, natural ingredients from your local produce aisle. The versatility of vegetables never fails to amaze me – who’d have thought you could create such an amazing sweet treat from a potato?? I urge you to try this one; it’ll change the way you view ice cream forever!
 
Enjoy,
 
Charley

The BEST chocolate-fudge-almond butter sundae smoothie (that’s vegan and good for you!)

As a part time vegan and full time health junkie,  people often assume that diet my consists solely of limp lettuce and tofu.  ‘How do you survive without chocolate/pudding/food that actually tastes good?’ they cry in horror, before giving me a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and walking away.

But the truth is, I enjoy chocolate-fudge-almond-butter sundaes on a regular basis – at least 5 times a week  –  often for breakfast  By getting creative with vegetables and switching out unhealthy nasties like refined sugar and dairy for Mother Nature’s goodness, it’s easy to enjoy a delicious fudgey chocolate treat that your body, as well as your tastebuds, will thank you for.

Unlike regular sundaes, which can contain over half your RDA of saturated fat and up to 700 calories(!!!),  my vegan healthified version contains less than 350 cals and three of your five a day, two of which are vegetables.  Depending on how much almond milk you add, this creates either a bowl of delicious vegan ‘ice-cream’ or a super thick smoothie.  I’m a fan of the smoothie as its easy to drink on the go, but both are delish. Here be the recipe…..

INGREDIENTS:

  •  1 large ripe frozen banana
  •  1/2 a roasted sweet potato, skin removed*
  •  a small handful of spinach
  •  a few frozen cauliflower florets (I promise you don’t taste them!)
  • 5 ice cubes
  •  1tsp cacao powder
  •  1 scp chocolate vegan protein powder.  I like Arbonne’s pea/cranberry chocolate blend.
  •  10 (or so) almonds
  • 1 cup almond milk.  Use more if you want a smoothie consistency, less for an ice-cream-y one

TOPPING IDEAS:

  • almonds
  • mulberries
  • cacao nibs
  • carob chips
  • maca powder
  • chopped dates
  • flaked coconut
  • Choc Shot
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Spot the veggies! Oh yeah, you can’t!

METHOD:

Put all the ingredients except almonds in a food processor (for ice cream) or a blender (for a smoothie).  Turn on and blitz until until smooth.  You might need to keep adding splashes of almond milk to keep it moving.  Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, add the almonds and pulse for a few seconds until broken up.  Feel free to put it in the freezer for half an hour or so to achieve an ice cream like consistency.  Top with whatever your heart desires and enjoy 🙂

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Topped with carob flakes, mulberries, coconut, cacao nibs and maca powder (hidden under the heap of mulberries!)

 

*NOTE ON SWEET POTATO PREP For skin removal sans a peeler (+ really tasty crispy sweet potato skins!), follow these steps

  1. wash & dry sweet potatoes
  2. slather in 1tsp coconut oil
  3. sprinkle on a pinch of salt
  4. bake in oven for 1hr at a medium heat.  Roasting them for a long time at low-ish temperatures WITHOUT cutting the skin allows them to steam slightly from the inside, making for easy skin removal.  To test if they’re ready, slice them down the middle and try peeling a way a bit of the skin; it’ll come away easily once they’re done.    Eat the skin – it’s really tasty and packed with nutrients!
  5. remove the skin and put the flesh in an air-tight container, which can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.