Vegan Hot Chocolate

When it’s cold and grey, there’s nothing I long for more than a decadent mug of hot chocolate be it the first thing in the morning or last thing before bed.

I concocted this recipe after an upsetting visit to my local supermarket a few months ago. It turned out I was better off searching for a leprechaun than a hot chocolate mix that wasn’t loaded with sugar and odd bits of diary. Who would’ve guessed the impossibility? After a little bit of simple guesswork, I got exactly what I wanted – a quick and easy diary-free, rich, guilt-free mug of hot chocolate. Yum!

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Preserves, Smoothies & Juice

Homemade Coconut Yoghurt

Ah, coconut yoghurt making has eluded me for a long time. I have tried various recipes, wasted too much coconut milk and eventually gave up. My heart sinks even further whenever I find myself standing in the middle of the dairy isle face-to-face with the deadly price tag of ready made ones – $15 for a small tub! It is an extortion that leaves me unable enjoy my favourite yoghurt in abundance for the rest of my life. Boo!

Well, not for much longer. I came across this brilliant recipe by LovingEarth recently and is a total game changer! I leapt with joy when I tasted my first ever spoonful. Thick and creamy yet delightfully light and subtly sweet and tangy. Too perfect. My favourite part about this recipe is its sheer simplicity. There’s none of the mucking and fiddling around with thickening agents and trying to achieve and maintain the right temperature with a water bath or oven at the lowest setting bla bla. It also lacks the sickly heaviness, unwanted additives, and that slightly odd aftertaste that you get with canned coconut cream or milk.

Oh, so many happy days ahead. I can now swim and smother myself from head to toe with the best non-diary invention ever. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll use my precious yoghurt in berry popsicles, smoothies and, and, AND mango lassi (recipe coming soon).

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Apple Cranberry Granola

Despite having lived in Australia for the last six years, I still find it a painful chore to stomach white people food for breakfast. Jam on toast, milk and cereal, oat porridge? Pfft. I come from a land where lard-laden eggs noodles and fragrant rice served with spicy condiments summon the sleepy out of bed. What about bacon and eggs or maple-drenched pancakes? Nope, they’re all still a pale comparison to the wonderful richness and layers of flavours of a glorious Malaysian breakfast. Even the Boyfriend was quick to agree that laksa and roti canai are a far superior morning feed.

Unfortunately, for most days of the week, when one has to craftily hit the snooze button just enough times to attain maximum sleep without running late, the luxury of a gratifying breakfast is a forgotten wonder. It’ll have to be a quick no-fuss-and-thinking-required one, just like this apple cranberry granola – bingo! It has been our weekday answer to a convenient and sustaining breakfast. Rather pleasant on the taste buds too which has far exceeded my expectations. If anything, there is usually a slight panic when our great big granola jar starts running low. It’s usually along the line of, ‘Oh no, I have no idea what else I’m going to have for tomorrow. Must make moreee!’.

So, there you have it, the approval of two fussy morning eaters.

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Bread, Cakes

Moist Banana Bread

There is always something rather alarming about the sight of a bunch of overripe bananas and a swarm of fruit flies threatening to colonise your living space. Before you know it, it becomes a race against time to do something about them. Something, anything. Anything but to throw them away. It doesn’t help that I am one who only likes their bananas just ripe and al dente. What am I to do with mushy, overwhelmingly strong bananas? If I had a baby, I would know exactly what to do. I would stuff it with all that overripe mush so it would grow up to forever resent me for that.

I usually just peel, bag and freeze them and worry about them later. They’ll eventually end up in a smoothie or two. But what if the freezer is already full of bagged bananas? Hmm. I suppose one will have to turn to baking by turning something unpalatable into something that is quite truly divine. Yes, divine. There are no better words to sum this soft, rich, flavourful and moist banana bread better. Do yourself a favour and bake this right now!

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Drinks, Smoothies & Juice

2 and 5 Juice

This copycat of the 2 and 5 juice by Boost has been my ultimate perk-me-up. I can’t enough of it!

It’s more fondly known as the clear-the-fridge juice. I would throw in everything that needs eating up. Anything from pear, broccoli or kale stems to cucumber and the odd tomato. It also gives me an excuse to buy celery and beetroot, the two things I would otherwise rarely consume.

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Hemp Protein Brownies

It’s been miserably wet and cold. I was going to go shopping but I wasn’t prepared to brave the pouring rain so I reluctantly resigned to baking. For a change, I was going to bake something new, something obscenely healthy, something to justify being stuck at home, something with a good chance of messing up and tasting like grit. What else was I going to do yeah?

And I did. I made a batch of insanely healthy brownies. Gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, grain-free, vegan and all that jazz.  You wouldn’t be able to guess what else went into them either! Avocado, banana, hemp seeds, and spinach *gasps*

My first thought when I pulled the baking tray out of the oven was, “Uhh, what’s this? A slab of dung cake?” My eyes obviously didn’t take too kindly to them. What about my other senses?

I gave them a light touch, “Hmm, surprisingly soft and spongey”.

Why not give it a sniff? *brings my nose to the baking tray and takes a big sniff* Smells chocolatey enough.

Maybe its not as bad as it looks *takes a nibble*

*And another. And another.*

My god this stuff is surprisingly good.

*Smears cake with some green stuff*

Oh my, this is actually really good. There, I said it.

*Proceeds to gobbling. Om nom nom nom.*


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Drinks, Smoothies & Juice

Acai Smoothie

For about an entire year, I’d start my day with a smoothie. It was a great way to consume more raw greens and creating less kitchen waste. But it was really so I could justify spending $850 on a blender. I’d chuck in scraps that would usually end up in the worm bin like celery and broccoli leaves, kale stalks, and fruit that are about to go like fluffy apples, brown bananas and mushy pears. *shudders*

After a year, I kind of got tired of it and would far rather fried eggs and honey smoked bacon over a green glass of something which the Boyfriend would always say tasted like grass. A year later, it seems like I’m back on track again.

This Acai Smoothie is a great start for anyone wanting to experiment on green smoothies as it is certainly not grassy but very much pleasantly sweet and fruity. One that makes you go mmmm! I suggest starting with something mild like baby spinach before progressing on to kale, celery and chards with herbs like coriander, brahmi, mint or parsley added on top. The one I never got past was cos lettuce but some reckon it’s as mild as spinach #whataloadofbollocks. Also, it’s a good idea to gradually build up the greens or you may end up with a terrible bloat.

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