Thursday, 4 April 2013

Twice-Posted, Twice Baked Chocolate Tofu Cheesecake

This recipe is re-posted for Chandrani's event (details and logo below)...... can't wait to see all the other entries- events are a great way to find fresh inspiration, new blogs and blogging friends! This is an impressive dessert to serve and certainly got a rave reaction from our family when we made it. You can make it as pretty as you like with fruit and chocolate decorations.

1 1/2 cups (1 cup =250ml) millet flour (aka bajri/ ragi)
1 cup ground almonds (grind your own if you can, coarser than the bought ones, and with the skins on)
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal 
2 tabs date syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • Mix all the ingredients together and press evenly into an oiled springform tin.
  • Bake for 190-15 mins in an oven preheated to 150C. Take care not to over-brown the edges.
200g medium-firm tofu (if you make your own like we did, use one litre of soya milk and press for about half an hour)
150g vegan dark chocolate, melted
2 large bananas
2 tabs tahini
1 tab maple syrup
  • Melt the chocolate. (Use a microwave or Bain Marie)
  • Blitz everything in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. (Alternatively, you could mash and blend by hand.)
  • Pile it on top of the base and gently smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes at 150C.
2 kiwi fruits
 a handful of fresh strawberries
 and/ or more dark chocolate
  • When the cheesecake is completely cool, decorate with a pattern of sliced fresh fruit.
  • You can also sprinkle on grated chocolate.
  • For an extra-special look, you could make chocolate curls or chocolate leaves (paint melted chocolate onto fresh rose leaves then peel off).

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Moroccan Aubergine Escalope- vegan, gluten free

Moroccan aubergine escalope is a spicy side dish that works well with a green salad
We bought some lovely aubergines at our local produce market last week, and we really wanted to do something a bit different with them this time. We often eat them grilled in olive oil, as part of a curry or pureed with tahini as a dip. This time we were after a different texture to add to their soft juiciness so we went for coating them in spiced cornmeal. We served the escalopes with gluten free pasta in a fresh tomato sauce, a green salad and some toasted almonds and cashews to make a complete meal of it. A lighter meal (perfect for a Summer lunch ) would be to serve them with hummus, olives and salad.

This recipe serves 5 as a side.
2 medium/ large aubergines (eggplants)
4 tsps Orgran "No Egg" and 8 tabs water (or you could use a coating batter made from gram flour and water, or 3-4 "flax eggs")
150g fine cornmeal (aka makai ka atta)
2 tsps seasalt
3 level tabs ras el hanout Moroccan spice mix
1 level tab paprika
1/2-1tsp compound hing
  • Wash and slice the aubergines longditudinally, 4-5mm thick.
  • Steam them until just tender (not soggy, as it's hard to stop them falling apart if they get to that stage), and leave to cool.
  • Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal, salt and spices in a shallow dish and whisk up your chosen batter.
  • Take each slice of aubergine, dip in the batter and coat carefully in the spice and cornmeal mixture.
  • Lay the slices carefully on a well-oiled baking sheet and grill at medium-high temperature on both sides until starting to brown. Serve hot!

If you like the sound of this recipe, you might also like:

Monday, 1 April 2013

Ingredient of the Month 19: Cashews

Cashews are such a versatile and nutritious ingredient!

Cashews seem to be featuring in a lot of our recipes over the past few months- in fact we recently bought a 5kg bag of broken cashews because we love them so much! So now perhaps is a good time to explore some facts about them...
Short, spreading evergreen cashew trees originate from Brazil but are now grown in tropical zones worldwide. The false  fruit -or pseudocarp- (from which the nut hangs down) is shaped like an upside-down heart- hence its botanical name of anacardium. (This fruit is called "cashew apple" and is also edible although it needs to be cooked to get rid of its extreme astringency.) The true fruit, in which the cashew nut grows, hangs from the false fruit. It is poisonous, and the cashew nuts are usually steamed open to avoid this getting onto them. You can get mechanically-opened truly raw cashews, but they are expensive. Nowadays, cashews are grown in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and various African countries as well as Brazil, and they have found their way into cuisines the world over, from China to Panama. The relatively high starch content of cashews compared to other nuts makes them a superb thickener in sauces and desserts.
Nutrition: 1oz (28g) of cashews contains 155 calories and a total fat content of 12g, only 2g of which is saturated. 100g provides 553 calories. There are several minerals in cashews: manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium- all of which do a very important job regulating the endocrine system and nourishing the skin, bones, nervous system, blood and hair. They are also co-factors for vital growth and digestion enzymes and antioxidant enzymes. Cashews are also vitamin-rich; they contain B-vitamins, including riboflavin, pyridoxine and thiamin.
Health Benefits: Cashews contain soluble fibre which promotes bowel health, and phyto-chemicals that can protect against cancer and other diseases. Their monounsaturated fat content means that they can lower harmful LDL-chloresterol  while increasing levels of "good" HDL chloresterol- this can help prevent coronary artery disease and strokes. The variety of minerals in cashews means that eating just one handful of cashews a day would be enough to prevent mineral deficiency diseases. The magnesium content in cashews is particularly good for bones and joints. It is also beneficial for the nervous system. There is a small quantity of the pigment xea-xanthin in cashews, a flavinoid antioxidant which can help prevent macular degeneration in the elderly and enhance UV filtering in the eyes. One study has even shown that eating cashew nuts regularly can reduce the chance of developing gallstones by 25%.
Cooking with cashews: Cashews are a really versatile ingredient that lend themselves to sweet and savoury dishes alike. Add this to their impressive nutritional profile and you can see that they are something of a staple for vegetarians and especially vegans. In our kitchen we often grind roasted cashews into home-made cashew butter, make delicious cashew "cream" for desserts, grind them and use them in savoury sauces or simply toast them and sprinkle into cooked rice. They are also good in flapjacks and granolas. Maybe one of the most delicious ways to eat them that we have found is culturing cashew cream to make a soft "cheese", which is a great tangy spread for crackers or topping for pizzas, salads and pastas.