Posts tagged vegan
Posts tagged vegan
A lot of people hear “raw vegan” and think that just means “raw vegetables”. They are wrong.
While I haven’t been blogging I’ve been eating a lot of Fruition’s raw vegan cashew cheesecake to pass the time, and oh my goodness it is so good. So far I’ve tried the mocha, pecan, and blueberry. (Sorry I didn’t get a picture of the mocha! I was too busy eating it…)
The mocha and the pecan were great - there was a really good coffee/chocolate balance to the mocha, and I loved that the pecan had all the same flavours of a cooked pecan pie. Between these three though, I think the blueberry is my favorite. It has the creamiest texture and tastes a lot like their blueberry macaroons (which is to say absolutely delicious), besides the fact that I have a preference for fruit flavored cheesecake. I highly recommend you try some!
Vegan “Crowberry” Cream Eggs!
Crowbar Real Foods went all out again this year to make their vegan version of a Cadbury Cream Egg. Thankfully I asked if they could save me one, as they were totally sold out by 9am. After I tried it I knew why - it’s the perfect sweet treat, with just enough sugary goodness inside balanced with the chocolate shell. I’ve never had a “real” cream egg before, so I can’t compare it personally, but my girlfriend says there are better than the original. Get down to the market this weekend for your last chance to get them! Based on last week, I also recommend getting there early!
Crowbar Real Foods is at the Halifax Seaport Famers’ Market on Saturdays from 7am-4pm!
I just had the most delicious vegan and gluten free doughnut from The Kind Cookie! I’m not generally the biggest fan of gluten free baking, but my goodness was this was a totally different story. It didn’t have any of the grainy mouth-feel that I usually get when I eat GF things, which I totally appreciate. The chocolate frosting was the perfect touch to make this one super chocolatey doughnut. Also: as far as I know this is the ONLY place in Halifax to get vegan doughnut(!!) The 2.00 price tag is a bit higher than Timmies, but I’ll take what I can get, especially when it tastes this good!
You can find The Kind Cookie at the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 7:00-4:00. You can also check them out on Facebook here!
Just in time for Valentine’s day, try Jitterbug Sodas’ new Love Potion #9! This limited edition flavour is a mix of passion fruit, ginger, hibiscus, star anise, and vanilla. Try it at the market today until 4pm, or stop by next Saturday!
So I realize that I’ve been neglecting posting for no good reason. Sorry everyone.
Here’s a photo of the amazing Berkley Vegan pizza from zpizza in the Houston Airport. A little too much daiya, and I wish there was a more even ratio of veggies to burger crumbles, but still delicious.
Need an excuse to go to the market today?
- Crowbar has harvest moonfire pear muffins. They’re incredible!
- Fruition has moved into its new space on the upper level. Go show them some support!
- Jitterbug has pumpkin spice soda. Pumpkin. Spice. Soda.
- So many pumpkins!
- It’s the market - who needs an excuse?
I absolutely love black beans. I like them in soup, I like them in burritos, I like them in salads, I like them plain with rice. This soup is probably my favourite way to eat them though. My mom started making it before I went vegan (or vegetarian for that matter) and I’ve always enjoyed it! If you need a hearty soup to please both vegans and omnivores and all in between, this is it.
The secret to what makes this soup so awesome is a lot of things, but mostly the spice sachet and the roasted corn. Letting the beans cook with the sachet is what makes this Caribbean style. If you don’t have whole spices, you can sprinkle in a little bit of the ground versions, though if you’re in Halifax you should be able to get all of these in the bulk spice section at Planet Organic to the best of my knowledge. Roasting the corn rather than just steaming or boiling it also adds a nice smoky sweet flavour, though even a bit of frozen corn kernels would work if that’s all you’ve got. If you have fresh corn and no grill, I recommend cooking it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350˚F. Just put the cobs on the rack, no pan, in the husk. Now, onto the recipes!
1/2 tsp whole allspice
1/2 tsp peppercorns
Small stick of cinnamon
Scotch bonnet pepper
- Use a mortar and pestle, a mallet, or a hammer (my favourite) to gently crush the allspice and pepper corns. You could probably even put them in a plastic baggy and use a heavy textbook and some pressure to crush them a bit. Get creative!
- Put all the ingredients in a tea ball. If you don’t have a tea ball, put them in a piece of cheese cloth or a coffee filter and tie with clean string.
Caribbean Black Bean Soup
(makes about 8 cups)
16 oz bag dried black beans
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4-1/2 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles
1 scotch bonnet
1-2 cups vegetable broth
3-5 cups water
(you want somewhere between 5/6 cups of broth and water combined, maybe a little more or less depending on how thick you like it)
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1 cob roasted corn
- Soak beans over night according to package directions, or for at least eight hours. Drain and rinse beans.
- In a large pot, combine four cups of water, one cup of vegetable broth, soaked beans, onion, garlic, and the spice sachet. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and let cook for about an hour.
- Add the tomatoes and about a quarter of a can of Rotel. Add up to half of the can depending on your taste. Cook for another one to two hours or until the beans are tender and the soup has thickened, stirring and checking every half hour.
- If the soup is too thick, add more broth or water to taste. After the beans are done, remove the spice sachet and blend about a third the soup. You can use an immersion blender or a regular blender. I don’t recommended a magic bullet because the heat makes it hard to open once you get it shut, but it’s possible.
- Cut the kernels off of one cob of roasted corn, break them apart if too many stick together, and then stir into the soup. If you’d like, serve with a little salsa or Tofutti Sour Supreme on top!
- Eat a lot. Enjoy :)
One of my favourite food memories is eating a chocolate fondant (more often called a molten chocolate lava cake) for the first time. A friend of my mom’s brought me one, and from the first bite it was like I’d died and gone to heaven. It had slightly crisp edges, a super soft interior, and a middle of melty chocolate goodness. In the years following I’d try many different molten chocolate cakes, but none would ever compare to that first one from Brasserie. Because of how strong that memory is for me, I knew that I wanted Brasserie to be one of the restaurants I reviewed while visiting Cayman this summer. Being vegan, I knew it would be a challenge, but I decided to put my faith in the chef and try their tasting menu.
The description drew me in right away: “Have Chef Niven prepare a 5 or 8 course tasting menu from items fresh from the garden, the Brasserie Catch, and our ever-changing a la carte menu. This will be a blind menu, all that is required from you is an open mind and a passion for food.” Having both of these things, I decided I needed to give the tasting menu a try. I went with three other people (two omnivores and a vegetarian) and we chose to do the 5 course tasting menu. Usually Chef Niven prepares the same meal for everyone in the group, but because of the diverse diets, he prepared vegan meals for the vegetarian and I and separate meals for the omnivores.
Note: Sorry in advance for the not awesome pictures. The lighting in the restaurant wasn’t the best for picture taking, and sometimes my flash was less than helpful! Onto the review!
Even though it’s been a few years since I’ve been to Brasserie, the atmosphere is exactly as I remember it. The restaurant is a little dark, but inviting and beautiful as ever. We’re seated in the back corner, and get an amazing view of their wine collection. To drink, I go for a garden rosemary, ginger, and vanilla soda. The flavours aren’t very strong, but it’s still a nice way to start the night.
Before the tasting menu even begins, we receive small “pre-appetizers” as I like to think of them: crostini with mushy peas and crispy onion. The concept of “mushy peas” has never appealed to me, but this dish makes me change my mind. It’s light, fresh, and the mix of different textures works perfectly together. It definitely sets my expectations high for the rest of the meal.
The first official course is Rasam, an Indian spiced tomato based soup with local long beans, Israeli couscous, bok choy, corn, and cilantro. It’s spicy and warm and incredibly delicious. The long beans and corn are still crisp, and the couscous have absorbed the broth really well, making them extremely flavorful.
The next course is a watermelon arugula salad with balsamic vinegar, Kalamata olives, tomato, roasted yellow pepper, golden beets, and red beet purée. Watermelon tomato salad is actually one of my favorites, so I’m very excited to try this dish - and it doesn’t disappoint! I hadn’t had a variation of a watermelon tomato salad with any sort of greens, but I really like the addition of arugula. The beets are an unexpected touch, but work very well in the salad.
Next, we’re served beluga lentils, local long beans, garden carrots, broccolini, and pickled eggplant. When I see the eggplant I shudder a little, because in the past it’s always been one of my least favourite things to eat. Somehow Chef Niven manages to turn a food that I usually wish wasn’t there to one of my favourite things on the plate. The pickling process changes the eggplant completely, and the tanginess really rounds out the dish. The lentils are seasoned perfectly as well, and the vegetables are cooked so that they’re just tender and not too crunchy or overcooked.
Chef Niven’s take on a veggie burger slider is served next, with a patty made of black beans, potatoes, corn, and carrots on a toasted sourdough bun, topped with portobello mushroom and caramelized onion. On the side is a watercress salad dressed with citrus, a swipe of Cayman pepper jelly, and roasted potatoes. If I could get a full size version of this burger at a fast food place, I would actually go into one again. The outside of the burger is crisp without the inside becoming dry, and the mushroom and caramelized onion make the perfect topping. The pepper jelly is amazing with all of the components of the dish, but especially the salad. The roast potatoes are a little too crisp for me, but still tasty.
For dessert, I receive a mango slushie, mango with cinnamon, strawberry blueberry rhubarb compote, and mango puree (it’s mango season in Cayman if you didn’t know!) Everything on the plate is delicious, though I do wish I’d gotten something more than fruit - my dinner mates received mango sorbet, a mini slice of lemon meringue pie, and a small bread pudding. A cake of some sort or a vegan bread pudding would have been very much appreciated. Still, the berry compote is perfect with the cinnamon mangoes, and the slushy is both tasty and adorable.
Overall, the meal is a massive success. The only thing that could have made it better in my mind would be having anything chocolate or cake-like on my dessert plate. Even so, Chef Niven manages to not only create a unique vegan meal, but a delicious five course one at that, which is more than I would usually hope for from any restaurant. I can’t wait for the next time I’m in Cayman to see what he creates next.
The restaurant is closed for August, but make sure to check them out in September if you have a chance! For more information on Brasserie restaurant, check out their Facebook page or website!
I know I’ve been gone for a while, and I’m sorry. Vacation managed to get the best of me. I’m back now with some awesome reviews of restaurants I went to in Cayman, and some new recipes! I figured the best way to start off again is to dive right in with one of my favourite new recipes - Biscoff cupcakes.
Biscoff cookies, very similar to speculoos cookies, used to be served on airplanes back when airlines gave you free food. I was very excited to see a vegan cookie being served on an airplane (if you read my post about traveling while vegan, you know how hard it can be to find anything vegan, let alone something delicious, in an airplane or airport), and I was even more excited to find them at Bay Market while I was in Cayman! These cookies are quite possibly one of the most addictive foods I’ve ever eaten. They’re buttery, and sugary, and full of holiday spiced melt in your mouth deliciousness. Recently, I learned that they make a Biscoff spread. Right away I knew it would be perfect to make a Biscoff cupcake.
(Image from Google)
These cupcakes are dense and buttery and perfect. You can use another type of frosting if you must, but the Biscoff buttercream is magical - possibly even better than the cupcake itself. When making the cake, I decided to include molasses, but I don’t think it’s necessary, so feel free to leave it out or replace with agave if you’d like. I’d say more about the cupcakes, but all I can think is “YUMMM! MUST MAKE MORE!”
Note: If you think these look delicious, and you want to help me win a contest, go to The Middle Spoon’s Facebook page and like my submission!
(makes 6 cupcakes)
3/8 cup nondairy milk (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Biscoff spread (crunchy or smooth will work here)
1/6 cup oil (2 tbsp+2 tsp)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp molasses (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground flax seeds
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with 6 liners.
- Mix together the nondairy milk and the apple cider vinegar and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
- Using a wooden spoon or plastic spatula (not the kind used to flip pancakes), mix together the Biscoff spread, sugar, oil, vanilla, molasses if you’re using it, and ground flax. Once well combined, add the nondairy milk and vinegar mixture and mix again.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
- Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake 20-25 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
(makes enough to cover 6 cupcakes with a little extra for you to eat off your fingers)
1/8 cup non-dairy margarine, like Earth Balance
1 tbsp vegetable shortening, like Crisco
1/6 cup Biscoff spread (use the smooth here)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 + 1/8 cups powdered sugar
About 1 tbsp nondairy milk
- Sift the powdered sugar so there are no lumps, and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, blend together the margarine, shortening, biscoff spread, and vanilla with a hand mixer.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar to the margarine mixture until it’s all combined. Add a little more sugar or the nondairy milk until the frosting is the right consistency.
Assembling the cupcakes
- Once the cupcakes are cool, pipe frosting onto cupcakes or spread on with a knife or icing spatula. Top with a Biscoff cookie. Eat three. Make some more.
My parents were never big on eating breakfast during the week when I was growing up (really, they still aren’t - I think they run on coffee). Even so, I have some great memories of family breakfasts when I was a kid. When we did have breakfast on the weekend, I always loved my mom’s buttermilk pancakes. Now that I’m vegan those aren’t an option, but I love making these fluffy vegan pancakes instead!
Fluffy Vegan Pancakes
(makes about nine)
1 cup flour (for gluten free, use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour)
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax, 3 tbsp water)
3/4-1 cup nondairy milk, depending on how thin you like your pancakes (Use 2/3-3/4 if using gluten free flour)
2 tbsp oil or melted margarine
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
scant 1/4 tsp salt
- Mix up the flax egg in a small bowl and set aside.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, and wet ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup.
- Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients in. Whisk to combine.
- Spoon batter into a pan over medium heat. Flip the pancakes when the edges are dry and bubbles pop on the surface of the pancake.
- Eat with syrup and fresh fruit. Enjoy!
Notes: You can store any uneaten pancakes in the freezer. The best way to reheat them is to put them in a dry pan over medium heat or in a toaster; the microwave will leave them floppy. Also try mixing things into the batter - I like to add blueberries or chopped bananas and nuts!
Nutritional info is for one pancake if you make nine, using 3/4 cups soy milk and all purpose flour.