Here goes…

06Dec09

After nearly three years of um-ing and ah-ing, I’m finally starting a blog. Most of the time I have a lot to say, but it remains to be seen whether it’s of interest to anyone else! At the weekend, I like to munch. I spend most of Sunday in the kitchen, making enough food to see me through the week. I have no problem with eating the same thing every day if it means I don’t have to cook or prepare something every night. This weekend, however, my sweet tooth took over, so it looks like I’m going to be living on cookies and truffles next week. Before we get into them though, I feel last night’s dinner deserves a mention.

Living in Newtown means it’s fairly easy to get hold of vegan food. Last night Dan and I decided to give Mad Pizza a go. They seemed pretty confident so I was very interested to see what they had to offer. We went for the Vegan Deluxe: artichokes, roasted capsicum, olives, soy cheese, vegan sauce and tofu topped with sundried tomatoes.

Mad Pizza

We'll see...

They weren’t kidding. It was AMAZING. The only other vegan pizza I’ve tried is from Basil Pizza, and while I really like the fact they do a wholemeal base, the toppings don’t thrill me. After seven years at Pizza Hut I’m very particular about my pizzas!

Vegan Deluxe

The Vegan Deluxe in all its glory.

We had this one on a multigrain base, which was almost as good as the wholemeal from Basil. They weren’t stingy with the toppings though and the sauce was awesome. It was really thick and tangy, and the cheese made for a really creamy texture. This is the first time I’ve ever enjoyed soy cheese. As a rule, I think it’s rancid and certainly no substitute for the real thing. Maybe I’m eating the wrong cheese.

On to today’s creations. The main purpose for all the sweet treats was to make a present for my friend. It’s her birthday next week so thought I’d make a pressie with a personal touch. First, I made a batch of Fitnessista’s Vegan Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. They always get great reviews so I’m hoping she’ll like them. I vary the recipe slightly depending on what I have in the cupboard. I never have vegan choc chips so just chop up regular dark choc into chunks. Today I used wholemeal rather than spelt flour, and used 1/4 cup of agave syrup and 1/2 cup of maple syrup. They turned out beautifully and got the thumbs up from Dan and Tara.

Almond Butter Cookies

Almond butter yumminess.

It gets better. I present my first ever attempt at a) veganising a recipe, and b) making truffles:

Dark chocolate and Cointreau truffles

Not a bad first attempt, I thought.

Dark Chocolate and Cointreau Truffles with Cranberries

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup water
350g good quality dark chocolate
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1.5 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 cup Cointreau
Cacao powder for dusting and extra zest for rolling

Instructions:

Blend the cashews and water together using a food processor or high-speed blender until they reach a creamy consistency. This will take 1-2 minutes.

Melt the chocolate (I did it in the microwave). Stir the cashew mix into the chocolate and once combined add the cranberries, orange zest and Cointreau. Stir until everything is covered in the mixture and refrigerate for about an hour an a half. Once the mixture has cooled and set a little, roll into balls and either dust with cacao powder or roll in orange zest. Enjoy. I made 37 truffles of varying sizes, so depending on your rolling skills, I’d say the recipe is good for 35-40 truffles. The recipe was adapted from here.

Just need to find a pretty box and hopefully they’ll make a memorable birthday pressie!

Well, that’s it. First post complete. Wasn’t as scary as I thought.

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