Vegan Mess

So this recipe was meant to be a spectacular and sophisticated looking meringue stack, layered with sweetened coconut cream and fresh fruit, but that dream came crashing to the floor just before a styled shoot, which called for a plan B. 

I was left with delicious pieces of shattered meringue, so naturally I whipped up some coconut cream with a dash of vanilla and maple, added some store bought berry coulis and to finish it off, I decorated it with some fresh berries (I highly recommend adding some toasted almond shavings) I encourage you to come up with your own creation of toppings.

Vegan meringue is ridiculously easy to make, and doesn’t involve any finicky egg cracking or separating. The only separating you will be doing here, is when you are draining the chickpeas so that you can whip that brine called “aquafaba” up into soft dreamy clouds! 

The trick to success here is refrigerating the reserved chickpea brine in a container overnight so its chilled and become even more syrupy. I usually plan ahead and make a recipe requiring chickpeas the day before, that way the liquid gold you usually pour down the drain wont go to waste. You will also need to refrigerate a can of coconut milk for the cream , so make sure to pop that in the fridge too. Ready to get started?

Vegan mess (serves 4)

Meringue:

  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas ( brine only, refrigerated overnight)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Coconut cream:

  • 1 can Coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (use only the thick top part)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Meringue:

  1. Preheat oven to 150c and prepare 2 baking trays lined with parchment paper.
  2. Add chickpea brine to a bowl and whisk on low speed until it starts foaming up, add the vinegar and cream of tartar.
  3. Gradually add the sugar while whisking on medium speed.
  4. Once all the sugar is incorporated , whisk on high speed until you have thick, glossy peaks. The mixture should be firm and spreadable.
  5. Add vanilla and whisk to incorporate.
  6. Dollop meringue mix onto prepared trays and use spatula to create two circles.
  7. Reduce oven temperature to 120 and bake meringue for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If the meringue doesn’t feel firm to the touch,  allow to bake for a few minutes longer.
  8. Turn oven off and leave door ajar to allow the meringue to cool. Once cool, use your hands to shatter into pieces and set aside (keep in airtight container if not using immediately)

Coconut cream:

  1. As mentioned above, we want to start with a can of coconut milk that’s been chilled overnight. This helps separate the milk from the cream and is a necessary step for it to thicken.
  2. Scoop out the thickened cream part and reserve the remaining liquid for a smoothie.
  3. Add maple syrup and vanilla to the cream, and beat until you have thickened, fluffy soft peaks. Keep stored n fridge if you will only be assembling at a later stage

Assembly:

Start by dolloping some coconut cream into each bowl, swirl in some berry coulis, and top with crumbled meringue, fresh berries and some toasted almond flakes.

Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies

I absolutely love these Sweet potato brownies, when I’m busy developing a recipe and the end result is this good, I can’t help but be chuffed with myself. It’s a really easy recipe and doesn’t require any special ingredients, these can be made by using your every day staples. Don’t let the “oat flour” put you off, it’s really simple to make your own; Simply transfer the oats to a blender/food procesor and blend until you’ve achieved a flour (this takes less than a minute)

You will start by roughly chopping the sweet potato’s into small chunks and then roasting them in the oven until cooked through and caramelised. Next, you’ll be transferring them to a blender to create a purée, this will be the base and the delicious, sweet “glue” holding these brownies together. Then it’s pretty much adding ingredients to your mixer until you are left with a thick gooey batter, and lastly smothering over some more chocolate once they have been baked!

I love stirring in some walnuts for added crunch, but feel free to replace this with any nuts of your choice, or even extra chocolate pieces if you have a severe chocolate craving 😜 either way, these brownies will totally sort you out! They just so happen to be refined sugar free (depending on the chocolate you choose to use for the topping) gluten free, and of course vegan, so everybody gets to tuck in and enjoy them.

Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies

Sweet potato brownie:

  • 500 g peeled sweet potato
  • 80 g almond flour
  • 70 g oat flour (read recipe intro to see how to make your own)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 coconut sugar (can sub brown sugar)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup almond butter (cashew/peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup maple (honey if not vegan)
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 50 g walnuts + more to decorate

Ganache:

  • 180 g chocolate (I use Afrikoa 70%)
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Sweet potato brownie:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 c. Prepare baking pan with over hanging parchment paper and cooking spray (I use a 20×20 square pan)
  2. Roughly chop sweet potato into small chunks (about 5 cm pieces) transfer to ovenproof pan and coat with 1 tbsp coconut oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through and soft.
  3. Allow sweet potato to cool slightly, then transfer to food processor/ use immersion blender. Blend until you’ve achieved a smooth purée.
  4. Add sweet potato purée, almond butter, maple syrup, left over coconut oil and vanilla to bowl. Mix until combined.
  5. Combine dry ingredients in bowl and mix together, add to wet ingredients and beat until evenly incorporated. You will have a very thick mixture, if you don’t have a great mixer, you can fold mixture with spatula.
  6. Now fold in chopped walnuts and transfer mixture to prepared baking pan, smooth the top with a wet spatula and bake in oven for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove brownies from oven and allow to cool, meanwhile make the ganache topping.

Ganache:

  1. Finely chop chocolate and add to heat proof bowl with coconut oil.
  2. Heat coconut cream on the stovetop, pour over chocolate and allow to stand for 2 minutes, whisk with a fork until smooth.
  3. Pour over cooled brownies, smooth with spatula and place in fridge to fully set (about 4 hours)

To serve!

  • Remove brownies from the fridge, lift out overhanging parchment paper and slice into squares with a large sharp knife. To keep brownies moist, keep stored in an airtight container.

Vegan Baked Lemon Squares

I’ve said it once, but Im going to say it again, these vegan baked lemon squares taste like sunshine exploded in your mouth! They are the perfect tea time treat, and its almost impossible to have just one square!

When I make something with “lemon” in the title, you best believe it’s going to be pronounced enough that you will pull that sour lemon face after having a bite. The tangy citrus flavour is however not overpowering, between the sweetness of the coconut condense milk and the slight saltiness of the cashew and coconut crumb, everything is in perfect harmony. Texture-wise, these remind me of a kind of creme brullee cheesecake fusion ( just typing that out makes me want to go make another batch)

I’m trying to get this all done while I have a sleeping baby, so I’m not going to elaborate too much, but I hope you’ll give these a try! They are one of my favourite creations thus far, and I make them all the time. They also freeze well, so sometime I take a few blocks out to thaw as my little treat for the week!

Vegan Baked Lemon Squares

Base:

  • 200 g cashews (roasted and salted)
  • 70 g desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (honey if not vegan)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Coconut condense milk:

  • 150 g coconut milk powder
  • 150 g castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 30 g coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Lemon layer:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 400 g can coconut cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 batch coconut condense milk (ingrediens above, recipe below)
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water

Base:

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a crumb like texture. The mixture should stick together when pressed, if it’s too dry, add some more melted coconut oil.
  2. Prepare baking tin with overhanging parchment paper, pour in crust and press down firmly until you have a level base. ( I used a 20cmx20cm square cake tin)
  3. Move to refrigerator.

Coconut condense milk: (equivalent to about 1 can condense milk)

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for 2 minutes until combined and smooth.
  2. Set aside for later

Lemon layer:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 c.
  2. Add lemon juice, coconut cream, zest, salt and coconut condense milk to a pot, stir over medium heat until combined. Allow to simmer and infuse for 25 minutes, giving mixture a stir every now and then( don’t allow mixture to boil)
  3. In the meantime, make a slurry by combining the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, and mix until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Remove pot from heat and stir in the slurry mixture, whisking constantly until mixture has thickened (this happens very quickly, about 2 minutes)
  5. If there are some lumps, don’t worry, just pass the mixture through a sieve to discard those bits.
  6. Pour mixture over the base and give it a few taps so the top is nice and smooth. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator to firm up and cool for at least 5 hours.
  8. Once set, lift parchment paper out of baking tin and slice into squares with a large sharp knife.
  9. Sift over icing sugar and serve with cream and extra toasted coconut shavings.

*Note: Keep stored in refrigerator in an airtight container.

( These squares also freeze well and can be thawed in the fridge)

Vegan Nutty Caramel Chocolate Tart

So I sort of invented this tart by accident, I was experimenting with making coconut caramel, and after about the third batch I had so much of the stuff standing around I had to start using it for something other than eating spoon fulls of it every time I walked past the fridge😅

One of the things I decided to do was to spice up my classic chocolate ganache tart from a few posts back. So I decided to go with a raw tart crust this time, because making the caramel does take some hands on time, so I wanted something you can just throw in a blender and squish into a tin ( it’s as easy as it sounds)

Next I added some almond butter and peanuts to the caramel layer to bulk it up a bit, and who doesn’t like a bit of a nutty crunch with their chocolate? To top it off, I just made that basic silky chocolate ganache,and its ! A few of my family and friends have tested this tart and it was a firm favourite, so I decided I simply had to share it with you guys!

Vegan Nutty Caramel Chocolate Tart

Base:

  • 150 g dried dates (soaked in hot water if they are very dry)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted vanilla
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • pinch salt
  • 140 g pecans
  • 90 g Gluten free rolled oats (processed into a fine meal)
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder

Nutty Caramel:

  • 400 g tin coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped salted peanuts

Chocolate ganache:

  • 300 g chocolate
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Base:

  1. Combine dates, coconut oil, vanilla essence and pinch of salt in a food processor. Blend until you have achieved a paste ( you can add a dash of water to help it along)
  2. Now add nuts, oats and cacao powder and pulse until combined. Blend until the mixture hold together, if it’s too dry it won’t stick together, in that case add a few more dates.
  3. Press mixture out over the base and sides of a loose bottomed tart tin and refrigerate while you are making the filling.

Nutty caramel:

  1. Add coconut milk and sugar to a pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil while constantly stirring mixture for about 5 minutes and then reduce to simmer.
  2. Continue to stir the mixture every now and again, you will see the colour changes from milky light brown to a beautiful thickened creamy caramel (this takes about 30 minutes)
  3. Take off the heat and whisk in almond butter, vanilla and coconut oil
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature and mix in the peanuts, smooth over the base and set in fridge while you prepare the chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache:

  1. Prepare a bain marie, and add all the ganache ingredients to the top bowl. Stir until you have a smooth, completely melted mixture.
  2. Pour the ganache over the nutty caramel layer and chill for 4 hours to set.
  3. Slice with a hot knife and enjoy! Keep leftovers stored in refrigerator.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

Now of course I didn’t invent the peanut butter cup, but it is such a delicious flavour combination, I had to jump on the band wagon and create my own version of these little treats.

When it comes to the filling, you want a putty like mixture that can hold its shape, you don’t want it to be dry or crumbly. Every peanut butter is different, I always use OhMega’s nut butters, but if you are using a different brand, you may need to add a little less/more coconut flour to get the right consistency (start with less) I have added a photo below so you can see what we are aiming to achieve:

After plenty of research, this was the combination I liked best, the filling is firm, but still nice and soft, and the chocolate has a nice snap to it, while still being silky and smooth. Simply scatter over some ground sea salt and devour 😉

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups (makes about 15)

Filling:

  • 140 g peanut butter (I use OhMega)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp coconut flour
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate shell:

  • 400 g chopped chocolate (I used Afrikoa 55%)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Filling:

  1. Start by setting out 15 mini baking paper cups on a tray/plate (this is so the chocolate cups won’t change shape when handling later)
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients until combined.
  3. Roll mixture into a ball, and then flatten it slightly into a disk, like you would with a patty. We want about 15 cups, so keep this in mind as you are portioning the filling out.
  4. Set peanut butter disks aside.

Chocolate shell and assembly:

  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil over a water bath.
  2. Add about 1 1/2 tbsp chocolate to every paper cup.
  3. Place a peanut butter disk in the centre of each cup, very lightly pressing down so that some of the chocolate rises up and around the disk.
  4. Spoon over leftover chocolate to completely cover the cups and grind over some sea salt.
  5. Place trays with peanut butter cups in refrigerator until set (about 1 hour)
  6. Keep covered in an airtight container and keep stored in the refrigerator or at a cool room temperature.

Vegan Banana Walnut muffins

Okay so I’m keeping this post short and sweet, just like the recipe! I’ve put a lot of time into developing this recipe because I am a huge fan of muffins, they are the perfect grab and go snack and thats why I always make sure I have a batch at home. So I’ve made these probably about 15 different ways, and have finally perfected it. It’s a nice and easy one bowl recipe, and really makes the most delicious, moist muffins.

Now when I mention large bananas in the ingredients list, I’m talking like medium Large here, nothing from Ripley’s believe it or not, and we want them to be very ripe! The method is straight forward, and theres not much explaining to do, but you’ll see once you’ve mashed the bananas and added the bicarbonate of soda, the mixture sort of starts to fizz and “froth” (which always makes me feel like a mad food scientist) This is actually helping to soften and break down the banana even further.

So all the ingredients go straight into one bowl, and then into the muffin tins to bake for 20-25 minutes. Thats Vegan banana walnut muffins done!

Vegan Banana Walnut Muffins (makes 9)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 very ripe bananas (use 4 if they are very tiny)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (honey if not vegan)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (mild tasting)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup nutty wheat flour (oat flour for gluten free, see notes)
  • 100 g chopped walnuts

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190c and Spray and line muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flaxseed and water until you have a paste, leave to sit for about 5 mins.
  3. Add bananas, and smash them well with a fork, add baking powder, bicarb and salt. Mash it all together until well incorporated.
  4. Next add vanilla, sugar, maple syrup, olive oil and cinnamon, whisk to combine.
  5. Once combined, add the almond flour and the nutty wheat/oat flour, stir well. Fold in most of the chopped walnuts, leaving some to scatter over the top later.
  6. Pour mixture into the muffin tin, filling each space to about 2/3 full, and scatter with reserved walnuts.
  7. Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown ( mine’s usually closer to 20 mins, check with a skewer for doneness). Remove from oven and allow to cool down slightly before removing muffins from the tin.
  8. Serve with some tasty nut butter, vegan margarine or just enjoy as is!

*Notes: You can make your own oat flour by adding the amount needed to a food processor, and blitzing until you have achieved a fine flour like consistency, this works well and tastes delicious, but you will have a flatter looking end result.

Store in a covered container at room temperature, or in the fridge if your planning on storing it for longer. These also freeze well, and can be defrosted at room temperature!

Vegan Dark Chocolate Tart

This tart is all about the silky smooth, velvety dark chocolate filling. It’s a no frills/fuss recipe, and thats one of the reasons I love it so much. Everybody needs an array of classics they can depend on, and this is one of those recipes that I’m sure you will use time and time again.

Another thing I love about this recipe is how fast and simple it is to make, making it perfect for those last minute dinner parties or even midnight cravings 😉

The tart shell just so happens to be gluten free and is a lot healthier than most. I have kept it basic with just a few ingredients: Desiccated coconut, almonds, pecans, salt and sugar – whizz it all up in your blender and mix in the melted margarine, presto she’s ready for the oven!

Now, for the star of the show, the chocolate ganache filling! All we do here is melt loads of decadent dark chocolate over a bain marie with some almond milk, sugar and coconut oil. As I said before, we all need those classic, timeless recipes so I wanted to keep the flavours clean. The fun part is that you can dress it up any way you want, I love pairing mine with seasonal berries for brightness and a burst of freshness, but a bit of whipped coconut cream and a drizzle of caramel would be just as divine!

Vegan Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart

Tart shell:

  • 100 g desiccated coconut
  • 50g almonds
  • 50g pecans
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 40 g melted vegan margarine

Dark chocolate ganache:

  • 300 g dark chocolate ( I use Afrikoa 70%)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp sugar

Tart shell:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease tart tin.
  2. Add all the ingredients apart from the margarine to a food processor and blend until fine, but not oily. Add melted margarine and mix in until well combined.
  3. Press the mixture into the prepared tart tin and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until slightely browned (keep an eye on it towards the end so it doesn’t burn) Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Dark chocolate ganache:

  1. Prepare a bain marie, and add all the ganache ingredients to the top bowl. Stir until you have a smooth, completely melted mixture.
  2. Pour the ganache into the cooled tart shell and chill for 4 hours to set.
  3. Decorate with berries, caramel or a sprinkling of nuts, it’s totally up to you!

*Notes: When serving, always use a hot sharp knife to cut your slices, this will give you the best presentation!