vegan cashew cheezcake

Before you judge me about using the word “cheezcake”, it’s purely to get across a point about it not actually being cheese or animal based at all. This vegan cake, to me, is more like an ice-cream (or should that be ice-CREEM) cake.

This is my first attempt at making my own cheezcake, with my guess at what quantities are required.

WARNING: before you think that you’re going to make, then eat this bad boy today, unfortunately you will need to soak the cashews overnight so get cracking now!

For the base

1 cup almond meal (I used Naked Foods)
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup (I used Pureharvest) or for strict PALEO replace with an alternate sweetener but it will no longer be low fructose
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao (I used Naked Foods)

For the filling
4 cups organic raw cashews (I used Naked Foods)
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbspns plant based milk (I used Pureharvest almond milk)
1/3 cup cacao
1/4 cup raspberries

METHOD
1. Soak the cashews in water overnight in 2 seperate containers, each with 2 cups of cashews. This is because we are doing 2 separate layers

I highly recommended not soaking much longer than 12 hours. Mine started to get little purple ‘veins’ on them (I soaked for 24 hours) which I have since researched & seems to be quite common (see below pic)

 

2. Line a round tin with baking paper

3. Make the base first – blend all ingredients in a food processor until it looks like (a very delicious version of) dirt – in little clumps.

4. Press the base into the tin lined with baking paper. I used my fingers to get it right to the edges & then used a fork.

5. Throw this in the freezer

6. While the base is freezing, throw one lot (2 cups) cashews DRAINED cashews in the blender with 1/4 cup rice malt syrup, 2 tbspns coconut oil, vanilla & 2 tbspns almond milk. Blend until smooth.

7. Remove the base from the freezer & sprinkle over the raspberries

8. Pour over the vanilla cashew mix, spread as evenly as possible, then place back in the freezer

9. Do not clean the blender – tip 2 cups cashews (drained) into the blender, followed by 1/3 cup cacao, 1/4 cup rice malt syrup,  2 tbspns coconut oil, 1/4 cup almond milk. Blend until smooth. I’m warning you now, I was a cashew butter cynic before, but this stuff is addictive. Don’t lick the spoon til the end or none will make it into the cake tin.

10. Once blended well tip the cashew chocolate  back into the measuring cup. Once the vanilla layer is frozen (1-2 hours), pour the chocolate layer over, then put back in the freezer for 2-4 hours.

How do you vegan?

Often I watch a lecture in my IIN study & afterwards, wish I could sit down everyone I know in front of it. Tonight was one of those moments, watching a passionate Mark Bittman sing about policies very close to my heart:

He commenced a form of veganism 6 years ago. Before you non-vegans start rolling your eyes, just read on a little further. Mark is entirely plant based (fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds) from when he wakes until 6pm, every day. From 6pm, he gives himself carte blanche – whether that is a steak, cocktail, wine or a cheeky dessert.

Here are some of his beliefs:
1. Make it hard to sell junk food to children
2. Make it illegal to sell ‘soda’ to children
3. Stop dispensing junk, including soda, in schools
4. Subsidise production & sales of real foods, including fruit, vegetables, nuts & seeds.
5. Lead by example – encourage your friend
6. De-incentivize companies whose products have been shown to make people ill.

All of us have an opportunity to make a change to the earth, in the form of food consumption. Yours could be:
1. supporting small to medium farmers by purchasing at farmers markets, instead of purchasing processed foods built on mono-crops like corn & soy which are ineffective & have negative benefits on the soil.
2. Decrease global warming by having one less meal containing meat every week (or cut down more if you choose)
3. Decrease the amount of processed junk you eat each week & replace that with a plant-heavy meal.
4. A form of veganism – perhaps it is plant-based foods only Monday to Friday; or daily til 6pm; or you could decide to have lunch only containing meat.
5. Work on the above points regularly. Encourage your friends to do the same. Do you think if all consumers stopped buying GMO products or poor quality meat, it would continue to be produced? Supply & demand my friends. Help me on this journey to making the world a better place for our children, their children & for many more generations to come.

What am I doing?
1. 7 months ago I ditched dairy & despite having a bit of cheese on holidays in Scotland over Christmas, I am back to being dairy-free.
2. I read labels on everything I buy & make conscious choices to buy organic where possible.
3. I shop at Farmers Markets every weekend, & have done so for nearly 5 years.
4. I haven’t eaten meat in nearly 18 years
5. I give my children meat, which is 90% of the time organic & grass-fed. I also explain to them where the meat comes from, as I feel education is part of the issue that needs to be discussed.

I’ve attached images of vegan meals & foods I enjoy to show you that veganism is far from boring or unsatisfying. If you would like tips on replacing meals with vegan options, come say hi over on Facebook at 6cleaningredients & I would love to help you out x

 

 

Peanut butter & coconut no-cook fudge

Don’t do what I did & make this in 30 degree heat, only for the fudge to literally melt in my hand (well I’ll maintain that as an excuse for shoving it in my mouth so fast).

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup Mayver’s peanut & coconut
1.5 tbspns coconut oil
1 tspn vanilla powder (I love Honest to Goodness brand)
Sprinkle of salt (I am currently using a mix containing iodised Australian & Himalayan pink)
1 tbspn rice malt syrup (I tend to use Pureharvest)

METHOD

1. Stir all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
2. Tip into preferred moulds. I did 6 moulds, each were about 2.5 tablespoons of mixture.
3. Throw in the freezer for at least an hour. Keep in the freezer.

These are quite rich so take it easy & as always, ENJOY!

Giving up plastic for lent

My friend Lucy & I have given up plastic for lent. I’m not religious, but every year she gives something up for lent & this year when I asked what she was giving up, she replied that we were giving up plastic.
What does giving up plastic mean?
  • For me it means saying no to plastic bags always.
  • Having at least one recyclable bag in my handbag at all times (I recently did this on a month long family holiday in the UK & used it almost daily).
  • Being prepared when I go to the supermarket with bags in the car.
  • Buying more ‘unpackaged’ foods – I now buy most of my flours, nuts & pantry health foods from Naked Foods Organic Health Foods & take my own jars (which they happily weigh before I fill them & also there’s no double handling).
  • Taking a recyclable water bottle everywhere we go – the kids both have a Thermos drink bottle to keep water cool in summer & I fill my own before going out.
  • I’ve gone off caffeine (2 weeks, going strong with decaf) which means not buying take-away coffees & no plastic lined coffee cups, as I just make one at home in the mornings.
  • Saying no to soy sauce ‘fish’ bottles (I notice a LOT washed up on beaches).
  • Not buying anymore plastic storage units – I started purchasing glass pyrex containers for food storage last year but refuse to throw out plastic tupperware for the sake of throwing it out (our tendency for overconsumption or to upgrade is where part of the problem stems from)
Lucy has already had 2 situations where she clearly asked for no plastic – once to a straw & then to flowers just being wrapped in paper, but it seems that the people providing the products just did it out of habit.
We need to grow our consciousness about what can be recycled when we do purchase plastics; & what can be recycled. I found on a recent trip to the UK, it was much more clear as to what could be recycled on packaging.
Next level of minimal plastic consumption for me is:
  1. Not buying products wrapped in plastic.
  2. Not ever using cling film/snap lock bags in the boys lunchboxes
  3. Utilising biodegradable rubbish bin liners
  4. Not purchasing toys made from plastic, especially those that are poorly produced & likely to break quickly, ending up as landfill/in the ocean
  5. On the occasions I purchase take-away sushi, taking my own container & putting it in there, rather than the plastic take-away containers.
  6. Influencing friends, families & the broader community on how each of them has the power to make a difference – decreasing the amount of plastic they use & the strength of the consumer voice (if everyone stops buying poorly made plastic toys, they will not be produced anymore).

So I pose this question to you, what are YOU doing to decrease plastic usage? You may not realise it, but if you just action saying no to plastic bags, & get a few mates to do the same, you are making a huge difference.

Thank-you. From me. My children. From future generations. We’ve got this one with your help.

Kids banana & carrots muffins

I am constantly on the look out for healthy recipes to fill the lunchboxes of my sons. Seeing as they have a combined 25 years (EEK!) of school remaining, it would surely be of benefit to find something easy that they enjoy, & can be popped in the lunchbox.

GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT-FREE, SUGAR-FREE

INGREDIENTS
2 carrots
2 bananas
1 cup brown rice flour (I bought mine from Naked foods in Bondi Junction)
3 organic eggs
2 tbspns coconut oil
1.5 teaspoons vanilla powder (I use Heilala brand)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (more if you prefer)
1 tspn bicarb

METHOD
*Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
1. Throw carrots, bananas, vanilla & cinnamon in the blender until smooth
2. Pour carrot/banana mix into a mixing bowl.
3. In a separate small bowl, give the eggs a light whisk with a fork for about 10-20 seconds.
4. Pour eggs into carrot/banana mix, then add rice flour & bicarb.
5. Pour into muffin moulds & put in the oven for 25 minutes. They will not brown like muffins containing dairy/gluten, so just pop your finger on top & see if you get any bounce back. Leave a bit longer if required.

I kept them in the fridge & they were fine for Monday to Friday

   
  

Cheezy omeletteĀ 

This is a fabulous balance of protein, healthy fats & carbs. This simple gluten-free, dairy-free vegetarian dish, that should start your day on a good note.

I wasn’t a big egg eater until I saw a Naturopath in July 2015 who suggested I add more to my diet, due to being a lazy pescetarian (I love seafood, but don’t often bother to make it), now I aim for 2 organic eggs every second day.

I would love to hear how you enjoy eggs; or what your favourite breakfast is.

INGREDIENTS

2 x organic eggs (I used Southern Highlands brand – from Wholefoods House in Woollahra)
1 cup kale
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 avocado, sliced (If avocadoes are in short supply in your area, or out of season, replace with ricotta or feta)
2 slices preferred bread (I use Naturis organic buckwheat bread)
2 wedges lemon
Chilli flakes (optional)

METHOD

1. Heat the stove to a high heat. Tip in olive oil then kale & parsley.
2.  Stir constantly for 1 minute then crack in 2 eggs & put in 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast. Flip over after 1 minute, take out once cooked.
3. Serve with toast, sliced avocado & lemon wedges. Chilli optional

Omit the buckwheat paleo friends

Vegan chocolate

I may be anti-Valentine’s Day due to if having become a money making exercise BUT I am all for an excuse to make chocolate…..

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup hulled tahini (I’ve used Naked Foods brand for this one)
1/4 cup cacao (also Naked Foods)
1 tablespoon Rice Malt Syrup (you guessed it, from Naked Foods)
Optional: a sprinkle of vanilla powder – I’m currently using Heilala, which you can pick up at About Life
Raspberries, for decoration

METHOD

If you’re currently in Australia, your coconut oil will well & truly be in liquid form already….
1. Melt together coconut oil, tahini & cacao on a low heat. If you’re adding vanilla, throw it in now. Once combined, the mixture should look quite thick & ‘creamy’.
2. Remove from heat & stir in rice malt syrup well.
3. If you’re adding raspberries, place one in each mould before pouring in chocolate.
4. Pour chocolate into moulds, throw in the freezer. Lick spoon / bowl / any over utensils covered in chocolate
5. Attempt to wait a full hour until they are ready to devour.

*If it’s summer where you are, they won’t last long out of the fridge before they become a big chocolate puddle. Keep in the fridge or freezer