Sunday, 24 August 2014

Spiced Chocolate Cake {vegan, refined sugar free}

Spiced Chocolate Cake

This week's been all about back-to-school - me celebrating the fact that I can stay at home and my sister fighting the fact that summer break is over and it's all back to 7 am mornings and homework afternoons... Let's pretend that I was just a LITTLE malicious - but hey, I'm a good sister, so I made her some cake: a super-duper light vegan spiced chocolate cake with a sticky glaze - half for her to take to school, half for me for lazy breakfasts for the next days - sounds like a good deal doesn't it?

Spiced Chocolate Cake

I hid the fact that there's no white sugar in it from her, this was a fault: no more cake for me in the end - I just found a few crumbs, the rest was GONE! I don't think you need any more descriptions about how good this cake is, don't you? Even my mom was like, this cake that you just made was goooood, could you make it again for the weekend? Uhm, yes I will, just let me have a few more slices this time, please! ;-)

Spiced Chocolate Cake

Just a few hints to convince everyone about it (yes, even those who think that there can't be a cake without white sugar, trust me there is!): it's a melt in your mouth texture, light and chocolatey with a hint of various spices, reminders of autumn that's just starting. And it's all topped with a smooth glaze that incorporates even more chocolate - without being to rich and even skipping the sugar coma. Aaaaan there's zucchini inside! Call me crazy but it works, moist like nothing else! What's not to love? Have a happy weekend everyone and how about making some cake? :-)

Spiced Chocolate Cake {vegan, refined sugar free}
- 220 g or 1 and 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, can be substituded with carrots
- 200g or 1 and 2/3 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch cloves
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 3 Tbsp oil
- 75 g or 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 150g or 2/3 cups molasses
- 70g 99% Chocolate, you can use one with lower cocoa percentage, just make sure to adjust the molasses level accordingly!
- 50 ml or 1/5 cup water
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar

1. Preheat your oven to 180 °C/ 356 °F. Line a 20 cm/ ~ 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper.
2. In a medium sized bowl mix the shredded zucchini, flour, salt, all the spices and the baking soda.
3. Melt 50g of the chocolate, mix with 100g molasses and oil and stir into the dry ingredients until well combined. Now add in the water, applesauce and white vinegar, add in some more water if dough is too dry.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
5. Now prepare the glaze: melt the remaining chocolate and mix with the remaining molasses, then pour it over the still warm cake. Remove from the pan and let cool to room temperature, then slice and serve or keep in an airtight container until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Spiced Chocolate Cake

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Banana Coconut Pancakes

Banana Coconut Pancakes with Cottage Cheese and Blueberries




Uh, oh, I'm almost hitting the monday blues time again - that one day after a great weekend when everything just calls back to work as usual... But don't worry, I've got something to fix that "problem", something sweet yet healthy, indulgent enough to keep that weekend feeling while preparing for upcoming tasks, meetings, lessons...


Banana Coconut Pancakes with Cottage Cheese and Blueberries

Monday, 11 August 2014

Creamy Polenta with roasted bell peppers

Creamy Polenta with roasted bell peppers

It's comforting, it's creamy (yet totally cream free), it gives you a warm hug and still bursts with summer flavours! This creamy Polenta with roasted bell peppers is a keeper ;-).

While summer still shines as bright as it could a couple of stormy and rainy hours got me craving comfort food as of lately. But not too hearty or heavy, just something light and comfortable. After a short chat and check-up with both the refrigerator and our cupboard I settled on using one of my favourite sides: polenta (a coarse kind of cornmeal) cooked in milk and then topped with a vegetable mix, which is heavy on ripe (red) bell peppers - toasted walnuts add a little autumn-y touch while green thyme reminds me of long summer evenings. In the end my cravings were covered and the leftovers taste great the next day as well! Another plus point: it's rather quick and you can work on something else while the veggies are roasting in the oven - a win for midweek-dinners. So enjoy the last weeks of summer!

Creamy Polenta with roasted bell peppers

Creamy Polenta with roasted bell peppers


Creamy Polenta with roasted bell peppers
- serves 2
- 2 bell peppers (I used red ones, but you can use whichever you have on hand/prefer)
- 1 small zucchini
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup dry polenta
- 200 ml milk
- 200 ml water
- 1 medium sized tomato
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- loose handful of thyme (fresh), plus extra for garnish
- loose handful of chopped walnuts
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 220°C/440°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil, drizzle with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Halve and deseed the bell peppers, slice the zucchini. Arrange the bell pepper halves cut-side-down onto the baking sheet as well as the zucchini slices. Drizzle the zucchini with an additional tablespoon of olive oil then add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the zucchini slices and roast for a further 10-15 minutes until vegetables are fork tender. Remove and put the bell pepper halves in a heat proof bowl and cover with a lid. The kept steam will allow for easy peeling later on.
2. Meanwhile prepare the polenta with the mixed milk and water according to package directions.
3. Now peel the bell peppers, discarding the peel and slicing both, the peppers and the zucchini into small pieces. Set a pan on medium high heat and toast the chopped walnuts until just browned. Meanwhile cut the tomato into cubes. Remove the nuts from the pan, then add in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and fry the tomato until just soft, then add in the tomato paste along with the pepper and zucchini pieces, stir well and add in salt and pepper to taste.
4. Divide the cooked polenta into two bowls or on two plates, then spoon the roasted vegetables on top. Sprinkle with the roasted walnuts and garnish with some fresh thyme - serve and enjoy!