Monday, April 25, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Treats and Easter Traditions

My family is a little crazy, not in a horrible way, but in a funny silly way. We have recently started a bit of a easter tradition where we have a picnic/bbq at a park with a boat house and then most of our family members get into row boats and canoes and while most people have calm relaxing boat rides down the river we try to splash each other with water using the oars and tip each other over. What generally happens is that most of us end up drenched with water whereas there tends to be one boat/canoe that ends up like this:

When this happened yesterday to 3 of our family members, the rest of us and some strangers looking on from the sides cheered and clapped. So much fun!
Our other easter tradition is an easter egg hunt, where the adults hide the 'children's' chocolate easter eggs' and the 'children' hide the adult's easter eggs. I use quotation marks around the world children because Toby and I belong in that category despite being in our 30s, along with others who are mostly in their 20s. There are certain family members who get more adventurous each year, burying eggs and throwing them so high into trees that you can't reach them and there are always a couple that no-one can find.

This year my mother made a crazy amount of her veggie burgers and I made these chocolate hazelnut crispy treats. I used chocolate peanut butter instead of choc hazelnut butter. These were good, although the marshmallow and chocolate peanut butter flavour was too subtle and there wasn't enough chocolate to fully coat them so I recommend using less rice bubbles/rice krispies, I used the full 6 cups and it was too much. As Allyson suggested it might depend on the rice krispies you use, I used the freedom foods rice puffs. The marshmallows are really great though at helping to keep the mixture together, in the past I've had issues with gluten free rice bubbles/rice krispies and this was far easier.

Chocolate Hazlenut Peanut Butter Crispy Treats from Manifest Vegan

  • 4 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut butter chocolate peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean scraped, or vanilla bean paste
  • 10 oz Dandies vegan marshmallows
  • 5 1/2 -6 cups gluten free crispy puffed rice cereal (see note above)
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • sprinkles or coloured sugar
  1. Measure out about 5 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal and place into large bowl. (Reserve about half a cup to add at the end in case they seem too “wet”. My marshmallow mixture worked perfectly mixed with 6 cups of rice, but depending on exact ingredients used… such as the hazelnut butter’s consistency, this could vary.
  2. Generously grease up a 9″ x 11″ or similar sized pan with margarine (on the bottoms and the sides).
  3. Over medium heat in large saucepan melt together margarine and hazelnut butter.
  4. Stir in vanilla bean paste and marshmallows.
  5. Reduce heat ever so slightly and let marshmallows melt and merge well with the butters, stirring often. All the individual marshmallows and other ingredients should homogenize. It will look more like brownish marshmallow fluff at this point.
  6. When all marshmallows have been fused into one giant marshmallow-like blob, quickly stir in with cereal until everything is well mixed. This takes a bit of finesse, but not much. If the mixture seems too sticky or wet, add up to 1/2 cup more rice cereal.
  7. Transfer marshmallow/crispy combo into the greased pan and spread out until flat and even.
  8. Place in fridge to firm up.
  9. Cut into squares, either bite sized or bigger.
I coated a couple with dark chocolate and then drizzled a small amount of chocolate on the rest and sprinkled blue sugar crystals on top. In hindsight, less dark chocolate was probably better for my family who mostly hate dark chocolate.

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Ottolenghi's Black Pepper Tofu

    Ottolenghi seems to be all the rage at the moment. I think I missed the memo about how/why he become popular but this dish looks pretty so I put it as my request for Toby to make it and he did. He only used about half the black pepper and it was still too spicy. I wish we read Carla's review before because she discussed the same issue, so I suggest starting with 1 teaspoon of pepper and then adding more. He also didn't put in cornstarch or deep fry, instead choosing to do our regular stir fried tofu method and added some green beans. It was delicious and I think we will make it again but with less pepper.


    Ottolenghi's Black Pepper Tofu from The Guardian 
    800gm firm tofu
    Oil for frying
    12 small shallots, sliced thickly
    8 fresh red chillis
    12 garlic cloves
    3 tbsp fresh ginger
    3 tbsp sweet soy
    3 tbsp light soy
    4 tbsp dark soy
    2 tbsp caster sugar
    5 tsp crushed black pepper (Caution-see note above)
    16 spring onions, thinly sliced

    Cut the tofu into 3cm x 2cm blocks and toss them in cornflour, shaking off the excess. Pour in enough oil to come 0.5cm up the sides of a large frying pan, and bring up to frying heat. Fry the tofu in batches in the oil, turning the pieces as you go. Once they are golden all around, and have a thin crust, transfer to a paper towel.
    Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan and throw in the butter. Once it has melted, add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 15 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the contents of the pan are shiny and totally soft. While you wait, crush the peppercorns, using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. They should be quite coarse.
    When the shallots and chillies are soft, add the soy sauces and the sugar, stir, then stir in the crushed pepper. Warm the tofu in the sauce for about a minute, then add the spring onion and stir through. Serve hot with steamed rice.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    New Stuff

    Just a quick one to say that i've been busy doing other vegan related things which don't relate to blogging but will be back soon and to let you know about a few new things I've been up to:

    * Remember the accidentally vegan product or ninja vegan post, well that led to me creating a facebook group called 'Aussie Vegan Food Updates' a few years ago. Well I've finally got around to transferring it to a community page on facebook. The major advantage of having a community page is that it updates to your news feed so you don't need to keep checking it to find out the latest vegan goss. This time I'm teamed up with a few other vegans so the plan is to have a more communal style sharing community page. Click here or on the link on the sidebar to like the group, there is some goss about restaurants moving/opening etc. I promise to try to keep the updates to a reasonable level so your not flooded by updates!

    * Xgfx has launched, so you can now start to see gluten free AND vegan products reviews, recipes etc.  I've submitted my one review and hope and to work on a few more. So great that gluten free vegans can find all sorts of info in one place, it's a great time to be gluten free and vegan!

    * I've also been recipe testing for Leigh Drew's new vegan pastry themed cookbook which is extremely gluten free friendly. You may know Leigh from her first vegan dessert cookbook called Vegan Indulgence. I'm so amazed by her creativity with the recipes and her thoughtfulness around trying to cater for us gluten free folks too. I'll post some pictures once it's closer to being released.

    Will catch up on reading blogs and blogging soon but right now have to attend to one messy house and an attention seeking cat which have both been slightly neglected.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Gluten Free PPK Parcel Swap

    I organised a gluten free package swap on PPK a few months ago. I've never participated in a swap before, let alone organised one but i've always thought they were an awesome way to share vegan products with people in other parts of the world. I  figured that us gluten free vegan folk could also benefit from one, but it was open to anyone so we also had some non gf ppkers send some awesome packages too. My swappee was strawberryrock on PPK who lives in Portland, I send her a package which consisted of a range of products including mintons, smooze, chocolate sesame snaps, pretezels, a wallaby bar and a few other things and she send me this:

    It included stickers, two types of gf jerky which had the right amount of smokiness/saltiness, sweet but slightly salty cocomels made from mostly coconut milk which are quite addictive, gluten free vegan version of oreos, i know!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Also raw crackers, soy curls, dandies marshmallows, hot sauce which had a slightly sweet flavour and was great on nachos. I think this chocolate bar was my favourite, it kind of resembles a snickers bar with peanuts and caramel:

    The brand is Eli's earth bars and this one is called dream big bar. I felt very spoiled especially since I'm sure delivery costs alone must have been expensive and I love the fact that when I go to the US in a few months that I will already be familiar with several awesome products which I won't hesitate to eat again.

    You can read about other swaps too either on the ppk forum, or from posts from bitt of raw, vegan culinary crusade and in my box. Let me know if I've missed any. I love how different each parcel was.

    Thanks to strawberry rock and everyone who participated!

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Macro Golden Choc Filled Biscuits- Reviewed

    My mother bought these for me and I stupidly decided to check that they were vegan by reading the label and then realised I didn't need to because it was clearly labelled as vegan as you can see on the box. Labelling products vegan and gluten free makes life a lot easier particularly since I'm having to scan for two different types of ingredients. After tasting one though I realised that they were the same biscuits which used to be under the Woolworths Free From range which were in a white and orange plastic package. This makes sense since Woolworths now owns Macro. The biscuits remind me a lot of the Arnotts Kingston biscuits which I used to have growing up which are neither gluten free or vegan. Although I'm not sure how great my memory is since it's about a decade since I tried one but they certainly looks the same.

    • clear vegan label
    • They cost $3.75 which is pretty good for gluten free biscuits.
    • They have a great crunchy texture which resembles regular gluteny biscuits
    • They have a lovely sweet flavour.
    • Easily accessible at all or most Woolworths (Safeway) supermarkets.

    • They do have quite a strong coconut flavour and I think I would prefer to taste more of the chocolate in the middle but this is really a minor thing which wouldn't stop me from buying the biscuits.
    • They are filled with sugar so not so healthy.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart

    So it's probably no surprise to anyone that chocolate and peanut butter are my favourite combo, but pretzels have also been a bit of an addiction since high school.  Since going gluten free i've simple changed to Eskal gluten free pretzels. They had a chemical taste when I first started eating them but now I love them. So when Manifest Vegan posted this recipe, I couldn't resist making it since it combined my three favourite things.

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Tartlets/Tart by Manifest Vegan

    I doubled the recipe below to make one large tart instead of individual ones, I used two packets of eskal gluten free pretzels which may be a tiny bit over the amount.


    • 1 1/2 cup gluten free pretzels
    • 6 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp softened vegan margarine
    • 2 tbsp organic sugar
    • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup coconut cream
    • 1 cup almond milk


    1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Gather about twelve 2″ tart pans.
    2. Combine crushed pretzels, 6 tbsp margarine, and sugar together until well mixed. Make sure there are no lumps–when pressed the mixture should somewhat hold its shape. You may need to add a touch more margarine if it feels too crumbly… but just about a tablespoon or so.
    3. Press crumbs into tart pans, making an even crust that is about 1/4-1/3 of an inch thick. Handle with care…
    4. Bake in preheated oven about 12 minutes, or until dark golden brown.
    5. Remove tart shells from oven and let cool on wire racks.
    6. Once crusts are cool, begin making your filling.
    7. Place chocolate chips into a medium sized bowl.
    8. Combine peanut butter, coconut cream and almond milk in small saucepan.
    9. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly using a wire whisk.
    10. Once the mixture comes to a “boil” (or better described as “plopping”) and is very hot, pour over chocolate chips, stirring quickly to melt.
    11. Use a deep spoon to transfer the chocolate/peanut butter mixture into the tart shells.
    12. The chocolate mix should be pretty thick, a lot like pudding. In fact, it makes a pretty good pudding… try it!
    13. Let cool at room temp for about an hour and then chill in fridge.
    14. Store in refrigerator and serve cold.

    I can't remember how long I baked it for because I took it out checked it a few times and then placed in back in the oven, it was probably about double the time. Here is the crust:

    I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the whole complete tart!

    This was delicious, but super intense so I think the recipe is probably better suited to tartlets. I love the tiny bit of saltiness this adds to the rich chocolate peanut butter combo. I'm impressed with the texture of choc peanut butter mix, it sets really well. Although, the crust was a tiny bit soggy, so I'm not sure if I didn't bake it long enough or that the brand of gf pretzels were not as great as the ones that Allyson used.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Eat Pizza- Mini Post

    Just a quick post to say that Eat Pizza is still my favourite gluten free pizza and they are still super generous with their cheezly. I always order the same, the garlic pizza and the vegetarian pizza with vegan cheese and gluten free crust. Toby always ordered a regular pizza with vegan salami. So so good on a friday night when you want greasy fast food!

    Eat Pizza
    44 Raleigh Rd,
    (03) 9317 7977


    Monday, April 4, 2011

    CERES Cafe- Great Food but Glutened Me

    We caught up with Liz when she was in Melbourne a few weeks ago and decided to join her for breaky at ceres cafe. I was delighted to discover that they have two breaky options which can be both vegan and gluten free!

    Toby ordered the Indonesian eggs which was naturally gluten free, which they made vegan by substituting the eggs for tofu. This was really good, it featured their yummy smoked tofu with rice, chilli, and vegies.

    I ordered their vegan breaky with gf toast. Their vegan breaky comes with smoked tofu, baked beans, spinach, mushroom and grated beetroot.

    It was delicious


    the toast wasn't gluten free!

    When the waitress brought out the breaky, she said 'big vegan breakfast' or whatever it's called, and I said it that with gluten free toast and she said yes. So I almost finished eating it, and thought wow this is great gf toast and then Stephen's breakfast arrived with his gf toast and I realised that it wasn't the same toast. I went and asked a staff member and they confirmed that they had given me regular toast. I seriously wanted to cry because I knew it meant that I was going to be sick.

    To be fair, they were super busy and the staff member who took our order was quite apologetic and gave us free meals which is great but it didn't help when I was sick for the next few days, also I was reading online that when a coeliac consumed gluten it takes several weeks for the intestine to heal!

    You can read our previous Ceres review here, and other accounts from Steph and Michael.

    CERES Cafe
    Crn Roberts and Stewarts St
    Brunswick East

    P.S: Ceres Cafe is distinct from the recently reviewed upmarket Merri Table and Bar

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Fancy Birthday Food

    To celebrate my 30th, I had a few people over to celebrate with food and/or drinks. We only live in a tiny 1 bedroom place so couldn't have a large potluck or party. So I hope I haven't offended anyone by keeping it really small!

    Toby and I made 4 things. We took Friday off but ended up having a bit of a disaster two days of cooking, lots of accidentally misreading recipes, throwing out things, spilling things, breaking things and I even gave myself a nasty bump on the head. We attempted to make tomato jelly by mixing arrowroot with tomato juice but it didn't quite work out texture wise, so Toby grated the jelly with a microplace grater which I think fixed the texture issues. We served it on seaweed crackers with cream cheese.

    We also made some:

    Red Pepper Hummus in Cucumber Cups from Wind Attack.

     For the Hummus
        * 2 Red Bell Peppers, fire roasted, skins, stems and seeds discarded
        * Juice of Two Lemons
        * ½ tsp (Smoked) Sea Salt
        * 3 cloves Garlic, Smashed
        * 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
        * 2 tsp Agave Nectar
        * 2 ½ cups Cooked Chickpeas
        * 1/3 cup Tahini
        * ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
        * Cucumbers ( I think I used 5 in total)
        * Paprika
        * Chives

       1. In the food processor, blend the red peppers, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, agave nectar and salt until liquified. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
       2. Next, add the chickpeas to the food processor and blend until ground into a crumbly texture. Add the tahini and blend in until completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
       3. Add the red pepper mix back into the chickpea mix and blend to incorporate. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue blending for several minutes until everything is well incorporated. The hummus will not be completely smooth on account of the texture left from the pepper.
       4. Peel the cucumbers leaving stripes of skin still intact. Slice into one to two inch high pieces. Using a teaspoon, pierce down into the top of a cucumber piece at the edge of the seeds. Rotate the spoon to remove a conical shape of seeds, going down only halfway through the cucumber piece.
       5. Using a mini ice cream scoop (I just used a teaspoon), place a scoop of the hummus in the hole. Dust with paprika, and garnish with the tip of a chive.

    We were really happy with how they looked and tasted although check out wind attacks, she has closer pictures. We ended up with a bit of dip leftover too.

    We also made some rose and cardamon ice cream (from vegan scoop) which I didn't take a picture of and these fruit desserts. I got this recipe and idea from Sivonne, I was at a wedding and was telling her about my idea of making fancy food for my birthday and my dream to make gf vegan tuilles and she told me about this recipe which her mother made and then send me the recipe which was easy to veganise. Although my two attempts at tuilles didn't work. The first time I made a vegan version of the coconut tuiles in this recipe but they didn't stay together and cracked when I tried to put them over a rolling pin. I suspect it's because I attempted to make them too thick, I ended up breaking it into pieces and serving it with tiny bits of biscuits. I also attempted to make poh's tuiles which didn't work with g/f flour. However, I was happy with this dessert overall. A word of warning though, it's quite time consuming and has several parts. It was our first time working with fresh lemongrass and I don't think I was successful at getting enough flavour out of it. Also, we used more passionfruit in place of mango.

    Pineapple and Lemongrass Soup with Tropical Fruit by Lorraine Godsmark via Sivonne.  I think the original recipe is from women weekly?

    Serves 6

    12 lychees, peeled, halved (I forgot to cut them in half)
    1 medium mango, peeled, sliced ( I used more passionfruit)
    1 passionfruit, pulp removed

    Pineapple Soup
    1 whole pineapple
    1/2 cup caster sugar
    1 1/4 cup water
    1 stick fresh lemon grass
    1 vanilla bean
    1 tsp lime rind
    1 tbsp lime juice

    Coconut Sorbet
    1 cup water
    1 cup caster sugar
    3 1/4 cup coconut milk
    3/4 cup milk (I used soy milk)

    Coconut Tuiles
    1/2 cup caster sugar
    2/3 cup desiccated cocconut
    2/3 cup shredded coconut
    3 egg whites (I used egg replacer)
    20g butter (I used nuttlex)

    Pineapple Soup
    1. Preheat oven to 180c. Remove pineapple top. Place pineapple in oven tray for 2 hours until soft. Cool, peel and chop pineapple. Blend until smooth.
    2. Place sugar and 1/4 cup of water in pan, stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil, boil uncovered until it become a pale caramel colour. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of water to stop the caramel from cooking further. Return the pan to heat to dissolve any firm pieces of caramel. Add syrup to the pineapple.
    3. Divide the lemon grass into 2cm lengths and bruise with back of a knife. Split the banilla bean in half and scoop out seeds. Place pineapple mixture in pan with lemon grass, lime rind and vaniulla seeds. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes, cool.
    4. Press the pineapple mixture through a sieve over a bowl, pressing on the lemon grass to extract it's flavour, add lime juice to taste. Refrigerate until required.
    Coconut Sorbet
    1. Combine water and sugar in pan, stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Combine syrup with coconut cream and milk. Cool then place in ice cream maker.
    Coconut Tuiles
    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
    2. Combine sugar and coconuts in bowl, add egg whites (egg replacer) and stir until they are absorbed. Stir in the butter to obtain a paste. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before use.
    3. Mark 8cm circles on baking paper. Turn paper over, place on oven tray. Using dampened fingertips, pat out the tuiles mixture thinly inside circles. Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes until golden.
    4. Lift from tray an drape over rolling pin before they cool. Repeat with remaining mixture.

    To serve, put a few small ladles of soup into base of bowls, place scoop of coconut sorbet and fruit around and place tuile on top. (I obviously made mini versions)

    Troy bought along some 'fish' cakes with a tangy tamarind sauce, these didn't last long!

    Michael made some gluten free dumplings which were impressive both in taste and texture. I really wish I had more right now.

    Cindy made these incredibly rich ginger chocolate cheesecakes which both Toby and I loved. Toby admitted he had quite a few and he's not really into desserts

    Lisa made this hedgehog style slice

    Ivan made some gluten free bread, chocolate spread (both not pictured, sorry!!!) and black bean brownies. Yes he has managed to combine protein and dessert into one successfully without compromising on taste or texture and I doubt that you would be able to guess that they had black beans in it.

    Mentone Bec made these strawberries dipped in chocolate with a yummy gooey raspberry layer in between, I wish that I took a photo of the inside.

    Brunswick Bec made this lovely trifle, it's been so long since I've had trifle, so good.

    Craig ended up frying some tofu at house at 1am which we served with BBW sauce, fried tofu had never tasted so good.

     Danni and Jo gave me a bag of yummy purchased food which included some capscium pesto which I shared with everyone. Thanks for the food and gifts everyone, it was a stressful couple of days leading up to the event but a fun night and I felt quite spoiled!