Lemon-Basil Mojito

The Recipe: Lemon-Basil Mojito

So here’s the easiest of recipes, but fucking impressive none the less. The thought went along the lines of: “God that lemonade-mojito-thing in Prague was good, and damn, that lemon-basil sorbet in the shop around the corner is delicious: let’s put two and two together.” Also: what are the more delicious counterparts of lime/mint/rum? Yes, indeed: lemon/basil/vodka. Make sure to get the good organic stuff or at least check your vodka is vegan (Stoli is).

Picture featuring a bottle of Utkins UK5 vodka and a glass of lemon basil mojito.

This drink is different but equally good virgin. The vodka just adds a little kick. It’s the lemonade and the styling that gives it the wow-factor. It’s a recipe, it only requires some lemons, basil, agave and your hands. Cheesecloth is optional but highly recommended: you could use a strainer or a clean towel. Mashing the basil in the glass mojito-style does a lot for presentation, blending it (or a mashing/chopping combo) then steeping along with the zest is more practical and will prevent the spitting out of leaves. If you use a high dosage of basil, it will turn your drink a bright neon-green.

When I tried something French…

I give you: homemade sausage in a french-like beanstew. Suggest using beans from scratch as well, they’re way more delicious.

Picture of tomato stew with beans, carrots and celery in a white bowl, topped with slices of seitan sausages.

For the sausage, it’s best to watch the video Julie Hasson made. I dislike her commercialism, but all her recipes (except for the biscotti, ughh, horrible biscotti) are excellent. The bean stew is compiled of the leftover beans (I started out with one cup dried cannelini beans), and everything else in our fridge, The parsley is so yellow because it’s celery, that was the only thing we had on hand.

Picture of three seitan sausages on a small wooden board against a black background.

The things in the fridge were something along the lines of carrot, onion and an old celery stalk. I added some more or less french herb-like-mixture and some canned diced tomatoes. Together with a little broth. The sausages taste incredible. I used some cheesecloth to steam them, because that’s reusable and works well. Just be sure to tie it real tight with some string. After steaming, just cut them up and bake them, or make long ones and use them whole as a hotdog.

Bonbons

Picture of two bonbons in a small folded out box.

I attempted a bonbon recipe. It looks great. But it doesn’t work 100% of the time. I had my mom test it, and it came out slightly soggy and separating. And I haven’t a clue as to why. It still needs lots more testing.These pictures are from the very first batch, a batch that went surprisingly well.

Close up of two bonbons in a small folded out box.

Until then, here’s some stimulating food for thought. From Joshua Katcher, brilliant man. This interview is absolutely worth the read. It is a nuanced, intelligent, inspiring, non-judgemental piece.

Gluten-Free Vegan Donuts

Check out the new the new Babycakes book, it is wonderful. These donuts are a pillowy wonder of crispy fluffiness, somewhat soggy, like donuts are supposed to be. I say this with the experience of having eaten one donut in my entire life, about 6 years ago, pre-vegan. Anyways, these are good, especially the cinnamon-sucanat coated ones. Credit to my mom for being hand-model.

Picture of three miniature donuts, one with coconut topping, one with cinnamon sugar, one with chocolate frosting, placed on a horizontal line on a hand over a wooden tabletop.

I froze the lot of them, because I had a little more than planned (do not double the recipe). Just reheat in toaster and top. Get yourself some mini donut pans, they’ll be worth it and they’re easy to use. I prefer the silicone ones. Then you have a proper donut at cookie size, which is more delicious than the ones that start to become a chore halfway through. Did I mention these are made from brown-rice flour?

Milk & Cookies

This recipe is a double one: the leftovers from the milk are a key ingredient in the cookies. All you need is a blender and a big bowl, or food processor. The cookies will be tiny, but there will be lots, so if you package them nicely, you have the perfect gift.

Picture of nine tiny cookies arranged in two rows on a hand over a wooden tabletop.

These taste like a cross between Dutch bitterkoekjes and amaretti, with the texture of a bitterkoekje (little crunchy on the outside marzipan on the inside) and the little almond kick of amaretti. We ate the entire batch in a span of three hours between the four of us because they are a little addictive.

Chocolate Extravaganza!

Today I am mooching off of the recipes of others and combining them in a different way. A 250 gram bag of pitted dates (just as cheap as those with stone) from Terra Sana will give you exactly the amount of dates you need for both the brownie and the frosting. Then all you need are 750 grams of small bananas and two cups of your favorite non-dairy milk, and you’re off. I trust you have all the other ingredients on hand (cocoa powder, coconut oil, shredded coconut, walnuts, salt, maybe vanilla/coffee/orange/chili or some other tasty thing you want to add).

Picture of frozen banana popsicles, raw brownies and chocolate milkshake.

This brownie will not taste like traditional brownie at all but it’s a little reminiscent of the super-fudgye-sugary-crakley brownie concoctions you get at the Bijenkorf. As for the frosting: therein lies the real miracle. It doesn’t contain anything even slightly troubling (like sugar or margarine, heck, not even agave). Yes, your frosting will hint of date. But not overpowering, it will taste a little like caramel. I usually go with unscented oil (it was all I had on hand). The consistency is divine. I’ve been known to frost regular cupcakes with it, but make sure they’re very COLD because this frosting is just as melty as sugary frosting is.

For these recipes, start by freezing your bananas Everyday Dish style (3 of them cut into 9 tiny popsicles total). Ours will be way healthier in comparison to theirs: go sugarfree semi-raw frosting! Then make the brownie, fill the pan, use the blender for the frosting (no cleaning required), frost the brownies. Dip your bananas, maybe roll them in some topping. Put the leftover banana(s) into the blender container with the leftover frosting and the milk. There you have your milkshake. Alternatively, you could just eat the leftover frosting with a spoon and call it mousse, but that wouldn’t be a banana-breakfast shake, now would it?

Close up of frozen banana popsicles.

One more sidenote: when I took the pictures our kitchen was still being remodeled, so I had to do with the tiny space between my bed and book closet for photos. Also: there was no pastry bag, no decent knives and a shortage of plates. This explains both the messy frosting and the minimal clean-up needed (almost none if I’d have used a square pan) for this recipe. Furthermore: I mostly use non-raw cocoa for raw recipes. Right now I don’t have access to raw cocoa and it’s very very expensive.

PS. It seems I forgot to post the original recipes. Embarrassing. So, here’s Laura-Jane the Rawtarian’s version of the brownie and the best damn chocolate icing ton the planet. Please ignore her pro-rawfood missionary-like tendencies. Also, use 125 grams of dates per recipe. It’s a tiny bit less then she does, but I find it less overpoweringly sweet that way.

Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson!

So maybe I should have chosen something bourbon (definitely not scotch) for this post, but since I don’t really drink, that’s out. It wasn’t till the last scene that the absolute brilliance of the film struck me. Don’t get me wrong, I was really enjoying watching a younger Dustin Hofman in ridiculous underpants and I’ve always liked Simon and Garfunkel, but the ending made it hit home.

Picture of a square baking tin filled with millionaire's shortbread on a white and black background.

Or maybe I just have a thing for Anne Bancroft. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m very into Anne Bancroft and that scene where she can’t stop laughing but doesn’t want to ruin the take so she cleans her sweater instead. What made me pair it with shortbread? Basically, I was in the mood for both shortbread and the Graduate. It’s nice to stay in bed with this movie and have undefinable feelings about my future and also have something to eat.

Picture of a cross-section of two pieces of millionaire's shortbread on plate with a white and black background.

Update 19/12/2017: The original recipe, in all fairness, wasn’t good enough and I’d recommend you go out and find your own, possible inspired by the Great British Bake Off. They did an entire episode on caramel complete with millionaire’s shortbread challenge, so go watch that and consider my past mistakes rectified. I’m here from the future to tell you that sugar thermometers are really cheap and they will make sure your caramel is the perfect consistency every time. No more solid brick sugar layer in the middle of your shortbread (or rather: my shortbread). I’d say you want this on the firmer side of soft-ball-stage, but then I want all my caramel on the firmer side of soft-ball.

Also, since writing the original post it turned out that Dustin Hoffman is a horrible creeper. This means I have some conflicting emotions about enjoying The Graduate (and to some extent Tootsie) quite as much as I do. Embracing the discomfort seems as good a way to deal as any, because The Graduate was and always will be one of my favourite movies.

Carrot Cake

The Recipe: Carrot Cupcakes

This is my very first cupcake recipe. And boy is it good! Ok, maybe it isn’t mine, because I adapted it from this one on vegweb, but my adaptation is better. And the perfect size for 12 cupcakes (which take way less time to bake than a full cake does). My sister ate 6 when we weren’t looking. They’re that good, apparently. Herma from yoga wanted carrot-cake, so I set to work, and it turns out this is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. Thank you, Herma! I am biased, though, because I’m not fond of the texture carrot cake usually is. These are also pretty heavy on the carrot, which to my mind is a plus.

Picture of three frosted carrot cupcakes in red and white striped liners.

We also need to discuss the sweetness of my baking. Most people seem to like it, but it’s not usually as sweet as the standard recipe. I generally prefer sucanat, especially when a recipe calls for brown sugar. And unless your baked goods would be ruined by something that tastes recognisably of cane sugar, or by a darker colour, I find it adds a more complex flavour to most recipes, especially those with chocolate. Sucanat can be used in anything, it doesn’t affect texture in cookies and cakes, and you can kid yourself into thinking it’s a little healthier because it has trace minerals. Further to sometimes subbing sucanat, with American/British cookbooks I’ll almost invariably cut the sugar back to 3/4 or 7/8 of the original. I used to think that this didn’t affect the taste too much, but in truth it’s because I prefer things a little less sweet. Which is to say that you should never be afraid to improvise with your baking, as long as you keep an eye on your dry/wet/chemical-raising-agent-ratios.

Typically Dutch: Tompoezen for Everyone

OK, these are for everybody except those with-nut allergies, I’m sorry. It might be doable with silken tofu and/or soymilk, but the taste will suffer. Cashews are just the magical answer to most dairy-related problems. I haven’t found another answer yet, although sesame-pinenut-cheese is giving me hope.

Close-up picture of a mini-tompoes on a plate with pink frosting and two more tompoezen in the background.

These are incredibly delicious. It’s tastes (nearly) authentic, looks great, and you needn’t tell anybody our dirty little secret. Just pretend it came from cows, no one will notice, or at least no one will be able to tell you exactly what it is you did to make it as good as or even better than the original. For those of you who know the Netherlands: these are industrial strenght HEMA-style but without the dead pigs hooves, milk and eggs. Don’t skimp on the sugar, because that gives it it’s HEMA-authenticity, and I already downgraded it quite. Tompoezen is spelled tompoucen in Belgium and the south of the Netherlands, but HEMA still says tompoes, not tompouce, so we’ll stick with that.

Picture of three mini-tompoezen on a plate with pink frosting.

One recipe makes 18 mini tompoezen with just enough filling and frosting for 1 packet of puff pastry. Three mini-tompoezen would make one HEMA-tompoes. So effectively, this recipe makes 6, but they’re a little less overwhelming in mini-form.

First we take the chocolate…

…then we take the moose. We all know that thanks to the Swedish Chef. I thought about that sketch for half a year. And then we had a few weeks of vacation.

Picture of cupcakes on a tray decorated with moose made from chocolate frosting and chocolate.

I originally made the moose for yoga teacher Beth, but it seemed easier to make a lot of them, so here they are. I set about to make two dozen cupcakes. It took roughly 9 hours, and transportation proved an even bigger problem. My sister stole a cupcake, and I had only had 19 moose, so in the end, that’s how many cupcakes we ended up with.

Close-up picture of cupcakes on a tray decorated with moose made from chocolate frosting and chocolate.

The first 3 (barely set, not even properly gift-wrapped) were for Beth, she taught us yoga for a few weeks while Marco was on holiday, and she’s the best. Then a fuckload (10 of them) traveled to Wageningen for some of our best friends, who’d organized a barbecue. I hadn’t seen the kids in 3 years, so it seemed appropriate. We ate the last ones for dessert the next day, and then our adopted fifth family-member arrived safely from Mexico so he got the very last one.

Picture of cupcakes in two plastic containers decorated with moose made from chocolate frosting and chocolate.

Oh yeah, and two frozen moose will travel to Marco’s refrigerator, as a welcome-back present. I sandwiched them tightly into a few containers so they wouldn’t lose their antlers. It’s very difficult to keep the antlers in, I fear Marco will be getting injured moose. I ate another injured one myself, and my sister mutilated one by biting its head of then smearing the cake all over the couch.

The cakes are your basic chocolate cupcake from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I overfilled the liners a bit to get the desired “mountain”.
The frosting for the eyes and snow is fluffy vegan buttercream, the moose chocolate fluffy buttercream, and the antlers and pupils are plain Vivani couverture melted and piped.

Picture of cupcakes on a stand decorated with moose made from chocolate frosting and chocolate.

The antlers are easy. Put the melted chocolate in a bag with the corner cut off (make a tiny, tiny hole, otherwise you have a problem), draw a line and three dots along that line to create a basic antler-form on parchment paper. For the eyes: FIRST make a lot of whites, then pipe a drop of Vivani onto that. If you make those separate and have to get the drops onto the whites, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It takes a toothpick and way too much determination and care. It will mess with your mind. Don’t ask me how I know.

Picture of cupcakes on a square plate decorated with moose made from chocolate frosting and chocolate.

During the entire process you’re going to have to freeze or refrigerate an awful lot, because as soon as you touch anything for longer than a second, it’s going to melt or go soft. But it’s a lot more doable than you’d think given the end result.