That creamy dreamy truffle gnocchi

That creamy dreamy truffle gnocchi

Talk about a shortcut to happiness! I love making sauces and casseroles from the scratch but not always I have the time or the desire to slave in the kitchen. But because I rarely compromise with what I eat (when I compromise it’s rice cakes and carrots with hummus for dinner or red wine and chocolate) – I have made a habit of always having a few key ingredients at home to make yummy healthy easy meals. This one is a luxury meal though – when you feel like a romantic weekend trip to Italy but it’s goddamnit a 40-hour flight away!

This recipe is made with two amazing Melbourne based products Botanic Cuisine Paleo Mushroom Truffle cashew cheese and Ardor Food Co GF beetroot gnocchi. Both are available in health shops around Melbourne but if you can’t get your hands on these – don’t worry you can use any gnocchi available in your country/city (or for example brown rice pasta or any pasta or make your own gnocchi!). Also, I have done this creamy truffle sauce without the cream cheese too and it’s this simple: mix 2-3 tbs of cashew butter with squeeze of lemon, 1/3 C of water, 2 heaped tbs of nutritional yeast, 1/2 tbs of apple cider vinegar and 1 tbs of truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should be quite liquid but smooth. So no excuses, get on it!

Gnocchi with Creamy Truffle Mushrooms & Greens (for two)

250 g gluten-free gnocchi (frozen, I used Ardor Beetroot Gnocchi)
2 tbs Botanic Gardens Paleo Mushroom Truffle cashew cheese
1/3 C water
2 tbs nutritional yeast (and more to garnish)
400 g mushrooms (I used Trumpet Royale but any kind will do)
2 C chopped kale
1/4 head of broccoli chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp truffle oil
Salt + Pepper
Basil to garnish
(Lemon)

  1. Make the sauce. Mix the cashew cream cheese with water and nutritional yeast using a fork until smooth. Set on side.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan and add minced garlic.
  3. Add mushrooms and broccoli. Keep stirring until they start to get colour.
  4. Add kale and cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. Pour the truffle oil on the vegetables and turn the temperature down.
  6. Boil water. When it boils add some salt and frozen gnocchis (don’t thaw!). 
  7. Cook for 3 minutes and pour the water out using lid (don’t strain!)
  8. Pour the sauce and vegetables into the kettle with gnocchis. 
  9. Mix and season with salt and pepper and more nutritional yeast and a squeeze of lemon if desired. 
  10. Serve immediately with some basil

For mind and body

For mind and body

Wow, it’s been a while. This blog has been an outlet of my eternal need to create all things yummy, healthy and cruelty-free. It’s my Sunday pleasure to spend hours in the kitchen baking and trying things out and I get the greatest fulfilment when I have a table full of friends who I can cook for. So simply enough – cooking and baking is my pastime, creative outlet, meditation and hobby. Last three months, life has gotten in the way and I have simply had no energy to even think of cooking, let alone take pretty pictures of food. My job has been demanding, health issues have occurred and I have found myself very stressed. I mean beyond ‘I will cook to chill out a little’-stressed, more like ‘I can’t go to bed because I’m too scared to go to work’-stressed.

I have realised that giving time to these sort of passions have an enormous impact on those stress levels, mental & physical health, and other things us corporate robots thread to say out loud at the office in fear of being considered weak and less capable (and let’s leave the female part out of this). I’m more than my job and my well-being is vital to be able to perform in any segment of my life. So hurrah for me getting back to the kitchen!

I will stop ranting now and I will share you the most brilliant dessert hack I have invented. I love desserts – love them. I could have something sweet every day. Because let’s be honest even vegan ice-cream and raw cakes are not for everyday consumption I have mastered few treats that have a nutritional level that makes them a perfect snack. I don’t usually track calories, but to demonstrate, I did it for this recipe.

So hear this out, if you enjoy this chocolate mousse as a dessert (makes four portions) one serve has 25 grams of protein, 215 calories and only 8g of sugar. If you have this as a breakfast/snack (makes two portions), you will have 50 grams of protein and 430 calories and 16 g of sugar. Also as a bonus almond butter has healthy fats to keep you full and cacao powder has great antioxidant benefits!

And that’s not even the best thing about this treat – it tastes ridiculously good and is so easy to make! I have not had one dinner party that people would not have asked the recipe before they leave our place (and they are always shocked to learn that it’s vegan, sugarfree and all in all not bad for you). It does not taste like some protein pudding but delicate chocolate mousse.

So see below a recipe to treat that smart mind of yours and to nourish that perfect body of yours!

The Chocolate Mousse (for 4 as a dessert, for 2 as a snack)

1 packet of Silken Tofu (300g)
2 tbs almond butter
5 medjool dates (pitted and soaked if they aren’t soft)
3 tbs cacao powder
1 Scoop chocolate protein powder (optional, only use if you like the flavour of your protein powder – you can also substitute with a tablespoon of almond meal and maybe a little more cacao powder- I use Prana On Hazelnut Cacao)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional add-ins: vegan chocolate chips, chopped hazelnuts, a one drop of peppermint or orange essential oil.

  1. Drain the water out of the tofu.
  2. Blend pitted dates, tofu and almond butter until smooth.
  3. Add in rest of the ingredients and blend until sweet.
  4. Taste. Add maple syrup or sweetener of your choice if desired.
  5. Refrigerate four 30 minutes (or not if you inpatient).
  6. Serve with fresh raspberries or strawberries.

The mousse lasts up to two days in the fridge but it’s at its best to enjoy same day.

If you are completely sugar free opt for xylitol/stevia instead of dates and if you are cutting down calories half the amount of almond butter.

Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight

Hi there I am here to save you with your afternoon sweet cravings or mid morning blood sugar drops! Making these balls, along with my baobab and orange ones, are my every weekend routine for the coming week to make sure I stay away from naughty snacking at work. The problem is though that they are bit too good and I eat them already in the morning and end up hangry in the afternoon anyway haha!

Once again peppermint, but it’s just so delicious with nutty buckwheat and spirulina, try yourself!

Peppermint Power Balls (about 12)

  • 5 Medjool dates
  • 1/2 C buckwheat kernels
  • 1/2 C pepitas (or any seeds)
  • 3 tbs of almonds
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder (I use Prana on Vanilla Creme)
  • 1 tbs of super greens powder (or spirulina powder)
  • 2 tbsp peppermint essential oil
  • 1-3 tbs blended oats (optionally more protein powder or almond meal or if you don’t want mat finishing just leave it out)
  1. Soak pitted dates for a minimum of 5 minutes in water. 
  2. Use a food processor to grind buckwheat, pepitas, and almonds to rough even flour.
  3. Add in five dates. Save the date infused water.
  4. Blend dates with the mixture in the food processor until it is evenly chopped.
  5. Add in protein powder and green powder.
  6. Infuse 2 drops of essential oil to one tablespoon of date water. Sparkle it around the mixture in food processor. 
  7. Blend one last time with a food processor. 
  8. If the texture is not sticking together add another tablespoon of date water. Careful though not to put too much water.
  9. Move mixture to a bowl and add a tablespoon of blended oats to mix and start rolling mixture into balls.

I used this product called Puhtikaura (which is basically powdered pre-cooked oats) to roll these balls to give them powdered finish. This is optional though and like I said before, you can use blended oats or almond meal or even cacao for this.

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Vegan Kimchi Korean way

Vegan Kimchi Korean way

I am obsessed with kimchi, I literally always order it if it’s on the menu and eat the entire serving. Seriously, I order two if people want to share. I sometimes have it on top of an avocado toast. Sometimes on top of brown rice as a meal. Told you, obsessed.

Ever since watching the Chef’s Table episode with Jeong Kwan I have wanted to make my own. I first attempted to make it with this health blog recipe and it turned out tasty fermented cabbage which had nothing to do with kimchi though. The second time, I decided to learn from the guru. Maangchi is an adorable Korean chef whose video taught me and my boyfriend ferment in Korean way. The first patch was not vegetarian (fish sauce) because we wanted to everything right. We followed her video and kimchi turned out amazing. Please do yourself a favor and watch her Kimchi making video, it is seriously heartwarming.

The third time I created my own version of traditional Korean kimchi but made it vegan. And it is seriously the best one I have had! I mean I even like the store bought ones, but this is ridiculously good. And it doesn’t lack any authentic flavor or texture because the methodology is same.

If you follow my recipe you can still follow Maangchi’s video, just use my measurements and ingredients.

Vegan Kimchi Traditional way

1 large napa cabbage
1/2 C sea salt (fine)

Kimchi Porridge
2/3 C water
2 tbsp brown rice flour
2 tsp coconut sugar/brown sugar

Kimchi Paste
2/3 C radish (chopped as thin sticks)
1 carrot (chopped as thin stick)
6-8 spring onions (chopped)
4 garlic gloves (minced)
1 tbs of minced ginger 
1/2 onion (minced)
2/3 Korean hot pepper flakes
Splash of water

2 x 1.5 -2-liter jars (or four smaller ones).
Bucket to suit the size of the cabbage. I used a rectangle one.

The recipe makes 2.2 kg of kimchi.

  1. Cut napa cabbage in half. Then cut each half into two pieces. You will end up with four pieces of cabbage cut lengthwise.
  2. Massage salt to the cabbage leaves all way through (also in between).
  3. Place the cabbage pieces into the bucket and let them sit for 2 hours. (I left mine for 6 and nothing happened). Every 30 minutes turn the pieces around.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the porridge. Heat the water and rice flour on a Teflon pot and when it start to look like a porridge add the sugar and bring the heat down the When porridge is even, cool it down.
  5. Cut the vegetables.
  6. Mix the kimchi paste ingredients into the porridge in a big mixing bowl. Splash some water to make it stickier.
  7. After two hours, wash the salt of cabbage pieces. Use paper towels or towel to dry them.
  8. Use boiling water (and apple cider vinegar) to sterilize jars.
  9. In the mixing bowl take one piece of cabbage at the time and use your hands to spread and massage the paste throughout each layer of cabbage. Once done put the cabbage in a jar. Repeat. Once one jar is full (I could fit half a cabbage in one 1.8 liter jar), use a wooden spatula to push cabbage on the bottom. This should bring the liquid above the cabbage. 
  10. When done place the sterilized lid on the jar. 
  11. Leave the jars on the kitchen bench for 36 hours to ferment. Then refrigerate. 

Enjoy it on top of a Buddha bowl like we did. Or inside a sushi roll. With tempeh and steamed vegetables and brown rice. Or on side of anything.

I bring this to work and have it every day with steamed vegetables and quinoa. It’s just so damn good for your guts and tastes amazing!

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Did someone say Pho?

Did someone say Pho?

When you make a water based vegan soup and your carnivore boyfriend ends up begging for more, you know you have done something right. This soup is a filling and warming and it definitely costs less than a trip to Ho Chi Minh.

Vegan Pho (For two)

Broth:
2 l water
1.5 cubes vegetable stock cubes
2 gloves of garlic
a piece of sliced fresh ginger
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stalk
1 onion
2 tbs tamari

4 portobello mushrooms (or smaller mushrooms, use more)
1 tsp coconut oil
a bunch of bok choy or Chinese cabbage
Fresh mint
Fresh coriander
Mung bean sprouts
Brown rice noodles/Mung bean noodles

  1. Slice garlic and ginger. Chop onion into quarters.
  2. Use a pot to heat the water. Add vegetable cubes, tamari garlic, ginger, onion, cinnamon and star anise. Bring to boil and reduce the heat. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Chop mushrooms to thin slices. Stirfry in coconut oil until cooked through.
  4. Chop herbs.
  5. 3 minutes before serving, strain the broth. Add bok choy and let it simmer 3 more minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the noodles al dente and place in bowls.
  7. To serve. Pour the broth on top of noodles (with bok choy). Add mushrooms on top of the bowls, as well as the herbs and sprouts.

If there is leftover broth, heat it day after and enjoy all over again.

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Go away nasty flu

Go away nasty flu

I have been down with a flu for past three days, which sucks. See below my go for a flu healing smoothie bowl.

Immunity Booster Smoothie bowl

1-2 tsp of fresh minced ginger
1/2-1 tsp of fresh minced turmeric
2/3 C frozen cauliflower
1/2 frozen banana
2/3 C steamed pumpkin (cooled)
1 C almond mylk
2 tsp baobab
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
3 drops of orange essential oil

1. Blend everything. Add essential oil at the end and blend more.

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May all your hazelnut dreams come true

May all your hazelnut dreams come true

This is for you if you love Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, and Kinder Bueno. And coffee. Enjoy. Perfect way to start a slow weekend morning.

If you are not having an easter chocolate bender like we are at the moment, you can also use a tablespoon of cacao powder or spoonful of cacao nibs instead of melted chocolate. Or you can leave it out altogether, just hazelnuts, banana, and coffee are a divine combination.

Hazelnut Mocca Smoothie Bowl (for two)

3-4 frozen bananas
1/3 C almond mylk
double shot of espresso (or strong coffee)
1/3 C hazelnuts
1 tsp of vanilla beans (or extract)
20 g of dark chocolate (70% cacao)

  1. Roast hazelnuts fro 10-15 mins in 200 C. Let cool. (I roast these earlier and keep in a jar if I feel like this smoothie etc. They just taste richer after roasting). No oil needed.
  2. Make espresso and let it cool in the fridge.
  3. Blend 2/3 bananas and hazelnuts with almond mylk and coffee. Add remaining bananas and vanilla. Blend.
  4. Melt the chocolate on top of boiling water. use a spatula to pour the melted chocolate into a blender. Blend.
  5. Enjoy in a bowl topped with some crushed hazelnuts and more chocolate or berries.

//EDIT: I healthified the recipe for weekday mornings. I tried it today and it was still amazing. See below:

Healthified Hazelnut Mocca Smoothie Bowl (for one)

1.5 -2  frozen bananas
splash of almond mylk/any plant based milk
shot of espresso (or strong coffee)
1/4 C hazelnuts
1 heaped tbs of vanilla protein powder

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