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Sunday, 30 March 2008

Aloe Vera

I've been reading quite a few articles about the benefits of the Aloe vera plant recently and I've decided to eat it on a regular basis now. The main reason for eating Aloe vera is because it increases resistance to disease. It fights infections and is very good for the skin as well. I'm currently on holidays at my parents and I'm very lucky to have this in their back garden. I took some shots.







If you don't have a back garden to grow this, it can very well be kept as a potted plant. It takes quite a long to grow and become mature enough for harvest. So it may be a good idea to have more than 1 plant if you want to eat it on a regular basis.

I ate some today, raw, with nothing else. I must say it has a very bitter after taste.

I read some articles about mixing the gel with some cranberry juice to get rid of the bitterness. I'll try that soon.
My mum puts it in cucumber salad.

I've used it as a skin balm a few times. It really helps get rid of acnes and spots. I don't really have too many but my skin is clearer. I just rub some of the gel on my skin and leave it to dry for 10-15min before washing it off with some warm water.

What you want to eat from the aloe vera is the translucent gel centre.
After cutting one leaf from the plant at base, wash it, then remove the little spines along the length.



Cut into small pieces. Remove the dark skin from the flesh.



I usually rub the skin on my face so as not to waste the little amount of gel remaining there.




Well, as I said I had it plain raw today. But I'll try some variations next time.

Banana-Pear Turnover Spiced Cake




I decided to make this banana pear spiced cake this afternoon after my mum brought home some 10 very ripe pears. They were too ripe to eat. So I decided to mix them with a banana for more flavour. I wasn't planning on making this a turnover cake and was going to incorporate the fruits in the dough. My sister suggested that we make this a turnover cake. So I reserved some of the fruits for the bottom of the tin. I'm delighted with the result!

I adapted the base cake recipe from a chocolate cake recipe I obtained from the veganfitness forum. I infact use this base to make any cake variation I want. I usually prefer using melted margarine (vegan) instead of oil. And for this recipe I only used water and the natural juice from the fruits instead of soy milk. Here's a photo of the whole cake.



Ingredients:
10 ripe pears
1 ripe banana
Lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
3 tablespoons demerara sugar
250g plain white flour
200g wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
200g demerara or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
200ml melted margarine
300ml water
6 tablespoons vinegar (cider vinegar is best)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Some dried raisins


Cook the fruits:
  • Peal the pears and banana. Place in a non-stick pan. Add the lemon juice. Cook over medium to high heat for about 15 min or until the juice has reduced. Leave some juice with the fruit.



  • Remove half of the cooked fruits and mix with 3 tablespoons demerara sugar. Set aside
Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius

For the cake mixture:
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together. Then mix all the wet ingredients together except the fruits. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, stirring gently with a spoon until they mix completely. Do not beat the mixture.
  • Mix in the unsweetened 1/2 of the fruits.
  • At the bottom a greased and floured tin (23cm diameter x 9cm depth), place some grease-proof paper to avoid the fruits from sticking to the bottom.
  • Spread the sweetened fruits on the bottom.
  • Pour the cake mixture in the tin.
  • Bake in oven for 45min. Test whether the cake is ready by inserted a metal rod in the cake. If it comes out dry, it's done. Otherwise, allow to cook for another 5-10min until done.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin for at least 1 hour before turning over.


Friday, 28 March 2008

My Wishlist

I've been doing yoga for a while and I love it! The only thing is that I still don't have a proper yoga mat. Here's a few stuffs I am very keen on buying soon.

Aubergine and Mushroom Lasagna

Ingredients:
9 lasagna sheets

Filling:
1 big aubergine sliced
Hoi Sin sauce (vegan)
250g fresh sliced mushrooms (of your choice, I used a mixed of oyster mushrooms and the normal white ones)
100g fresh spinach leaves
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt

Sauce:
2 tins (800g) of tomato puree
1 medium sized chopped onion
1 teaspoon olive oil
Dried basil or thyme
Salt to taste

or
1 big jar (500g) pasta sauce of your choice

Garnish:
Halved black olives
Chopped spinach leaves
Pepper


Prepare the aubergine:
  • Lightly coat each sliced aubergine in the Hoi Sin sauce and sprinkle some salt
  • In a non-stick pan, shallow fry the aubergine slices in the vegetable oil for about 5-7min turning occasionally.
  • Remove from heat, set aside.

Make the sauce:
(You can omit this step to save time if you are using pasta sauce)

  • In the same pan, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
  • Add the onions, allow to brown a little.
  • Pour in the tomato puree
  • Add salt and basil or thyme
  • Simmer on low heat for about 3-5min.


Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius

We are going to use the sauce in 6 parts so you have an idea how much to use for each layer that requires it.

  • Pour a bit of sauce in the bottom of a lasagna dish approximately 23cm x 30cm (9x12 inch).
  • Place a layer of lasagna sheet over the sauce, using three dry sheets and leaving a little space in between them.
  • Pour some sauce over them. Place the aubergine to fill this layer completely. And again pour a little sauce over the aubergine.
  • Add another layer of lasagna sheets and a little sauce.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms and the spinach leaves.
  • Pour some sauce.
  • Place the final layer of lasagna sheets and pour the remaining sauce.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30min.
  • Then remove the foil and bake for another 20min.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with black olives, the chopped spinach leaves, and a little pepper.
  • Switch off the heat and place in oven for another 10min before removing. This is to allow the spinach to cook a little but not burn.
  • Remove from the oven and allow 15min before cutting and serving.



Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Daal-chilli Cake

This is a very common Mauritian delicacy similar to falafels but they are made smaller and with yellow split daal instead of chick pea.

Ingredients:
250g yellow split daal soaked for at least 8 hours (preferably ovenight)
50g of wholemeal or white bread soaked for 20min (This only makes the cake slightly lighter because of the yeast in the bread. Omit this if you would like a gluten free cake)
1 medium onion chopped
1 teaspoon aniseed
10 curry leaves finely chopped (or finely chopped spring onions)
2 small green chillies chopped (optional if you like it hot)
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Drain daal completely. Grind the daal to a paste in a food processor or blender to a combination of fine and not so fine consistency. There must be enough fines to bind the chilli cake together.
  2. Sponge out all the water from the soaked bread.
  3. Add it to the mashed daal paste
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients – onions, aniseed, curry leaves, chillies and salt




  1. Mix well. This is best mixed by hand.
  2. Preheat oil on medium heat.
  3. Drop the dough in small loose balls in the hot oil. (Don’t compact the dough too much. Doing so will prevent the centre from cooking properly)
  4. Turn occasionally until golden brown. Adjust heat if necessary to ensure thorough cooking.


  1. Remove and allow to drain on kitchen absorbent paper to absorb the extra oil.

These can be served with hot bread, in a wrap with salad or just as a snack.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Easy Sweet Polenta Pudding

This is one of my favourite sweet recipe. Very easy to make and very yummy!

Ingredients (8 servings):
250g polenta (the powder, not the ready made one)
125g sugar (demerara or light brown)
800ml water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dessicated coconut
Some chopped nuts


  1. In a non-stick deep pan, add the polenta, sugar, water and vanilla.
  2. Mix and place on the cooker, allow to simmer on medium heat stirring gently with a wooden spoon.
  1. It might take about 10min to thicken. Be careful when it starts to thicken as it will start to erupt volcanically.
  2. Keep stirring until a thick paste-like consistency is obtained.
  1. Remove from heat.
  2. Pour in a round 26cm (or any of your choice) glass dish.
  3. Spread evenly in the dish.
  4. Sprinkle with dessicated coconut and chopped nuts.
  5. Allow to set. You can place it in the refrigerator when it is a bit cooled.
  6. Cut into 8 triangle pieces






Variations:
You can add less sugar and have this with some maple syrup
You can add some raisins

You can have this as a dessert or I have it as an afternoon snack with tea.
Enjoy!

Recipes

Appetisers
Stuffed Chili Peppers

Breadrolls
Pear Rolls
Hot Cross Buns

Breakfast
Apple Cinnamon Scones
Apple Pancakes
Bread Pudding
Coconut and Banana Crepe
Sweet Avocado with Smoothie
Tangy Crunchy Granola

Brunch
Tofu Scramble with Parsnip

Cakes
Banana-Pear Turnover Spiced Cake
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Orange Cake
Coffee Loaf Cake
Crumbed Top Mung Bean Cake
Fat-free Vegan Lemon Cake with Banana Butter Topping
Lemony Coconut Cake
Simple Mocha Cake
Mung Bean Cookie Pie
Semolina Carrot Cake
Steamed Mugcakes with Blackcurrant Jam
Vegan Yogurt Cupcakes

Cookies
Apple-Coconut Macaroons
Coconut Choco-Orange Cookies
Mung Bean Cookie Pie
Savoury Chick Pea Cookies
Sweet Potato Stuffed Rolls

Desserts
Apple Pancakes
Bread Pudding
Apple and Custard Tartlets
Apple Custard Pie
Coconut Custard Dessert
Rice Water and Mango Jelly
Sweet Avocado with Smoothie
Sweet Polenta Pudding
Sweet Swede Squares

Lunch Box or Burgers, Patties and Pies
Aubergine and Veggies in Beancurd Fried Wrap
Cauliflower, Beans and Mash
Chickpea Patties (burger)
Crusted Stuffed Carrot
Curry Pies
Jacket Potato with Lentils
Mung Bean Pasty
Mixed Beans and Aubergine Patties
Ratatouille Christmas Tree Pie

Main Dishes
Aubergine and Mushroom Lasagna
Butter Beans inTomato Sauce
Cauliflower and Soychunks Kalia
Chili White Beans with Leeks
Couscous with Vegetables
Cucumber and Avocado Sushi
Easy Stir Fry (with noodles)
Flageolet and Aubergine Casserole with Spaghetti
Fried Rice
Garlic Bechamel Sauce (with veggies)
Green Beans with Mustard Seeds
Jacket Potato with Lentils
Mashed Aubergine with Potato
Mauritian Style Vegan Halim with a Twist (or Curried Dhal with Meatless Balls and Eggplant)
Mushroom and Broccoli Quiche with Potato Crust
Mushroom and Pak(Bok) Choi Stir Fry
No-Cheese Pizza
Okra and Chickpeas in Tomato Sauce
Roasted Baby Potatoes with Garlic
Spicy Tandoori Wedges and Cauliflower
Stir Fry with Vegemince
Tandoori Sweet Potato and Cauliflower
Tofu and Cabbage in Tomato Sauce (with pasta)
Vegan Mauritian Stew
Vegetables in Coconut Milk
Veggie Kebabs
Yam Curry

Salads
Green Bean and Couscous Salad
Potato Salad with Santini Tomatoes
Warm Rice Salad

Soups
Dhal Soup with Dhal-Chili Cake
Rice Noodle Soup
Watercress Soup

Snacks
Curry Pie
Daal-chili Cake
Home-made Corn Chips
Okra Bhajis
Red Bean and Breadfruit Tandoori Patties
Veggie Kebabs

Jams, Spreads, Chutneys
Savoury -
Coconut Chutney (with dates and sesame)
Coconut Chutney (with tamarind)
Pomme Citère Chutney
Sweet –
Apple and Carrot Chutney
Mung-Choc Spread
Papaya Jam

Juices and Smoothies
Watercress and Carrot Juice




The Daring Kitchen
Daring Bakers Challenge
November 2009 - Cannoli
October 2009 - Macarons

Daring Cooks Challenge
November 2009 - Sushi
December 2009 - Tofu en Croute




A taste of Mauritius?
Mauritian (or Mauritian Inspired
) Dishes
Mains
Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce
Mauritian Style Vegan Halim with a Twist (or Curried Dhal with Meatless Balls and Eggplant)
Cauliflower and Soychunks Kalia
Fried Rice
Okra and Chickpeas in Tomato Sauce
Vegan Mauritian Stew
Yam Curry

Chutneys
Coconut Chutney (with dates and sesame)
Coconut Chutney (with tamarind)
Pomme Citère Chutney

Jams
Papaya Jam

Savoury snacks / cakes
Daal-chili Cake
Okra Bhajis

Soups
Dhal Soup with Dhal-Chili Cake
Mauritian Style Vegan Halim with a Twist (or Curried Dhal with Meatless Balls and Eggplant)

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