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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Giveaways! Giveaways on Recipe Books!

This is a quick post to share some great recipe book giveaways with you. By now, many of you have heard about 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman. For your chance to win, head over to Ricki's blog - Diet, Desserts and Dogs.

500 vegan recipes

And 2nd giveaway is Ricki Heller's (Diet, Desserts and Dogs) vegan dessert recipe book Sweet Freedom. Visit Sally's blog for this one.

Sweet Freedom,Ricki Heller

Both giveaways end Friday 2nd April.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Baby Orange Tian for a Daring Bakers March 2010 Challenge

orange tian

I thought I'd never get this post up! I've barely finished taking the pictures of this today and writing this post just now. This month has been very busy. I was thinking of opting out but this challenge looked like a dessert I would enjoy, so I gave it a go.

What also attracted me into it is the homemade orange marmalade which was part of the challenge. I rarely make desserts with orange. Orange is something I just buy as juice cartons. Of the citrus family, I most of the time buy lemons, grapefruits, satsumas and clementines. So it was a nice change to have some real oranges at home after a long time!

The Daring Kitchen

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.


The homemade marmalade called for pectin which I couldn't find. There are some jam sugar in the supermarkets here but I didn't bother with that. I've made jams before with just the fruit and sugar and I really love it this way. I don't particularly like the jelly consistency of store bought jams and this is the reason I would make jam at home. I sometimes put a little agar flakes but this time I did not have any at home. I just used soft dark brown sugar and that was the only other ingredient apart from the oranges. More of a compote than marmalade maybe, but very nice!

The recipe suggested to slice the oranges with the peel, then blanch 3 times in water, pouring off the water each time, to get rid of the bitterness.
I, however, blanched the oranges whole, without peeling, 3 times, pouring the water off each time after 5 - 6 minutes of boiling. I found that the oranges retained more of their flavour in this way. And no bitterness at all, which I liked!

orange marmelade

The dessert is made of different layers: a pate sablee with orange marmalade, a flavoured whipped cream topped with fresh orange segments and served with a caramel and orange sauce. It is built upside down and then unmolded so that the bottom layer (the orange segments) becomes the top layer.

My version of the tian is a bitesize baby orange tian. I made them in empty tealight holders. I usually like to keep my tealight holders for some reason after the candles melted away. I sometimes use them as cookie cutters.

orange tian

I used a pate sablee recipe that did not contain any egg. I don't think pate sablee really needs any eggs. Well, anyway, I can't remember where I got the recipe from but the proportions of
flour : icing sugar : ground almond : (cold) vegan butter is
Also a pinch of salt.

As I did not use any ground almonds, I increased the butter by a little.

As for the whipped cream, I made thick custard instead using custard powder, soy milk and sugar.

This dessert was really nice and I liked the simple combination of pate sablee, custard, marmalade, caramel and oranges into something really yummy! It was very refreshing!

The marmalade I will definitely make again!

orange tian

Monday, 22 March 2010

A Creamed Coconut Review

pataks creamed coconut,coconut milk

I've been using these Patak's Creamed Coconut for a while now and I've been meaning to post a review about them the very first day I've tried them. I kept forgetting to take a snapshot of them which is why this review is only coming up now. This is just my own review; I was not sent samples from Pataks for this review! I thought some of you might be interested in these very handy coconut sachets, coconut cream/milk being widely used in vegan cooking.

I found these in Tesco in the Patak's curry sauces section and it seemed to be a really handy ingredient to keep in the pantry. The ingredient is 100% coconut and there are no artificial colours or flavours. It is indeed really convenient and versatile. It comes in 4 easy-to-use 50g sachets that can be diluted in hot water to reconstitute coconut milk or coconut cream depending on how much water you add.

Ever since I came across these, I haven't bought any canned coconut milk at all. To make up 1 can (400ml), I use 2 sachets in 400ml of hot water. But most of the time 1 sachet is enough. What's good about them too is that they have a portion of coconut oil in the sachet. So you can choose to not use it together with the cream. I usually keep the oil for later use if I don't require or I just sautee some vegetables with it for example if I am making curry. You can also dilute it together with the cream but I try to reduce the calories if I don't need to use so much fat. The amount of calories per sachet which is 300! But then that goes for coconut milk in general. Having said that though, coconut oil is one of the richest dietary sources of lauric acid, a naturally powerful antimicrobial agent. Coconut oil have been found to boost metabolism and increase the fat burning capacity of the body.

Modern research seems to back up this bold statement. Once wrongly accused of increasing cholesterol levels, coconut oil is now actually being used by doctors in the treatment of a variety of disorders. Clinical studies have shown that coconut oil has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, and is now even being used in treating AIDS patients. Studies conducted in the Philippines last year showed that coconut oil does indeed reduce the viral load in AIDS patients.*

I am using more coconut oil in cooking than vegetable oil. If you get a good brand of coconut oil, the flavour of the food is actually enhanced as compared to vegetable oil. A good brand would be hand pressed coconut oil retaining its white colour, light texture, and its mild fresh taste and scent of coconut.

Back to the Patak's Creamed Coconut, they are very economical as well. In Tesco in Dublin they cost 0.79 Euros (the box of 4 sachets) which I think is a great saver considering that one can of coconut milk usually cost 1 - 1.50 Euros depending on the brand. It also takes less storage space compared to cans!

If you haven't tried these yet, have a look out for them. I am sure you'll find them in the UK as well.


Saturday, 20 March 2010

Giveaway winner!

The winner for the CSN Stores Rice Cooker Giveaway is Sandy. This was generated by

Random number

Sandy's comment

Congratulations Sandy! I'll be passing your details over to CSN Stores; they will be sending you the rice cooker directly. Enjoy!


Friday, 19 March 2010

Giveaway reminder! Only a few hours left...

warm rice salad

The image above is that of the Warm Rice Salad. I just don't like posting without an image.

For your chance to win this fabulous rice cooker from CSN stores, go over to this post and leave a comment there.

Aroma Pot Style 7-Cup Dry Rice Cooker and  Steamer,steamer,rice cooker,ARC-737G

Only a few hours left...

Good luck!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight | Video on

This is not the usual food topic but food for the soul. I talk about food most of the time but a healthy body begins with a healthy mind.

At some point in life everyone experiences some sort of awakening, or at least we are given the opportunity to experience it. I can somewhat relate to her experience (not the stroke though) . On a few occasions, I have had the same kind of "la la land" feeling and everytime it's a realisation that changes my perception of the surroundings and my connection to all beings.
Jill Bolte Taylor's experience here, for me, is an answer to happiness.

This video was sent to me from a friend and it is worth sharing this with you. For love, happiness, peace and gratitude.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge March 2010: Risotto


What could be nicer than some good comfort food to warm you up from the inside out! The picture above is aubergine risotto served on half a baked aubergine. I think this has been the easiest challenge so far. I have made risotto a number of times with whatever I have on hand. This time it was aubergine and tofu, with a few other bits of vegetables.

The Daring Kitchen

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

One of the requirements of this challenge was to make our own broth. Making vegetable broth is so easy. So easy that I don't think we need a recipe for this! I just put 2 carrots, a handful of brussel sprouts, 1 tomato, a few mint leaves, salt and pepper in a big pot of water. Bring to boil then simmer for an hour and strain. Some recipes say to simmer for 3 hours. But I did not have 3 hours, so 1 hour worked fine for me! And I used the vegetables in the risotto afterward.

The preserved lemons from the previous challenge were perfect to use in this risotto and the addition of mint leaves worked very well together with some vegan cream cheese.
I also did not use any wine in my risotto. I substituted with applesauce instead.

Aubergine Risotto served on Baked Aubergine

Ingredients (4 servings)
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
100ml apple sauce (I usually just puree an apple)
1 L vegetable stock
1 tablespoon vegan cream cheese (optional)
1/2 preserved lemon (from the previous challenge)
6 - 8 mint leaves, finely chopped
2 aubergines
Pinch turmeric
Chopped vegetables from the broth (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350F).
  • Wash and cut aubergines in half lengthwise (do not peel).
  • Spray with some oil and place on a baking tray in the oven.
  • On the bottom shelf of the oven, place another tray of water to create some steam so that the aubergines do not dry out.
  • Cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until aubergines are soft inside. Careful not to burn them.
  • Place in microwave for 40 seconds to soften the inside slightly more.
  • Carve out some of the flesh with a small knife. Keep aside.
  • While aubergines are baking, you can prepare the risotto rice.
  • Rinse rice to clean it.
  • Place oil in a non-stick pan. Add rice.
  • Stir to coat every grain with the oil.
  • Add applesauce and a little water. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Then add vegetable broth and cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is well cooked. Occasionally add water if required.
  • Add the aubergine flesh when the rice is nearly cooked.
  • Add in the chopped vegetables from the broth.
  • Lastly add preserved lemons, mint leaves, cream cheese and turmeric. Stir and mix well, cook for a few more minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Risotto should be oozy not sticky, so leave enough liquid in. It will be easier for reheating afterward as well.
  • Arrange rice on aubergines. Garnish with mint leaves and crispy tofu strips*. Bon appetit!

*Slice some tofu thinly, coat with a dash or two of turmeric powder, shallow fry until crispy. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

**Just a reminder about the Rice Cooker Giveaway from CSN Stores, closes Saturday 20th March at midnight! Leave a comment on the post there for your chance to win!**

Sweet Yellow Rice à l'Ananas et Noix de Coco

sweet rice,rice,pineapple,coconut,vegan

I could have called this Sweet Yellow Rice with Pineapple and Coconut but I want something more exotic! So I've baptised this recipe Sweet Rice à l'Ananas et Noix de Coco. Now that's exotic! Sweet yellow rice is something my mum used to make when I was a kid as an after school snack (and even when I wasn’t a kid anymore!). It was a nice change from rice pudding. From time to time I get a little craving for this. But this time, I thought pineapple and coconut would work well in this. Traditionally, mum used to make this with raisins and almonds (unaware I was allergic to nuts at that time; in consequence I always had runny itchy nose, sore throat, colds and flu and sometimes more severe symptoms; we just assumed I was a sickly child).
I am using uncooked rice from scratch in the recipe, but I most of the time make this with left-over cooked rice. Just make sure you cook the rice until still firm and whole, not mushy.

Before we come to the recipe, speaking of sweet rice, don't miss out on the Rice Cooker Giveaway from CSN Stores, closes Saturday 20th March at midnight!

Sweet Yellow Rice à l'Ananas et Noix de Coco
1 cup (200g) basmati rice
1 cup (150g) demerara sugar (or to taste)
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
1 cup (200g) diced pineapple (approximate)
1/2 cup (40g) desiccated coconut
10 cardamom pods
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon curcuma powder (or yellow food color)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup (100ml) coconut milk (or soy milk)

  • Rinse rice to clean it. Drain.
  • Place rice in a stock pot or deep pan, fill with enough water to cover the rice. Water level should be about 3 inches (approximately 8 cm) above rice. If using a rice cooker, add 1 3/4 cups water and set to cook.
  • Rice should be cooked after 15 - 17 minutes (if using basmati rice). Test the grains, they should still be firm but well cooked inside.
  • Remove from heat, drain and wash with cold water. Drain. Set aside.
  • In a non-stick pan, add coconut oil.
  • Place pineapple with 2 tablespoons sugar.
  • Cook on medium heat for about 7 - 8 minutes or until pineapple is cooked. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.
  • Add in cardomom pods. Roast a little.
  • Then add rice a little at a time, stirring to coat each grain with the oil.
  • Add cinnamon and sprinkle with cucurma powder. Mix well.
  • Add sugar. Stir and mix well.
  • Add raisins.
  • Then pour in the coconut milk. Reduce heat and mix well. It will be quickly absorbed.Lastly add desiccated coconut.
  • Serve warm.

This recipe has been featured on Yummly
Certified Yummly Recipes on

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Fantastic Rice Cooker Giveaway! ***Closed***

***The Giveaway is now closed.*** Winner announced!

One thing that I would really love to have is a kitchen with a bar! And nice contemporary style bar stools. Why am I saying this now? I was contacted by CSN Stores a week ago about a fantastic giveaway they are hosting and while browsing a few of their 200+ websites I happened to fall on bar stools which took me into a daydream of my dream kitchen! I have never seen a store with so many departments quite as big as theirs!

But back to the present moment, CSN Stores are giving one lucky winner the chance to receive this Aroma Pot Style 7-Cup Dry Rice Cooker and Steamer.

Aroma Pot Style 7-Cup Dry Rice Cooker and Steamer,steamer,rice cooker,ARC-737G

To be eligible you need to be in the US or Canada as the item will be shipped directly by CSN stores once I randomly pick a winner. CSN Stores only ship to US and Canada.

Rules for entries
!Important!: Please include your email or have it visible in your profile, so I can contact you.
  • Post a comment on this post = 1 entry

For extra entries and more chance to win:

  • Blog about this giveaway on your own blog with a link to this post (then come back and leave another comment here) =
    1 entry
  • Follow me on Twitter (and leave a comment here telling me you did so) =
    1 entry

For each entry , leave a comment telling me you did so. For example,
YourName: "Nice giveaway! Count me in!"
YourName: "Hi! I've just joined your Veganlovlie Fan Group on Facebook!"
YourName: "I'm following you on Twitter"

That is, you put in 3 comments in total if you've done 3 of the above.
I will count the comments. Remember 1 comment for each one of the above that you did. So, you could have a total of up to 5 entries - 5 chances to win.

Also leave your comments here on the blog, and NOT on Facebook (as this post is automatically fed on my facebook page). If you usually follow me on facebook, then come to the post and leave your comment here. Well you can always leave a comment on facebook as well but it won’t be counted for the giveaway.

This giveaway entries close on Saturday 20th March at midnight. Be quick!
I will randomly choose a winner by using the number generator on
Good luck!

For those of you not in the US or Canada, they will certainly be more giveaways and other goodies in future. So stay tuned.

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