Monday, 30 August 2010

Sunday, 29 August 2010

I'm Home!

Just a place holding post to say I am back, doing laundry, writing a shopping list for a huge trip to the store this afternoon and getting ready for my brother and his girlfriend to visit tomorrow. That involves cleaning up the playroom which I'll have to get the girls to help with. Holidays were great, photos to come at some point!!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Cake

I know I said I was going on holiday, and I am, tomorrow morning so right now I should be packing, but I just had to show off this cake which I spent HOURS working on yesterday. Its for a 5 year old birthday party (one of the girls I look after, and she requested and helped design it) and I am very proud of how it turned out.

What do you think??
The bottom of the cake is a Cola Chocolate Cake (recipe from Cupcakes in Q&E Vegan Bakesale), and the top, the flower, is a Vanilla Cake (also as cupcakes in Q&E Vegan Bakesale). I used homemade vegan fondant for the green cover and the leaves, and this was the most time consuming part of the process, and took numerous attempts over the last week or so.

First version using commercial egg replacer was like rock, not supple at all, so couldn't be used. I thought this was because it wasn't gloopy enough (egg white is gloopy after all) so I used ground chia seeds soaked in water, which worked, but gave little brown flecks through the fondant. Not a nice look. Next try I thought of using whole chia seeds and straining off the gloop, but it wouldn't strain, so back to the drawing board.

I finally made a version using blended tofu which worked really well, and was nice and supple to work with. The only caveat is that is firms up alot so is best used right after making, or at least within a few hours. This was my first time working with this, but I look forward to using it more often and improving my technique!

Vegan Fondant
Makes about 2 Cups

¼ Cup Soft Silken Tofu

2 Tablespoons Liquid Glucose
¼ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

4 Cups Icing Sugar, sifted if lumpy

Using a handheld blender, or whisk, blend the tofu until smooth and lump free.
Add the glucose and vanilla and whisk in.
Stir in the sugar until sugar is as well mixed as possible, then knead to incorporate the remaining sugar.
Keep kneading until smooth and supple.

Color with a few drops of food coloring as required, and knead to incorporate.
When rolling use icing sugar to stop sticking, and roll onto sugared parchment paper for ease of handing.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Holiday.

Just advance warning that there will be no posts next week, we are off camping without regular internet access on vancouver Island. I use camping in the loosest sense of the word, H's friend has a trailer he lets us use, and we park it on his front lawn and run the power and water from his house. Camping, but not a tent, or any hardships in sight.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Happy Birthday Cake!


Happy Birthday Cake!, originally uploaded by Vegan Year.

It was H's birthday over the weekend! Have a look at his cake. It's meant to be half a foorball, (soccer ball) but I had to use a blue-green icing instead of black.
Tasted great, and he had a wonderful birthday so that is all that matters!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Cookie Monsters!


Cookie Monsters!, originally uploaded by Vegan Year.

After a swim, a cookie. M&R with their friends MJ and AJ enjoy Almond Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies!
My girls don't usually like almonds but almond butter and ground almonds hidden in chocolate chocolate chip cookies seems to be perfectly acceptable. Who would have guessed??

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coffee time!!! With a hit of caffeine these cookies are a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up. The base cookie dough isn’t overly sweet so the sugar sprinkles are necessary to ensure the final coffee taste isn’t too bitter.

Use decaf coffee if you’d prefer!

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 18

¾ Cup light Brown Sugar
¼ Cup Shortening
¼ Cup Margarine

¼ Cup very strong Espresso, at room temperature, OR dissolve 3 Tablespoons of Instant Coffee in ¼ Cup boiling Water
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 ½ Cups Plain Flour
¼ Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, or more Plain
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
2 teaspoons Instant Coffee, or Espresso, Powder
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda

½ Cup Chocolate Chips

Turbinado Sugar to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 375°F, and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
In a large bowl cream together the sugar, shortening, and margarine until thick and creamy.
Add the espresso, and extract and beat in. The mix will look curdled once mixed but it is OK.
Sift in the flour, sugar, cornstarch, coffee powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda then mix to form a soft dough.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Scoop dough into heaping Tablespoons and roll into balls. Flatten in your palms to form 2” discs, then place on prepared trays 2” apart.
Sprinkle turbinado sugar on the top of each cookie.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until bottoms browned but cookies still soft.
Cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to complete cooling.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

and the winner is......


I did a random number thingy -
True Random Number Service
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:14
Timestamp: 2010-08-08 15:46:26 UTC

So comment number 14 is the winner -

Camila F. said...
Oh, I'm in desperate need of new vegan recipes!!! Count me in!naomemandeflores@gmail.com
August 4, 2010 5:38 AM

Hooray!! I will send an email to the address provided to get an address to send the book to!

This has been fun. I will have to do another give-away at some point. My book for sure, but before them too! Thanks to everyone for taking part, and I wish I could send something to everyone.
Also. If the prize hasn't been claimed by Wednesday I'll re-draw!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Give-Away closes tomorrow!

I'll probably do the draw about Lunchtime and post the winner after that.
Still time to enter!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

My girls favourite cookie is chocolate chip. They'll eat whatever variation I put in front of them, so I have been trying to get really creative with my offerings to get new flavours they'll enjoy. The latest was Lavender (makes yummy ice cream sandwiches!!) and am thinking Chai next.

So, for my post today I have a question / request.
Please tell me your favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie flavour variation. Comments please!
I'll pick one and make it then post, and you never know, it could turn up in a future book!

Also, there's still 2 days to enter my Vegan with a Vengeance giveaway!! Go enter.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A Give-Away. Thanks Dad.

As I said a few days ago I have an extra copy of
to give away to one lucky person!! (That would be Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz if you don't get the picture.)

I thought long and hard about how to structure this give-away. I've seen many where you have to become a blog follower (nice if you would), or a FB follower (it's HERE if you're interested), or link in twitter or other type thing, or answer some question or whatever, but in the end I decided that would be too much work.

If you want the book leave a comment. Any comment, about anything. Though this is a family friendly blog and any swears will get you disqualified.

I'll get the winner randomly chosen on Sunday (which gives you 5 days) either by the girls picking a name from the hat, or a number generator or something.

Good luck all.
ETA - Give-away open to everyone everywhere.

Monday, 2 August 2010

A book for kids, and everyone!

Theres' this really cool looking new kids book availble for buying out there at the moment. It aims to invoke discussion and make kids (and their parents) think about food choices. I haven't read it myself but have seen wonderful reviews, and have requested my local library to buy it. Once I have read it I'll do a review, but in the meantime heres the link to the website, and a look at the cover, as shown on the Thora Thinks site.
Have a look, and if you have the book, let me know your opinion.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Yard Sale!


Yard Sale!, originally uploaded by Vegan Year.

Here are the sellers ready to sell.
We had a yard sale yesterday to clear out a heap of the toys and clothes the girls have grown out of. We didn't sell everything so the leftovers got donated, but did pretty well. The girls have spent most of their proceeds on a new toy each, and have decided to donate the rest of the money to a charity to help the "aminals" hurt by the oil spill in the gulf.