sugar free

Boiled Orange Cranberry And Chocolate Cake

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2 whole ORGANIC oranges
2 and 1/4 cups ground almonds
1 cup coconut sugar 
4 free range eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup roughly chopped good quality dark chocolate

Place whole oranges in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and continue the boil for 1 hour.

Drain. Let cool (apparently patience is virtous)

Preheat oven to 160 C

Cut oranges in half and place in a food processor (skin, pith, flesh errythang) with ground almonds, coconut sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and baking soda then process until smooth.

Turn the food processor off, unless you want to die and using a spoon, gently mix in the cranberries and chocolate (leaving a handful behind for topping)

Pour batter into a baking-paper lined cake tin, top with remaining cranberries and chocolate and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a fork comes out clean when inserted.

Let cool completely before removing from tin.

Note: using organic oranges is vital here seeing as you’re going to be eating the whole thang. Also, the thinner the orange skin, the sweeter.

Enjoy! Let me know how it goes and don’t forget to tag me in your creations xx

Day Nine, Our First Hanami!

Hanami literally means “flower viewing”, however, it commonly refers only to cherry blossom viewing. Cherry blossom viewing is easy: simply enjoy the intensity of the many blossoms by looking at a single tree or a group of trees and eat good food. I made Petite Kitchen’s gluten and refined-sugar free cheesecake topped with 100% cherry jam, My New Root’s Life-Changing Loaf, hummus, babaganoush/eggplant dip (recipe below) and a simple pasta salad with tuna, blue-cheese stuffed olives, red onion, parsley and cherry tomatoes. My beautiful friend Mina prepared a vegetable frittata, brown rice, carrot, mushroom and soybean onigiri (rice ball), rice-paper rolls, semi-dried bananas, a tomato salad and cut fruit. It was all so good. I am so happy. Happy one year Japanniversary to me! <3

PS: Just like that, sakura carpets, already!
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Babaganoush:
1 large eggplant
2 tbsp tahini
juice of half a lemon
2 garlic cloves

Optional toppings: a handful of skinned then roasted pistachio nuts, some sesame seeds, and a small dollop of extra virgin olive oil.

You’re going to take me as a fool but I’m not kidding, honto (really in Japanese). Place the eggplant as is in a toaster oven or normal oven on high heat (mine goes up to 220) until burnt on the outside and squishy on the inside. Don’t fret the burnt skin, it’s what gives this dip its smoke.

When cooled, scoop out the insides and blitz alongside remaining ingredients (excluding toppings – well, duh) in a food processor or in batches, in a blender like moi. Das all. Top with toppings and enjoy with bread, cut veggies, grissini or what have you!

Today Is The Day

My parents arrive TONIGHT! In Japan for their first time! YAY! Naturally, as Anisa does, I spent last night baking for them. I baked my “Bluberry and Lemon Yoghurt Loaf” into muffins using raspberries in place of the little blue babies. And, I made my “Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes” into a loaf, with the addition of macadamia nuts mixed both through the batter and sprinkled on top of the thing. Also, at one point I had a mini, okay major, panic attack because I’d so obviously overfilled my muffin tray and visual evidence clearly indicated that they were destined to merge into one giant cookie, which on second thoughts wouldnt be that bad a thing (hehe) but thank heavens for the brilliant invention of the silicon tray cos I managed to get them out just fine and look at that.. now they’re sporting, perhaps the sexiest muffin-tops I’ve ever seen ;)
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A Healthier Potato Salad and Cheesecake

Both recipes inspired by Petite Kitchen 

Potato Salad:
3 large potatoes of choice
1 small-medium cucumber
2-3 medium gherkins/pickles (chopped small)
A handful of dried blackcurrants
1/2 cup of raw pistachios (chopped small)
A large handful of fresh mint (roughly chopped)
Juice of one lemon
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Pepper

Scrub potatoes well then cut in to small cubes. Place in a large saucepan, cover with salted water and bring to the boil. Then simmer, uncovered until just cooked. Be careful not to overcook!

When ready, strain potatoes and set aside to cool.

Once cooled, combine and toss all ingredients in a large bowl.

Cheesecake: 
6 free-range eggs
1 cup natural yoghurt
1 cup of mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup of almond meal/almond powder
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla essence

Topping:
Note: alternatively, you can use 100% store-bought fruit jam. 
1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup of water

Decoration:
Silvered almonds and flowers

Preheat oven to 180C

Grease a round cake tin then line with baking paper -grease that a little bit too.

Combine all cake ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined. Since my blender couldn’t fit/handle all the ingredients at once, I managed this part by blending in batches at a time.

Pour batter into a cake tin and bake for about 45-50 min or until set. Note: batter will be very runny, this is normal.

Keep a good eye on the prize, if the top starts prematurely browning because your oven is shit like mine, use a sheet of tin foil to cover the top.

As your cake bakes, add all topping ingredients to a saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer until juicy and thick- set aside to cool.

Once both topping and cake have cooled, bring the two together in the most perfect union using the back of a tablespoon..

Decorate with silvered almonds and small flowers. Last but definitely not least, Instagram it.

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A big shout out to Daniel and Mariko for having me over, listening to all my Japan problems and giving me kind brotherly and sisterly advice and my tummy, vegetarian gyoza and perfectly cooked brown rice!

An Israeli Dish To Make You Forget Hummus

Hummus who? That’s right. That’s how good my Israeli dinner (not hummus) was last night. Oh my, where to begin?

Hamin (pronounced with a strong KH so KHamin) or Cholent is a traditional Jewish stew. According to Lifa (Mr. Head Chef) it is usually simmered overnight Friday for about 12 hours, and eaten on Shabbat, the Religious holiday where Jewish laws prohibit cooking or turning on the light for that matter!

There are many variations of the dish but the basic ingredients are meat, potatoes, beans and barley. Sephardi-style hamin uses rice instead of beans and barley, and chicken instead of beef. A traditional Sephardi addition is whole eggs in the shell (huevos haminados), which turn brown overnight. Ashkenazi cholent often contains kishke (a sausage casing) or helzel (a chicken neck skin stuffed with a flour-based mixture). When I asked Lifa more about this casing and what it was stuffed with, he replied in his thick Hebrew accent, “I don’t know, mostly FAT and BREAD.” Ha! So I’m glad he couldn’t find it in Japan and opted for boiled eggs instead.

I loved listening to Lifa describe this dish. He very much reminded me of my father. Seeing as we were both hungry, his mouth was watering as he showed me pictures of the cooking process. One description stood out. That being his technique of placing the beans on the bottom of the pot as they are his least favourite ingredient, so if something is to burn, it will be them!

Come tasting time, the Hamin or Cholent was unbelievably delicious. Picture a marriage between a risotto and a stew. So damn delicious. Lifa had also included prunes and date syrup making it a flavoursome sweet and savoury concoction. The ultimate comfort food. I can’t wait for him to make it again. Here I should mention, Aki also made, as usual, an amazing green salad with figs and hemp seeds, cabbage soup and a tasty broccoli dish.

For dessert, we had entirely VEGAN, GF and SUGAR-FREE cupcakes which I made using Kaori’s recipe. Don’t we have the best foodie community here?! Recipe below.

150g soft tofu(it’s called KINU-TOFU in Japanese)
1/2 cup soy milk
3/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup pure cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
nuts of choice (optional)

Mix the first lot of ingredients together in a blender then transfer to a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients, mix well.

Pour into a greased cake tin or muffin tray and bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes.

Icing:
Flesh of one avocado
1 small banana
3 tbsp pure cocoa powder
2 tbsp raw maple syrup (or honey)

Blend all ingredients together and spread atop cake. Make sure blender is off before you start licking it! <3

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One fruit crumble to rule them all.

It’s safe to say, if I can say so myself, which I can, seeing as this is my blog, that I know how to make a good fruit crumble. And by good, I mean real good. With real ingredients free of dairy, gluten(if you want it to be) and refined-sugar.
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Last night, I made said crumble and took it to my dear friend and neighbour, Kaori’s house. Though this has become a recurring habit of ours, nevertheless, it was for a special occasion and that special occasion is Ayyam-i-Ha.

Ayyam-i-Ha, or the Intercalary Days, is a multiple-day Bahá’í festival. It typically falls around the end of February and the beginning of March and is joyously celebrated by Bahá’ís (that’s my religion) in countries and territories all over the world.

It is a period dedicated to being social, hospitable, generous and joyful. In addition, it is a time to prepare for the upcoming Bahá’í fast come March (2nd) though more on that soon!

So, Kaori, her daughter, Emma and I spent last night in yin-yang spirit by consuming a vegan, gluten and refined-sugar-free crumble alongside a huge scoop of budget ice-cream in the same bowl.image[3]
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Last thing, before I get to the recipe, which I know is why you’re all here anyway, is that this morning, I woke up with a terrible cold and so, was forced to cancel my entire weekend plans. WAH. Nevertheless, it’s giving me some MORE time to work on my blog (as if I don’t harass you all enough) and combine all of my crumble recipes into one neat one, below. Sorry for all the ranting! GO GO GO:

To make the recipe GF, simply use GF oats and ground nuts in place of flour.

Filling:
3 Large apples or pears or a combination, peeled, cored and chopped medium.
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries, blackcurrants or raspberries or a mixture of all.
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pure vanilla essence

Crumble:
1 cup jumbo oats
1/2 cup of quick oats
1/4 cup of flour (I usually use wholemeal)
1/2 cup of chopped raw nuts of choice (I like walnuts)
1/2 cup of raw seeds of choice (I like pumpkin seeds)
1 tbsp cinnamon
a pinch of each ginger powder, nutmeg and cardamom
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup or honey
1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted.

In a small pot cook the apples/pears with 1/2 cup of water on med-high heat until soft (about 15 min).

Add berries, cinnamon and vanilla essence and continue to simmer for another min or two.

The secret to a crunchy crumble is a relatively “dry” filling so transfer the fruit mixture to a round cake tin with as little of its water as possible. You can drink that (that is if you have any excess liquid) or use it in another recipe, if you will.

Combine all crumble ingredients together in another bowl until nice and sticky.

Assemble on top of fruit.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and crunchy at 180C.

**Do keep an eye out so it doesn’t burn.

Oishi desu yo!

Date cake

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Date cake. As in the fruit, not romance. Unless I’m having a date with a bear or a wild boar in which case, it could be that cos I’m pretty sure I saw a bear yesterday. Anyways, it’s free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar but not eggs. Because I love eggs. Free-range of course.

4 free-range eggs
1 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup of coconut oil (melted)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup of ground almonds
1 cup of rice flour
1 tsp cinnamon

to decorate: walnuts and dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 160C

Blend eggs, dates, oil, baking soda and vinegar together (in a food processor or blender).

Transfer to a large bowl and fold in almonds, flour and cinnamon.

Pour mixture into a greased tin and top with walnuts and dark chocolate

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the fork comes out clean.

Enjoy hot or cold or in between.

PS I initially topped this cake with freeze-dried strawberries but they burnt in my toaster oven! So, I picked them off and shoved more walnuts in their place (hehe) hence the berry absence in the last picture.

Healthy wholewheat waffles

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Remember the “Sister Visit”? Well, my lovely lovely sister, who always likes and shares my blog-posts, brought over, all the way from NZ, my very abandoned yet dearly missed baby, Mr Waffle. Mr. Waffle Maker. Who this morning kindly provided me with healthy wholewheat waffles.

If you’re reading this Delaram, thank you! They were delicious and I highly recommend you (and everyone else) invest in one too (waffle maker and waffles).

1 free range egg
1 1/2 cups of your favorite milk
1 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour (or any GF flour of choice)
1/2 cup ground almonds (or other nut or seeds)
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of cinnamon

In a large bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.

Next, stir in everything else.

Cook waffle according to waffle-maker instructions.

Serve with yogurt, fruit, maple syrup and peanut butter! OR BACON. Oh no I didn’t.

Vegan turnip, carrot and bean soup

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This was simply an “I need to use up these vegetables” moment that just happened to work. It’s so easy it’s not even a recipe and I’m no chef, I just chopped some veggies and put them in a pot with water and some spice then hovered impatiently over it then burnt my tongue badly from it.

1 onion, chopped small
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 or so cups water
2 cups small white turnips, chopped
1 cup wild carrots, chopped (regular carrots are OK, too!)
1/2 cup green peas

1 can of all natural mixed beans

Fresh coriander
Salt and pepper

Saute onions with oil in a medium pot on medium heat until translucent.

Add tomato paste and saute for a further minute.

Add everything else (spices, vegetables, water) and simmer at medium-low heat for 20ish minutes. Since the beans are pre-cooked the whole thing shouldn’t take that long to cook and come together.

Pour into bowls and serve with fresh coriander and salt and pepper, to taste.

HASHTAGsurvivingajapanesewinter.