Pineapple Mint Juice

December 06, 2012

Pineapple Mint Juice

I love juices that combine sweetness and acidity in a most delicious and refreshing way. Pineapple and minneolas have topped my list of favourite fruit this year. Being sweet and only mildly acidic, they work so well together in this juice. With extra zing from lemon and the cooling taste of mint, the juice is instantly comforting and energizing.

When it comes to fruit, I prefer blender juices - they save time and are more satisfying, as they retain fiber. This recipe is blissfully simple: just put everything in the blender and whiz until smooth.

Eggplant Hummus

November 29, 2012

Eggplant Hummus

Combining my two favourite Middle Eastern foods - hummus and moutabal - resulted in this extremely delicious appetizer. I figured since I use almost the same ingredients in both of them I might as well make a 2-in-1 dish and save myself some time. Half way between a spread and a dip, the eggplant hummus is wonderfully creamy with a rich, smoky flavour. I mostly enjoy it with freshly baked, crusty bread, but also like it plain or with crunchy carrot and celery sticks.

Vegan Omelette

November 18, 2012

Vegan Omelette

This vegan omelette has been a regular on my menu for over two months - it's super delicious, filling, really easy to make, budget-friendly and nutritious. I came to know Andrea - the author of Chocolate and Beyond - thanks to a recipe contest and I've been a fan of her simple and creative recipes ever since. The omelette is listed among her 12 Yummy Vegan Breakfast & Brunch Ideas (scroll down to no. 5). This dish has taken my love for chickpeas to such extremes that there have been days when I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with little else in between - it is that good.

Beet Juice (with pomegranate, minneolas and lemon)

November 04, 2012

Beet Juice

This is one of the best juices I've made. I love its vibrant crimson colour and refreshing, sweet and slightly tangy taste. It is extremely healthful, with powerful detox and antioxidant properties. The vitamin C level exceeds the daily recommended value and the juice also provides a high dose of folate. To a lower level, it covers a large spectrum of minerals and vitamins, particularly potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, B vitamins, vitamin K and E.

Super Moist Orange Cake with Chocolate Ganache

October 19, 2012

Orange Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Orange, vanilla, chocolate and coconut, this cake has every flavour my heart desires. A foolproof, blissfully easy to make dessert, this is indulgence at the highest level! The cake is heavenly moist and light, with a melt-in-the-mouth texture and a soothing, gratifying effect that will make anyone love it. Dressed up for a celebration or served in all its simplicity, it is nothing short of magnificent. You don't need to wait for a special occasion to come up in order to enjoy it, make it simply because it's Monday or because you deserve a treat and I guarantee you it will make your day.

Blackberry Smoothie

October 11, 2012

Blackberry Smoothie

Health in a cup - this simple blackberry smoothie was my way of celebrating the end of the short but very generous blackberry season in London this year. With only 3 ingredients creamed together into a most delicious, refreshing, intensely berry-flavoured drink, with its vibrant purple-burgundy colour, this smoothie turns the simple act of drinking into a gratifying experience. Blackberries, bananas and raw almond milk are top-ranked for their health benefits. Together, they become a concentrated source of nutrients in a highly absorbable form.

Turkish-style Pizza (Lahmacun, Lahmajoon, Lahm bi'ajin)

September 23, 2012

Turkish Pizza

It's amazing what one can make with very few ingredients to choose from. One day recently I was thinking of ways to use up the last vegetables in the pantry, when I suddenly remembered lahmacun, an unusual pizza-like snack I hadn't eaten in over ten years. I've only known it as the Turkish pizza (lahmacun is the Turkish spelling, pronounced lah-ma-joon), but I've come to know this is actually a very popular dish throughout the Middle East. The name comes from the Arabic lahm bi'ajin which means meat with dough. Lahmacun is basically a thin, crispy, round flatbread topped with a spicy mixture of minced meat, finely chopped vegetables (usually onion, bell pepper, tomato) and fresh herbs (parsley, mint), drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, garnished with fresh parsley and rolled up like a sandwich.

Chocolate Mousse (no added sugar)

September 17, 2012

Chocolate Mousse

One of my recent kitchen adventures turned simplicity into pure decadence. If you're not new to my blog, you already know how much I love the combination of chocolate and coconut. With this new experiment I wanted to replace sugar/agave nectar and make a healthier chocolate ice cream without compromising on taste.

I had successfully used homemade date paste before in several recipes, so I knew this would work great in this dessert, but I could not anticipate just how light and creamy it would turn out. Instead of the soft serve ice cream I had in mind, I created a luscious chocolate mousse. It was in fact so good that I didn't want to risk spoiling the texture and taste by freezing it. While sugar and agave nectar only add sweetness, dates also add a delicate fruity flavour that makes this chocolate mousse even more delicious.

Raw Blackberry Banana Ice Cream

September 11, 2012

Raw Blackberry Banana Ice Cream

Not long ago I thought I had found the most delicious and easiest to make ice cream (see my post on No-Churn Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream). Recently, however, I wanted to see what all the hype was about the magical one-ingredient ice cream and that was a fantastic surprise. Frozen then puréed ripe bananas make the creamiest, lightest alternative to custard-based ice cream. It is rich yet feels light, it's naturally sweet and creamy and, when frozen, doesn't form all those nasty ice crystals. With no ice cream maker needed, this dessert is a breeze to make and the result spectacular.

Moroccan-style Lentil and Chickpea Soup

September 01, 2012

Moroccan Lentil Chickpea Soup

Lentils and chickpeas are widely used in the Moroccan cuisine in dishes infused with traditional spices and herbs that give them their distinctive taste. I often cook with either lentils or chickpeas, but it wasn't until I found Holly S. Warah's recipe on her Arabic Zeal blog that I actually thought of combining the two. Holly's Moroccan-style Lentil Soup with Chickpeas is the very definition of comfort food. It is wonderfully aromatic, soothing, rich, deeply satisfying and nourishing.

Plum Semolina Cake

August 23, 2012

Plum Semolina Cake

Aren't these little cake squares pretty? This is the kind of dessert I love to make - quick, simple and bursting with flavour. This plum cake is moist, tender, wonderfully fruity, and has just the right amount of sweetness. I instantly became a semolina fan a few years ago after tasting RedChillies' Eggless Mango Cake. I turned out many versions of that cake and each one was a hit. With this cake instead of mashing the plums and adding the purée to the batter, I preferred to dot the cake with halved plums for a more appealing look. This also created a delicious contrast of textures and colours.

Semolina gives the cake a pleasingly grainy texture. It also helps retain moisture, making it less dense than similar flour-based cakes. This semolina cake is flavoured with Bramley applesauce which adds a pleasing touch of tartness and makes it light and fresh tasting.

Coconut Cherry Ice Cream Layer Cake

August 17, 2012

Coconut Cherry Ice Cream

There is something hopelessly cheerful about this cake with its alternating layers of delicate pink and vibrant red that create a delicious contrast and give it a celebratory appearance. I made it for a recent birthday party and it was a total sensation. Prior to the event I had tried this combination of coconut and cherry in ice cream form and its raving success made it the obvious choice for the special occasion instead of the usual chocolate cake. The flavours are fresh and bursting with each bite. It turns out that homemade ice cream is great fun both to make and to eat. Making an ice cream cake from scratch is deeply rewarding and justifies all the effort put into it.

Chickpea and Mushroom Curry

August 07, 2012

Chickpea Mushroom Curry

The chapter For the love of chickpeas continues with a very simple Indian-style curry, a recreation of the one that got me hooked on these little legumes in the first place years ago. This was a lucky combination, but the result blew me away. For an hour after eating a bowlful of curry and rice I kept on saying how incredibly good it was. As with any food I instantly love, I had the curry again the same day and made even more the next. Mushrooms seem to complete chickpeas. I used white mushrooms this time, but my favourite are the chestnut type. This curry is rich and wonderfully aromatic, with a harmonious blend of spices that creates a warm, long-lasting aftertaste. It's also highly nutritious and provides a good amount of fiber to aid digestion.

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

July 29, 2012

Nectarine Upside Down Cake

I love to eat nectarines in the summer, all ripe, sweet and juicy, but there's just something so delightful about the perfume of a freshly baked nectarine cake that makes me give into the craving every time. If you've read my Apple Upside-Down Cake post you know how much I like Susan Voisin's recipe (Susan is the author of FatFree Vegan Kitchen). I've made several fruit versions of her cake and while each one has something special the nectarine one remains at the top of my list. There are different types of nectarines and my favourite are those with gold and crimson skin and bright yellow flesh. I don't even peel them when making the cake and that creates an appetizing colour contrast while giving it a more rustic appearance.

No-Churn Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream

July 19, 2012

Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream

There is something truly magical about this ice cream that turns its simplicity into pure decadence. The rich coconut and chocolate flavours meet almost halfway, with chocolate slightly taking over. They're so wonderfully balanced that even someone who is not a coconut fan would love this ice cream. The heavenly fusion of flavours makes for an exquisite taste sensation. The texture is seductively smooth and velvety, forming a thick coating inside the mouth as the ice cream melts. Had I not made it myself, I wouldn't have believed vegan ice cream could be so incredibly creamy and light, especially without using an ice cream maker. Once you taste homemade ice cream the ready-made one becomes a distant memory.

Chocolate Brownies (gluten-free, no added fat)

July 06, 2012

Chocolate Brownies

You know those desserts that leave you speechless with their exquisite taste? The ones that are so decadent and addictive you find yourself sneaking into the kitchen for just one more bite, promising it would be the last? These chocolate brownies are that good! By the time I finished taking all the pictures I had already eaten a quarter of the brownies and that was just dinner, the dessert came later;) Author's advice: don't cut the brownie before having your meal, it's dangerously tempting and once you start eating you can't stop at one piece.

There is a special ingredient that helps keep these beauties moist and fudgy: butternut squash. I had some leftover purée after making butternut squash hummus and what better way to use it up than to make brownies? Now, the brownies themselves are great on their own, but what really takes them to that level of ultimate delight is the chocolate ganache. You wouldn't expect it to be so, considering how simple it is, but truly these brownies would be incomplete without it.

Somali Anjero (Canjeero)

July 02, 2012

Somali Anjero

The African cuisine with its diversity and exotic flavours exerts a kind of fascination on me that no other cuisine does. I became interested in learning the African ways of cooking during my stay in Dubai a few years ago when I had many opportunities to enjoy authentic Moroccan and Egyptian dishes. Unlike North-African and Ethiopian cuisines, Somali cuisine is not well known to the western world and I was fortunate to discover it through Xawaash (pronounced Hawash), a wonderful food blog run by a husband and wife team that documents traditional recipes and cooking techniques passed on by generations, in an effort to preserve the country's rich culinary heritage and to help Somalis living abroad to reconnect with their roots. Abdullahi and Leila's efforts to bring Somalia's distinctive cuisine to the world are admirable, as Xawaash is gaining popularity among African and non-African communities alike. Their dedication and passion shine through in every post.

Apple Upside-Down Cake

June 20, 2012

Apple Upside Down Cake

I believe I am not alone in affirming that the best desserts are the ones that use simple ingredients and easy methods of preparation. Thinking of all the recipes I've made, I realise that it was indeed the simplest ones that I kept making over the years. Among these there are only a few that amazed me with their versatility and inspired me to try other versions. One such recipe is Susan Voisin's Peach Upside-Down Cake. I found it three years ago while searching for a cake batter for my vegan upside-down pineapple cake. I've made her recipe many times using different fruit and even succeeded in creating a gluten-free version which I will post soon.

Bean and Lentil Loaf (gluten-free)

June 13, 2012

Bean Lentil Loaf

On my last trip to the local library I leafed through some cookbooks in search for inspiration and found this great recipe in Anne Sheasby's book "High fibre cooking". I'd wanted to try a meatless loaf for a long time but never found a good recipe and this one looked very promising. I made a few modifications because the original recipe is not vegan or gluten-free and loved how the loaf turned out. I greatly enjoyed the crispy crust and the inside held together very well. The loaf was full of flavour, moist, with a good bite to it. The recipe is very easy to make, with a basic preparation and ingredients that are widely available. This is a great way to incorporate high-fiber, nutrient-dense foods into one's diet. The loaf can also be served on a special occasion, thanks to its festive appearance.

Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Cake (gluten-free)

June 03, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Three is a charm, they say. Indeed, my third attempt at making this cake worked magic and it turned out perfect (the magic mood must have something to do with Paulo Coelho's Brida that I'm reading). I fell in love with it and craved it the moment I spotted it on Tasteologie and, after reading the recipe on pastry studio, not only did I want to veganize it, I also wanted to make it gluten-free. The "cake" section on pastry studio is probably the best collection of mouthwatering pictures and recipes I have ever laid eyes on. And the best part is that most of the recipes call for one or two eggs, veganizing them is such an easy task.

Apple Pancakes

May 31, 2012

Apple Pancakes

Apple and cinnamon are one of the most appetizing combinations. Add to that the nutty flavour of whole wheat and a little vanilla to intensify the flavours and you've got a very delicious breakfast. But the pleasure doesn't stop there. Pour a generous amount of maple syrup over these spongy pancakes, let them soak it in and you've set the tone for the whole day:) This is a very simple recipe for busy people.

Creamy Chickpea Soup

May 30, 2012

Creamy Chickpea Soup

Chickpeas are a constant presence in my kitchen. I love everything about them: the rich nutty taste, creamy texture, appetizing colour, their versatility and how they absorb flavours. After many curries, breads, burgers and sweets, it was high time I tried a chickpea soup. While browsing recipes on the internet for inspiration, I found a easy Creamy Chickpea Soup by The Domestic Goddess (adapted from chef Rob Feenie's recipe) that required only a small change to be made vegan. One word instantly convinced me to try it: tahini. Is there anything more reminiscent of the Middle Eastern cuisine than chickpeas and tahini? This soup is like a liquid version of a very aromatic hummus. It is rich, creamy, the flavours and textures are wonderfully balanced and it is ready in no time (it doesn't even come to a boil, go figure!).

Puff Pizza

May 25, 2012

Puff Pizza

A couple of years ago I made a lot of vegan pizza and experimented with different bases and toppings, while focusing on getting the same unmistakable flavour. The easiest was by far the puff pastry one because it involves the least amount of work and many brands don't require freezing, only a low temperature. The main issue with vegan pizza is whether the cheese will melt. There are many brands out there that do and here I've used Cheezly. This pizza has it all: it's light, smoky, spicy, sweet, it's got lots of melted mozzarella and, like any great pizza, it's finger-lickin' good:)

Coconut Hazelnut Balls

May 21, 2012

Coconut Hazelnut Balls

I have got into the habit of making raw nut milk and sweet treats using the leftover pulp. After enjoying those delicious Chocolate Balls with almond pulp I wanted a more exotic taste, so I made these pretty little coconut snowballs with hazelnut pulp. I also used virgin coconut oil for the first time and the balls had the most amazing aroma. No wonder coconut oil is used in aromatherapy for its soothing, stress-relieving effects. This recipe is very simple and requires minimal preparation.

Raw Hazelnut Milk

May 20, 2012

Raw Hazelnut Milk

I didn't think making raw nut milk would be so much fun. It's even more exciting when I think of the sweet treats I make with the leftover pulp. After enjoying almond milk for several days I went on and tried the hazelnut version, only that this time I used the nuts whole, with their skin on. The hazelnut milk turned out amazing (rawmazing, as raw foodists say). I could not imagine a better colour for nut milk - a gorgeous, velvety, pale beige that instantly makes your mouth water (sadly, only partially captured in the pictures due to my lack of professional photography skills).

Smoky Black Bean Stew

May 19, 2012

Black Bean Stew

I find Tasteologie to be a great source of inspiration when I get tired of old favourites and want to try something new. That is how I found Tasty Yummies' recipe for Chipotle Black Bean and Quinoa Crock-Pot Stew. I generally avoid recipes for slow cooker because I don't have one, but it was impossible not to be intrigued when I saw the picture. As much as I would have loved to follow the recipe entirely I had to make a few adjustments. I couldn't find chipotles in my area and so I used smoked paprika instead, I also forgot to buy quinoa and added more vegetables because I'm used to having lots of them in a stew. This dish is incredibly delicious - it's hearty, spicy and wonderfully aromatic. The rich taste lingers in the mouth long after eating.

Chocolate Balls

May 15, 2012

Chocolate Balls

Chocolate balls are a very simple, healthy and delicious way to use up leftover pulp from making Raw Almond Milk (my previous post). With only three main ingredients to combine, they are ready in just a few minutes. These chocolate balls are not overly chocolatey and sweet, but are decadent enough to make you want more. There is no added sugar and they are gluten-free too. They make a great snack or dessert and if you pack them in a nice little box they make a wonderful gift.

Raw Almond Milk

Raw Almond Milk

One resolution I made when I started the raw journey was to invest time in homemade foods rather than buying them ready-made; that includes making my own raw nut milks and the first I tried was the almond. Since I now add dates to smoothies for sweetness I decided to make a simple almond milk, free of sweeteners and flavourings. When I tasted the homemade version I realised just how much of those two are added to the store-bought milk. Not only is the homemade one healthier, it also takes a lot less time to prepare it than to make a trip to the supermarket.

Aloo Baingan (Potato Eggplant Curry)

May 13, 2012

Aloo Baingan

Aloo Baingan is a popular North Indian dish of potatoes and eggplant cooked in a rich, spicy tomato gravy and served with different kinds of Indian bread (my favourite being parathas). This curry can have a dry or liquidy consistency and the taste can range from mild to very hot. I had aloo baingan only once and have been dreaming of making it ever since. I opted here for a thick, mildly spicy gravy and added red bell pepper for sweetness. To save time I cooked the potatoes separately. The curry is absolutely delicious, with tender vegetables infused with aromatic spices that leave a wonderful aftertaste.

Green Salad with Avocado Dressing

May 09, 2012

Green Salad with Avocado Dressing

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make a major change in my diet in an attempt to improve my health and also to mark 3 years of veganism. As I went from mostly cooked food to mostly raw overnight (something I'd been waiting to do for long) I noticed in a very short time the most surprising thing - a constant craving for raw foods, which made this change unexpectedly easy. I now spend a lot less time in the kitchen, preparing salads and smoothies or eating fruit. This salad was just a lucky combination, but it was so delicious that I literally obsessed over it for days. The creamy avocado dressing is the best addition to it, as it brings all the flavours together and balances the textures.

Chickpea Nuggets and Burgers

April 25, 2012

Chickpea Nuggets

I am a huge fan of chickpeas. They're my favourite food and I eat them very often, mostly in curries and hummus. I cannot recommend and praise them highly enough. Their nutty taste, buttery texture and high nutrient content make them perfect for this recipe. With two main ingredients, these nuggets couldn't be faster and easier to make (scroll down for more information on chickpeas). I opted here for deep-frying, but you can simply pop them in the oven for a few minutes to have a low-fat version. Either way they are very delicious, crunchy, filling and the spice blend leaves a pleasant, warming aftertaste.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

April 03, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Happy 50th post!:) I'm so excited to see my little blog grow:) To celebrate I have chosen an extraordinary cake recipe to share with you today. This decadent peanut butter chocolate cake has been a favourite of mine for over three years. I have slightly modified Nava Atlas's Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake because I'm not a fan of chocolate chips and wanted a layered cake with lots of frosting. For those of you who don't already know, Nava is a famous author of vegan and vegetarian cooking books, an artist and the host of VegKitchen, a wonderful website that features an impressive collection of vegan recipes.

Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry

March 12, 2012

Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry

Sometimes the excitement of trying out a new recipe sets me in a great mood all day long. I recently stumbled upon Tasty Yummies' post on Butternut Squash & Chickpea Coconut Curry (crock pot recipe) and it looked and sounded so good, I was very anxious to make it the following day. It had chickpea (foodwise, my biggest weakness) and curry powder (my favourite spice mix), so I was easily seduced. I eagerly went and bought the missing ingredients in the morning and by lunchtime I was enjoying a generous serving of this incredibly delicious curry with a few parathas. The curry brings together butternut squash, chickpea, spinach, peas and coconut milk, making it very rich, creamy and filling. Its sweet and spicy flavours are perfectly balanced. I barely had the patience till dinnertime to enjoy it again. I even walked all the way to the supermarket to get more parathas, since they were over and I wouldn't have my curry without them:)

Aloo Chana

March 10, 2012

Aloo Chana

This is another lucky-combination-turned-awesome that I made recently when there wasn't much in the pantry to choose from - a rich, creamy, mildly sweet and spicy coconut curry with potatoes (aloo) and chickpea (chana) that satisfies the appetite and delights the taste buds. It is great served with crispy puris or papadums. As with all Indian curries, it is best eaten with the fingers (Indians believe that in order to fully enjoy a meal one should involve as many of the senses as possible - taste, smell, sight and touch).

Mango Pancakes

March 09, 2012

Mango Pancakes

2010 was my busiest, most adventurous year when it comes to baking/cooking. February was the crazy pancake month. I took a basic recipe and tweaked it several times to make some very delicious fruit pancakes. If you enjoy mango as much as I do you'll love these ones. They are very easy to make, light and aromatic. The combination of mango and cardamom is widely used in India and gives these pancakes a plus of flavour.

Banana Orange Pancakes

March 05, 2012

Banana Orange Pancakes

These pancakes are great for breakfast and so easy to make. It's amazing that with simple ingredients you can make such delicious pancakes that are also light, fluffy and full of flavour. They are wonderful eaten plain or with different toppings, like sweet cream (single cream sweetened with agave nectar) or maple syrup.

Tofu Crêpes

March 04, 2012

Vegan Tofu Crêpes

A few days ago I was craving a snack that I ate at the Whole Foods Market last year, a half-folded tofu crêpe stuffed with lots of yummy veggies. I wanted to make something similar and while browsing recipes for the crêpes the first one that showed up was Bryanna Clark Grogan's video recipe on Everyday Dish. The crêpes were so easy to make and took just seconds to be done. I already had all the ingredients so I went ahead and made a batch. Not only were they incredibly delicious, but to my surprise they were exactly like the egg/dairy version I used to be crazy about in my pre-vegan days. Taste, texture, colour, flexibility, there was nothing missing.

Chocolate Muffins

March 02, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

This post is dedicated to all the chocoholics out there:) Without having tried any other vegan version, I'm still going to say these chocolate muffins are THE BEST, simply because in three years of veganism I made them so many times and yet there never seemed to be anything missing. They are perfect on their own, but you can also pair them well with chocolate cream, peanut butter frosting, or raspberries and cream cheese. The muffins have a very light, crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth texture, and deep cocoa flavour - I'm referring to them as muffins because of their large size, but the texture is rather that of a cupcake.

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

March 01, 2012

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Dum Aloo is the signature dish of Kashmir, a region in northwestern India, famous for its breathtaking landscape and unique cuisine. Kashmir boasts of exotic natural beauty that makes it a popular tourist destination: the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, sleepy lakes, meandering rivers, dazzling waterfalls, beautiful glades, dense forests, and very diverse flora and fauna.

Muffin Lamingtons

February 25, 2012

Muffin Lamingtons

Some kitchen accidents result in surprisingly delicious creations, as it was the case yesterday. I wanted to use the Orange Cake with a Heart of Chocolate recipe to make muffins with chocolate cream, only that I added too much milk to the cream, and so I got the idea of cutting the muffins in half and use them to make lamingtons instead. Lamingtons are Australia's signature dessert: heavenly pieces of vanilla sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in desiccated coconut. I'm actually quite proud of this little "accident", as I haven't found a similar dessert on the internet:)

Monkey Bread

February 11, 2012

Monkey Bread

Sweet, bite-size yeast dough morsels coated with sugar, cinnamon and butter, and baked until golden brown and the coating turns into a beautiful ooey gooey caramel - that's what monkey bread is. A funny name for a funny-looking bread:) It is also called sticky bread, pinch-me cake, bubble loaf and even monkey brains.

Creamy Lentil Soup

February 09, 2012

Lentil Soup

I miss Dubai! Today especially I miss the amazing food I used to eat there. Most of all I miss Ramadan and the lavish buffet at some of the best Arab restaurants. I'd always start Iftar with a bowl of hot lentil soup served with pita croutons and lemon wedges.

Last time I was there I dined at my favourite Lebanese restaurant, Kan Zaman, in the Heritage Village by Dubai Creek and enjoyed their amazing creamy lentil soup in an authentic Middle Eastern ambiance. At night the restaurant offers breathtaking views of the city and, when weather allows, dining outside in the sweet smell of apple-scented shisha while watching the dhows and abras cross the creek is an extraordinary experience.

Orange Cake with a Heart of Chocolate

February 03, 2012

Chocolate Orange Cake

This simple vegan orange cake filled with chocolate cream and topped with chocolate ganache gets my vote for "the best cake" every time I make it. I love the irresistible orange-chocolate combination and use it in many desserts. I think the success of this cake is also due to the whole wheat flour. The type I use has bits of bran in it and creates a fantastic texture while adding a nutty flavour to it.

The orange cake is very light and fluffy, moist and wonderfully orange-scented. The chocolate cream is light and mildly sweet. The textures and flavours come together perfectly in this cake that needs nothing else to be a big hit. Last time I made it I was so anxious to taste it, because I hadn't made it in a long time, that I ended up assembling it and devouring a slice while the cream and cake were slightly warm. Words fail me to describe the absolute pleasure of eating it. It would simply melt in the mouth, leaving me craving for another bite...and another. The perfect bite! - that's what it is.

Banana Cake

January 29, 2012

Banana Cake

I LOVE this banana cake! It was the second recipe I made after becoming vegan and over the years it has remained one of my top favourite recipes. Even without having tried other similar recipes, I can rightfully claim this is the best! Until now I haven't been able to find a topping that would complement this cake without overpowering its perfect blend of flavours.

Besan Dosa

January 28, 2012

Besan Dosa

Dosa is an Indian savoury crêpe made with fermented rice and black lentil (urad dal) batter and cooked only on one side until crispy. Besan dosa (also known as besan cheela or besan puda) is made with gram flour (chickpea flour), cooked on both sides and are easier to prepare as they don't require fermentation. They are traditionally served for breakfast with a variety of chutneys or as accompaniment to stews or gravies.

Veggie Burgers

January 26, 2012

Veggie Burgers

Potato-based veggie burgers are absolutely delicious. I like them mildly spicy and double coated with golden breadcrumbs for extra crispness. I'm going to share with you two versions. The first one has two main ingredients and doesn't require much preparation, the second one is made with more veggies and takes a little longer to prepare.

Portobello Mushroom Burgers with Avocado

January 25, 2012

Portobello Mushroom Burger

Portobellos (also spelt Portabellas) are fully grown crimini mushrooms. They are an excellent choice for veggie burgers, not only due to their meaty taste and texture, but also due to their health benefits. Of course, heat affects their nutritional value, but I know that many people eat them raw, marinated, and enjoy their full benefits. On a side note, some types of mushrooms are toxic for pets.

Portobellos are a low calorie food, packed with vitamins and minerals, with no cholesterol and very low levels of fat and sodium, making them a great addition to any weight loss diet, although mushroom consumption should be moderate. They are an excellent source of B vitamins (notably B2, B3 and B5), phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, and provide a good amount of folate, iron, magnesium, zinc and manganese, along with protein and fiber.

Whole Wheat Burger Buns

January 24, 2012

Whole Wheat Burger Buns

A couple of days ago I was in the mood for vegan burgers. With all the unhealthy, unnecessary extra ingredients in most breads on the market I decided to make whole-wheat buns from scratch. I found this great recipe on RecipeSource that was extremely easy to veganize, so I tried it. The buns were absolutely delicious, very light, fluffy and with a slightly nutty flavour from the whole-wheat flour. The best thing about the recipe is that it does not require to let the dough rise for a long time.

Apple Bread Pudding

January 15, 2012

Apple Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is a rather unusual dish in my country and it's only during the past few years that it gained popularity. I learnt about it when I moved to the UK and after making it the first time it became a favourite treat in my family. I greatly enjoyed that simple bread and butter crunch with a thick layer of custard underneath and topped with raisins and almonds. I was using eggs and dairy at that time and it took me a while to make a vegan version.

Black and White Bean Fudge (soy-free, fat-free, gluten-free)

January 12, 2012

Black and White Bean Fudge

I got the idea of making a black and white fudge when someone asked me how she could make the Cheesecake Brownie soy-free. There's really nothing to it, with the help of a blender or food processor this dessert is ready in no time. It's very flavourful, not too dense and it's best eaten chilled. For the dark fudge I followed the Black Bean Brownie recipe and added melted chocolate for a deeper flavour (it came out darker than in the pictures). For the white one I doubled the amount of oats and added white chocolate and orange zest for extra flavour.
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