Tag Archives: vegan

Zingy Spring Dessert

Simple Coconut Lime Panna Cotta


This year has been a great season for citrus, and we currently have more limes than we can eat (or drink, for that matter – thinking of the weekend looming and Margaritas on the horizon). We do grate the zest and freeze the juice in cubes for later, but it’s great to actually use these limes while they’re fresh.

With this in mind, I sourced a Panna Cotta recipe online and have adapted it to incorporate this zingy fruit. And for those who need to know, the dessert is Vegan and Gluten-free and it’s a very acceptable 170 calories per serving. Not bad for a dessert!

What you’ll need…


  • 400 ml can of coconut cream
  • 1 x sachet of Queen Jel-it-in
  • 3 tablespoons of genuine maple syrup (or your sweetener of choice)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest and 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime’s worth)
  • 1 bay leaf (I love the flavour of bay in a creamy dessert)


  • Heavy-bottom saucepan
  • Rubber or silicone spatula
  • Measuring spoons,
  • Fine grater
  • 4 small ramekins or jelly moulds (if you wish to turn the panna cottas out, grease them lightly with a plain-tasting oil, e.g., sunflower).

How to make them…

Pour the coconut cream into a saucepan and sprinkle the Jel-it-in on top. Stir until the powder is completely dissolved, then add the bay leaf, the maple syrup, and the lime (zest and juice). Gently bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Allow it to boil for a minute or two, then remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.


Remove the bay leaf. Pour into the four ramekins and let them cool a little more, then cover and refrigerate. I tend to leave them out of the fridge until they are quite cold, so that when I cover them, they don’t steam up inside and cause condensation on the top of the desserts, but it’s no biggie, either way.


You can serve the Panna Cotta garnished with a slice of lime – very tangy! or with whatever you like, really – chopped nuts, sliced fruit, whatever is around.

Original recipe sourced from: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/coconut-panna-cotta/

Summer Recipes

Basil ‘Genovese Giant’

This time of year I have more basil than I know what to do with. And who doesn’t love pesto? This time I decided to make a batch that could also be consumed by the vegans in our family.

Vegan Basil Pesto

Makes approximately 300 grams
109 Calories per tablespoon (15 grams)

I substituted miso paste for the traditional Parmesan cheese. You can use either red or white miso, whichever is your preference. If you like your pesto saltier, add a little more miso to taste.


  • 2 tightly packed handfuls of fresh basil leaves (about 70 grams)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • ¬Ĺ cup pine nuts (70 grams)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste


Throw everything except for the olive oil into a food processor and blend thoroughly. Then with the machine still running, gradually add the olive oil until the required consistency is reached.


If you like your basil chunkier, I’d suggest making it the conventional way, using a pestle and mortar.

Pesto can be kept in the fridge for several weeks. Spoon it into a decent-sized jar and pour on a thin film of olive oil. This will prevent the top discolouring – you can just stir it in each time you use it. It’s pretty yummy though… can’t see my batch lasting long.

You can also freeze small portions of pesto in an ice-cube tray then keep free-flow in your freezer for those winter months when you don’t have the luxury of fresh basil in your garden. It’s great with pasta, or as an addition to just about anything. ūüôā


Nuts About Cream

Macadamia Nut Cream Experiment #1

Macadamia Nuts prior to cracking.
Macadamia Nuts prior to cracking.

Nut Creams in General

We have so many macadamia nuts that we forget to use them. I’ve been meaning to experiment with making Macadamia Nut Cream for some time – not just for the vegans in the family but also as an alternative to dairy creams. Up until now I kept forgetting about it! (This is very typical of me… bright ideas, best intentions, etc…)

Last night we duly cracked some of our nuts and ended up with about 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) which I soaked overnight in cold water.

I had previously looked up a couple of recipes. The first I decided to adapt is for a regular nut cream, using cashews. Cashews, either alone or combined with almonds, appear to be the most commonly used nuts for nut creams and I can imagine why – they are so creamy and have such a lovely flavour. I’m not sure if our macadamia nuts will be ‘flavoursome’ enough.

The second recipe I’ll try is a recipe for Macadamia Nut Cream Topping. This combines macadamia nuts and coconut milk (among other things). But just now, I’ve tried the first recipe.

Nut cream on a spoon
Nut cream on a spoon

Links to both of these recipes are here: –

Vanilla Cashew Cream
Pumpkin Pudding with Macadamia Nut Cream Topping

Recipe: Vanilla Macadamia Cream

For Experiment #1 I replaced the cashews with macadamia nuts.


  • 1 3/4 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked overnight in water
  • 200 mls water
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt


I nuked all the ingredients in one of our blenders until it was smooth, keeping an eye on the amount of water to add. It was that easy!

The Finished Product

Vanilla Macadamia Cream - the finished product
Vanilla Macadamia Cream – the finished product

We’re pretty pleased with the result. The macadamia nut cream has a different texture from dairy cream – you can tell it’s nuts, I guess. It’s noticeably whiter and the taste is creamy and slightly sweet, not overly vanilla or maple syrup. Ben reckons it will taste great on French Toast. And it would be an excellent topping for a sweet pie or shortcake. I could easily eat it like ice-cream.


This yummy nut cream does come at a price, however.
One tablespoon (approximately 10 grams) equals 42 calories.

A dollop of yummy macadamia nut cream on a dessert spoon.

I’ll post about the second recipe, once we’ve finished this lot! It will be interesting to compare this adapted recipe with one written specifically for macadamia nuts.

Creamy Vegan Mushrooms

Creamy Vegan Mushrooms, served with freshly-baked and toasted Ciabata
Creamy Vegan Mushrooms, served with freshly-baked and toasted Ciabatta

Creamy Vegan Mushrooms

Makes approximately 600 grams (
4 x 150 gram portions)
Calories: 296 per serving


  • 500 gm white mushrooms (washed and cut into 1/6ths)
  • 1 small to medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil (90 ml)
  • 1 x 160 ml can coconut cream
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs freshly chopped marjoram or oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Mushrooms and coconut cream simmering until sauces is reduced to the desired thickness
Mushrooms and coconut cream simmering until sauce is reduced to the desired thickness


  1. Using a large pan, saute the onions in 2 tbs coconut oil until golden and transparent.  Meanwhile, finely chop the marjoram with the garlic.
  2. When the onion is ready, add the herbs & garlic to the mix and cook through.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 4 tbsp coconut oil to the pan.  When hot, throw in the white mushrooms and stir to evenly mix the coconut oil through.
  4. Keeping the heat medium-to-high, and stirring at intervals, cook the mushrooms until their juices are starting to ooze out, then a little more to dry some of them up.
  5. Add the herb & garlic mixture and stir through.
  6. Reduce the juices a little, then pour in the coconut cream.  Stir through.
  7. Reduce heat to medium.  Stirring regularly, simmer the mushrooms until the coconut cream has reduced to the desire thickness.  This would depend on personal taste, i.e. on how much sauce you wanted to serve up with your mushrooms.

Creamy Vegan Mushrooms is ideal for brunch, or as an addition to a main meal.¬† It’s yummy served with lightly toasted Ciabatta.

Tangy Vegan Curry

Vegan curry with Basmati rice and roti
Tangy Vegan curry with Basmati rice and Roti

Serves 4

This curry could be adapted to use any combination of vegetables, but to my personal taste, is enhanced if potato is included.

We had a surplus of zucchini and had to dispose of some tomato plants that weren’t surviving very well in the heat and dryness of our front porch – hence the green tomatoes.¬†¬† Ripe, red tomatoes would do just as well, as would using tofu in the mix.

The mix of vegetables in the curry is about 1/3 potatoes, 1/3 zucchini and 1/3 green tomatoes.

I served this curry with white Basmati rice and freshly-made Roti.


  • Potatoes (a good floury variety)
  • Green tomatoes
  • Zucchini (starchy Costata Romanesco is ideal)
  • 1 medium onion (finely sliced)
  • Sunflower oil
  • Freshly crushed garlic (2 or 3 cloves)
  • Fresh chili to taste (I prefer Habanero)
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon juice (1/2 large or 1 smallish lemon)


Chilli, spices, garlic and onion

Habanero chilli, spices and crushed garlic
Habanero chilli, spices and crushed garlic

Finely chop the chilli, measure the spices, crush the garlic and slice the onion evenly, ahead of time.  This will enable the curry to be cooked quickly, which is important if you wish to retain the best features of the ingredients.


Sauteed potatoes
Sauteed potatoes

Peel and dice about 3 medium sized potatoes and sauté them in  a little oil until they are cooked through and have started to develop a crispy golden coating.  Remove these from the pan and set aside.


Sautéed zucchini
Sautéed zucchini

Do the same with the zucchinis.¬† Slice them into chunky pieces and¬†saut√© them in a little hot oil until they are ‘just’ beginning to cook through and have developed a golden colouring.¬† Set these aside, also.

Green Tomatoes

Roughly chopped green tomatoes
Roughly chopped green tomatoes

Peel and roughly chop the green tomatoes.¬† They can be irregular in size as long as they aren’t too thick – they will soon soften once they are added to the curry.


Wipe out the pan, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and raise the heat.  When it is good and hot, add about a tablespoon of black mustard seeds and heat them until they start to pop.  Then add the turmeric, cumin, coriander seeds, chilli, ginger and lemon juice to the pan and cook for 1 minute.

Turn the heat down to less than half way and add the sliced onion.¬† Gently cook this until it turns transparent, but don’t over-cook it – you want to still be able to see the slices in the curry.¬† About half way through this cooking process, stir in the crushed garlic so that it has the chance to cook through.

Add the vegetables to the onion and spices and stir through
Add the vegetables to the onion and spices and stir through

When the onion is ready, add the potato, zucchini and green tomato.  Stir these through carefully, mixing them in with the spices and onion but taking care to keep the pieces intact.  Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down to low.

Gently cook until the tomatoes have softened, and the zucchini and potatoes are well-heated, stirring from time to time.  This should take no more than 20 minutes.

When the curry is cooked through, check for seasoning and serve.