(It’s hard to find a picture of me in the kitchen with my shirt on.) Nutrition for me is about returning to basic whole foods. I have been an emotional over eater in years gone by. I have been a scavenger and a junk food junkie. I have been there and want to help you find your way back from what can seem like a dietary hell. Throughout I’ll show you how to increase your fiber, decrease your simple sugars, get the healthy protein, carbs and fats you need and all the while increase the yum factor! I love food probably more than you do. I am a vegan but respect your choices as long as you are applying some simple principles to your habits. Indeed I will help you become more plant based and make the transition if that interests you. If you are a vegan, not eating well, which happens believe it or not (too little nutrition, too many calories), I can help.
The Vegan Barbados Christmas Rum Cake recipe. A work in progress that has finally hit its stride!
I had spent some privileged childhood Christmases on the beautiful island of Barbados. During one of those stays a lovely woman, the wife of a Bajan politician, Sir Theodore Brancker, introduced me to Christmas rum cake at their Boxing day party. I’ll never forget her giving me a cake of my own to bring back to Canada, where I very carefully sliced off rations to make it last as long as possible through the Canadian winter. The following recipe is the closest I have been able to come in terms of flavour, of the blessed cake. I will print it here before I lose it to the back of the recipe drawer and it ends up too shredded to read.
I did my research over the years on the internet, so I have augmented where necessary and improvised where there was no information. This is how I do it. No promises. You may have more baking common sense, instincts or talent than I. So use your discretion. Here goes:
Take at least 6, maybe eight cups of various raisins and currents and soak them in a bowl that has enough rum in it to almost cover them. If you run out of rum, add some sherry or port or whatever you have kicking around. Soak for days weeks or months.
Puree the raisin/ booze mixture in a food processor.
Add some spices: allspice, cloves, ginger, cinnamon. Stir it all together.
Here’s where it gets vegan: Instead of ten (yes 10) eggs, use a cup of ground chia seeds and two cups of water. Let sit until they goo-ify. This will have the gooey sticky consistency of ten eggs that you aren’t using.
Mix the chia goo with about 2 1/2 cups of brown sugar.
Another vegan substitute: use two cups of coconut oil semi firm, and mix with the chia sugar mixture. Us a beater for this.
Take four cups of flour with 1 large tbsp of baking power and a teaspoon of baking soda and about half a tsp of salt. Sift that all together (or use 4 cups of self raising flour).
Now mix the dry with the wet and add some vanilla extract, about a teaspoon.
Stir. Don’t want it too dry, if so add some booze, the batter should just fall off the spoon.
At this point you should have the oven heated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
I have used a large bundt pan some years, this year I am using small loaf tins so that I can gift these or just use as semi individual servings (line your pans). Keep in the oven for 1-2 hours. Keep an eye on it/ them. The smaller containers will likely bake faster. Watch which rack you put these on you don’t want them to burn on the bottom.
Serve with a splash of rum on top, or light the booze if you’ve put enough on. Add some coconut whip cream or vegan ice cream.
Put away the calorie counter, it’s Christmas.
Ingredients: 8 cups mixed raisins; about a bottle of rum; mixed spices; 2 cups brown sugar; 10 chia “eggs”; 2 cups coconut oil; 4 cups flour; 1 tbsp of baking powder; 1 tsp baking soda; 1/2 tsp salt; vanilla extract
Sweet Potato Cashew Lentil Soup
I’m making soup. Okay I am writing the recipe and the soup is taking care of itself over there on the stove. I kind of loosely follow recipes and put lots of good stuff in and have some success. Today’s experiment is based loosely on an African peanut soup recipe:
Sauté a big onion in some kind of oil––avocado, olive, whatever––with some garlic, a dash of cayenne (I sniffed the cayenne bag to make sure it was cayenne, the sneezing fit that followed confirmed the authenticity) and some ginger. Add about 6 cups of vegetable stock and two large sweet potatoes, diced. Let it all simmer for about 40 minutes. Meanwhile cook up a mess of red lentils, they cook quickly, get mushy and are high in protein for your vegan meal. Then once the timer goes, throw it all together. I’m going to add some cashew butter, maybe a few heaping tablespoons, to the whole mess and then purée it with one of those wands. (I learned the hard way about putting hot liquids in the food processor. Don’t do it!)
I’ll try to get back to you on how it tastes. I’d advise a nice loaf of spelt bread or some soda bread to go with it. Yes I do eat grain, tons, mostly organic and mostly other than wheat. My old standby is whole spelt, sometimes mixed with oat flour.
Just tasted it. It worked! Well happy eating y’all!
I’m so excited because I made a loaf of teff bread. Well I used three cups of spelt flour and two cups of teff flour. Watch me put it together on the video. The recipe follows:
- 3 cups of spelt flour
- 2 cups of teff flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 teaspoons of quick rising yeast
- 3/4 cup of hot water
- 1/8 cup of honey
- 1/8 cup of avocado or any oil
- 1/2 cup of soy milk or any milk
- 1 teaspoon Xantham gum
Mix wet and dry separately and then combine. Knead for about 5 minutes. Let it all sit for about 10 minutes. Put in oiled loaf tin. Let rise to somewhere near 2x the size. Place in oven at 425 for about 40 minutes. Voila!
The recipe is as follows:
I would say use same amount of dry ingredients as wet:
Dry would be: A large coffee mug of a combination of flours, like a majority of whole spelt, then some oat or buckwheat or both. You can experiment with the flours.
Add some salt and baking powder to the dry.
For the wet use some kind of milk, any kind really, buttermilk gives the pancakes a nice tangy edge. Use one or two eggs, separated and beat the whites. Put the yolks in with the milk. Add about a glug or two of oil.
Mix your wet and dry together, then add some fruit (blueberries) and then fold in your egg whites.
Don’t cook it on a high heat, you’ll get burnt raw pancakes. Flip them when they bubble, wait a minute or two, then flip off the pan. Serve with REAL MAPLE SYRUP (not that wretched “pancake syrup” unless you are a masochist).
Early Morning Health Muffins
The recipe contains:
- one cup of almond meal
- one cup of ground flax seed
- half a cup of oat flour
- one cup of spelt flour
- baking soda and salt
- one egg
- glug of oil (half cup-ish)
- couple of glugs of almond milk or milk milk (two cups?)
- quarter cup of molasses/ quarter cup of maple syrup
- cup of blueberries
Cook at 350 for about 20 minutes, let cool, then eat the damn things!
Chocolate-buckwheat Cake Experiment
I know I can make this work:
- cocoa powder
- salt/ baking powder
- dates (for sweetening)
- two eggs
- boiling water
- milk, or something like it
That’s me, filling the food processor way too full. Anyway it’s a simple recipe:
- chick peas
- sesame tahini (sesame butter)
- olive oil
- lemon juice
Yummy Yam Chips!
These are a better shape than the shoestring because you’re less likely to shave off any fingers. I use a “Mandolin” that slices things quite thin. It was a great investment (my mom gave it to me for my birthday). The deep fryer wasn’t expensive at all and is pretty safe.
My Bed-head Smoothie:
I do it in this order:
- Kale (bought fresh then frozen)
- Spinach (frozen)
- Pineapple (not in video)
- Garlic clove
- A plant protein powder such as hemp or pumpkin seed
- One ounce of cranberry juice (buy it on sale — it’s $$$)
- Almond and/or coconut milk
My Spaghetti Sauce:
Because of the ambience you cannot hear me! I add pitted dried Morrocan olives to oil (that I let get too hot). Then I add chopped garlic. (On a good day, and with a full fridge and pantry, I’d throw in anchovies and capers and maybe even some artichoke hearts.) Then I put in a can of chopped organic tomatoes, preferably roma tomatoes and finally add some tomato paste to speed up the thickening process. Let it simmer a good long time. After this I added some chopped up chicken breast and some feta — you can also add goat cheese. Yummy!