Vegan Cocoa Brownies Recipe

Baking terrifies me. Maybe because so far I’ve only tried vegan baking and that has to be the hardest thing ever – no milk, eggs, chocolate – what is left? Especially if you are trying to do a brownie – the very epitome of a decadent chocolate treat.

This recipe does the trick and as an extra bonus it is really quick and easy. Clearly though, you will not get the same taste as a true chocolate brownie so adjust your expectations before giving this one a try. It comes from Terry Walters’ Clean Start Cookbook which I thoroughly recommend if you are in the market for a good vegan seasonal cookbook.

Vegan Cocoa Brownies Recipe


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Ingredients:

0.5 apple

8 pitted dates

1 ripe banana

0.5 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

0.5 cup flour

0.5 cup almond meal

0.5 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

0.5 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 175 C. Line a small baking tray with a baking sheet.

2. Combine the apple, dates, banana, maple syrup and vanilla extract and process until the ingredients are well mixed (I used my Vita but I am sure any food processor would do).

3. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients.

4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients together and mix well (I used just a fork and they combined easily).

5. Pour the mixture into the banking tray and leave in the oven for 25 minutes.

6. Taa daaaa – you arer now a vegan master Chef!

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Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Virtually everyone I know hates Brussels sprouts. They weren’t really available back when I was growing up in Bulgaria or my mom just didn’t buy them so my first taste of Brussels sprouts came in some shady Western restaurant and it was horrible. They were probably boiled or steamed, pale and bitter. So they didn’t make it into my shopping list for years and years.

And then I found this recipe from the lovely Heidi at 101 cookbooks that changed everything – Brussels sprouts are now one of my favourite foods in winter and they have become a weekly staple in our kitchen. The best part is that this recipe is not even really a recipe – it takes 10 minutes at most and it has three ingredients. Give it a try and I am sure you will be a Brussels sprout convert very soon!

Brussel Sprouts


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Ingredients:

Brussels sprouts (duh)

Salt

Butter/olive oil

Instructions:

1. Heat a little bit of olive oil/butter in a large skillet until fairly hot. Sprinkle a general serving of salt in the butter/olive oil mixture.

2. Cut the stem of each sprout and peal away the outer leaves. Wash. Cut in half.

3. Once the skillet is hot arrange the brussels sprouts face down in the skillet like so:

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Try not to overcrowd them because you want each one to get its place in the skillet. Cover the skillet and let the sprouts cook for about 5 minutes without tossing. I personally love burning them a little bit so I usually let them rest until each and every sprout is sporting a thick brown cover.

4. Uncover and toss the sprouts around for a few minutes on a high heat so they get a bit of fire on the top as well.

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And you’re done!

P.S. while the sprouts are at their best within minutes of being cooked I also love making a larger batch and popping a few next day for lunch. Heidi recommends adding cheese on top and cheese does work great but I just love them stripped down with just a hint of salt to accompany them.

Surely it’s not too late to re-cap Christmas, right?

I did the disappearance act again….I am sooo sorry.

The holidays came and went unfortunately way too quickly again. But there was food….lots of food. In Bulgaria, or at least in my family, 24th of December is way bigger than Christmas probably because it is also my mom’s name day so it always felt a little more important. Also, 24th December is a purely vegan night. It is supposed to be preceded by pre-Christmas lent which is also basically a vegan affair (none of that “Maybe I will give up chocolate but can still have cake” stuff that I see in the US). So imagine that you are coming off of a long period with no meat, butter, milk, eggs, etc. 24th December is the culmination of that with a giant vegan feast to beef up your appetite for the enormous amounts of meat that you are finally allowed to eat on Christmas day or 25th December. The menu for 24th December is supposed to be as long as possible and the number of meals has to be odd or else you’ll go to hell or something to that effect (I am a bit unclear on the details).

We had guests coming over and my parents were also visiting so all in all we were 6 people. I of course decided to go completely overboard and kill everyone with food for every good hostess knows that the true sign of a good event is if your guests are so stuffed so as to be able to roll down the stairs on their way out. And so I gave it my all and despite Bugi’s and my mom’s warnings that “IT IS JUST TOO MUCH FOOD”, I decided on the following menu:

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1. Dolmathes

2. Otsu (obviously!)

3. Rice and Spinach

4. Guacamole

5. Sweet potatoes with miso sauce

6. Lentil Walnut Spread /Vegan Pate

7. Basil Hummus

8. Bread

9. Nuts

10. Fruits

11. Olives

Now, I know that the last four are basically cheating but it helped get the number of meals up and that is what ultimately buys you a place in haven – cheating the system! Oh, and the dolmathes were store bought…

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Notice my decoration skills – out of this world, I tell you!

I will post some of the recipes above in the next couple of days.

See you soon guys (who am I even talking to?)

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