Avocado Chocolate Vanilla Cake and a Recycling Adventure

This avocado and chocolate vegan cake is more than just a sugar free delicious dessert. It is beauty on the plate and sustainability through its ingredients leftovers. Learn to make  instead of consuming stuff is my new way of self nourishment that respect my ethics and inspires me the art slow living.
When I met Isabella ( http://www.twome.co.uk) I was running a pips challenge. (Planting the fruit stones instead of throwing them away). We have been so lucky to instantly feel close, and we developed together this idea "self sustained" cake and styling. We wanted to inspire to use all part of the ingredients, make instead of consume, self sustain even the styling. I made an avocado based frosting, and Isabella dyed some props fabrics with the stones.
For me it felt a return to my origins. In my grandparents farm life was a cycle. Everything had its place from the begin to its end, and it was perfect balance to me. We didn't even own a landfill bin. I am serious. Life felt much lighter that way.

Avocado stones make a deep pink colour, delightfully elegant. You can dye practically any natural fibre ( I don't recommend pure linen for the first trial). You can decide to have a flat colour, a ombré colour like our macramè, or a messy look dyeing the cloth closed in a knot perhaps. It is possible to also use the avo skin, and to be kept for that purpose it can be froze.

For me the encompassing pleasure of a good meal (and dessert) goes behind being vegan. I want to work with real ingredient, first of all. And my appreciation for food and a responsible sourcing are inextricable. However respect for the land, doesn't end with organic farming and plant based cooking. We should start to admit that sustainability only starts with sourcing. And that if might end in a less noble landfill is a half way practice. Nevertheless one could count on the already audacious and compassionate consciousness that accompanies the act of vegan eating itself. But the road goes forth. From the plastic food wraps (SUPs: single use plastics) to the food waste itself we are responsible of our acts as they are still upon Mother Earth and other species. I feel a personal urge of being vegan further from not eating or wearing animals. I believe that we can make ourselves responsible of killing as much if we don't care of filling our seas and land with pollution. And in my attempting to create a sustainable family I found to love most being able to use all part of my ingredients, make from what otherwise would be wasted. Create instead of consume for me is a new way of self nourishment that respect the ethics of the era of compassion we all strive to create. That is why an avocado cake recipe that also create the opportunity to create something beautiful with leftovers.


When I made this chocolate and vanilla cake I was looking for a vegan cake that could be soft and moist but firm enough to hold in this geometrical appearance when cut. Vegan chocolate cakes often can be very dry or use a lot of oil to have moisture. I find it to be a challenge to achieve the texture, I am not afraid to admit it, but I am also happy to have succeeded here! 

Cooking time 35 min circa
Preparation easy, adequate to beginners
serves 8 - 12 people 


ingredients for the vanilla cakes ( makes 2)

1 + 1/2 cup of white spelt flour (or half white and half wholemeal)
1 cup raw unrefined rapadura sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) organic baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp apple vinegar
pinch of unrefined salt (let's appreciate our local salts! But if you live on Himalayas plz feel free to go pink )
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 cup of spring water

Ingredients for the chocolate cakes ( makes 2)

1 + 1/3 cup of white spelt flour (or half white and half wholemeal)
1 cup raw unrefined rapadura sugar
1/2 cup pure cacao powder (or pure carob if sensitive to cacao)
2 tsp (10 ml) organic baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp apple vinegar
pinch of unrefined salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 cup of spring water

Method 

Pre-heat the oven at 180 C and grease 4 tins of 16 cm diameter circa.
If you have a oven with ventilation (fan) you can cook all 4 cakes in one go otherwise cook them only two by two.
In two separate bowl mix well the dry ingredients for each of the two cakes. Make 3 "holes" in each of the dry mixtures. In one hole pour the oil, in the other 2 pour the vanilla essence and the vinegar, repeat for the other cake. Cover with filtered or spring water and gently incorporate all ingredients together, repeat with the second mixture. The more gently you fold the wet ingredients with the dry, the less rounded the top of your cakes will come. It is matter of folding more than stirring infact. However this specific recipe tends to make cakes with rounded top so we will eaven them with a sharp knife before decorating. 
When the batters are ready pour each in two of the greased tins and cook at 180 C for 35 min or until the stick comes out clean.
When cooked let cool down for 10 min, then remove from tins and leave on a rack. Let them cool completely before starting to assemble the layered cake.


Frosting ingredients

4 medium avocado, ripe and soft
1/2 cup of raw cocoa ( or pure carob if sensitive to chocolate)
1/3 cup raw unrefined coconut sugar\rapadura\xylitol
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of unrefined salt
-Blend all together and refrigerate


Ingredients for the filling


170 gr good quality vegan cream cheese (or see my previous post to make your own)
pinch or drop of vanilla powder or essence
1 tbsp xylitol
4/5 blackberries juice
-Mix all ingredients without blending in a food processor, especially if using a ready made vegan cream cheese.


Assembling

When the cakes are perfectly cold and the frosting and filling are quite solid to hold onto the cake, you can start to assemble.
If the cake are rounded cut off the top with a sharp bread knife,  taking care to keep them straight and similar in height. 
Start with the chocolate cake, spread a measured amount of filling in the centre up to 1.5 com from edges. So you can pipe all around the filling some chocolate frosting.
Place on top one of the vanilla cakes and repeat, then again a chocolate cake and repeat. The last cake will be the vanilla, place it upside down and poke a long stick in the middle to hold the layered cake while you work with it. If necessary put back in the fridge for some moments. 
Scoop a generous amount of frosting on top of the cake and with a spatula work it all around the top and down the sides of it, scraping away the excess very gently. You want to fill up any space leaving some of the cake edges still visible.
When finished put into the fridge.
Melt on a low flame a sugar free vegan chocolate bar adding a couple of Tbsp of plant based milk and 1 Tbsp of coconut oil. Leave to cool until viscous, then make a dripping sauce  scooping it on top of your cake, leaving one side without any dripping chocolate at all.
Decorate as please. Devour. You are very welcome!


I really hope this cake will inspire you beauty and sustainable life. Sustainable can be curated, aesthetically delightful and even fashionable. Monk sandals are not in my plans I ensure you! And as I always like to mention, a Japanese adagio says: is beautiful what is right ( and delicious I would add!!)

For the dyeing process have a look at Isabella blog, (http://www.twome.co.uk/single-post/2016/10/31/anatural-dyeing-a-vegan-cake-from-avocados) also she recommends Rebecca Desnos e-book. However the main steps are summarise below here.

-Clean your fabric with water and natural soap leaving it damp, and you can pretreat in soya milk mordant to help the absorption of the botanical colours.
-In a big aluminium pot bring to boil 3 to 5 whole stones and simmer them in enough water to cover the fabric you like to dye. Simmer for 1 + 1/2 hour or until the water turns from pink to a nice maroon. The more the pips the darken the colour will be!
-When ready strain the water with a cheese-cloth so the liquid is nice and clean. Let it cool to tepid.
-Then simply bath the fabric or yarn in the coloured water until it reaches the desired shade, it can vary from an hour to overnight. The longer the bathing, the more vibrant the colour will be.
-Rinse the fabric in warm water and hang to dry.

 

Enjoy! love, compassion and plenty foolishness.
Silvia B.  

 

 

 

Apple Cinnamom buns to fall in love with Fall

I am so in love with season changes and the surprises that bring to us, the colours and the new tastes. My children growing out of the past season clothes. All feels renewing, in a perfect cycle of blossoming and resting. 

This recipe (you can also find featured on the feedfeed website), that we made together Kimberly Aimee and me, is without any doubt the perfect tribute to the Autumnal scents. And, oh my! Are real, deal buns vegan and refined sugar free! The buns are not so sweet, for who loves subtle delicate tastes and perfect even for breakfast! But if you have a sweet tooth worry not! The decadent vegan cream cheese frosting make them a perfect sweet treat for a luxurious tea party.

So here you are:

For this recipe you need a wide bowl, a warm place for proving, and a baking trail (I like to bake rolls in a round one - 25ø cm circa).

Prep time :25 min - Proving time: 1 to 2 hours + 45 to 1 hour - baking time about 30 min

Ingredients:

200gr spelt flour
250gr non bleached white flour
4 Tbsp raw coconut sugar
1 heaped tsp unrefined sea salt
7gr fast acting yeast (I use doves farm)
250ml almond milk + extra 3 Tbsp
1-2 Tbsp extra v olive oil to grease the proving bowl


Ingredients for the apple chinnamon filling:

2 crisp apples peeled and thinly sliced
7 Tbsp raw coconut sugar
2-3 Tbsp of cinnamon


Ingredients for the vegan cinnamon cream cheese frosting

4Tbsp coconut oil softened
1 cup powdered raw sugar
110g vegan cream cheese (mind the quality of the ingredients)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla powder or extract
1 tsp ground chinnamon

 

Method

Dough: mix together all ingredients for the rolls, except the olive oil, until just combined. If the mixture is dry add bit by bit some milk for the right consistency. Better a bit soft than dry. Then knead the dough on a dry surface sprinkled with flour. Knead about 7-10 min. Then, in a large bowl greased with the oil, place the dough inside, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 1-2 hours (or until doubled) in a warm place such as the oven with just light on. Length of time depends on the weather.

As the dough is rising, prepare the filling by peeling, removing core and slicing the apples. We used seasonal pink apples that have are crisp, tart and sweet. Give them a squeeze of lemon to prevent browning, if you like to. 

When the dough is ready remove it from the bowl and roll it out with a rolling pin into a rectangular shape. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon evenly over the dough and then neatly place the apple slices to completely cover the dough. Roll it up and cut into 10/12 pieces. And place on a baking tin that can hold them all (25 cm ø circa). 

Next allow the rolls to prove in a warm dry place for between 45min and 1 hour. Cook into the oven for 30 min at 180C/255F or until they start to get brown.

As the rolls are baking prepare the frosting. Sieve the powdered sugar (you can powder it in the food processor) and combine with the other ingredients over a bath-Marie.

When the rolls are ready, let them cool until tepid and drizzle with the frosting. Devour! 

Silvia B xx

 

Triple Chocolate Gluten Free Muffin with Hazelnut Hit

triple chocolate GF_ salvialimone

Anything for chocolate! This muffins are actually closer to browny for their mouthful richness. Are very soft and moist too. Do you know what annoyed me most when I was a kid? Having chocolate cakes that wouldn't taste chocolate at all. Especially some old friend of my grandma was serving this bland cake, basically because cocoa was expensive. My grandma instead would always strive for the best quality over quantity. So I did learn.

Has been a long time since I have been able to post something on my blog. For as much as I want to be more consistent on social media, remains that I have two small children and with me most of the time. Although I have been organising my schedule in different way my efforts seemed uneffective. I had more organisers syncing apps than I could ever imagine or wished,  a list of frustration-free second plans in case my smallest child doesn't nap or anybody is sick. But my daily was often packed with urgent things, matters that needed a fix. But problem solving attitude produces endless lists and condemn you to the eternal hell of paperworks, housework or whatsoever. With the result of feeling unproductive and exhausted.
So I decided to be more sustainable with my inner environment. I decluttered my phone from what only helped to feel more busy, and I kept a simple digital notebook. As my phone is always with me is my most accessible tool and I don't need much else. With a digital notebook I save paper and time as it sinc with my email.  And I am trying a social media managing app.


On Wonderlist I made 3 list. N.#1 Things that require less than ten minutes to be done and can be squeezed among other tasks. N.#2Things that are urgent but not important (and take a lot of time). N.#3 The important tasks. Important tasks come first. I leave the urgent, tedious and unimportant tasks for when the important are done. Among important things are prioritized PR and children quality time, and I recently added "me" time. Because these nourish my emotional health, make me an happier more productive person. I came to realise how important is for me to have constant interactions with the people I love, love and taking care of my so can take only 10 min now and then during the day, and it brings self respect and appreciation.

Now I plan my day with few tasks and then I half the list, I prioritise the most important goal of the day and I cut down the list even more if possible. I lowered my expectations therefore I lowered my stress. This way I feel more fulfilled, my day ease, and I am often able to complete more things than predicted. It is satisfying.
I also apply the rule of not leaving anything half way. So the urgent annoying things diminish dramatically. I answer the email or comments only during the evening while I sip on some herbal tea. This way I don't rush to the phone every time an app rings. This helps me to get less distracted during other activities and get more stuff done with less stress.

All these bits helped me to feel I do more than just floating above waters, remain that I only have 24 hours a day, nights are still interrupted by children waking ups. So lowering expectation has been gold and produced these high chocolate muffins! A win win situation, won't you agree?

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For this recipe you need a couple of bowls and a muffin trail. I used some recyclable muffin cases.

This recipe is: VG SF GF NF (option)


Ingredients for the muffins
 

320gr gluten free flour blend
200gr of raw unrefined coconut sugar (up to 240 for the real deal sweet tooth thing)
70gr raw cocoa powder ( raw cocoa in more substantial than regular one therefore you can use way less)
40gr circa dark chocolate (refined sugar free and soya lecithin free if possible)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp pure vanilla powder
pinch of unrefined sea salt
-
200ml circa of plant based milk (non sweet)
170ml light extra virgin olive oil or other extra virgin vegetable oil
2 Tbsp hazelnut butter


Ingredients for the ganache

60 gr dark chocolate (possibly refined sugar free and soya lecithin free)
1 tbsp coconut cream
pinch of salt
pinch of pure vanilla
 

Ingredients for the frosting

1/2 cup cold coconut cream (the thick cream only)
pinch of salt
squeeze of lemon
1 tsp of rice malt or other clear sweetener (optional)

Method

Muffins
Preheat the oven at 180ºC, line the muffin cases in the trail.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and combine it with all the dry ingredients.
Add the oil to the dry ingredients and combine with a fork. When texture is sandy and all lumps are gone add the water, bit by bit. Depending on the flour, it can take more water or less. The mixture should be slightly runny, like honey.
Fill the cases up to 2/3.
Combine the hazelnut butter with a couple of spoons of hot water. Add a teaspoon of this mixture to the top of each muffin.
Cook for 35-45 min circa. Let them cool completely before assembling.

Chocolate ganache
Gently melt the chocolate with the salt. Leave to cool down until tepid and add the coconut cream and the vanilla. Serve slightly tepid to contrast the cold frosting.

Frosting
Simply whip up the coconut cream with the lemon and the salt. Gently incorporate the rice malt. Leave into fridge until perfectly set before using.

Assembling
Make sure the muffin are completely cooled down. With a small spatula spread the frosting over the top making a little hill in the centre. Sprinkle some chopped hazelnut or chocolate and pour the ganache just before eating.

Enjoy! xx

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triple chocolate GF_ salvialimone