It’s hot outside and hot in my kitchen but I’ve got the perfect antidote for the heat: frozen desserts!
As a vegetarian for most of my non-meat eating life, I have been able to stomach eggs and dairy on occasion. I’m still not adverse to sampling really good ice cream with unique flavours, just to say I did. However, with my Vegan a la Mode cookbook, I may not need to resort to SPCA-approved eggs and responsibly obtained and organic whipping cream to make frozen treats.
To the left is my Vanilla Bean Ice ‘Cream’ (from said cookbook) made with rice milk, coconut oil, vanilla bean, sugar, salt and custard powder. While it doesn’t have the creamy consistency of dairy ice cream or the full amount of sugar called for in the recipe (I’m reducing sugar in everything these days), the taste was just as pleasing to the palate as the ‘real’ thing.
To the right are bite-size popsicles made in ice-cube trays. The green fish may look like it swam in nuclear waters but it is mint lemonade with the finely chopped leaves left in the mix. The red one is what I would like to call a Jamaican sandal or J-andal. Jandals is actually a Kiwi term (i.e. New Zealand) for flip-flops or open-toed sandals. Made with Jamaican sorrel (hibiscus), powdered ginger, a kiss of pomegranate molasses, a trickle of geranium water and some honey syrup, it makes for a nice drink or a flavoured ice-cube to dunk into your plain water.
And when not placed in the freezer, the mint lemonade doubles as a refreshing drink. It is simply mint leaves, lemon zest, lemon juice and a sugar syrup* puréed in a blender.
Ah…takes me back to my days in Syria, sipping cool mint lemonade on a hot day in the souq in Damascus…
Health benefits: Lemon is cleansing to the liver, peppermint helps with digestion and a spoonful of sugar helps this medicine go down very nicely. Opt for a natural sweetener (e.g. honey, maple syrup) and keep the amount reasonable. One-third to half a cup (80mL-125mL) should suffice to flavour 4 cups or 1L of lemonade.
*water and sugar heated together until mixture is homogenous
It’s getting hot in here…
The oven was on to bake my gluten-free peanut butter cookies. Except for one lone egg, the recipe is vegan. Coconut oil has a starring role along with the organic peanut butter for the tasty fat component. The high-protein egg helps bind the flour together as gluten-free means no gluten/wheat protein or ‘glue’. Half the recipe contained white chocolate chips – a deadly combination in a cookie. Warning! Eating sweet white chocolate and salty peanut butter together can be addictive.
The trail mix cookie had everything-but-the-kitchen-sink in it. Like stew or brownies, this is my go-to recipe for using up lingering baking items that don’t usually see much action. This version had some prune purée, wild blueberry jam, crisped rice cereal, cocoa nibs, pea flour and red bean flour amongst the usual cookie ingredients.