The Tapioca Experiments! Episode 2

Okay, my experiment is still in phase one, i.e. tapioca pudding, but I’ve tried a little twist: For my second attempt at pudding, I chose the bigger pearls, and since I love Indian semolina pudding and similar desserts, I added some cinnamon and cardamom to the original recipe. Results: In pudding I prefer the smaller tapioka pearls, but I love the sweet-and-spicy version!

In other news, further empiric research (yum!) has led to my choosing the best vegan (or otherwise) chocolate bar in the world.
And the winner is:

Finally, we have discovered that Bärenland now has totally vegan gummy candy without beeswax or anything. These little hearts are made with pectin and real fruit juices and come in pineapple, orange, raspberry, and blackcurrant flavours. I’m not too keen on blackcurrant, but it seems that with Bärenland products you always get blackcurrant somewhere in the mix.

They turned out to be the perfect snack for finally watching WALL·E, which exceeded all my expectations (so cute!).


The Tapioca Experiments! Episode 1

Ever since we started talking about things to do with tapioca, kris and I have developed some kind of tapioca mania. And I’d actually never even made my own tapioca pudding before!
The Indian grocery store more or less around the corner from where I live has small pearl tapioca as well as larger pearls that look just about perfect for expanding the experimentation to bubble tea (yay! bubble tea!) that just might still be drinkable through something like a McDonald’s straw. So I got both kinds.
Prepared as I was, I immediately initiated phase one of the experiment: Simple Tapioca Pudding.
It turned out to be easy as pie (or, actually, easy as storebought pudding mix):

For two servings, soak 1/4 cup tapioca pearls in water for about an hour, then drain them and put them in a small pot or saucepan together with 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I had to use coconut! I love coconut milk!!), 1/4 cup sugar and some vanilla, and stir for twenty minutes on medium heat. It doesn’t have to boil. Just, whatever you do, never stop stirring! (Otherwise you’ll have a thick layer of jelly goo stuck to the bottom of your saucepan that will feel as if it’s been cemented there.) Once the twenty minutes are over and the pudding has started to thicken, pour into moulds, cups or little bowls and let cool. Then transfer to the fridge and chill for a couple of hours.

Result: Yesterday’s luscious breakfast – coconut milk tapioca pudding and mango slices from a tin. Yum-my!

Loot! …and possible danger of sugar overdose

Yes, once again I went on an online shopping binge and spent lots of electromoney on vegan goodies.
Here’s the loot (okay, after I put the “cheese” in the fridge):

That’s right, I finally have Go Max Go bars! I immediately ate a Mahalo bar, and it turned out to be better than a shipload of Bounty bars. Whee!

BTW, my new favourite jelly sweets are these yummy little frogs, made with real kiwi and pectin as gelling agent, so they taste very fruity and don’t stick to your teeth the way gummy candy made with starch does.

And since we were out of cookies, I made the Peanut Butter CrissCrosses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and now we’ll probably never want ordinary sugar cookies in this house again. Unbelievable crunchiness! :D

(And since I’m currently reading The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, I’m inclined to generously point out a valuable hint to you: There’s lots of hidden information about my boyfriend in this picture.) ;)

Coming soon: More Go Max Go bars (to be sure!) – and my new project, The Tapioca Experiments! Stay tuned!

Cinnamon Rolls!

Ever since we finished that birthday cake, I had this craving for more baked goods, but I was too lazy to make anything. So today I finally spent some time comparing ingredients lists with what’s left around the kitchen and decided to make the Cinnamon Rolls from Vegan Brunch. At first I was a bit scared of rolling out the dough, since IMO that’s the worst part of making something with yeast dough (but I love the taste enough to do this once in a while). Surprise! The kitchen table that came with my new flat turned out to be perfect for rolling out dough, since the lacquered tabletop comes really close to a non-stick surface. And the dough turned out so smooth and perfect that it practically rolled itself out. (Thank you, Isa!)
On ingredients: From my childhood, I’m used to only two kinds of icing for anything – the white one was powdered sugar and lemon juice, and the pink one was powdered sugar and (38%) rum. So this is the first time I made vanilla icing (using oat milk), and it’s divine!

…And just because I love the way these “snails” look, here are some more pics:

Veganized Shake & Bake Coffee Cake

So I asked my boyfriend what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. He described a foolproof coffee cake recipe that basically goes like this: Throw all dry ingredients into a bowl that comes with a lid, close and shake. Add wet ingredients, shake again, bake for an hour, voilà. I said, “Of course I can make this for you”. His reply: “But you wouldn’t be able to eat it!” Hah.
The original recipe called for four eggs, and I didn’t think I could substitute that many with egg replacer, so I did some research and cross-reference and realized that it was not only possible but perfectly easy to bake a coffee cake without any egg at all, e.g. by using soy yogurt instead. Since the recipe called for lots of baking powder, I decided that the eggs were used for binding rather than leavening, and that it was okay to sub with soy yogurt.
As it turned out, I was right, and the cake was delicious. I covered it with a simple chocolate glaze, since I thought that all those nuts and choc chips plus a buttercream frosting (or filling) would be a bit too much, and the result was a just moist enough coffee cake with a very nutty flavour and a lovely hint of coffee (so it should actually be “coffee coffee cake”).

300 g (2 1/2 cups) flour
300 g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
150 g (maybe around 2 cups) finely ground nuts
(I used hazelnuts, but feel free to experiment)
1 packet (maybe 1 T) baking powder
100 g (1/2 cup or more) dark chocolate chips
(you can even use chocolate sprinkles)
1 cup coffee
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup plain soy yogurt

Preheat oven to 180° C (350-360° F). In a big bowl with a lid, mix together all the dry ingredients. Close lid and shake well. Add wet ingredients and shake again. Pour the batter (which should be creamy but not too liquid) into an oiled baking pan, scraping the sides with a spatula. I used a regular loaf pan; you can see the result in the pictures. Bake for an hour, then remove the pan from the oven, run a sharp knife along the edges, between the pan and cake, turn the pan upside down on a cutting board or something, and cover with a wet dish towel (like my granny used to do). When the cake has cooled, it should be easy to remove the pan and decorate the cake as your fancy strikes you.

First lunch in the new flat: Lasagna!

I’m still far from unpacked – I can barely see over the stacks of boxes that are still standing around everywhere, and I still haven’t assembled my own bed – but the kitchenette is finally clean enough to cook and bake in!
(A bit late) I proudly present last week’s vegan lasagna – and my first one at that! I made the recipe from Veganomicon, but instead of the pine nut cream and almesan I topped my lasagna with grated Santeciano, my favourite vegan cheese. It melted beautifully and even got a bit crunchy when I reheated the leftovers for dinner – just the way I like it! I was very happy about my first vegan lasagna, and I’ll definitely make it again!