London here I come!

Hello all,

Going to take a short 2 week hiatus from blogging because I’ll be heading to London tomorrow!!

bianca gomez london print

This will be my 3rd time visiting london, but it’ll be my first “solo” trip.

Well I’m actually tagging along on my bf’s worktrip to London ( free accommodation oh yeahhh) so during the day, I’ll get to explore and see the city on my own. I’m so excited because I’ve always wanted to do some form of “solo” travelling but never had the chance.

I loved my previous trips with my girlfriends – shopping, laughing, sharing food, gaping at the HOT models at the Abercrombie store…. but this time, I think I’ll really get to do what I want, at my own pace. I have a long and ambitious bucket list  – from morning jogs in Hyde Park, chilling/reading at cafes and checking out the British library to visiting the museums, wandering around the River Thames and attending some free music gigs (oh hello cheapo Singaporean spotted haha!)

rawvegan scene

But what I’m looking forward to the MOST is the gastronomical feast that I’m going to take my tummy on. I’ve compiled a long list (thanks to followers on Instagram & this amazing site http://www.veganlondon.co.uk/eat/) of Raw, Vegan and Vegetarian food cafes/restaurants/bars/food stores to visit in London. WOOHOOOO!!  And I intend to complete 80% of my list 😀

I’ll be back in September and can’t wait to write reviews on places I’ve visited and a guide to raw/vegan/vegetarian places to eat in London! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to read about and I’ll include that in the guide.

Add me on Instagram @shihngin to check out my daily gastronomical eats in London! Till September …..xo

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Raw Thriple Decker Brownie

Hello all,

I’m really excited about today’s post! Been wanting to post this for some time now and yay I finally have time today.

Raw thriple decker brownie

Raw brownies are one of the simplest raw deserts to create. Its one of those uncomplicated deserts that can be made using few and simple ingredients and yet taste pretty darn amazing. Not surprising that its a dessert that most new raw foodists (including myself) always attempt first.

I recall my first time attempting the raw brownie two years back.. I was armed with my new food processor and was so eager to start that I cut my finger on the sharp blade. Hahaa but it turned out pretty good and I was eagerly offering all my (apprehensive) family members a slice (or two , as i would insist!!). Fast forward two years later, and a little wiser, I decided to shake things up abit  and make a thriple layer raw brownie for my best friend’s birthday potluck.

I’m soooooo pleased with the way this brownie has turned out. It tasted really delicious and everyone at the potluck couldn’t believe this was raw…or healthy. The only downside was that my layers weren’t that even…but I’m sure you can do a better job =)

Okay, enough rambling, here’s the Raw Thriple Decker Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosted Brownie, or

RAW THRIPLE DECKER BROWNIE (in short!)raw thriple decker brownie

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

BASE layer (the brownie)
2 cups walnuts (pre soaked, preferably dehydrated)
1 cup dates
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
4 1/2 tbs cacao powder
1/2 tsp coconut oil

MIDDLE layer (the peanut butter crunch)
1 1/4 cup raw rolled oats
1/2 cup raw peanut butter (or normal PB if you don’t mind it not-raw)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup agave
*Add more agave if your peanut butter has no sweetener.

TOP layer (the chocolate frosting)
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup agave + another 1 tbs
1 tbs coconut palm sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla essence

OPTIONAL
Coloured sugar rice (Yes this is not raw but i wanted to make it more cheerful since its a birthday cake! Omit this if you want it completely raw and add healthier options like chopped nuts)

HERE’S HOW

BOTTOM Layer
1) Line your pan with parchment paper.
2) Process the walnuts first. Many recipes say to stop processing once it becomes crumbly but personally I find that processing it longer till it becomes more like a paste (before it turns to butter) makes it way more fudgy.

brownie  layer
3) Add in the rest of the ingredients except the coconut oil and continue to process. Add the coconut oil last. Your base should have a consistency like the picture below. Don’t worry if its not that sweet because you’ll have your middle and top layer to balance out the flavours.

brownie layer
4) Press it into the pan, making sure that you press it down tight and the sides are all filled.
5) Leave it in the freezer.

MIDDLE Layer
1) Process the rolled oats till it becomes a little more flaky.
2) Add in the rest of the ingredients and continue to process.
3) Spread crumbs evenly on top of the base layer and press down evenly.

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4) Put it back into the freezer.

TOP Layer
1) Simply throw everything in the food processor and process till you get a beautiful, smooth ganache. YUMMM

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2) Spread it on the top layer of the brownnie and back in the freezer it goes.

DSCN9121
DSCN91243) Let this stay in the freezer for around 4 – 6 hours. Sprinkle on toppings (optional) before you serve.

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Raw thriple decker brownie DSCN9130

raw thriple decker brownie

Do drop me a comment or email if you’ve tried this recipe because I would love to know what you all think! Hope you all enjoy this as much as my friends and I did =)

July – Product Round up

Here are some of the new products I bought in July.

Lets start with my favourite buy —–

180 DEGREES – CRISPY LAVOSH SNACKS (SEA SALT & OLIVE OIL)seaSaltOliveOilLavosh

A googled for the meaning of Lavosh and the results showed “a thin, crisp piece of bread snack originating from Middle East“…and this pack I bought exactly fits the description. It was crispy, had just the right amount of flavour and was not oily at all! And it goes extremely well with dips and sauces. I brought my pack to a friend’s gathering and tried  it with some homemade tahini and loved it! (even though one of them did mention that when i took out the pack, she thought it looked like dog food :X) The price is little steep so if you want to give yourself a little gourmet “dip treat”, you should totally consider this!

Where to find : Major Cold Storage outlets
Price : $6.95

TRU RA CACAO POWDER

TRU_RA_cacao

I’m quite sensitive to the taste of raw cacao powder but I still like to try using new brands from time to time. Tried out this brand and i thought the cacao flavour was pretty good and something I’ll definitely purchase again. To top it off, it is one of the most affordable cacao powders in Singapore.

Where to find : Lemon Zest (Holland V)
Price : Oops i lost the receipt but it was between $17 – $19

LOVING EARTH RAW CHOCOLATES

loving earth

Can I just start off by saying what a BIG FAN I am of Loving Earth. OMG PLS TRY THEIR RAW CHOCOLATES!! Loving Earth products are expensive in Singapore …if I don’t remember wrongly, these bars sell for around $11++ at Real foods and their nut butters are around $25 – $30 at Four Seasons Organic for a really small bottle.
One of our chefs bought a whole box of Loving Earth chocolates back from Aussie and sold them to me at cost! I was grinning from ear to ear the whole day….good food & cheap thrills make me so happy lol. Bought the Orange & Gubinge Dark Choc and Coconut Mylk flavour….have to say both were good but i prefer the coconut mylk one. So….anyone else going to Aussie soon??? :DD

Where to find : Real food grocer 
Price : Around $11+

MARGARINE TABLEHANDS DAIRY FREE VS NUTTELEX

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Stopped by the supermarket to get a tub of Nuttelex but found another diary free margerine spread called Tablehands that was almost half price! Both are gluten free and have around the same amount of calories… and I was curious to find out how similar or different they were  and bought both!

Taste: I prefer Nuttelex more. Its creamier and has slighty more flavour.
Price: Tableshands is way more affordable at $4.15 as compared to Nutelex’s $8.25
Performance: I used both margarines in baking 2 different vegan cakes and both turned out well. Also used Nuttelex to make a vegan peanut butter frosting….which was so darn rich and creamy !

For Vegans : The main difference between Tablehands & Nuttelex (besides the huge price gap) is the sneaky little ingredient called Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is needed for its role in bone health and to help our body absorb calcium. Sources of Vitamin D can be absorbed in 3 ways – through our body’s exposure to sunlight, taking supplements or through food that contains vitamin D. Only a few natural foods like fatty fish and eggs contain Vitamin D. But manufacturers also add Vitamin D to foods such as fortified soymilk, fortified juice, fortified breakfast cereals, cow’s milk, and margarine.

There are two different forms of Vitamin D used in our supplements and fortified foods:

Vitamin D2 – which is made from yeast, is vegan
Vitamin D3 – which is derived from sheep’s wool, is well, not vegan

Nuttelex uses Vitamin D2 while Tablehands uses Vitamin D3. (By the way, EarthBalance uses Vitamin D2 too). So if you’re a strict vegan,  Nuttelex is the way to go. If not, Tablehands is a much more affordable alternative that for that price, works just as well.

Where to find : Major Cold Storage outlets
Price : Nuttelex $8.25 / Tablehands $4.15

Top Chef Masters – Vegan Challenge

Hi All,

Recently StarWorld started airing Bravo’s Top Chef : Just Desserts series, and after watching the first episode on TV, I went to download the entire season immediately. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was downloading back to back seasons of Top Chef and spinoffs like Top Chef : Just Desserts, Top Chef Masters etc…because it is THAT GOOD!  One question I keep asking myself is….HOW COULD I NOT HAVE KNOWN THIS SERIES EXSISTED EARLIER??

For those who’ve not heard of the Top Chef series,  it is a reality based competition featuring chefs who compete in culinary challenges. Unlike Masterchef where the contestants are amateur cooks, these are experienced chefs who face off in challenges that test their skills, experience and flavour profile.

Itop-chef-masters-season-1-episode-101-winner

I’ve been really inspired by the chefs on the show and have a much greater respect for their profession especially since I work in the kitchen now too. Besides having a passion for food and cooking skills, I think a good chef needs to be meticulous, organized, possess good time management skills, the constant desire for improvement, good people skills ,a natural creative flair and the ability to accept criticism positively. Quite a resume eh! Something for me to think about!

Top Chef Masters

Anyway, what I wanted to share today was a nice surprise I got while watching Top Chef Masters  Season 1. These aren’t just normal chefs, they are the best of the best!  In episode 8, the master chefs were each challenged to cook a Vegan dish for actress Zooey Deschanel (from New Girl) and her friends. To make things even harder, Zooey is Gluten intolerant and does not take soy. That’s almost….a raw diet! I was so impressed by what they came up with, WHO SAYS VEGAN FOOD IS BORING? Check out the pictures below and click for the recipe.

Top-Chef-108-Rate-The-Plate-Art-Smith-Elimination

Strawberry Champagne Soup. Strawberry Rice Ice Cream and Almond Brittle by Chef Art Smith (hello Vegan almond brittle!)

Top-Chef-Masters-108-Rate-The-Plate-Michael-Chiarello-Elimination

 Quinoa Pasta with Salsa Verde and Gremolata, Tomatoes (and Crispy Basil Leaf) by Michael Chiarello ( SO GONNA TRY THIS)Top-Chef-Masters-108-Rate-The-Plate-Hubert-Keller-Elimination

White Gazpacho with Grapes and Vanilla Oil & a Timbale of Avocado &, Asparagus, Roasted Beet Salad by Chef Hubert KellerTop-Chef-Masters-108-Rate-The-Plate-Anita-Lo-Elimination

Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Lentil Salad and Cashew Sauce by Chef Anita Lo

Top-Chef-Masters-108-Rate-The-Plate-Rick-Bayless-Elimination

Corn Tamales with  Chile-Braised Beans, Braised Greens, and Glazed Mushrooms by Chef Rick Bayless

Bravo has also created a page where you can search for all the recipes created on the Top Chef shows. Very cleverly sorted too. Here are a ton of vegan ones. So awesome that these chefs are sharing their recipes online for home cooks like us to re-create. Mind you, we have access to recreating recipes created by Michelin Star Chefs OKAY! Bravo to Bravo !