The easiest cake hack

image

This cake hack is so easy, I never thought to share it on the blog. Here goes! Every time I serve it people they say how delicious it is. Then i admit the method and everyone is surprised!

Ingredients
Vanilla version
1 vanilla cake mix (black & gold brand 75c)
1 440 gm can full fat coconut cream (home brand 75c )
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate version
1 chocolate cake mix (black & gold brand 75c)
1 440gm can of full fat coconut cream (home brand 75c)
3 tbsp dark cocoa powder

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celciusย  (or 160 fanforced). Prepare cake pan by lining base with nonstick baking paper and spraying sides with canola oil spray.

Obviously, you can prepare individual cakes and just serve one cake. However, if you want to make the marble cake add cake mixes to separate mixing bowls with the can of coconut cream and either vanilla extract or cocoa. Mix with a whisk until smooth.
image

If making one flavoured cake pour into pan and bake. If making marble cake add scattered dollops to the pan then bake as directed on the packet.

This cake is so inexpensive, so easy, and has a nice flavour.

Here’s a chocolate version i dressed in chocolate icing and cheap strawberries.

image

Japanese share platter for family movie night

image

We love Japanese food. It’s delicious!  I made this for our family movie night at home. There are a few components, but they are all easy to prepare. Stacked together on a big board looks very nice too.

So basically, you make the sushi rice first, then the accompaniments, then pile it on a board for serving. Note: this recipe will feed a family of four with leftovers to go into lunchboxes.

Sushi rice
To make sushi rice add 2 cups of sushi rice and 3 cups of boiled water to medium saucepan. Bring to the boil. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Turn off heat, keeping the lid on. Let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle in about 4 tbsp of mirin. Fluff with a fork to combine.

Edamame (on inari)
I buy these beans frozen. Boil one cup of frozen, shelled edamame  (soy beans) in salted water for up to 4 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold tap water and set aside.

image

Tofu strips
For the next three components, just use the same large non-stick frypan. Cut about 250 gm tofu into long strips. Add to large frypan on medium high heat in 1 or 2 tbsp vegetable oil. Drizzle generous amount of premade Japanese sauce over tofu. This time I used tonkatsu sauce (available in Asian section of supermarket). Rotate until most sides are browned. Set aside.

Mushrooms
Slice/dice 3 cups of mushrooms and fry in large saucepan with vegan margarine and soy sauce. Fry until lightly browned. Set aside in a bowl.

Cabbage
Saute 3 cups of sliced cabbage in 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil, drizzle of sesame oil and sprinklle of salt. Pile onto serving board.

image

Fill inari pockets
Fill desired number of pockets 2/3 to 3/4 full with rice. Top with edamame, then mushrooms. Place on board. Press down so these stay upright.

Make sushi
Sushi is very easy to prepare once you get the hang of it. You need a bamboo rolling mat (from supermarket).

image

Ingredients
Strips of cucumber, red capsicum, prepared tofu, pre-purchased seaweed salad, 2 inari pockets, vegan Japanese mayonnaise. You can use whatever salad vegetables you have. I have made 2 versions in this meal, but many variations come out of our kitchen!

Method
Lay a seaweed wrap on the roling mat. Press a thin layer (less than a cm) of rice on the seaweed wrap. Note. The thicker the rice layer, the more filling needed and larger diameter the sushi roll will be. Go easy on the rice (ideally 5mm) but ensure it is even to the edges. Leave a 2 cm strip of seaweed at the far side of wrap. This you will spread with water and will form the seal.

Across the centre line add your fillings fairly evenly. One version has 2 inari pockets oened up and filled with seaweed salad. Roll firmly, cover 2 cm strip with water and roll to close. The second version repeat rice method then lay tofu and vegetables across, squeeze vegan mayo along mixture, then roll as before.

Slice rolls in half, then repeat cutting in half until you have 8 pieces. Place on serving board.

image

Pile extra vegetables, seaweed salad, tofu strips and any pickled cabbage you might have.

Serve with soy sauce. I hope you like this. We demolished this platter with just enough left over for snacking and lunches ๐Ÿ™‚

image

Toffee shards to make you famous

image

OK, maybe they won’t make you famous, but these toffee shards will turn a pretty cake into a beautiful cake.

I’m working with a lovely woman at work. I really like her approach. She’s very practical and everything she says is well considered. Plus she is a really nice person. She had a birthday recently and so i made her a cake. This cake is made from caramel cake, chocolate cake, vanilla cream in between cake layers, then dressed in vanilla buttercream, dark chocolate ganache and toffee shards.

I was a bit nervous because I’m in recipe testing mode and the cakes weren’t perfected.  Everyone still liked it and it was completely vegan, like all of my baking. Phew!

image

So toffee is really easy to make, I just ensure that i stay with the stove the entire time and don’t have my children in the vicinity.

Ingredients
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water

Method
Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Add sugar and water to medium saucepan over low heat and stir for about 3 – 5 minutes until sugar is completely disolved.

Bring sugar syrup to the boil. Keep temperature on high and boil without stirring for around 10 – 12 minutes. Regularly brush down the side of the saucepan with a silicon pastry brush dipped in water. Do NOT change the temperature of the stove as the mixture gradually thickens

Mixture will turn golden. Turn off heat and rest mixture until it stops bubbling.

Pour toffee onto tray and slowly tilt tray from side to side to spread toffee into an even layer.

Let tray sit for about 15 minutes until completely cold and hard. Break into long shards and decorate your cake. Yay!

image

The warm weather lunch

image

Hi ๐Ÿ™‚ its still really warm in Queensland (Australia) so our lunches are still pretty light.

Mine is top. Cherubs have the bottom ones.

image

I have a garden salad with macadamias and balsamic dressing.

image

Vegetarian luncheon  (tofurky) and cheese sandwiches printed with a dolphin love heart shaped sandwich cutter ๐Ÿ™‚

image

Zucchini and sweet potato slice based on this recipe
http://soy.com.au/recipe/zucchini-kale-slice/

image

Finishing off with a blueberry muffin ๐Ÿ™‚

Jam drops with oats and chia seeds

image

My littlie has a field trip this week and can’t take her insulated lunch bag so I am making very portable, robust food for this week’s lunchboxes.

These are easy and delicious, and made slightly healthier with the addition of oats and chia.

1 1/2 cups plain flour
210 gm dairy free spread at room temperature
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 cup oats
1 or 2 tbsp chia seeds
Jam

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
In large bowl, mix spread and sugar until well combined.
Add remaining dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Flour clean surface. Make ball of mixture. Brak into 2 halves and set aside one half back into mucing bowl.
Roll log from mix, about the diameter you want your biscuits to be.

image

Slice about 2 cm off end. Roll into ball. Shape into disc and place on prepared tray. Repeat with all remaining mixture.

image

To add jam hole to each biscuit press the back of a half teaspoon into each biscuit on trays. Use same half teaspoon to scoop jam level amounts into each indent.

image

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until biscuits are browned slightly on the bottom.
Let cool.

These freeze well with a layer of baking paper in between stacked biscuits.

Enjoy!

The dolphin friendly lunchbox

image

Here is the lunch made with the new dolphin sandwich cutters. The cherubs are going to be very excited ๐Ÿ™‚

image

I also include a picture of my partner’s lunch too (with cheese love heart).

image

The slice is a melt and mix oat slice. So easy!

image

The bread offcuts i freeze and process to use as fresh breadcrumbs that i keep in the freezer. I use them every few days or so.

image

Happy lunching ๐Ÿ™‚

The waste not, want not lunchbox

image

We make a great effort to minimise waste in our home, especially food. So this lunch is all about using up leftovers that aren’t really enough to be part of another family meal.

I had about 2 cups of mashed potato with mashed frozen vegetables left over. So this lunch was born!

I took heaped teaspoons of the mixture and dropped them into polenta. As I coated in polenta I rolled them into little balls then placed them in a medium hot frypan with shallow oil.

I fried each side for about 3 minutes until crispy and golden brown.

As the potato balls were cooling, I spiralised carrot to make a little nest for them to sit in.

image

Then with a sultana and coconut slice, fruit box and a couple of extras, there’s no food wastage to be seen!

Happy lunching ๐Ÿ™‚

Coconut and sultana slice

image

This slice I adapted from an old recipe out of one of my mother’s books. I’ve made this dairy and egg free.

Ingredients
Base
125 gm vegan margarine
Scant 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 4 tbsp warm water
3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling
1/2 cup jam of choice
1 cup sultanas

Topping
Topping
60 gm vegan margarine
Scant 1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 4 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp self raising flour
1 1/2 cups coconut

Method
Base
Cream margarine, sugar, vanilla and chia mixture until creamy and well combined.
Stir in sifted flours and milk
Line a 30 cm x 25 cm pan with baking paper and spread mixture .
Microwave jam for up to 60 seconds to make it easier to spread.
Spoon onto base and spread with back of spoon.
Sprinkle with sultanas.
Make topping: cream margarine and sugar until creamy. Add chia mixture and beat with wooden spoon until combined.  Stir in sifted flour and then coconut in two halves (for easier combining).
Spoon topping over slice and spread evenly with fork.
Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees celcius or until golden on top.
Stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

image

image

Here it is boxed for lunch ๐Ÿ™‚

image