Food: Raw vegan ‘semlor’

As it’s semlor season here in Sweden for Fettisdagen, or ‘Fat Tuesday’, when these buns are traditionally eaten before lent. The traditional semla is a cardamom- enriched bun with homemade marzipan, called ‘mandelmassa’ and plenty of whipped cream. For this raw vegan version, I’ve decided to use persimmon/ kaki/ Sharon fruit in place of the bun. I was going to use peaches, but they seem to be impossible to get at the moment, not being in season.  As I’ve used persimmon, I decided to top it with a bit of matcha powder, a nod to the asian heritage of the fruit,

 

Makes 6 mini semlor bites

To make you’ll need:

  • 3 persimmon/ kaki/ Sharon fruit
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp almond oil
  • 1 shot of amaretto (optional- don’t use if want to make it totally raw vegan)
  • 2 tbs raw agave syrup
  • 1tbs matcha powder, to top

For the mandelmassa:

  • 150g soaked almonds
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 1-2 tbs water

For the coconut & cardamom cream:

  • The ‘cream’ from 2 tins of full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbs raw agave syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ fresh vanilla bean

 

Start the night before by making up the syrup. Mix the water with the almond oil, agave and cardamom. I also added in some Amaretto, in the spirit of the decadance of a semla bun, but by all means, take it out.  3 big persimmon will make 6 mini semlor buns. To make them, I’d recommend slicing each fruit into 4 equal pieces and cutting out the middle with a round cookie-cutter. This should leave you with a top and bottom bun for each ‘semla’. If there is any lefover persimmon, simply chop it up and keep in the fridge, it’s a great addition to any curry or jerk recipe. De-leaf the top and place into a shallow dish. Once you have done this with all 3 fruits, cover with the syrup. This should soak up all those cardamom & almond flavours of the syrup. Leave overnight.

The next day, turn the persimmon buns in the syrup and make the mandelmassa. I used the recipe off this blog  to make it, but essentially, de-skin the almonds and blend it up with the coconut sugar in a food processor, adding a teaspoon or two of water to bind.

 

To make the cardamom cream, spoon out the coconut cream portion of 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk into a bowl, adding the ground cardamom, agave and vanilla bean paste. Whip up into a thick and aromatic cream.

 

When you’re ready to assemble your mini persimmon semla, take them out of the syrup and pat dry. roll a little ball of the mandelmassa and squish into the palm of your hands. Top the bottom of the buns with the disk of mandelmassa. Next, spoon on about a tablespoon of the cream. Top with the ‘top bun’ of persimmon and dust with some matcha powder.

 

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Drink: Vegan cold bomb

This morning I woke up feeling like absolute death – blocked nose, scratchy throat and phlegm’d up to my eyeballs (sorry!). Deciding to take the matters into my own hands and show it who’s boss, I made up a fiery concoction that will help de-congest, clear your sinuses and help you feel a little less rubbish on those long February days when work, kids and your immune system have got the better of you.

To make, you’ll need:

  • 500ml water
  • Thumb size piece of ginger, grated,
  • A pinch of chilli flakes,
  • A crack of black pepper,
  • 2 Tbs agave nectar,
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper,
  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon,
  • Handful of coriander leaves,
  • 2 shots of vodka ( I used ABSOLUT CITRON – because, you know, Scandi!)

The recipe could not be simpler. It’s exactly the kick you need when all you want to do is hide under the duvet and hypnotise yourself with films all day (just me?).

Start by putting the water on the hob, on a medium heat until it starts to simmer. Then, add the agave and stir. When it’s dissolved, add the grated ginger, black pepper, cayenne and chilli flakes. Next add the lemon juice & zest and give it a stir (the heat from the chilli should already begin to tingle your nose). Simmer for 8 minutes. Then, add in the coriander leaves and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Take off the heat and strain into your mug/glass of choice. Leave to cool a few minutes, then add in the vodka. With a final stir of a spoon, it should be done.

Easy and you should be feeling less bunged up in no time!

I’d recommend you sip it though, as it will blow your head off!

Enjoy & Get well soon x

Food: Silk Road flapjacks

Here’s an easy flapjack recipe with a bit of an Eastern flair. Mind you, even though they are full of fruit, I wouldn’t exactly call these ‘healthy’ but they are damn tasty!

You’ll need:

  • 150g vegan butter (I used Vitalite)
  • 1 tbs agave nectar
  • 2 tbs golden syrup
  • 1 tbs good quality apricot conserve
  • 250g porridge oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • 30g desiccated coconut
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g mixed dried fruit, chopped finely  ( I used dates, prunes,figs, pears, sultanas and apricots)
  • 20g crystallised ginger, chopped finely
  •  10g dried goji berries
  •  A pinch of saffron
  • 20g fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 20g pumpkin seeds
  • 10g sesame seeds
  • Handful of flaked almonds (optional)

 

Start by melting the butter in a pan, on low heat. Add in the agave, golden syrup and conserve. Stir lightly until it’s all melded into a sticky caramel mixture. This should take a couple of minutes. Then, add in the ground cinnamon, vanilla and saffron strands and let them infuse for a couple of minutes. Whilst this is cooking, preheat the oven to 150°C and grease and line a square tin. Now, it’s time to add the oats and the coconut and the salt. Fold into the caramel and add the fruit, ginger, seeds & lime zest. Stir thoroughly and tip out into the lined tin. Press with either your hands or the back of a spoon, until it’s all level. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, leave to cool for 15 then cut into squares.

(An optional thing you could do is in the last 10 minutes of cooking, take it out and sprinkle some flaked almonds on top, then simply put it back in the oven, as normal.)

Hope you enjoy these exotic energy filled treats! They’d be great served with a pot of sweet mint tea.