Tag Archives: dessert

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf (Vegan)

24 May

Hello, today I bring a twist on one of my favourite things to bake: a chocolate zucchini loaf.

Chocolate zucchini loaf

This recipe I decided to swap out the oil and replace it with avocado and of exchange the eggs for Chia seeds. This way I made a new recipe which also happens to be vegan for anyone interested in that.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 1/2 cups (225g) of shredded or grated raw zucchini  (courgette)-I used my veggie spiralizer and it literally took me 5 minutes.

2) 1 cup (130g) flour.

3)1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder .

4) 3/4 tsp baking soda .

5) 1/4 tsp baking powder .

6) 2 Chia eggs– To replace one egg add 1 tbsp of ground Chia seeds (I blitzed mine in the Nutribullet) with 3 tbsp of water and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow it to form a gelatinous consistency. 

7) 1/2 cup of mashed avocado-To replace oil or butter with avocado,  for every 1 cup of oil needed, use 1 cup of avocado. 

8) 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar. 

9) 1/2 cup of brown sugar. 

10) 1 tsp of vanilla extract. 

The ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan

1) Sift the flour, Cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda together.

Sifted dry ingredients 


2) Mix the Chia and avocado well (using hand or stand mixer) adding in the sugars.

3) Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

4) Fold in the zucchini into mixture until it forms a moist homogeneous mixture.

You can amp up the chocolate value at this point by adding vegan chocolate chips (yes they exist). OR if you aren’t vegan just add regular chocolate chips

Mixture 
5) Pour into loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 55 minutes or until the Centre is done.

I had to take it out and check a few times because it kept smelling done when it really wasn’t. 

Once it’s done let it cool, Slice and eat!

So swapping out two ingredients definitely changed this recipe. What was before a more firm loaf became a softer one with more of a chewy brownie texture (I’m NOT complaining). I presume using the Chia instead of egg made it less cohesive while the avocado added smoothness that only avocado can. You don’t taste the avocado, only appreciate the creaminess. The addition of vegan (or non-vegan) chocolate chips makes it more chocolate you and a bit gooey.

This is a great loaf especially for a chocolate lover. There is some actual nutrition by way of the zucchini and avocado and Chia seeds but you more than get your chocolate fix. This is a great dessert to keep around and offer unexpected guests or take to a potluck tea party.

Would you try chocolate zucchini loaf or do you prefer regular zucchini loaf? Whatever your answer,  have an awesome day!

Last Splash(Watermelon Slush)

5 Oct

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“Ah been drankin’ wata mellun”
Hey…
So summer is officially over

ACTUALLY……..
For those in temperate climates (Northern hemisphere) summer is over. For those in temperate Southern climates its now coming and for those in the tropics well there are generally 2 seasons: rainy and dry but we do experience milder versions of weather patterns depending on which side of the equator we lie.

But I digress….

I’m really here to talk about the quintessential summer friut of 2014…..the watermelon!

I don’t know if to attribute it to the (?in)famous line in Beyoncé’s monster hit “Drunk in Love” or this just happened to be the year everyone jumped on the watermelon bandwagon but this fruit was large and in charge in 2014.

It made its way into everything from fresh fruit salads to salsas for grilled meats to alcoholic beverages.
It could be found in fashion too, I’ve seen watermelon bags (shaped like a semicircular slice of the fruit), tees with watermelon prints and of course featured in Mz Katy Perry’s “How we do” music vid (LOOOVE that song)

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Watermelon print tee

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that the watermelon has been a popular fruit and had an impact on fashion for a loooong time. However as far as popular culture goes every year a few food items get seriously hyped up and enjoys (or endures) its 15 minutes of fame.
Examples include:
1)Pomegranate circa 2009/2010 (and it’s still going,pomegranate flavoured stuff is always more expensive)

2) Kale circa 2012/2013

My prediction for 2014/2015 is coconut and more importantly coconut water! Mark my words you heard it first right here.

Again, I digress….

imageThe Watermelon

A WORD ON WATERMELON
According to Wikipedia(everyone’s ultimate reference source whether or not we admit it) watermelon is the name given to both the plant and it’s fruit(which is what we are actually talking about here). It is believed to have originated in Southern Africa. They contain little sugar, lots of water and lycopene which is associated with cardiovascular health… blah blah blah take home message: it’s good for you!

MY THOUGHTS ON WATERMELON
As a young child I was given watermelon as well as many other fruits to eat (my mother tried, I have only myself to blame for any bad eating habits I now foster). I hated it.

As a teeneager, while trying to develop healthy eating habits I tried watermelon. I hated it.

As an adult, on numerous occasions, while trying to be healthy and frugal I tried watermelon. I.HATED. IT

I’m not sure I left any clues to suggest this but don’t like watermelon. At all.
It’s watery as the name implies and tastes like Styrofoam (what I imagine it must taste like). It has too many seeds and even though its so watery, when the juice dries it gets über sticky. Bleh!

However, not wanting to be left out of this watermelon craze I decided to give this fruit another chance.

The thing about watermelon that really does appeal to me is bang for your buck. Watermelon is cheap. I can get an entire cannonball sized one for what 3 apples or 1 nectarine costs. And I will get a lot more servings of a fruit that is pretty much as healthy as they come.

So I gave the wretched fruit another try. I was inspired by the thousands of pins and posts and magazine articles glorifying this fruit. What I did realize is that hardly anyone was eating it plain. They were adding it to stuff, adding stuff to it etc (you get the idea)
That was the key. Sure I couldn’t tolerate the thought of putting a chunk of the pink fleshy fruit to my lips by itself but what if…. what if I jazzed it up a little… and that I did.

So here is the actual post(lol)

WATERMELON STRAWBERRY SLUSH

WHAT YOU NEED:
1) A watermelon(whole or sliced)- the amount you use depends on how much of this you make.

2) Strawberries(frozen)either use actual frozen strawberries (I did, they’re cheaper) or get fresh ones and pop them in the freezer.

3)Lemon/Lime juicefrom a bottle or fresh

WHAT TO DO

1) Cut the watermelon into small cubes (the exact size is entirely up to you)

2) Slice the frozen strawberries up

3) Place both fruits in a bowl or jar or glass and pour a dash or 2 of lemon juice over it (again this depends on how much you make and how acid you like things)

4) Stir the ingredients together allowing the watermelon to get partially crushed. It’s okay if the strawberries get a bit crushed too.

5) Serve with a spoon

PEARLS (a-hem ..seeds)
i)You can add strawberry flavored beverage mix e.g tang,Kool aid to amp up the strawberry factor.

ii) Add Sprite/7-Up or plain soda water(only a couple dashes) to give some fizz.

iii) Blend with said sprite etc to make it into a drink.

This is a great little snack on a hot day or alternative to ice cream for dessert. It’s affordable, simple, versatile and easy. Oh and I actually liked it! Cheers to that!

ADDENDUM

Other food Trends(these are my personal observations, no scientific evidence was used)

Red Velvet anything –2011-present.

Key Lime flavored anything– this is currently becoming a trend.

Bacon- circa 2012. This is when everyone’s favourite breakfast item meandered into pop culture and is now commonly seen on shirts, in jewelry, internet memes….etc.

Quinoa-circa 2013 to present. This one makes me chuckle.My sister did NOT get on this gravy train. She is so anti this gluten free wonder(she thinks it’s obnoxious). I personally like it, a healthy alternative to cous cous but I cannot even mutter the wprd in my sister’s presence.

Pops- circa 2011 to present. Cake pops, applepie pops, marshmallow pops…. basically any dessert or food item in general on a stick (except corndogs). We have Bakerella ( the talented, brilliant inventor of cake pops) to thank for this.

Now I’m done. Have an awesome day!

Dessert Party

29 Sep

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Hello everyone. I had a birthday this month. (Shout out to all September borns!)

Initially I wanted to have an intimate gathering. A cooking party, one where a chef comes and demonstrates while the guests follow and prepare the gourmet meal they then indulge in. I soon realized this was well above my means.

What I did instead was just as good. I had a dessert party! A dessert beach party to be exact! Yup, a party where the entire menu is dessert. I also had the fortune and pleasure of being able to have it at a beach house. Dessert, sand, ocean. Pretty perfect.

INSPIRATION
The inspiration for my party was…wait for it…. “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic” a.k.a MLP FIM. Yes, this adult over here is a huge fan of the series. I’ve been a fan of My Little Pony since the original series back in the day. I’m sure most people are vaguely aware that the series has been revamped quite a few times but I have to say that this current version (Generation 4 or G4) is the best! But I digress.

I knew I wanted a party inspired by them but having MLP FIM plates, tablecloth and loot bags would be a bit much even for me. I decided to have a more abstract interpretation of the show.

On the show, the ponies are always having a good time and throwing some kind of party usually put together by resident party planner and my favourite character Pinkie Pie. For this reason I chose pink as the colour of my decor.

At their parties the menus almost solely consist of dessert. Hence my idea to have a dessert party!

THE PARTY
Every shindig I throw together no matter how big or small how casual or fancy I have a party plan. This is where I put together important bits of info to guide me as I plan. Sometimes it’s written, sometimes I put it in my phone and sometimes it’s just in my head but the point is that it’s there.

PARTY PLAN

WHAT: Birthday- Dessert Party

WHEN: September 6th 2014

WHERE: Beachhouse at X location

WHO: Insert guest list here

THEME: MLP FIM /Dessert

MENU: Insert menu here

ENTERTAINMENT: This is where you decide how you keep ypur guests bustm. Anything from an iTunes playlist to a game of monopoly to a performance by a belly dancer goes here.

BUDGET: Arguably the most important part of the party plan.
My budget was $100 US

Wait…what! An entire party for 25 plus persons feeding them dessert!(easily the most expensive part of any meal) for $100 US! No way!

Yes way. I am the poor party girl. I entertain and live fabulously on a budget!

HOW: I decided to do it potluck style. I asked each guest(or couple) to bring a dessert. That way each person only spent money on one dish but put altogether we had quite a spread.

THE LIST
This is my menu
1) Strawberry Trifle

2) Chocolate Trifle (ended up being baked chocolate mousse cake)

3) Brownies

4) Blondies

5)Cheesecake (one with strawberry and the other with cherry topping)

6)Coconut mousse

7) Ambrosia Salad

8) White chocolate chip cookies

9) Strawberry Strudel

10) Ice Cream

11) Fruit Tarts

12) Coconut Loaf

13)Chocolate Bread Pudding

14) Jello

Additionally we had tuna, cheese and cucumber sandwiches as well as fishcakes for those who wanted a break from the sweetness.

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Fruit tarts

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Blondies being sliced

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Some of the desserts

Of course there were drinks. From juice to coke wine, rum and vodka(birthday cake flavoured!), tipsy gummy bears and jello shots!

DECOR
As I said pink was the colour of choice. In an effort to stick to my budget coupled with my lack of time and energy to DIY, I had very minimal decorations but I think it worked out just fine.

1) Triangle flag banners
I bought three of these 9 foot long card banners. They were pink and white with alternating patterns of polka dots and stripes. I got them from a craft/toy store and they werw very inexpensive.

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The banners

2)Flowers
I usually get flowers from my supermarket. They are reasonable and there’s a decent selection. To save money, you could buy 2 or 3 flowers and either add some bulk with foliage from your garden or leave them just so for a minimalist look. This is what I usually do but I got crazy and bought a full bouquet with pink being the main colour of course.

3)Table
I bought a dirt cheap plastic tablecloth in flamingo pink. Not wanting to hide to beautiful dark wood table entirely my sister folded the tablecloth lengthways into 1/3’s and made it into a table runner.

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Table runner and flowers

4) Balloons
What a controversial decoration. For years I considered them tacky. A six year old birthday? Yeah. A high school dance? Fine, maybe. A wedding or a conference? NO!
Now I don’t feel that way at all. All over the net I’ve seen some seriously tasteful balloon decorations. Also, if you like balloons..use them! They are cheap, fun and instantly say “party!”.
My sister and mother got me three regular latex balloons filled with helium( they don’t last as long as heluim balloons) for my welcome home which happened 5 days earlier. They still had a little life in them so I tied them to the gate of the beach house so guests could find us.

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The balloons on day 1(sorry no party pics of them)

5) Candles
More for the ambience than decoration. I got a Glade candle in Coral Lagoon scent. Glade, BBW and similar brands are cheaper alternatives to fancy schmancy pricey designer candles.

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Glade candle

ENTERTAINMENT
Music
My sister’s bf set up a laptop and speakers and hooked it up to the TV. He had a playlist going most of the evening but later in we switched to YouTube requests and karaoke. Fun times!

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The entertainment system and me being a total creep in the window.

Hula(Hoola) hoop
Oh yes, inspired once more by MLP FIM. In their land Equestria, technology doesn’t exist and the ponies entetain themselves with old fashioned passtimes like apple bobbing and ball bouncing. I had 2 hoola hoops and later on in the evening some of us retreated to the sand and had a serious hooping session. I won!
There was also a beach ball (for those who couldn’t hoola hoop)

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View from the beach where the hoop-off took place.

THE CAKE
Half of my budget was spent on my cake. I love baking but who wants to have to make their own birthday cake? I ordered a dark chocolate mousse on chocolate sponge. It was topped with thick white chocolate curls and sliced strawberries. It was pure, smooth chocolaty evil. And we loved it!

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Decadence

I had an old fashioned “birthday song singing, speech giving cake sticking” It was touching.

That’s it in a nutshell. Another birthday well spent with excellent company. I have to admit I had been feeling really down in the days leading up to and on my birthday. This happened to me last year as well (I hope it doesn’t become a regular thing). By the end of the night I felt better and for that I am grateful. (especially after that hooping sesh!)
Wishing everyone an awesome day!

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Chocolate covered Strawberries

8 Aug

Hello there everyone,

There was a time not too long ago when I thought something as decadent as chocolate dipped strawberries was a treat I’d only get to enjoy at a posh party or an upscale restaurant. Now, I have no idea why.

Chocolate dipped strawberries, are delicious, elegant and above all,simple to make . It’s that little dessert that everyone will be impressed with and want to try and they simply won’t believe you when you tell them: ” No I didn’t hire a gourmet chef, I swear I did it myself! (blush)”

Today I am sharing my strawberries dipped in pink chocolate (ooh la la) which equates to pink candy melts. However, I’ve done this with milk chocolate,dark chocolate and white chocolate all with equally tantalizing results.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Fresh strawberries– the frozen ones won’t work
  • Pink candy melts– these can be substituted with any other colour candy melts or simply milk,dark or white chocolate chips or pieces.
  • Sprinkles(optional)
  • Wax/Parchment paper– for cooling

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I like the strawberries ripe but not too ripe. That way you get that juiciness and sweetness but not to the point where it will interfere with the integrity of the chocolate.

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Pink candy melts by Wilton

A short note on candy meltsI’m sure most persons are by now familiar with this product but for anyone who doesn’t know, candy melts are essentially coloured white chocolate discs that are vanilla flavoured. They come in a myriad of colours and are used famously in decorating cakepops but may be used just about anywhere you use chocolate chips.

WHAT YOU DO:

1) Wash and thoroughly dry strawberries and lay them out on a flat surface.- This is very important as chocolate is extremely temperamental and even a wisp of moisture can make it seize up.

2) Make sure your hands are clean and dry for the sake of the chocolate/candy melts

3) Pour out the appropriate amount of chocolate/candy melts into a clean,dry microwaveable container- Of course the amount used depends on how many strawberries you’re dipping,how large they are etc. I do advise using small amounts at a time as you don’t want to have to deal with wasted melted chocolate.

4) Melt the chocolate in30 second bursts on low setting, checking and stirring each time to see the consistency. If it looks like it’s underdone give it another 15-30 seconds. If it seems overdone add some vegetable oil a bit at a time to get it smooth.

5) Now that your chocolate has melted let the fun begin, hold the fruit by it’s leaves and dip it into the chocolate and give it a little swirl. Use a spoon to help spread the chocolate around and place on drying sheet.

  • Once finished with the bowl, wash it ASAP while the chocolate is still soft. If it does end up being too hard then give it a few seconds in the microwave to soften it up.

6) Add sprinkles,coloured sugar,or edible glitter etc for that extra touch. Let them cool and harden on parchment/wax paper.

7) Serve and enjoy!

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Placing them in cupcake cases makes them easy to serve.

You can chocolate dip lots of other fruits: apples,banana,orange slices as well as other snacks for example marshmallows and pretzels for a gourmet treat at a home made price!

Have an awesome day!

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