In the kitchen: fancy desserts made easy (and vegan)

This year, I altered my diet a bit and became a part-time vegetarian.

Or a flexitarian, if you prefer.

The dreaded word. Vegetarian. The first time I heard that word, I was something like 8-9 years old, and when an adult in primary school told me that she did not eat meat because was vegetarian. And I clearly remembered thinking two things:

-I pictured her eating, every single day of her life, a bowl of lettuce leaves and tomatoes

-How can she live without a cheeseburger ?

A little more than a decade later, at 22, I am the one happily eating lettuce leaves and trying to eat less ditching cheeseburgers.

Surprisingly, this unexpected turn of events happenened for no reason: one of my friends is a vegetarian -for ethical reasons- and she just challenged me to use grains, cereals and vegetables to develop new recipes. Challenge accepted. I was bored with the perennial steak/chicken breast with a small side of rice and salad and realized that I was not eating enough crudités. So just for fun, I started decreasing my meat consumption and sooner than expected- I coped without meat, and pretty well, I must add. I only have meat on week-ends when I visit my parents and family. And when it’s sushi time because raw salmon is one of the best thing in the world.

I really enjoy the way I eat now, I’m more creative in the kitchen and, being a student- it’s easier and faster to prepare than a 36-courses meal.

Another thing that changed (and for good) in my diet is that I now got rid of dairy products. I am not a doctor, but I noticed that when I went a little overboard with cheese (and little is a euphemism when it comes to French people !), I had less breakouts and my now my skin looks better than it ever did: even my younger sister, who used to make fun of me “She only eats veggies and tofu“, told me a few times that my skin looked nice after years of breakouts.

So I recently tried to make vegan desserts-and recently I added two recipes to my list:

This vegan, dairy-free avocado chocolate mousse: don’t let the avocado scare you away- it won’t taste like guacamole. Avocado absorbs the cocoa powder and you won’t even know it’s there. I did it without coconut milk/cream- simply blended the cocoa powder, honey, and pecans with the mashed avocado.

– You know those coconut balls/pearls you microwave in Chinese buffets ? I finally found, in a nearby Asian store, the glutinous rice flour the recipes calls for and ended up with nice pearls- my friend prepared the filling by mashing in a mortar canned chesnuts with sweet potato and honey. It was easier than expect, quick, fun, and a bit messy, too ;). In this recipe, I did not add the peanut oil or any oil for that matter, nor sugar for the coating- coconut was enough and I did not want it to taste too sweet..

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Here is the finished product !

Autumn is here !

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Autumn is finally here ! It’s definitely my favorite season: I could not wait anymore for crispy leaves (well, now they are not that crispy, just yellowish and sticking to the sole of my shoes- it has been raining a lot in the last days.But it undeniably felt autumny in my appartement yesterday as the scent of cinnamon baked apples spread in the room !

Not to mention a new recipe of hot cocoa I tried, one from the French Chef Pierre Hermé (the “Prince” of macarons)- which is incredibly light and does not leave one with that heaviness on the stomach I often get when I prepare a milk-based hot chocolate; it’s a water-based cocoa with cocoa powder, a small piece of dark chocolate and thought I omitted the pinch of Kosher salt Hermé used in his recipe- I opted instead for cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg, brown sugar and voilà ! It turned out perfectly perfect.

Now I can’t wait for soups.

Have a nice evening, y’all 🙂

Those who by faith apply to Christ for mercy and grace, may be sure that he is freely willing to give them the mercy and grace they thus seek– Matthew Henry

In the kitchen: Lemon pound cake

Currently, tea time is a must in my little university appartment. During my trip in London, I was amazed at how suitable for a tête-à-tête with a friend a slice of cake and a cup of tea could be. Arrange a candle and maybe, a flower bouquet on the table and you’re sure to have the perfect setting for a good conversation !

Today, since I had lemons on hand, I tried, for the first time, a lemon pound cake. I’m not the best baker-in-training, and la pâtisserie somehow intimidates me because it calls for a lot of precision and respect of the recipe’s proportions, and those pound cakes I often see on Pinterest often left me perplex: They seem to be so dense in texture, and I’d rather have sponge cakes… But I really wanted something “classic”, easy and quick to prepare and as I am writing, the kitchen smells SO good ! I hope to serve it tomorrow morning at breakfast time for my family who came to visit me.

I used this recipe– however since it was my first test, I halved the recipe, used soy milk instead of buttermilk and since my lemons were not organic (at least I think so) I used dried zest powder (organic, of course- you don’t want a cake full of pesticides !). I also used less butter.and sugar as my mom is not fond of overly sweet desserts.

Here is the finished, ready-to-be-eaten cake !

poundcake2

Pictures taken with my Iphone might be a bit blurry but I really ended with what I want. It’s not really a pound cake anymore since I incorporated only a few spoons of butter, but it’s a “neutral” cake – not bland- but neutral in the sense that you could top it with jam or nutella without problem -the tangy flavor of the cake won’t clash with the topping.

Bon appétit !