No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan ‘Cheesecake’

Hello Everyone! Yes I am aware that it is indeed Tuesday and not a Wednesday – but today is a special day which indefinitely deserves a special post too! Today is the middle child’s 22nd Birthday, and since last year (which was the year I came back to Brunei) I’ve been baking cakes for the family. It was the better solution to, I guess, wanting a specific flavour for an affordable price. I cannot stress enough house much I hate store bought cakes – mainly because of their icing; too thick, too sweet, just… Ugh. I’m not much of a baker since I’m more into savoury foods, but I guess baking a cake 4 times a year (at minimum) isn’t too stressful and helps me practice.

Happy 22nd Birthday Angela!
Happy 22nd Birthday Angela! – early dinner at Balkony today after work. The cake not only looked amazing, but it tasted so good as well! I will definitely try out more no bake vegan ‘cheesecakes’ in the upcoming months – maybe for my Birthday in November!

Today’s recipe shall keep in theme with the theme for this month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, which is, if you haven’t been following, Yes Ve Gan! A month of tribute to animal-free dishes that are sure to tickle your tummies from a different perspective. Before I had the idea of coming up with an animal-free theme for the blog, I wanted to bake a strawberry shortcake for my sister. I then only just changed my mind earlier last week to do a No Bake Strawberry & Coconut ‘Cheesecake’ for her after being inspired and reminded of the cake that Miao made back in March when we gathered for a dinner and catch up session with friends in Singapore. I think I mentioned in the beginning of the month in a post that it was a pretty darn delicious cake and it made me crave for more! So I thought to myself, why do I give a raw vegan cake a try since, like Miao at that time, I have never done one before! It’s super easy to make and you can substitute the strawberries out for your favourites berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or boysenberries.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

This ‘cheesecake’ is completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free! The recipe makes for one 8″ sized cake, but of course you can always double the recipe to make a bigger one if you wish! Mind you, for those who have not read in an earlier post this month, I haven’t stopped eating animals, dairy, or eggs altogether. I still eat my meat, but not as often as I used to, and I still have my daily dose of cow’s milk in the mornings  to accompany my breakfast. I don’t see myself going completely vegan in the next couple of years – but who knows, that may change over time when I make that shift to loving all animals, and most importantly for a healthier lifestyle. For now, it is something that I want to look into and slowly add this way of eating into my daily diet.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake' Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | FREEZE TIME min. 4 HOURS* | SERVES 8-10

*preferably overnight to ensure that the cake is set.

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

  • 250g medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight* and drained
  • 1 punnet (25g) fresh or frozen (but thawed) strawberries
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, liquified
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 small lemon

For the topping

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Shredded coconut
  • Edible flowers (optional)

*if you are a bit pressed for time, or decided to make your cake today and hadn’t realised that you needed to soak your cashews overnight, then you can soak them in very hot water for about an hour instead of overnight.

METHOD

  1. Crust: Soak the pitted medjool dates in warm water for about 15-20 minutes and then drain. Put almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the dates and a pinch of salt, and pulse until a paste forms.
  2. Press mixture into an 8-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform pan, use a pie tin or a regular cake pan covered with baking paper). Place the crusted pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
  3. Filling: Put all ingredients for the filling in a blender and blend on low until mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the filling into the crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  4. Remove the cake from the pan and leave to thaw in room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. Top with fresh strawberries, shredded coconut, and edible flowers.

Tip: Run your knife under warm water (and dry off) before cutting, to make a cleaner cut. Let each piece thaw for a few more minutes before serving.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Avocado & Date Smoothie

Avocado & Date Smoothie

Hello Everyone! Today’s recipe was inspired by a smoothie drink that I had about a few weeks ago from The Energy Kitchen here in Brunei. I really loved the taste of it and I was surprised by how little ingredients it contained. It was not only rich and flavourful, but it is also healthy indeed. However, the drink was very pricey; if I’m not mistaken I think it was about $9.00, maybe almost $10.00 for a large glass (11oz maybe). Because of that, I decided to then give this smoothie a try with local avocados that cost $4.00/kg; and you get about 5-6 avocados depending on their size per kilo. Dates were probably around $4.00 per 500g and a carton of almond milk was about $5.00. I with all this, I was able to make at least 4 large glasses with these and still had a lot of dates and almond milk leftover for another 2 rounds of this smoothie. It’s definitely much cheaper making it at home!

Avocados have several proven health benefits including an abundance of nutrients such as vitamins B5, B6, C, E, K, potassium (even more than bananas), and small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, etc. Avocados are also loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, in which the majority of the fat is oleic acid; beneficial in that these acids activate the part of your brain that makes you feel full. In addition, oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and has beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. To find out more on the health benefits of avocados, visit the Authority Nutrition page.

This drink also doesn’t contain any sugar. Instead they contain dates that are naturally sweet, and not only that, dates are also known to have many health benefits; to name a few, they relieve constipation, intestinal disorders, heart problems, anemia,  sexual dysfunction, diarrhea, abdominal cancer, and many other conditions. Dates are rich in several vitamins, minerals and fibre too, containing oils, calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, and magnesium; all of which are beneficial for our health health. To read up more on the health benefits of dates, visit the Organic Facts page.

Pair these two together with about 3/4 cup of almond milk (you can use any other type of milk if you wish, and also add more milk if you want you smoothie to be a little bit thinner), and you’ve got yourself a rich and healthy drink. I didn’t add any ice to this drink so make sure that your milk is cold or place your smoothie in the freezer for about 10 minutes before drinking.

Avocado & Date Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or any other milk)

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy a healthy smoothie!

Avocado & Date Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Sadhana Kitchen

Sadhana Kitchen

Hello Everyone! Not only is it another Review Sunday but it is also my 100th post on the blog! 10 months ago I started this blog out of pure procrastination. Basically I was bored over the Easter break and was in no mood to tackle the many assignments that I had at the time for uni. Thus this blog was born. I have long been interested in food even way before 10 months ago, and was encouraged by many to start up a blog. I can say now that what was once just hobby, I have now grown to put much more effort into each dish that I prepare and into each blog post that goes up 3 times a week. I don’t want to say that blogging is now my ‘job’ as it sounds a little bit like ‘I have to do it’ kind of thing. It’s not about me having to do a blog post for everyone out there, but it is more like I do it because I want to do it – if that makes any sense? Anyway, I am just super happy about how well I have been doing with my blog and I have some exciting new changes coming up in the next few months. I am also looking to building up my followers both on wordpress and other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, so if any of you guys out there have any tips on how to do this, your help/knowledge will be much appreciated!

Sadhana Kitchen

Now on to today’s post – Sadhana Kitchen! I first came to know about this little gem through posts on Instagram from various food bloggers. What attracted me to their menu was that the food they served was always so colourful through the uploads I came across while browsing through my newsfeed. The great thing about Sadhana Kitchen, even though it does not really matter in my case, is that they are gluten-free, organic, raw, and vegan – Sydney’s first organic wholefoods and raw foods café. Now, when I made mention that it does not really matter to me, I meant that I am not gluten intolerant, nor am I a vegan, but I was quite intrigued as to what kind of foods do those with dietary requirements eat since I am a person who can eat almost anything and everything. I often find myself saying how I’d never go vegetarian or vegan because I love meat too much to give it up but after paying a visit to Sadhana Kitchen, I have a whole new appreciation for healthy, organic, and raw superfoods. Though I don’t think that I will ever find myself converting, maybe not right now that is. I can’t say what will happen in the future, maybe tomorrow I will wake up and suddenly transform into a ‘crazy vegan lady’ as one of the waitresses mentioned about her obsession over veganism.

I’ve been here a total of two times, both with friends whom I know to have an appreciation for healthy foods but not necessarily vegans themselves. I thought that they’d be the perfect company for a nice weekend lunch. What was funny though was that one of my friends that I went with (she who shall not be named, but you know who you are), actually asked the lady at the counter if they put any ice cream in their smoothies – I mean, even after my other friend and I explained to her that they would definitely not put ice cream in their smoothies since its all about the vegan. The lady gave her a sort of weirded out look and said that they only use frozen fruits in their smoothies. Though I felt bad, I could not stop laughing on the inside.

This place I feel could do with a lot more seating space. Both times that I’ve been, and not even on the hour when normal people have their breakfast and/or lunch, like I’m talking 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s always packed. The first time we visited we were lucky enough to snag the only table left, but the second time around we weren’t so lucky. We waited about 20 minutes before we could run and grab a table, and after we did the place started empty out slowly.

Sadhana Kitchen - FRAPPES: PITAYA PUNCHFRAPPES: PITAYA PUNCH
Pitaya (dragon fruit), strawberries, banana, and orange ($9.50)

I love dragon fruit, but even though this is called a ‘pitaya’ smoothie, the banana taste came across more predominantly. A refreshing smoothie nonetheless and had a very vibrant colour to it which made it even more appealing to the eye.

Sadhana Kitchen - GREEN SMOOTHIES: COOL MINT
GREEN SMOOTHIES: COOL MINT
Seasonal greens, orange, mango, and flax seeds. Vitamin, mineral, and fibre booster with omega-3 fatty acids ($9.50)

Though I wasn’t quite sure about what greens were added to the smoothie (but I’m guessing either kale, spinach, or even both), the mint flavour really came through. Again, refreshing for a warm summer day.

Sadhana Kitchen - SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIES: WARRIOR SMOOTHIESUPERFOOD SMOOTHIES: WARRIOR SMOOTHIE
Blueberries, raspberries, banana, sprouted brown rice protein powder, chia seeds, coconut oil, mesquite, and almonds. Packed with muscle building cholesterol free protein, omega-3 for brain function, and calcium & manganese for healthy bones ($9.50)

The epic of smoothies! Very thick though so it was a bit difficult to drink from the straw.

Sadhana Kitchen - RAW SANDWICHES: BLAT
RAW SANDWICHES: BLAT
Sadhana coconut bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, coriander and house-made mayo, in between two sliced of onion bread ($14.50)

What intrigued me about this dish was the ‘coconut bacon’ which basically was just coconut that was made to look like bacon and even had the texture of bacon. I’m not sure about whether it’s an innovative way of thinking from Sadhana Kitchen, as in if it’s actually already a thing that someone else came up with, but definitely creative idea!

Sadhana Kitchen - SADHANA LASAGNE
SADHANA LASAGNE
Layers of zucchini pasta, cultured cashew cheeze, basil pesto, walnut mince, wilted spinach, and chunky tomato sauce ($15.50)

This was the dish that I had the first time I came around to visiting Sadhana Kitchen. Don’t be fooled by the size of it on the dish, it actually filled me up good! Loved the flavours of the dish and that walnut mince really looked like meat mince that you’d find in your traditional lasagne.

Sadhana Kitchen - CARROT AND WALNUT FALAFEL PLATE
CARROT AND WALNUT FALAFEL PLATE
Carrot and walnut falafels served with seasonal greens, pickles, olives, zucchini hummus, and beet dip ($16.50)

This was the other dish that I had the second time around. I initially wanted to order their Prana Pad Thai which had kelp and zucchini noodles, but they unfortunately ran out. I had no regrets though because this dish did not only look pretty on the plate and appealing to the eye, it had great flavour and was also surprisingly filling (just not a filling as the lasagne of course). The ‘falafels’ had a nice crunch to them as well as a roasted flavour. The dips complimented them nicely and the salad on the side really enhanced the flavours that it needed to bring it to the next level of flavour satisfaction.

Sadhana Kitchen - SADHANA SUPER BOWL
SADHANA SUPER BOWL
Shredded kale, house-made sauerkraut, cherry tomato, cucumber, and pesto zoodles served with Brazil nut cheddar, sundried tomato, and smoked paprika hummus ($17.50)

I’m not quite sure as to how this dish tasted, only because this wasn’t my dish to consume. I had a taste of the zoodles (zucchini noodle) but that was basically it. To me, this dish looked like a bowl of vegetables – that’s it really, though my friend did find it quite satisfying.

Sadhana Kitchen


SNICKERS CHEEZECAKE
Cashews, almonds, walnuts, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla, dates, sesame, and salt ($12.50)

This cheezecake was made with layers of nougat creme, milk chocolate, and chocolate ganache topped with caramelised nut clusters. Probably my favourite from the two of the cakes we had. The flavour really came through as it almost tasted like a traditional snickers bar – when I say traditional, I mean it in a way that it doesn’t taste like the vegan alternative.

Sadhana Kitchen - WHITE CHOCOLATE & SALTED CARAMEL BANOFFEE PIE
WHITE CHOCOLATE & SALTED CARAMEL BANOFFEE PIE
Cashews, desiccated coconut, coconut oil, stevia, cacao butter, sesame, vanilla, dates, maca, mesquite, and lucuma salt ($12.50)

This banoffee pie was made of layers of banana creme, salted caramel creme, and white chocolate creme on a walnut & coconut biscuit base. The name itself was already enough for me to be sold on ordering it, but I must say that that was probably the only good thing about it, the name. I don’t know what it was, but the cake didn’t quite tickle my fancy. I think it was the taste of it? Like the banana tasted a bit off, not that they used a bad banana, but it was more like you know it’s supposed to be banana, but it doesn’t taste like banana kind of thing. It was also the cake that was ignored for a while on the table when we dug into our desserts.

Sadhana Kitchen - SALTED CARAMEL SUNDAE COCOWHIP
SALTED CARAMEL SUNDAE COCOWHIP
Twisted SK coconut cocowhip, topped with half a caramel slice, cacao nibs, himalayan pink salt, and house made superfood caramel sauce ($13.00)

The second time we came around to visiting Sadhana Kitchen, it was all about the cocowhip hype. To be honest, it was alright. Loved the added toppings, but I felt like the cocowhip was a little bit too soft. By the time we dug in and had about 2-3 spoons each, it was almost like soup, and it wasn’t even a particularly hot day as well for it to melt so fast!

Before I end, here are a few things that you might want to know about organic/raw foods, and veganism:

  • Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products and by-products, particularly in diet.
  • Foods that are prepared and processed without exceeding 40°C are known to be raw. This way of preparation allows the food’s natural enzymes to stay intact, which in return gives your body the most benefit and easy digestion.
  • The best place to start improving your health is by improving what you eat. This is the main reason why Sadhana Kitchen insist on using only pure, organic seasonal produce that is free from harmful toxins to create delicious dishes.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this place for those who are fans of organic and raw foods, and of course those who are all about the vegan. I would also recommend this for those who are experimenting with food and are open to broadening their palettes. Like I said, I would probably never go vegan myself, but having experienced the foods has really made me appreciate how else it can be prepared and still be as filling and delicious as what I am used to eating. The food is a definite 8.5 out of 10 for me. Their main menu was the stand out, but their dessert disappointed a bit, even though I was even more excited for their dessert menu. Service was good, and the ambience could be a bit better. Value for money is variable, I don’t know about spending $12.50 for a slice of cake. I definitely hope to visit again soon as I am curious to know what the vegan substitute for their ‘eggs benny’ is and their prana pad thai with kelp and zucchini noodles looks too good to pass up! *drooling*

Sadhana Kitchen

Sadhana Kitchen
147 Enmore Road
Enmore, New South Wales
Australia, 2042

– Ally xx