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Creamy Avocado ‘Carbonara’

April 6, 2011

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Cashew cream? Boring. Soy cream? You’re kidding!

Avocado cream? Tell me more!

That’s right – avocado! This stuff does wonders when you want to add creaminess to anything from smoothies to sauces. While it gives the dish a bit of  green color, it’s just as creamy as any soy-based cream.

I remember first seeing this genius pasta sauce on Oh She Glows a while back but not being able to find good avocados. (Sadly) it became another bookmarked buried deep in a folder of hundreds of other amazing recipes, all of which I’ve promised I’ll try! I spotted some great-looking avocados on sale the other day, picked up a few and immediately remembered this recipe. The moment I got back home, I whipped up this delicious lunch…

Barely adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  2. Juice and zest of half a lemon
  3. 2-3 garlic cloves, depending on your taste (I used 2 only)
  4. Pinch of salt (to taste)
  5. ¼ cup of fresh herbs (I used half basil and half parsley, I’d probably opt for all parsley next time)
  6. 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  7. 1/3 cup of walnuts, chopped and toasted
  8. Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  9. Fresh parsley, to garnish
  10. Pasta, to serve (2-3 serves, around 80z?)

 

  1. Begin by cooking your pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by place lemon juice (not the zest), garlic and olive oil in a food processor. Process until fairly smooth.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients except for those used to garnish/decorate (ie everything except walnuts, pepper, parsley for garnish, pasta and zest). Process until very smooth and creamy.
  4. Toss the pasta in the sauce.
  5. To serve, garnish with fresh parsley, pepper, lemon zest and walnuts.

Don’t forget to get that pasta cookin’ – I know I did Confused smile

To make the wonderful, wonderful sauce, begin by placing the lemon juice, garlic and oil in your processor:

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In goes the avocado and the other ingredients:

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Wheeee! Process until creamy.

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Grab your pasta, cooked until it’s al dente.

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Sauce goes on…

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…and gets all mixed in, plus the decorations. On that note, the walnuts add great crunch and a somewhat smoky flavour. One of my victims willing taste-testers noted that it kind of represented bacon in this strangely carbonara-like sauce. ‘It’s like vegan carbonara’ were his exact words!

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Pearl xo

P.S. I know I promised another variation of the rice pudding, I haven’t forgotten! Maybe in the next week or so Smile

Creamy Blueberry Rice Pudding

April 4, 2011

Hello again!

Firstly, I’d like to apologize for my lack of presence over the past week – I’ve been overwhelmed with work as well as a little travel so I’ve had barely had time to catch some sleep, let alone write a post! I think I see my schedule clearing up a lot more over the next few weeks, so I’ll be able to donate much more time to blogging :)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might remember my Vanilla Cherry Rice Pudding. Over time this rice pudding has become one of my favorite, easy, go-to breakfast recipes and I’ve done so many spin-offs of the original. Simple but sweet, this blueberry version makes for a lovely hot breakfast – kind of like a blueberry muffin but in a bowl and really creamy.

For the recipe, just replace the cherries in this recipe with half a cup of frozen blueberries (fresh would definitely work, too) and follow the exact same instructions.

The lovely purple-blue comes from the blueberries – it’s completely natural!

Look out for another rice-pudding spin-off coming up soon. Any guesses?

Hint: it might give you a bit of a buzz! ;)

Pumpkin Spiced Almond Butter

March 27, 2011

It’s a lie.

Chocolate’s not my guilty indulgence – it’s nut butter (I think I tweeted about this a while ago?!). I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like to be allergic to nuts (or even worse: nuts and chocolate)! I’m the sort of gal who takes any nut butter thrown at her so long as it’s all-natural and not that dry fake stuff, but let me assure you that this isn’t just any nut butter.

This is a nut butter out of this world; the king of nut butters; nut butter heaven.

I don’t know where to begin when describing this nut butter! It’s sweet yet salt-kissed and, believe you me, it won’t last very long.  The spices make it a really ‘warm’ tasting nut butter – perfect for cold weather (or warm, I’ll eat this whenever!).

A huge thank you to Ashley who brought this recipe to life. She has so many other great-looking recipes, especially nut butters, which I’m dying to try!

It all starts with a handful of plain old almonds, some maple syrup and molasses.

Mix it all up! You’ll have to get your hands a bit sticky ;)

They’ll clump up and caramelize in the oven. Mine stuck to the foil a little, so I’d suggest using a light spray of oil or simply bending the foil a lot to get it off like I had to. It’ll smell delicious…

Into the food processor they go! Make sure yours is fairly heavy-duty as almonds take a while to butterize. It’ll be a bit noisy!

First the nuts turn into a meal of sorts. Now that I think about it, this would be a knockout almond meal replacement.

The nut butter will start to come together like you see below (then later form a ball of nut ‘dough’, before separating again.

Patience is the key with nut butters, but I definitely let out a squeal or sigh of relief when I saw this:

Which soon enough became smooth, buttery heaven!

Almost there. It’s just a matter of adding a few remaining ingredients and blending them in.

Once they’re mixed in, you’re done! Enjoy the nut butter with jelly, on oatmeal, off a spoon, dare I say fingers?

It’s all about moderation.

Pearl xo

Double Chocolate Chunk Banana Pancakes

March 21, 2011

Hello :) I hope you’ve all had a wonderful start to your week! Mine’s been pretty busy, but I’m still managing to fit in cooking and a little exercise between a TON of work and errands. Enough of my whining though: let’s talk pancakes.

I have a love-hate relationship with these pancakes. I’m not joking. I love them because of their gooey chocolate and soft banana chunks that are hidden inside this wonderful chocolate-y fluffiness. Intense, I know ;)

I hate them, because they would not let me get a decent photo of them. It’s probably not fair for me to blame that on them – it could well be the fact that it was so early that it was still pitch-black out, or that my camera’s not exactly high end, or that I hadn’t had a good dose of coffee yet. So if it’s not these pancakes’ fault, then I have absolutely no reason to hate them, which makes it a love-love relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, however: I don’t love them enough not to eat them.

Ingredients:

  • 3T nondairy milk (I used regular soy, but a sweetened vanilla or chocolate one would work great!)
  • 1/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t raw sugar (opt.)
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 1/2 a very small banana or 1/4 large banana, mashed (leave it a little chunky so you get your banana chunks!)
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chunks (I just broke up two squares of Lindt 85% dark chocolate – it’s vegan)
  • Sliced strawberries and maple syrup, to serve.
  1. Combine sugar and flour in a small bowl and sift in cocoa and baking powder, mixing to combine. Make a well in the center and add mashed banana and milk.
  2. Whisk mixture together, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients to the wet in the middle, trying to eliminate lumps.
  3. Fold in chocolate chunks.
  4. Cook on a lightly oiled pan as you would with a normal pancake, flipping over once the uncooked side starts to bubble.
  5. Serve topped with sliced strawberries and maple syrup. Serves one (makes three small pancakes).

I actually made these on Shrove (Fat! Pancake!) Tuesday and I thought they’d be perfect since it’s the day of the year to have pancakes and I’m saying bye to chocolate for lent. That’s right, no chocolate for six weeks – crazy!

Blurrrry. Time for coffee?

That’s better.

Pearl xo

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

March 19, 2011

I think I have a bit of a reputation for something, and it’s not altogether too good.

It’s for being late – not the ‘she turned up one hour later’ type of late; more the ‘perennially five minutes late’. While that’s really not an excuse for posting this St Patty’s post two days late, or for not having posted anything in over a week, I guess it gives you a bit of an insight as to how I operate. That’s just how I roll ;)

My St Patrick’s day was filled with heaps of green – green monsters, green salad and this green soup. This was my second time making it and it’s just as good (or dare I say better!) than the first. Don’t let the greenness of the soup turn you off. It’s just its way of screaming out how healthy it is despite being so delicious and so ‘cheezy’. Once again, nutritional yeast proves to be a great vegan tool for adding cheesiness and creaminess sans dairy (though this recipe does call on some Daiya or vegan cheese to help it out). If you’d like, you can read more here about the wonderful benefits of nutritional yeast.

The star of this soup is definitely the broccoli, though. Broccoli is probably one of the world’s healthiest foods, ever – tons of vitamin C, folic acid, calcium and so much more plus it’s relatively low-calorie if you’re watching your weight.

Enough about health, you’re probably itching to see the recipe! I highly encourage you to check out it out over at Daily Garnish, a great blog written by the lovely Emily. I guarantee you won’t regret it :)

Served with a side of crusty sourdough…

Hello, my name is Pearl and I’m addicted to all things green.

Pearl xo

PS. I rarely call nutritional yeast by it’s full name – always ‘cheast’ (like cheese and yeast) or nutryeast ;)

Carrot Cake Wrap

March 14, 2011

Good evening/afternoon/morning! (Wherever you may be…)

I’ll warn you first, there’s some sad stuff and glad stuff in this post, so here goes the sad:

No doubt that you’ve heard of the devastating earthquakes that have hit New Zealand and more recently Japan, and have seen the extent of the devastation on the net or on the news. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the affected and I thank my lucky stars for being somewhere that doesn’t really get affected by natural disasters or so on. It’s great if you choose to show your support, but just a reminder that you should always make sure that you make donations to a trustworthy organisation (I think that the Red Cross is a great choice) if you choose to do so :)

Now for some gladness! The other day I wanted carrot cake for lunch. With cream cheese icing… my cravings are as crazy as I am. However, I also had very little time on hand and a bit lazy, so I couldn’t bake – but I couldn’t get that niggling need for carrot cake off my back!

I ended up getting my carrot cake fix from this amazing wrap (inspired by Lauren!). It’s a heap healthier than the traditional cake and it takes no time at all to make. I highly recommend that you toast this wrap if you’re giving it a go; the wrap itself becomes nice and crisp and the cream cheese becomes super soft and melted… bliss!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lavash/tortilla/any other kind of wrap (preferably whole wheat to boost nutritional value)
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, grated
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/8t nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnut or pecan pieces, toasted (I reaaaally want to try this next time)
  • Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (or regular)
  • Maple syrup to sweeten (optional, I personally didn’t find any need for this)
  1. Spread the cream cheese onto your wrap and sprinkle over spices. When spreading the cream cheese, leave about an inch of wrap bare.
  2. Add grated carrot to one side of the wrap and sprinkle over raisins and nut pieces. If using maple syrup, drizzle it onto the carrot.
  3. Roll ‘er up! Start from the side of the wrap opposite to the one that you’ve left bare and try to roll the wrap up as tightly as possible.
  4. If toasting (recommended), toast in an oven on tray lined with foil for about 3-5 minutes at 350F/180C.

Such an easy way to get in a serve of vegetables – look at all that carrot!

Carrot cake craving no more ;)

Pearl xo

 

Oh-So-Easy Vegan Cream

March 7, 2011

Hello lovelies!

Just passing on a recipe I found on Chocolate Covered Katie (I love finding great new blogs, and Katie’s certainly fits the bill!) which I thought was absolutely genius. I used more liquid than recommended in the recipe to get a thinner, more cream-like effect but regardless, this stuff is addictive – I made it two days in a row, which hardly ever happens with recipes like these. Just goes to show how good it is!

Unlike some other vegan cream recipes I’ve tried, this one really delivers a rich and decadent taste and ‘mouthfeel’ as opposed to a sad, watery and tasteless pale liquid. I’m sure you could play around with it and add cocoa or other flavorings (or colors!) to create some fun variations. I had the ‘cream’ straight up and drizzled some on top of my banana-pecan muffins.

Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaammy and Dreamy!

Pearl xo

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