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Funky Fields Plantbased Mince Review + Burger recipe

Funky Fields Minced Burger With Stuffed Cheese - Passionately Keren

Over the last few years we’ve seen a huge increase in the popularity of veganism and plantbased foods. As a vegan, this is a super exciting time for me as new products continue to emerge, filling the gaps in the vegan market, making veganism more accessible, more interesting and more delicious. And today, I want to introduce you to one of the most innovative plantbased products in the market to date – Funky Fields’ “Minced” 100% plantbased mince that looks and tastes like, you guessed it, mince meat.

Funky Fields Plantbased Mince - Passionately Keren

The folks at Funky Fields did an absolutely brilliant job in presenting Minced. I’m super impressed by how ‘real’ it looks: from the packaging (not pictured here, but looks like the normal mince pack with plastic windows) to the squiggly strands and the iron red colour.

Funky Fields Minced - Passionately Keren

What’s is Funky Fields Minced made of?

This is first question I asked myself. What is it actually made of? Here’s what it says on the package as well as on their website.

Ingredients:

Rehydrated soy protein/isolate (58 %), water, coconut oil, soy flour, wheat gluten, almond, porcini mushrooms, tomato, fermented dextrose, tapioca starch, salt, malt extract (barley), colour (beetroot), natural aroma, maltodextrin, stabiliser (methylcellulose).

The ingredients list is shorter and healthier that I thought. I was expecting some funky ingredients I can’t pronounce so I’m actually quite pleased to see that I’m familiar with most of them. I’m not sure about natural aroma, it could be anything really, but I’m willing to let that slide.

How does it tastes?

The second (and most important) question was, how does it measure up against real beef mince? Though I haven’t had the real thing for over 5 years, it used to be one of my favourites so I’m quite confident I’d be able to make a pretty accurate comparison between the two. But as a safety measure, I’m including my husband Nat in this test – he eats vegan at home but still eats meat from time to time, mostly when he eats with his parents.

Funky Fields Minced Burger With Stuffed Cheese - Passionately Keren

It tastes surprisingly very close to real mince. If I’m going to quantify it, I’d say it’s 85% similiar to normal beef mince. It can never completely be a hundred percent because it’s not actually beef, but it’s damn close! I love the texture, how it browns when cooked, how it sizzles and gives off that smoky aroma when it hits the hot oil on the frying pan. I tasted it when cooked, though I think next time I will brave myself to taste it uncooked, just to see what it tastes like without the effects of cooking. I think might struggle though, because it just looks so real!

Funky Fields Minced Burger With Stuffed Cheese - Passionately Keren

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Funky Fields Vegan Burger (with stuffed cheese)

This will be the best vegan burger you've ever made. Delicious and juicy vegan burger patties made with Funky Fields Minced, stuffed with vegan cheese for next level vegan burger experience.

Course Dinner, Main, Main Course
Cuisine Vegan
Keyword burger, vegan burger
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 Burgers

Ingredients

Vegan patties

  • 200 g Funky Fields Minced half a packet
  • 1 brown onion finely diced
  • Dairy-free cheese slices
  • 1 drop of liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

To make the burger

  • 4 burger buns
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 continental cucumbers sliced
  • 1 Baby cos lettuce leaves torn and rinsed
  • 2 tomatoes thinly sliced
  • Vegan mayo
  • BBQ or Tomato Sauce

Instructions

To make the patties

  1. Heat the oil on a frying pan, fry the diced onion until translucent.

  2. Place 200g of the mince into a bowl. Add in cooked onion, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined (I used my hands).
  3. Divide the mince into 8 equal portion, roll each into balls and then flatten into discs - around 1 cm thickness.

  4. Place 1 stack of vegan cheese in the centre of one of the patties. Put the second patty on top and pinch the edges to form a seal. Repeat with the remaining patties.

  5. Place the patty on a cold frying pan greased with a bit of vegan spread (I use Funky Fields spreadable) and cook one side for a few minutes on medium high temperature until brown, flip using a spatula, and cook the other side.

Assemble your burger.

  1. Layer your bun bottom with vegan mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, burger patty, sliced red onion and BBQ/tomato sauce. Cover with a bun top. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

If you like crusty burger buns (I do). You can heat the buns on the pan as you cook the patties for a few minutes until light brown. The buns will soak up any left over drippings making them taste even better.

The patties held together nicely, much better than other vegan burger patties I’ve made previously. However, you still need to cook it gently, and not flip it too much, so you won’t risk it disintegrating. Trust me, your patience will be rewarded with the juiciest, most delicious vegan burger you’ve made!

Funky Fields Minced Burger With Stuffed Cheese - Passionately Keren

So, what do you think? Would you try Funky Fields Minced?

Funky Fields Minced is currently available in Woolworths.

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram or Facebook. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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Vegan coconut flour choc chip cookies

Coconut Flour Choc Chip Cookies

“Don’t tell me the problem. Tell me the solution”. One of my old bosses used to love saying this. At the time I thought it was a little annoying but I have to say, he’s got a point. Sometimes you need to stop focusing on the problem, and start thinking of the solution. And today, I’ve found a solution to my old, old problem – how to turn coconut flour into something tasty, and vegan.  The answer couldn’t more obvious. Vegan coconut flour choc chip cookies. I hope you believe in magic, or science, or soft crumbly cookies.

Coconut Flour Choc Chip Cookies

These vegan coconut flour choc chip cookies are soft, slightly chewy, and absolutely addictive. I won’t go as far as saying that these are healthy cookies, but they certainly healthier than your usual choc chip cookies, and tastes just as good if not better. If you’ve used coconut flour before, you’d know how tricky it can be. Most recipes would call for loads of eggs when using coconut flour because of the nature of coconut flour. It’s full of fibre, dense and absorbs a lot of liquid (which can make the resulting bake goods dry). But these vegan coconut flour choc chip cookies contain no egg, soft and chewy, and every bit delicious. I hope you give them a go.

Coconut Flour Choc Chip Cookies

Coconut Flour Choc Chip Cookies

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Vegan Coconut Flour Choc Chip Cookies

A super delicious way to use coconut flour. These cookies are soft, just like those Subway cookies, but so much better for you.

Course Cookies, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword chocolate, coconut flour, cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 18

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1 tablespoon tahini *optional - see notes
  • 2 tablespoon almond butter or your favourite nut butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 80 g dark chocolate chopped into fine chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C. Line a baking sheet with a baking paper. Make flax egg by whisking the ground flaxseed with water using a small whisk or a fork until thick frothy. Set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.

  2. In a blender, add melted coconut oil, nut butter, vanilla extract, and coconut sugar. Blend until well combined. Add the flax egg and blend again.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Stir in the coconut oil mixture. Stir in the chopped chocolate.

  4. Take one tablespoon of cookie dough. Roll into a ball. Flatten the ball to create a disc (about 1/2 cm thickness). Place onto the baking sheet.

  5. Bake the cookies until they are just set, for about 10 minutes. Careful not to overbake them.

  6. Allow the cookies cool on a baking sheet, and then move onto a wire rack to let them cool completely. Serve with a glass of your favourite dairy milk. Also great to make cookie sandwich!

Recipe Notes

* if you don't want to use tahini, you can replace it with another tbsp of almond butter

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram or Facebook. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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The Ultimate Vegan Shortbread

Ultimate Vegan Almond Shortbread - Passionately Keren

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Lunch at Gathered Kitchen

There is comfort in the familiar.

I love being a vegan, but sometimes I just want to feel normal. And I don’t mean that there is anything abnormal about being a vegan. In fact, it is very normal to not want to harm other beings. What I mean is that when I go out for lunch or dinner, I want to feel like the rest of the population, being able to choose everything on the menu and not have to ask if this and that have eggs or dairy in them. To not have to worry about whether or not there’s food for me to eat and just enjoy the presence of the company whom I’m with.

That is one of the reasons why I love going to a vegan restaurant. Why I would recommend then, whenever I’m asked to go out for lunch. They make me feel normal. And therefore I love supporting their businesses. These guys play a huge role in the vegan movement. Firstly, they’re normalising the plantbased diet in our society – they’re showing vegan food is just food, and they can taste good, or even better than the non-vegan counterparts. Secondly, they’re making it easier for people to eat more plantbased, especially those who are transitioning or just experimenting. Thirdly, and most importantly, they’re giving vegans like me, the freedom to choose anything from the menu, something that we don’t get to do 99% of the time.

And Gathered Kitchen is such restaurant. Friendly, cosy, non-threatening, all vegan restaurant. And a great one at that. From flaky croissants to vacon (vegan bacon) bagel – their menu list is as exciting as it is vast.

Located in the one of the vegan hubs of Sydney, Glebe – I like to come here during weekday or Sunday lunch time. I always try to get a table at the back in their the outdoor area. It is airy and filled with pretty flowers and small pot plants. It’s feels like you’re at the back of your cool grandmother’s house.

Gathered Kitchen Sesame Ginger Crispy Legume - Passionately Keren

Sesame Ginger Crispy Legume $17 – Marinated tofu, fresh ginger, unhulled sesame seed, sauteed garlic kale, red sauerkraut, served with organic brown rice, furikake seasoning

One thing I like about Gathered Kitchen is how neutral they are in the spectrum of healthy vs. not so healthy vegan foods. They’ve got both, leaving you to make the decision on what you feel like that day. And that is refreshing. Because just like many things in life, it is often not an either/or situation. Sometimes you want both. Sometimes you need both. And in here, you can delight in the yin and yang of vegan foods.

Gathered Kitchen Sesame Mushroom Bruschetta - Passionately Keren

Mushroom Bruschetta $16 – Pesto tamari mushroom, almond feta crumble, cracked native pepperberry, tahini toast, green garnish, citrus wedge, roasted sweet potato turmeric puree and wholegrain toast.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a croffin before. It was fabulous and carb-licious – a bit of indulgent never hurts.

Gathered Kitchen Sesame Croffin - Passionately Keren

Croffin $6 – Croissant muffin

Yes it is little pricey. A croissant can set you back 2-3 dollars more than a regular non-vegan croissant. But the food is good, the service is accomodating and you can walk out feeling great, knowing that no animals were harmed in the making of your food. Would I pay a bit extra for that? Heck yes.

xKeren 

P.S. If you’ve been here or have any vegan restaurant recommendation this, leave a comment below or find me on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to hear from you.

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Vegan Brunch at Allegra Dining

A couple of weeks before going away for Christmas I had the great pleasure of being invited to check out Allegra Dining, which is a new restaurant on the ground floor of a chic residential & commercial complex on Danks St, in the heart of Waterloo.

Allegra Dining

It was a nice and sunny Sunday morning so we decided to sit outside at the back for some fresh air. I think they were the best seats in the house! It was quiet, away from everybody else, plus you had the best view of the shallow pool, the palm trees and the surrounding apartments. It almost felt like you were holidaying in a tropical resort somewhere.

Allegra Dining

Allegra doesn’t promote itself as being vegan friendly, though they should. I ordered a few dishes straight from their menu which they were happy to ‘veganise’. And they were good. Really good!

Whipped avocado, broadbeans, peas, soft-boiled egg & bottarga on toast (veganised by removing the egg and the fish).

This toast was exploding with flavours and textures – the crunchy bread, the creamy whipped avocado (which is ingenious in itself), the fresh, sweet, bright-green peas (shelled by hands, mind you), the mildly earthy broadbeans, and those bright purple microgreens, all sang their beautiful tune in perfect culinary harmony. It was decidedly the most delicious toast I had in 2017.

  Allegra Dining

Spaghetti, burrata, tomato, basil, pangrattato (veganised by removing the cheese, and they also added some nice herb leaves).

This dish was such a delight to eat. The spinach pasta is perfectly al dente, the flavour is distinctly simple with just enough heat to excite the tongue. It’s not too oily and not too dry. Bellísima.

Allegra Dining

Allegra Dining - Roasted Kipfler Potatoes

Kifler crispy kipflers, rosemary, burnt butter aioli (veganised with vegan aioli)

Having had hundreds of roast potato dishes (outside and inside of my own kitchen), I consider myself as somewhat of a connoisseur of roast potatoes. It is quite a fine art making crispy and wonderfully fluffy potato and it looks like the good folks at Allegra have mastered it. It’s definitely on my ‘must order’ list for Allegra Dining.

Passionfruit sorbet with fresh mango, coconut cream and mango pearls

Now this is something that they made especially for me on the spot, because the mango pancake is not vegan. I really think they should put this alternative on the permanent menu. The creamy coconut, the soft fresh mango flesh, the silky smooth passionfruit sorbet, and the bursts of mango juice as the pearls dance around and pop in your mouth… now that’s a party I’d invite myself to! It was a delicious dessert to cap off the year before we went overseas.

Allegra Dining

Allegra’s décor

My husband Nat was especially complimentary of Allegra’s décor. He thought that the restaurant’s interior was a very artistic mixture of different materials (from the wood-board planks snaking through the polished concrete floor, to the wood-panelled walls, the wine bottles decorating the walls, and the tasteful spotlights creating a moody atmosphere) that all came together to create a very pretty warehouse-conversion-style establishment that made you feel at home from the moment you arrived.

The interior designer definitely earned their keep with this venue because even though there are a dozen different materials and styles all jostling together inside the restaurant they all ‘click’ together and the venue never feels tacky or dated. I personally thought the place, and not just the food, looked great.

Allegra Dining

Allegra Dining
Address: 8/18 Danks St, Waterloo NSW 2017

Hours:

All day brunch: Sunday 9am to 3pm

Dinner: Tuesday- Saturday 5pm to 10:30pm (kitchen opens at 6pm)

Contact: (02) 9698 1699,  hello@allegradining.com.au

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Vegan Eggnog Custard

Vegan Eggnog Custard

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ve got a delicious recipe for you today. It’s a creamy, dreamy Vegan Eggnog Custard.

I’m writing at The Manhattan Hotel Club New York. We landed yesterday after a tiring 21-hour flight from Sydney to New York via Los Angeles, and two special security screenings for which I was randomly selected (not sure how ‘random’ it was to be honest).

It is the 24th December here in America but because of the time difference, it is 25th December (Christmas day)for my Australian friends and family!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

I was supposed to post this recipe before I left for New York but better late than never right?

Vegan Eggnog Custard

This Vegan Eggnog Custard  ‘happened’ because I couldn’t choose between making Vegan Eggnog or Vegan Custard for my Christmas lunch week, so I made both! I was really surprised at how good this turned out, and how much everyone loved it. It’s delicious, decadent, and contains all the spices that scream Christmas morning.

The addition of fresh mint leaves and pomegranate seeds, although optional, makes such a difference, so I recommend you include them if possible. The freshness of the mint and the sour tanginess of the pomegranate just adds such a lovely contrast to this sweet creamy dessert.

I hope you give this recipe a go, and may the sweet magic of Christmas fills your heart and soul and wishing you all the peace and joy this holiday!

Vegan Eggnog Custard

Vegan Eggnog Custard
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Vegan Eggnog Custard

A creamy, dreamy, delicious Christmas treat for everyone.
Course Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword custard, eggnog
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 4
Author Keren Natalia

Ingredients

  • 1 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tablespoon brown rice syrup or you can also use maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon spiced sherry or rum, bourbon, brandy, or whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
  • a tiny pinch of turmeric for colour optional
  • 6 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Fresh mint leaves and Pomegranate seeds  optional

Instructions

  1. Soak the cashews overnight or for at least 1 hour.
  2. Combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and mix really well. Make sure there are no lumps
  3. Place all the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the eggnog mixture into a saucepan and warm gently on the stove. Do not bring to a boil.
  5. Add about a cup of the warm eggnog milk to the cornstarch mixture and combine. Now pour it all back into the saucepan to combine with the remaining eggnog mixture.
  6. Stir constantly with a whisk and continue cooking on medium until the custard is thick and luscious.
  7. Remove from heat and transfer to serving glasses.
  8. Chill for 3 hours or overnight before serving
  9. Serve with some fresh mint leaves and some pomegranate seeds (about a tablespoon per serve)

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM NEW YORK!

Keren in New York

Me eating Vegan Burger at By Chloe, NYC

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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Penne with ‘Meaty’ Vegan Ragu with Gino’s Gourmet Groceries

Penne with ‘Meaty’ Vegan Ragu

I love my pasta. I love how something so simple as boiled dried dough, made out of flour and water, can bring such comfort and delight.

Casalare: Gluten Free Vegie Penne Pasta

Before I became a vegan, one of my favourite pasta sauces to make was ‘ragu’, a meat-based Italian sauce, which is rich, thick, delicious and full of flavours. It was, in more ways than one, awesome.

Spiral Foods: Organic Garlic & Basil Sugo

When I eat food, it invokes all sorts of feelings and emotions inside of me. Not all the time, of course, because sometimes eating is just the mere act of ‘re-fuelling’ oneself. The meal can take many forms, but all share the same mundane, unremarkable purpose, to stop that feeling of hunger in its tracks.

But other times, more often than not, I eat to feel things (as opposed to stop feeling things, like the sensation of hunger). I eat to make myself feel joyful, gratified, indulged, pacified, inspired, delighted, happy, and alive.

Penne with Meaty Vegan Ragu

I wanted to re-create that feeling I used to get whenever I had a good ragu back in the old meat-eating days, only this time with a vegan ragu. And so I went to my kitchen laboratory and started experimenting I chose mushroom and tempe as my plant-based proteins of choice and, boy, did they rise up to the challenge. I also added some shredded kale leaves to give the dish another layer of texture and flavour, and to boost its nutritional content, and because I just love kale in general.

The result is a thick and rich ragu that tastes so ‘meaty’ and delicious that you’ll forget it contains no meat at all. I hope you will give it a go!

Casalare: Gluten Free Vegie Penne Pasta
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Penne with ‘Meaty’ Vegan Ragu

A deliciously rich, protein-packed vegan ragu that's nourishing, satisfying and oh so comforting.
Course Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Keren Natalia

Ingredients

  • 250 g tempeh diced to about 1cm cubes
  • Leaves from three stalks of kale chopped or shredded (optional)
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves
  • 3 large brown mushrooms chopped
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 700 g jar of pasta sauce*
  • 250 g gluten free penne pasta*

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook red onion for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until softened slightly.
  2. Add the minced garlic and diced tempeh and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned.
  3. Add the chopped mushroom, cook, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the pasta sauce, bring to boil, then add the chopped kale into the pot and stir until kale is cooked, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in fresh basil. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water according to the packet instruction until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  7. Mix sauce with pasta, adding the reserved cooking liquid to coat pasta with sauce. Serve with Vegan Parmesan.

Recipe Notes

*I use Spiral Foods: Organic Garlic & Basil Sugo; and Casalare: Gluten Free Vegie Penne Pasta, both from Gino’s Groceries.

This recipe is sponsored by Gino’s Gourmet Groceries, an online store that partners with the best independent producers who share their values of doing things the right way. They supply real, honest food, with no artificial ingredients and no nasties, at a fair price. I must say that the pasta sauce and the gluten-free vegan penne I got from them were some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

And because the team at Gino’s Gourmet Groceries are awesome, they’re giving you, my lovely readers, a 25% discount on our next purchase with them. Just use the code “PASSIONATELY25” during checkout.

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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Vegan Triple Cream Brie

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

Gosh, I love cheese. How can you not? I especially like the soft and creamy kind… like Brie, my favourite cheese ever. And so it makes sense to veganise it, doesn’t it? I honestly believe this Vegan Triple Cream Brie is the closest thing to Brie I’ve made in a long time.

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

For a couple of years now I’ve been experimenting with nut cheeses. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. When they work, I get so excited that the whole thing is gone before I have the chance to photograph it (hence the lack of vegan cheese blogposts). But when they’ve failed, however, it knocks me down for months…. such as that time I tried to make hazelnut cheese. It was a massive fail. The problem with nut cheese is that the ingredients are expensive. Hazelnut is close to $30 a kilo and raw cashew is about $35 a kilo.

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

But lately I’ve been having more luck in the cheese department. And this vegan double cream Brie was a success in one go. I’ve since made it a few times and have been able to consistently reproduce it.

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

This recipe was inspired by Julie Piatt’s ‘’ cookbook. I’ve modified the ingredients to simplify the process a little. I definitely recommend you check out the book if you want to explore the world of nut cheeses. Unlike the other non-dairy cheese books I own, it has the least amount of ingredients, so you won’t have too much trouble sourcing most of them.

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

Vegan Triple Cream Brie
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Vegan Triple Cream Brie

Creamy and delicious vegan brie
Course Sides, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword cashew, cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 rounds
Author Keren Natalia

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 probiotic acidophilus capsule
  • 400 ml 13.5 ounce can coconut of milk
  • ¼ cup unrefined coconut oil plus extra for greasing the mould
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • You will also need 2 mini spring-form round pans 11cm diameter

Instructions

The night before:

  1. Place cashews in 3 cups of filtered water. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Place the can of coconut cream in the refrigerator overnight.

On the day:

  1. Oil the pans with coconut oil (you can also use coconut oil spray).
  2. Rinse and drain the cashews. Transfer to your power blender (I use my beloved Vitamix). Add coconut oil, lemon juice, sea salt and the contents of the probiotic.
  3. Open the can of coconut cream and scoop out the solid cream at the top of the coconut milk. Take ¼ cup of the remaining coconut milk in the can. Transfer the coconut cream and coconut milk into the Vitamix.
  4. Blend on medium speed, using the plunger to distribute the mixture evenly until smooth.
  5. Transfer the mixture into the spring-form round pans. Cover with baking paper cut to fit the pans.
  6. Dehydrate for 24 hours at 35C. You can do this in the oven if your oven can be set to lower temperature, otherwise leave in the oven with the headlight on for 24 hours.
  7. Carefully remove the cheese from the mold using a sharp knife to release the edges. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day before serving. You can also age the cheese by placing them in a wine fridge for 1 to 3 weeks. Rub fine sea salt over your cheese every few days or so to prevent mold growth.

I recommend eating the brie on crackers or sliced cucumbers. It’s so good that sometimes I just eat it on its own.

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x


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Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad

Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad

Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad

If I have to pick my favourite grain, it’ll be rice every time. It’s delicious, nutritious and most importantly, it’s filling. This is especially important when making a plantbased salad, especially when you want something substantial that can keep you going for a few hours. This Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad is one of my favourites salads to make because, not only is it easy to make, it’s also a great make-ahead dish for dinner party, lunch boxes or picnic. Unlike most salads, this salad stays fresh for about three days in the fridge. In fact, it tastes better the day after you make it.

The sturdiness and toughness of kale leaves makes kale perfect for this salad. They hold their shape and keep their crunchiness and freshness in the salad mix even after three days in the fridge. You don’t even need to shred them finely, just chop the leaves and then ‘massage’ the leaves in olive oil for about 2 minutes. If you don’t know what that means, you’re essentially scrunching the leaves with your hands to break down the cell walls which, in turn, softens the leaves to make them more enjoyable and easier to eat. It also helps release the sugars within the leaves to make them less bitter. You know you’ve done enough when the kale feels softer and tastes somewhat sweeter than before.

This salad is also a great way to use up cooked brown rice. I cook rice regularly and so I always have leftover rice. This salad is a perfect way to transform a day or a two day old rice into a delicious lunch or dinner meal. I hope you give this salad a try!

Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad
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Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad

A deliciously simple salad that's full of protein and fibre. It is satisfying, easy to make and can be made a day ahead. Perfect for parties, potlucks, picnics and to fill up lunch boxes.
Course Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 -3
Author Keren Natalia

Ingredients

  • Kale bean salad
  • 2 stalks of kale
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 to mato diced
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse kale, tear the leaves off the centre leaves and the stem and then tear or chop to bite size pieces. Place into a bowl, add oil and a pinch of salt. Massage for about 2 minutes until kale softens and turns to a bright colour.
  2. Combine the massaged kale, red onion, brown rice, and beans. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder until thick, about 45 seconds.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Gently toss, taste, adjust seasoning if needed and then top with diced avocado (I usually add the avocado last so it doesn’t get mushed when I mix the salad dressing). Let it sit to marinate for at least an hour if you can or leave overnight in the fridge for the flavours to develop.

Recipe Notes

I always have cooked rice in the fridge I didn't have to cook the rice. However, you can also buy instant brown rice at the shop that takes minutes to cook in the microwave.

What’s your favourite way to use up leftover rice? 

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x


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Vegan Cardamom and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies (with Rose Petals)

Cardamom pistachio cookies with rose petals

I don’t normally bake cookies, but when I do, I go all out, calories and everything. No skimping on the fat or sugar (okay, maybe a bit less sugar than your traditional cookies, but only because I don’t like my cookies way too sweet). I especially love making shortbread cookies because they remind me of my childhood. My parents used to buy us a huge tin of butter cookies for Christmas, and I fondly remember those crispy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth buttery biscuits of goodness. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with putting spices in baked goods, so when I saw a packet of ground cardamom at the shops, I knew exactly what I had to do. And that’s how these Vegan Cardamom and Pistachio Cookies were born.

Cardamom pistachio cookies with rose petals

Cardamom pistachio cookies with rose petals

For these cookies I used ground coconut sugar, but you can use normal powdered sugar if you prefer. I pulsed coconut sugar in a power blender for a minute or so until it turned into powder form. I also did the same thing with the rose petals (just not for as long) – I removed the petals from the stem, and then pulsed a couple of times using my NutriNinja until crumbs form.

Cardamom pistachio cookies with rose petals

These cookies have that enchantingly sweet and aromatic smell of cardamom. They’re nutty and spicy, with a hint of aniseed and perfumed rose flavour. They will keep for about two weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, but I must say they didn’t last that long in our household before they were all gone.

Cardamom pistachio cookies with rose petals
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Vegan Cardamom and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies (with Rose Petals_

Deliciously nutty, spicy, and aromatic buttery cookies that just happened to be vegan :)
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4 dozen
Author Keren

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan butter or Nuttelex 220g, room temp
  • 1/3 cup powdered coconut sugar see note
  • ½ cup pistachio nuts
  • 2 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons rose water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoon dried rose petals plus extras for sprinkling (see above)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, and salt).
  3. In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix butter and almond extract together.
  4. Pulse pistachio nuts in a blender a few times until fine crumbs form.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and the pistachio nuts into the butter mixture and mix everything together. Use your hands if necessary to incorporate the butter and get the dough to come together. Stop when it has just come together. Careful not to over mix.
  6. Shape 1 tablespoon of the mixture into even sized balls and press into flat discs. Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until set and the edges are golden brown.
  8. Leave to cool completely.
  9. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

To make powdered coconut sugar, pulse coconut sugar in a power blender for a minute or so until powdery.

If you’re a cardamom fan, I hope you will try this recipe. And if you do, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x