Archive for Travel

Truffled Cashew Cheese (Vegan)

A few weeks back, I had to travel to Victoria to give a presentation at Social Media Camp. It was a blast–I love going to Victoria. It’s one of my fave foodie cities. They have the second highest per capita number of restaurants there (second only to San Francisco), and they take their cocktails and brunches very, very seriously.

So it’s no wonder I love going there–it’s charming and beautiful and foodie friendly.

We were flying back to Vancouver via Helijet around noon, but had a little time, so my friend Chantal picked us up for brunch. She took us to Nourish, the cutest little place, housed in a heritage home in James Bay.

Cultured Cashew Cheese Nourish

What I loved about Nourish, besides the fact that it was incredibly charming, is that it was incredibly vegan and gluten-free friendly.

You can read Chantal’s review on Brunchcouver here, but I had this cultured cashew cheese that just knocked my socks off–and I’ve been trying to recreate ever since.

This is not a super challenging recipe, but my first batch left me feeling a little meh. So the second time around, I added everyone’s favorite secret ingredient: truffles. You have to be careful with truffles because they are so strong, they can overwhelm easily.

This is a cultured cashew cheese, as instead of using water, you use liquid that’s been fermented; in this case, either kombucha or the pickling liquid from sauerkraut (or both). Throw in some nooch and miso for umami, and the final result is decadent and creamy. The truffles give it that earthy, unctuous yumminess.

FYI, you really need a good blender for this–your magic bullet isn’t going to cut it. Literally.

Truffled Cashew Cheese

Truffled Cashew Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp plain kombucha
  • 1 tbsp sauerkraut pickling liquid (or use two tbsp of just one if that’s all you’ve got)
  • 1/2 tsp truffle salt
  • 1 tsp truffle oil

Method

  1. Place the cashews in a mason jar and top with water. Screw on the top and allow to sit overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the cashews and rinse them. Add them to the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend on high for one minute, stop, scrape down the sides, and blend on high for an additional minute at least. Cheese should be creamy and smooth.
  3. Line a 125ml ramekin with plastic wrap, and scrape the cheese into it. Smooth the top, wrap it up, and place in the fridge to set for 24 hours.
  4. Serve with crackers, bread, and additional sauerkraut.

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Mocha Pudding Parfait #Vegan

If there was ever a girl that love coffee and chocolate together, it’s this one.

Coffee is the cornerstone of my world. I am an unapologetic addict. And chocolate… well, let’s just say there are very few days that don’t end with a piece of really good quality, dark chocolate.

Mocha Pudding Parfait

A few weeks back, I was in the Okanagan, and spent an afternoon exploring some of the wineries on the Naramata Bench. I have been a big fan of Legend Distilling for a few months now (remember the Smoked Rosemary Gin?), so I was really excited to visit their distillery in person.

It’s totes adorbs. We were there in March, and the weather was miserable, but I’d love to go back in the summer and hang on their patio and drink G&Ts.

While we were there, we did a tasting of a few of their different spirits, and the one that got my full attention was the Blasted Brew. It’s a coffee liquor. I’m still working on cocktail ideas to make with it, but in the mean time, I’ve been incorporating it into desserts; cakes, brownies, and yes, this vegan mocha pudding.

legend distilling blasted brew

Maybe I can’t even call this “mocha?” I mean mocha implies a mixture of coffee and chocolate and this pudding has two distinct layers; one chocolate and one coffee. It’s crowned with a sweetened cloud of whipped aquafaba, and it’s oh so awesome.

So if you like your desserts a little sweet, a little bitter and a lot chocolate and coffee (like me!), this one is for you.

vegan mocha puddingMocha Pudding Parfait #Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (divided)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (divided)
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp Blasted Brew or strong espresso
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Method

  1. The night before, place the cashews in a 500-ml mason jar, and fill with water. Screw on the top and allow to sit overnight to soak on the counter.
  2. The next day, drain the water off of the cashews, then add them to your blender along with 2 cups of fresh water. Blend well on highest speed for about 1-2 minutes. Strain into a pitcher.
  3. On the stove, place 1 cup cashew milk, 2 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tbsp cacao powder along with a pinch of salt. Whisk well, then turn on the heat to medium-low. Bring up to a boil, but don’t allow to boil. The pudding will thicken. Divide the pudding between two glass containers: you could use wide-mouthed 250 ml mason jars, glasses or martini glasses. Place in the fridge and allow to set up for about an hour.
  4. On the stove, place 1 cup cashew milk, 2 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tbsp blasted brew or espresso. Whisk well, then turn on the heat to medium-low. Bring up to a boil, but don’t allow to boil. The pudding will thicken. Pour pudding over the set chocolate layer, cover, and return to the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. In the bowl of your mixer, place the aquafaba, 2 tbsp sugar and the cream of tartar. Whip at highest speed for about 6-10 minutes until soft peaks form. Garnish puddings with a dollop of whipped aquafaba and chocolate covered coffee beans or grated dark chocolate.
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