Berries and Tofu Smoothie Bowl (Vegan)

Over the past year, I have been trying to eat less meat and more plant-based proteins. I was never a big meat eater, so the transition was pretty easy. To me, the change has been beneficial, especially for my gut. I have a lot less indigestion and heartburn. Trying to cooperate these ingredients in recipes has been fun too. Tofu is my favourite, I mostly use it in savoury dishes or soups, but I can also make it into a simple and nutritious sweet treat, like this smoothie bowl ! You can use any berries and toppings of your choice. For a thicker smoothie, freeze some of the berries first. Look at the beautiful and vibrant colours ! It’s definitely a treat for your eyes and your tummy !  

Makes one serving

  • 150 g mixed berries (I used fresh raspberries, frozen blueberries and blackberries)
  • 150 g soft tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to sweeten (optional)
  • Toppings of choice (other fruits, seeds and nuts)

Blend all ingredients together then add toppings 

Advertisements

Vanilla Cake with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Sorry! I was one day late for my Mother’s Day post ! Well, but I think we can treat our moms (and myself) any time of the year, and we should ! It doesn’t have to be just Mother’s Day, right ? This cake is very simple, and the blueberries give it a stunning, beautiful color that you don’t need to do much decorations ! I added some freeze-dried blueberries.  If you cannot find them, just add a little more puree to enhance the blueberry flavour. (Just a little otherwise the frosting may become watery). The cream cheese frosting is quite soft, so you should keep it in the fridge until serving. I use vanilla cake as I find it very versatile. You can pretty much pair it  with any flavour, berries, citrus, caramel, chocolate,etc. Once you have a good recipe, you are set and good to go. You can also use this recipe to make cupcakes, just decrease your baking time to about 18-20 minutes. 

I hope all moms had a good Mother’s Day yesterday ! I got a nice surprise from my daughter. She made me some Blueberry Chocolate Bark !  How sweet !

Makes one 6 inch cake

For the vanilla cake

  • 300 g cake and pastry flour
  • 6 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 180 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 mL buttermilk
  • 120 mL milk
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 100 g unsalted butter (melted)
  • 100 mL vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Line the bottom of two 6 inch round cake pans with parchment paper, lightly oil and flour the sides
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  4. Whisk together eggs and sugar until pale
  5. Mix in milk, buttermilk, vanilla, butter and oil (it’s ok if batter is lumpy, the butter may just be solidifying)
  6. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix until just cooperated.
  7. Pour batter into the cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes
  8. Cool completely  before assembling

Tips:

To keep the cake moist and evenly baked, you can bake them in a hot water bath. You can also use cake strips, which you soak in water for a few minutes, squeeze out excess, wrap it around the cake pans and bake.

For the frosting

  • 270 g unsalted butter (soften)
  • 225 g soft cream cheese
  • 120 g icing sugar
  • 45 g blueberry puree (store bought or homemade) 
  • 20 g freeze-dried blueberry powder (optional)
  1. To make the puree, blend fresh or frozen blueberries (you may need more than 45 g of whole blueberries) 
  2. To make the blueberry powder, grind freeze-dried blueberries with food processor until fine
  3. Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth
  4. Sift in icing sugar, beat until light and smooth
  5. Add blueberry puree and powder, mix well
  6. Refrigerate until use

To assemble

  1.  Trip top of cakes to flatten
  2. Layer cakes with frosting in between
  3. Coat side and top of cake with more frosting
  4. Decorate as desired
  5. Keep in fridge until ready to serve

 

You can get the cake strips through the Amazon website by clicking the link below. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

 

Wilton Bake Even Cake Strips, 2 Pieces

Lemon Coconut Muffins

My friends often ask me how I come up with recipe ideas. Most of the time is seasonal, like using berries in the summer and pumpkin in the fall. Sometimes it’s just sort of random and use whatever I have at home. The other day, I was cleaning up my pantry, I found a bag of shredded coconut, some coconut oil and a few leftovers that I’ve only used once or twice ! Then I remembered I had  some coconut milk in the fridge too ! (Wow…didn’t realize I love coconut so much…..) So, I came up with these very “coconuty” muffins ! I added some lemon juice and zest to add fresshness and balance the flavour, and I just love that golden crust on top ! So, if you have some extras lying around, don’t waste them ! Create your own recipes ! You may come up with something really delicious ! You never know !  

Makes about 8-10

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 120 mL unsweetened coconut milk
  • 80 mL buttermilk
  • 60 mL coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 30 mL lemon juice
  • Zest of a small lemon
  • 30 g unsweetened shredded coconut + more to sprinkle on top
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, side aside
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar and egg
  4. Mix in coconut milk, buttermilk, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredient, mix until just blended
  6. Stir in lemon zest and shredded coconut
  7. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with lightly greased muffin cups, about 3/4 full
  8. Sprinkle top with more shredded coconut
  9. Bake for about 18-20 minutes

Caramel Brownies

Compared to many parts of Canada, our winter in Vancouver has been very mild…..until 2 days ago ! A snow pile just dumped onto us in a matter of hours ! Seriously, I was still jogging in the morning at 9 am, it was cold, but no snow. Three hours later, everywhere was covered in white ! I guess it’s our turn to experience this cold snowy winter ! And what does a baker do when it snows ? Bake of course ! So I made these brownies and also had time to decorate a whole bunch of Valentine’s cookies ! The snow has made me more productive !

I like my chocolate desserts very chocolaty, and I mean VERY……And this brownie is not only chocolaty, but also soft, fudgy and chewy ! Who can say no to that ? Especially if you are making it for your Valentine’s ! Make sure you don’t overbake, in fact, a good brownie is often slightly underbaked. It’s best to serve them warm, reheat in the oven for a few minutes if you need.

Happy Valentine’s Day !

Makes about 10 – 12 brownies
For the batter

  • 180 g unsalted butter
  • 180 g semi-sweet chocolate
  • 40 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 240 g granulated sugar
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 135 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 g baking powder
  • 2 g salt
  • 10-12 caramel candies

For the caramel sauce

Melt together 30 caramel candies (about 240 g) and 1/2 cup of whipping cream in a non-stick pot over low heat until well blended, stirring frequently

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt
  3. Melt butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, let cool for about 5 minutes
  4. Whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale
  5. Mix in chocolate mixture
  6. Add flour mixture and mix until blended, the batter can be quite thick
  7. Spoon half the batter into lightly-greased silicone molds, place a caramel candy in the middle, cover with remaining batter and bake for about 20 minutes
  8. Cool slightly, drizzle with caramel sauce and serve warm

Sweet Sticky Rice Balls (For Lunar New Year) 糖不甩

Chinese New Year is just around the corner ! And this year is the Year of the Pig ! The Chinese Zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years. My daughter was born in the Year of the Pig…..which means this little piggy is going to be 12 ! What ?! Where did the time go ?

My fondest memory of Chinese New Year is definitely the food ! Rice cake, turnip cake, dumplings…..and many more ! I used to eat these sticky rice balls every year when I visited my aunt. The Chinese name of this dessert is 糖不甩 (pronounced as “tong but lut”), which literally means “sugar doesn’t come off”. What an interesting but appropriate name ! These balls are soft, chewy, with some sweet and crunchy toppings……just bites of yumminess ! Most of the ingredients are easily accessible in Asian supermarkets. The Chinese brown sugar for the syrup usually comes in a pack of 5-6 sticks. If you cannot find it, regular brown sugar would work too but use a little less, I tried and found it sweeter than the Chinese kind. 

I think it’s really important to pass on traditions to our kids, and doing so with food is the perfect way ! There are so many stories we can tell behind food that we grew up with.  And I am so glad my kids enjoy these traditional treats as much as I do ! Wishing everyone a prosperous Year of the Pig !


Makes about 10-12 balls

For the dough

  • 150 g glutinous rice flour
  • 150 mL warm water

For the syrup

  • 85 g (one stick) Chinese brown sugar (片糖)
  • 2 slices fresh ginger
  • 250 mL water

For the toppings

  • 50 g unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  1. Toast peanuts and sesame seeds in a 350ºF oven for about 5 minutes, let cool, then crush into small pieces
  2. Mix in coconut and sugar, set aside
  3. Prepare syrup by boiling together 250 mL of water, ginger and brown sugar, reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, set aside
  4. Mix glutinous flour with 150 mL of warm water, gently knead until dough is formed (dough should be soft but not sticky to hands, adjust amount of flour and water if needed)
  5. Roll into small one-inch balls
  6. In another pot, boil about 2 cups of water, add rice balls, reduce heat to medium and cook until they float to the top, about 5-7 minutes
  7. Using a slotted ladle, transfer them into the syrup, cook for another 8-10 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking 
  8. Remove from syrup, sprinkles with toppings and serve immediately (drizzle with more syrup if desired)

Dark Chocolate Granola

Happy New Year ! My first post of 2019 ! Do you have any new year resolution ? I am sure eating healthier is on everyone’s list, especially after the holiday indulgence…..but wait…..I still like my chocolates ?! So……let’s start with a recipe that has chocolate but also healthy and good for you ! How about granola ? It is easy to make and you can pretty much put whatever you like in there, nuts, seeds, dried fruits…..and yes, CHOCOLATES ! Use darker chocolate if you don’t mind the bitterness as it’s healthier. I used 85%, but if that’s too dark, you can use 60-70 %. Normally, I weigh all the ingredients in my recipe, but granola is very flexible, you can easily adjust the amount to your taste. 

I hope everyone is off to a good start this year ! Stay healthy and be happy !    

Makes about 2 cups     

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 50 g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 85 %) 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients 
  3. Add maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract, mix well
  4. Place a thin and even layer on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once
  6. Cool and store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks

 

 

Orange Cranberry Biscotti

I haven’t posted for over 2 months ! Even my daughter told me I have to start working on my blog again. Yeah…. sorry….working for the Christmas markets and other commitments had taken up all my time and I had to “abandon” my blog for a while. But here I am ! And I promise it won’t be another 2 months before I post again.

I love biscotti ! It is something that I would order every time I visit a new bakery. Maybe I am weird, but I actually enjoy them without dipping into anything. That’s why I only leave them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes during the second-bake, so they won’t be too dry and hard. You can also make this recipe with almonds.  Just add a little bit of almond extract and replace the dried cranberries with some toasted almond slices, or you can have both. 

Christmas is just around the corner, so I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday !

Makes about 18 – 20 pieces

  • 60 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 180 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 mL orange juice
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 5 mL orange extract
  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 60 g dried cranberries
  1. Preheat to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Cream together butter and sugar (either by hand with a spatula or a mixer)
  4. Add eggs, orange juice, zest and extracts, mix until blended
  5. Add flour mixtures in 2 parts, mix until combined
  6. Stir in cranberries
  7. Divide dough into half, press down and form each one into a flat log, approximately 30 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm (you can freeze the logs if not baking right away)
  8. Place in baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30 minutes 
  9. Remove from oven, turn heat down to 300ºF
  10. Let cool until manageable, about 10-15 minutes
  11. Cut with a serrated knife into 1/2 inch-wide pieces (either diagonally or vertically)
  12. Place on baking sheet, and bake for another 10 -15 minutes, flipping half way