Gluten Free Vegan Brandy Snaps and a Grateful Lunch

August 19, 2013 § 2 Comments

I’m not sure why, in the infancy of my first attempt to go sugar free, I decided it was a great idea to ask my Facebook likers which favourite childhood treats they’d like veganised and healthified. One week in and my butt has landed firmly on the ground next to that wagon. The question turned up many Kiwi treats I used to love: lamingtons, lolly cake, caramel slice, afghans, mushrooms in the grass, ginger crunch (you can find my recipe for that here), along with a couple of new ones (in case you’re wondering, poofy stuff is apparently fruit salad or tinned pineapple with whipped cream).
My top pick had to be brandy snaps – my Nanna used to make these at Christmas and we’d scoff the lot in under five minutes. So I got to veganising this classic – I tried to make a healthier version first using date paste but they turned into warm soggy pancakes. The final version uses coconut oil instead of butter, coconut sugar instead of white death, brown rice flour instead of white death and coconut cream instead of whipped white death. I’m not sure how many more of these recipes I can veganise right now, I’m keen to get back on the sugar-free buzz, but anything I can sub in stevia or xylitol instead I will experiment with.

Before I made myself sick eating the brandy snaps I made an awesome lunch with a salad inspired by watching Nigella last night, and a new creation I was hoping the kids would like – which they did, success! So here are three recipes, all for you.


Veganised Brandy Snaps (vegan, gluten free, nut free)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp ground dried ginger (if you like it extra gingery, add another tsp)
5 tbsp brown rice flour

Heat oven to 180degC and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place coconut oil, coconut sugar and maple syrup in a saucepan on a very low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture is well combined. Add ginger and stir, then add rice flour, one tablespoon at a time, stirring well to combine each time. Once you have a smooth glossy liquid, spoon a tablespoonful onto the baking paper and make a thin circle. You should be able to fit 6 on a tray. They need to be done in batches so keep mixture warm (or you can gently reheat) for the next batch. Place in the heated oven for 6-8 minutes, checking constantly. It needs to go a little browner and be in long enough so that it goes crispy once it cools but you have to catch it before it burns. Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two until it’s firm but still pliable, and use something round to roll them onto – I used the handle of an icecream scoop and a wooden muddling stick. Both worked fine. Let cool until you can remove, then pipe with the whipped coconut cream (recipe here) by placing cream in a small plastic bag and cutting a little corner off then squeezing.


Angel Hair Vegetable Fries
1/2 large kumara or sweet potato
1 carrot
1/2 large beetroot
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp dried rosemary or other dried herbs (I used the Braggs salt free herb seasonings)
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 160degC. Using a julienne slicer, slice all vegetables and place in a bowl with oil, salt and herbs. Massage to combine then place on a well greased tray. Place in oven for around 20 minutes or until crispy – keep an eye they don’t burn. Serve hot with a green salad.

P.S. I also promised an update on my son’s health post-Dr visit. The long and short of it is he has an overgrowth of a bad bacteria known as clostridia, which creates spores, gut dysbiosis and a whole host of other issues related to this, most notably in Roman mineral and vitamin deficiencies, an inability to break down oxalates (hence no nuts, seeds, spinach etc), low seratonin (explains his bad moods and poor sleeping) and bad bowels. We’re not sure how the overgrowth occurred in the first place – it normally happens after antibiotics when the flora is disturbed however he has never had them so it’s a mystery at this stage. Unfortunately the only available treatment are targeted antifungals and antibiotics along with strong probiotics and cutting all sugars (which feed the bacteria) – but we are also looking into Fecal Microbiota Transfer, although no one in NZ does it so that’s going to be an interesting DIY path if we do. Will keep you posted.


The Basics: Vegan Nut Cheese Tutorial

February 25, 2013 § 3 Comments

Say Cheese! Kind of....

Vegan Almond Cheese (vegan, gluten free, raw if blanching almonds is considered so?)
2 cups raw whole almonds, soaked in water overnight
1 cup water
1 tsp (dairy-free if vegan) probiotic powder (if using capsules, break open – I used 4 or 5)
1 tsp salt
2 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast

extras: pink peppercorns, dried dill, garlic powder, sea salt

Drain soaked almonds, then plunge into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds. Drain again and when cool enough pop the skins off (hence why I prefer time saving macadamias, but they’re too expensive to buy shelled, and take waaaay too long to shell individually at home).
Put blanched almonds in Vitamix or similar with water and probiotics and blend until smooth.
Line a sieve with cheesecloth and sit it over a bowl. Pour mixture onto cloth, then cover with more cloth and weigh down with some heavy jars (fill jars with water for extra weight). This is to squeeze the excess moisture out.
Leave on benchtop for 12-24 hours to culture. When it starts smelling like soiled baby nappies you’re ready to add the flavours! Test for your preferred level of cultured-ness though (I like mine tangy).
Pop firmed up cheese into a bowl, and add salt and nutritional yeast and mix well with a fork to combine. This is your basic ‘feta’. You can either serve like this or mould some into rounds and cover in crushed peppercorns and salt, or add dill and garlic powder, then pop in dehydrator for about 6 hours each side until it forms a rind.
Serve with crackers! In a salad! Or straight from the fridge like I do….
Will keep in fridge for about a week.

There are plenty of variations of this online if you google raw vegan cheese – can use cashews or macadamias, I’m even looking into walnut blue cheese. Plus you can use miso or rejuvelac as the kick starter for the fermentation process too. Have some fun with it!

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