Hello, everyone! Huge apologies for my radio silence over the last week, but we went away for Easter and ended up staying away a little longer than planned. The week was spent out and about enjoying the sunshine and sea air with the boys and not so much time couched at home in the kitchen. But it didn't stop me planning and having arrived back late this afternoon, I planted two feet firmly in the kitchen to whip up my latest creation. If you're not a fan of Instagram or Facebook, here are a few of my Easter creations from the last week or so. We have indulged in way too much chocolate and cake!!
So whilst we were away, I succumbed to buying Deliciously Ella in the local supermarket. It sat there looking all shiny on the shelf and having been inundated with Ella's Instagram photos of her book launch and recipes, I fell hook, line and sinker! I think it's always interesting to understand the path that people take and I found Ella's story very uplifting and inspiring - and although left with little choice, I admire her determination to rise from the brink of hospitalisation and overnight transform her eating into a plant-based diet. The first recipe I resolved to try was the Avocado Chocolate Mousse.
The same day as I bought Ella's book, an e-mail pinged into my inbox from Jamie Oliver with an Eat Well This Easter message - and amongst his suggested eats were Vegan Chocolate Pots. Hmmm...which chocolate delight to try first. Or maybe both at the same time?
So I decided to have a little chocolate mousse-off with these two recipes. For sure, the easier of the two options was Jamie Oliver's Vegan Chocolate Pots. The main ingredients were dairy-free dark chocolate and tofu mixed with maple syrup and vanilla paste (the original recipe included zest of a lime - the supermarket had run out! - and dark rum - but I'm not fond of alcohol in puds). Ella's recipe was a little more complicated and required a few more ingredients and a bit more effort. First of all, I had to make Almond Butter which involved roasting almonds for 10 mins and then blitzing them in the food processor for fifteen minutes to create a creamy butter. Once I'd made this ingredient, I was then able to move on to the mousse itself which involved blitzing an avocado, bananas, Medjool dates, almond butter, cacao powder and maple syrup in the food processor. Easy as. And so, the verdict?
Well, I first taste tested them on the boys. Honestly, they weren't keen. I'd hoped blitzing lots of good food with chocolate flavour might persuade them that these were yummy chocolate puds. Then I tried it on hubby. I think we both agreed that the Jamie Oliver Chocolate Pots were the clear winner and also could pass as a "regular" chocolate mousse at a dinner party. Although for me there was still a clear taste of tofu which kind of detracted from it a little. Perhaps the rum would have softened this flavour and if you are a fan of alcohol fueled puds, I would definitely recommend giving this a go.
What I like about Ella's pud is that I feel seriously healthy eating it. I mean, avocadoes, bananas and dates plus its other goodies. Sadly the taste wasn't quite as enjoyable and I think this might have been down to one of two things: my avocado and bananas weren't overly ripe (and she does call for very ripe bananas) and I think the ripeness will definitely enhance this next time (note, I said next time so it can't have been that bad!); and then Jamie's recipe called for melted dark chocolate and I think this really added to the richness over the cacao.
But I'm comparing this to what I call a regular chocolate mousse (dairy-laiden and eggy) and what I have learned of late, is that you can't substitute and expect things to taste the same (we have a psoriasis sufferer in the family and I tried to make a beetroot spag bol - beetroot remains the work of the devil to me to this day - I couldn't make it through more than more mouthful!) There are many reasons for choosing different kinds of diets, but in my humble opinion it means learning to love different flavours and foods and not just trying to recreate past loves. I would definitely recommend giving these two a go!
Avocado Chocolate Mousse (adapted from Deliciously Ella) Makes 2 ramekins
- 1 RIPE AVOCADO
- 2 RIPE BANANAS
- 6 MEDJOOL DATES, PITTED
- 2 TBSP ALMOND BUTTER (see below)
- 2½ TBSP RAW CACAO POWDER
- DRIZZLE OF AGAVE NECTAR
- To make the almond butter, turn on the oven to 180 degrees (fan) and roast 150g almonds (with skin) for 10 minutes
- Then pop them into the food processor with a sprinkling of salt and blitz for around 15-20 minutes
- Remove and set aside
- Peel the avocado, remove the stone and put it in the food processor with the other ingredients
- Add a splash of water and drizzle of agave nectar and blitz until smooth (mine took around 10-15 minutes)
- Spoon into bowls and chill until ready to eat
Vegan Chocolate Pots (from Jamie Oliver) Makes 2 ramekins
- 100G DAIRY-FREE DARK CHOCOLATE
- 350G SILKEN TOFU
- 80G MAPLE SYRUP (I RAN OUT AFTER 60G SO MADE THIS UP WITH AGAVE NECTAR)
- ½TBSP VANILLA BEAN PASTE
- OPTIONAL: ½ TBSP DARK RUM, SMALL PINCH OF DRIED CHILLI FLAKES, SMALL PINCH SEA SALT
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave for around 1½ minutes (check after every 30 seconds) until melted and set aside
- Put the tofu in a tea towel and ring out the excess water, then add to the food processor with the remaining ingredients (minus the chocolate)
- Blitz for 2 minutes and then add the chocolate
- Blitz again until smooth
- Divide the mixture between two bowls and chill for at least 15 minutes in the fridge