Didi Ananda Devapriya's Meditation and Yoga Blog

Vegan Carob Walnut Cupcakes

carob walnut cupcakes

This recipe has been a favorite of mine for many years – it makes such a light and fluffy cake that is luscious, dark and rich in flavor, but surprisingly low in fat. Most people are convinced it is a dark chocolate cake – as the barley coffee gives it some of the bitterness of chocolate. It is the chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda that makes this cake rise, and which is one of the secrets of making amazingly light, delicate, egg-less cakes. As the vinegar reacts with the baking soda, its flavor is neutralized, forming bubbles of carbon dioxide and water, so don’t worry-  you won’t taste it. Just make sure to preheat your oven so that you can immediately bake this cake.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c flour – 150 g
  • 1/2 c carob – 50 g
  • 2 T barley coffee powder (orzo, Inka)
  • 1 1/2 c sugar – 175 g
  • 1 1/2 t soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 c oil – 50  ml
  • 2 c water (sparkling water is best if you have it) 225 ml
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Add the oil and water, beating the batter until well mixed – it will be a very runny consistency.  Add the vinegar at the end, and only when the oven is already hot (approximately 350 degrees) so that the cake can immediately be put in the oven, while the baking soda and vinegar are reacting and causing bubbles in the cake. Fold in the walnuts.  Spoon into a greased or lined muffin tin, and then bake until done (about 30 minutes).

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (1 package Dr. Oetker’s)
  • 100 grams butter (1 stick)
  • 2 T barley coffee
  • 1 T carob powder

Melt the butter over a low flame and then add the other ingredients, whisking until smooth and shiny. Glaze the cupcakes when slightly cooled – if they are too hot, the glaze will simply melt off, but some warmth helps it to spread easily.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Cream Cheese frosting

lemon poppyseed cake

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors and the combination with the velvety cream cheese frosting is luscious. The addition of the lemon rind in this cake gives it a beautiful color, which often surprises people when they discover that it is made without eggs.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 1/12 cups bubbling mineral water
  • 3/4 cups sunflower seed oil
  • grated rind of 3 lemons
  • 1/3 cup poppyseeds

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 200 grams cream cheese
  • 100 grams butter
  • rind from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar

Let butter soften. Beat the cream cheese and then add softened butter. Add vanilla extract and then slowly add sifted powdered sugar. Stir in lemon rind at the end. Refrigerate to allow it to become more stiff as the butter cools.

Cool the cake completely before frosting. This cake can be made also as cupcakes.

 

 

Tofu Picatta

piccata plate

Lemon, butter, pepper and capers give this tofu picatta dish a fresh, tart, springtime flavor.  It was featured at our April dinner at Morningstar. Together with steamed asparagus and oven roasted rosemary potatoes, and an organic salad from our AMURTEL Bio Garden, it was a lovely introduction to spring!

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of plain, unsalted tofu, cut into square slices
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • asafoetida
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced without seeds
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoons ground pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoons parmesan
  • 1 finely chopped parsley

Drain and press out excess water from the tofu. Combine 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and a dash of asafoetida (or to taste) with chickpea flour and then coat the pieces of tofu in the flour mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet.  Add about 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida. Pan fry the tofu until golden brown and then remove.

In a clean skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida, and the sliced lemons. Allow the lemons to cook. Add the vegetable broth or water, capers and ground pine nuts (sunflower seeds also work). Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked tofu and then add parmesan and garnish with parsley.

 

 

Eggless Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

carrot cake

This is a luscious, moist cake with warming spices, so especially suited to cool weather, though it is popular at any time of the year. I often make it at Christmas parties. I also recently  made it for a birthday party in Spain during the Youth in Permaculture meeting. In fact, this posting is inspired by their requests for the recipe…There I used a kind of “fromage frais” instead of cream cheese, and it was delicious.  The cake is vegan, and though the frosting is not,  I have included a link to a vegan cream cheese frosting as well for my vegan friends!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour (whole spelt flour also works nicely)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (cassonade)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 cups raw, peeled, grated carrots
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 175*C. Butter and flour a cake pan, or line with baking paper.

Combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a large bowl beat the oil, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy, and then add the mineral water.  Gradually add dry mixture into the wet ingredients. Add carrots. Gently fold in nuts and raisins.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness. A toothpick inserted should be barely moist when inserted in the middle.

Place on a cooling rack to cook. After 10 minutes invert the cake out on to the cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 200 grams cream cheese
  • 100 grams butter
  • rind from one orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar

Let butter soften. Beat the cream cheese and then add softened butter. Add vanilla extract and then slowly add sifted powdered sugar. Stir in lemon rind at the end. Refrigerate to allow it to become more firm as the butter cools(for vegans, the frosting can be made with vegan margarine and vegan cream cheese, or simply eliminated, dusting the cake with powdered sugar if desired)

*Note for Vegans: As this cake is actually completely vegan, the cream cheese frosting can be eliminated, dusting the cake with powdered sugar if desired or here is a nice vegan option made with cashews!).

Moroccan Chickpea Sattvic Stew

IMG_2272

This aromatic, cinnamon and cumin scented chickpea dish is warming in the winter and delicous with cous-cous. I made it for our last vegetarian dinner at the Morningstar Center in Bucharest!  It has the additional advantages of being low fat and vegan, but very hearty and filling. It is also sattvic – a type of vegetarian food that enhances your meditation and yoga practice.

Ingredients:

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Tangy Parsnip and Spinach Risotto

parsnip risotto

2 large parsnips, peeled and grated
2 cups arborio rice
4 T butter
1/4 t asafoetida
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cups vegetable stock (I made it homemade by boiling the leafy celery tops, a carrot, some peppers and straining)
1/2 kg spinach (two medium sizes bunches) washed and with stems removed
zest from one lemon
6 T mascarpone
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
black pepper to taste
salt

 

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. When hot and sizzling, add 1/4 t asafoetida and then the grated parsnips. Stir and let them brown slightly. Add the uncooked rice and stir until even coated in butter and slightly golden. Add the vinegar and stir as it evaporates. Then start adding the vegetable broth, one or two ladles at a time. Add 1/2 t salt. Keep stirring. Allow the liquid to absorb, but do not let the pot become dry – there should always still be some bubbling of broth at the bottom. Keep adding the liquid and allowing the rice to absorb it gradually. When the rice is nearly done, add the spinach and lemon zest. Salt to taste (approximately 1/2 teaspoon more). When the rice is soft and creamy – add the parmesan and mascarpone as well as ground pepper.

Blueberry Lemon Cake

Didi's blueberry lemon cake

This Blueberry-Lemon Cake is an eggless, sattvic vegetarian dessert. The tartness of lemon enhances the flavor of blueberries, and the sour cream adds a luscious texture. It is the chemical reaction between the baking soda and acidic lemon and vinegar that causes the cake to rise and maintain a fluffy, light texture.  As all of those of us who made baking soda volcano experiments as kids may remember, this chemical reaction is relatively short lived, so the cake must enter directly into a hot oven after adding the vinegar, at the very end, when all of the other ingredients have been added. It is possible to change the type of berry used to vary the flavors – for example replacing the blueberries with raspberries and the lemon juice with orange juice and orange rind.

Dry Ingredients:

 

3 cups of flour

1 2/3 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon baking poweder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

 

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Vegetarian Cornbread and Black Bean Casserole

cornbread black bean cobbler

Vegetarian Cornbread and Colby-Jack Black Bean Casserole

 

A new experiment – combining some of my favorite things from the US – cornbread, black beans, cumin, cilantro, fresh tomatoes, sweet corn – what is not to love!!!  The slight sweetness of the cornbread contrasts with spicy, savory black beans .  It is also quick and easy to prepare (a characteristic of most of my recipes….I like to eat well, but not necessarily to spend unnecessary amounts of time in the kitchen!)

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Baked Panko Pesto Tofu with Mozzerella Ratatouille Casserole

panko pesto tofu

 

Baked Panko Pesto Tofu Recipe:

(lacto-vegetarian, egg-free, sattvic)

This was my very first experiment with panko – having only recently discovered it when I was served panko crusted tofu and I was amazed at how it changed the experience of tofu completely by giving it a crispy, crunchy coating. I also had a jar of sattvic pesto to use up – and so the idea came to combine them. I  think the dish I had had was deep fried, but it works out perfectly this way. It is really difficult for me to feel good about pouring a half inch of oil into a frying pan…

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