Sunday, 26 May 2019

Perfect Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes + Oreo Cupcakes

What makes a perfect chocolate cupcake? A rich, intense flavour and a fluffy texture come to mind. Those things are not always easy to achieve, especially when it comes to vegan baking. Oftentimes, you're just one hard whisk away from knocking all the air out of your cake batter or over beating it into a goo that ends up tasting more rubber than chocolate-covered cloud.






That's where this recipe comes in. Tried and tested for you, so you can be sure you'll get perfect results every time. You probably already have all the ingredients for this at home, and so the next time you're in need of a treat or a pick-me-up, maybe give this one a go. And if you feel like pushing the boat a bit, top them with shards of Oreo cookies for that extra crunch.

As always, don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven't already. I have a truckload of exciting videos coming up for the rest of the year, and it'd be great to build a lil' community over there.



Ingredients
Makes 24
- 250ml non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, coconut, oat...etc)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 100ml sunflower oil
- 150g caster sugar
- 200g self-raising flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Oreo cookies (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl, combine the non-dairy milk and lemon juice. Leave to stand for two minutes. Add the vanilla, sunflower oil and sugar. Whisk until the ingredients are well-combined.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the wet mixture. Using a gentle folding motion, mix until just combined. Don't worry if there are a few tiny lumps.

Spoon the batter into cupcake liners and bake for 25 minutes. (Alternative version: top the cakes with shards of Oreo cookies). Check to see if they are baked all the way through by sticking a toothpick in the centre of a cupcake - it should come out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the tray and allow to cool on a wire rack. Initially, the top of the cupcake will feel a bit hard and crunchy. Leaving it to cool for longer (usually overnight) will soften the overall surface. This is why it's usually better to bake cakes a day ahead of serving them.

Serve as they are, or topped with chocolate buttercream.


Top Tips for Perfect Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
1. Do not overmix! You just need to mix lightly to the point where everything is combined. No need to whip and whisk it excessively. If your arms start to ache and you've got sweat dripping down your face, you're doing it wring. Overmixing will only turn the mixture gloopy, and result in rubbery cupcakes.

2. Use high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder. I recommend Green & Blacks.

Other recipes you might like: Coconut Cupcakes; Chocolate and Peanut Muffins.
























Saturday, 25 May 2019

Filming with Battabox



A quick snippet from a filming/cooking session for the Battabox Youtube channel. Check out the full video on their page, and be sure to subscribe to my channel if you haven't already. In my next video, I'll be showing you how to make the ultimate vegan chocolate/Oreo cupcakes.

The two recipes featured in the video: plantain/sweetcorn fritters and plantain fried rice. Both can be found in my plantain cookbook.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Vegan Nigerian Cooking Class



What a great evening this turned out to be!

As part of the 'Vegan Chefs of Colour' series by community cooking school 'Life After Hummus', I got to lead a Nigerian cooking class on Friday. We had a sold out event with 35 attendees learning the ins and outs of dishes such as jollof rice and efo riro.

The twist was that everything was low-fat and healthy to the nth degree. Aside from the plantain,  which needed a little spray cooking oil, the entire menu was oil-free. The jollof rice and efo was paired with a zesty coleslaw. Dessert was a palate-cleansing salad of fresh pineapple, mango and coconut, brought to life with a hint of nutmeg. For the full recipes, check out @lifeafterhummus on Instagram (recipes from the classes are always posted there afterwards).

Thank you to everyone who came along, to Farrah for all her hard work in organising the series and lovely volunteers on the night.

On a related note, if you're a group or corporate organisation looking for a fun team-building activity such as a cooking class, do get in touch!

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

6 Important Supplements Every Vegan Should Take

Guest article by Dr. Charles-Davies, a medical doctor who loves to share health information and runs 25doctors.com.

A vegan diet has its advantages; it can help to maintain a healthy weight, lower the risk for kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, colorectal cancer, and heart disease. Vegans rely heavily on consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains - a diet that is very beneficial in providing fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamin A, C, E, folate, and minerals like potassium and magnesium


Now, the truth is that a standard vegan diet alone does not take care of all the body’s nutritional needs. If you adopt veganism, you need nutritional supplementation to stay healthy. You also need to speak to your doctor and dietitian to properly give you all the health information you need about your dietary choice.

Supplements For Veganism

Here are some nutritional supplements that you could take as a vegan if you want to stay healthy and enjoy the benefits of your dietary choice:

1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. The body can store it in the liver for up to 4 years and urinates the extra. It is structurally the most complex and largest vitamin. This is the most important supplement in the list to consider.


Vegans should take B12 fortified foods or supplements derived by bacterial fermentation-synthesis. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 2.4 mcg per day, whereas pregnant women need 2.6 mcg and lactating women 2.8 mcg.


To identify the deficiency of vitamin B12 look for signs of confusion, depression, memory problems, tingling sensation, insensitivity to pain, fatigue, constipation, and loss of appetite.


Dietary sources for vegans include fortified cereals, grains, bread, and plant-based milk. Sprinkling nutritional yeast or spirulina on popcorn, potatoes, pasta, and salads will help to provide.
Taking high potency tablets - 2000 mcg once a week or 25 to 100 mcg daily is also a reliable source.


2. Omega -3S


Omega – 3 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids which are of three types – ALA, EPA, and  DHA.
ALA can be obtained from plant oils but DHA and EPA are mostly derived by consuming marine life, eggs, and krill.


These compounds are mainly essential for proper brain functioning as DHA supports grey matter in the brain. It has its role in neurodevelopment, cognition, treating various mental illnesses like ADHD, depression and bipolar disorder. Other roles include reducing autoimmune and allergic exacerbations.


Minimum consumption of 250-350 mg combined EPA and DHA is recommended daily.
 The sources of ALA include chia seeds, hemp seeds, Brussels, soybeans, walnuts, flaxseeds, and leafy greens.

DHA and EPA are mainly supplemented by the algae that act as a source for the fishes. You can pick up on these supplements.


3. Calcium/ Vitamin D

Vitamin D and Calcium act as a unit.
Calcium is one of the top 5 minerals required by the body. About 99% of Calcium makes up the bones. The rest of it is required for muscle contraction, blood clotting, maintaining normal heart rhythm, enzymatic functions and maintaining teeth.


Vitamin D which can also be regarded as a hormone that helps to absorb Calcium. It has its role in body immunity, anti-inflammatory lung benefits, treating kidney disease, depression, and weight maintenance.

The deficiency symptoms of these two may include fatigue, catching frequent infections, pain in the lower back or legs, easy fractures, impaired wound healing, hair loss, and frequent muscle sores.


Recommended daily allowance RDA for Calcium is 1000-1200 mg and for Vitamin D is 400-800 IU (10-20 mcg).


Vitamin D can be obtained by 20-30 minutes of sunlight exposure.
There are two types of supplements– D2 and D3 that provide the daily requirement (400/600/800/1000 IU tablets). You can also take 60000 IU every 6-8 months.


The vegan sources for calcium are chickpeas, spinach, cereal, figs, almonds, navy beans, soybeans, and turnip.
Calcium-fortified plant milk, tofu, white flour and orange juice can be added to reach adequate requirements. Supplements are 2 tablespoons of Blackstrap molasses and Calcium tablets ranging from 200-600 mg every day.


TIP: Drink loads of water with calcium supplementation. Get a blood test for your levels to adjust your intake since an excess of both is harmful.


3. Iodine

Iodine is a major mineral in the body with a recommended daily allowance of 150 mcg. For pregnant and lactating women, it is up to 200 mcg.  It has its role in the synthesis of thyroid hormone.


Vegan sources include potatoes, prunes, bananas, corn, sea vegetables like kelp, sea lettuce, cranberries, and strawberries.


Since more than 30% of the world is deficient in Iodine, salt fortification has been used worldwide and is highly recommended. A deficiency will lead to thyroid dysfunction that can be noticed as a neck swelling, weight gain, poor hair and skin health, cold intolerance, memory, and menstrual problems.


4. 
Iron

The normal level of iron in the body is 3-4 grams. You can check these levels by your hemoglobin level, iron profile, blood picture, and complete blood counts. It has its role in transporting oxygen throughout the body, enzymatic action, DNA synthesis, and energy metabolism.


Iron deficiency is the leading cause of anemia. You may be dizzy, fatigued, light-headed,  or have palpitations, behavioral changes, paleness, headache, brittle nails, and hair loss. These signs are easily missed out, so, it is best to get a blood test done.


The recommended daily allowance is 8 mg for adult men and old women. It is 18 mg for women and 27 mg for pregnant females.


The sources include soybeans, black beans, chickpeas, quinoa, brown rice, pumpkin, sunflower, cashews, collard, green leafy vegetables. Despite this wide range of sources, vegans are more prone to develop iron deficiency. This is mainly because females lose iron with every menstruation and pregnancy.

Fortified iron cereals, grains, bread, and plant milk can help. You can supplement Iron in tablet forms and consume it 2-4 times a day depending upon the deficiency.


TIP: Have it alongside Vitamin C rich sources. They will help Iron absorb better.


5. Probiotics

Probiotics consist mainly of microorganisms that are the “good bacteria”. Vegans fear that they might be deprived of it since yogurt is the only known natural probiotic source.


Probiotics help with good digestion, prevent gastrointestinal diseases, increases immunity, improve mental health, reduce colon cancers, provide improvement in diabetics and obese individuals.
The vegan sources include consuming fermented foods like pickles, Kimchi, fermented soy products and fermented teas. You can also consume vegan probiotic capsules.
 Here’s a review of some of the best probiotics.

6. Proteins

Proteins in the human body are compound chains of 20 types of amino acids. They help in tissue growth, development, and repair. They also act as neurotransmitters, hormones, transporters, immune cells, enzymes. In fact, 16% of the body is made up of proteins.



Sources include peas, beans, cereals, grains, nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds. Certain foods like amaranth, soy and buckwheat will provide the full portion of essential protein requirement.

Protein should be consumed as much as 1 gram per kilogram body weight. So if you are 70 kgs, you consume 70 grams of protein. In case you are an athlete or are deficient in your intake, you can start supplementing with protein powder and using amino acid fortified food items.


Be careful not to overdose any of the above mentioned.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Easy Vegan Tiramisu


Back when I worked in a professional vegan kitchen, tiramisu was one of the signature desserts on the menu for some time. An out-of-the-blue craving inspired me to revisit it, and now I get to share it with you, so we all win!


If you can just take the time to make some vanilla sponge cake (check out the recipe here) and let it sit around for a day or two to get a tiny bit stale, then this dessert is a breeze to assemble. You only need a few store-cupboard elements: instant coffee, a tin of coconut milk, sugar and a dash of cocoa powder.

Enjoy this week's recipe/video, and don't forget to subscribe to the ol' YouTube channel - lots going on over there these days. And if you like this recipe, then you'll definitely appreciate my recipe for vegan banoffee pie!





Thursday, 25 April 2019

Jollof Rice and Moin Moin Stuffed Peppers



Stuffed peppers are nothing new, but it doesn't feature much in Nigerian cuisine. A shame, considering we have so many delicious things to stuff them with. In this case, I've used leftover jollof rice and moin moin. The jollof is made using brown rice (check out the full recipe here) which is perfect because you do need a slightly dense, mushy consistency to hold the dish together. And you can find the recipe for moin moin here.

This recipe came to mind because I had a ton of red peppers that I needed to use up. Not one to turn a blind eye to a good bargain, I came across a fruit & veg stall while ambling through Peckham one day, and saw that they were selling 10 red peppers for £1. Yes, you read that right. How could I resist? The standard thing would have been to blend it all up to use in stews etc, but I'm glad that inspiration struck and I made this instead. Red peppers, when roasted, are absolutely delectable. They get soft and sweet and succulent, with a more intense flavour than their raw counterpart.

These freeze really well, so are great for meal prep. Make a bunch of these and you've got lunch/dinner sorted for the next week. Simply reheat in the oven or microwave, and serve with a side of fresh salad.

Enjoy this week's video, be sure to give it a go, and don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly videos!