Man-thing was hard at work this past week marking his students’ exam papers, so naturally that leads to a type of misery infusing his spirit. In such circumstances I don’t want to leave him in a funk of sadness, and I address the problem the only way I know he’ll appreciate: with sugar.Of course, since I don’t actually like processed sugar, I take the natural route, which equals sugar-free, delicious day-time desserts to spoil him and leave him happy. Playing around with food makes me happy, so win-win!
During the week Man-thing had a friend over to play Warhammer, and it was really amusing to overhear just how many times Man-thing could drop the word “vegan” into a sentence…”my vegan wife”…”our vegan household”. Ha!
I wasn’t eavesdropping on purpose, but it was so darling to hear him explain veganism and why I’m vegan and what not. Somewhere in there he dropped the obligatory “I’m not a vegan though”, probably for commiseration, but Man-thing’s pretty much a vegan by default at home ever since he offered to keep our house animal-product free.
Since he’s such a pie I do try and make as many shiny things as possible so that he doesn’t feel like he’s “missing out”, so we always have a stock of soy nuggets or puff pastry for emergencies when he’s looking miserable. Since I’m not in the mood to cook large today, however, I figured something ridiculously sweet would cover all my bases.This peppermint cherry cream is a cross between a cream and pudding, but all icy, because that’s how I like my treats. With some minor tweaks (using cream instead of milk) one could put it through an ice-cream machine and make it all scoop-able, but I wanted something extra creamy but delicious for this dish. The brownies, when they get a bit warm or you eat them without the icy cream, are like a mousse in the near-summer blaze of the late afternoon. If you store and eat them straight from the freezer they become delightfully messy little bites.
For the sundae (serves 2):
Peppermint cherry cream:
- 1/2 cup tofu, pressed dry, OR white beans (cannelini or something soft, not chickpeas)
- 175ml milk
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 droppers NuNaturals NuStevia Peppermint
- 2 packets NuNaturals Stevia/ 3 – 4 TBSP liquid sweetener of chocie
- 1/8 cup chopped glacé cherries
Nut-free no-bake brownies:
- 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup dates, soaked
- 3 TBSP applesauce
- 2 TBSP carob/cacao
- 2 packets Stevia/1 – 2 TBSP liquid sweetener of choice
- 1 dropper NuNaturals NuStevia liquid Vanilla
Optional: if you do like nuts or seeds by all means throw them in!
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 – 2 TBSP carob/cacao
- sweetener to taste
- Blend your icy pudding cream ingredients together until smooth (without the cherries), then pour/spoon mixture into a freezer-safe container and mix in the cherries. Freeze for 1 – 2 hours. It won’t get rock hard – remember, it’s an icy pudding cream.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor blend your brownie ingredients until thoroughly mixed (doesn’t have to be silky smooth), then transfer to two non-stick mini loaf pans or tupperware of choice and freeze for 1 hour.
- For the chocolate sauce add the carob/cacao powder to the coconut oil with sweetener and stir til smooth. Be careful not to add water (even from a wet spoon or so) because your mixture will “seize” up and become gritty.
- Break up or cut up the brownie before serving (I used a small pastry cutter), and serve with the cream and chocolate sauce drizzled over.
Marrying/living with Man-thing is one of the reasons I started trying my hand at bettering my cooking and baking. I felt that as a then-vegetarian, and later vegan, it would be rather dastardly of me to be all different and stuff and not actually make tasty treats to show him how it’s not all bad.Except, for a while, it was terrible, and sometimes it still is. Some days I hit the jackpot (as far as a vegan can for an omnivore, because I think he has different standards for me than for other people), and other days I fail so miserably that I want to crawl into my blender. Two hours later I’m back in the kitchen furiously trying my best to improve, because I don’t think it’s fair to anyone, least of all my guinea pig, to be content with slop.
Sometimes, however, all you want is to be fed and get it over and done with, which is a rather grand philosophy when you’re dashing around trying to have a real life outside of the kitchen. I’m all for frozen veggies if it means I can have some peace and quiet. More than trying to keep Man-thing happy, I know I 100% impose the kitchen on myself and for my own pig-headed desire to make new things, being all “oh I’m going to relax” then – wham! – in the kitchen for four hours over boiling stoves and ovens, chopping furiously and being cross when it doesn’t work out.
With this sundae…I did it to myself, but it was so easy that I honestly don’t care! Sometimes it’s good to just do that little extra bit and then sit back and enjoy it all and the purpose behind it – to show others that you care or to dazzle yourself or whatever. Every meal is a different story, has different difficulty levels, and different successes.For today, I’m just going to drizzle more chocolate sauce over my sundae and relax about it all.