Raw Matcha Coconut Ice Cream cake

Let’s talk about matcha. The new craze that has swept over the internet for the past couple of months ( or years). What is Matcha? Matcha is made from the youngest green tea leaves which are then processed into a fine powder.

I for once, have been looking for matcha for at least a couple of years now. Living in Tirana makes it really hard to get your hands on new “exotic” ingredients, such as matcha but also lemongrass or even other Asian ingredients I am obsessed with. I like green tea and I was eager to try matcha. When I went to Shanghai in early 2014, I noticed that the “Matcha craze” was even stronger in China. So, I finally had the chance to try all things matcha. For some reason, it wasn’t an immediate hit with me and I kind of forgot about it for a couple of months.

Last summer, when I returned from Singapore among other stuff, I took with me some matcha powder and have been experimenting all sorts of stuff. Except of the easy Matcha Latte, I have been trying to make matcha mochi cakes, incorporating it in smoothies, and even for these amazing bliss balls. When I came across a recipe on Thrive Market for a Raw Matcha Ice Cream cake, I knew I definitely had to try it. It become more obvious that this was meant to be when I finally found some local raspberries, which were perfect for decorating this cake. And I must say, as my first attempt in making a raw cake it turned out pretty great. I am looking forward to making more raw cakes, considering summer is around the corner ( or it should be, after all the rain has stopped here).

IMG_1086 copy

Notes 

Coconut milk it’s a favourite ingredient that I like to work with. But it comes with its own “complications”. Even though I usually like to make my coconut milk from scratch, sometimes it’s just easier to buy a couple of cans, and now that I have found organic coconut milk in Tirana (@Rossman), I have become even the more lazier to make it on my own. However, not every can of coconut milk is ever the same, unfortunately. Some are more watery, some are more creamy, and I recently discovered that some can even be more like coconut oil than coconut milk ( still good though). As there is not trick really to find the perfect coconut milk for this recipe, it would usually help to buy a couple of extras. You can never have enough coconut milk at hand, but if you ever do here’s how we can fix it: make some matcha latte, these gorgeous raspberry scones, they go so well in smoothies, even on Piña Colada smoothie bowl, and of course coconut chia pudding.

I was inspired from the post on Thrive Market about vegan desserts, and have made very few alterations to the original recipe.

 

Ingredients 

Crust 

150g raw cashews

70g pecans

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon honey

pinch of salt

Filling 

2 cans coconut milk

1 vanilla pod

2-3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons matcha powder

Raspberries for decoration 
White chocolate drizzles (optional) 

 

First things first, the coconut milk cans should be refrigerated, at least overnight. Then we start with the ingredients for the crust, and pulse them all together in a food processor, until they form a uniform paste like texture. Using your fingers, even out the crust mixture on a 10″ springform cake tin and put it in the freezer. Meanwhile, scoop the top of the coconut milk can into a bowl ( it would help if the bowl and whisk attachment would stay in the freezer for a couple of minutes). Start whipping the coconut cream for a few seconds, adding the rest of the ingredients. Keep mixing and whipping for a few more seconds until everything is well incorporated. Take out the cake tin with the crust and pour over the filling mixture. Return to freezer for a couple of hours. It might depend on your fridge how long it needs to set, as mine was frozen ready just 2-3 hours later. Raspberries make a really pretty decoration for the cake as the green from matcha matches well with their red, but decoration is always up to imagination 🙂 I added some white chocolate drizzles after the first few pieces were gone, as white chocolate and matcha really are a good combo.

 

 

 

Japrak aka Stuffed vine leaves

Do you feel spring comes when the first flowers bloom, when the grass appears greener or when the day becomes longer?

People have different signs when they feel spring has arrived. It may be spring produce, warmer weather or greener scenery, but for me it’s when I can finally make JAPRAK, or stuffed vine leaves. When vine leaves, to be filled with assorted seasonal greens, are in season, it definitely feels like spring to me. That’s when I don’t mind spending hours in the kitchen making the stuffing, then folding leaves and waiting impatiently for them to be done. Kind of therapeutic actually.

 

Japrak.jpg Continue reading

Bliss truffles – the healthy version

Bliss balls 1

As the new year leaps in, January surely becomes a time for new resolutions. New promises, new challenges to our own selves are always part of these resolutions. Some might have started the new year with new objectives which vary from reading more books (one of mine) to hitting the gym more often (again mine), find a new career, become more responsible, save more money and basically anything else we didn’t like about us the past year. Sadly, I have yet to meet someone who has accomplished all their New Year resolutions throughout the whole year. They usually last the first few month(s), very unfortunately.

Continue reading

Overload of grapes – Grape Chutney

Grape chutney

As autumn arrives, we still try to make the most of the last few summer fruits that are left. So, it might not seem that strange when I try to purchase all the grapes, figs and melons left on the market.

A couple of years ago I found myself with a very large amount of grapes, the very good, very Albanian type of grape which is used for a famous wine ( Shesh i zi, literally meaning black square) and looks like the very round, black type of grape full of aroma. As eating it straight way or juicing was something I was already bored with, I was looking for a nice recipe to incorporate my big batch of aromatic grapes. Then I came across a recipe for grape chutney. I wasn’t quite sure what a chutney was, as I had only ever tried the mango chutney in Indian restaurants in London. So I just gave it a try.

Continue reading

Fast Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate pudding is my guilty pleasure. And when I crave it, I need it really fast. The store bought pudding is a very desperate measure, but since I saw the fastest pudding recipe ever, I gave up the store pudding.

This recipe I got from Food52 only takes about 10 minutes and uses a blender. That was really surprising at first, and as all unconventional things brought some skepticism. But you only need to try it once, realise how easy and fast you can make chocolate pudding and you are hooked.

Continue reading

Homemade Coconut milk

Freshly made coconut milk

During my experimental phase when I was trying to not eat dairy ( and it was so hard to give up cheese and yogurt) I tried to “milk” anything. One of my favorite and also easiest milking procedures is making fresh coconut milk.

Of course, living in South East Europe doesn’t make it a great place to grow coconuts, so I usually use the brown coconut, not the green fresh one you may find in tropical climates.

Continue reading

A bowl of comfort – Bubur Kacang Hijau

Babur Kacang Hijau

There is something very comforting about food in a bowl: a hot bowl of soup, a fresh bowl of ramen, a crunchy bowl of cornflakes (for dinner), a wholesome bowl of beans. Beans. Mung beans and coconut milk. Tropical comfort in a bowl to bring me back to palm skies and mango tress.

My first encounter with Bubur Kacang Hijau was this summer, during my short stay in Indonesia. It was one of the very few breakfast items I didn’t recognize at the breakfast buffet. And if you know me, I am always up for trying new things, especially related to food. A warm bowl of sweet aromatic coconut milk with mung beans. I lost count how many ladles of goodness I poured myself that morning. I hadn’t tried mung beans before, and I wouldn’t have guessed that they would make such a perfect match with coconut milk.

Continue reading