Another bike ride and another treat!
Although this weekend was more about travelling to Austin for the Texas VegFest to meet the ever wonderful Tess Challis, instead of cycling. We had lofty plans for both, although the rainy weather foiled our plans.
We decided to play chicken with the weather. We wanted to cycle at least 100 km, if not more. Instead of going out for a long loop, we drove out to a more rural location and used it as our home base. I would have been very happy doing multiple laps along a straight and flat road but Rob thought that would be too boring. Instead, Rob drafted 30-35 km loops in a few directions. We pedalled through two loops before giving in to the wind and rain.
Us versus the weather? We lost. Our bikes? Super dirty. Our car won. It became clean.
The nice thing, though, was that I was able to take out these treats. I was really curious to try them out. Not only to see whether it would be better than my last puffed quinoa treat, but I was curious about using coconut sugar as a binder.
The good part? They tasted great. A chocolately goop to keep everything together. Not too sweet with a hint of almond. Since the quinoa was puffed and not crisp, they were easy to munch on. However, my intuition was correct about the coconut sugar: it did not hold up well as a binder. The only way I could keep these treats together was by chilling it in the freezer. Even then, perfectly cut squares were hard to craft. I resorted to breaking off nibbles when I wanted a treat. As such, these were not portable snacks but worked out well with our continuous looping back to the car. I wonder whether coconut nectar would work better as a binder, although I have never tried it.
The treats are from a fun new vegan cookbook called (wait for it) The Vegan Cookbook. It is a gorgeous cookbook with creative yet approachable recipes: breakfast tagine, kale & soba noodles with ginger-chilli sauce, curried chickpea patties with satay dipping sauce, chai-spiced banana muffins and chocolate banana wontons. Authored by Adele McConnell of Vegie Head, I must admit I had never heard of it before, but we have been enjoying many of her recipes, including the super fast chickpea curry and South African sweet potato stew (very similar to my previously shared recipe). The rasam soup was a bit too tart for me, but at least it wasn’t mind-blowing spicy. In any case, with a wide range of international whole food recipes, I have many more dishes I look forward to making.
Here’s to hoping the nice weather persists for this weekend. Not only for our cycling adventures but for all those partaking in the MS150 this weekend, too. :)
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to share the recipe and giveaway the cookbook to a reader living anywhere in the world (YAYAYA!). To be entered in the random draw for the cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegan meal. The winner will be selected at random on April 21, 2014. Good luck!
PS. Recipes from The Vegan Cookbook elsewhere:
Moroccan Quinoa Soup (with a giveaway, too)
Chocolate Puffed Quinoa Treats (aka Quinoa Choc-Crackle Slice)
From The Vegan Cookbook
1.5 cups coconut nectar, or 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar (I used coconut sugar but the coconut nectar may yield a more sticky bar)
4 cups (250g/9oz) puffed quinoa (I found it at nuts.com)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1. If using sugar, put it in a small bowl and add 1/2 cup warm water. Stir to dissolve. Tip the puffed quinoa into a shallow non-stick 9×9″ traybake tin and leave to one side. Put the coconut nectar or sugar water in a bowl and add the oil, salt, almond butter and cacao powder. Stir well to combine.
2. Pour over the puffed quinoa and stir well. Press the mixture down firmly and chill for 2 hours (Janet’s note: I popped mine into the freezer). Slice into squares using a sharp knife, then serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes: 16 squares
Preparation: 10 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling