Cute Easter Lamb

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Today’s the first day of spring! Yay!

However, it’s cold and it’s raining  here… well, that’s just one more reason to do some baking! There’s no sweeter way to heat up the house!

Easter Lamb

My little, chubby Easter lamb.
Baking an Easter lamb used to be a tradition at our house when I was little. We used to have a special pan for the Easter Lamb.
Now I wanted to revive that tradition the vegan way. Without a special pan. If you have very limited shelf space in your kitchen, you think twice before buying another tool, especially those that are used just once a year! No, there had to be another way of baking an Easter Lamb.

Easter

And Easter Eggs. Easter Eggs are so much better when they are made of dough or chocolate!

I used a very traditional combination: Yeast dough, streusel topping and A LOT of sugar icing! I also formed some easter eggs and a little Easter cookie, as I had some dough left. (You could also form one big Easter Lamb… but I usually like to have more and smaller pieces!)

Easter Lamb 

For the lamb:

  • 350g (3 cups) all purpose flour 
  • 50g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 package vanilla sugar OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 ml (1 cup) room temperatured almond milk (or any other kind of plant based milk)
  • 3 tbsp Oil
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • soy creamer (for coating)

For the streusel:

  • 75g (2/3 cup) all purpose flour
  • 40g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 40g (3 tbsp) margarine
  • pinch of salt

Decoration:

  • icing sugar
  • water
  • melted chocolate

For the yeast dough, mix all the dry ingredients. Add milk and oil and either knead with your hands (that’s the way I do it) or with a kitchen machine. Add more milk or flour if needed to create a smooth, non-sticking dough. Shape dough into a bowl, place in a large bowl, cover with a towel and set aside for about 40 min.

When the dough has doubled it’s volume, form little balls (Ø about 3 cm / 1 inch) from about 3/4 of the dough. Brush the balls with soy creamer and form the body by placing them in the desired shape on a baking sheet. From the rest of the dough, form legs and head. Brush with soy creamer and add to the body.

Brush legs and head with soy creamer.

For the streusel: Combine all ingredients with you hands or a kitchen machine. Top the lambs body with a “streusel fur”.

Bake for about 30 – 40 min (360 F / 180 C).

Decorate the cooled lamb with sugar icing and chocolate.

Easter Bunny

Easter lamb and bunny! I do like bunnies. I should bake a bunny, too…

easter bunny

More sweet stuff!

lamb or bunny

This was supposed to be a lamb’s head. Looking at it now… it could also be a bunny, right? Oh well, it’s the inner values (the taste!) that counts, right?

cute lamb

Yummy. It’s just as good as “Streuseltaler” from any German bakery. And it’s cute.

Are there any special easter traditions at your house?
As this was an early Easter Lamb, I guess I’ll have to do another one for Easter…

RAW Mango Cheesecake

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Deutsche Version / German version

Okay, I am kind of proud of this one. I just recently got into raw “baking”. I’m not a raw foodist, as you can see on this blog, but I love play around with raw food preparation! For me, it’s a really creative approach that offers so many new possibilities and new flavors! Some of them are worth sharing…

Like this one.

mango cheesecake

RAW Mango Cheesecake. It does not only look delicious, it really is! Don’t compare raw cakes to baked treats. They are not an imitation – they are different, a whole new thing. See them as an alternative or as a very tasty addition to your diet!
Raw cakes are usually quite rich – you might want to cut smaller pieces than you’d do with a regular cake.

RAW Mango Cheesecake

RAW Mango Cheesecake

 Ø about 20cm / 8 inch

For the crust:

  • 3/4 cup (about 100g) pitted dates
  • about 1/2 -3/4 cup nuts or seeds (I used sesame seeds and almonds)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup (100g) cashews 
  • 4-5 pieces dried mango (my pieces more rather big, use more if your pieces are rather small)
  • 4 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup (about 50g) xylit (or sweetener to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp powdered vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 (about 125ml)  cup water

Crust: Either grease your pan with coconut oil or like it with baking paper. Put nuts / seeds in a food processor and mix until coarsely ground. Add the other ingredients and mix until combined. (Add more dates of the dough is to dry and add more nuts if it’s too moist. It’s hard to give exact amounts here cause it all depends on the moisture of your dates!) Put the dough in a baking pan (Ø about 20cm / 8 inch), form the crust.

Filling: Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix! You might want to soak the cashews before blending of your blender is not that strong. Add more water if needed. Pour the cream into the prepared crust. Lick off the spatulas and spoons you used. (This step is essential. DON’T skip ;) ) Put in the refrigerator over night or until the cream firms up.

raw mango cheesecake

Yummy! When a friend taste-tested the cake, he was like “Wow… this is really… cheesy. It’s like cheesecake…”
Even though I’d definitelly not say that this is a one to one cheesecake alternative,… the cashews definitelly yield a cheese flavor. And the mango coconut combo fits the cake really well. Even though I almost had the whole cake for myself, it did not last long until it was gone… hey, I am writing exams. I need brain food! And it seems like the little guy in the pic (no, he was not the test-taster) feels the same about this cake.

raw mango cheesecake

You can freeze the leftovers, too. You might also find the frozen cake easier to cut (even though I had no problems cutting the cake when I left it in the refrigerator over night). Freezing the cake is especial great, when you are making a raw cake for just one or two people. You can eat the frozen cake straight from the fridge… I promise, it’s the best ice-cream cake I ever had!

Caramel Cheesecake – Fairytale come true

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Sweet times on Playful and Hungry!

I always thought, a cake can’t taste like cheesecake if it’s made from tofu. I was proven wrong. It took some trials and experimenting – but the result was a delicious AND healthy, vegan cheesecake. It’s high in protein and you don’t have to feel bad about eating it for breakfast. Or Dinner. Or lunch…

Piece of cheesecake

It’s might not be 1 : 1 like a sugar-loaded, non vegan cheesecake. But the consistence is perfect and it tastes just as good as any cheesecake I’ve ever tried! Give it a chance!

Using Whole Cane Sugar yields the wonderful caramel flavor! If you want a caramel cheesecake, don’t replace it! If you don’t care so much about the caramel flavor, you could also replace it with stevia or xylit or any other sweetener.

Fariy cheese cake

So… once upon a time, there was a little fairy. And what do fairies do all day? Exactly! They sparkle, twinkle, flutter around and eat cake. Today, it just had to be a cheesecake. Voila.

Fairy plate

So she got out her pink plate…, well, no. She just did some magic and conjured it up.

fairy and cream

Pling! One wink with her wand, and she had a whole plate full of cream…

Time to have some Caramel Cheesecake!

Whole Caramel Cheesecake

Caramel Cheesecake
Inspired by this recipe, Ø about 20cm / 8 inch 

  • 1 package (350-400g) firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup (70g) cashews
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) almond milk
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 ripe banana (can be omitted . use slightly more sweetener) 
  • 6 tbsp soy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup stevia (or more whole cane sugar – which also means more caramel ;) ) 
  • 3/4 cup (100g) Whole Cane Sugar (add more if you like it sweeter!!!) 
  • 1/2 tsp powdered vanilla or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients in your high speed blender or food processor and mix! Pour into a slightly greased backing pan and bake for about 45 minutes (350 F / 200 C).
Allow the cake to cool down before cutting it!

Oh, by the way… you can be looking forward to a RAW vegan Mango Cheesecake. Just saying… ;)

Fairy on Cheesecake

Greeting from Fairy Land!

Indian Rice Pudding

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The last one of our little Indian series! But I am sure you will see more Indian recipes here. Indian food tastes like home to me. I learned cooking with indian dishes. So it’s always something special for me!

_MG_5178

A good Indian meal needs a great dessert! And a good Indian dessert is rich, creamy and yummy!
So here’s another traditional one: Indian Rice Pudding. It’s easy yet delicious!

Rice Pudding

 

And obviously I am not the only one who likes it ;) Must be an indian Elephant whose trunk ended up in pudding…

Indian Rice Pudding 

  • 1 cup white basmati rice 
  • 4 cups almond milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • sweetener: agave syrup, xylit or your favorite one!
  • optional: 1 tbsp rose water and 4 capsules cardamom

Heat milk in a pot and add rice. Cook and stir, some plant based milks burn pretty fast! Add salt, spices and sweetener of choice! (I used agave. As milk, I used a rather rich and thick homemade almond milk. I guess it was somewhere between milk and cream. Store bought cream works too, though!)
When the rice is soft and done (after about 15 min), either mash it with a masher (yes, the one you’d use for potatos!) or mix / puree it with your blender or hand mixer. I actually prefer the mashed version, but it depends on the consistence you want to achieve: creamy like pudding or a sweet rice. You choose.
Decorate with chopped pistachios! Enjoy!

Rice pudding

Note: Cardamom and rose water are not for everyone. I love cardamom, but I know as many people who hate it, too. It’s a typical spice for Indian dishes and desserts though. However, make sure that you like the spices before you add them all!

 

Healthy Date Nougat

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Nougat – a divine combination of cocoa, hazelnuts and sugar!

Date Nougat

Usually, it contains a lot of sugar. Just like the famous spread from Europe that starts with a “N” and ends with “utella”. Here’s the good message: These little pralines taste just like that spread! They are perfect for cold winter days. Maybe enjoy with a cup of hot cocoa? Or as a snack, to keep you going!

I love any kind of date-nut candy when I am studying. They give you lots of energy and help to concentrate. And they taste delicious without any white sugar or artificial flavors. It’s nature’s best candy!

Okay… this candy is not only for winter time… however, let’s have a look at the winter village…

Date Nougat Lego

Transporting the date nougat! Destination: Tanya’s desk. Oh, I like that. The little guys still have to learn how to cook, though…

Date Nougat Lego 2

Another transport! Now, this is urgent! Had to take the post van!

Okay… we’ll go back to winter wonderland! But I guess I should share the recipe first! Well, here you go.

Delicious Date Nougat

Date Nougat 

  • 1 cup soft dates 
  • 3/4 cup coarsely ground, roasted hazelnuts *
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • optional: 1/2 tsp  cinnamon or pumpkin spice (recommended for a lovely winter candy!)

Chop dates with a sharp knife into very small pieces. Add ground hazelnuts, cocoa and spices and mix the dough with your hands. Add more nuts if it’s too sticky. Form small balls  with your hands and put on a plate. Don’t store these candies in a box or jar, they need some fresh air. You could either store them at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Of course you could make the dough using your food processor. However, I wanted to try not using any expensive, fancy tools… it works just as great using a knife and your own two handy! And hands are easier to clean than your food processor, keep that in mind!

* Roast hazelnuts: Put raw hazelnuts on a clean baking tray. Roast in the oven at 200 C / 36o F for about 10-15 minutes. Let them cool down and put them in fridge or refrigerator for a few hours. Now put your roasted nuts in a blender or food processor and grind them coarsely (pulse works best). Cooling the nuts in the fridge before grinding them helps to prevent them from turning into nut butter! I love nut butter – but it’s just not what you need in this recipe…
Don’t have a blender / food processor? I recommend using one part store bought chopped hazelnuts and one part store bought ground hazelnuts (hazelnut flour / meal). Carefully roast the ground and chopped nuts in a pan or use them straight from the bag.

* Want to keep it RAW? Just don’t roast the hazelnuts! It’s a little different, but still delicious!

Date Nougat Winter Village

Back to winter wonderland. It’s been snowing. It’s been snowing date nougat pralines! Oh, I like that kind of weather… Winter and I could become friends…

Actually, that reminds me of that movie. Cloudy with a chance of… date balls!

Date Nougat Winter Village

Time to shovel the snow (or date balls!). Hey, Guys… could you tidy up the kitchen, too? Please?

Lassi – The indian way of milkshake

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No indian meal without a lassi.

Mango Lassi

Lassi is a popular and yogurt based indian drink. It can be both sweet or savory. Traditional Lassi is savory, often yogurt is blended together with water and spices like roasted cumin and coriander seeds. It’s said to help your digestion when enjoying an indian fest, too.  The most popular way to enjoy a sweet lassi is mango lassi. It’s refreshing and not as filling as a milkshake. And it tastes really great!

If the mango you use is ripe enough, you won’t need any additional sweetener. At least, that’s what my tastebuds told me. Feel free to add  agave, sugar, stevia or blend in some dates. Whatever works for you is fine!

Another thing I like about Lassi: It’s so simple! No fancy ingredients! Okay, you can add fancy ingredients like rose water, but you don’t have too!

Mango Lassi 2

Mango Lassi 

  • 1 cup yogurt (I used soy) 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ripe mango, cut into cubes *
  • Optional: a dash of cardamom or 3 cardamom pods
  • Optional: 1 teespoon rosewater

Put everything in your blender and mix. That’s it! Enjoy  Lassi with an indian meal or just like that!

Note: Cardamom and rosewater are not for everyone. I love cardamom, but most people I know don’t… so please make sure you like it before you add it to your lassi! I warned you!

* No fresh mango on hand? Use some pieces of dried mango! Soak before mixing or use a high speed blender, it does the job!

Lassi 3

You might have noticed that there was no mini fig here. You’re still on the Playful and Hungry website, don’t worry. I must have been out of sorts when I was taking these pics… and probably really hungry, too!

Okay. I just can’t do this. I just can’t post this without a playful pic. That’s just not right! So here you are. The hippie is one of my favorites. However, I definitelly need a female hippie to identify with…

Let’s make the connection between Lassi and my playful hippie picture: Many hippies travelled to india! =D There you go!

hippie and horse

Navratan Korma – The nine gems

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Navratan Korma – I even like the name of this dish! Navratan means nine gems and stands for the nine vegetables, fruits and nuts originally used in this dish. However, it’s up to you how many ingredients you want to add, as always, just add the veggies you like and that are available to you. Navratan Korma is more about the delicious, creamy sauce anyway.

Navratan Korma

Too me, it’s THE Indian dish. It took a while for me to notice that each time I was at an Indian Restaurant (and I’ve been to many Indian restaurants!), I’d usually take Navratan Korma. Well, who needs variety when you can always just eat the most delicious dish on the menu?

Okay, I guess you noticed that Navratan Korma is delicious to me… So could just stop talking and giving you the recipe!

Oh, and don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients! It’s really not that much once you have all the spices!

Navratan Korma 2

Navratan Korma 

inspired by The Lotus and the Artichoke

  • 1 cup / 8og cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/2 cup / 50g bush beans
  • 1/2 cup / 50g peas
  • 1 large potato, chopped (I didn’t peal, it’s up to you)
  • 3/4 cup / 180 ml water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic OR 1 clove fresh, finely chopped garlic
  • 1 inch / 2 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup cashews plus some for decoration
  • 2 tsp cumin, ground
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • cayenne pepper (optional, it’s hot!)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • a little less than 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • optional: fresh coriander leaves, for garnish

Heat the oil in a big pot on medium heat. Add onion and ginger (and fresh garlic, of using). Stir constantly and fry for about 2-3 minutes.
Add cumin, coriander, garam masala and tumeric and fry again for 2-3 minutes, until the spices omit a nice smell. Mix in the chopped tomato and cook for another 3 minutes. Turn of the heat now and puree the spice-tomato mix together with the cashews and water. Put the sauce back in the pot, turn on medium heat and add the bay leave, salt and raisins.
Now it’s time to add the veggies! You could also precook them, like the original recipe does, but I found it sufficient to cook them in the creamy sauce for about 15 minutes. Make it hot: Add cayenne pepper to taste!
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Indian Navratan Korma

Cheers!

Indian Naan Bread

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No Indian meal without Naan! I could go without the basmati rice. I often do eat my Indian curries without basmati rice. Don’t get me wrong, I really like basmati rice, it’s my favorite kind of rice. But Naan bread is just SO much better! So when I do have the choice – rice or naan, it’s gonna be Naan! A lot of Naan!

Naan Elephant

If you want to be really authentic: Try to eat your indian meal using the naan bread the grap the veggies and suck up the sauce. No knife, fork or spoon needed! Okay, that’s for pros. Might be easier than chop sticks, though.

My twist on Naan bread was to use whole wheat  flour. It fills you up and makes you feel much better. I also prefer the hearty flavor! However, feel free to use either whole wheat flour or just normal white flour – it both works in this recipe. Just keep in mind that whole wheat flour need a little bit more liquid than white flour.

Naan

Naan Bread 

inspired by “The Lotus and the Artichoke” (have a look – it’s a great website and a unique approach)

  • 1/2 package dry yeast (or 20g fresh yeast)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbs warm water
  • 1 3/4 cups / 220 g wholewheat pastry flour (Germany: Weizenmehl 1050)
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs soy yogurt
  • 2 Tbs water or soy milk
  • 2 Tbs oil

Whisk yeast, sugar, warm water in a small bowl. Let it rest and rise for 10 min. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix soy yogurt, soy milk, oil in another small bowl and add this to the yeast-water mixture. Add combined wet ingredients to dry mix in large bowl. Fold, mix well. Knead for 5-7 minutes until dough is soft and rubbery. You can add slightly more water or flour if needed. The dough should form well and not be sticky. Cover dough and let it rise in a warm place for 2-4 hours.
Heat a large pan on high heat. Separate the dough into 4 different pieces and form long, oval naans. Cook dough in the pan. Each side should cook 4-5 min on high heat. Once there are brown spots and bubbles on each side, this delicious bread is done!

I am getting hungry by looking at it. And so does my little zoo right here…

Naan Panda

So, it’s your turn. What’s your favorite part about indian food?

Coming up: Navratan Korma and Mango Lassi!

Authentic Indian Feast – Dahl Soup

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I love Indian food.

So when we were thinking about what to make for New Year’s Eve (the traditional stuff here would have been Raclette or Fondue, which I am not really fond of), it didn’t take me long to come up with the idea. We’ll make a big, yummy, tasty, authentic, Indian feast!

Indien feast

As a starter, we had Dahl soup.
Our entree was Navratan Korma with Naan bread
Accompanied by Mango-Chai Lassi
And finally, sweet rice pudding with rose water as a dessert!

I’ve had all those dishes cooked by an Indian family before… and I tried to get as close to the flavor I remembered. What should I say… I think it worked out just fine!

Here are all the recipes from our feast:

Dahl Soup (recipe in this post)
Navratan Korma
Naan bread (Indian flatbread)
Indian Lassi
Sweet rice pudding

Let’s start with our starter!

Dahl Soup

Dahl Soup

  • 1/3 cup red lentils 
  • 2 fresh, chopped tomatoes
  • about 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam Masala
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • optional: cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • water as need for desired consistence
  • 1 tsp oil

Heat the oil in a pot (medium heat). Add cumin, garam masala and asafoetida and roast until the spiced omit the typical, delicious smell (just take care that you don’t burn them. However, you’d smell that, too ; ) ). Add chopped tomatoes and cook for about 3 min. Now, add coconut milk and lentils. Don’t add salt until the lentils are cooked and really soft! Depending on your desired consistence, add water. Cook until the lentils are soft. When the soup is done, you can use a potato masher to make it even more creamy. Season the soup with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.

Little friend Dahl Soup

Keep in mind: Hot food makes you happy! I guess this little guy added a lot of cayenne pepper… This Dahl is really rich and creamy, if you want to lighten it up, use less coconut milk. It will still taste great.

Dahl soup and cheers

Cheers! I hope you all had a great start of the year. My little friends and I are looking forward to many more yummy, vegan and playful blog posts in 2013!

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