Raw Vegan High Tea at Indigo Food Cafe

Jem and I recently enjoyed a day of exploring in Vancouver (like being tourists close to home, for us Surryites) and decided to make raw vegan high tea at Indigo Food Cafe one of the stops along our way. I was very excited to discover the existence of vegan high tea somewhat close to home and I’ve been quite eager to try it.

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Indigo Food Cafe is a cozy little place in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood, owned by chef Lovena Galyide and her daughter Kat Galaida. It’s eclectic mix of decor, including antique-style sewing tables, brightly painted chairs, a 3D green lizard on the wall, and hanging framed photos of animals makes for a cute, casual, and charming atmosphere. I also loved that on a hot sunny day the front window provided enough light that the inside lights weren’t turned on, and the front entrance was kept open.

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Our choice of organic fair-trade loose leaf tea, I had Green Rooibos and Jem chose Pear Sencha, came in cute little coloured personal tea-pots and our food came beautifully displayed on a 3-tier glass serving tray. It honestly looked so good all together, that I was cautious at first to eat anything and ruin the display, but of course I eventually dug in. The hardest part was deciding what to try first!

Our tray was filled with kale chips, stuffed buckwheat crepes, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed tomatoes, raw pizza, coconut yogurt with berries and raw granola, chocolate ganache, lemon-goji truffles, mini berries cheesecake, and mini coconut cream pies, one of each item for each of us. Jem and I took our time and savoured everything, but I think we were both pretty full about half-way through. All together, all those little bites added up to quite a lot of food!

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Love those little tea pots and pretty dishes!

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Excited for high tea!

We both thoroughly enjoyed everything that was included in our high tea! Jem’s favourite was the raw pizza, but she commented (pretty much the best compliment a raw/vegan cook/chef can get from an omnivore) that she “wasn’t aware that I was eating vegan or raw food, it was just really good food”.

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Raw pizza bite.

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Tomato stuffed with macadamia cheese, with marinated mushroom, and a sprout.

I really don’t think I could choose a favourite, though the raw pizza and the coconut yogurt bowl were definitely standouts. The pizza crust had awesome taste and texture, and was perfectly balanced by the zucchini, tomato, and garlicky cheese sauce on top. I also loved every little bite of the home-made coconut yogurt, full of fresh berries, and covered in crunchy raw granola, and wanted to keep on eating it when my little bowl was empty.

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Enjoying a lemon-goji truffle.

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From the top right: mini berries cheesecake, chocolate ganache, and mini coconut cream pie.

And let’s not forget about the desserts! They were all amazing! The chocolate ganache was rich, creamy, with intense chocolate flavour, just as great chocolate ganache should be. The lemon-goji truffles, had a bright refreshing lemon flavour and were perfectly chewy. The berry cheesecake was a little soft from the heat by the time I ate it, so it was more like rich berry pudding, but it was delicious. And last, but not least, the mini coconut cream pie was delightfully cool and creamy.

This was the first time that I’ve ever been to Indigo and I think the high tea was the perfect way to start, as you get a wide variety of both savoury and sweet bites, most of which are also available as larger versions on the regular menu. The menu is mostly raw and gluten free, with a few cooked dishes including perigees (both savoury and dessert ones) and cabbage rolls, obviously an ode to Galyide’s Ukrainian heritage. I would definitely go back for the high tea again, and would also love to try some other things on the menu.

Raw vegan High tea at Indigo Food Cafe is available through reservation only. The cost of $27 per person includes your choice of organic fair-trade loose leaf tea and a variety of both sweet and savoury bites, around ten different items per person. More information on high tea, as well as the complete menu, and info for raw food classes is available on the website.

I’d highly recommend checking out Indigo Food Cafe if you are in the Vancouver area.

Also, just a heads up that you can now find my restaurant reviews in the ‘Dining Out‘ page under the menu heading ‘Reviews’. I’ve also created a new Pinterest board called “Vegan in Vancouver” where I’ll be sharing photos of vegan food I eat out, as well as links to my reviews.

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Frosted Blueberry Cake: MMAZ #30

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For this week’s Meatless Monday from A-Z the mission is to cook a recipe that features blueberries. I haven’t made any of the recipes yet from last week’s Create with Blueberries linkup, but I did make this gorgeous Frosted Blueberry Cake from Healthy Happy Life.

For the past couple of years I’ve volunteered to make the birthday cakes (one for each sister) for my sisters’ birthday. Birthdays are a great excuse to try out a sweeter-than-usual dessert that I’ve been eyeing, and doing the baking, guarantees I’ll actually be able to eat something come dessert time. This year I couldn’t pass up Jem’s request for this Frosted Blueberry Cake.

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What I really love about this cake is that the actual cake is not too sweet, and pretty darn healthy. The flax, oats, applesauce, blueberries, and walnuts do the double duty of making the cake taste great, and providing some actual nutrients, instead of just empty calories. Without the frosting, this cake is more like a snack-cake than a true dessert, but as soon as you add the amazing coconut frosting, it is elevated to a beautiful dessert, perfect for any occasion. And the frosting really is amazing!

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I did make a couple of minor changes to the original recipe:
– I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour. I rarely even buy all purpose flour anymore, and I’m always pleased with the results I get using whole wheat flour. As usual, when substituting whole wheat flour, I just had to add an extra little splash of nondairy milk when mixing the wet and dry together.
– I used ground flaxseeds.
– I choose to use coconut sugar.
– I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk in place of the soy milk.
– I couldn’t find any fresh blueberries, so I used frozen blueberries in the cake, and fresh raspberries for decorating.

In regards to the options listed in the original recipe, I used almond extract, I didn’t use any cinnamon, and I used walnuts.

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We really enjoyed this cake, and I will absolutely be using both the cake recipe and the frosting recipe again!

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I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday 4/23/13.

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Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart

Vegan MoFo 2012 Post #7

In my Thanksgiving post on Sunday I mentioned that I was making a Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart as my contribution to our family dinner’s dessert. I couldn’t have been happier with the way it turned out. This is a super rich dessert: perfect for a special occasion when there are lots of people to share it with. The combination of a nutty crumbly crust, creamy dark chocolate ganache, and tart cranberry sauce makes this a dessert worth savouring, sharing, and remembering!

The inspiration for this dessert came from this Fresh Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart. This tart from Sweet Sugar Beanis not a vegan recipe, but I really liked the idea of pairing dark chocolate ganache with fresh berries, so I added it to my inspiration pile when I came across it this summer. I’ve also been experimenting with making small batches of berry sauces using chia seeds as a binder and I knew if made thicker, this could work great as the fruit part of the tart.

As soon as I started seeing fresh cranberries in our local grocery store, the idea for this Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart came together. While this would probably work equally well with any other berry, using cranberries makes this a perfect seasonal fall and winter dessert: perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Plus I have a major soft spot for all things cranberry!

Please don’t be intimidated by the three different things you need to make for this recipe. Each one has 5 ingredients or less, is simple and quick to make. Plus all three can be made ahead of time, so there is no need to feel rushed. I made the crust one day, the cranberry sauce the next, and then made the chocolate ganache and assembled the tart the morning before our Thanksgiving dinner.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart (makes 1 10-inch pie)

No-Bake Date Nut Crust
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup sliced almonds
6 tsp ground chia seeds
15 dates (3/4-1 cup), pitted
1/4 tsp salt

Place pecans and almonds in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the ground chia, dates, and salt and process until thoroughly combined. The mixture should start clumping together. Press mixture into a lightly greased 9 or 10 inch pie or tart pan. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble tart.

Cranberry Sauce
3 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp organic maple syrup
3 tbsp ground chia seeds*
*If you can’t find ground chia seeds, whole chia seeds can be ground up in a coffee or spice grinder.

Combine all ingredients in a pot or saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times. You want at least half of the cranberries to pop, but not all of them. Remove from heat, stir well, and let cool until ready to assemble tart.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
3 cups roughly chopped vegan dark chocolate*
1 15 ounce can light coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
*I used 2 1/2 cups 72% chocolate and 1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate, but feel free to choose your percentage according to how dark you like your chocolate. While I personally would have used darker chocolate if making this just for myself, I had to keep the tastes of my family in mind. Also remember that the darker the chocolate, the less sweet your tart will be. 

Place chopped chocolate in a large heat-safe bowl. In a pot, bring coconut milk to a boil, remove from heat, and pour over top of the chopped chocolate. Let this sit for 5 minutes, then add vanilla and stir for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and glossy. Immediately pour chocolate into prepared crust. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, until chocolate is cooled and no longer liquid.

Once chocolate is cooled and set, spread the cranberry sauce evenly over the top. Keep in the refrigerator until serving. The tart will be difficult to cut if the chocolate warms up. Enjoy!

How do you like the photo collages? I made them through PicMonkey. Fast, easy, free photo collages and editing, with tonnes of options!

This post has been submitted to this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Healthy Vegan Friday #46. Perhaps its a little more than ‘slightly’ indulgent, but certainly a lot healthier than it could be!

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Crazy for Coconut: Blueberry Coconut Crumble Bars

Blueberries are definitely one of my most used fruits. In the summer I like to buy large quantities of fresh local blueberries and freeze them for the fall and winter months. Having this supply has meant that I’ve learned to love blueberries in almost everything I bake: muffins, breads, cakes, and crisps. They almost always make an appearance in my smoothies as well.

The inspiration for these bars came when I saw this recipe for Blackberry Coconut Bars. I liked the idea of making fruit bars, which I’ve never actually done before, but I knew I wanted oats in my bars as well. After looking at a few different recipes I ended up using the base/topping from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Date Bars (page 128) in The Joy of Vegan Baking, adding coconut (shredded, sugar, and oil) and making other changes to make it healthier than the original. For the filling I tossed frozen blueberries with some cornstarch, agave, and vanilla, as I’d seen done in a few different recipes.

These bars are moist, crumbly, and only slightly sweet. They are quick and simple to make, and I really loved the combination of blueberries and coconut. The coconut craze seems to be in full swing and, as you can probably tell by the use of 3 forms of coconut in the following recipe, I have become a willing participant.

Blueberry Coconut Crumble Bars
Base/Topping:
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
4 tsp ground flax
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C coconut sugar (sucanat or brown sugar would work)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/4-1/2 cup water
Filling:
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 cup agave
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and lightly grease a 9-inch (23cm) square or 9×13-inch (23x33cm) pan. For the base/topping, in a large bowl thoroughly combine the oats, coconut, ground flax, salt, sugar, and flour. Heat the coconut oil (I use the microwave) until it is mostly liquid. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients, and add 1/4 cup of water. Stir together until totally combined. It should be moist but not wet, and will form little clumps. Add more water if needed. Press half of this mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. For the filling, combine the blueberries, vanilla, and agave in a small bowl. Add the cornstarch and stir until coated. Spread this mixture out on top of the base (it might not look like enough filling, but when cooked it will be). Crumble the remaining half of the base/topping mixture over top of the blueberries. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is slightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut into bars. Enjoy!

Sorry, for the bad picture, but you get the idea! I love that deep purple blueberry colour!

When you cut these bars you will probably end up with quite a bit of crumbles left in the dish. My suggestion: add them to your next bowl of oatmeal, cereal, or granola for a nice breakfast treat. That is if you can stop yourself from eating them right out of the pan!

Questions:
Have you joined the recent coconut craze? Do you have a favourite form of coconut to bake/cook with?
I’ve started baking with coconut oil and I really like the results so far. I love using coconut milk to make creamy sauces, and I really enjoy the brown sugar-like flavour of coconut sugar.

Do you have a favourite recipe that showcases coconut (in any form)? Please share.
I love this Pineapple Coconut Bread, but these bars are a close second.