Work-in-progress Carrot Cake

Almond latte & vegan carrot cake // www.bananabloom.com #vegan #carrotcake

Almond latte & vegan carrot cake // www.bananabloom.com #vegan #carrotcake

The above image is a bit deceiving. It would suggest that I’m about to share a description of how to make carrot cake. I’m sorry if I’m disappointing you, but this is not a recipe post.

I made this last weekend using a recipe I googled. The result was very disappointing, I ended up with  a sloppy mess – the frosting was too liquid, the carrot not grated finely enough, the cake not baked enough, and if you could taste it through the screen, you’d say it was lacking that something, something that causes you to sigh with pleasure at first bite.

However, all is not lost! I know exactly what things I want to tweak in the recipe to make this the towering dessert I have envisioned. And then I’ll of course be sharing the recipe with you.

Stay tuned…

 

This is Banana Bloom

Welcome to Banana Bloom - bananabloom.com

Welcome to Banana Bloom - bananabloom.com

Those of you who previously knew this to be Fan-freakin’-tastic, a baking blog full of sugary sweet recipes, may have noticed a bit of a change. I’ve been itching to develop the blog into something else – something more – that will allow me to express interests beyond my baking.

I’ve created a new concept for the blog, given it a new design, reorganised the content, and decided on some new categories. Of course, with all these changes, I felt a new name was necessary too.

Welcome to Banana Bloom, where I’ll be sharing with you my thoughts, ideas, recipes, and inspiration for a healthy and happy life. I’m hoping that in doing so, I’ll inspire you to be happy and healthy too!

(and don’t worry, I’ll keep sharing some sugary sweet recipes too)

Travelling as a vegan

Traveling as a vegan // www.bananabloom.com #vegan #plantbased

Travelling as a vegan // www.bananabloom.com #vegan #plantbased

A photo from our recent trip to Turkey

New or experienced, travelling abroad can perhaps feel a bit daunting as a vegan. Explaining your dietary preferences or trying to decipher the list of ingredients printed in a foreign language could prove to be difficult, not to mention the raised eyebrows of people who consider your lifestyle a bit extreme. I thought I’d be facing some conundrums during my travels this summer, but my experiences taught me differently. Here’s my advice on how to make traveling as a vegan a non-issue.

Give a heads up
If you’re staying with friends or family abroad, give them a little heads up that you’re vegan. Let them know that you’re not expecting anything and are fine with – and would love to – pick up your own groceries. Most often, people are fine with “special” requests, as long as they’re given time to plan for them.

Bring snacks
Most of your vacation will likely be spent out and about, exploring the area and going on adventures. When we were in Turkey, I made sure to always have some good bars, bananas and other fruit or nuts in my bag, to snack on if I got hungry.

No cheese, please.
At the restaurant, politely ask your waiter if any of their vegetarian dishes can be made without the cheese, milk or cream. Thus far, I’ve never had any issue with this during my travels as a vegan. When there’s been few or no vegetarian options on the menu, I’ve just asked the chef to cook me whatever vegetables he has on hand, and I’ve been happily accommodated every time.

Offer to cook
If you’re staying with family or friends and have access to a kitchen, take the opportunity to join in on the cooking and share your own skills and knowledge. Offer to cook your company your favorite dish. It’s a good way to “break the ice” if they’re particularly skeptic to veganism.

It’s not an issue unless you decide it is
Be easy, accept what is on offer and don’t make a bigger deal of things than is necessary. As with anything, if you seem uncomfortable or awkward, your emotions will cause reverberations on your surroundings and make your company feel bad too. If you’re easy going, polite and happy, everyone else will be too.

Don’t lecture
I think that one of the most common reasons why people sometimes are uncomfortable around vegans is because there are those who feel the need to lecture anyone and everyone about it. I’m not one of them. Food is a sensitive enough subject as it is, questioning can so easily lead to negative emotions and cause unhealthy restrictions. You’ve chosen a vegan lifestyle, let them chose theirs.

It really is that simple. Positive mind – positive vibes – positive life.

What are your best tips for traveling as a vegan?

Vegan Cinnamon Buns

Vegan Cinnamon Buns // BananaBloom.com #vegan #cinnamonbuns #kanelbullar #plantbasedliving

Vegan Cinnamon Buns // BananaBloom.com #vegan #cinnamonbuns #kanelbullar #plantbasedliving

Whenever the vegan word is brought up in conversation, the first question is usually “But where do you get your protein?” However, in my case, it’s most often “But you love baking! You can’t bake if you’re vegan, right?” How unimaginative and severely lacking in the creative department I would be if a vegan lifestyle were to prevent me from baking delicious treats.

This weekend was Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden (“Kanelbullens Dag” in Swedish). On a regular day, Swedes are pretty enthusiastic about their fika and cinnamon buns, but on “Kanelbullens Dag” it’s on a different level. So, did being vegan prevent me from baking cinnamon buns on October 4th? Of course not.

Vegan Cinnamon Buns / Kanelbullar
Yield: 
20-25 buns

150 grams / 5 oz vegetable butter
4 dl / 1.6 cups almond milk (or other vegan milk)
1 dl / 0.5 cups vanilla soy yoghurt
50 g / 1.7 oz fresh yeast
4 Tbsp raw cane sugar
1 tsp cardamon, freshly ground
12 dl / 5 cups flour

Filling 1
100g / 3.5 oz vegetable butter
1 Tbsp cinnamon
4 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp muscovado sugar

Filling 2
3 Tbsp coconut oil (not melted)
4 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Method
Crumble the yeast in a large bowl, add the sugar and cardamon and mix to allow the yeast to start dissolving. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add the milk and heat until it is lukewarm. Pour the milk and butter mixture over the yeast and stir until the sugar and yeast has dissolved, then add the vanilla soy yoghurt and mix until combined. Slowly add the flour and then knead the dough for at least 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. Grease a bowl with coconut oil, place the dough in it, cover with a clean towel and let it rest for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients for your choice of filling.

Once the dough has rested, roll it out into a 0.5 cm thick rectangle and spread the filling on half of the rectangle. Fold over the other half and slice into 2 cm strips, then cut each strip in half almost all the way through so you have what looks like a pair of pants. Twist each strip around itself and twirl into a round. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with a clean towel. Allow the buns to rise for an additional 30 minutes.

Set the oven to 250 C / 482 F / Gas mark 9. Brush the top of each bun with some almond milk and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until lightly golden, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To give your cinnamon buns that bakery shop look: once cooled, brush the tops with syrup (make syrup by warming equal parts sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved) and sprinkle with a mix of sugar and freshly ground cardamon (I used coconut sugar for this).

Enjoy!

Home

Last night I watched the documentary Home.

Published in 2009, Home is a free non-profit documentary about the evolution of the Earth’s climate. Through beautiful aerial imagery, the documentary portrays the depletion of the natural resources on Earth as narrator Glenn Close describes how our lifestyles are disrupting nature and climate.