Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Millions of Peaches

I am trying to get back in the swing of things. Writing is tough when you haven’t done it in a while! I thought a good way to start thinking about recipes again is to use what is in season. Seems simple, right? Today, I am talking peaches.

These are one of my favourite fruits and one that really seems to only be tasty when it is truly in season. I bought a tub of peaches this week at the store and now trying to figure out what to do with them! Sure, I could just eat them as they are, but that isn’t really any fun.

Here is what I have been using peaches for:

Drinking - I knew there had to be a way to incorporate alcohol. I know you can use peaches in things like sangria. I did a little googling and came across a recipe called Peach Smash. I luckily had all the ingredients for it and needed to get rid of some whiskey. Perfect.

Peach Smash
1 1/12 oz of simple syrup
1-2 oz water (or juice)
half a peach sliced (save one for a garnish)
½-1 tsp of lemon juice (or slice of lemon, I just didn’t have any fresh)
5-6 mint leaves (save a sprig for garnish)
2 oz whiskey (I used Makers Mark Bourbon)

First, simple syrup.. This is something that does not hurt to have on hand and it really easy to make. All you need to do is combine equal parts white sugar and water in a small pot on medium heat. Cook it and stir occasionally until all the sugar is dissolved (takes 5-10 min). Pour it in a jar or squeeze bottle and put it in the fridge to cool.

Now, get a cocktail shaker out. Spank your mint (Yes, slap it in your palms) to release the oils. I learned this from a bartending tutorial at a fair.. and it is one of the best tricks ever. I had no idea what I was missing on until I learned about spanking mint.

Add the mint, simple syrup, water and peach. Get a muddler and smash it up. and the ice and the whiskey and shake it. Pour over ice and garnish with the piece of peach and the mint sprig.

Now if you are not into alcohol, another great way to use up peaches is add them to a smoothie. Seriously peach makes all fruit smoothies better. My favourite combo right now is:
  • Grapefruit
  • Peach
  • Berries
  • Spinach
  • Banana
There is no better way to start your day… green smoothies are the best!

Dessert - OK, I know these are obvious, but I just haven’t been home much to use my peaches in a more savoury dish. I know it’s possible. It was my sister’s birthday over the weekend and I promised to bring in a dessert. I decided to make a peach upside down cake. Why? I figured, why is pineapple the only upside down dessert? Peaches seems like such an easy substitute. I had a recipe that is not vegan and decided to switch it from a non-vegan pineapple-upsidedown cake, to a vegan peach upside down cake. (original recipe)

Peach Upside Down Cake


  • 2 peaches, slided
  • 1 small container of raspberries
  • ⅓ cup vegan margarine (or butter, I just didn’t have any earth balance)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
    • note: I make my own. In a food processor combine 1 cup of white sugar and ½ -1 tbsp molasses and process until combined

  • ½ cup margarine (or butter, softened)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp chia and 3 Tbsp water (two make two chia eggs)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup of milk (I used coconut)
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Fruit topping (Optional)
  • 1-2 peaches, sliced
  • more raspberries - you should have plenty left over

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. First make the topping. Melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar. Pour it into a 8X8 baking dish (Note: original recipe called for 9”, but I couldn’t find one, 8” worked well).

Slice two peaches and put them on top of the brown sugar butter mixture. This will be the top of the cake, so make it pretty if you want. Add raspberries. I used about 8-10 here.

Now make the cake. In a big bowl, cream the margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined and smooth. Pour the batter over the peaches in the pan and if want, sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. For those that don’t know, I am a little obsessed with cinnamon.. I put it on everything. It is good either way, but cinnamon goes nice with peach.
Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Now, once cooked, let it cool for 10-15 minutes and then run a knife around the edgo and invert on to a serving dish.

When I did this, my cake fell apart. I repaired as best as I could, but it made all my work look messy. To distract everyone from this, I decided to top with fresh fruit. I am glad it happened because this cake is super, super sweet. The fresh fruit helped cut the sugar a bit. If you want to do this, after inverting the cake, take another sliced peach and put on top and add more fresh raspberries.

Let cool and serve. I brought coconut milk ice cream with it and it worked well. but is great on its own too.

This dessert was a total hit with the vegan and non vegans alike.

** I am having trouble getting pictures up with posts right now... Hopefully will resolve the issue soon.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cafe Caribe - Happy find in downtown

Cafe Caribe This little restaurant popped I think sometime in the winter/spring 2014. It is right across the street to my work. I walk by it to get to my bus and they always have a sign out front saying Vegan Roti. I have been wanting to go forever and just never did. Mostly because I try to bring a lunch every day.

So finally a few weeks ago my sister and I gave ti a try. To sum it up, good food.. island service. When you approach Cafe Caribe they have super tinted windows and it makes look like no one is home, but when you go inside there is a nice warm vibe. We were greeted by presumably the owner. She said that the server was not in yet (We went right when they opened at 11:30 and I think the server shows up at 12….). She was very welcoming and got us to a table. By this time the server is in and takes our order. Took about 20-25 minutes to get our food. In some cases I don’t mind a longer wait time if I know the food is good. To me, it makes me think someone is actually back there cooking something not just heating up prepped food. I like that.

However, at lunch right in the centre of downtown, I don’t know if this is acceptable. If I had any kind of commute to get there, I would be late getting back from an hour lunch break. This is my biggest critque of this restaurant.

The menu only has a couple vegan options. They have the Roti which you can get for $8 or as an entree (meaning you get a salad too). The also have a vegan dessert. It looks like a cake, but I didn’t try it, so cannot be sure. I just love that there is an entree and a dessert on the menu for me. I wish they had an appetizer too. Maybe one day.

Even though the service is slow, I go back for the food. The roti is so good (I hear the non vegan ones are too). The people are nice and welcoming. Sadly it is never busy in there… I don’t know why, especially with the mexican place next door and their giant line… I would gladly sit at a quiet table and wait a little for my food and than to be pushed through the line at Tres carnales for overpriced, pretentious taco.

OK, so it will be obvious when you go try this place out, but the vegan Roti seems to be there fairly normal special… and they not the vegan dessert. I am so grateful when restaurants do this. I hate having to ask if it is vegan and then explaining what that means… and then holding up everyone’s order while they find out only to be told: No. I used to not mind, but honestly after five years, it get a little tiring being “That one” in the group.

In summary, cafe Caribe - I highly recommend. Just be care if you’re on a lunch break. I would much prefer to do here and have after work drinks anyways .

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Vegan Mofo 2014 - Starting Shortly

I was not sure I wanted to do vegan Mofo. I sort of fell off blogging after mofo 2012. Not because I didn’t like it, but because food blogging is expensive and it is time consuming and I think I had a tendency to cook things that were not very healthy… or just that I had to cook everything single day and for a single person it is very tough to eat all that food!!

However, late at night on the deadline, I signed up.. so I am going to try to get some blogging done this month. I will be starting in a couple days. Getting over a cold and I need to get a game plan.

Nothing like a last minute month of writing!!

I don’t know if I have followers left, but I am always open to suggestions on topics too :)

I am planning to start by Friday.. Promise!