OREO MINI CUPCAKES

oreos

This time, I’m in Thailand, Chiang Mai to be specific. To be even more specific, I’m in an internet cafe next to a junior monk who had to point out I was trying to get on the computer while it was turned off.

 

This is another recipe I did before I went away, and added to my recipe bank. I’ve not posted in a week, as I’ve been staying pretty much in the forest, volunteering at a little place called the Elephant Nature Park. I won’t go into too much detail about the volunteering, but I will say, if you truly love elephants and want to experience working with them, this is the best and only place to go. What makes this place different is that the elephants are trained through positive reinforcement, rather than the traditional (and still most common) training technique called crushing, which is beating the elephant into submission. Domestic elephants are part of Thailand’s culture, and while it’s not something I wholly support, I can respect their culture but not their methods, which is why I would recommend ENP. All the elephants have been rescued from cruel situations and roam free over 150 acres of open land. While it would probably not be ethical to realease them into the wild, due to the fact they would probably not survive, this is definitely the closest to it they can safely and happily get.

 

Anyway, enough of that, maybe when I can load my photos i will do a post on it, but oreo cupcakes.

I had fairly recently discovered that Oreos are vegan when making these, and because I like my cooking, obviously found it too plain and conventional to eat them out of the packet. The cases were something I picked up in Lakeland (a cookshop) before I knew I was going to make these, because they were too adorable not to buy. They even had little dome lids. These were one of my favourite cupcakes so far due to the texture of the bettercream. I added just a tablespoon of sweetener which made it very light and fluffy, but omit this if you don’t like artificial sweeteners for health or taste reasons.

 

Ingredients (makes 10 small):

 

1 cup plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup caster sugar

2 tbsp soy milk

1 cup vegan butter/spread (i used a sunflower based one)(half for cake batter and half for the buttercream)

1/4 cup cocoa (plus 1 tbsp for frosting)

1 cup powdered sugar

2 packets of mini oreos

1 tbsp sweetener such as Splenda

 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the caster sugar and half a cup of butter.

2. Mix in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add the soy milk gradually until it becomes a thick batter.

3. Crush one of the packets of oreos and add to the batter.

4. Spray or grease the cake cases and bake at 180C  for 12-15 minutes.

5. Cream together the remaining butter, cocoa and sweetener for the buttercream. Once the cakes have cooled, pipe on the frosting and top with another mini oreo.

GIANT COUS COUS BEET SALAD

Photo

 

If this post seems a little different to usual, it’s because I am not on my own computer. I am in fact, believe it or not sitting at a computer, in a youth hostel in Hong Kong! 

As obvious as it is to me I made this before I left, I realised amidst writing this, that there aren’t any major giveaways if one has never been to Hong Kong. I think the main clue would be that as far as I can tell, beetroot is not a popular ingredient over here. Also the picture is on grass as apposed to a concrete pavement (it’s a concrete jungle which is beautiful in it’s own way) but not much greenery in the area I’m staying.

As I have never intended for this to be a travel blog, I won’t blab on about my travels too much, but despite the excessive amounts of meat that’s on offer, the vegetarian dshes here are more often than not, vegan as well. Me and my friend then noticed, that in asian cooking (authentic asian cooking), there really isn’t much use of dairy. We came to the conclusion that it’s because cows are sacred in their religion (we think) as well as the majority of the substitutes that are often used in vegan cooking, originate and are grown here. I’m mainly referring to coconut and soy.

Travels aside, this was part of my vegan feast (in the previous post). It is very simple, so easy to make, and is very aesthetically pleasing. Went down a treat among my friends and family and also spraked quite a lot of conversation due to the pinkness of it. Aside from cooking the cous cous, this is much more a matter of just assembling it, and is better prepared overnight to let the cous cous cool.

 

Without further ado, the recipe;

Ingredients (serves 4 as a small main):

1 cup giant cous cous

1 cooked beetroot, diced

Large handful of watercress

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 carrot, peeled and spiralled or finely sliced

 

Method:

1. Boil some water in the kettle, and cook the cous cous on a medium heat with 2 cups of water. It should take around 15-20minutes for all the water to be absorbed.

2. Rinse the cous cous under a tap for a couple of minutes, then leave for a minimum of a few hours to cool, but preferably overnight.

3. About 5 minutes before serving, mix the cous cous with the beet, then toss it around a little to allow the beet to dye the cous cous.

4. Finally, add the carrot, watercress and drizzle the lemon juice over to serve.