Joanna Helcke Video

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Store cupboard vegan brownies

April last year I finally took the plunge and switched to a plant-based diet. Why? Well for two key reasons really: firstly I am a great believer in practising what I preach. I work in fitness: I keep strong. I talk about healthy eating: I eat well. I run a plant-based food business: I'm vegan. Secondly, and most importantly for me, from an individual perspective I feel that this is something that I can easily do to help our planet. I'm not going to go into preach mode because that's just annoying - this is simply how I've decided to do things. 

 

So here I am a year on, and with not a shred of regret:

  • For those of you into weight training like me: I am relieved to let you know that I haven't morphed into a weakling (fitness professional confession: I was a little worried).
     
  • I feel as fit, strong and healthy as ever.
     
  • I love love LOVE exploring the wonders of vegan cooking and have had hours, days, weeks, months of fun playing around in the kitchen veganising old favourites of mine - cooking alchemy is my joy
     
  • I never feel deprived, I don't miss ANYTHING - now that genuinely surprised me. I was convinced I'd miss cheese!
     
  • I'm happy, happy with my choice, happy eating plants, happy to have launched my vegan business zestEAT, happy to have had the privilege of training with Wild Food Cafe. Happy.

    Anyway, enough of that. We are, of course, all stuck indoors at the moment with covid19 consuming our lives and our livelihoods. My office happens to be  - yep you guessed - right next to the kitchen, and it's been irresistible. Admittedly, I could do without having to prepare three HUGE meals a day for my three ravenous boys - it's annoyingly time consuming - but nevertheless I've enjoyed pootling in the kitchen and being creative.

    Today I wanted to come up with a recipe as a personal celebration of 1 year vegan (with the odd slip-up!). Here it is: a squidgy brownie recipe because I'm a chocoholic through and through!

    INGREDIENTS

     
  • 2 tins of beans (I used 1 tin of black beans and 1 of kidney beans)
  • Aquafaba - keep the liquid from both tins of beans and whisk it up until it resembles whisked egg whites. This takes longer thn whisking eggs but it works
  • 100g cocoa mass (or very dark chocolate)
  • 112g coconut oil
  • pinch of tonka bean or vanilla
  • 150g agave syrup
  • 50g coconut flour
  • 0-50g coconut palm sugar depending on how sweet your tooth is! I didn't add any and they're fine I think, especially with the topping.
  • a handful or two of walnuts (optional) 

    TOPPING

     
  • 1 tin of coconut milk - thick part only (I drink the water!)
  • 100g of very dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons of agave syrup or maple

    MAKE IT!

    Step 1
  • Melt the coconut oil and cocoa mass together in a bain marie

    Step 2
  • Whisk the aquafaba - it takes around 6-8 minutes

    Step 3
  • Blend the beans, melted ingredients, tonka/vanilla and agave in a power blender until very smooth

    Step 4
  • Add the coconut flour and mix well with a big spoon

    Step 5
  • Fold in all of the aquafaba until you have a light, slightly fluffy batter

    Decant into a well greased 20cm square baking tin and bake at 180 degrees for around 40 minutes. It will come out super squidgy and wobbly, so let it cool down fully and it will become more manageable!

    TOPPING

     
  • Heat the coconut milk/cream in a saucepan until almost boiling
     
  • Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate. Let it sit there until its melted. Avoid the temptation of stirring it as it might curdle
     
  • Add in the agave syrup and mix very slowly and carefully so that the mixture doesn't separate
     
  • Spoon the ganache over the top of the fully cooled brownie, decorate as you wish (cacao nibs, petals, freeze dried raspberries - whatever you like!) and allow it to set. I put mine in the fridge to set. You'll then be able to cut it into squidgy squares!  


    This recipe has been rigorously tested by my three hyper-critical boys! They liked it so it must be good! 
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