Peanut Caramel Slice|Vegan|Healthy|GF|RSF|

Dates, sea-salt, and vanilla make the perfect “caramel” to be used in a vegan caramel slice. The best part is, you could fool absolutely anyone with this no-bake recipe. All natural ingredients? Full of amazing healthy fats? No refined sugar? Yes, please!

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The chunky peanuts just make this slice so good.

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All the beautiful, natural ingredients you need.

Ingredients:

The crust:

  • 1 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup of blanched almond meal *
  • 115-125g of melted coconut oil **
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of sea-salt

Peanut-caramel filling

  • 12-15 Medjool dates (softened for 10 minutes in hot water if you live in a cool climate)
  • Generous dash of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp of cracked sea-salt
  • 2 tsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup (optional***)
  • 1/3 cup of unsalted roasted peanuts

Chocolate layer

  • 200g of 85% dark chocolate (RSF option featured below)
  • 1/3 cup of roughly chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
  • A pinch of sea-salt
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Organic dark chocolate by Pico, sweetened with Coconut Nectar.

Instructions:

The crust:

  • Line a 20 cm X 30 cm baking pan with baking paper.
  • Place all of the ingredients for the crust into a mixing bowl and mix together. Ensure that the coconut oil is thoroughly mixed through.
  • Take a small amount of the crust mixture and press it between your finger and thumb. If it holds, your mixture should be ready to press down into the pan. If not, add one tablespoon at a time of coconut oil into the mixture until it has reached the desired consistency.
  • Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and press down firmly with a spatula or a flat kitchen utensil to ensure that it is level across the pan. Keep pressing until there are as few loose crumbs as possible.
  • Place in the freezer for 15 minutes or the fridge for 30 minutes.
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This is how your mixture should look.
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Ooh, it’s so neat.

The peanut-caramel layer

  • Place dates, coconut oil, maple syrup*** and the sea salt into a food processor or blender. If your food processor/blender has a pulse setting, pulse on low to chop up the dates. Alternatively, you can chop the dates regularly before processing. Scrape down the sides and process/blend on low-medium until smooth. If your food processor/blender is having trouble blending the date mixture, add a dash or 2-3 tablespoons of boiling water, and keep scraping down the sides.
  • Once your date mixture is smooth, transfer to a bowl and fold in the roasted peanuts. Give the mixture a quick taste test to see if it needs another pinch of salt (depending on how salty you like your caramel).
  • Next, we will spread the mixture over the crust. Refer to the photo below. To prevent the peanuts from damaging the crust, dollop the date/peanut mixture in each corner of the crust, as well as the centre. Stretch the mixture delicately across the crust with the back of a clean tablespoon. Once complete, place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, or alternatively, the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Omit this step if you aren’t fussed about a neat chocolate layer.
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Spread your dolloped mixture with the back of a clean spoon or baking spatula.
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There was a gap in my peanut mixture, hence some out of place nuts.

The chocolate layer

  • Melt the chocolate in a glass casserole dish placed inside of a slightly bigger saucepan that is filled 1/3 of the way with boiling water. If you have a double boiler, unlike me, feel free to melt your chocolate using the double-boiler method. Place it on the stove on a low heat and constantly stir until the chocolate is just melted.
  • If you used the glass casserole dish and saucepan method, carefully remove the casserole dish from the pan and allow the casserole dish to cool slightly.
  • Evenly pour over the top of the date-peanut layer. Spread with a baking spatula or the back of a clean spoon. Sprinkle over the roughly chopped peanuts and lightly dust with cracked sea salt.
  • Place in the freezer for another 15 minutes, or alternatively, the fridge for 30 minutes. If you are not pressed for time, place the slice in the fridge to set over-night, or for at least 2-3 hours.
  • Once set, slice with a sharp, clean knife and enjoy.
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Your chocolate layer, with chopped peanuts and a pinch of salt.

Recipe footnotes:

*If you don’t have blanched almond meal, go ahead and use crushed almonds with the skin on, or another nut meal of choice. You can even blend your own almonds from scratch until the crumbs resemble the size of the desiccated coconut!

** If your mixture is a little dry, add one tablespoon at a time of coconut oil until the desired consistency is achieved.

*** If your mixture is too thick for your food processor or blender, and you would like to stretch out your mixture a bit more, add 2-4 tablespoons of maple syrup.

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Slice and enjoy!

As always, here’s to happy travels and happy stomachs.

Lots of love,

Cora B.

Easy Chunky Choc-chip Paleo Banana Bread | Nut-Free Option |Dairy-free|

This Chunky Paleo Banana Bread will not disappoint! It is gluten-free, refined sugar-free and super high protein! This can be made entirely nut free, just sub out the walnuts that feature in this recipe for some good, nut-free toasted granola/muesli clusters. When it comes to delicious sweet treats, I am all about texture. Hence, bare with me with the semi-long recipe list as I did some experimenting with some chunky bits in my recipe but it turned out wonderful! Please pay attention to the recipe footnotes, as this way you will avoid the mistakes I made. This recipe was inspired by Detoxinista.

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Ingredients:

  • 4-5 overripe bananas (4 if the bananas are medium, 5 if they are itty-bitty)
  • 3/4 of a cup of coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup* (optional but I highly recommend)
  • A dash or two of almond milk **
  • 1/3 cup of dairy-free, paleo choc-chips ***
  • 1/3 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/3 a cup of chopped walnuts OR NFO: 1/2 of nut-free granola/muesli or extra chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg or allspice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 350ºF and line a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf (22-23 cm by 12-13 cm) pan with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Once mashed, add the walnuts or granola, cranberries, choc-chips, eggs, coconut sugar, cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg, salt, and vanilla. Use a whisk or a fork to stir the mixture well.
  3. Slowly whisk in the coconut flour and baking soda to avoid lumps. **If your mixture is looking grainy (which it probably will), add a dash or two of your milk of choice.
  4. Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan and bake until the centre of the loaf has risen and started to crack. about 45 to 55 minutes****.  Poke with a baking spear or fork and check if it comes out clean. If your bread is a bit on the brown side, do not fear, it will be super moist inside still. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
  5. This loaf is very moist and very dense. Trust me, it does not do well in hot and humid weather so save yourself the heartache and store it in the fridge in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap.
  6. Enjoy!

Footnotes:

*Honey or maple syrup will add another dimension of flavour to the banana bread and it helps with the consistency of the batter. If you are going for an even lower sugar option, feel free to omit.

** If your mixture looks grainy, as mentioned, add a few dashes of your milk of choice. Coconut flour is extremely absorbent, so do not fear if your batter appears a bit liquidy.

***If you aren’t too concerned about how paleo-friendly your choc chips are, look out for dark chocolate chips as they tend to be dairy free!

****If you have a super awesome oven like my partner’s mother does (she is the absolute best, she lets me take over her kitchen), then in the last 20 minutes, turn down your oven to 160ºC/320ºF.

Lots of love,

Cora B.

Vienna Vegan Food Guide

Vegan and vegetarian food in Vienna is endless and wonderfully creative. Vegan or vegetarian options are often available where ever you go, which came as a pleasant surprise considering this is a meat and cheese loving city. As I similarly described in my Munich Vegan Food Guide, you won’t need my help scouting out delicious food at entirely vegan or vegetarian restaurants. But, I wanted to create a list of my favourite places, as well as places you wouldn’t expect to have great vegan or vegetarian food. Food in Vienna is highly affordable and you can score a falafel kebab (or ‘kebap’ as the Austrian’s say) for 3-5 euros, pretty much where ever you go. Let’s jump straight in, shall we?

Das Augustin Restaurant

All-time favourite restaurant, Märzstraße 67, 1150 Wien, Austria

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I just had to start my list off with Das Augustin as this wins the award for the all-time favourite restaurant for my entire Europe trip. If your someone who really appreciates warm ambience in a restaurant, you must make it to this restaurant. Vegans, they had a bio-vegan Wiener Schnitzel with vegan Austrian-style potato salad. Now, this is what I came here for, to try a traditional cultural dish but veganized. Just to top off the experience, there are cats who reside in the restaurant. And don’t worry, they aren’t interested in your food. Rather, they will literally sit on a comfy chair with you at your table if you are lucky. As you can see, I got to eat dinner with this beautiful tabby cat.

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They also have a wide selection of vegan starters. They were out of the vegan wurst (sausage) so we had the hummus and bread- highly, highly recommend if you are a fussy hummus lover like me. To top it off with, they have meat options for your omnivore friends or partners and a great selection of vegan and organic wines.

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Aida Cafe Vienna

Bakery cafe, Multiple Locations around Vienna

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In your time walking the beautiful streets of Vienna, you will probably see a few of these cafes. Typically, I stay away from chain cafes, at least back at home, but Aida Cafe Vienna will not disappoint. It is the perfect place for a small bite to eat or for an easy lunch. Austrian service is top notch and you will love sitting in this awesomely pink and cute bakery cafe. You are going to get hungry on your travels in Vienna, particularly in wintertime and simply due to the amount of walking you will find yourself doing. The first Aida Cafe I went to had a poster on the wall that said “Vegetarian-Friendly”, which was lovely to see.

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They had a range of small bowls of soup, served with a delicious Vienna-style bread role. Vegans, politely ask to hold the cream or if that isn’t possible for some reason, order the Pasta al Pomodoro, pasta with tomato sauce. It was actually some of the nicest Pomodoro sauce I had on my trip to Europe, who would have known! You can see in the picture I forgot to hold the cheese. Vegetarians, go ahead and enjoy that cheese. Aida Cafe Vienna also will have options for your schnitzel loving and omnivore friends. If you want a treat, indulge yourself in their pastries. Every product has allergy information marked, which was great to see.359278480_IMG_1579

Xu’s Cooking

Kaiserstraße 45, 1070 Wien, Austria

As you walk the streets of Vienna, you will quickly come to realize how international this city is and how welcoming it is to foreigners. Austria opened their borders to many displaced Vietnamese people after the Vietnam war, so Asian-fusion restaurants are abundant and they are extremely high quality. Xu’s Cooking has to be the best Asian fusion buffet I have ever eaten at. Everything is super fresh and almost entirely vegan, with the exception of a few clearly marked dishes that contain egg. Monday-Friday their lunch buffet is only 8.90 euros per head. Eat your heart out here, it is so worth it!

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Swing Kitchen

Vegan burger joint, Schottenfeldgasse 3, 1070 Wien, Austria

I would probably go as far to say that these are the cheapest but most scrumptious vegan burgers in the world. We got the ‘cheese’ burger and the vegan Wiener schnitzel burger. Less than 6 euros for a burger? I swear I was dreaming. They even track the amount of carbon emissions that Swing Kitchen saves everytime someone orders one of their burgers over a regular meat burger. Wonderful!

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Veggiezz

Vegan burger and comfort food joint, Salzgries 9Wien, 1010, Austria

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If you would like a bit of a fancier burger or vegan comfort food experience, Vegiezz has you covered. The decor is just beautiful and the wait-staff are just lovely, you can tell they enjoy their job. They have a wonderful selection of vegan-friendly alcohol and the experience really capped off our last night in Vienna. I forgot to note down specifically what I got but you really cannot go wrong here at all.

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Biosk

Bar and Cafe, Museum Quarter, Vienna

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There always seems to be one or two places that I am desperate to go to but either they are way too busy or they are closed. Biosk was one of them! I am unsure if it is open year round, but it is a permanent fixture in the Museum Quater. They have organic and vegan-friendly beers and wines and I am sure it is an awesome spot to sip on some cruelty-free alcohol, fair trade coffee and eat some organic snacks.

StrudelBox

Take away strudel kiosk, Schulhofpassage, 1060 Wien, Austria

Vegan Apple Strudel? Yes please! I just wish I got to try it… yes this was another one of thsoe places that I stupidly saved for my last day in Vienna and did not check when it was and was not open. Please, eat all the vegan strudel for me- do it for me.

Cafe Freud

Cafe and Restaurant, Berggasse 19, 1090 Wien, Austria

If I ever wanted good quality, museum cafe food at a reasonable price in Australia, I’d probably get told to bugger off. In Europe, however, this is actually a possibility. After a pilates workout in my pension room, a long walk and an amazing visit to the Sigmund Freud Museum, I was getting quite ‘hangry’. So, we hedged our bets and were pleasantly surprised by Cafe Freud. I got a fresh and homemade vegetable soup with a piece of sourdough bread and yet another Cafe Americano. The soup was 3.50 euros and it was the perfect warm and tasty snack I needed to continue with my day. Also, the cafe is full of Freud decor, as you’d expect and its really quite charming.

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Noodle King

Fast food Japanese/Chinese, Approximate address: Museumstraße 12, 1010 Wien, Austria, also multiple locations around Vienna

Fresh, cheap and high-quality sushi and Japanese food are surprisingly easy to come by in Vienna. Being one of my favourite cuisines, I often get hankerings for Japanese food. I apologise in advance as I could not find the exact address as for some reason they are not listed on the internet very well but there are multiple Noodle King and Mr.Noodle locations around. The one I went to was near the Museum Quater, so it should be easy to find. They have vegan maki rolls and avocado maki rolls (what I call inside-out sushi), as well as freshly cooked stir-fries. I had the Avacado Maki roll and got 12 pieces for less than 5 euros. Bargain!

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Nordsea

Fast food joint, Multiple locations around Vienna

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With the sheer amount of wonderful things to do in Vienna, you will often need a quick lunch to have on the go. I know back at home, the last thing I would expect to see at fast-food franchise selling fish and chips is an advertisement for a Vegan Avocado Wrap, but what do you know, Vienna is often full of pleasant surprises. So if you’re desperate, grab an avocado wrap to go or indulge in one of Vienna’s ‘kebap’ shops.

Wintertime Bonus: Christmas Markets

Multiple locations around Vienna

Whichever market you go to, you will always find candied almond, Austrian style hashbrowns and spiraled potatoes on a stick, chestnuts, mulled wine and perfectly salted pretzels. Explore the markets if you are lucky enough to be in Vienna in the wintertime. With this amount of treats. you won’t be jealous of the wurst stands!