Clever Pumpkin

IMG_6993_polarrI almost didn’t want to do anything for Halloween, because I’m not the biggest fan. But than I made a 2 layered pumpkin birthday cake for my lovely pig Oliver (it was his 2nd birthday!) and it was so delicious, that I had to make it into a recipe. Around this time of the year pumpkins are everywhere! Go into any supermarket and you will see big boxes with huge pumpkins everywhere and because I love pumpkins so much, I’m always tempted to buy one (or 2..), every time I step into a supermarket. Most people buy them to carve them and make them into pieces of art. Sometimes they don’t even realise what tasty things you can make with them and how delicious they are. So that is why I thought I will buy 1 of those pumpkins and I will show you 3 recipes you can make out of that 1 pumpkin. If you want to carve your pumpkin, you can still make 2 out of 3 recipes. As I said before, there will be the pumpkin cake (and only this recipe is worth buying a pumpkin), but I will also tell you how to roast the pumpkin seeds (sooo addictive) and how to make a big batch of the creamiest pumpkin soup ever (unless you carve your pumpkin, then you won’t have enough for soup). You can also follow my pumpkin soup recipe Pumpi if you don’t like it too creamy. So there we go..

You will need:
1 big Pumpkin (about 4kg)

IMG_2448_polarrPUMPKIN CAKE 

Serves: 8

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch of salt 

Wet Ingredients:
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups scraped pumpkin *
1/2 cup oat milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tbs lemon (juice)

Extra:
1 cup scraped pumpkin*
2 tbs brown sugar
3 tbs pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup raisins

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Slice 1/4 off the pumpkin, remove the seeds (keep them for later) and the pulp. Scrape 3 cups of pumpkin.*
-Put 2 cups of the scraped pumpkin + the rest of the wet ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
-Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix it up.
-Gently pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Preferably use an electric mixer to make it a smooth cake batter.
-Add the pumpkin seeds and the raisins to the batter and gently mix them in.
-Grease a baking tin and pour the cake batter in the tin.
-Squeeze as much juice as you can from the last cup of scraped pumpkin (put the pumpkin in kitchen roll, fold both hands around it and squeeze). Then mix in 2 tbs brown sugar and divide this over the top of the cake batter. Use your fingers to push it down a little bit.
-Put the tin in the oven for about 45-50 min.

*See picture: After taking the seeds out, use a spoon to scrape the inside of the pumpkin. It basically looks like grated pumpkin. You can also actually use a grater or pulse it in the kitchen machine until you’ve got the same.


B49DB55B-D947-41D3-BCC6-F41B163D826DROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

Makes: 1 cup 

all the seeds
1/2 tbs coconut oil (soft)
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp bouillon powder
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Preheat the oven at 220C.
-Try to take out as much pulp as you can.
-Rinse the seeds to get rid of more pulp.
-Cook the seeds in boiling water for 5 min.
-Rinse the seeds to get rid of the last pulp and dry them with some kitchen roll.
-Mix in the coconut oil, nutritional yeast, the bouillon powder and the salt/pepper.
-Put some baking paper on a flat baking tray and divide the seeds. Spread them out as much as you can.
-Put the tray in the oven for 5 min. Then mix it all up and put it in the oven for another 5-7 min. Keep checking, because you don’t want hem to burn. They are perfect when they just start to change colour a little bit.
-Let them cool down and enjoy the crispiness.


1F683E99-C901-4548-B074-91F2AC8AB112PUMPKIN SOUP 

Serves: 6-8 

the rest of the pumpkin (you can also add the pulp, chopped)
3 medium red onions (chopped)
10 big carrots (chopped)
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 L water 
1/3 cup bouillon powder
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp turmeric
salt/pepper (to taste) 

Cream:
200 gram tofu
1 cup cashew nuts
1 can coconut milk
1 cup almond milk 

Serving:
-1-2 tbs (tofu-coconut) cream
-1-2 tbs roasted pumpkin seeds

-Preheat the oven at 220C.
-Put all the pumpkin, the onion, the carrots and the garlic in a big oven tray (you might need 2!), sprinkle some salt on top and put the trays in the oven for 30-40 min.
-In the meantime make the cream: put the tofu, cashew nuts, coconut milk and the almond milk in the bender and blend until completely smooth (0 crumbs!). Keep a little bit separate, to use as a topping.
-Take the vegetables out of the oven and blend them with some water, the bouillon, nutritional yeast and the turmeric until smooth.
-Put it all in a big pan and mix in the cream.
-Add salt/pepper to taste.
-Serve with some extra cream and some roasted pumpkin seeds.

Are you excited to get a pumpkin now? Which recipe are you most excited about? Please show me your results on Instagram. You can do this by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Bananananana

Out of all the baking, I think I make banana bread most often. It’s a great thing to make when you have ripe bananas (which I always have), it’s easy and everyone loves it. This is why it is so so weird that there isn’t a single banana bread recipe on my blog yet! How is this even possible?? That needed to change. So I made my favourite ever banana bread, to share it with you. I think it’s a great autumn recipe too, with lots of delicious cinnamon. I do not always feel like it, but you can also add 1/2 a tsp of ginger powder or all spice, to get the taste of autumn a little bit more. It’s up to you! This banana bread recipe is free from refined sugar and made with coconut oil. I don’t think I will ever call it healthy, but let’s say that it is not that bad for you. Unless you eat it with (plant based.. duhh!) vanilla ice cream, like I often do (sooo good!). Just an extra tip.. after it is all cooled down, slice it up and freeze them separately. This way you can have a fresh slice of banana bread for snack whenever you want to.

BANANANANANA

Serves: 8-10

Dry Ingredients:
1,5 cup flour
2 tbs custard powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1,5 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:
1 cup medjool dates
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup oat milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs ground flaxseed

Extra:
1/3 cup rolled oats
2 tbs pumpkin seeds
2 tbs sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup raisins
1 small banana (finely chopped)
1/3 cup chocolate (chopped, optional)
1 banana (cut in length, optional)

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Mix all the dry ingredients.
-Mix all the wet ingredients and slowly mix this into the dry ingredients.
-Mix in all the extra things, except the banana you’ve cut in length.
-Grease a baking tin and divide the banana bread mixture in the tin.
-Put the cut banana on top and press it lightly into the mixture.
-Put it in the oven for 55-65 min.
-Let it cool down before slicing it up. 

Do you love banana bread? It’s a great thing to make and to share! Please show me your creation. You can do this by tagging e or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

BERRYLICIOUS

I love berries! Doesn’t matter what kind of berries, I love them all. As it’s blackberry season at the moment and there are huge huge bushes all around my van, I decided to make a cake with them. It’s to celebrate that my van is all finished now (I will dedicate a special post about my van soon)! Yay! Finally! I already live in it for over a year, but there were still a lot of things that needed to be done. All done now! Woohoooo! The first time I only used blackberries, but I thought it would be even nicer to use different types of berries. So I added some blueberries and one of my all time favourite, raspberries. I played a little bit with the ingredients and the result was mind blowing. I think this might be the best cake recipe I’ve ever created. It is a must try! Especially with the yogurt-cinnamon topping. It’s such a good combination.. the moist, soft cake, the sweet and sour berries and the fresh creamy yogurt on top. Gosh!

BERRYLICIOUS

Serves: 8-10 

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbs custard powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt 

Wet Ingredients:
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup oat milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 tbs lemon (juice) 

Berries:
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup raspberries 

Topping:
1/2 cup soy yogurt (unsweetened)
1/4 cinnamon
1 tsp lemon (juice)
extra berries (optional)
mint leaves (optional)

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Mix all the dry ingredients together.
-Mix all the wet ingredients together.
-Gradually mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth (preferably with an electric mixer).
-Use a spoon to carefully mix in the berries.
-Grease a cake tin with some extra oil and pour in the mix. Make sure the cake mix is nice and even.
-Put the cake tin in the oven for 45-55 min.
-In the meantime mix the yogurt, cinnamon and lemon juice.
-Before serving (and when the cake is all cooled down) you can add the yogurt topping, the extra berries + mint leaves. 

Are you going to make this Berrylicious cake recipe? Please let me know if you liked it. I would also love to see a picture of your creation! You can do this by tagging me on Instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Muffin Stuff

Now you can basically go into any cafe (in London at least) and they will have some sort of vegan cake option. A few years back this wasn’t the case and The Whole Foods Market in High Street Kensington started selling vegan bananas muffins. I was so happy, because I liked them so much. I bought them many times. As a snack or dessert or just because. Haha! They also sell blueberry muffins now and they are even better as they are a combination of both. Nowadays, whenever I’m at Whole Foods I still buy one. Only since I moved out of London, this isn’t that often anymore. But.. I’ve been experimenting and after a few fails, I managed to create a recipe that makes basically the exact same muffin. They are sooo good!

MUFFIN STUFF 

Makes: 6

1,5 cup self raising flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter (room temp.)
1 ripe banana (smashed)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries 

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Mix all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
-Add the butter, the banana and the vanilla extract and mix it well.
-Add the blueberries (keep a few to put on the top later on) and mix them in.
-Divide the mixture over 6 muffin shapes and press some blueberries on the top of each one.
-Put them in the over for about 35-45 min. until they are golden brown.
-Let them all cool down before eating them. 

It doesn’t matter if you had the muffins from the Whole Foods Market before or not, go and make these. They are so good! Please show me your results on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

No Cheesecake

I can’t believe it, but it is my VANniversary today!! A year ago I was so excited to sleep in my van for the first time and today that is already a year go! It’s crazy how fast time goes. Some people were concerned and thought I might not like it as much, but I knew I would and I was right. I love it! I love my van and I love living in it. I even survived the winter. It only took about 248578 layers of clothing and my little heater to keep me warm (or as warm as possible). Anyway.. I thought it was a reason for cake! Am I right? So ‘cheese’cake it is! My sister lovesss cheesecake, but to be really honest with you, I never had proper cheesecake myself. By the time they got more and more popular I was already vegan. I did have some raw types and some I liked, but most vegan cheesecakes I didn’t like. That is why I never bothered making one. But lately I see some nice vegan cheesecake pictures and then and I got inspired by ‘Wat Eet Je Dan Wel’ (Dutch blogger) who used vegan yogurt. So I looked up a few (vegan and non vegan) recipes, I did some experimenting and after a few tries and fails I created this one and it’s so good! I tried to keep this one classic, but I might do some more experimenting later to make some varieties. Salted caramel, toffee, chocolate or biscoff sounds like a good idea.. for now, it’s vanilla strawberry!

NO CHEESECAKE

Serves: 8

250 gr biscuits (smashed)
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
2 Alpro Greek Style (800 gr)
1/2 cup (brown) sugar
1/4 cup butter
5 tbs vanilla custard powder
1/2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Fresh fruit (optional)

Springform cake tin (20-22 cm)
Electric mixer

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Mix the smashed biscuits with the coconut oil.
-Put the biscuit mixture in the bottom of a greased cake tin and use the back of a spoon to divide and push it down. Put it in the fridge for 20 min. 
-Put all the other ingredients in a bowl and use an electric mixer to mix it for about 2-3 min on high speed.
-Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base and put it in the oven for about 60 min. When the top starts to change colour (golden brown) switch off the oven, open the oven slightly and leave the cake in there for another 20 min.
-Let the cake cool down on the kitchen counter and then put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
-Decorate with fresh fruit (sauce).

Hands up if you will make this No Cheesecake to celebrate my vanniversary with me! Show me your results on Instagrams, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. I might give you a shoutout! Thank you! X

Choco Beans

I like healthy recipes, but I definitely also like naughty recipes. Even though these delicious brownies are made with a whole can of black beans, it’s also made with a cup of sugar, white flour and oil. So the black beans will definitely give you some goodness, but under no circumstance will I call this a healthy recipe. They are delicious though. They are super fudgy from the inside and not crazy sweet, but it will definitely hit the spot. Also, as long as you have a kitchen machine, they are fairly easy to make. If you like you can add some pecans (chopped up into the mixture or use 8 whole ones on top). I left them out for now, but I do love pecans and chocolate though. It’s a good combination and it looks nice.

CHOCO BEANS

Makes: 8

1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 can of black beans (drained)
1 cup unsweetened yogurt
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 ripe banana
1 tbs flaxseed
8 pecans (optional)
icing sugar (optional)

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Mix the dry ingredients (except the flaxseed) in a bowl.
-Put all the wet ingredients (and the flaxseed) in the kitchen machine and blend until you have a nice smooth mixture.
-Use a wooden spoon to gently mix in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
-Add the chopped up pecans if you like and mix well.
-Grease a baking tin with some oil and pour in the mixture.
-Smooth it out (put the pecans on top if you chose to use them on the top) and put the tin into the oven for about 25-30 min.
-Let it all cool down before cutting them up.
-For a little decoration, snow some icing sugar on top.

Are you going to make these brownies? Please show me your end result and let me know if you like them! You can do this on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Thirty

It is true.. I’m 30 now! I still can’t believe it. It’s not like I can’t handle it, it’s more that I just can’t believe that I’m on this earth for 30 years already. Time flies. It makes me feel grateful to have reached this beautiful age, but I’m also living in a midlife crisis for the past 10 years already, haha! I always start overthinking it all and start panicking about everything I didn’t do yet in my life. I’ve got so many plans and there is just so little time. Now and again I just need a reality check though and I do realise I’ve done so much to be grateful for: I saved a pig (very important), started a blog a few years ago, converted a van (+ living in it) and I’m almost finished my nutritionist course. These are 3 things that I really really wanted to do in my life and were all on my bucket list. I can only imagine that, because I’ve done these things, life can only get better. Anyway, I thought it definitely deserved a cake and so I made a double cake for my 30th, with a nice filling in the middle. It’s an easy recipe, but all together it takes bit of time though, because of the cooling dow process. I hope you will love it though, just as much as I do (I’m actually having a piece whilst typing this.. YUM!).

THIRTY

serves: 10-12

cake
2 cups self raising flour
1,5 cup brown sugar
6 tbs cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups yogurt
1 cup sunflower oil
4 tbs maple syrup
splash of milk
oil for greasing

filling
10 medjool dates (soaked)
10 biscoff biscuits
3 tbs coconut milk

buttercream
500 gr butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbs cacao powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

decoration
-1 tbs desiccated coconut
-2 tbs freeze dried rasp/strawberries
-1 tbs Biscoff crumbs

2 cake tins (same size)

-Preheat the oven at 180 C.
-Mix all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl: yogurt, sunflower oil, maple syrup.
-Mix all the dry ingredients together as well: flour, sugar, cacao powder, cinnamon baking powder.
-Gradually mix in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and add a splash of milk to make it more runny.
-Grease 2 cake tins and divide the mixture in 2, before putting them in the oven for about 30-35 min.
-In the meantime make the filling: put all the ingredients in a kitchen machine and blend until smooth.
-Take the cakes out of the oven and let them cool down completely.
-In the meantime make the buttercream: put all the ingredients in a kitchen machine and blend until smooth.
-Put the filling on one of the cakes and put the other cake on top.
-Cover the whole cake with buttercream, decorate it and put the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

How do you deal with your age? Do you find it hard to get older or can you also be grateful about it? I hope you will celebrate though and maybe even by making this delicious cake. If you do, please tag me on Instagram, so I can give you a shoutout. Thank you! X

XMAS STARS

This recipe is inspired on a treat I saw at Starbucks. Those were not vegan and a little different, but I just loved the idea of a star for Xmas. So I came up with this recipe and it’s super delicious and not that hard to make. The chocolate in the middle is also not too bad as it’s made with sweet potato. I will serve them with custard (I will use the one from Oatly). I already tried this combination with the test version and it’s super delicious. I think this recipe looks so festive. I will serve them for dessert after ‘My Xmas Dinner‘, but you can also serve them with tea/coffee in the afternoon. I hope you will like them as much as I do.

XMAS STARS

makes 12

2 sheets of pastry (I used Jus-Rol)
100 gr sweet potato
3 tbs butter
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs oat milk
50 gr chocolate
1/2 all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 tbs hazelnuts (chopped)
gold (optional)

-Preheat the oven at 220C.
-Put the sweet potato in the oven for about 45-55 min and then turn the oven down to 200C.
-Take the inside of the sweet potato and put it in a mixing bowl.
-Melt the chocolate au bain marie and mix this with the butter, maple syrup and the oat milk. Mix it well.
-Mix the flour and the baking powder together and mix this into the chocolate mixture.
-Cut each pastry sheet in 6 squares.
-Make a cut from every corner, halfway to the middle. Then fold the corners.
-Put 1 big tbs of chocolate batter in the middle of the star and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.
-Put them into the oven for 15 min or until golden brown.
-Put little bits of gold on top.

Will you make these super festive stars? For dessert or for in the afternoon? I would love to see your creations! You can show me on IG by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Dutch Style

Some might remember from 2 years ago, when I wrote about Sinterklaas. I created the recipe Sint Twist. Sinterklaas is a Dutch tradition. You can read about this in the Sint Twist recipe too. Sint Twist is a recipe, using the traditional little biscuits called ‘pepernoten’. This years Sinterklaas recipe is about how to make pepernoten itself. You can eat them just like that, as a snack, have them with a cup of tea, use them in cakes, ice cream, drinks.. they’re pretty awesome. Because of the lovely warming spices they’re great for the colder months too. The ‘speculaas’ spices are maybe a little hard to find in the UK, but take some with you when you’re in the Netherlands or google how to make the spice combination yourself. Might be rather fun to work with all these lovely smelling spices. The original recipe is quite unhealthy and that is why I made a recipe which is fairly healthy. I wouldn’t eat them instead of a carrot though, haha.. but looking at the ingredients, you hopefully get what I mean.

DUTCH STYLE 

Makes: 60

-1 cup spelt flower
-1/3 cup coconut oil
-1/3 cup palm sugar
-1 tbs agave nectar
-2 tbs oat milk
-1 tsp speculaas spices
-pinch of salt

-Preheat the oven at 170C.
-Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them up.
-Then add the wet ingredients and mix it until sticky. The best way is then to use your hands and knead it into a dough.
-Make 2 rolls (from about 2-3 cm thick) and put them in the fridge for about 20 min.
-Cut them into slices of 1/2 a cm thick.
-Shape them a little with your fingers if you have the time and put them on a baking tin (covered with baking paper).
-Put them in the oven for 15-18 min.

Who is going to make this recipe? Even though you do not celebrate Sinterklaas, they’re still super yummy. Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Comptoir V

Saturday the 25th of August was the Official Animal Rights March in London. Last year I couldn’t go, but this year I did! It was an amazing march. So much people, all united. Lovely! I went to London with my van and so when the march was over, I went back to my van and drove it to Kensal Rise. This is because I saw there was a new vegan restaurant in my old neighbourhood, just around the corner from where I used to live. I walked past it many times when they were building it. When they put the name ‘Comptoir V’ on the front, I was suspecting (and really hoping) it to be vegan. I never saw the opening as I already moved out of London by then. They opened about half a year ago. I was so excited to find out it is vegan and so I had to go an try it. I went for dinner.

First of all when you approach it, it looks super super nice. They chose lovely green colours, wood and amazing tiles on the floor. Inside it looks amazing too. Everything comes together and it looks very different from other restaurants. Their lamps and tables are so unique and really give a Middle Eastern look. The benches, the seats and just the whole lay out is made with so much eye for detail. I often think that restaurants that are creating a Middle Eastern style, look a bit dark, dated and dusty. Comptoir V proves the opposite. It looks light, fresh and super cosy. Whoever did the styling, did a really good job. It isn’t a huge restaurant, so it might be a good idea to make a reservation on busy days.

Their menu is very good. It has a lot of Middle Eastern influences. I went for the ribs and pasta though. This meant I got a portobello mushroom covered in bbq sauce on top of in garlic covered kale and mac and cheese on the side. The flavours were all very rich and strong, so it was very filling. Next time (because I definitely want to go again) I’m sure to go for a curry and some bread with (houmous) dips. I wasn’t hungry enough for that this time. I also ordered a fresh mint tea, what came in a lovely traditional tea pot and glass. It all looked so nice. I was very full after this lovely dinner, but as I was so curious about the cheesecake I got that take away. I had it the next day and I’m so happy that I did! Every day they have a different flavour and the flavour of the day was strawberry. It was so good. I can’t remember having better cheesecake in my life. The base definitely made the cake. It was so delicious in combination with the very firm top. There were fresh strawberries and mint on top and all the flavours together made me wish I had 2 pieces.

An extra compliment for the staff, that were all super easy going and friendly and really added to the atmosphere. This place is definitely a place to come back to!

WHO? Comptoir V.
WHERE? 12 Station Terrace, London NW10 5RU.
CUISINE? Middle Eastern.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 9 (Amazing food, great staff and very lovely ex/interior).

Did you know about Comptoir V already? What was your experience? Or are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X