Filed under: Drinks, Sweets | Tags: chai, chocolate, nut, rocky road, vegan
Once upon a time, in the faraway land of Australia, there was a strictly vegan Christmas celebration, up the road leading from the hamlet of Channon to Protestors Falls (which are indeed named after a group of successful environmental activists). There lived Mel and Jane, my two gorgeous Australian friends, in a house that was perched midway on a hill, like so many houses are in that region.
Northern New South Wales is full of alternative people and back – to – the – landers, colourful markets where hippies try to rip off tourists, ecovillages hidden in the bush and endless parties, with groovy music, vegan chocolate cakes and cuppas of chai. The hills grow other stuff than just eucalyptus, and that is one of the reasons for the prosperity of the local hippies. In Northern New South Wales it is not unusual at all to visit the monthly market dressed in a pair of wings, three layers of colourful skirts and curve – tipped fairy boots. And the parties! How they dance, dreadlocks flying, skirts swinging and the whole house going up and down with the beat of the didgeridoo! And afterwards, you jump with your friends into a van that runs on homemade biodiesel and drive an hour to the nearest beach, to have a plunge in the moonlit waves.
Around Christmastime, I happened to be staying with Mel and Jane up the Channon road. Their house was a vegan sanctuary and they were quite strict not to allow any animal products in the house. They had decided to celebrate Christmas by holding a gathering for their friends, and prepared vegan delicacies for the occasion. There was vegan sushi, vegan mudcake and vegan rocky road on the menu, as well as vegan lasagna, if I remember correctly. Christmastime is full summer in Australia, and extremely hot, so we went with our picnic down to a little creek that runs nearby. That lazy hot afternoon with non – traditional Christmas food is still one of my funniest adulthood Christmas memories, and so since I now happened to get some vegan marshmallows I decided to remake part of the memory.
There are certainly a thousand different rocky road recipes on net, generally they contain nuts, peanut butter, turkish delight, marshmallows and chocolate in some form. The idea is to drizzle the ingredients on a non- sticky surface and then cover with melted chocolate so that everything will stick together. Mine was simply accomplished by combining all the ingredients I found in my cupboard. For some reason this chocolate is really sticky, and I’m not sure whether that’s because of the honey. If you simply melted some chocolate, the end result would certainly be less sticky, and you’d get a pretty surface with all the goodies neatly layed out, instead of boring brown bars like I did.
1 dl vegan marshmallows, cut in halves
1 dl hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 dl coarsely chopped dried apricots
1 dl dried cranberries
1 dl toasted pumpkin seed
a small handful of dried chokeberries
a small handful of cocoa nibs
150 g cocoa butter
2 dl cocoa powder
280 g organic honey
a pinch of chillipowder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bourbon vanilla powder
2 tbsp cognac
First I sprinkled all the nuts etc. on a greased round oven pan (27 cm in diameter). Then I carefully melted the cocoa butter on low heat, and blended in the cocoa powder, spices and honey. Then I poured this mixture over the nuts and other things, and allowed it to cool down in the fridge (in a hurry? Just stick it to the freezer for 10 minutes, I have learned from Yaelian).
Chai is the favourite hippie sweet drink. I’ve never been to India, and I have no idea how the original thing is made, but I’ve learned that there are as many ways to making chai as there are hippies in the world. Basically chai is a very sweet spicy milky tea: you can make it with organic dairy milk, with rice milk, with soy milk, with coconut milk, with or without black tea. My chai is made with seven heavenly spices: ginger, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, vanilla and cardamom. I usually like a bit of black tea in it too, and for sweetening I think honey is just right. Clove is a slightly dangerous spice, so use it with caution!
5 dl water
5 dl rice milk (etc)
3 cm piece of fresh ginger, cut into rounds
5 black peppercorns
15 green cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
7 whole cloves
a dash of bourbon vanilla powder
1/4 of a whole nutmeg, chopped
1 black teabag
1 tbsp honey
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