A drizzly English sunday is the perfect setting for some home cooking. This bank holiday weekend was a stay at home one due to not only the weather, but a poorly kitty cat. While my fur baby, Lola, napping on the sofa after a rather stressful visit to the vets, I went into the kitchen. If you have followed my recent posts you will know that I have had some trouble sticking with healthy eating. I have been unadventurous with my cooking recently and opted for the easy, not so healthy options. But no more! After a life long love affair with white potatoes, I decided I would try a baked sweet potato. Crazy, I know! I have had one before, simply with a blob of lactofree cream cheese and it was tasty, if not uninspiring. I wanted to stick with that creamy feel while adding an extra element and steering clear of dairy.
Nut cheese has been on my radar (and my pinterest) for a while but I hadn’t tried it yet. I guess I found it a bit intimidating and worried about wasting a load of pricey nuts. But I love cashews and recently had (shop bought) cashew based ice cream so decided to give it a go. The cashews cream “cheese” I made for this can be made alone for any number of recipes, or as a simple dip or spread. I actually really liked it but under seasoned mine slightly. The squeeze of lemon cut through the dense, mouth coating quality, and worked really well. But it definitely needs the salt for me, and I don’t even like salt that much! I didn’t follow a recipe for this but I remembered seeing Kris Carr make a cashew cream by blending cashews and water, and decided to start from there and see where it took me. Obviously the more water you add, the thinner it will be, so go easy at first and see how you like it. You can add more but you can’t take away!
1 Red Pepper
1 Aubergine (Eggplant)
1-2 Courgette (Zucchini)
1 Red Onion
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 tsp Dried Oregano
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Cashews
1/2 of a Lemon
1 pinch of Salt (to taste)
2-4 tbsp Filtered Water
1 Sweet Potato (per person)
The cashew cream cheese serves roughly two people but the veggies should go a little further. If you are cooking for more than two, or want left over cream cheese, double the recipe.
Pierce the skin of the potato a couple of times and rinse. Leave wet and loosely wrap in kitchen foil. This helps it to steam and bake at the same time. Put in a preheated oven 180c/160c fan for an hour in foil plus a further 20 minutes out of the foil to crisp the skin.
Cut up all your veggies. I went for chunks of everything but the aubergine, which I did strips of, but cut them how you like. And use what veggies you like too. I stayed away from anything too similar to the sweet potato like carrots or parsnips. You want light things here ideally. Melt the coconut oil and add your veggies, sprinkling with oregano and salt if you like. Baked for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size you have cut them. It is best to plan this around the cooking of your sweet potato.
Let the cashews sit in cold water for about 10 minutes if you don’t have a powerful blender or food processor but it’s not vital. I used half a cup of nuts and used the mini blender that came with my food processor. You might find that your food processor doesn’t do much to such a small amount but it is no bad thing to have extra cream cheese for snacking or lunch! Anyway, blend the nuts with some fresh water (not soaking water), lemon juice and salt. You can add herbs if you like but the herbs on the veggies were enough for me. You want a completely smooth mixture if you can but keeping it a little chunky like ricotta is nice too. Keep this in the fridge until you need it so it sets a little.
All that’s left to do is assemble and serve. I used left over veggies and cream cheese on some brown rie pasta for lunch the following day as I made this recipe just for myself with one sweet potato as my boyfriend was asleep with a hangover!
I also made a recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook called Maple Cinnamon Apple & Pear Baked Oatmeal for breakfast. I highly recommend the book if you are interested in healthy, plant based cooking. The bake was really nice, if not a little sweet. I will definitely be making it again but without the brown sugar as the maple was enough.
Tagged: baking, breakfast, cashewcheese, coconut oil, dairy free, dairyfree, egg free, gluten free, glutenfree, healthy, lactose free, nutcheese, oatmeal, ohsheglows, plant based, plantbased, sweetpotato, vegan, vegetarian