Recipes · Uncategorized

Matcha Strawberry Smoothie

matchasmoothie

With the exception of a few small projects, I’m taking a break from doing my usual Japanese-English translation work while I learn German for the first few months of living in Berlin. Learning a third language has been interesting – I’ve never had a problem with switching between English and Japanese, mostly because when my brain goes into second language mode it just defaults to the only one it knows. But now that there’s a new language in the mix, I’m finding myself mixing them up all of the time (leading to some awkward moments in grocery stores and cafes!), and feeling overwhelmed at times. Which is why on days I need to keep focused, I’m relying on tea to keep my mind especially sharp.

Here’s a recipe for a way to start your day off with a kick: matcha strawberry smoothies! This recipe is vegan, satisfying and has a rich matcha flavour. The wonderful thing about smoothies is that you can take a basic recipe and adjust to your taste. Want more sweetness? Add another banana or handful of strawberries. Not so sure if you’ll like the bold matcha flavour? Start with a teaspoon and keep adding until you reach the flavour you like. You can leave out the cashews if you don’t like the richness, I add it because the protein keeps me fuller for longer. If you like ice in your smoothies feel free to add a handful. I like to have a base recipe to start from before altering it, so I hope you enjoy the recipe below!

Vegan Matcha Strawberry Smoothie

(serves 2)

1/4 cup of cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours (you can skip the soaking if you have a high power blender)

1 tablespoon of matcha, or to taste (I used cooking grade matcha that I bought at Matchashop and it worked very well)

1 teaspoon of ground flaxseeds (optional)

1 cup of ‘milk’ (I used unsweetened soy milk but oat, rice, or any other type of milk would work great too)

1 small piece of vanilla bean or dash of liquid vanilla (optional but adds nice flavour)

-1 cup of frozen strawberries

2 frozen bananas

Instructions:

Place the cashews, matcha, flaxseeds, milk, vanilla, and strawberries in your blender. Blend on high until it reaches a consistency you like, and then add the peeled frozen bananas and blend again until smooth. I garnished mine with a dusting of matcha powder & red berry smoothie powder.

Hope you enjoy if you try this, and let me know if you come up with any extra ingredients or substitutions that you love!

 

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Recipes · Uncategorized

(Vegan!) Matcha Cheesecake

maccha

I’ve come across a number of matcha cheesecake recipes online, but this is the first I’ve seen with a layer of red beans between the filling and the crust! For those of you who haven’t encountered sweet adzuki beans in desserts yet, they’re used regularly in Japanese sweets – and I actually might love them more than chocolate 😮  Their rich and satisfying taste aside, adzuki beans are high in iron, protein, potassium, and a ton of other nutrients that are excellent for you. All the more excuse to try out this delicious plant-based matcha cheesecake!

Today’s recipe comes from Peaceful Cuisineand you can find the original Japanese recipe here. The author of Peaceful Cuisine, Ryoya Takashima, has a number of other creative and delicious looking recipes (with some recent ones in a great bilingual video format) involving matcha on his site that can be found with a quick search.

Recipe notes:

The original recipe is intended to be made in a traditional cheesecake shape, but I made mini cheesecakes. The ingredients came out to equal 12 mini cheesecakes exactly.

★For readers not familiar with recipes using weight, please note that some of the measurements are in grams so you’ll need a kitchen scale. The equivalent in cups has been listed when possible.

★Due to differences in the amount of water that cashews absorb while soaking, try to make sure that the total weight of the cashews (after soaking) and the water for the filling weigh 340g. This ensures that the filling will have the same texture every time you make it.

★I substituted maple syrup for agave, since I’m a stereotypical Canadian and that’s what I had on hand 😀

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Vegan Matcha & Sweet Adzuki Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:
Almonds  120g
Agave     30g
Shredded coconut  30g
Salt    ¼ teaspoon (or to taste)

Adzuki layer:
Adzuki beans  50g (½ cup)
Water 400g (2 cups)
Salt     a pinch
Beet (or any other type of granulated) sugar   35g

Filling:
Cashews   150g
Water   190g
Agave or maple syrup  110g
Coconut oil  100g
Matcha  1.5 to 2 tablespoons, depending on your preference

Directions:

1. Soak the almonds in water for at least 8 hours, then place them in a colander for about a half hour to allow water to drain. Place the almonds in a food processor and mix until they resemble a powder-like consistency, then add the rest of the ingredients for the crust and mix again until well combined. Place the mix into a cake pan (or cupcake liner in a muffin pan, if using) and press down to compact it into a crust.

2. Make the bean paste. Add the adzuki beans, water, and salt to a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling lower the heat and let simmer. When the water has reduced to the point where it’s just barely covering the beans, add the sugar a little at a time and stir after each addition.  Continue to let the mixture boil down until it becomes a soft paste, stirring constantly as it becomes less watery to avoid burning.

3. Soak the cashews in some water for about an hour. Then, add all of the ingredients for the filling to a blender and blend until the mixture is completely smooth.

4. Spread the bean paste on top of the crust and distribute it evenly. Pour the matcha filling on top of the paste, cover the pan and place in the freezer. It will be ready to eat within 2-3 hours!

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I could have made the bean layer on the mini cake above a bit more even, but otherwise they turned out delicious and I highly recommend this recipe! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment, and don’t forget to check out Peaceful Cuisine for more fantastic recipes.