Cardamom Cupcakes with Rose Frosting

On a whim I decided to bake  cupcakes today since it’s my dog’s gotcha day (adoption anniversary) and my birthday will be during the week.

I deliberately substituted some of the sugar in the cupcakes with stevia, since the icing would add a lot more sugar to the treat and I normally avoid sugar.

I ended up substituting some of the flour with brown rice flour, but that was simply because I didn’t have enough cake flour.

I considered using soy milk instead of dairy, but I was using wheat and sugar and the “normal eaters” don’t like soy milk, so I went with the dairy

I was going to bake some cookies for my dog as well, but I used the last of the eggs in the cupcakes… so dog biscuits will have to wait.

The cup cakes turned out to be pretty damn good. They do have a slight greenish hue due to the stevia leaf powder , but they taste amazing.  They go really well with coffee.

The are neither vegan nor gluten-free, but a slightly healthier version of regular cupcakes.  Here’s how I made them today.


Cardamom and Rose Cupcakes:


Yields: 12-16 cupcakes. ( I got 15 cupcakes from this batter)

1½ cup flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 Tbsp psyllium husk (added because of the rice flour,  but also lowers GI)
½ tsp  baking powder
½tsp   bicarbonate of soda
½tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar,  or buttermilk.
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup sugar
1 tsp stevia powder
½ cup oil (or butter)
3 extra-large eggs


  1. Add the ACV to the milk and allow to curdle.
  2. Grease/spray a cup cake pan or line the pan with paper cups.
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C (350° F).  (My oven heats quickly, so I only switch it on before
    pouring the batter into the cups).
  4. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir vanilla into the milk.
  6. With a mixer, mix the sugar, oil and one egg. Add the other eggs one by one. Add stevia and mix until creamy.
  7. Add half the dry ingredients to the sugar/egg/oil mix. Mix well.
    Mix in half the milk.
  8. Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients followed by the rest of the milk.
  9. Pour batter into cups.
  10. Bake in oven for about 14-18 minutes… until pin/knife comes out clean.
  11. Allow to cool before icing.

(I didn’t measure the quantities for the icing, but you can use a normal butter-cream frosting recipe and just add rosewater flavouring)
Sifted icing sugar
room temperature butter
½ tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp rosewater.

  • Whisk  together ingredients with a mixer, creamy and pale with a mixer.
    (I mixed it with a spoon first before, to prevent icing dust spraying everywhere)
  • Smear onto cupcakes with a knife… or use a piping bag to decorate.


©lowercase _v 2017 














Green Mango Salad

There are many great recipes online for green mango salad, this is how I make mine. Sometimes the mangoes are ripe and it’s still pretty good. If you have a peanut allergy, use almonds (I’ve used raw almonds in this salad before and it was great).



1-2 Large green Mangoes
1 Medium Carrot
Salad leaves (optional)
½ cup Fresh Mint leaves
¼- ½ cup Spring Onions, or 1 small onion (red onion works really nicely)
Bean sprouts (optional)
1/2 cup Peanuts
2 tablespoon desiccated Coconut (dried coconut), roasted

3 tablespoon Soy Sauce (Or  sesame/ grape seed oil plus 1/2 teaspoon salt)
3 tablespoon Lime or lemon juice  (I mostly use lemon, because it’s cheaper)
1 tablespoon agave, honey or brown sugar (or a few drops of stevia).
1 teaspoon Hot Sauce (or a 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne/red pepper)


  • Roast the coconut.(In a sauce pan on the stove, stir occasionally, until brown.)
  • Chop the leaves and mint and put into a salad bowl.
  • Peel and coarsely grate, or chop  the carrot and mangoes and add to leaves.
  • Chop the onion / spring onions and add.
  • Add bean sprouts and peanuts.
  • Blend/ Mix the dressing ingredients together.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and mix everything through.
  • Sprinkle the roasted coconut over the salad.



©lowercase v 2017 

Tasted: Krispy Kremes

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts only recently came to South Africa. I once had a striped glaze Krispy Kreme at Hong Kong airport,  10 years ago. I’ve been looking forward to finding them here in SA. Today I saw a Krispy Kreme store at the mall, so I decided to take some donuts home.

I got 3 original glazed donuts 3 assorted frosting/ fillings to share.  (So I had one original and a third of each of the others. )


Cookies N Kreme:
I love cookies & cream ice-cream. As a donuts topping, not so much. It was okay

Caramel Kreme Crunch:
Delicious. Though extremely sweet.  Too much filling for my taste. Most of the filling fell out when I shared the donut. I didn’t eat the spilled filling. Though overall, a very tasty piece of baked good(s).

New York Cheese Cake: 
I loved the filling. I’d eat it on it’s own. It overpowered the donut tough.

Original Glazed:
My favourite. Absolutely the best donut.

It was lots of fun to try the different flavours and I might try some more in future, but I think the original is still the best. If you just get one donut, go for that one.

They weren’t terribly expensive considering it’s a foreign franchise, though they’re not prices like super market donuts either.  For a special treat, they are reasonably priced. The order cost R71.40  (± $5.45).


©lowercase v 2017



Vegan Cheesy Sauce

I based this sauce on this recipe  from Simple Vegan Blog for vegan cheese.  However the recipe calls for 2 cups of potato. This is a bit starchy for me so I used only one large potato and added about a cup of cauliflower.  This is the first time I’ve made this sauce so the different amounts of vegetable can still be played with, though this batch was pretty good. It doesn’t taste “exactly like cheese”. But it is pretty cheesy and a really tasty sauce or dip.


1 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped.
3 medium/large carrots (about a cup), peeled and roughly chopped.
1 cup cauliflower florets (I used frozen
Enough water to boil vegetables.
3 Tbsp – ½ cup olive oil
¼ – ½ cup water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup nutritional yeast
½ tsp garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of paprika

Boil the carrots, potato and cauliflower until soft.
Add other ingredients.
Blend (I used a stick blender) until smooth.
I kept the water until I already blended it a bit and added only ¼ cup until I had a nice thick sauce.
You can add more olive oil if you want a richer sauce. 



©lowercase_v 2017




Review: Kitchen Craft Thermometer

KITCHEN CRAFT Home Made Cooking Thermometer, bought online 2 years ago, from an online kitchen and cooking supplies store.  At the time it cost R99 (± US $7.50 at current rates).
It is currently still sold on the site and has mix reviews, with an average of 4 stars. (Maybe I just got a dud?)

I  have only attempted to use it 2 -3 times. On all those occasions I had also uses the ball test for syrups, (Drip the boiling syrup into a bowl of cold water. The consistency of ball the syrup forms tells you whether the syrup has reached the desired state), just to be safe.


On the plus side,  design wise, the thermometer has both Celsius and Fahrenheit markings. There is a reference on the back for at which temperature certain items should be boiled/ fried/ cooked.  According to the site, this is a mercury-free thermometer.


The clip which is supposed to secure the thermometer to pots completely loose and just slips off the thermometer. I could probably just toss it in the garbage.

I tried testing the temperature gauge by placing the thermometer into boiling water (water boils at 100 ° C), but the not-mercury failed to rise to 100°.  Perhaps it only works with more viscous liquids, but I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t work in water.

The one or two times when I boiled syrups, the not-mercury level took ages to register… and when making something that merely has to reach a certain temperature and then has to be removed from heat, this could be a problem.

This thing now just sits in my pantry. The only reason I haven’t thrown it out, is because I’m not sure its safe for the environment to throw it in the trash.

Am I missing something about glass thermometers? Should I try a different brand or a different type of cooking/ candy thermometer?

Thumbs down.

©lowercase v 2017

Who’s Alfredo a Vegan Sauce

I veganized a traditional Alfredo recipe and came up with this. I used Fry’s (South African vegan mock meats) polony instead of ham. Fry’s featured my recipe on their website and in one of their e-book recipe collections.



  • oil for frying. (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 250g mushrooms
  • ¼ FRY’S POLONY/ SLICING SAUSAGE, diced, small bits
  • 250ml Soy/ Non-Dairy  Cream
  • ½ tsp Paprika (or to taste)
  • a pinch on Nutmeg (optional)
  • ½ cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • pepper

* You can use a mock bacon like Quorn Breakfast Rashers (vegetarian, but not vegan) if you choose. I don’t add salt whilst cooking this, because the polony is pretty salty.

Fry the onions until soft. Add and fry the garlic, being careful not to burn the garlic or it will be bitter.
Add the mushrooms and fry until the mushrooms go brown.
Add the Fry’s polony and stir for a few seconds
Add the cream bit by bit and allow to cook for a minute or so.
Add the paprika and nutmeg and cook until the cream thickens.
Add the pepper and parsley and leave for about a minute.
Serve with pasta and sprinkle with vegan parmesan.


 © lowercase v   2014

Almond Cranberry Cereal Bars.


I made some cereal bars, combining two or three different recipes I found online.

At the moment the right combination is still a work in progress.

I’ve made two batches. Both were a bit crumbly. The second even more so because I used less maple syrup. I guess I’ll eat it with a spoon.

The first batch was delicious, though very sweet, and had rolled oats as its cereal base. I polished off the batch in a very short time. For the second batch I used rolled oats, puffed brown rice and quinoa.

I will post the recipe when I get it right.


©lowercase v  2017