There is a reason why my most requested recipe of 2017 (aka, this No-Bake Mississippi Mud Pie), is only making an appearance on this blog today. I’ll get to that and the recipe in a minute (well, actually a few minutes). Today is my birthday, a day I have had mixed feelings about celebrating since I was a little girl. Why? It is the expectation around occasions such as this combined with what I suppose I perceive is a somewhat undeserving limelight being cast in my direction (after all, my mother did the hard yards on the 29th of August all those years ago in London, not me) that makes me feel not entirely comfortable. I adore celebrating other people’s birthdays and have a tendency to go over the top for my children on the anniversaries of their births as a result of my party-planning enthusiasm and my overwhelming gratitude for the fact that my children exist in this world. However, I used to ensure I was traveling on my own birthday to avoid having to host some kind of event or party because, although I love to socialise and I appreciate love, friendship and camaraderie as much as the next person, I have always felt a pressure to be in a certain emotional state (i.e. happy and revelling) on my birthday and have found that expectation and reality don’t always align. This has been a bit of “a thing” since the first birthday party I can recall… an occasion during which my 3-5-year-old party guests were thrilled, and I, meanwhile, was having some kind of emotional melt down over my mum baking my Cindy dolly into a cake (PS I don’t blame you, mum. I now think it was a very cute idea!).
But today I have decided to give myself a gift. The gift of space… to indulge in (very)simple things that make me happy and bring me a sense of true/grounded contentment. I began my day with my favourite meditation; Kundalini Sat Kriya. If you haven’t tried it before, what can I tell you? You will probably find it strange (it is, even to me and I have done it many times!), but it works. It really does. If you’re curious you might like to try a version with some guidance. I then scrolled through Yoga with Adriene‘s video uploads to choose my yoga flow for the day and found Yoga for Text Neck, literally moments after I realised I was probably suffering from text neck. So I listened to my body and went with that. I drank my green powder concoction (the first thing I consume each day) then spent a good 10 minutes lovingly dusting the leaves of one of my favourite plants with a cloth. I watered and appreciated the others too. Then I ate a chocolate bar for breakfast because… yolo.
And now I sit here typing these words because this blog makes me happy. Being in this space makes me happy. And my work-related busyness keeps me from being here far more than I would like. These days, my bread and butter comes from executing creative content for other people. Nothing to sniff at or complain about as it has been my vocation for many years, from my time as a graphic designer at a marketing bureau to my last non-freelance job as a corporate art director. But I love creating for the love of creating too. And I love sharing and connecting. And those are things this space has always afforded me the opportunity to do. And so I am “indulging” a little by not doing any paid work today and taking a full day off for the first time in around 2 weeks. That is my gift to me.
I have touched on this via my Instagram accounts (@missmarzipancom and @missmarzipan_moments), but I received a preview print of my cookbook, Naturally Sweet Vegan Treats, last week. It was a momentous full circle kind of moment for me and so overwhelming that I literally had to put the book in another room and close the door for a while. To borrow directly from my post:
“Long story short… One year and 5 days ago I left my corporate job. Literally the same day I had my resignation meeting (and admitted to my boss I had no idea what I was going to do🙈)- in fact, exactly 4 hours later- I was offered a book deal by an American publishing house🙏🏻. While working on my book Oliver stopped breastfeeding. And then, as a result of the massive hormonal changes I was going through in combination with other factors, I was diagnosed with depression😢. Yesterday my psychologist agreed that I am now doing well. I have no more follow-up appointments scheduled🙏🏻. And my first copy of my book arrived at my door by courier😱. BIG full circle kind of day. I am still processing it all.
Love to you, Marisa x”
I have ventured to go through it now, and my overwhelming feeling is of the “You done good, kid” variety. I feel blessed that my children and recipes inspired by my family appear in its pages, I am absolutely amazed that I was able to follow through with it all despite the personal challenges I faced during its conception, I am forever grateful for the kindness I had along the way from friends, family (especially my husband and children) and those who stepped in to volunteer support when it was so, so needed and, of course, I am beyond thankful for the opportunity itself (Page Street Publishing and Macmillan, thank you for all the hard work you have done and continue to do), as a cookbook of my own was not even a proverbial twinkle in my eye back when I started this blog.
In gratitude for their support and friendship and, I’ll admit, with a sense of pride, I’d like to congratulate some of my friends on their own amazing cookbook publishing achievements. I know firsthand now the heart, soul, tears and flour/veggie scrap-covered slog involved in giving birth to such a project, and I applaud not only my friends mentioned here, but anyone who has ventured to put their work in print. Firstly, I want to mention the latest work of Ditte Ingemann, who has just released Krydret with Anne Hjernøe, a gorgeous book shot with David Loftus (who many will know as Jamie Oliver’s go-to photographer and bff). This book was in the process of being created when Ditte’s talented and lovely husband, Søren Thuesen, who I have interviewed right here on this blog, was diagnosed with cancer. Not only has Søren been going through the ordeal of tests, chemo and everything associated with recovery from this most brutal of circumstances, but Ditte has been supporting him and had a book to create in the midst of it all. Truly, these people are heroes. I wish Søren the speediest of recoveries and Ditte the best of success with Krydret… and everything else!
Vegan superstar Kim-Julie Hansen, who has been an incredible support to me, may not yet know this but her debut book, Vegan Reset: The 28-Day Plan to Kickstart Your Healthy Lifestyle, is already ranked #1 in Amazon’s New Release category for Juice and Smoothie cookbooks… and it won’t even be launched until next week! Maria Koutsogiannis, the ball of energy in Greek goddess form who has been making me smile since 2015, has released her wonderful debut book, Mindful Vegan Meals… and it turns out we have the same editor (hi, Marissa G.!)! The powerhouse that is my friend Nina Olsson has released her vibrantly veggie and beautifully captured second and third books, Feasts of Veg and Veggie Burger Atelier. My lovely Bettina Campolucci Bordi is kicking goals with her 5-star rated book, Happy Food, released earlier this year and available for ordering worldwide. Talented food creative and IG friend from way back in the day, Sara Kiyo Popowa, will be having her gorgeous book, Bento Power, released in 3 weeks. Good news: it is available for pre-order as I type! My sweet Lynn Hoefer‘s fabulous healthy eating cookbook, Himmlisch Gesund, has just hit shelves in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. My ridiculously talented and knowledgable naturopathic advisor and good friend, Julia Michelle, has released her incredibly informative eBook, 21 Day Reset, a guided 21-day diet and exercise program, with sleep protocol and stress management regime built in. She knows her stuff, guys. I can vouch for that. Newer friends Carolin Strothe and Maya Sozer have both created their third and second books respectively. Power Vegan Meals by Maya is available now and Carolin’s drool-worthy book, Einfach Natuerlich Backen, is currently available in German and will be launched in the UK and US in April next year.
Dear friends and incredibly talented creators Rita Serano and Dr. Rupy Aujla have already released books that I am currently in love with. Rita’s Vegan in 7 is a masterpiece of simple, honest plant-based cooking and Rupy’s The Doctor’s Kitchen is a wonderful collection of wholesome, tasty recipes developed by a passionate medical professional who is at the forefront of championing balanced living and disease prevention through healthy eating. Gorgeous Rachel Khoo’s new book The Little Swedish Kitchen (also shot by David Loftus) is a gem. As beautiful as you would imagine one of Rachel’s books to be, I have been lucky enough to taste some of her Sweden-inspired dishes when she hosted a gathering in her home early this summer (where I also had the chance to flick through her book’s pretty pages). And I can tell you, you will not be disappointed if you grab yourself a copy, particularly if you find the landscapes, produce and cuisine of Scandinavia enchanting! All of these fine people are doing okay without any promotion from me (as, of course, are Candice Kumai, Deliciously Ella and Jamie Oliver, who have all released new and very impressive titles too), but I wish them so well on their journeys and thank them as creators/friends/supporters/inspirers and general all-round good people. Extra thanks to my amazing friend Timothy Pakron, otherwise known as Mississippi Vegan, who chatted with me the other day as he awaited his first copy of his stunning book of the same name, Mississippi Vegan. It is available for pre-order now.
And finally, speaking of Mississippi, here is my gift to you/anyone who has requested it, in a belated yet far more easily searchable form (yes, scrolling through dozens of Instagram posts to search for a recipe in the comments section is a pain in the butt. I feel you); my No-Bake Mississippi Mud Pie. Made for the first time almost a year and a half ago and inspired by a treat served aboard Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, I hope you will love it too. According to Wikipedia, it is believed that the first Mississippi Mud Pie originated in the state of Mississippi and that the name of the gooey chocolate sauce-topped crumbly chocolate pie crust concoction is “derived from the dense cake that resembles the banks of the Mississippi River”. Whatever its roots may be, this treat is sure to speak to the chocolate lover in you, wherever you are in the world.
And wherever you are in the world, I send my love there!
NO-BAKE MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE
– a vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free spin on a classic chocolate treat
COOKIE CRUST INGREDIENTS
225 g gluten-free oats (or quinoa oat mix)
30 g crunchy quinoa (or other gluten-free crisp flake-style cereal)
2 tbsp cacao powder
150 ml unsalted almond butter
6 tbsp rice malt/maple syrup
6 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp warm water
MISSISSIPPI MUD FUDGE FILLING INGREDIENTS
250 g cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours/overnight
250 g dates
70 g raw cacao
2 tsp vanilla powder
A pinch or two of salt
70 ml coconut oil
150 ml water (+ a tablespoon or extra if needed)
100 ml maple syrup (or rice malt)
40 g coconut oil, melted
35 g cacao (if using maple, a little extra cacao may be needed)
Fresh summer berries
Seasonal edible flowers (optional)
- Line a small baking pan with baking paper.
- Blitz quinoa oats, flake cereal and cacao in a food processor to make a coarse flour.
- Add wet ingredients and blitz until well combined (a shiny dough should start to form).
- Pop the mixture into a round spring-form cake tin and, using your hands to pat down, spread the mixture evenly across the base and approximately 4 cm up the sides of the tin to create a pie crust. Use a silicone spatula or the back of a wooden spoon to flatten and smooth the mixture. Try to create a smooth surface & even thickness.
- The crust will set quickly if placed it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- While crust is firming up, in a high-speed blender or food processor, blitz all the fudge filling ingredients until a smooth thick frosting-textured mix has come together.
- In a small mixing bowl combine ganache ingredients and mix well until a smooth and shiny pie topping has formed.
- Using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, fill the pie crust with the filling and smooth the surface out.
- Spoon ganache over the top. Decorate with fresh berries and edible flowers, if using.
*This recipe, as shared on my Instagram account was, made originally as a collaboration with Mud and if you use food grade bentonite clay, you can try adding a teaspoon or two to the fudge filling. You wont notice any taste or texture alteration.