Amrita Bala: Melbourne-based, Le Cordon Bleu-trained


This 25-year-old crazy-sexy vegan serves up plant-based recipes with a side of humor.

Instagram: @crazyvegankitchen

Q: What can’t you live without in the kitchen?
A: I can’t live without my Vitamix. I make all sorts of concoctions in it, from my vegan tiramisu to my green smoothies and homemade almond milks.
Q: Five of your favorite ingredients.
A: It would definitely have to be tahini, sriracha, peanut butter, dry pasta, and sweet potatoes.
Q: Any food secret you swear by?
A: A pinch of sugar in everything! Trust me, it rounds the flavor of all your recipes out perfectly. Just a pinch!

Ultimate Vegan Tiramisu

Vanilla Sheet Cake
½ cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp vegan butter
¹/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup + 2 tbsp pastry flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Soaking Syrup
¾ cup freshly brewed coffee, cooled
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp Kahlua
Vegan Mascarpone Filling
1¾ cups raw cashews
¹/³ cup agave nectar
¹/³ cup melted coconut oil
¼ tsp salt
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod
¾ cup soy milk
For Vanilla Cream
¼ cup soy milk
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
For Coffee Cream
1 tbsp Kahlua
¹/³ cup freshly brewed espresso, cooled
Cocoa Powder


Sheet Cake
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and line a 8×6 inch cookie sheet with baking paper.

Set aside. Whisk soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Set aside for 5

Sieve pastry flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk vegan butter, sugar, and salt till light and fluffy, about a minute. Whisk vanilla extract.

Alternate whisking in soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, starting with one third of the dry and ending with the last third of the dry mixture.

Spread mixture out onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Soaking syrup: Mix coffee, Kahlua, and sugar together till the sugar has dissolved.

Set aside. Vegan mascarpone filling: In a powerful blender, combine cashews, agave, coconut oil, salt, vanilla, and soy milk. Blend until smooth and silky.

Divide mixture in half.

For vanilla, use first half of mixture and whisk in extra ¼ cup soy milk and 1 tbsp coconut oil. Set aside.

For coffee cream, blend second half of mascarpone mixture with Kahlua and espresso.

Assembly: To assemble, have ready a dish or individual ramekins. Cut a piece of sheet cake to fit the bottom of your ramekin or dish. Dip in soaking syrup  for just a second or two and place into the bottom of your vessel

Top with a layer of vanilla cream and dust with cocoa powder. Freeze for 10 minutes. Once out of the freezer, top with a layer of coffee cream. Freeze for 10 minutes. Repeat process once more—soaked cake, vanilla cream, and coffee
cream, freezing cream layers for 10 minutes before continuing. Once complete, dust the tops of your tiramisu with cocoa powder and leave to chill for 4-6 hours before eating.

Vegan One Pot Pasta

6 oz (180 g) linguine/spaghetti
2 large roma tomatoes, diced
1 white onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 sprigs of basil, torn
4 sprigs of thyme, de-stemmed
½ cup chopped artichoke hearts
¼ cup halved black olives (more or less is up to you)
2½ cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Combine linguine/spaghetti, diced tomatoes, sliced onion, minced garlic, capers, dried parsley, red pepper flakes, basil, thyme, artichoke, and black olives in a pot.
Pour vegetable broth over ingredients and add olive oil and sugar to the pot. Bring pot to a boil over high heat. Do not cover with a lid. Reduce a medium simmer and let cook, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and broth has nearly evaporated, about 12-14 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately | Photos: Amrita Bala