Thursday, 24 April 2014

Asian Style Soy Mince and Avocado Wrap with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Asian Style Vegan Soy Mince and Avocado Wrap with Spicy Peanut Sauce

So, this has become an absolute favourite wrap for my husband and me. I first made it with store bought frozen soy mince then when I couldn't buy it anymore, with my own homemade soy mince (in photo). Both versions are equally as good.

Garlic, ginger and soy mince are fried with a splash of soy sauce, tossed with spring onions and placed in a large wrap with shredded iceberg lettuce, avocado slices sprinkled with lime juice and topped with a good drizzle of delicious sriracha peanut sauce. 

Seriously one of my new favourite wraps!
Asian Style Vegan Soy Mince and Avocado Wrap with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Asian Style Soy Mince and Avocado Wrap with Spicy Peanut Sauce:

Makes 2 wraps.

Filling:
1 tsp peanut oil
1 fat clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
Freshly ground black pepper – 4 grinds
100g frozen soy mince
50ml water – omit if using my homemade mince
1 tsp soy sauce
2 spring onions, chopped

Sauce:
1 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha 
1 tsp water

Plus:
1 avocado, sliced
Fresh lime juice
Shredded iceberg lettuce
2 x large wraps

Make the sauce by whisking everything together until smooth. Set aside. 

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet then add the garlic, ginger and black pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes on a gentle heat until fragrant. Add the frozen soy mince and the water (if using store bought mince) and fry until the mince is cooked and all the water is gone. Stir in the soy sauce and fry a minute more then stir in the spring onion, give it a good stir then turn off the heat.

Slice the avocado, place in a bowl and sprinkle generously with fresh lime juice, toss well. 

Heat a large wrap in a dry frying pan until just warmed and pliable, transfer to a plate then top with a good handful of shredded lettuce. Top with half the soy mince mixture, half the avocado slices and drizzle over some of the sauce. 
Asian Style Vegan Soy Mince and Avocado Wrap with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Wrap up burrito style, cut in half on the diagonal and eat!
Asian Style Vegan Soy Mince and Avocado Wrap with Spicy Peanut Sauce


Nutritional Information: based on 1 wrap

Calories: 398
Protein: 17.4g
Fat: 16g
Sat Fat: 3.3g
Fibre: 9.2g
Carbs: 42.9g
Sugar: 5.4g
Sodium: 726mg

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Monday, 21 April 2014

Homemade Frozen Soya Mince


Homemade Frozen Vegan Soy Mince

So I was puzzled as to what to call this recipe. I've always found it confusing that the dry soy mince you see in the picture there is called the same as the bags of cooked and seasoned frozen soy mince you can buy....so just to be clear, this is a recipe for those frozen, cooked and seasoned bags of soy mince, not on how to make dried soy mince granules :-) Also, is it soy or soya?? I've never known and use both interchangeably here, gah - confusion!

Anyway, I came up with this recipe out of necessity as I cannot seem to buy the frozen soy mince here in Ireland anymore :-(  My favourite was always Tesco's own label soy mince as I felt it had the best texture but I can't even find Linda McCartney's anymore. 

Since I have quite a few recipes that call for frozen soy mince: goulash, stuffed jumbo pasta shell lasagnachimichangas, burritos and enchiladas, chilli and ricewontons, gyoza, oven baked mini wonton rollsgrilled cheeseburger wrap and most importantly our traditional Christmas dinner main dish of Tourtiere, I committed myself to creating a recipe to replace it.

I had a look at the ingredients for Linda McCartney's Mince and basically just based this on that. The onion and garlic are basic flavourings here, the malt extract, a sweet syrup, was also in hers and adds a sweetness which is important as dried soy mince can have a slight bitterness, then I've tried to create "meaty" flavours with the soy sauce, Worcester sauce and mushroom stock.

Altogether, I am SO happy with this recipe that even if I could buy the store bought stuff again, I wouldn't. I have so far used my homemade version in my recipes for the goulash, burritos, enchiladas, the grilled cheeseburger wrap and a new favourite wrap which will be blogged next, and I haven't been able to tell the difference. Further bonus - my son, who was never too keen on the store bought soy mince, LOVES my version! 

You can use mine as you would the store bought stuff, the only difference I have found is that my version doesn't need as much water added (if any) while cooking. For example, in my goulash I would add half a can of water when I added the frozen soy mince and with this mince, I don't need it.

Homemade Frozen Vegan Soy Mince

Homemade Frozen Soy Mince:

1¼ cups dried soy mince (100g)
1 x Kallo mushroom stock cube
450ml water
1 tsp each: soy sauce, vegan Worcester sauce and malt extract
½ tsp each: garlic and onion granules (powder is fine too)


Measure the soy mince into a bowl.
 In a small saucepan add everything else. Whisk while bringing to a boil. 
Pour over the soy mince, cover and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff it with a fork.
Spread out onto a large plate or paper lined baking sheet (whatever will fit in your freezer) cool to room temperature then place in the freezer. 
Homemade Frozen Vegan Soy Mince
Every half hour or so, remove from the freezer and crumble and separate the granules with your hands so you don't end up with a large frozen sheet of mince. I first use a spatula to life the mince off the tray then crumble it with my hands. Return to the freezer. When the mince is completely frozen and separated, transfer to a freezer bag and keep in the freezer.

Recipe makes 470 grams of soy mince.
Homemade Frozen Vegan Soy Mince
Use from frozen, as you would store bought frozen soy mince. Mine has always been eaten up within a month of making it but I imagine it should keep in the freezer fine for 6 months or so :-)



Nutritional Information: based on 100g

Calories: 100
Protein: 13g
Fat: 0g
Sat Fat: 0g
Fibre: 4.3g
Carbs: 9g
Sugar: 4.1g
Sodium: 507mg

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles - Vegan and Gluten Free

This has become one of our favourite stir fries lately, it just has wonderful flavour with curry, garlic, spring onion, spicy chilli, ginger and tamari; loads of crisp vegetables with green beans, red pepper, carrot, sweetheart cabbage and shiitake mushrooms and your protein coming from both chickpeas and a turmeric and toasted sesame oil tofu scramble all mixed in with rice vermicelli noodles. Yum!

I've based it on Felicity Cloake's recipe, featured in her Guardian article on How to make perfect Singapore Noodles. I opted to keep most of the vegetables the same but added some thinly sliced carrot and omitted the peas and water chestnuts; kept the flavourings the same and obviously had to completely change the protein aspects!

Singapore Noodles - Vegan and Gluten Free

Here, I opted to add chickpeas as they go perfectly with curry flavours and swapped the egg with a scrambled tofu flavoured like in my egg fried rice (coincidentally, also based on a Felicity Cloake recipe!) For the 'egg', a soft tofu is scrambled with turmeric, toasted sesame oil and some salt and pepper. This is then tossed in at the end of stir frying. As a result you just get small specks of tofu egg throughout the stir fry, with some larger pieces, which I think is nice.

Recipe Notes
The "mystery" chilli I used :-)
Original recipe called for a green bird's eye chilli, every time I have made this I've used a mystery yellow chilli and have found the heat level perfect. It came in a bag of mixed chillies and described as having a 'medium' heat. Bird's eye would be hotter than what I used, so just use what you can take! I also de-seeded mine.
I had wanted to add Chinese cabbage but had trouble finding it so I used sweetheart cabbage, simply because I love the mild taste of it. Again, you can use any cabbage you like here.
Any of the vegetables can be swapped with your favourites but try and keep the quantities the same.
I love the subtle coconut flavour which comes from the coconut oil here but you can swap that with peanut oil if you prefer.
Original recipe stated that this serves 2 but I would find that quite excessive! We get 3 comfortable servings out of this...but hey, if your starving, go for it!
For gluten free, use tamari in place of soy sauce and a dry sherry in place of the Shaoxing Rice Wine which I understand is hardly ever gluten free. Please also double check your ingredients for things like the rice noodles and curry powder as your products may differ from mine. Also - Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry is vegan as far as I know but you'll have to check any other brand. 

Singapore Noodles - Vegan and Gluten Free

 Singapore Noodles

• 150g rice vermicelli noodles (dry weight)
• 1 Tbsp extra virgin unrefined coconut oil
• 2½ tsp mild curry powder
• 1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic, about 2 large cloves
• 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
• 1 finely chopped chilli - see notes above 
• 2 spring onions, sliced thin on the diagonal, white and green parts
• ½ red pepper, sliced thin (about 100g)
• ½ carrot, sliced into matchsticks
• 100g fresh or frozen green beans
• 100g sweetheart cabbage, sliced (about 2 cups)
• 100g fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
• ½ cup/ 88g chickpeas, from a tin - drained and rinsed
• 3 Tbsp soy sauce (use tamari for gluten free version)
• 2 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (use dry sherry for gluten free *see recipe notes above)
• 1/8 tsp sugar
For the "egg":
• 100g soft tofu, not silken
• ½ tsp turmeric
• 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
• 1/8 tsp salt
• some freshly ground black pepper

As with all stir fries, you'll want to get everything chopped and measured and ready to go before you start cooking!

First, soften the noodles: bring a pot of water to the boil, add the rice noodles, cover then turn off the heat and let them sit for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse them with some hot water and set aside to drain. Give them a toss now and again to stop them sticking together.

Next, make the tofu scramble: Crumble the soft tofu into a dry frying pan and add the turmeric, sesame oil and salt and pepper. Turn the heat on to medium and fry, stirring the mixture until well mixed and heated throughout - about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Prep all the vegetables and seasoning's, measure out the chickpeas and mix together the tamari or soy sauce, rice wine and sugar.

To Cook: Heat the coconut oil in a large wok until very hot. Tip in the garlic, ginger, chilli, curry powder and spring onion and stir fry for about 30 seconds (the smell at this point is gorgeous!!)

Now add all the vegetables and chickpeas and stir fry until well mixed. After a couple of minutes I sometimes add a tablespoon or two of hot water if I find the curry powder sticking to the wok - it all depends on how much water comes out of the veg. 

When the veg has softened and in particular the cabbage is wilted, then add the tamari/soy sauce, rice wine and sugar. Give it a good stir then add the rice noodles. I like to turn the heat down to low at this point and stir fry until everything is well mixed and there is no more liquid. Now, stir in the tofu scramble until well distributed.

Serve immediately! This is really lovely with a light refreshing lager like Cobra, Tiger or Asahi :-)

Singapore Noodles - Vegan and Gluten Free

 ♥


Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving out of 3

Calories: 386
Fat: 10.4g
Sat Fat: 4.9g
Protein: 12.7g
Fibre: 7.7g
Carbs: 59.6g
Sugar: 5.5g
Sodium: 1033mg

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Friday, 21 March 2014

Spaghetti and Meatball Cake

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatball Cake

Hello again!! I know, it's been ages...it started off with me just taking a break from blogging and ended up with me having a myriad of health issues - not all of which lupus related. Basically, January and February in particularly were the worst ever and again I apologise to all who tried to get in touch with me during that time but hopefully you can understand. I'm still not 100% - still a lot of tests and investigations to do and I'm still not sure I'm back to blogging for good but I thought I should touch base at least, especially with such a fun post as this one!

It was my son's 12th birthday recently and those of you who have been following the blog for awhile know that I like to make him a novelty cake or at least a special cake of some description. There has been the Veggie Burger Cake, Minecraft Cake, 10 Layer Chocolate Orange Cake and the Double Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake.

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatball Cake

I've seen these spaghetti and meatball cakes around and thought they just looked so fantastic and really, they are so simple! Just cake, piped buttercream frosting, some chocolate Kahlua cake balls and raspberry coulis for a tomato sauce. What I really love about them is that they don't call for any fondant frosting. Fondant is wonderful for creating really creative and accurate looking cakes but lets face it, the stuff tastes gross. When we were eating the Minecraft Cake we flicked off all the tiles :-) This is just all luscious vanilla buttercream frosting - yay! I should also add that although it looks like it's covered in a shed load of frosting, it's really not:
Slice of Vegan Spaghetti and Meatball Cake

Taste wise, this cake is amazing, that combo of deep chocolate cake, fluffy vanilla buttercream and punchy raspberry coulis is just gorgeous! This is definitely a cake I would make again, even just plain and without the novelty factor ;-) 

Now, I'm afraid that I was still in a "not blogging" zone when I made this so failed to get any how to pictures. Sorry. But it's really such an easy cake you shouldn't need any. I'll post the recipes I used for the cake and frosting but really you can use any chocolate cake and vanilla frosting recipe here :-)

Spaghetti and Meatball Cake

For the Chocolate Cake(s):
• 375g plain flour
• 300g caster sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 tsp baking soda
• 60g unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3 tsp vanilla extract
• 160ml vegetable oil
• 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 480ml cold water
optional - a few drops of vegan friendly red food colouring added to the water.

First a word on the bowl I baked this in. I thought this would look most effective baked right into a pasta bowl and thankfully my Denby dishes are oven safe. I have even baked a cake in these before as it's the bowl I used to make the burger top on the Veggie Burger Cake! It's 8.5" wide at the top and 1.5" deep (5.5" wide at the base). If you don't have an oven safe pasta bowl a pie dish would work as it has slanted sides, if not, others have just made this in an 8" cake pan - just have a google search to see.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Grease and flour the pasta bowl AND an 8" cake pan. (One cake will be your spaghetti and meatball cake, the other you will use to make the meatballs.) 

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together all the liquid ingredients in a separate bowl. I did add a few drops of red colour here as I thought it would help make the cake balls look a little more "meaty" but it's entirely optional.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid, whisk until it all just comes together and there is no more flour showing. Pour into the pasta bowl almost full - about 3/4 then pour the rest into the 8" cake pan. Pop into the preheated oven and bake for about 30 - 45 minutes. I found that the 8" cake was ready after about 30 minutes but the pasta bowl cake took about 45 minutes. Just keep checking with a toothpick - it should come out clean with no batter stuck to it.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool - leave them in the bowl and tin.

For the Meatballs:
• the 8" cake you baked earlier
• about 2 tsp Kahlua (you can also use apple juice)
• you will also need a food processor

Crumble half of the cake baked into the 8" cake pan into a food processor and process until it's fine crumbs. Sprinkle on the Kahlua and process again. Test the mixture by pressing some between your fingers, if it sticks together it's ready, if not, sprinkle a bit more Kahlua on and process again.

Tip the mixture into a bowl and squish and roll into meatballs, whatever size you like, and set them aside on a plate. How many you like is up to you - lots of little meatballs or just a few large ones, either would look good.

Crumble the other half of the cake into the food processor and also process into fine crumbs. Tip this into a shallow bowl.

Take a cake ball and dampen it with water, now roll it into the cake crumbs so that they stick to the cake ball. It's the crumbs that make it look more like meat in texture. Plus, the chocolate cake mixture goes almost black when rolled into balls and the crumb coating is a better colouring. Once they are all made just set aside and make the frosting. Note: there will be leftover cake crumbs.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
• 185g vegan butter
• 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
• 2 Tbsp dairy free milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract, the regular dark brown vanilla helps the pasta colouring here. Don't use a clear vanilla extract.
• a few drops vegan yellow food colouring, preferably a paste

Place the butter in a large bowl and soften, add some of the icing sugar and mix well. Add the vanilla and mix well then the rest of the icing sugar with the milk when needed until you have a thick and creamy frosting. Now add a tiny amount of yellow food colouring, I used a paste as I prefer how they don't upset the consistency of the frosting. Just make sure you add a tiny bit at a time as you don't need much. Actually, depending on how yellow your vegan butter is, you may not need any. Just go by how "pasta-ey" the frosting is looking.

Note: you won't need all the frosting but it's best to have more, particularly if you do want to pile it on, then you won't run out and be left with trying to get the colour the same in the next batch.

Buttercream recipe source: foodequalshappyme.com.

Assembly:
• raspberry coulis*
• vegan white chocolate or fine desiccated coconut

First, frost the top of the cake with a thin layer of the buttercream.

Place the meatballs on top of the cake using toothpicks to hold them into place. I placed the toothpick where I wanted a meatball, then skewered the meatball on top.

Spoon the frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a small rope tip (whatever size looks like spaghetti to you) and pipe all over the cake and around the meatballs until there are no gaps anywhere and it looks like a big bowl of spaghetti :-)

Now place the cake in the fridge - this is important to keep the frosting firm - you don't want it getting soft and losing it's shape. Also make sure you don't have anything smelly like open onions in your fridge as the cake will absorb the flavours!

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatball Cake

Just before serving, spoon over some raspberry coulis, especially over the meatballs and around the top of the cake then grate some vegan white chocolate over top to look like parmesan cheese. If you can't find this some fine desiccated coconut would work too.
Tip: refrigerate the white chocolate before hand to make it easier to grate.

* For the raspberry coulis, I actually decided I had enough to do on my son's birthday as I was also making several pizza's by scratch  SO I cheated and bought a store made raspberry coulis. I am so glad I did though as it was absolutely gorgeous!! For those of you in the UK and Ireland it was Tesco's Finest Raspberry Sauce and I just ran it through a fine sieve to get rid of the seeds, then added a tiny bit of vegan red food colour paste to deepen the colour a bit (but that's really not essential). My only qualm with it is that it was quite thin in texture, it would have looked better if the sauce was thicker as most of mine trickled down below the "spaghetti". That being said, it tasted so good I didn't mind!

•To make your own, this recipe for raspberry coulis looks very good: http://foodequalshappyme.com/2013/08/11/spaghetti-meatballs-cake/ This is also where I got the buttercream recipe from, I wanted to make sure it was a frosting recipe that would be firm enough to hold it's shape as "spaghetti" and yet be soft enough to pipe with such a small tip.





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Friday, 18 October 2013

Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Coconut Haystacks

Vegan Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Coconut Haystacks - a no-bake cookie
So, if you follow the daily blog you'll know I've been loving these lately. Haystacks are a 'no-bake' cookie type confectionery that I had often growing up, usually with oats, cocoa, sugar and coconut. They've been around for AGES....there are even versions in a 1950's cookbook I have! To be honest, I forgot all about them until I saw them again on Pinterest but with peanut butter which was a new addition to me and I had to try them.
Vegan Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Coconut Haystacks - a no-bake cookie
Well, the peanut butter was definitely a welcome addition - they were gorgeous, but, I found myself missing the coconut. Haystacks for me must have coconut, SO, I threw some coconut in as well. I also swapped the vegan butter with coconut oil and upped the cocoa powder from the original recipe as I felt it needed it. 

Now, I'm so happy with these, great flavour and nice candy like, almost fudge like texture...and the best thing? They are so quick to whip up!! There have been many days the past couple of weeks I have needed something good, sweet and chocolatey and these have come to the rescue in no time at all. Perfect.


Recipe Notes

• Almost all recipes out there for these call for quick cooking oats. Honestly, I didn't bother and mine turn out fine. I do use Tesco value porridge oats though which have a very small flake which probably does make a difference. If you are not using that brand then you'll probably want to stick with quick cooking oats.
• I've used unsweetened peanut butter, soy milk and coconut here as there is enough sugar in them as is. If you use sweetened versions of those you may want to reduce the sugar a bit.
• If you use vegan butter in place of the coconut oil you can omit the salt.
Vegan Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Coconut Haystacks - a no-bake cookie

Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Coconut Haystacks

• 40g / 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp solid coconut oil (or vegan butter)
• 150g / 2/3 cups white sugar, I used caster
• 40ml / 1.5 fl oz unsweetened soy milk
• 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder - measure then sieve so there are no lumps.
• 40g / 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp unsweetened peanut butter
• 70g / ¾ cup oats* see notes above. 
• 20g / ¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• tiny pinch of salt

Line a chopping board or flat plate with baking or parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl add the oats, coconut, peanut butter and salt. Don't mix it - just set it aside.

In a small saucepan add the coconut oil, sugar, soy milk and cocoa powder. Stir and slowly bring to the boil, if it starts to boil before the coconut oil melts then turn the heat down. Keep stirring and once the oil and sugar have melted, turn the heat up to high to bring it to a rolling boil. Once at a rolling boil, stop stirring and let it boil for exactly 1 minute. Now, take it off the heat and give it a good stir until it is no longer foamy. Add the vanilla and mix well - it will sizzle a bit. Scrape it all into the oat mixture and quickly give it a really good mix until the peanut butter and everything is very well blended.

Working quickly as these will set pretty fast, take a tablespoon of the mixture and drop them onto the paper lined board/plate. Use another spoon to push them off - not your fingers as the mixture will be VERY hot! You should get 9 large haystacks out of this, or 12 smaller ones. Tip - get some hot water into the saucepan now for easy cleaning :-)

Once they are all on the sheet pop it into the fridge for them to cool and fully set. I've not timed this but they do actually set and cool pretty quickly. Usually I keep these in the fridge but they keep out of the fridge just fine too.

Vegan Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Coconut Haystacks - a no-bake cookie

Source: based on Chocolate Oatmeal No-bake Cookies from One More Moore.


Nutritional Information: based on 1 large haystack out of 9

Calories: 199
Protein: 3.6g
Carbs: 27g
Sugar: 17.1g
Fibre: 2.2g
Fat: 9.2g
Sat Fat: 6g
Sodium: 19.1mg

...more no-bake treats:
Bounty/Mounds Bars
Monkey Squares


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu & Mexican Rice

Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Mexican Rice.

This was a lovely meal! I've been wanting to try this chili cornmeal tofu since 2007. I kid you not, that might just be a new record for me....sigh, I do get around to things, eventually :-) 

Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu

It was featured in a Canadian Living magazine back then as a coating for catfish but I thought it would make a really nice crispy coating for tofu and it does. Great flavour with a crispy crunchy coating, they were perfect dipped into some salsa. I used a soft but not silken tofu here (Cauldron brand for those in the UK/IRE) but I'm sure any non-silken tofu would work well. I opted to marinade mine in some vegetable stock for added flavour - I used my standard veg stock - Marigold Organic Vegan Vegetable Bouillon powder, but just use whatever stock you like.

Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu and Mexican Rice.

The Mexican rice has been a standard in our house for months now. I got the recipe from FOOD.COM, (submitted by Pot Scrubber); as you can see it had an average rating of almost 5 stars and nearly 600 reviews so I knew it had to be good! It's absolutely gorgeous, great flavour but more importantly, amazing texture as you end up with perfectly separated grains of rice. 

Mexican Rice

I have made a few changes, mostly I reduced the amount of oil as I found it unnecessarily high and a little too oily the first time. I also used the option of a can of tomatoes over fresh as it's easier. I replace the cilantro with parsley, I know it's not traditional but I despise cilantro! For the chillies, I just use whatever chillies we happen to have growing in our poly-tunnel so I've used different chillies every time; as a result, sometimes it's hot, sometimes not! This time I also added a green pepper simply as I had one on hand but that is optional. Basically as long as you keep the amount of rice and liquids the same you can do what you like with this one.

Crispy Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu.

Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu - serves 2.

• 200g tofu, soft or firm but not silken.
• 2 Tbsp cornmeal or dry polenta
• 2 Tbsp flour
• ½ tsp hot chili powder 
• ¼ tsp salt
• 2 Tbsp corn oil to fry
• 1 tsp vegetable stock to marinade
• salsa to dip
• fresh lime wedges to serve

Please note: The chilli powder I've used here is Schwartz brand Hot Chilli Powder. It's actually a mixture of: chilli pepper, cayenne, cumin, salt, oregano and garlic.

Mix the vegetable stock with a splash of hot water and stir until dissolved. Top up with 125ml of cold water and mix well. Set aside.

Slice the tofu into whatever shape you like, I went with sticks. Make sure they are not too thick, about an inch should do. Press the tofu between sheets of paper towel, changing the towel as necessary until the tofu is fairly dry, mine takes about an hour and a few changes of towel. Soft tofu will take longer than firm here.

Pierce the tofu a few times with a fork then place in a shallow dish and pour over the vegetable stock. Cover and let marinade for at least 1 hour, turning them once or twice.

Mix together the cornmeal, flour, chilli powder and salt then tip onto a plate. With one hand, remove a tofu stick out of the marinade and let the excess liquid drip off, place into the cornmeal mixture and using your other hand press the mixture onto all sides of the tofu. Continue with the rest of the sticks keeping one hand wet and the other dry - it's just tidier this way!

Tip - make sure you only coat the tofu right before you fry them, otherwise the mixture can get absorbed into the tofu and you won't get a nice crispy coating.

Heat the corn oil in a frying pan until hot then fry the tofu until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Transfer to a couple sheets of paper towel to drain away any excess oil.

Serve immediately with some salsa to dip into and a wedge of lime to squeeze over.


Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice - serves 6 as a side dish/3 as a main.

• 1 can (400g) plum tomatoes with juice
• 1 large onion, diced

~ Add the whole tin of plum tomatoes and raw onion to a blender and blend until smooth~

• 225g white long grain rice
• 2 Tbsp corn oil
• 1 green pepper, diced small - optional
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 red chillies or jalapenos, finely chopped. (De-seeding is up to you!)
• 1 cup/ 250ml of the tomato/onion puree
• ¼ litre water mixed with 1 tsp marigold vegetable bouillon (or equivalent vegetable stock of your choice).
• ¾ tsp salt
• 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley

~wedges of fresh lime and slices of avocado to serve~

Preheat the oven to 180C. Wash the rice very well until the water runs clear. This step is very important to give you perfectly separated grains of rice - do not skip it! I put my rice in a fine sieve and place it in a bowl, fill it with water and wash the rice with my hands then lift the sieve out of the water, empty the bowl and repeat until the water is clear. I finish with placing the rice in the sieve under cold running water. Let the rice drain very well.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add the rice. Fry on a gentle heat until the grains look fairly clear, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili and green peppers (if using) and fry for a few minutes more.

Add the tomato/onion purée, vegetable stock and salt and bring to the boil. Transfer to a large greased casserole dish with a lid - make sure there is room for the rice to expand. Now pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Give it a stir halfway through and stir in the finely chopped cilantro or parsley at the end. 

The rice should be perfectly cooked at this point with all liquid absorbed and nicely separated grains BUT all ovens are different. If there is still liquid left then cook it a bit longer; if it is dry but the rice is not cooked then add a bit more water and cook a bit longer.

Serve immediately with a wedge of lime to squeeze over. To store leftovers safely, spread the rice out onto a large plate and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a suitable sized container and get it into the fridge within 1 hour. Reheat well either in the microwave or on the stove top with a splash of water.

The rice is a perfect side dish to the chili-cornmeal crusted tofu and salsa, just serve with lime wedges and sliced avocado. A side salad wouldn't go amiss either!

Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Mexican Rice.


Nutritional Information

Chili-Cornmeal Crusted Tofu - 1 serving, including oil to fry:
Calories: 193
Protein: 9.8g
Fat: 10.8g
Sat Fat: 1.8g
Fibre: 2.1g
Carbs: 14.3g
Sugar: 0.8g
Sodium: 294mg
Calcium: 112mg

Mexican Rice - 1 side serving out of 6:
Calories: 215
Protein: 3.9g
Fat: 7.9g
Sat Fat: 1.2g
Fibre: 1.9g
Carbs: 32.6g
Sugar: 2.5g
Sodium: 461mg

Dessert Option
Coconut - Lime Bundt Cake




Sunday, 29 September 2013

Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts
Flaky pastry, raspberry jam, moist almond cake and a vanilla glaze.

These came about quite accidentally. The other day while my husband was working in the garden he handed me a small bucket full of blackberries that just happen to grow wild in the bushes on our property. I had been massively craving a good old-fashioned berry pie for days so I very happily whipped up a blackberry pie (which was so pretty, really wish I took a picture!)

Anyway, I had some pastry leftover sitting in the fridge and thought I would make some tarts. The pastry is my standard pastry recipe with a little added sugar. The cake recipe more or less comes from this cherry bakewell cake recipe on BBC Good Food with a little veganizing and scaling down to make tarts.

They really are incredible, I've made them a few times now and they have become a firm family favourite.  Flaky pastry, raspberry jam and a moist almond cake topped with vanilla icing. Absolutely lovely :-) Scroll down for step by step photos!

Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Pastry:
• 140g plain flour
• 1 Tbsp caster sugar
• ¼ tsp salt
• 75g vegan butter, frozen in blobs
• ½ tsp white vinegar
• 2- 2½ Tbsp ice cold water

Filling:
• (about) 2 Tbsp Raspberry Jam

Almond Cake:
• 50g vegan butter
• 50g caster sugar
• 1 “egg” – 1 Tbsp cornflour, 1/8 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp xanthan gum, 1 tsp oil, 50ml water
• 50g ground almonds
• 1/2 tsp almond extract
• 25g self-rising flour
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• Tiny pinch of salt

Icing:
• 100g icing sugar
• ¼ tsp vanilla
• (about) ½ Tbsp water to make a thick glaze 

Pastry:
First, freeze the vegan butter, this will help the butter process into the flour properly and help make the pastry really flaky but you will need small blobs of butter instead of a solid block. Just drop teaspoons of butter onto a plate lined with cling film then freeze until the butter is firm and frozen, it will take a few hours.

Place the flour, sugar, salt and frozen butter in food processor. Process until it's like fine crumbs, transfer to a bowl thin stir in the vinegar and enough of the water so that it just comes together.Tip out onto board and shape into a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour. 

*cheat code - just buy vegan friendly ready made shortcrust pastry. In the UK/IRE Jus-Rol brand is vegan (last I checked) *

Remove the pastry from the fridge and give it a little quick knead - this will make it easier to roll out. Roll out the pastry and cut out circles using a cookie cutter that is about the same width as your tart pan indents and place into tart pan. Return the pastry lined tart pan to the fridge to keep cool while the cake batter is made. 

Almond Cake:
Preheat oven to 180C/ Fan:160C. First make the "egg" - whisk together the cornflour, xanthan gum and baking powder. Slowly add the oil and water whisking all the while. Continue to whisk briskly until it is VERY thick. Then add the almond extract and whisk again.

Cream the butter and sugar together, beat in the "egg" and extract. Whisk in the ground almonds then fold in the flour, salt and baking powder. Spoon a small teaspoon of jam into each pastry case then spoon the cake batter over top of jam, spread it out so it covers the tart then bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden and firm to touch. Let fully cool in pan on a wire rack then remove the tarts to the wire rack. 

Vanilla Glaze:
Mix the icing sugar, water and vanilla until you have a very thick glaze, spoon over each tart and spread out gently just to the edges. The glaze should be thick enough that it doesn't run over the edges of the tarts but just runny enough that it will spread out. I drop a small tablespoon of the icing right in the centre of the tart then give it a gentle push out the edges with the back of a small spoon.

Yields 12 tarts.

Step by step photos! 
(well, except for the icing part - ooops!)
 Freeze the vegan butter into blobs for about 4 hours.

Add the flour to a food processor, then add the sugar.

Add the salt.

Add the frozen 'butter'.

Process just until it is crumbly.

Transfer to a bowl and add the ice water and vinegar, mix with a fork until you have a shaggy dough like this.

 Bring together into a disc.

Wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Cream the butter and sugar.

Whisk the "egg" ingredients together until thick, then add the almond extract.

Add  the "egg" to the creamed mixture. (Note how thick the 'egg' should look).

Whisk the "egg" into the creamed mixture.

Add the ground almonds.

Whisk in the ground almonds (ignore the spatula, I used that after!)

Add the flour, salt and baking powder.

Fold in gently with a spatula until just mixed.

Use a round cutter that is the same size as your tart pan as you don't want the pastry going all the way up the sides - that's for the cake!
Roll out the pastry and cut out circles.
Place each pastry circle into the tart pan. Note the different thickness in my tarts as I suck at re-rolling out dough consistently!
Fill each tart with a teaspoon of raspberry jam.
Top each tart with a small tablespoon of cake batter. It will be thick.
Spread the cake batter out, making sure it goes right to the edge of the pastry. The easiest way is to spread out from the centre using your 2 index fingers.
Bake for 30 minutes at 180C/ Fan:160C then leave to fully cool in the tin on a wire rack.
Once cool transfer to a wire rack then ice them....which I didn't get a photo of as it's messy business! Just drop a blob of the thick glaze in the centre of the tart and gently push it out to the edges. It should be thick enough that it doesn't run over the sides. If it does stop and add a bit more icing sugar to the mix.

Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Wait for the glaze to set, pour yourself some tea or coffee and enjoy!


Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts


Nutritional Information: per tart (out of 12)

Calories: 155
Protein: 1.7g
Fat: 7.7g
Sat Fat: 1.6g
Carbs: 20.5g
Sugar: 12.9g
Fibre: 1g
Sodium: 118mg

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