Tuesday 30 December 2008

Vegan Tourtiere - Soy Mince or Puy Lentil

I decided to try a vegan tourtiere for Christmas dinner this year. A tourtiere is a traditional French Canadian dish consisting of a double crusted meat pie seasoned with wintry spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Although traditionally made with ground pork it's the spices that make it so it lends itself very well to soya mince. It turned out fantastic and was absolutely delicious, will definitely be doing it again next year. Makes a nice change from all those nut roasts! I never took a photo of the whole Christmas dinner but it was much the same as my earlier Thanksgiving post. 

**2010 edit - just made this with puy lentils in place of the soya mince as I'm finding vegan frozen soya mince hard to find here in Ireland. Pleased to say it turned out delicious, perhaps even better? Just use the same weight of cooked puy lentils (tinned are easiest) in place of the mince and omit the potato water.**

As well as the tourtiere we had stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and parsnips, brussel sprouts and petite pois in lemon hazelnut butter, red cabbage and mushroom gravy, which went very well with the tourtiere, all served with champagne.

Recipe was originally on Yves Veggie Cuisine website but now gone, thankfully re-posted by someone somewhere! 

Double Pie Crust:

• 2 cups plain flour (280g)
• 1 tsp salt
• 3/4 cup cold shortening/ vegetable fat (175g)
• 4 Tbsp cold water
• 2 tsp white vinegar

Ideally, use a food processor: Add the flour, salt and shortening and process until you have fine crumbs. With the mixer running add the water and vinegar. You will have a mixture that looks like moist crumbs. Gather it together into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other and press down into a disc onto a sheets of cling film, wrap up and chill for 30 minutes.

Alternatively: Mix flour and salt, cut in shortening with a pastry cutter until it's like breadcrumbs, sprinkle water and vinegar on and stir with a fork until a ball forms. Gather it together into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other and press down into a disc onto a sheets of cling film, wrap up and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the larger piece out to line a 9 inch pie plate, leave sections over hanging. 


• 340g frozen soya mince or 340g cooked puy lentils, drained well
• 1 large baking potato
• 2 Tbsp veg oil
• 1 large onion, diced
• 3/4 cup water reserved from potato cooking water  - omit if using lentils
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp thyme
• 1/4 tsp dry mustard
• 1/2 tsp salt
• black pepper
• 4 cloves garlic, minced

First peel the potato, cut into quarters and cook in slightly salted water for 20 minutes or until tender, let cool then roughly mash with a fork, you still want some chunks. cover and set aside. You can do this earlier in the day.

Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the onion with some ground black pepper until the onions are soft. Add the garlic, stir then add the spices, potato, mince or lentils and water. Cook till water is gone and it's all heated up nicely. 

Pour and scrape into the lined dish. 

Roll out the other piece of dough, brush water along the edges of dough lines pie dish and place dough on top. Seal edges then cut off all excess dough along the edges. I rolled these out and cut out maple leaf shapes to decorate the top of the pie. It looked great, shame I never took a photo when it was whole. 

Brush whole top with unsweetened soya milk and bake in 220C degree oven for about 20 minutes or until nice and golden brown. 

Let sit 5 minutes then slice and serve.

Mushroom Gravy:

• 30 grams/ 2 Tbsp vegan margarine
• 1 small onion, chopped finely
• 125 gram/ 1 1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped finely
• 30 grams/ 1/4 cup plain flour
• 300 ml/ 1/ 1/2 cups vegetable stock made with 1 veg oxo cube

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and fry the onion until dark golden brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, cook gently for 1 minute and then gradually add the stock. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until thickened and blended. Add more water if too thick.

Friday 5 December 2008

Christmas Cookies

♥ These are for you Jen!! ♥

I've been making decorated Christmas Cookies like this for years! My good friend Jennifer back in Canada and I would get together a couple weeks before Christmas and make a huge batch and spend the evening decorating them and listening to pop-tastic Christmas music!! It became an absolute tradition and one I simply had to carry on with my son. I've based this recipe on our standard vanilla cut out cookie dough but have simply swapped the butter with vegan margarine and used egg replacer in place of the egg - works great :-)

Christmas Cookies:
165g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
92g vegan margarine
116g caster sugar
20g egg replacer + up to 50ml water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Stir dry ingredients together, including egg replacer. Beat margarine together with sugar until creamy, beat in extracts. Stir into dry ingredients then add enough of the water until a dough ball forms and cleans the sides of the bowl. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least an hour. Cut in half then roll out on floured surface - not too thin. Cut out desired shapes, re-rolling scraps and cutting out more. Place on baking sheets lined with baking paper. Bake in 350/180 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes - the edges should just start to look a bit golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Fluffy Vegan
Buttercream Frosting:

1/4 cup shortening (vegetable fat like trex - about 50g)
1/4 cup 'pure' sunflower spread or other vegan spread (about 55g)
1 3/4 cups icing sugar (I forgot to weigh this!)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp soy, rice or oat milk

In a mixer with the whisk attachment soften the shortening and pure until soft, add vanilla. Now add icing sugar 1 cup at a time beating well between each addition, you'll need to stop now and again and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. You want this one just slightly thicker than when using for cupcakes so keep that in mind. Separate into smaller bowls and add food colours, if it gets to thin add more icing sugar.

Decorate as desired.

♥ 2012 EDIT ♥

Vegan Christmas Sugar Cookies.

I've been wanting to make these again without the egg replacer - something I haven't used in years. My recent Canadian Living Holiday Baking magazine had a recipe for sugar cookies that just needed a little veganizing and these turned out great! The dough is workable, easy to cut out shapes, bake up perfectly and taste just as good as I remember.

Sugar Cookies
Yields about 36 cookies, depending on size of cutters.

• 150g vegan butter (3/4 cup)
• 240g caster sugar (1 cup) can use granulated.
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 350g flour (2 1/2 cups)
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 4 Tbsp water (more or less)

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Separately mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and mix, add the water as you need it will depend on how 'wet' your vegan butter is. I used Vitalite which is quite a wet butter and needed the full amount. You want it to just come together as a dough. Shape the dough into 2 equal size balls, flatten slightly, wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Generously flour your work surface then gently knead the dough a few times until it is smooth - this will help in rolling it out. Keep the surface and your rolling pin well floured and roll out to about 1/4" thick. Flour your cutters and cut out your shapes.

Vegan Christmas Sugar Cookies.

Transfer to a baking paper lined baking sheet:

Vegan Christmas Sugar Cookies.

Then bake for 10 - 12 minutes. They should still be pale and only just getting golden at the edges.

Vegan Christmas Sugar Cookies.

Let cool for 5 minutes on the sheet then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool before decorating as you wish.

For the frosting, I no longer use the above recipe as I don't like using shortening in it, I don't really follow a recipe per say I just add a few tablespoons of vegan butter with a few drops of vanilla extract, mix it up then add enough icing sugar alternately with either dairy free milk or cream (whatever I have on hand) until it's creamy and tastes good :-)

Oven Baked Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Risotto

Oven Baked Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Risotto - vegan.

This is a terrible photo as it's so dark by dinner time now I can't get good light...anyway, it's very delicious. 
2013 Edit - I have finally gotten around to updating this photo, look how bad the original one below is!! I've come a long way....I've also added some step by step photos below :-)
(Although a bad photo, this one does show how it would look if you grilled the cheezly on top which I didn't do with the updated pics.)

Recipe comes from BBC Good Food website here , I just made a few changes. First it calls for frozen roasted peppers which I've never found so I use the method to 'quick roast' from the 'Golden Slipper' recipe, obviously omit the parmesan, add a pinch of sugar to counter the acidity of the tinned tomatoes, some garlic, and I tend to add baby spinach for colour and extra nutrition. Once I only had one pepper so added some zucchini and mushrooms, that was delicious too. I tend to top it with grated super melting cheezly but don't often have it. Regular cheezly will melt if stirred in but won't grill on top well. Recipe doesn't need it either way, just makes it that much nicer.

Oven Baked Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Risotto - vegan.

Oven Baked Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Risotto

• 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 150g risotto rice
• 50ml dry white wine -optional, can replace with more stock
• 200g can chopped tomatoes
• 2 large red peppers
• 250 ml vegetable stock made up with 1 tsp marigold vegan powder
• 1/4 tsp sugar
• 40g baby spinach
• good handful of fresh basil, chopped
• about 50g grated super melting cheezly - optional
• salt and pepper (about 1/4 tsp of salt, but just add to taste)

Quick roast the peppers - Put the grill on high and line a baking sheet with foil. Slice the peppers and place skin side up on the pan. Note that these pics are when I was making enough risotto for 3, hence the extra peppers.
Grill until the skins are blackened.
Scrape them all into a bowl and quickly cover with cling film. Let them sit for 15 minutes. This will get them sweating and make the skins easy to peel off.
Remove the peppers and the skins *should* just peel off easy now - discard the skins. Note that sometimes they will stick, I tend to find that happens with newer peppers. When you get the peppers that peel off easy it's heavenly - like stripping off a whole sheet of wallpaper in one go, lol!
 Once all the peppers are peeled, slice or dice them as you like, and set aside.

Heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in a pot and fry onion for a few minutes until soft with a few grinds of black pepper. Turn up the heat, tip in the rice, stir then fry for 1 minute more. Pour in the wine (or a little stock if not using) and stir until absorbed. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, garlic, salt, roasted peppers and 200ml of the stock. 

Pour into a greased ovenproof dish: 

Cover with a lid or some foil:

....and bake for about 25 minutes until the rice is tender and most liquid is absorbed. 

At this point I take it out, add the remaining stock, spinach and basil:

...and stir in the spinach until wilted: 

Cover again and bake a few minutes more, until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. If it's still not tender, you can add a bit more liquid and keep baking until it is but it should be done at this point.

If using super melting cheezly, turn oven to grill, sprinkle cheezly on top and grill until bubbly and golden.  

Serves 2 - excellent with a glass of the white wine you used in the recipe.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

"Reese" style with chocolate topping.

Well these are another great cupcake variant from 'Vegan Cupcakes take over the World'. I've never made a peanut butter frosting before but read of others raving about this recipe online. It's fantastic, tastes just like the filling of a Reese peanut butter cup...only better. Then I had some bananas in that perfect state for baking and had to put these together. In the cookbook this cupcake is known as 'The Elvis' - I presume due to his love of deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.... I then decided to follow the style of the chocolate mint cupcakes and top a couple with some chocolate ganache, the urge to make these as close to a peanut butter cup just too strong....and I'm thinking the chocolate topped ones are best.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Bramley Apple Pie Jam - Quick and Easy

Bramley Apple Pie Jam

Why this isn't a common jam flavour available in any grocery store is beyond me. I have been wanting to try this for months now but wanted to wait until autumn when English apples were in season, then of course left it so long I almost missed the season....thankfully I was able to get some in season English bramley apples (you want these as tart as can be) and finally got around to it. I have never made jam before but this was so easy. 

I made some changes to the recipe - mainly I've reduced it a lot to make just 1 good size jar of jam so that there is no need to do all the jar sterilizing and water baths and everything else associated with jam making. You simply chop apples, simmer everything for a few minutes then chill to let it set. Super simple!

It is absolutely delicious too, tastes really just like apple pie filling and is so good on toasted 'buttered' good quality white bakery bread like above, as well as toasted bagels but I can't wait to try it on pancakes and think I'll make some apple jam tarts with it as well.

Bramley Apple Pie Jam

Makes 1 good size jar of jam

2 cups chopped bramley apples - chop quite fine, they don't break down much at all
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 cups jam sugar (sugar with added pectin)
1/2 cup light muscovado sugar (light brown sugar)
2 tsp vegan margarine

Place the chopped apples in a pyrex measuring cup and pour in water to fill the 2 cup line (with the apples in). Add to a medium saucepan with the margarine, spices and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, add sugars and bring back to a full rolling boil. Boil for 4 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir until no longer bubbly and slightly thickened.

Transfer to a jar or suitable sized bowl - anything that's not metal or plastic will do and leave to cool and set, giving it a stir a couple of times. When cool or room temperature transfer to the fridge. Jam should keep just fine for a week or two.

Source:  Based on this recipe.

Nutritional Information: per 100g

Calories: 291
Protein: 0.1g
Fibre: 0.6g
Carbs: 72.6g
Sugar: 71.2g
Fat: 1.2g
Sat Fat: 0.3g
Sodium: 13.9mg

Barley Hotpot

I absolutely love barley and have no idea why I don't cook with it more often. This is a greatly adapted recipe from the latest tesco magazine. It's one of those recipes you can use whatever you like. Originally it called for all root veg like turnip parsnip and swede as well as spinach and peas. I replaced the peas with flageolet beans for added protein and the veg with just what I had in the house and felt like. I definitely would have added some baby spinach stirred in at the end until just wilted for colour and nutrients, but didn't have any.

The first time I made this I made the veg stock from 1 oxo cubes and kept the liquid fairly low so it was more stew like. The second time I used marigold vegan stock and added more water to make it more like a soup. Both are very good but I think I preferred it thicker and creamier. You could also cook it down even more and make an orzotto which is risotto made with barley. Any style it is equally delicious and so warming...

2013 Edit - Just made this again and forgot how good it is BUT I didn't realize just how unnecessarily complicated the instructions were for this post! In my defence I was just following the original recipe back then....I've updated it now to make it much easier :-)

Recipe notes 

• This time I used 1 Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot and feel it's the best but just use whatever cube or bouillon powder you like. 
• I have made this with both flageolet and red kidney and both work well as would any other mild flavoured bean. Flageolet is probably my favourite.
• I have used white onions, red onions and a combination of both.

Barley Hotpot 
serves 3 

• 150g pearl barley
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 120g onion, chopped (1 onion)
• 2 bay leaves
• 60g celery, sliced (2 stalks)
• 150g carrots, sliced and halved (1 large or 2 medium)
• 150g new potatoes, peeled and diced 
• 2 cloves of garlic, puréed
• 1 stock cube dissolved in 500 ml hot water
• 60g zucchini, sliced and quartered (1/2 a small)
• half a 400g tin flageolet or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
• freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash the barley really well and drain. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the barley give it a good stir, cover and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Give it a stir now and again.

When there is 10 minutes left for the barley heat the olive oil in a large saucepan then add the onion, carrots, potatoes, celery, bay leaves and a few grinds of black pepper. Fry gently for 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic then add the stock and stir well. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the barley then add to the pot with the beans, zucchini and parsley. Bring back to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes, reducing to low heat with 5 minutes left. Give it a stir now and again. Check that the potatoes are now cooked, taste and season as need be.

Nutritional Information: per serving

Calories: 360
Protein: 10.4g
Fat: 6.6g
Sat Fat: 1.3g
Fibre: 13.8g
Carbs: 59.4g
Sugar: 7.1g
Sodium: 638mg (depending on brand of stock cube used)

Thursday 13 November 2008

Chocolate Yule Log with Fondant Mushrooms

Vegan Yule Log

I've been wanting to make a yule log for Christmas for a long time now and figured it would be near impossible without eggs in the cake. They provide the much needed structure while rolling up without cracking or falling apart. I just used vegan cupcakes take over the worlds chocolate cupcake recipe here, cut in half and baked in a jelly roll pan. Now it did crack quite a bit but was still able to hold it's shape and as I was frosting the top was able to hide all the cracks and crevices! The filling was a test, using same cookbooks 'thick fudgy icing' and the top was frosted with their chocolate buttercream. All individual components taste great, I just hope I can slice it easily enough as the cake is quite delicate. The mushrooms were an idea I saw somewhere else where someone made meringue mushrooms to decorate their yule log. As meringue is definitely something that cannot be veganized I just shaped some out of ready made fondant frosting and dusted the tops with cocoa. As they are straight, thick fondant frosting I wouldn't recommend eating them, but they look the part!

Sunday 2 November 2008

Ravioli with Fresh Sage and Garlic Olive Oil

I miss filled pasta, why they are all made with eggs I don't know as this turned out beautifully. I wasn't feeling up to making some elaborate filling as I didn't know how the pasta would turn out so in this one I just crumbled up some sun dried tomato flavoured tofu that I had - which actually worked quite well. However it was just the pasta I wanted to try and as it turned out so well will start working on some fillings. Vegan with a Vengeance do a really nice basil tofu 'ricotta' so will try that, and am thinking a mushroom ravioli with tomato sauce would be fantastic. Loads of options to fill these with!

Ravioli Dough:

1 2/3 cups (200g) pasta flour *must be this type* I used Tesco's own label, it's really finely milled and silky soft.
1/2 cup (120ml) water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil

Mix flour and salt together and stir olive oil into water. Pour the liquid into a well into the centre of the flour and mix together with a fork until a dough forms. Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes, add more flour until it is no longer sticky. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Cut into 4 sections and roll out very, very thin. Place desired filling according to size of ravioli wanted, wet around the edges and place another sheet of dough over top. Seal around edges well and place on a floured plate. Continue with remaining dough. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add a little olive oil and cook the ravioli for about 5 minutes.

For the 'sauce' just finely chop some fresh garlic and sage and heat up with some olive oil gently, turn off heat and let sit briefly. Spoon over cooked pasta and season with smoked sea salt and lots of black pepper.

Thursday 30 October 2008

Butternut Squash, Mushroom and Sage Pasta

This was very good, I haven't actually used squash or pumpkin that much except in sweet dishes or soup so wanted to try this. It's going on the regular dinner rotation for sure. Recipe come from BBC Good Food and I followed it as is except instead of frying the squash in water I used veg stock to add more flavour as it never called for salt at any stage.

1 Tbsp olive oil
300g prepared weight butternut squash
2 large cloves garlic
5 small sage leaves, roughly chopped
150g mushrooms, sliced
175g pasta, any shape you like
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pint veg stock made with 1 tsp marigold vegan granules

Heat oil in a non stick pan then fry the squash, garlic, sage and lots of freshly ground black pepper for a few minutes until beginning to brown (mine never did!) Add some stock then cook fiercely for 15 minutes adding more stock as needed. When the squash is tender and it looks more dry add the mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes, stirring now and again until everything begins to caramelise. Meanwhile cook the pasta, drain then add to the squash mixture adding more stock if too dry. Stir well and serve with more pepper on top and some smoked sea salt to taste.

Tuscan Bean and Pasta Soup

This recipe comes from Delia's Vegetarian Cookbook and just happened to be vegan. I made a couple changes as she called for using dried borlotti beans* but I could only find tinned, I also used veg stock to cook it in to add more flavour. It's very simple but very, very good, will definitely be making this again. Original recipe here. My slightly different version, here:

1 tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
90g dried ditali rigati pasta, or other small soup pasta shape
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, or 2 small, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pureed
2 1/2 Tbsp tomato puree (paste)
1 1/2 pints veg stock made with 2 tsp marigold vegan granules

Heat oil, add onion and cook gently for 10 minutes without colouring. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add puree and rosemary, stir 1 minute then add beans and half the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Puree half of the soup and return to the pan. Add pasta and remaining stock and simmer until pasta is cooked. This may take longer than expected! Add more water if it gets too thick then season with salt and pepper if needed. Serves 3.

* she uses borlotti beans in the cookbook but for some reason uses cannellini beans online, both would work well.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

So I still had some pumpkin puree leftover from thanksgiving which considering I have to buy it specially wasn't going to let it go to waste, and saw this cheesecake on the fat free vegan blog. It's definitely not fat free but is of course very good. It only took a cup of pumpkin in the top layer so is not strong in the pumpkin taste. I didn't have any rum so added 1/2 tsp rum extract which gave this a definite egg noggy taste to it which is nice, although I may add 1/4 tsp next time. It called for a premade graham cracker crust, as you can't buy those here I made a ginger nut crust, the flavour of ginger going perfect with this. My crust got a little bit singed on top due to my inabilty to wrap some foil around the edges - seriously, can anyone do that??

Ginger Nut Crust:
1 tube ginger nuts (300g) crushed through food processor till very crumbly
70g dairy free margarine, melted
50g caster sugar

Mix the crumbs and sugar together, stir in margarine until mixture is moist. Press into pie plate until even. Chill until ready to fill and bake.

Recipe for cheesecake available from above link.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Delia's Mashed Black Eyed Beancakes with Ginger Onion Marmalade

Mashed Black Eyed Beancakes with Ginger Onion Marmalade

This recipe comes from Delia's Vegetarian Cookbook, I never noticed it before, perhaps as it didn't come with a photo but it is one of the few naturally vegan recipes in the book. Very glad I saw it as it's fantastic, we will be making this often. The 'marmalade' went so well with the beancakes which have great flavour on their own.

As this is from a cookbook I'll just post a link to Delia's page with the recipes as I didn't change anything, however, a few notes on some things:

She just says to add 'salt' to the beancakes, I added 1/2 tsp. You will need to cook the beans and lentils in way more water than she says, it doesn't matter as nothing gets 'watered' down, you can just drain away if you have too much at the end. It's more important that they don't go dry, I also cooked mine for about half an hour longer. Also the marmalade was supposed to simmer for 1 hr 25 minutes, but with such a tiny amount of liquid it was all absorbed and soft after about half an hour, I would have liked more time to get the onions even softer but it was still very, very good. I served these with some mashed potatoes and wanted some veg so used up the brussel sprouts I had left from Thanksgiving.

Click here for the recipe :-)

Monday 13 October 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner!

Almond and sesame nut roast, mushroom gravy, sage and onion stuffing, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts and petite pois with lemon hazelnut butter and oven roasted carrots and parsnips.

also had dinner rolls and cranberry sauce which went really well with the nut roast, amazingly my first time trying it, bought tesco's finest sauce - really nice.

Pumpkin Pie with soya whipped cream

Well it's Thanksgiving day in Canada today and made the big feast yesterday. While I've made quite a few vegetarian this was my first time as a vegan. Was debating what type of main dish to do as my standard nut roast had both eggs and cheese in it. Decided in the end to just adapt it and I'm glad I did, tasted fantastic, held up well and I couldn't even tell the difference. Everything else was easy to adapt, just used vegan margarine in place of all the butter and we used these great mashing potatoes that mash so creamily they only need a bit or margarine in them - no milk.

The pie was more of a challenge. There seems to be 2 types of recipes out there for vegan pumpkin pie, one using silken tofu and the other relying on cornstarch/cornflour to thicken and set. I used a recipe using the latter and it did turn out well. The texture was different but still good and you can see the colour is darker as it has no evaporated milk in it, but it still tasted just like pumpkin pie! The cream is just a store bought soy whipped cream out of a spray can, not nice on it's own but tasted just like cream when you had it with the pie.

Altogether a success, will probably try a different pie recipe next time just to give them all a go, but think this will be the tradition from now on.

Almond and sesame nut roast:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped finely
60grams/ 1/4 cup risotto rice
300ml/1 1/4 cups vegetable stock made with 1 veg oxo cube
1 large carrot, grated
1 large leek, trimmed and chopped finely (only use white part)
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
90 grams/ 3/4 cup chopped almonds
60 grams/ 1/2 cup ground almonds
90 grams finely chopped mushrooms
40g egg replacer
60ml water
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C/350F

Toast the chopped almonds and sesame seeds in a dry non stick frying pan until golden and fragrant. Set aside. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and mushrooms gently for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and cook gently for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the stock, bring to the boil and then simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add a little extra water if necessary. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add the carrot, leek, sesame seeds, almonds, egg replacer and herbs to the mixture. Mix well then stir in the water and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a 500gram/ 1 pound loaf tin. I lined this completely in parchment paper so that it overhung the edges (so that I could just lift the roast out later). Level the surface and fold over the overhanging parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven for about 1 hour, until set and firm. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes.

Mushroom Gravy:

30 grams/ 2 Tbsp vegan margarine
1 small onion, chopped finely
125 gram/ 1 1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped finely
30 grams/ 1/4 cup plain flour
300 ml/ 1/ 1/2 cups vegetable stock made with 2 veg oxo cubes

Melt the margarine in a small saucepan and fry the onion until dark golden brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the flour, cook gently for 1 minute and then gradually add the stock. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until thickened and blended. Add more water if too thick.

Turn out the nut roast, slice and serve with the gravy. Recipe says it serves 4 but we get 8 servings out of the roast as they are still good size slices and quite hearty.

Source: here


4 Tbsp vegan margarine

1 large onion, chopped
1/2 pound white bakery bread - make breadcrumbs. (I dry mine out in the oven then put through the food processor coarsley - you want some 'chunks'.
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable stock made with 2 oxo cubes

Melt the margarine, add onions and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, mix in everything but the stock. Gradually add the stock until stuffing is moistened but not soggy. Amount will depend on how dry the crumbs are. Place in a buttered oven proof dish and drizzle a little more stock on. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for a further 10 minutes to brown.

Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Hazelnut 'Butter':
170 grams raw brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
2 tsp vegan margarine
1/4 tsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts, toasted
40 grams frozen petite pois (the smaller sweeter peas)

First toast the chopped hazelnuts by dry frying them until golden and fragrant, set aside. In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cover and cook the prepared sprouts until tender-crisp, about 6 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water, when cool drain and pat dry then place them in a bowl in the fridge. When ready to cook, melt the margarine in a frying pan (use the same pan you toasted the nuts in, unwashed) then add the sprouts, lemon zest, peas and some generous grinds of salt and pepper. Fry on low to medium heat until heated though and peas cooked, tossing gently with rubber spatula for about 6 minutes. At the end toss in the hazelnuts and serve. Serves 2, about 90 calories a serving.

Sources: here and here

Pumpkin Pie:
400ml pumpkin puree
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup light muscovado sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla
ready rolled vegan shortcrust pastry

Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a pie dish with the pastry. In a blender add all ingredients and blend till smooth. Pour into prepared pie dish. Bake 40 - 45 minutes (although I had to go up to 60). It will look wobbly in centre but sets when cool. Chill in fridge after cooling fully and serve with soya whipping cream.

Original vegetarian versions of these are on my old blog here and here .

Nanaimo Bars

Vegan Nanaimo BarsThey were already almost vegan anyway - who knew? Only needed to use dairy free margarine instead of butter, bit of rice milk instead of regular in the filling and I used a recipe that didn't use eggs for the base. Can't tell the difference, still delicious :-)

1 cup vegan chocolate chips (plain, dark, semi-sweet) or 180g
1/2 cup vegan margarine (1oog)
1 1/4 cup graham wafer crumbs - can't buy these here, use vegan digestive biscuits - 150g processed in a food processor until very crumbly.
1 cup dessicated coconut (80g)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (50g)

Melt the chocolate with the margarine in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. When all melted, remove and stir in everything else. Line a 8 or 9 inch pan with cling film, press the mixture into the pan pressing down and making it all even, chill until set.

2 cups icing sugar (300g)
1/4 cup vegan margarine (50g)
about 3 Tbsp dairy free milk
2 Tbsp Bird's custard powder (not the instant which has milk in it, just the original powder)

Soften the margarine then beat in the custard powder, when smooth beat in the icing sugar and 'milk' alternately until a smooth, fairly thick frosting is achieved. I didn't need all the milk. Spread over the chilled base and return to the fridge to set.

110g/4oz dark chocolate
2 tsp virgin coconut oil in solid state (or just use vegetable oil)

Melt the chocolate together with the oil then pour over the chilled base and filling, spread over carefully. Return to the fridge to set.

*One thing I forgot to do is to score the squares into the chocolate before it fully sets. If you don't it will be very hard to cut when it's fully set as the chocolate topping will just crack and crumble - which is what happened to me. So score it when it's starting to set but is still a bit tacky.*

Thursday 9 October 2008

Chili and Rice

Ok, this is a bit of a cheat as I used a store bought chili sauce with seasoning mix, but it's very good....and hot, I will tone down the amount of chipotle peppers next time. We had this as is in the first pic then I thought of mixing it and the rice up and stuffing it in roasted peppers - lovely. Both versions still require a fair amount of vegan sour cream to extinguish!

Serves 2:
1 small onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 dried chipotle pepper, rehydrated and chopped (I left all seeds in, may not next time)
1/2 jar of discovery foods wicked chili (with 1/2 of the attached seasoning mix)
100g diced green pepper
80g canned sweetcorn, drained
125g frozen soya mince
1 Tbsp corn oil
100g long grain rice
125ml water
sour cream to serve

Fry the onion and peppers in the oil until getting soft, add the garlic and chipotle peppers and fry until everything is soft. Toss the seasoning mix in with the soya mince and add, stir well then add the chili sauce and water. Cook until thickened up and the mince is cooked - stir in the corn for the last few minutes. Meanwhile cook the rice. Serve the chili alongside the rice and sour cream.

For the stuffed peppers, slice peppers in half or cut the top off if they will stand on end. Rub with olive oil and place in a roasting tin. Roast for about 20 minutes at 200C until soft and edges golden, turn once. Mix the chili with the rice and stuff the peppers. Serve with sour cream. There will be too much filling for just 2 peppers so it's best to cut the chili recipe in half if just doing the peppers.

Saturday 4 October 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

These turned out really well. I was so impressed with the doughnuts that I wanted to try the recipe baked instead of fried so thought of cinnamon rolls. The recipe is just the exact same as that for the doughnuts except I cut it in half and added 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. They are great just with the glaze as shown but I also had some vegan cream cheese that needed using so made another batch of cream cheese frosting which goes wonderful on these. I made these plain inside but raisins and or chopped pecans would go very well, think I'll put pecans in next time.

Makes 8 small-med cinnamon rolls, (or 4 'breakfast sized' rolls)

1 1/8 tsp active dried yeast (not quick action)
1/2 cup warm water
2 Tbsp vegetable fat (shortening)
1/4 cup caster sugar
40ml dairy free milk
20g egg replacer
250g flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
about 20g vegan margarine

1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
enough dairy free milk to make it drizzly

Follow directions for the doughnuts adding the vanilla to the dairy free milk. After the first rising, punch dough down and roll out to a square shape, about 1/2 inch thick. Spread with the margarine then sprinkle on the brown sugar and cinnamon, press down slightly. Roll up then slice into 8's or 4's. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and cover loosely - let rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 180C and bake for about 15 min for the small size, slightly longer for the larger ones. They should be nice and golden. Transfer to a baking sheet to cool then mix up the glaze and drizzle over.

Cornish Pasties

with mushrooms, red onion, wholegrain mustard and ale.

I have been wanting to try a Cornish pasty for a few days now, however I really wasn't intending to do it today. We had a super pack of mushrooms that were on their last day as well as a couple red onions and was trying to figure out what to do with all of them. Was thinking a soup but then thought I would make little hand held pies with puff pastry. So I got started on the filling while Kieran went out to get the puff pastry but he came home with shortcrust instead, so I thought well, we'll try some pasties instead! I really wanted to make them as traditional as I could when I made them, with diced onion, swede, potato and soya mince to replace the steak. But, this worked really well too! The filling was all a test, again to use up mushrooms and onion, and thought I would flavour it with garlic, wholegrain mustard with ale* and vegan sour cream. It's very yum....only 'problem' is without an egg wash on the outside I couldn't get that nice crisp glaze that's necessary even though I did brush them with oat milk. I'll have to look up a way around that but they were still delicious!

1 pack ready rolled shortcrust pastry (375g)
387g mushrooms, halved and sliced
193g red onion, halved and sliced thinly into half moons
4 cloves garlic, pureed
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
45g vegan sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, about 20 grinds
15g wholegrain mustard with ale*
15g vegan margarine
1 Tbsp olive oil

Heat the margarine and oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and cook on low heat until soft, add the pepper. Add the mushrooms, herbs and salt and cook on medium heat until soft, golden and any water evaporates. In a bowl mix together the garlic, mustard and sour cream. When mushrooms are done stir this in until well mixed then turn off the heat. Transfer filling to a bowl to cool down. When at room temp, unroll the pastry and cut into 4 equal squares. I ended up with a bit leftover as my pastry wasn't square, so made a 5th little pastie out of it. Place a good size amount of the filling into the centre of the square then fold over to make a triangle. Brush the ends with water to seal then press edges down, roll up to make a 'rope' around the pastie then cut some lines in it. (I only managed to make mine look like a pasty with the last one, need some practice on this). Repeat with remaining squares and place the pasties on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake at 200C until golden brown and some of the filling may start to bubble out a little bit. I forgot to check how long this took, but we probably took ours out a bit early.

*the mustard I used is tesco's wholegrain mustard with ale, which is very nice, however, I don't know if the ale used in the mustard is vegan, although it is vegetarian. I wanted to use this up so did as there was a bit left. Next time I will add my own vegan ale to a regular wholegrain mustard, but have no idea how much, just to taste I presume - the mustard I used is 10% ale so it wouldn't need much.*

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Pasta Della California

This was soooo good! Again the photo here is doing it no justice as you can't see the main flavours of lime and chili but they are there! Recipes comes from, again, Veganomicon - which has yet to fail me. This is definitely going on the regular dinner rotation...

Vietnamese Mushroom Balls with Plum Sauce

EDIT - I have finally gotten around to perfecting these and have made up a lovely Apricot-Ginger dipping sauce to go with them.
Just click on the link here: Vietnamese Mushroom Balls with an Apricot-Ginger Dipping Sauce :-)

Bit of a work in progress this one but thought I would blog them anyway as they did have great flavour. Recipe comes from 'The Asian Vegan Kitchen' cookbook which I'm thinking will become one of my favorites despite this being the first thing I've made from it. A lot of the recipe do call for harder to find ingredients so I will slowly get through the recipes. Regardless, everything in it sounds amazing. I started with these as they sounded great and I had most the ingredients.....but then proceeded to completely botch the recipe up - my fault, I was going to halve it then decided not too but kept the quantities for the mushrooms the same. I also omitted the 'dried wood ear mushrooms' and replaced the straw mushrooms with regular old button. However as I used less than the amount called for there was then too much flour in the batter and it got very, very gluteny. Hence the reason for no pic of the inside. They were still yummy though and the big bowl of them disappeared fast so I can't wait to try again and get the texture right. Didn't feel like making my own plum sauce so it's just out of a bottle...

8 dried shiitake mushroom caps, reconstituted and chopped
2 reconstituted dried wood ear mushrooms, chopped *I omitted*
50g straw mushrooms, halved *I chopped button mushrooms*
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
125g flour * I would add a little bit at a time and check consistency*
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch cube ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 fresh hot chilies, green or red, finely chopped
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper *I just ground some in*
1/2 tsp salt
160ml water *I only added maybe a quarter of this and it all got too gluteny with the flour, again this may be because I screwed up the amount of mushrooms*
100g bread crumbs
vegetable oil to fry
plum sauce to serve

In a bowl, combine the mushrooms and carrot with the flour. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chilies, sugar, pepper and salt. Gradually add the water, stirring to make a coarse mix. In a wok or deep saucepan heat the oil for deep frying. Take spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls then roll into the breadcrumbs. Gently slide the balls into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper. Let cool slightly and serve with plum sauce.

Notes - I wanted to use panko breadcrumbs but didn't have any so used regular. We also tried some with thai sweet chili sauce and that worked just as nice.

Saturday 27 September 2008

Vegan Doughnuts

vegan donuts doughnuts
Ok.....now my life is complete.... turning vegan just after discovering Krispy Kreme wasn't the best move ever but who cares?? Look at those! I wanted a selection as opposed to just glazed so made 6 rings with maple glaze and chocolate glaze, and 6 jam filled with powdered topping and cinnamon sugar topping. The choco sprinkle one was for Finn and maple glaze my absolute favorite doughnut flavour.They are very yummy too, my first time ever making doughnuts, vegan or not, so all a big test but I wouldn't change much. Mostly they are quite large, I personally would like them a little smaller. I didn't have a doughnut cutter so used a wine glass for the outer and the cap from a vodka bottle for the inner hole (doesn't everyone?) Altogether very happy with these, I'll see how they fare tomorrow and the next day as I did use egg replacer in them and I have found when I use it the product is always the best not only on the day of making but right after making, so we'll see! *edit* still good the next day! This slightly adapted recipe came from here .

Makes 12 large doughnuts:

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (not fast action)
1 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup vegetable fat (shortening)
1/2 cup caster sugar (or granulated)
80ml dairy free milk
40g egg replacer
500g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
vegetable oil for deep frying

Add 1/2 cup of the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the fat and sugar and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool to lukewarm - mix in the milk. Dissolve the yeast in the other 1/2 cup of warm water and allow it to stand for 5 minutes. Give it a good mix with a fork then add it to the fat mixture - whisk well.

Mix in the salt and egg replacer into half of the flour. Add this to the liquid and stir with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the rest of the flour a little at a time until a soft dough forms. I didn't need quite all the flour but did use it all whilst kneading. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until soft and elastic - shape into a large ball. Grease a large warm bowl and place the dough in, turning once. Cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in volume.

Punch the dough down then roll out on a floured surface till about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes, re- rolling the scraps as you go. Place cut shapes onto baking sheets lined with baking paper. When done, cover with a tea towel and let rise for about another hour.

When time to cook make sure you make your glazes first and set aside then heat up the oil. Drop doughnuts into the hot oil (not too hot, if you have a thermometer it's supposed to be 370F. I didn't have one and had to guess, they should sizzle when they go in but not rolling about. Cook for about 2 minutes a side, you want them nice and golden. Remove and let rest on paper towels to drain.

When they are still hot but you can touch them fill the jam ones with some seedless raspberry jam in a piping bag fitted with a long slotted nozzle - just jam it in the side and squeeze some in. While they are still warm dip them in the glaze of your choice. After they are dipped in the glaze leave them on the baking paper lined trays to cool some more. Very good eaten warm.

Maple Glaze:
25 g vegan margarine
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp maple extract
1 Tbsp water.

Heat the margarine in a saucepan until melted, add everything else and whisk very well until all incorporated. I didn't add all the water as I found it was the right consistency earlier, just add more icing sugar or less water to get it right, you want it runny enough to dip the doughnuts in and thick enough to coat. **edit - I have just made these again and this glaze didn't work, it separated and wouldn't coat the doughnuts, it worked the first time so don't know what's going on, just to warn you! I'll work on it....I like experimenting with making more doughnuts!**

Chocolate Glaze:
1 Tbsp vegan margarine
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla
20ml hot water
50g vegan chocolate

Place everything into a bowl set over a saucepan with about an inch or two of water. Stir over medium heat until chocolate is all melted then whisk well. Again you want the consistency like the maple glaze.

The other toppings I used were just sifted icing sugar for the jam filled and a mixture of sugar and cinnamon for the jam filled as well.

Photo Update: I also used this recipe to make plain vanilla glazed doughnuts. I dipped them entirely in the glaze I used to make my apple fritters and they are stunning!

...and don't forget to cook the holes!