Saturday 27 September 2008

Vegan Doughnuts

vegan donuts doughnuts 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!

Monday 22 September 2008

Carrot Cupcakes with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

with chopped pecans and a raisin

just frosting....

Another great cupcake from 'vegan cupcakes take over the world'. This used to be my favorite cupcake and I really didn't think it could be made vegan but it works. The vegan cream cheese never interested me much on bagels as it's too sweet but it makes a spot on cream cheese frosting - I really couldn't tell this apart from the 'real' thing. I made a couple changes - the original recipe called for 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup raisins in the cakes as well. While nuts and raisins go well with carrot cake I personally prefer mine plain so omitted them. This did reduce the bulk of my batter a bit so my cakes weren't as big as they could have been but not a big deal. I did however like their idea for frosting the cake with some chopped walnuts (I had pecans) and a little raisin on top. So I frosted half that way and half the regular piped way. I'm thinking the nutty version is best, but it's close...

Roasted Yellow Pepper and Caramelized Onion on Ciabatta

So I finally got around to trying a different cookbook than veganomicon. This was in 'The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen' and called a 'golden slipper' - ciabatta being the Italian word for slipper and the golden part pretty obvious. However I felt that made it sound like a bad disney movie and had to change it. This was amazing, you really want virtual smell or taste with this post as I realize it just looks like peppers and onion on toast but it's so much more. Roasted peppers with caramelized onion cooked in light stock and olive oil infused with garlic and fresh sage then a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar stirred through at the end all on a crisp ciabatta. only complaint was how long it took to make, I started at noon already hungry thinking a sandwich wouldn't take too long and sat down to eat at half 1! So be warned....but it is worth it.

Only change I made was that this was supposed to be a sandwich but I find ciabatta sandwich's too thick and difficult to eat. So I doubled the filling and spooned it over the split ciabatta open faced style. I feel this works much better and gives a better proportion of filling vs bread.

Makes 1 open faced sandwich:
1/4 cup (2 fl oz) vegetable stock made with 1/4 tsp marigold vegan granules (not low sodium)
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 large fresh sage leaves
1 1/2 cloves garlic, or 1 large and 1 small, lightly crushed
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
1 yellow pepper, quick roasted, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
ciabatta - about 80g, I used tesco's ciabatta rolls - very handy as you don't have to cut to size.
fresh black pepper

First roast the pepper - adjust the oven rack to about 4 inches from the grill and preheat to broil. Top and tail the pepper, remove the seeds and white membrane and slice in half lengthwise. Slice each half into half again and place skin side up onto a baking sheet. Broil until partially charred, about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl (not plastic) and cover with cling film. Leave to sweat for about 15 - 20 minutes. Peel off skins with your fingers or a knife, they should peel off very easily. Slice into thin strips.

In a medium skillet or pot with a lid, combine the broth, oil, sage and garlic; bring to a brisk simmer over medium heat. Cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 20 minutes. Remove the sage and garlic, squeezing out the excess liquid back into the pot.

Preheat oven to 200C. Add the onion and some grinds of black pepper to the stock and cook over medium heat, stirring often until the onion is very soft, golden and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the roasted pepper and vinegar, toss well to combine. Split the ciabatta in half and place all the filling on the bottom half. This will seem like too much as this is a double amount of the filling but it's ok. Top with the other half of ciabatta and wrap the sandwich tightly in foil. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, unwrapping the foil for the last few minutes to brown. Place the top of the ciabatta on a plate and re-distribute the filling evenly over both halves. Serve immediately.

Thursday 18 September 2008

Carrot Curry Soup

Carrot Curry Soup

This is easily my favorite soup. It's so simple yet very tasty and nothing fancy about it. We used to serve it at the cafe I worked in back home and my good friend (and chef) kindly gave me the recipe. In the cafe we would make it usually with cream but sometimes vegan so it didn't even need adapting. This isn't the cafe version mind you but a healthier spin on it although I can't tell the difference. It's very thick and velvety, definitely a main course soup, we serve it with fresh oven bread rolls and red wine. Thanks to my friend for letting me post it :)

Carrot Curry Soup: serves 3

10g vegan margarine (2 teaspoons)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 tsp mild curry powder
3/4 tsp salt (this used to be doubled but I'm cutting back)
4 cups water
1 oxo vegetable stock cube or 4 tsp marigold vegan stock granules
500g fresh carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks (weigh after peeling)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
100ml reduced fat coconut milk

In a large saucepan, add the margarine on medium heat and melt. Add the curry powder and gently 'toast' for about 1 minute. Add the onion, stir then add the water, stock cube and salt. Bring to the boil then add the carrots. When it returns to the boil cook with lid slightly askew for about 15 minutes or until carrots just tender. Turn off heat, let cool slightly then puree in a blender until smooth. I have to do this in 2 batches. Return pureed soup to the pan and turn heat on to medium. Add the lemon juice and coconut milk and stir well. When hot ladle into bowls and if you like stir a little coconut milk over the top.

Carrot Curry Soup

Veggie Tofu Stir Fry

Just a standard veggie stir fry, made this one to use up as much veg as possible that was in the fridge so it has a minimum amount of rice - and 3 servings of veg per person! I add the tofu to mine and throw in some cashews for Kieran.

Serves 2:
100g thai rice
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp ginger, chopped
70g baby corn, halved and sliced
80g carrots, sliced and halved
80g broccoli, cut into florets
120g mushrooms, sliced
80g red peppers. chopped
1 - 2 Tbsp soy sauce to taste
1 Tbsp groundnut oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 spring onions, chopped
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
63g (1/4 pack of cauldron foods tofu) marinated and cut into small sizes* and fried in 1 tsp groundnut oil till golden.
2 Tbsp cashews*

Place some water in the wok and lightly boil the carrots and broccoli - not to cook them but just until slightly tender and broccoli is bright green. Drain and set aside. Put water on for rice. Heat the oil in the dried wok and fry the onion, when soft add the garlic, ginger and mushrooms. Fry till soft and golden and any water re-absorbed. Add the peppers and corn and fry till soft. Add the carrots and broccoli and stir well. Drain rice and add to wok, stir well with the soy sauce and sesame oil and spring onions. Stir in cashews or fried tofu then top with the toasted sesame seeds.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Whiskey Glazed Tofu Skewers

Got this marinade recipe from the waitrose website. They used it to make steak wraps but it sounded like a good marinade for tofu - it is. Has a nice sweet/sour thing going on, the original called for honey - maple syrup would be wonderful but I had some agave nectar I really wanted to try so used that. It makes a lot of marinade but I'm sure it will keep in the fridge. I was going to just serve the tofu like a 'steak' with rice and steamed broccoli on the side but saw some red onions and decided to skewer them.

75ml Jack Daniels
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup)
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
25g light muscovado sugar
1/2 Tbsp vegan worcester sauce
1 clove garlic, pureed
1 skewer
5-6 florets of broccoli, cut large and lightly steamed
1/2 red onion, cut into large slices
1/4 pack of cauldron tofu, previously frozen then defrosted and pressed
olive oil
50g thai jasmine rice
pinch salt

Whisk together the marinade ingredients then pour over the pressed tofu. Marinade for about 15 - 30 minutes, turn once. Meanwhile brush a grill pan with some of the olive oil and griddle the onions until soft and slightly charred. Remove and set aside. Get the water with salt on for the rice. In a small saucepan pour the remaining marinade in and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until thickened. Brush the grill pan with more oil and griddle the tofu cubes on all sides for about 6 minutes, brush on some of the thickened marinade as needed, you want them nice and glossy. I then tossed the onions and steamed broccoli onto the grill pan just to quickly heat them up. Skewer onions, broccoli then tofu onto the skewer. Drain the rice and tip onto a plate and serve skewer over top. Makes 1 skewer with rice.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Black Olives

This is the pesto recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance that I also used on the earlier pizza post. It's so good, and I used to be a major pesto fiend, didn't think it would be so good without the parm but think I even prefer this to cheesy pesto and it's so easy. We had it with the garlic bread rolls already posted.

Serves 2:
10g pine nuts, toasted
18g basil (I use a 26g bag of basil, it weighs about 18g when you remove the stalks)
1 clove garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1/16 tsp salt
30ml olive oil (2 Tbsp)
2 1/4 tsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
150g pasta (dry weight)
30g sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
30g sliced black olives
black pepper

Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic and salt to a food processor and process till well chopped. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream down the feed tube. You will have to stop it and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula. Add the lemon juice and yeast then process well until no large bits remain. Pour over cooked pasta then add the tomatoes, olives and black pepper, stir well and serve.

Tricolore Griddled Wrap

My take on Vegan Yum Yum's hasperat wrap. While I really liked what she put in, the combination of avocado, tomato, basil and mozza is my favorite, especially in a grilled sandwich. It's important to have all the fillings quite thin, mine here bordering on too thick, but still good!

Makes 1 wrap:

1 large tortilla wrap
80g mashed avocado
1 medium tomato, sliced thin and remove the seeds and inner membrane
40g grated super melting cheezly mozza
lots of fresh basil
freshly ground black pepper
lots of freshly ground garlic & herb salt (schwartz brand) - I would like to say you can omit this but it really does make the sandwich.

Warm the wrap briefly on both sides. Mash the avocado with the garlic salt then spread onto the wrap leaving the sides bare and going close to the ends. Place the tomato slices on top, then mozza then top with the fresh basil. Grind some black pepper all over the top. Fold the bare sides in then roll up. Place on a hot griddle pan and grill both sides till you get lines and the cheeze melts. Cut diagonally and serve.

Monday 15 September 2008

Lentil, Bean and Veggie Stew

Vegan Stew with Puy Lentils and Red Kidney Beans.

This is a slightly adapted recipe of 'Cholent' in Veganomicon. They called for caraway seeds and tarragon but I personally am not keen on any 'liquorish' tasting herbs so, I used more traditional stew herbs of rosemary, sage and thyme and loved this. In fact it tasted so much like my mom's stew growing up (which is what I was after). They also added TVP chunks, which you can see in the photo there but we weren't keen on those so I no longer add them. I'll try and update this photo soon!

It's warm, comforting, nutritious and filling; we serve it with fresh from the oven bread rolls slathered with vegan butter to dip into the stew - lovely! This has become an autumn/winter family favourite.

Lentil, Bean and Veggie Stew:

Serves 3.

• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 onion, diced 
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
• 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
• ½ tsp dried mixed herbs
• 1/8 tsp dried sage
• 1 bay leaf
• ½ tsp salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 60ml / ¼ cup red wine
• 50g / ¼ cup dry puy lentils
• 100 - 150g carrots, peeled and sliced
• 250 – 300g baby new potatoes, quartered or diced large
• 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
• 100g frozen peas
• ½ a 400g tin of red kidney beans drained and rinsed (about 170g)
• about 250ml water

Wash and rinse the lentils well. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the lentils, stir, put a lid on and fast boil for 10 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve, rinse well with cold water and set aside.

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil. Gently fry the onion with a few grinds of black pepper until soft and translucent.  Add all the herbs, garlic and salt and fry gently for about a minute, let it get really fragrant but be careful not to let the garlic burn – keep it on low heat. Add the red wine to de glaze – give it a good stir, then add the carrots, potatoes, par-boiled lentils, chopped tomatoes and the water. 

Cover, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer. Let it simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes or until the potatoes, carrots and lentils are cooked and the stew has thickened. When there is about 10 minutes left, add the kidney beans and frozen peas. If it is still too liquidy, cook a little longer with the lid off until it is the right consistency. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water. Season to taste and serve.

Nutritional Information: 1 serving

Calories: 326
Protein: 16g
Fibre: 11.2g
Carbs: 33.5g
Sugar: 10.9g
Fat: 5.5g
Sat Fat: 0.9g
Sodium: 647mg

Sunday 14 September 2008

Curried Udon Noodle Stir Fry

This was very good, a slightly adapted recipe from Veganomicon. The original recipe called for seitan (which I didn't have) or tofu (which I didn't feel like) and also called for broccoli and red pepper for the veg. I just wanted to use veg that I had in the house so used green beans and carrots. Personally I think these work better as I can't see red peppers going with this so much, although broccoli would. Anyway, you can use whatever you like, it's the base of noodles and a curry roux sauce that make it.

113g dry udon noodles
Curry Roux Sauce:
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp flour
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp sugar
Stir Fry:
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1/2 large onion, slice into thin halfmoons
1/2 tsp grated ginger
66g carrot, cut into matchsticks
113g green beans, cut into 1" size pieces (weigh after slicing)
1 red chili, deseeded and slice thin
2 Tbsp vegetable broth
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Cook the udon according to package instructions, drain and rinse in cold water and set aside. Prepare the roux: Combine the flour and peanut oil in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stir constantly until the it browns and smells toasty, about 10 minutes or less. Stir in curry powder and garam masala and cook for another minute while stirring constantly. Pour in the vegetable broth in a steady stream stirring constantly. Whisk in the sugar and cook the roux, stirring constantly, until a thick sauce forms, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. *

Prepare the stir fry: Heat the peanut oil in a wok and cook the sliced onion for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, chili, beans and carrots and cook, stirring now and then until veg are softer. Give the noodles another rinse if they are sticking and add to the pan, stir in the soy sauce and stir fry 2 - 3 minutes.

Add the 2 Tbsp stock to the roux and give it a good whisk. Pour sauce over the udon stir fry and stir to coat everything completely with the sauce. Stir and cook for 2 - 3 minutes until the sauce is simmering and the noodles are hot. Serves 2.

*notes - the sauce was always too thick, it was never at a stage where I was able to 'pour' it over the noodles so I added a lot more water to it after whisking in the second lot of stock, I didn't want to add more stock in case it all got too salty so the water worked fine. May reduce the amount of flour next time to make it more saucier.

Friday 12 September 2008

Vegan French Fancies

Click here for an updated version of these.

Quite the experiment today, we used to love french fancies, which are just a brand name of a type of petite fours you can buy here. They come in pink, yellow and chocolate but even when we were vegetarian we couldn't eat the pink ones and now being vegan they are all off limits, until now of course.... Decided to just make them pink to make up for years of only having the yellow and chocolate ones! I have never worked with fondant icing before which I'm sure is evident in the above pic but it wasn't that difficult. As these were just a test I used store bought ingredients (cake mix and ready made fondant) so next I'll try everything by scratch. Also, I really needed 2 cake mixes as it was too low for the pan I used. This meant I had to cut the cake in half and stack them which then needed jam to stick the layers. The original french fancies have no jam in them and I wanted these to be pretty authentic, but still, jam will be good in these! Anyway, for now here's the rough recipe:

1 mix of victoria sponge cake (check vegan)
80 - 100ml sparkling water
*about 1 Tbsp raspberry jam (I used Duchy raspberry preserve with lime)
Fluffy Buttercream Frosting:
2 Tbsp vegetable fat (shortening)
2 Tbsp vegan margarine
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp icing sugar
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Pink Fondant Icing:
250g (about) ready made fondant icing (check vegan)
couple drops vegetarian red food colouring
just add some dairy free milk to the leftover buttercream from above to make softer.

For the cake, prepare the cake mix according to instructions adding the sparkling water in place of the egg and water (the carbonation will help the cake rise). Line a 7 inch square cake pan with baking paper so that it overhangs all ends. Pour batter into pan and bake for 15 minutes at 190C. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then lift out via the baking paper and let cool on rack - peel off paper. When cool, trim cake all along the edges then cut in half. Spread some warmed raspberry jam onto one half of the cake (the rough side), place the other half on top, make sure the cooked top is on top. You will now have a rectangular shape. Cut this in half, then each half into 4 small squares so that you have 8 squares in total:

Next prepare the fluffy vegan buttercream by simply whisking all the ingredients together until smooth, it will be slightly stiffer than the recipe for cupcakes as you want it to hold it's shape when the fondant goes on. Place frosting into a piping bag with a large straight circle tip and pipe little blobs on top of each cake:

Let these sit for awhile, at least half an hour for the frosting to set a little bit. Now make the fondant - add a few drops of food colour to the fondant and knead this in until a nice pinky colour is throughout with no marbling. I wore a pair of disposable gloves for this, otherwise your hands will look like you've committed mass murder. When done, sprinkle your work surface with icing sugar and dust your rolling pin with it. Roll out to as thin as it will go, you then have to cut out about 4 1/2 inch squares. Place one square on top of a cake, carefully press around the blob then cut off excess fondant from all sides. Press the corners so that they stick out and cut these off, even out the corners you just cut. Make sure they are stuck to the cake and as smooth as you can make it.

For the squiggles, you will have frosting leftover from the inside. Put this into a bowl and whisk in a little dairy free milk until it's a little softer than before. Place into a piping bag with a small writing tip and squiggle away!

Makes 8 french fancies.

*Edited to add - I have finally tried one and they are so good!! I'm very glad that I screwed up the size of the cake and had to spread jam in the middle - that became an essential part of these, so yummy! Also, that photo above is with a tiny espresso cup, they are not that big.

Thursday 11 September 2008

Kale and Flageolet Bean Stew

Kale and Bean Stew

This is an adaptation of the classic cabbage and cannellini bean stew, as usual I prefer flageolet beans and like to use the super healthy kale whenever I can. It's a very simple and fresh tasting stew. As the vegetable stock is giving a lot of the flavour here make sure you use one you love the taste of on it's own, I always use Marigold Vegan Organic Bouillon powder.

Kale and Bean Stew

Kale and Flageolet Bean Stew
Serves 2

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
100g peeled and diced new potatoes
100g peeled and sliced or diced carrots
450ml veg stock I make mine with 2 tsp marigold vegan bouillon.
1 bay leaf
50g kale, tough stem removed and leaves chopped
1/2 of a 400g can flageolet beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil and fry onion for 2 minutes or until soft. Stir in potato and carrot and fry for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, stir then add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the bay leaf, kale and beans, return to the boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until veg is tender. Ladle into bowls then sprinkle over the parsley.

Serve with toasted bakery bread, sourdough is especially nice, spread with vegan butter. 

Kale and Bean Stew

Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving, just stew.

Calories: 207
Protein: 6.9g
Fibre: 6.9g
Fat: 8.2g
Sat Fat: 1.3g
Carbs: 28.7g
Sugar: 5.2g
Calcium: 67.2mg
Sodium: 1049 (will depend on stock used)

Corn and Edamame Sesame Salad

From: Veganomicon

This was so simple and so good, great to have another interesting salad option for the summer. I'm thinking this cookbook can do no wrong...

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Gardener's Pie

In individual dishes

The inside....

This is a slightly adapted recipe from the Fat Free Vegan blog. It's so good and very adaptable, just use whatever veg or beans you like. She made it with kidney beans but flageolet are my absolute favorite and the Provencal flavours of this suit them so well.

450g mashing potatoes (weigh after peeling) peeled and cut in half or quarters
25g vegan margarine
30 - 45 ml dairy free milk
1 onion, diced
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large or 2 small carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
55g mushrooms, diced
120g green beans, top and tail and cut into 1" pieces
45g baby spinach
1/2 a tin of flageolet beans, drained and rinsed
250ml vegetable stock, I used marigold vegan granules
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried sage
1 heaped tsp chopped fresh rosemary - must be fresh really
1/2 Tbsp arrowroot or cornflour, mixed with 1 Tbsp of the stock

Prepare the carrots, celery and mushrooms and set aside. Prepare the green beans, flageolet beans and herbs in a separate bowl and set aside. Boil potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, heat the oil and fry the onion gently with some freshly ground black pepper until soft. Add the garlic, stir then add the carrots, celery and mushrooms. Add a little salt and saute for 3 minutes. Add the stock, beans and herbs, stir well then simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Stir in the arrowroot mixture and stir until thickened up, if no liquid remains add a little water. Preheat the grill to high heat.

'Butter' a large single serving dish or 2 individual dishes then spoon in the mixture. When potatoes are done, mash with the margarine and dairy free milk until smooth, salt to taste. Spoon over top then even out with a fork, create lines so that they will crisp up under the grill.

Pop under the grill until golden, crispy and the filling bubbles up the sides a bit.

Monday 8 September 2008


Yes, that is a deep fried burrito - I never said this was a health blog! While I love burritos I've never tried a chimichanga, something about deep frying an already somewhat fatty dish just a step too far for me. But considering I eat rather healthily most of the time I figured it's ok. Besides even vegans need a cold frosty lager with something deep fried now and again....and this was very, very good! I'll post a rough recipe for this but the possibilities are endless. I really wanted to add some long grain rice to the one above but didn't have any - that would go really well. As would refried beans with rice, rice and kidney beans, soya mince with potato and carrot diced small etc.... Put what you want in with whatever spices, everything is optional.

Makes 1 small chimichanga:
1 discovery foods soft flour tortilla
35g frozen soya mince
1 - 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1/4 - 1/2 fresh red chili, finely chopped
1/2 tsp corn oil
40ml water
1 - 2 tsp discovery foods fajita or taco spice mix (you can make your own spice mix but there's really no point getting fancy or difficult when you're making a deep fried burrito)
super melting edam 'cheezly' - entirely optional
corn oil for frying
vegan sour cream to serve - if not available, just turn down the heat in the chimichanga or sometimes we make a 'cooling' dip by mashing 1/2 an avocado with lots of fresh lime juice -works well!

Heat the 1/2 tsp of oil in a small saucepan and add the onion and chilli, fry till soft. Add the frozen mince and spice mix, stir then add the water. Cook, stirring now and then until all the water is absorbed. Heat a dry frying pan and warm the tortilla briefly on both sides, you don't want to cook it or for it to crisp up - just to make it softer for handling - which is essential, I ruined the first one by forgetting to do this, you'll never be able to roll it up unless it's warm!

Spoon the mince onto the centre of the tortilla and top with cheezly (if using). Fold both sides in then fold over twice lengthwise to make a sealed 'pocket'. Heat about 1/2 inch of corn oil in a deep skillet - do not allow it to boil, it won't take long to heat up. To be safe, once it's heated I turn the heat off while slowly placing the burrito in the oil, then turn the heat back on, same when I turn it. Once it's golden and crisp on both sides it's done. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels (I didn't have any and it was ok) cut in half with a serrated knife on the diagonal and serve with vegan sour cream. Can also serve with salsa, I made the filling in this one quite hot and didn't need it.

Friday 5 September 2008

Baby Pak Choi with Crispy Shallots and Wasabi Mash

for dinner with griddled tofu

alternative view - for lunch with no tofu
click on pictures for more detail

Sometimes, things in life just turn out. Case in point, I had a large bag of baby pak choi and shallots that needed using. Had a flip through my veganomicon cookbook and there is a recipe for 'baby pak choi with crispy shallots and sesame seeds' - perfect. Then they suggested that it's perfect alongside a mound of wasabi mash potatoes, well I'm not one to argue, so I included that too. This was amazing, the crispy shallots went so well with the pak choi, which gets a syrupy glaze while cooking, and the wasabi mash was surprisingly mild, great flavour of wasabi but no sinus clearing heat. I served mine with some griddled tofu using leftover marinade from the cubes below. Will definitely make this again, I doubled the amount of shallots and glad I did, could even double again they are so good, and I also added 1/2 tsp of toasted sesame oil to the pak choi.

I have added the second photo - that was lunch today, it was just too good to not make again. I didn't add the tofu this time, not that it didn't go I just couldn't be bothered for lunch. Decided to display it differently this time as the first photo doesn't show the lovely green of the pak choi. It also worked out well this way as the mash catches the lovely sweet salty glaze from the pak choi. I also doubled the wasabi today and it's still mild enough but with just that much more of a kick - lovely. Oh and I nearly tripled the shallots, could eat those as a snack...

Tofu Cubes with a Soy, Ginger and Spring Onion Broth

I really like this for a nice light lunch, the original recipe came in a lakeland catalogue of all places but was with salmon cubes. Thought it would work really well with tofu and it does - the thai sweet chili dipping sauce essential. I made a few changes from the original - mainly the broth - it called for both soy sauce and stock but I found it a bit too salty next to the tofu which is salty enough in it's own right with the marinade so just kept the soy sauce in there.

63g firm tofu (1/4 pack cauldron foods tofu) pressed
1 tsp groundnut oil for frying
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp sliced ginger (I use ginger in a jar and include a tiny bit of the brine it comes in)
150ml water
2 spring onions, sliced thin
1/2 Tbsp chopped ginger
1/8 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
15g carrots, cut into matchsticks
15g mangetout, cut same
15g baby corn, cut into quarters
1/4 tsp groundnut oil (peanut oil)
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil

Marinade tofu for 15 minutes turning a couple of times. Remove from marinade and make sure no garlic or ginger is stuck to the cubes (they'll just burn). Heat the groundnut oil and fry on all sides for 6 minutes. Save the leftover marinade for other uses.

In a small saucepan bring the water just to a boil, add rest of broth ingredients, stir, turn off heat and put lid on.

Heat the oils for the veg then add veg and gently fry until a little softer, about 1 minute or so.

Place veg into a small soup bowl then pour over broth. Serve tofu cubes on the side with a serving bowl of thai sweet chili sauce.

Thursday 4 September 2008

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Garlic Linguini

This is the same dish from my old blog, I wasn't intending to re-blog anything but realized that the last photo had so much parmesan cheese on top (my old vice) that you couldn't even see the pasta properly. So, made it again and it really does not need anything on top. This isn't the best photo as it looks a bit anaemic but it has fantastic flavour, really simple but so good. I still need to work on how best to roast the tomatoes and garlic as getting the skins off the tomatoes is a bit fiddly albeit worth it.

Serves 2:
175g dry weight linguini
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
250g cherry tomatoes
3 -4 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon - juiced
30g black olives
15g pine nuts, toasted
chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c. Place tomatoes and whole garlic cloves in a roasting tin and toss in 1/2 Tbsp of the olive oil and grind some salt and pepper on. Roast for 15 minutes, give the pan a shake a couple of times. Meanwhile cook the linguini, drain and place back in the pot. When tomatoes are done see if the skins will come off with a fork, if not don't worry about it, just add them to the pot. Remove the garlic cloves and press through a garlic press into the pot. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil, pine nuts, black olives, lemon juice and basil. If the skins are still on they should come off now and are easy to remove, also if any large tomatoes are left just press them against the side of the pot while stirring. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Wednesday 3 September 2008

Anniversary Dinner!

Sushi - Maki Rolls filled with black sesame seeds, avocado and carrot, with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger. Oh, and champagne of course!

Amaretto Spiked Chocolate Mousse for dessert.
Coffee and chocolate dipped fruits for after.

Our 8th anniversary yesterday and I made maki rolls - surprisingly easy and so, so good, the wasabi essential - really makes the dish, just take a tiny amount and mix it into the soy sauce for dipping. The mousse recipe is from Heidi's fab blog again. It's perfect, I tried to take a picture of the texture but it didn't do it justice, it comes out really mousse like, slightly more pudding/mousse than traditional mousse but I like this better - and no raw egg!! Plus you've got to love a dessert were you get a daily serving of protein.

Only change I made was to double the amount of chocolate soy milk, she recommends it if you want a 'ploppier' mousse and the first time I made this it set quite hard, more truffle like than mousse - so doubling the milk works perfect. ... No pics of the chocolate dipped fruit apart from that raspberry but it's pretty self explanatory....

Maki Rolls:
Serves 2 as a main course, halve to serve 2 as a snack.
Makes 12 small rolls in total.

125g dry weight sushi rice (must be labeled sushi rice - no other)
165ml water
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp mirin
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 sheets nori (seaweed)
1/2 avocado, sliced and generously sprinkled with lime juice
carrot sticks
black sesame seeds

Place the rice and water in a saucepan and put lid on. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid! Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes, again, do not lift lid. Whisk together the rice vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt until all dissolved. Tip rice into a large bowl and slowly pour dressing over then use a rubber spatula and fold the dressing in until rice is room temperature and texture changes to thick and sticky, be gentle as you don't want to crush the grains.

Place the nori onto a bamboo sushi rolling mat, shiny side down. Keep a bowl of cold water mixed with some rice vinegar nearby. Wet your hands in this. Place half the rice onto the mat going right to the end closest to you and leaving about and inch and a half bare at the other end. Press down with damp hands until evenly spread out then gently press down all over till nice and even. Sprinkle with the black sesame seeds then lay down the avocado and carrot sticks a little off centre. Using the mat, roll up, holding down fairly firmly, when you get to the end, wet the bare part of the nori with the vinegar water and finish rolling. Unroll the bamboo mat, transfer the 'log' to a cutting board and using a sharp, serrated knife that you've dipped in the vinegar water cut into 6 even pieces.

Repeat with the other sheet of nori and leftover rice. Serve with wasabi, soy sauce and gari (pickled ginger). Any filling can be put in of course, cucumber being very good and traditional.

Amaretto Spiked Chocolate Mousse:
Serves 3

1/2 cup (4 fl oz) chocolate soy milk (this is the doubled quantity-don't double again!)
150g plain chocolate (semi - sweet)
175g firm silken tofu
2 Tbsp Amaretto
1/8 tsp almond extract

Heat the soy milk in a saucepan until it just starts to simmer, turn off heat and let cool while you melt the chocolate. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water, stir until all melted. Place everything into a blender and whizz very well until all smooth - I probably did this for about 5 minutes, you don't want any chunks of tofu in this! If you have to, stop now and again to scrape down sides with a rubber spatula. Spoon into 3 serving cups or bowl or put it all into one larger bowl and put into the fridge until set.

Some notes: If you don't want any alcohol in this just increase the amount of chocolate soy milk to replace the booze. If you want to change the flavour, just replace the liqueur accordingly, for example for chocolate orange mousse, replace the amaretto with cointreau or grand marnier and maybe add some orange zest in place of the almond extract, for mocha, replace the amaretto with kahlua and the almond extract with coffee...etc...

One more thing - before you chill this and it's still a bit warm it can taste a little 'soya' like, don't worry! When it chills no one, and I mean no one would know this is made from tofu!!

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Spicy Sesame Ginger Griddled Tofu with Pak Choi and Rice Noodles

Spicy Sesame Ginger Griddled Tofu with Pak Choi and Rice Noodles

Bit of an experiment today, still had quite a lot of the otsu dressing left but no more soba noodles to make the salad. Was thinking it's so good it would make a good tofu marinade and was curious how it would turn out used as a sauce in a hot dish. Threw in some pak choi as I had a lot and it turned out well. Not sure how well the dressing works as a sauce as the vinegar taste came through a bit too much, however, the tofu is hands down the tastiest I have ever had.

I usually just marinade my tofu in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic; which is very good, but this was amazing. Great spice level and full of flavour. I'm thinking it will be fantastic in between some crusty toasted french bread with vegan mayo, lettuce and tomato. I griddled it mostly just for looks but the darker lines caramelized a bit, I guess from the sugar in the dressing, and was so, so, good. I also had used tofu that was previously frozen then defrosted and pressed. Apparently tofu prepared this way gets even more spongy and absorbes more marinade - which in this is a very good thing. Recipe serves 1.

Spicy Sesame Ginger Griddled Tofu with Pak Choi and Rice Noodles

63g firm tofu
otsu dressing
2 heads small pak choi, seperate the stalk from the leaf and slice everything, keep seperate.
1 pack pad thai ribbon noodles, or other
1 tsp veg oil
black sesame seeds

After pressing tofu, cut into thin triangles then pour dressing over and marinade for 15 minutes, turning once. Brush a griddle pan with 1/2 tsp of the veg oil and place tofu on, cook on both sides until golden and with dark lines. I further griddled to get a criss cross pattern but that's just for looks. In a wok, heat the other 1/2 tsp of veg oil and fry the stalk of the pak choi until soft, add the noodles, pak choi leaves and about 1 1/2 Tbsp of the dressing. Stir until leaves wilt and everything is hot. Tip into a bowl, top with the tofu and a sprinkle of black or regular sesame seeds.

Monday 1 September 2008

Rustic Flatbreads with Fresh Rosemary and Smoked Sea Salt

Recipe from BBC Good Food.

These were nice but would be best with a nice 'creamy' soup - like a roasted garlic and potato soup, as I did find them a tad dry. Great flavour though and will make again next time I make soup.

Makes 4
125g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp fast action yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
100ml sparkling water
finely chopped fresh rosemary
maldon smoked sea salt

Heat oven to 220 degrees. Mix together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the oil, then pour in enough water gradually to make a soft dough. (I didn't need all the water). Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 4 - 5 minutes until the dough feels strong, bouncy and has a silky feel to it. Cut the dough into 4 pieces, roll out into rough rounds about 10 - 15 cm in diameter. Sprinkle a baking sheet with flour, lay the breads on and let them sit for 5 minutes, then scatter with the rosemary, smoked sea salt and drizzle with the olive oil.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until they puff up and are golden. Remove to racks to cool. Can be made 3 -4 hrs ahead.

Tofu Dill Salad Sandwich

From: Vegan with a Vengeance.

Very good sandwich, I used shallots instead of red onion in the tofu, and added some chopped dill pickles in the filling as well which went really good with it. I would probably next time toast the bread first as well, just to hold it all in better.