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.