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.