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.