Friday 30 January 2009

Newfoundland Pea Soup with Doughboys

newfoundland pea soup
Now I have to admit, I didn't even know there was a Newfoundland Pea Soup until I was searching for a recipe. Being Canadian I've always known about the French Canadian Pea soup of course and was intending to make that when I came across this. It's more or less the same as the Quebecois version except has added veg (very good) and is often topped with dumplings (very, very good!) Yes, I do have a dumpling addiction... Anyway, this was delicious simply flavoured with salt and pepper and is very hearty - perfect for this time of year, and as the UK is facing a cold snap this coming week I figured it was a good time to blog it!

Newfoundland Pea Soup - Vegan
2012 photo - a little brighter than the last one! As you can see I sometimes omit the dumplings and have it with some homemade brown bread - lovely :-)

I got this recipe from Natalie McMaster's website she of the Nova Scotian fiddler fame....not from Newfoundland but oh well! I did make a few changes, I added a couple bay leaves, used smoked sea salt to try and replicate what salt beef or ham hock may bring to pea soups, and used my own dumpling recipe as I prefer herb dumplings to plain.

One thing I can not figure out is where the name doughboys comes from for the dumplings, all searches for Newfoundland Pea Soup call for dumplings, except her version here, so if anyone can enlighten me on where the name comes from please let me know!

(Edit - thanks to clever folk the mystery is solved, see comments below!)

Newfoundland Pea Soup with Doughboys:

200g yellow split peas (1 cup)
65g onion, diced (1 medium)
75g celery, diced (1 large)
100g new potatoes, peeled and diced (2 medium)
50g turnip, diced - optional, I don't add this anymore as I never have any!
135g carrots, diced (1 medium)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp smoked sea salt, grinded if in flake form.
black pepper

Wash the peas well and place in a large saucepan with 5 cups water and the bay leaves, do not add salt. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly with the lid off for 10 minutes. Reduce to a simmer, pop the lid on and simmer for 1 hour, stir now and again. When there is 20 minutes left, if the peas have turned to mush that's good. If not, mash them with a masher (remove bay leaves), you don't generally need to mash peas but we have very hard water where we are and if you do peas never fully break down so you may have to give them a hand. Add the veg, salt and a further 1 cup water. Stir, bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer for the last 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent it sticking. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt to taste, although I never add any more salt.


125g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed herbs
2 Tbsp vegetable suet
about 6 - 7 Tbsp cold water.

Mix all the dry ingredients then stir in the water to make a dough. Shape into 8 balls and drop into the soup. Cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, until they are puffed up and cooked. Give a stir now and again, particularly under the dumplings as the soup may stick.

With a slotted spoon scoop out 2 doughboys per person then ladle over the soup. Serves 4.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

French Toast

vegan french toast
This is so, so good, I really thought I wouldn't be able to have french toast again, after all, you would think the eggs were rather necessary! Turns out they are not, as I really couldn't tell the difference with this. It's the same base recipe as the one I used in the mushroom filled french toast with just the seasoning's changed. Just a note on the tofu/rice milk mixture, when it sits in the fridge it will unattractively separate, just give it a good whisk and all is fine :-)

French Toast 
Yields 1 serving

• 2 thick slices of good quality bakery bread.
• 125 ml / ½ cup of the basic batter, recipe below.
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/8 tsp cinnamon

To Serve:
• vegan butter
• maple syrup
• fresh blueberries (optional)
• icing sugar to dust (optional)

Basic Batter:
1x 340g package silken tofu (firm or soft - I've used both, either is fine).
250 ml / 1 cup rice milk (or other dairy free milk but avoid unsweetened).

*Note - for those in the UK/IRE using Clearspring Silken Firm Tofu which is 300g, add that and use 200ml dairy free milk.

Put the tofu and rice milk, or whatever dairy free milk you use into a blender and blend well. This makes much more than you need, handy if you are making more than 1 serving of french toast but will also keep in the fridge for a couple days. I also use it to make french toast dipped sandwiches.

Place 125ml of the tofu mixture, vanilla and cinnamon into a wide shallow bowl and whisk well. Cut 2 slices of nice french bread to your desired thickness, but not too thin. Heat a non stick frying pan and melt some vegan margarine, dip one slice of bread into the mixture, both sides, letting it soak a little bit. This depends on how old the bread you are using is, preferable it should be a day or two old and I just dip it in a few seconds both sides, if it's fresher don't leave it in too long. 

Place into the hot pan and repeat with the other slice, turn heat down low and let it cook until it's developed it's crust, if you try and flip it too soon it will stick. It's easiest to flip by quickly and firmly getting the spatula under the bread. Let the other side cook until also golden and 'dry' looking. If you are making a lot of these, transfer them to a baking sheet lined with baking paper (don't stack them) and place in a low temperature oven (about 90C)  keep adding as you make them and they will keep nice and warm then until ready to serve.

Transfer the toast to a plate, cut in half diagonally and serve with margarine, maple syrup and fresh blueberries (if you have them, but they do go very nice with the maple and cinnamon flavours). Also, a dusting of icing sugar looks quite nice :-)

Caramel Corn

vegan caramel corn
I've never made caramel corn before, even before being vegan so had no idea how this would work out. I'm pleased to say it was perfect, absolutely delicious and really very easy. They turned out nice and crisp on the outside and not at all sticky or chewy, with great flavour. I am sorry to say that I did use an ingredient that is not readily available here in the UK - corn syrup. I get mine online as I do use it often and feel it really cannot be substituted very well. I have seen others using maple syrup in place of it but I wouldn't recommend golden syrup, it may work in this but I know I tried replacing corn syrup with golden once when making butter tarts and it was an absolute disaster! So, if anyone tries this with replacing the corn syrup please let me know how you fared and I'll update this. Thanks!

4 cups freshly air popped corn
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar, I used light muscovado sugar
2 Tbsp vegan margarine
2 Tbsp light corn syrup, I used Karo with added vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven to 150C and lightly butter a non-stick pan and sides. Place the margarine, sugar, syrup and salt in a saucepan and stir while bringing to the boil. Boil gently for 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then the baking soda - it will foam up here. Tip the popcorn into the pot and gently fold in making sure the corn is covered. Transfer to the greased pan and spread out. Bake for 5 minutes, remove and stir - it should change from being cloudy and foamy to clear and darker. Bake for another 5 minutes where again it should foam up a bit more. Remove and stir again where it will be clear again. Transfer to a large plate and gently seperate with your hands while it cools, being careful of course as it will be hot. (I've got tough hands.) Let cool and serve. We get 3 servings out of this (1 for each of us) so double as you need, it's quite rich so you wouldn't want loads.

Monday 26 January 2009

Cheezy Mushroom Filled French Toast

Vegan French Toast Sandwich

This was a gorgeous, gooey delicious mess :-) I got the idea from the 2008 Canadian Living magazine Christmas edition that my mom sends me every year. I already have a good recipe for sweet french toast so just based my vegan version on that.

*See 2012 Edit below for another, easier version with step by step photos! *

Cheezy Mushroom Filled French Toast:

1 package silken soft tofu (340g)
250ml rice dream (or other diary free milk)

Put these into a blender and blend well. You do not need all of this for 1 sandwich! I do the whole lot at once because, a) my blender cannot cope with blending small quantities and b) I can then keep this mixture in the fridge for making more sandwiches or 'traditional' french toast quite easily. Pour some of this mixture into a wide shallow bowl and whisk in well to taste:

salt and pepper
pinch of garlic powder
few drops tabasco sauce

For the filling:

1 clove garlic
about 1/4 red onion, sliced
about 80g portabello mushrooms, sliced
fresh lemon thyme, leaves only
vegan margarine
slices of 'cheezly' extra mature cheddar

Put a pat of margarine into a frying pan, melt and add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, lemon thyme and salt and pepper. Fry until onions and mushrooms are soft and any water is evaporated. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 190C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Cut 2 slices of large french bread (preferably a day or two old).  Dip a slice into the batter and place on the baking sheet. Top with the mushroom filling, a slice or two of cheezly then dip another slice of bread and place on top.

Bake, turning once until crisp and golden brown on top 20 - 25 minutes. I found it never got really golden and gave the baked sandwich a quick fry in a greased frying pan, that gives it a nice golden and crispy top and bottom.

As I have the basic tofu mixture in the fridge, I hope to blog the basic french toast soon as well. Edit - here it is!

2012 Edit - Cheezy Mushroom Filled Dijon French Toast Sandwich!

Vegan French Toast Sandwich

So, it's now June, 2012 and I just made this again - why on earth did it take me so long to make it again??? This is so amazingly delicious, glad I came back to it and got a reminder just how good it is :-) I made a few changes this time though, not that the last one wasn't as good, it is, I just felt like adding dijon to this, it goes so well with mushrooms and I am slightly addicted to it!

I've also managed to make this easier in the sense that I no longer have to blend such a large quantity of the dipping mixture as I've discovered you don't need a blender at all - just whisk it up really well. That way you can make up the dip for just one sandwich and anything that does not involve hauling out major equipment is going to be easier! I also got step by step photos so I'll add them here.

Cheezy Mushroom Filled Dijon French Toast Sandwich - makes 1 sandwich.

Dipping Mixture:

64g silken tofu (can be soft or firm, I've used both)
3 Tbsp unsweetened soy milk
1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/16 tsp salt (a pinch)
freshly ground black pepper


10g vegan butter ( a couple teaspoons)
80g sliced mushrooms (about 4 medium closed cap mushrooms)
40g sliced onion ( about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1/8 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
some chopped fresh parsley
2 slices good quality white bakery bread, preferably sourdough.
A few slices of vegan cheeze, I used mozza cheezly this time but probably prefer the cheddar style in this.

First make up the dipping mixture by simply whisking everything together really well, get it as smooth as you can. If you have a hand held blender that would be ideal but this is too small an amount to blend in a full size blender. 

Now make the filling by adding the vegan butter to a hot wok then adding the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Give it a good stir then add the salt and pepper, reduce the heat and fry until soft and there is no more liquid. Stir in the parsley then transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Now take one slice of bread and dip it in the mixture and lay on the baking paper lined baking sheet:

Top this with the filling:

Then some slices of vegan cheeze:

Then take the other slice of bread, dip it in the mixture and lay this on top:

Bake for 10 minutes and it should look like this and be dry on top:

Flip it over, I found it easiest to fold the baking paper over the sandwich and flip it back, that way I didn't lose any filling. Some dipping mixture will be left but that's ok:

Pop it back in the oven to bake the other side for a further 5 - 10 minutes, you want it to be dry on both sides now:

Now, heat up a little more vegan butter in a non-stick frying pan and add the sandwich, fry until crispy and golden on one side then flip and fry the other side.

Now, simply slice in half with a serrated knife, wait a couple minutes if you can to eat as it will be lethally hot, then enjoy!

Sunday 25 January 2009

Happy Burns Night!

vegan burns night
From Burn's Night 2009 - Vegan Haggis, Buttered Leeks and Neeps and Tatties and Cranachan for dessert (photo below.)

Being partly Scottish I always enjoy taking part in Burns night, and as it's his 250th anniversary felt I must! I have made vegetarian haggis once before and really enjoyed it, I have also bought the vegetarian/vegan one that is out there, it's very good but there is something just too funny about making your own vegan haggis! 

The first time I made it I followed the Vegetarian Society's recipe and it turned out great but I felt like messing about with it this time. Mainly their recipe called for red lentils and red kidney beans but I thought of using puy lentils which are so good and thought they would fare well in this. I also used half pinhead oatmeal and half rolled oats and added 25g vegetable suet. 

Altogether it was delicious and I would only increase the amount of cayenne next time, it was spicy before going into the oven then really mellowed out while baking.

From Burn's night 2013 (sorry it's a bit blurry!) Individual Vegan Haggis, Perfect Roasted Potatoes, Mashed Turnip, Thyme Glazed Carrots, Buttered Leeks and a mind blowing Whiskey Gravy! Washed down with whiskey on ice and no dessert this year - too stuffed!

I made a few changes I'll note here as 2013 was the best one yet. The most welcome addition this year was a Whiskey Gravy I made - it's heavenly and will become a house regular for sure :-)

Again, it's not your eyes, darn blurry photo.... I still have a lot to learn with this new camera!

Updated Notes:

• I halved the recipe this year and pressed the filling into 3 small pudding cases. They cooked up beautifully in them, came out easily and I loved having an individual portion like that. I just lined the bottom of the cases with baking paper and sprayed them with cooking spray.
• For the veg stock I used a Kallo brand mushroom stock cube and always will from now on - lovely flavour!
• The roasted potatoes came out so perfect this year I didn't dream of mashing them! So instead we had roasted potatoes on their own and mashed turnip on the side. I just mashed the turnip with a bit of vegan butter.
• I added Thyme Glazed Baby Carrots this year, mostly for some added colour and they are gorgeous! Really went well with the whole dish. I've added the recipe below.
• Like I mentioned the Whiskey Gravy was the piece de resistance this year! Recipe has also been added below :-)

vegan haggis

Vegan Haggis

2 small onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 large carrot, finely chopped
100g mushrooms, finely chopped
100g dry puy lentils
1 pint vegetable stock (make with whatever cube/powder you like) NOTE - you will need to make extra.
35g ground almonds
25g chopped almonds (or any other nuts you have)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne (or more)
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
100g pinhead oatmeal
100g rolled oats
25g vegetable suet

First wash the lentils well and place in a pot and cover with cold water - do not add salt. Cover, bring to the boil and fast boil for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C and oil and line a 1lb loaf tin with baking paper - set aside. Alternatively line the bottom of 6 non-stick pudding cases with baking paper and spray the sides with cooking spray. 

Fry the onion in the oil for 5 minutes then add the carrot and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Now add the drained par cooked lentils, lemon juice, herbs/spices and the stock and cook over medium heat with the lid on for 15 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, suet and the nuts and oatmeal's and simmer for another 10 minutes, adding extra stock if it starts to stick to the pan but don't let it get too 'wet'. Press mixture evenly into the loaf tin or pudding cases, smooth out the top and bake for 30 minutes. 

Serves 4 - 8 as a loaf or 6 if you have used pudding cases.

buttered leeks
This is such a simple dish but really delicious and just goes so well with everything else.

'Buttered' Leeks 

• 450g leeks
• 25g vegan butter
• salt and pepper
• fresh sprigs of thyme

First prep the leeks: Cut off the hard dark green tops and slice the bottom end. Slice in half lengthwise then wash the leeks very well under cold running water. Now slice the leeks on the diagonal and place in a large plastic bag and chill until ready to use.

Place a large saucepan with a lid on medium heat and add the vegan butter - let it melt then add the leeks and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and stir to coat them in the butter. Turn the heat to low, pop the lid on and cook the leeks gently for about 15 minutes, stirring now and again until they are tender. Remove thyme sprigs before serving.

Source:  BBC Good Food . 

Neeps and Tatties
neeps and tatties
"Neeps and Tatties" - or potato and turnips!

2013 Edit - I now prefer roasting the potatoes and leaving them intact - original recipe had you roughly mash them as you see in the picture here. I then mash the turnip separately with a bit of vegan butter. See the 2013 photo above.

Perfect Roasted Potatoes:

• 4 large baking potatoes
• 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
• sea salt

Wash the potatoes well, leave the skin on and cut them into 2cm x 4cm chunks then boil in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain, give it a good shake then leave the potatoes in the sieve to dry out. I just left mine in there while I got the oven on to preheat.

Place the oil in a roasting tin and place in the oven. Turn the oven on and preheat to 200C. When it comes to temperature and the oil is nice and hot add the potato and toss with a spatula until they are well coated in the oil. Roast for about 50 minutes, making sure you give them a toss now and again. Remove from the oven when they are golden brown and crispy then sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and give a stir.

Mashed Turnip:

• 1 turnip (swede)
• vegan butter
• salt

Simply peel and chop the turnip into large dice. Place in a large pan of salted boiling water and boil for about 50 minutes. Drain and mash with a knob of vegan butter.

Source: BBC Good Food.

Thyme Glazed Baby Carrots:

• about 300g baby carrots - 6 per person should do
• 1 tsp golden caster sugar (or any type of sugar really)
• 4 sprigs of fresh thyme 
• 1 Tbsp vegan butter

Top and tail the baby carrots and if necessary peel them - usually just a good scrub will do with baby carrots but peel if they are quite dirty. Boil in salted water for 5 - 7 minutes, they should be just tender. Drain, run under cold water to stop them cooking and set aside until ready to cook.

Add the butter, sugar and thyme to a large frying pan or small wok and add the carrots. Cook and gently toss the carrots just until the butter melts and the carrots get a lovely glaze all over.

Source: BBC Good Food.

Whiskey Gravy:

This recipe comes from "Chef A La Porte" and is incredible. I am posting it here to indicate the vegan changes I made and to add the metric amounts but I otherwise followed his recipe to a T. It's a little involved but so worth it. The flavour is amazing - a subtle whiskey taste with a hint of sweetness from the caramelized veg. Plus the texture is perfect - just velvety smooth!

For the caramelized veg:
• 1 onion
• 1 large carrot
• 2 stalks of celery
• 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
• 1 tsp vegetable oil
For the gravy:
• 1/4 cup / 60ml vegetable oil (or other neutral flavoured oil)
• 1/4 cup / 35g flour
• 1/3 cup / 80ml whiskey (I used Jameson's)
• 2 cups / 500ml / 1 pint vegetable stock (I used a Knorr vegetable stock pot)
• 4 - 5 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried - I used fresh)
• 2 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried - I used dried here)

First, and you can do this earlier in the day (I did) : roughly chop the onion, carrot and celery. Add to a saucepan with 1 tsp of oil and fry until very brown (almost burnt as he says) for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Remove all the veg and leave aside for later and keep the pot - DO NOT WASH IT!

Using the same pan add the flour and and oil and stir constantly over high heat until caramel brown in colour and smooth in consistency. Make sure you kind of scrape the bottom of the pan to get all that flavour off!

Now remove from the heat and to be extra safe if you are using gas, turn it off altogether, you do not want alcohol coming into contact with the flame! Slowly start to add the whisky, a splash at a time at first. It will sizzle and foam up a bit as you do so it's important to do this slowly and whisk it in so that it is smooth after every addition. When all the whiskey has been added place the pan back on the heat (low) and start to add the vegetable stock. Again, add it a little bit at a time stirring well between each addition. Also taking care that no splashes occur!

When all the stock has been added, bring it to a boil then add the reserved vegetables and sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Reduce to a simmer and stir frequently until it is of a thickness you like. Strain out the veg and return the gravy to the pot. Taste and season with salt as need be, I only added a pinch.

Source: Chef A La Porte.

vegan cranachan
Cranachan for dessert!
(well, a veganized and ever so slightly Canadianized version!)

This is a traditional Scottish dessert made with double cream, whiskey, honey, toasted oatmeal and berries. There are loads of different variants of this out there so I didn't really have a 'base' recipe to base this on. Mostly the problem was replacing the cream - I don't like the soy whipped creams out there and anything else is too runny i.e soy yogurts etc.. I was happy to read that it was also made out of crowdie, a type of cream cheese so thought of using some tofutti cream cheese for the filling, I was thinking of a floppy, whiskey, maple infused cream cheese type thing. I'm happy enough with what came out of it although I personally would have liked more whiskey, think I would double the whiskey/oat cream/ cornflour stage in this. I decided to use pinhead oatmeal for the topping (it's inside as well) and read somewhere that Nick Nairn suggested adding sugar to oatmeal while toasting so thought that maple sugar I got recently would be nice. It is. Only other thing I may change next time is to mash up some of the raspberries to swirl over the cream layer as it needed a little more of that.


113g tofutti cream cheese
75g tofutti sour cream
1 Tbsp oat cream
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1Tbsp whiskey (again, next time I would double the oat cream/maple/whiskey/cornflour stage)
40g icing sugar (??? I'm afraid I lost count while adding this - just go to taste and thickness)
1/2 Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
fresh raspberries or blackberries
pinhead oatmeal - no measurement, I just tossed some in a frying pan
maple sugar, or demerara, again no measurement here I just eyeballed it against the oatmeal.

Whisk together the cream cheese and sour cream, set aside. Mix together the cornflour with the whiskey and set aside. 

In a small saucepan heat up the oat cream with the maple syrup, stirring well. When it just comes to a simmer add the whiskey mixture and stir constantly as it thickens up, remove from the heat. 

Take some of the cream cheese mixture and mix into the whiskey mixture briskly then add this mixture to the rest of the cream cheese mixture and whisk everything together. 

Now add the icing sugar whisking as you go until very smooth, thick and sweet enough. Don't worry if it's not super thick as it does set up a little more in the fridge. Place the oatmeal and sugar in a dry non stick frying and fry carefully until the sugar starts to melt and it starts getting sticky. Quickly transfer to a plate and carefully separate it all with your hands as it cools. 

In serving glasses layer cream, oatmeal, raspberries - serves 2 well.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Bounty Bars

Vegan Bounty or Mounds Bars

Best damn mashed potatoes I've ever had....

Yes, that's right, there is mashed potato in those! Actually I wasn't that surprised when I saw it in the recipe as I've seen other confectionery recipes calling for mash, a truffle recipe if my memory serves me correct. This is of course potatoes not cooked in salt and mashed without milk or butter added, it's not that mad! I had asked K what he really misses and if there was anything I could 'veganize' for him and he immediately chose the dark chocolate bounty bar, or mounds to those of you in North America.

I had a look online and there were recipes calling for cream and butter which would need replacing but this recipe was vegan. I have gotten it from a couple sources, first it comes from the Is that my bureka? blog where he made a fantastic looking lime coconut fudge, but the idea to use that recipe to make homemade bounty bars came from the dinner for one blog. As I scaled this down and made a couple changes I'll post my version here but do go look at those blogs for great step by step photos. I didn't add the lime as I wanted to recreate the bounty bars but am thinking lime in these would be amazing....will do that next time. Oh, and yes, they taste just like bounty bars!!!

Bounty Bars
(makes about 11 depending on what size you want)

2 Tbsp cold mashed potato (you'll need about 1 medium potato)
1 cup icing sugar (more or less)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 - 1 cup desiccated coconut
75g dark vegan chocolate
1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil - you want this in the solid state

Peel and quarter the potato and boil in unsalted water until ready to mash. Drain and return to the pan on low heat for a couple minutes to dry out slightly. Mash well and let cool. Strain the mashed potato through a fine sieve, pushing it through with a rubber spatula - you don't want any chunks at all in this. Measure out 2 Tbsp of this and place in a bowl. Add the vanilla and about 1/4 cup of the icing sugar and stir well. At this point it gets all scientific and the sugar turns the potato to liquid. I don't know why, I should really look that up! But it's a cool thing to see... then keep adding the icing sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture turns whiter and thick and fondanty. Stir in the coconut.

**Edit - I used this recipe to make my Irish Potato Candy filling and have step by step photos there! **

Now you should have a ball of mixture that's hard to stir, if not add more icing sugar or coconut as need be. Now in hindsight I could have added less as the texture of a bounty bar isn't quite as dense as mine turned out. The original recipe was for fudge after all, so just keep an eye on it, think of the texture of a bounty and base it on that. When I was happy with it I then greased my hands slightly with the coconut oil and started shaping them into little mounds and placed them on a baking paper lined baking sheet. When done, place in the fridge till cool and set.

For the coating, place the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stir until all melted and glossy. Take the coconut mounds and dip in the chocolate, covering all over and place back on the tray. When all coated pop them back into the fridge until the chocolate sets. Keep in the fridge, but really, they won't last long!

vegan bounty bars

Macaroni Goulash

vegan goulashNow I know this isn't a traditional 'Goulash' but it's what we called it growing up and after searching online we weren't the only ones, seems most North Americans have a version of this "macaroni goulash". I really wanted to recreate the one I had often growing up and this is it. It's very yummy, quick, easy and kid friendly - hard to beat! I've used a short cut macaroni here, regular macaroni would work too as would any smallish pasta shape.

Macaroni Goulash
Serves 2-3

150g macaroni
150g frozen soya mince
150g mushrooms, sliced  (not in photo but I always add this now)
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt (use less if your tinned tomatoes contain salt)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp tomato paste (puree)
1 400g can peeled whole plum tomatoes with juice
*45g grated cheezly or daiya* optional

Put the water on for the pasta and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile in a large pot heat the olive oil and gently fry the onion, celery, mushrooms and bay leaf with some ground black pepper until onions are soft and the mushrooms are cooked.

Stir in the garlic and tomato paste, then add the tinned tomatoes, salt and herbs. Stir well roughly breaking up the tomatoes as you do. Add the soya mince and about 80ml water (I fill the tomato tin about 1/3 of the way up and add that). Turn heat up and cook until mince is cooked and the sauce has thickened up then stir in the drained pasta. If using add the cheezly or daiya and stir until melted. Dish goes lovely with some buttered soft white bread rolls.

Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving out of 3 (will vary slightly depending on brand of mince)

Calories: 386
Protein: 19.4g
Fat: 8.9g
Sat Fat: 1.2g
Carbs: 53.6g
Sugar: 12.7g
Fibre: 7.4g
Sodium: 619mg

Monday 19 January 2009

Bubble and Squeak Cakes

Vegan Bubble and Squeak Cakes
 Served with my coleslaw (cabbage version) and some BBQ sauce on the side. 2013 photo.

These were absolutely delicious, I initially only tried them to use up some leftover brussel sprouts from Christmas but they are so good I now buy sprouts especially for them. 

Note - I have since made these with cabbage as well and they are just as good!

I'm rather ashamed to admit that this is a Gordon Ramsey recipe but pleased to admit that it's my addition of spring onion that really makes these, take that Gordon! Anyway, it is a very good recipe to give credit where credits due and while I would like to say that I have some amazing sauce recipe to serve these with, I honestly love them with ketchup or BBQ sauce :-)

Vegan Bubble and Squeak Cakes

Makes 4 good sized cakes:

270g unpeeled weight mashing potatoes (vivaldi mashing potatoes very good for this)
2 tsp (10g) vegan margarine
135g brussel sprouts or cabbage
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
10 - 12 grinds of black pepper
1 spring onion, finely chopped
olive oil to fry

Peel and quarter the potatoes then boil in salted water for about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pan for 1 -2 minutes on low heat to dry out slightly. Mash with the margarine, then add the salt, pepper and spring onion. Meanwhile, wash and pat dry the sprouts. Slice the bottoms off then cut in half, removing and skins that fall off. Cook in boiling salted water for 5 minutes then drain, rinse in cold water then plunge into ice water. When cool, pat dry then grate the sprouts with a grater and add to the potatoes, mix well. 

(If using cabbage, simply slice the cabbage up and simmer in salted water until tender, about 5 minutes, drain well and let cool then roughly chop.)

With slightly oiled hands shape into four patties....

dredge in the flour.....

Then fry in about 5mm olive oil on medium heat until golden and crisp both sides.
bubble and squeak cakes

Saturday 17 January 2009

Creamy Vegetable Pot Pie

Vegan Creamy Vegetable Pot Pie

It's really not my intention to make vegans fat with all these creamy, fatty dishes I've been doing lately! It's just that creamy leek sauce turned out so well and I keep thinking of things to use it in....and the doughnuts, well, I blame the weather, I should get out more....Anyway, I used to make this now and again as is featured on my old blog . It's always been a favourite and I've been waiting until I had a good creamy, cheesy type sauce to replace with, and have now found it. (See Edit below!)

The veg can be adapted to whatever you like, these are just my favorites, I actually didn't have any potatoes once when I made this one so just upped the quantities of the other veg to compensate, it's very versatile, as long as you keep the weight quantities about the same it will work.

2012 Edit - I am updating this recipe and the photos as I now make this with my Creamy Garlic Sauce, a variation on Chloe Coscarelli's Macaroni and Cheeze Sauce recipe. It's perfect now, love it!

Creamy Vegetable Pot Pie - serves 4

100g broccoli florets
100g carrots, diced
100g new potatoes, peeled and diced
100g petite pois
100g sweetcorn
100g flageolet or cannellini beans, drained - optional

30g vegan butter
20g plain flour
1 small onion, diced fine
1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes, ground to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle.
1 tsp EACH salt, garlic powder, parsley, lemon juice and light agave syrup - I've also used Sweet Freedom syrup instead of the agave and it was perfect.

212g ready rolled puff pastry (1 sheet of Jus-Rol)

Preheat the oven to 200C

Boil the carrots and potato together until just fork tender in salted water. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and keep aside. Add the peas, corn and broccoli and boil until the brocolli is just fork tender, be careful not to overcook it. Drain and add to the carrots and potatoes.

In a pryrex jug measure out the milk then add the yeast, salt, garlic powder and parsley and whisk until smooth.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, fry until soft. Add the flour and fry gently 1 minute. Add a small amount of the milk mixture and beat well with a wooden spoon, keep adding the milk a bit at a time until it is all incorporated. Bring to the boil and simmer until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and agave syrup. Add all the veg and the beans to this and fold gently with a rubber spatula until everything is nicely coated.

Tip it all into a buttered casserole dish and top with the ready rolled puff pastry. Pop it into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.

Vegan Creamy Vegetable Pot Pie

Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving out of 4

Calories: 442
Protein: 13g
Fat: 21.1g
Sat Fat: 8.6g
Carbs: 44.3g
Sugar: 6.3g
Fibre: 7.1g
Sodium: 422mg

Thursday 15 January 2009

Apple Fritters

Vegan Apple Fritters

Yum, these were so good.....An apple fritter has always been one of my favorite doughnuts, right up there with a maple glazed. Ever since making the glazed doughnuts I wanted to try these but could not find any recipes for them. This style seems unique to North America as others were frying battered apple rings and calling them "fritters".

So I thought I would just use my doughnut recipe and add some chopped apple and some cinnamon, still not quite sure how I was going to get the irregular shape that fritters have.... After I got started I did find some recipes and it appears that apple fritters are not a yeast risen doughnut at all but a looser, baking powder risen dough that you then drop into the hot oil with a spoon to get the wonky soon became evident why that is as I tried to knead a dough with large chunks of apple in it... like a fool....(!)

I was so sure this wasn't going to work out that I was going to dump the dough and try again without yeast but decided to give it a go. SO glad I did, it worked out fantastically, sure it was hard to knead and it didn't rise as much as the regular doughnuts but they are very tasty, moist and soft, crispy on the outside, just like they should be. The glaze turned out perfect as well, I tossed the whole warm fritters into the glaze then set aside to set.

Like the doughnuts they are best eaten right there and then, just wait to the glaze sets to crispy but they are still warm - perfect! They will get drier as the days go by, like the doughnuts did, so try to make enough too eat in 1 day or 2. The recipe below is my doughnut recipe halved, I got 10 fritters out of this as they are smaller than the doughnuts.

Apple Fritters:

1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
20g vegetable fat (shortening)
60g sugar
40ml dairy free 'milk' (I used rice dream)
20g egg replacer
250g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
90 - 100g peeled chopped apples (about 2 small/medium apples)
vegetable oil to fry

Add 1/4 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 1/4 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, cinnamon 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. Add the apples bit by bit while kneading gently adding more flour if the dough is sticky. 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.

Tear off the dough into rough shapes, you want them wonky and rustic, and place on a baking sheet, cover loosely with greased cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 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. 


1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
enough boiling hot water to make a thin glaze.

After frying the fritters, place them on paper towels to drain slightly, then while still warm toss them about in the glaze then place back onto paper lined baking sheets to let the glaze set.

**I have to say it's really nice to not be able to just pick up some doughnuts in a shop and to be 'forced' to make my own. It's enjoyable, fairly easy, you get fresher doughnuts and it means you don't have them that often, which is a good thing for a fat, sugary treat! Above all that though, look at my ingredients for apple fritters, now look at Dunkin Donuts ingredients:

Ingredients: Donut Dough {Dough Mix [Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Barley Malt, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Soy Flour, Maltodextrin, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda), Wheat Starch, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (Dough Conditioner), Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Gum Arabic, Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Enzymes, Artificial Flavor, Modified Food Starch, Vegetable Color (Annatto, Turmeric), Milk (Trace), Egg (Trace)], Water, Yeast}, Apple Filling [Water, Sugar Syrup, Corn Syrup, Evaporated Apples, Modified Food Starch, Contains 2% or less of each of the following: Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Salt, Cinnamon, Malic Acid, Nutmeg], Glaze [Sugar, Water, Maltodextrin, Contains 2% or less of: Propylene Glycol, Mono and Diglycerides (Emulsifier), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Agar, Citric Acid, Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Artificial Flavor], Shortening (Palm Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to help protect flavor), Cinnamon.

Even with the few extra ingredients the egg replacer and rice dream add, I know which ones I would prefer....

Single Serve Peanut Butter Cup

Peanut butter cups are dangerous. They taste amazing, are extremely high in fat and calories and are much, much too moreish! I started off making this as just 1 peanut butter cup as I was just testing out the recipe on Joy of Baking  - the recipe there makes 36 mini cups and didn't want to use that much peanut butter if it was a disaster! Then if it turned out I would make and blog the full version.

However, I decided I like the single serve concept here. It makes one large peanut butter cup, about the same calories as a whole chocolate bar so not something you want a lot of in the house, or at least I don't as I wouldn't be able to resist eating loads in a day. But you can of course just click on the link there for the full version if you prefer :-) Furthermore, this is so easy that you can just whip one up for yourself!

Single Serve Peanut Butter Cup:

1/2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vegan margarine
few grains of salt
2 tsp icing sugar
25g dark vegan chocolate
1/4 tsp vegetable oil

I used a paper cupcake liner and cut it down to the size shown, then place the peanut butter, margarine and salt in a bowl and mix well. The recipe said to warm gently in the microwave but as margarine is softer than butter this wasn't necessary. Stir in the icing sugar.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave then stir in the vegetable oil. I then spooned a small amount of chocolate into the liner and swirled it around until all the sides and bottom were coated evenly. In hindsight I should have then placed this in the fridge to set before filling but didn't. As you can see it still worked out but it was tricky getting the much thicker filling to spread over the melted chocolate, if that makes sense.... Anyway, you then spread the filling in then spoon and spread over more chocolate to cover.

Place in fridge until set then peel away the liner. I can't remember how long it was in the fridge for but it wasn't long at all and at that stage was set but still soft enough, I think hours in the fridge might make the chocolate too hard, just check it now and again.

2012 Edit - An easier way if you are just making this for yourself and have no need to go for the classic peanut butter cup shape is to simply spread about half the melted chocolate onto baking paper, shape the peanut butter mixture to a flat ball and place on the chocolate then pour the rest of the melted chocolate over top and chill to set. I *needed* mine quick and first popped it in the freezer for about 1/2 hour then in the fridge for 15 minutes and it was perfect.

Nutritional Information: for 1 large individual 'cup'

Calories: 213
Fat: 14g
Sat Fat: 6.3g
Protein: 2.8g
Fibre: 2.6g
Carbs: 19g
Sugar: 17.7g
Sodium: 38.8mg

Friday 9 January 2009

Chickpea Noodle Soup with Herb Dumplings

I realize this dish may seem a bit 'confused' - it's because I was when making it. It's absolutely freezing here lately and I really fancied some dumplings for lunch, and wanted to make a chickpea noodle, sort of combined the 2 ideas. It works really well although feel free to omit the dumplings as it's hearty enough with the noodles and chickpeas in there, it's just given the choice I would probably put dumplings in everything! 

Chickpea Noodle Soup with Herb Dumplings: serves 2

• 40g carrots, diced small
• 40g celery, diced small
• 40g onion, diced small
• 30g small thin soup noodles
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 litre water
• 2 tsp marigold vegan powder veg stock (try and use this as it has a good, light, chicken noodle quality to it)
• 50g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (flageolet beans are nice too!)
• 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


• 100 grams flour
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
• 1 ½ Tbsp vegetable suet*
• 5 - 6 Tbsp cold water

*Edit - for a non-suet version of these dumplings simply replace the suet with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and use 1/4 cup or 60ml of cold water. Just mix the olive oil with the water and add to the dry ingredients - they turn out just as good!

Mix together the dry ingredients for the dumplings and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a medium pot and fry the onion, carrots and celery until all soft. Add the water and stock powder, stir well and bring to the boil. Stir in the noodles, chickpeas and parsley, cover and bring back to the boil. 

Mix the cold water or cold water and olive oil to the dumpling mixture and stir until a dough comes together. Transfer to a floured surface and knead a few times then cut into 4 equal size pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. 

When the broth is boiling drop in the dumplings reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. I stirred it a couple of times to make sure the noodles weren't sticking. Ladle into 2 warmed bowls with 2 dumplings each and serve immediately. 

Vegan Vegetable and Noodle Soup with Herb Dumplings.
Another version with baby new potatoes instead of beans and a new drop dumpling recipe.

2013 edit - I've tried a new dumpling recipe and have to say I like this one even better! It's even easier as you just drop the batter into the soup. Also, as you can see from this picture, if you happen to be out of chickpeas you can make it without. This time I added some diced baby new potatoes - it's just as good!

New Dumpling Recipe: makes 2 large dumplings (1 each)

• 60g / ½ cup plain flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ tsp dried mixed herbs
• 20g vegetable suet (2 Tbsp)*
• 4 Tbsp unsweetened soy milk

* For a non-suet version use 1 Tbsp olive oil and reduce the soy milk to 3 Tbsp. They turn out just as good.

Mix together everything except the milk until well blended. Stir in the milk (and olive oil for the non-suet version) and mix well. Drop into the boiling soup then cover, reduce and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Friday 2 January 2009

Vegan Aebleskiver!!!!

vegan aebleskiver

This recipe has taken many attempts to perfect and I am so glad it has finally worked out as I'm not sure I could live without my aebleskiver. Here is the link to my old blog describing what they are and step by step photos on how to cook them.

They are traditionally made by mixing 3 egg yolks into the batter and then whisking the egg whites to stiff peaks and folding in. Clearly something difficult to 'veganize'. I have in the past just used a regular pancake recipe for these which turns out fine as well but unfortunately my vegan pancake recipe would not work. They turned out heavy and really gummy, tasted fine, but wrong texture altogether. Various attempts to change this resulted in the balls really sticking to the pan....

Then I found a recipe online for vegan yogurt pancakes and the photo of the batter looked nice and thick, just like the egg white whipped one is, so tried that. It tasted perfect but stuck the worst of all as the recipe actually didn't call for any fat. As my original recipe called for quite a bit of melted butter in the batter I combined the two recipes, the yogurt pancake one and my original aebleskiver recipe and this one is perfect! Absolutely perfect.... the yogurt gives them that buttermilk taste they really should have and they turn out crisp on the outside and light and fluffy inside and don't stick!! So happy with these...

Just a note on the milk, rice or oat milk won't work. You need a vegan milk that is higher in fat and protein, I have made these with unsweetened soy milk and sweetened almond milk. Both work well, as would sweetened soy milk. I think the almond milk was nicest as it gives the faintest hint of almond which is lovely.

Makes 2 pans of aebleskiver (14 balls):

160g plain flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 heaped tsp salt
4 tsp caster sugar
150g plain, unsweetened soy yogurt
100ml soy or almond milk (can be sweetened or unsweetened)
90g vegan margarine, melted (I use 'Pure' sunflower)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
vegetable oil for the pan

Mix the dry ingredients together. Whisk the yogurt, milk and vanilla together then slowly whisk in the melted margarine until fully incorporated. Pour this into the dry ingredients the fold in with a rubber spatula until no more flour shows. The batter will be very thick and lumpy, it may even look slightly curdled if using soy milk - that's ok. Heat your aebleskiver pan till hot then turn down to the lowest heat. Brush the holes with vegetable oil then spoon in the batter till level with the top. Unlike my past recipe where I used the knitting needle to turn them, I found these easier to turn with a very small teaspoon, just use it to loosen the edges then scoop under and flip them up, first onto their side then fully over. Cook until golden all over and a toothpick comes out clean. Keep warm in the oven while you make the next pan.

Serve with margarine and warmed maple syrup over top, and of course the applesauce and sugar!!

** I have also used this recipe to make blueberry pancakes, I increased the milk to 100ml, butter the frying pan, spoon on some batter, you'll have to spread it out a bit. Dot the top of the pancake with blueberries (don't add the blueberries to the batter), cook till golden underneath then flip over. Serve with margarine and warmed maple syrup.**