Friday 27 March 2009

Sticky Lime and Chilli Tofu - two ways

sticky lime and chilli tofuOven grilled with broccoli rice.

Pan griddled with steamed broccoli and pad thai noodles.

Hurrah! After five posts of excessive sweets I finally post a savoury dish!! I really don't live off cake and cookies, I swear.... Saw this recipe on BBC Good Food ages ago, it was featured with chicken but I thought the flavours would suit tofu really well for a simple replacement. It's also dead easy, using bottled thai sweet chilli sauce, and easy is what I need right now as I am still, yes still, trying to get over this cold!

Initially I made it with the noodles and despite the recipe stating to oven grill, I pan griddled. As you can see it didn't get as 'sticky' as the oven grilled version and I really don't recommend it this way. It did go nice with the noodles but afterwards I realized it was all way too similar to a dish I've already posted .

So today I thought I would make it with rice and to oven grill the tofu. Again, oven grilling is the way to go (although you'll need to have a chair ready under your fire alarm!) As you can see it got better cooked and nice and sticky like it should be. For the rice, I intended to have nice bright green florets of broccoli stir fried in like with the noodles but decided to boil the broccoli with the rice and clearly over did it! At first I was disappointed as it wouldn't look as good but it was actually really yummy that way and I would do it again this way.

I'm not too sure what quantities to give here, when I made it with noodles I made a lot (too much for me although I did shamefully manage to eat it all). With the rice I cut everything in half and found that to be a much nicer amount. I'll give the smaller amount here, just double as your appetite desires! Serves 1:

Rice version: (my preferred)
63g firm fresh tofu (that's 1/4 pack of cauldron tofu for those in uk)
50g thai rice (raw weight)
50g broccoli florets
1/4 tsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp thai sweet chilli sauce
1/2 lime, zest and juice (you want about 10ml juice)
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp peanut oil

After pressing your tofu and cutting into 4 thin triangles, mix together the 1/4 tsp soy sauce, lime zest, thai sweet chilli sauce and half the lime juice. Pour over the tofu and marinade, turning over now and again. I didn't time this, 15 - 30 minutes I guess. Put some salted water on for the rice and cook according to package directions. When there is 5 minutes left add the broccoli, add this later if you want them whole, but I did like it cooked down like in the picture. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet with some extra peanut oil and place the tofu on. Grill under a hot grill until golden and charred around the edges, flip over, brush with more marinade and grill again.

When rice is done, drain and add back to the pot with the other half of lime juice, 1/2 tsp soy sauce and the peanut oil. Stir gently over low heat till well mixed. Tip this onto a plate then top with the grilled tofu, brushing a bit more marinade over top.

Noodle version:

I would follow the steps for the tofu above as it was much better grilled, then just replace the rice with 100g straight to wok noodles of your choice, still tossing them with the lime, soy and peanut oil mixture.

** Just a note, if you do have a big appetite and double this, 1 serving gives you 428.6mg of calcium, 31g of protein and 6.4g of fibre!**

Based on the recipe here .

Friday 20 March 2009

Veggie Burger Cake!!!

veggie burger cake
burger cake

So it was Finn's 7th birthday on Wednesday and what does a veggie kid ask for his birthday cake? Well, a burger cake of course!! Naturally I had to make ours a 'veggie' burger cake, and I am so pleased how it turned out, as was Finn. I didn't think I would be able to make it at all considering I woke up the day before his birthday battling flu and a very bad sinus infection. But he was sooo looking forward to this cake so I drugged myself up and slowly went to work on it (the other mom's out there will understand!)

I decided to just use the good old wacky cake recipe for all of this. I have made the chocolate wacky cake many times and it always turns out well but I haven't tried it plain which I needed for the bun layers. I just omitted the cocoa and added a bit more flour, increased the vanilla and added some almond extract. It tastes great but the texture isn't as nice as the chocolate for some reason. Then I just made the regular chocolate wacky cake for the soy patty!

The 'mayo' is vanilla buttercream as is the mustard with yellow food colouring. The lettuce, tomato and cheese are made from ready coloured ready to roll fondant and the onion rings from plain fondant. Then I iced the bun in vegan cupcakes take over the world's peanut butter frosting - perfect colour and the taste goes very well with this.

Makes 1 mahoosive burger cake!

Bun Layers:
436g (3 1/2cups) plain flour
300g caster sugar (1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
160ml (2/3 cups) vegetable oil
2 Tbsp white vinegar
475ml (2 cups) cold water

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line one 8" cake pan with baking paper on the bottom. You will also need a bowl that looks like a bun that will fit whatever size cake pan you use. I was very lucky in that my pasta bowls which are oven safe fit over the cake pan with the sides coming down like a bun so used that. Whatever you use grease and flour it as it will be too awkward a shape to line with paper.

Combine all dry ingredients and wet ingredients and keep separate. Make a well into the dry and add the wet stirring until just combined. Pour into the prepared pans making as even as possible.
Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pans on rack. When time to remove, first cut off any domes with a serrated knife and then run a knife along the edges and turn out onto rack. Remove any paper.

Soy Patty Layer:
188g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
30g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 cup cold water

Grease and line the bottom of another 8" cake pan then follow the directions for the bun layers.

Vanilla Buttercream (for the mayo):
1/2 cup vegetable fat (shortening)
1/2 cup vegan margarine
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp - 4 Tbsp rice milk (or other)

Beat the fats together then slowly add the icing sugar and vanilla, add some milk as needed to get a good spreadable frosting. You won't need all of this, it makes extra for the mustard and if you wanted to add ketchup too.

Peanut Buttercream:
1/4 cup vegan margarine
2 Tbsp vegetable fat (shortening)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (not the natural type, sorry!)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
1 - 2 Tbsp rice milk (or other)

Beat the fats together until smooth then slowly start adding the icing sugar and vanilla. Add milk as needed till you get a smooth spreadable frosting.


ready coloured fondant
**2010 Edit - I went to go buy this again to make Finn another 'fun' cake for his 8th birthday and the brand here in the UK has now changed companies and is not only no longer vegan friendly but not even vegetarian! You can still make this vegan though by buying read made white fondant and colouring it yourself with vegan colours.

-risotto rice

When the cakes are cool and you have sliced the domes off, take the bottom bun layer and place on a serving plate. Top with a generous amount of vanilla buttercream for the mayo. Top this with the chocolate cake.

For the 'cheese' I kneaded together some yellow and red coloured fondant then rolled out thin. I didn't want the fondant to cover the whole cake as it would be too much so I rolled it out to a square then cut that into 4 even sized triangles. I then placed these over the cake to look like it's just melting.

For the lettuce, I just rolled out some green already coloured fondant, cut it into strips then placed it along the edges folding it as I went.

For the tomatoes, I rolled out some red already coloured fondant and cut out circles with a cookie cutter, placed them over the lettuce, again, just along the edges.

For the onion rings, I just made them out of plain fondant and placed them over the tomatoes.

Now, as all of this is just along the edge it will be higher than the centre so I filled this with more vanilla buttercream until it's even:

Next, I added quite a lot of yellow food colouring to the remaining buttercream, you'll need to add more icing sugar to thicken it up, put it into a piping bag with a small plain tip and pipe your mustard along the edges. Now, the bun goes on top, spread it with the peanut butter frosting and I topped the bun with raw risotto rice. Real sesame seeds would have been too small and these gave the shape and look of sesame seeds but at a size better suited to the bun! Just make sure of course you remove them before eating. Although I was thinking pine nuts would have a similar shape too, although maybe a bit too big. I also made a little pickle with some leftover green fondant and placed that on top with a toothpick.

Then it's ready to serve! As it's so big you'll get a ton of servings out of this, I haven't even counted, it's so high though make sure you cut the slices pretty thin or else it'll be sugar overload ;-)

Thursday 12 March 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

vegan chocolate chip cookies

My absolute favourite basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, these always turn out wonderful and can even take a lot of substitutions. I have often made these with 140g or 2/3 cups golden caster sugar in place of the white and brown sugar and have even just used full granulated sugar - they still turn out fantastic. I have also made these with about 4 different brands of vegan butters and they will yield different results, some give you thinner and crisper cookies like in the photo, others thicker, soft and fluffier cookies. They all taste fantastic though :-)

Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 18

180g vegan margarine (3/4 cup)
70g caster sugar (1/3 cup)
70g light muscovado sugar (1/3 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
200g plain flour (1 1/2 level cups)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
100g dark chocolate chips or chopped (2/3 cups)

Preheat oven to 180C. Beat the margarine, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a separate bowl. Stir dry into the sugar mixture with a wooden spoon, until well blended then stir in chocolate chips. Drop with a tablespoon onto baking paper lined baking sheets and bake for 12- 15 minutes. They should be golden, particularly along the edges. Let cool on sheets for a few minutes to firm up then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool. Now get the coffee on....

Source: Loosely based on a Canadian Living recipe.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

French Fancies - Revisited

vegan french fancies
The pink ones are plain, the yellow (which I should have added more colour too) are lemon flavoured and the chocolate ones are, well, chocolate of course!

vegan french fanciesThese 6 are thinly covered in marzipan for a smoother finish.

vegan french fanciesThese 6 have no marzipan underneath, the fondant was poured right over the icing blob and cake. (edit - these were actually the best!)

I know I have blogged these before but I wanted to try them again doing more or less everything from scratch. Last time I used a cake mix and ready rolled fondant, they tasted great but the fondant wasn't right, too soft as I didn't use a 'pourable' fondant. I wanted to completely make my own but the recipe I wanted to use requires a candy thermometer which I am having trouble finding. So for these I made my own cake, kept the buttercream and jam the same but bought a box of fondant icing sugar that you add water to until 'pourable' with whatever flavours and colours you like.

They turned out very good, the cake for some reason came out quite dark, it looks like I used wholemeal flour but I assured you I didn't - still tastes good. For some of the fancies I covered in very thinly rolled out marzipan, then poured the fondant over just to get a smoother finish (plus the marzipan tasted great in these, sort of french fancies meet battenburg!) For the rest I just poured the fondant straight over the icing blob and cake, these ones got a crisper fondant which is more accurate but don't look as pretty.

Makes about 20 fancies depending on how you cut them.

**Edit - I have now, finally, made a white sponge cake I am more than happy with. Recipe is in my White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake post. I haven't used it yet to make these but I have no doubt it would turn out best as it actually comes out looking white! That being said, I'll leave this cake recipe up as well.**

Sponge Cake:
250ml rice or soy milk
1 tsp apple cyder vinegar
30g vegan margarine
140g caster sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180C and line an 11 x 7.5 x 1" jelly roll pan with baking paper - set aside. Combine the cyder vinegar and rice milk and set aside to get a little curdly. Beat together the margarine and sugar then add the oil and vanilla and beat well. In another bowl add all the dry ingredients and set aside. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk into the margarine mixture, stirring well after each addition but be careful not to overmix. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes or until golden all over and feels firm to touch. Let cool fully in pan then carefully turn out and remove the paper.

Cut the cake slab in half, spread raspberry jam over one side then place the other half on top. Cut this into squares, however many or size you want.

Vanilla Buttercream:
2 Tbsp vegetable fat (shortening)
2 Tbsp vegan margarine
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp icing sugar
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare the buttercream by simply whisking all the ingredients together until smooth, it will be slightly stiffer than the recipe for cupcakes as you want it to hold it's shape when the fondant goes on. Place frosting into a piping bag with a large straight circle tip and pipe little blobs on top of each cake. My previous post on these has step by step photos here .

Now, if you are going to add marzipan, I just very thinly rolled out some marzipan and placed over the whole cake, adding some more jam to the outside edges to help it stick. Also make sure you dust your surface and rolling pin with some icing sugar as it can be sticky. If you are not going to add it, some almond extract added to the pink fondant is very nice.

375g fondant icing sugar
6 Tbsp hot water
1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
lemon juice
red food colour - check vegan
yellow food colour - check vegan
1/16 vanilla extract

For the fondant I mixed 125g fondant icing sugar with about 2 Tbsp hot water for each colour. The pink ones had some red food colouring added, the yellow ones had yellow colour and fresh lemon juice and the chocolate had 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1/16 vanilla extract added. Add more hot water or fondant icing sugar to get a spoonable, fairly thick frosting. Then, it's pretty messy, because of the icing blob on top I couldn't really dip these so I placed them on some baking paper and spooned over the fondant, making sure all the sides got covered. With some as I had the fondant too thin I had to cover 2 -3 times. When they are uniformly covered carefully lift off the paper with a butter knife and place on a plate and refrigerate until fully set.

The squiggles on top are more buttercream thinned out for the pink ones and just melted dark chocolate for the yellow and chocolate ones.

I definitely prefer this fondant to the last one, but strangely enough prefer the cake mix of last time to this one. I think all the chemicals in it make it more like the Mr. Kipling ones...oh the shame.... Anyway, they are very good and so cute - great for presenting if you have guests over.