Monday, 13 April 2009

Coconut Rice Pudding with Caramelized Pineapple

coconut rice pudding with caramelized pineapple
(please excuse the bad lighting here, taking pics at night never works for me!)

vegan rice pudding

And this was dessert for Easter dinner... usually I blog entire menus together like with my Valentines, Anniversary, Christmas and Burn's night posts. However, I wouldn't really recommend this for dessert after lasagna and garlic bread. It would all be a bit starchy and heavy, even we had a 4 hour break between dinner and dessert!

That being said, this was delicious!! I will definitely be making it again. The recipe comes from Waitrose and is one of the few naturally vegan recipes there. It uses coconut milk to replace regular milk, gently infused with cardamom and topped with sweet caramelized pineapple. Initially I was going to replace the cardamom with lime zest, simply as I love lime and of course it would go so nice with coconut and pineapple. However I am so glad I didn't as the cardamom added a really nice flavour to this, and it's not a spice I use that often.

As much as I loved this I keep thinking the flavour possibilities are endless here, like using lime zest I was also thinking of making a 'Pina Colada Rice Pudding' by adding some rum to this as well. Loads of options here but even this basic recipe is gorgeous!

Serves 2:
3 green cardamom pods
200ml light coconut milk (1/2 a can)
40g caster sugar
75g pudding rice (or arborio risotto rice)
125g fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
13g light muscovado sugar (light brown sugar)
13 g chopped pistachios (I didn't have any so used sliced almonds, toasted - nice!)

Split the cardamom pods and remove the seeds discarding the pods. Crush the seeds into a coarse powder - I didn't have a mortal and pestle like called for but it worked fine with a blunt rounded object and bowl. Place the coconut milk and 200ml cold water in a pan with the cardamom powder and caster sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves then bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer.

Add the rice to another pan on medium heat. Add a ladle full of milk stirring constantly until absorbed, then add more making sure each addition is absorbed. Check rice after all the milk is added as mine was nowhere near done at this point. I heated up some more water and just kept adding more water until the rice was cooked. It took maybe half an hour instead of the 20 min they say. Don't worry about watering it down, it evaporates and tasted just fine.

When that is nearly done toss the brown sugar with the pineapple and tip into a hot dry frying pan for 2-3 minutes so that the sugar begins to caramelize. Spoon the rice pudding into bowls and top with the pineapple. I toasted some sliced almonds and sprinkled these on top too. Serve warm.

Lasagne and Garlic Bread

vegan lasagnaLasagne layered with mushroom sauce, spinach, basil tofu 'ricotta' and topped with pine nut cream - most courtesy of Veganomicon.

vegan garlic breadMy usual garlic bread....

Decided to go for lasagne and garlic bread for Easter dinner. We haven't yet set on a 'traditional' meal for Easter so I tend to change it around every year. I have made several vegan lasagne's so far, I haven't blogged one yet as I've been waiting to find the perfect one. This one just may be it. Other's I have tried have used soya mince for a meat replacement and faux cheese sauce but loved this one the most - even the very picky boy loved it, so that's saying something!

My old favorite vegetarian lasagne was a spinach and mushroom one, it had a mushroom tomato sauce layered with noodles, spinach and a cheese sauce. I decided to use that mushroom sauce but replaced the cheese sauce with Veganomicon (and VWAV's) basil tofu ricotta, kept the spinach and then topped with their pine nut cream, as used in the potato eggplant moussaka . It's altogether a variation featured in the cookbook, and sorry as most recipes come from the book I can't post here, although I'm sure an internet search will find these for you!

As it has a lot of layers, each that need preparing, it can take awhile. However you can make almost all the layers in advance, even a day in advance, making the whole thing a lot easier. This fits one 8x11 inch pan.

Mushroom Sauce:
50g vegan margarine
2 onions, diced
450g mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, pureed
8 Tbsp tomato puree
800g can chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar

Melt margarine in a large saucepan and fry the onion until transparent. Add the garlic and fry a minute more. Add mushrooms and some pepper and fry until cooked and any liquid reabsorbs. Stir in puree, chopped tomatoes, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.

1 x recipe Basil Tofu Ricotta
1 x recipe Almesan
1 x recipe Pine Nut Cream
Baby Spinach
Lasagna noodles - enough for 3 layers in your pan, I precook as I don't trust the ones that say you don't need to.

Lightly butter your pan then add some of the mushroom sauce. Layer with noodles, half the ricotta, lots of baby spinach, mushroom sauce. Finish with a layer of noodles and top with more mushroom sauce. Cover with foil and bake in 190C oven for half an hour. Remove from oven, take off foil and top with the pine nut cream. Put back in oven for another 20 minutes or until topping cracks and looks dry. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with the almesan. Let sit for 10 minutes then cut and serve. With the size of pan we used we got 6 servings out of this.

Garlic bread:
Recipe is the same as my old post here but I used a par bake baguette slicing it as you see in the pic.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Easter Cookies

vegan Easter cookies♥ aka - keeping the boy busy during half term! ♥
Easter cookies
So as I have the boy home for 2 weeks decided to make some Easter cookies. Nothing new here, it's the same recipe as my Christmas Cookies but cut out using Easter/Spring shapes and colours. We spent the day before making paper easter eggs (as we never have real eggs in the house!) which he really enjoyed and loved this even more, possibly as he got to eat treats whilst decorating :) I loved his idea of using sliced strawberry lances for buttons - clever boy he is!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Vegan Hawaiian Pizza

vegan hawaiian pizza
vegan ham and pineapple pizza
Yes, I know, this is hardly original.... I wasn't going to blog it at all but then remembered why I started this blog - to have an on-line record of things I like to eat, and while this isn't groundbreaking in any way, it was yummy! Think I'll need a new category - 'I can't believe I'm blogging this'!

I would say my favorite vegan pizza's are still just a nice base loaded with veg, preferably oven roasted veg and no faux cheese at all, especially spread with homemade vegan pesto, like my first pizza post . However I wanted to try to recreate what was always my favorite pizza as a child, the bog common ham and pineapple, and see how it fared being veganized. I have recently discovered redwood foods ham style slices, which I think are fab, and of course I've been accustomed to their super melting cheeze for awhile now.

I have to say for someone who hasn't had a ham and pineapple pizza in about, god, 15 years??? It tasted just like I remember and I really, really enjoyed it.

Makes 1 good sized pizza:
112g strong white flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp active dry yeast (not easy blend)
75ml warm water
1/2 tsp olive oil

pizza sauce
ham style slices
super melting mozza cheezly

Dissolve the sugar in the water and sprinkle on the yeast. Allow to get nice and foamy - about 10 minutes. Mix in the olive oil and stir well with a fork then stir into the flour and salt. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes. Place in a warm bowl greased with olive oil, cover with cling film and place in a warm place to rise, about an hour.

Punch down, knead a few times, cover and let rest 15 minutes. Now, roll out, stretching as you go to whatever size you want, thin and bigger or small and thicker - up to you! Top with pizza sauce (I just used some store bought sauce), ham style slices, pineapple and super melting mozza style cheeze (I used about 70g on this pizza).

Bake in a hot 220C oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, until cheeze is golden and melted and the dough is risen and golden at edges.