Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Strawberry Vanilla Muffins

vegan strawberry vanilla muffins

Well, so much for me reducing my sugar! In my defense though I had some strawberries and soy yogurt that needed using and I have been wanting to try a muffin recipe for awhile now.... These turned out really well despite all my efforts to the contrary. I didn't have enough soy yogurt so topped up with vegan sour cream, I didn't have enough strawberries, I ran out of plain flour and had to top up with self - raising flour, then the batter was too dry and I had to add some rice milk at the end (right at the stage where you should not be adding liquid in a muffin batter!) But, despite all that they turned out lovely, great flavour, super moist and were even better the next day. I then made them again as I was supposed to and I couldn't tell the difference, still light and moist and tasted great, so I will post that recipe.

Now, almost all baked goods call for some vanilla extract but I wanted these to really, really taste of vanilla - as it's a flavour that goes so well with strawberries. So in these I used 1 tsp vanilla extract (real stuff please!) as well as the seeds from one vanilla pod. If you click on the pics below you can see the little black specks in the muffins. Do dust with powdered sugar once cool - I left them plain just for the photo but they taste great with a good dusting.

Vegan Strawberry and Vanilla Muffins

Strawberry and Vanilla Muffins:

350g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

240ml (1 cup) plain, unsweetened soy yogurt
120ml (1/2 cup) rice milk
160ml (2/3 cup) vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla pod, split open and seeds scraped out

2 cups chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 190C. Brush a 12 hole muffin tin with vegetable oil and set aside. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients then fold in the strawberries. In another bowl whisk together the soy yogurt, milk, oil and vanilla's - whisk well so that the vanilla seeds don't clump together. Pour the wet into the dry and fold gently until just moistened - do not overmix. Fill each muffin cup until almost full and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave in the pan to cool for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool fully. I had to let them cool upside down due to the bottoms being quite delicate at this stage. Dust with powdered sugar once cool, or at least room temp, and serve.

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking .

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Banana Coconut Chocolate Drops

I really didn't know what to call these, it's not my recipe but was featured on Heidi Swanson's blog as 'Nikki's Healthy Cookies' - but I had to give them a different name so, Banana Coconut Chocolate Drops it is! Now, how are they healthy? Mainly from no added sugar and the use of coconut oil, but also they are butter, flour and egg-less.... now, obviously I can get on without butter, flour and eggs but the sugar-less aspect had me very skeptical. However, they are very good and I will definitely be making these again! I can't say I missed the sugar, they are still sweet and as Heidi says the coconut gives them an almost macaroon quality -yum! I really want to cut down on the sugar and it's a great way to still have something sweet and not stress about it too much. They are still quite calorific mind you, so don't confuse 'health cookie' with 'diet cookie'! Just click on the link above for the original recipe in cups, I have adapted it here in grams, I also recommend halving this as I did, recipe makes a lot!

3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
60ml extra-virgin coconut oil, barely warm so liquid
220g rolled oats
70g ground almonds
44g shredded coconut (recipe calls for unsweetened, I did use desiccated sweetened as that's what I had)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
170 - 200g dark chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 180C and line baking sheets with paper. Combine the bananas, coconut oil and vanilla and set aside. Combine oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Add dry to wet and stir till combined, it will be 'wetter' than most cookie doughs. Fold in chocolate then drop dough 2 tsp apart on sheets and bake for 12 - 14 minutes or until golden. Let cool on racks.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

3 Bean Salad with a Lemon Dill Vinaigrette

Vegan 3 bean salad with lemon dill vinaigrette
I love this salad, it's a change from 'traditional' 3 bean salads as I personally don't like all that sugar in those. As I love dill and lemon I thought I would try them together and it works really well, a nice light fresh salad. 
3 bean salad with lemon dill vinaigrette
While the green and kidney beans are traditional I know the flageolet are not....but they should be, their mild creaminess go perfectly in this. Besides, given the choice I would use flageolet in place of almost all beans, king of beans they are!! Salad is best the next day when it's had time to soak in the flavours.

3 bean salad, corn and biscuitsServed with corn on the cob and fresh from the oven biscuits. (recipe below!)

3 Bean Salad

1/2 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed (130g)
1/2 tin flageolet beans, drained and rinsed (130g)
130g fresh green beans, topped, tailed and chopped into 1" pieces

2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vegan mayo
1 clove garlic, pureed (I use a fine microplane)
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
fresh dill or 1/4 tsp dried dill
-optional - 1/4 tsp of sweetener of your choice. Only if you feel it needs it, sometimes I add 1/4 tsp of Sweet Freedom Syrup (it's vegan and tastes just like honey) depending on my mood!

Steam the green beans until just fork tender then refresh under cold water until cool. Place in a bowl with the other beans and mix. In a small bowl add the olive oil then slowly whisk in the lemon juice and mayo until well mixed. Whisk in the salt and dill then pour over the beans and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Chill well, preferably overnight.

2013 update - I've been loving this salad wrapped up into large romaine leaves - goes beautifully together! It is a *little* messy, but worth it :-) Just spoon some of the bean salad on a large leaf, trim the stem to make it easy to wrap, fold the ends in then roll up.

Hot "Buttery" Biscuits

These biscuits go great with this meal which is why I'm blogging them together. So quick and easy to throw together and very yum. British readers may be a bit confused on their name, these are biscuits in the American sense, more like a savoury scone I guess, but lighter and flakier. I grew up with these, my brother and I impatiently waiting for them to come out of the oven to slather them with butter right away! Sometimes I add 1 finely chopped spring onion and 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill to the flour stage - very good....

140g plain flour (1 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
30g vegetable fat (shortening - 2 Tbsp)
80ml dairy free milk (1/3 cup)
- lots of vegan butter to spread on!

Preheat oven to 200C/ 400F. Whisk all the dry ingredients together. Add the fat and cut in with a pasty cutter or two knives until crumbly. Stir in milk with a fork until it just comes together. Gently knead on a floured surface 8 - 10 times. Pat out a thick circle (about 1 1/2 - 2 ") and cut out circles, you should get 4 depending on size of cutter . Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 12 minutes or until risen and golden on top. Serve immediately split open and spread with vegan margarine.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Mixed Leaf and Avocado Salad with a Ginger, Sesame and Lime Dressing

ginger, sesame and lime dressingThis post is mostly just about the dressing here. One of our favorite restaurants, Mizu, does this amazing side salad which is simply mixed leaf with sliced avocado on top but with a delicious ginger sesame dressing. Everytime I have it it reminds me of the Otsu dressing minus the cayenne and with lime instead of lemon. So, I tried it without the cayenne and replaced the lemon with lime and it is almost identical to the restaurant version, soooo good! I also had to omit the salt, for some reason the spicy otsu version isn't too salty but this did not need it. I highly recommend it served simply like this or you can toss it with cold soba noodles and tofu cubes, like with otsu - either way it absolutely has to be served with avocodo - essential!

Ginger, Sesame and Lime dressing: (this should serve 2)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp caster sugar
7g peeled fresh ginger (about a 2 inch cube), pureed or grated finely
zest of 1/2 lime

Add the oils to a small bowl then slowly whisk in the vinegar, lime juice and soy sauce. Whisk in everything else. Place some mixed leaf in a bowl and top with half a hass avocado, sliced, pour dressing over and sprinkle with black sesame seeds (optional).

Strawberry Lemonade

strawberry lemonade
Well as it has gotten so lovely and hot here lately it's time to stop the baking and get on with cool drinks and fresh salads. Haven't made this since last summer but it is so refreshing, you can use blackberries too but the nice British strawberries in the shops now are so good! For some reason it went a little thick this time, more smoothie like so I had to add a bit more water, just adjust to how you like it.

200ml fresh lemon juice, about 7 lemons squeezed and pulp strained away
400ml water
400g strawberries
100g caster sugar

Process in blender till liquidized, add more water and or lemon juice if too thick. Serve with lots of ice and slices of strawberries and lime.