Wednesday 22 July 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

chocolate zucchini bread
So yes, I am still making my way through zucchini's!! I have always wanted to try zucchini bread, somehow never getting around to making it either vegan or pre-vegan. It's not normally chocolate but plain and spiced with cinnamon and allspice, the zucchini adding moistness but no flavour, like carrot cake. However, I saw this chocolate version and it looked so good I had to try it. I also saw online another method for replacing eggs using xanthan gum and I've been wanting to test out so this seemed like a good time.

Well, the new egg replacer worked brilliantly - the cake held together, rose and was really moist without any 'gumminess' or strange taste. The bread had the texture of brownies and even got that crackly skin on top that brownies get. However, this recipe still added the cinnamon and allspice as well as chocolate and I really wasn't liking that flavour combination. I think the cinnamon would work on it's own but the allspice was too strong and added a bitterness - not good. I would certainly make it again without the spices and can't wait to try this method for replacing eggs in other things - like proper brownies :)

227g shredded raw zucchini
140g plain flour
45g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
120ml vegetable oil
100g caster sugar
105g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g plain chocolate chips

Egg Replacer: This is to replace 2 eggs.
1 Tbsp corn starch (corn flour)
1 Tbsp potato starch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp vegetable oil
scant 1/2 cup water

Slowly whisk in the oil and water to the other ingredients until well combined and a bit frothy.

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and grease a 9x5x3 in loaf pan. Set aside. Grate the zucchini using a medium grater - I used a food processor with a grate attachment, much easier! In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Whisk together the oil, sugars, egg replacer and vanilla until well blended. Due to the xanthan gum it will get rather gloopy but don't worry, it works in the end :)

Fold in the grated zucchini then the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour. It should be risen and a toothpick should come out clean (crumbs ok). Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan to cool completely.

Sources: Joy of Baking
Egg Replacers

Saturday 18 July 2009

Stuffed Zucchini with Curried Potatoes and Peas

stuffed zucchini with curried potatoes and peas
So I'm still very happily making my way through all the zucchini given to us - good thing I love them! We got these round ones that are simply designed to be stuffed. Then found this recipe online which I thought would make a nice change from rice which is usually stuffed into these things. It was originally meant to stuff regular zucchini's but I figured it would work with these.

Well, it didn't......don't get me wrong, the filling is very good and the reason I'm blogging this but the zucchini never got fully cooked and then the salt from the filling drew out all the moisture of the flesh resulting in a large pool of curry water in the bottom of the zucchinis. Sigh. Oh well, they were still cooked enough to eat and like the recipe said the salty spiciness of the filling does go well with the cool almost blandness of the zucchini.

I did make one change which may have accounted for the liquid. Recipe called for 2 Tbsp chickpea flour or to substitute with wholemeal flour, it acts as a binder. I decided to use ground almonds as I love adding that to curries but maybe it wasn't enough to absorb, but, it was very yummy and I would still recommend adding it.

My version (slightly different, here is the original.)

240g peeled and diced baking potatoes
2 tsp vegan margarine
2 tsp vegetable oil
240g chopped onion
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chile, seeded and chopped finely
2 Tbsp ground almonds
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp ground cumin
200g frozen peas
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3/4 tsp salt
zucchini's to stuff (if you want to attempt it!)

Cook the diced potato in boiling water until just tender. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside. Heat the marg and oil in a large pot and gently fry the onion, ginger, garlic and chile until onions are soft. Stir in the ground almonds, peas and spices and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the salt, potatoes and parley and stir gently until potato is heated through.

If stuffing - cut the zucchini and scoop out centre (whether it's round or a regular zucchini) and sprinkle with salt (do this before you make the filling). Place cut side up in a roasting pan. Preheat oven to 190C/375F. When filling is made pat the zucchini dry with paper towels and stuff with filling. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. If using round just put the tops back on to bake but also you may want to slightly par boil them before filling. They still weren't quite cooked after half an hour.

Friday 17 July 2009

Heidi Swanson's Carrot, Dill and White Bean Salad

carrot, dill and bean salad...or in my case, carrot, dill and flageolet beans....

This is one of those dishes were the photo just does not do it justice. I know it just looks like carrots with beans, but the carrots are caramelized and together with the shallots, dill and crunchy toasted almond slices and a touch of brown sugar makes a very yummy salad indeed! It's another gem from Heidi's blog which she just posted yesterday that I had to make right away, thankful I actually had all the ingredients in the house. Well, minus the alubia beans which I have never even heard of, I replaced with flageolet, which, yes I think I'm addicted too! But also I think I read somewhere they are a good replacement for 'white beans'.

I'm going to be lazy and just send you over to her blog for the original recipe and instructions but will post quantities here. Her recipe served 6 - 8 as a side - this is for 1 serving as a main and I've converted all those cups into grams for those of us this side of the pond.

1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/16 tsp salt
2 thinly sliced shallots

1 tsp olive oil
80g sliced carrots
150g tinned flageolet beans, drained and rinsed well
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
15g toasted almond flakes

Instructions and tips and much better photo over on Heidi's blog .

Thursday 16 July 2009

Beer Battered Zucchini Sticks with a Vegan Ranch Style Dip

beer battered zucchini sticks with vegan ranch style dipsorry for dark picture - hard to get natural light during a thunderstorm :)

Oh my these turned out so well!!! Battered deep fried zucchini sticks have always been my favorite appetizer back home but for some reason they are just not done here. So with no outlet to satisfy my craving had to make my own. Plus we just got a whole bunch of zucchini from lovely friends and relatives that grow their own and I can't think of a better way to have it, well, healthier yes, but never mind that!! I have made my own before but breaded them and shallow fried, this time I wanted to batter and deep fry (as is served in pubs and restaurants back home) but had trouble finding a recipe that didn't include egg. Came across this beer batter one, which is just beer and flour, and it worked perfectly.

Now for the dip, zucchini sticks are almost always served with a ranch style dip which is most certainly not vegan. I found a non-vegan recipe and just decided to replace the mayo/buttermilk/sour cream with their vegan replacements. Trying it once made I wasn't too sure, seemed there was too much of a 'different' taste. However, with the sticks it's perfect - it simply needs to be dipped! Will definitely be making both these again and am thinking the batter will make great onion rings that will also go great with the dip.
*EDIT* have made an even better ranch dip - recipe below!!

Beer Battered Zucchini Sticks:
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup vegan lager
Vegetable oil for frying

Whisk 1 cup of the flour with the beer in a large bowl until smooth. Pour through a sieve into another bowl and let sit for 1 hour. When finished thin with more beer if necessary, it should be like pancake batter - I didn't need to add any more lager though.

Cut the zucchini into sticks about 3/4 inch wide and 4 inches long. You need to have skin on each one. Heat the oil in a large pot - you want about 3 - 4 inches of oil until quite hot (360F if you have a thermometer) I didn't have one but found the oil needed to be hot - it was on maximum the whole time.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of flour with some salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Coat the sticks shaking off any excess flour. Give the batter a good whisk then dip the sticks in the batter letting excess drip off. Carefully drop into the hot oil in batches and fry until crisp and golden brown. Remove and let drain on paper towels.

Vegan Ranch Style Dip:
1/2 cup vegan mayo (I used plamil)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp plain soy yogurt
2 Tbsp vegan sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (I used 1/8 tsp)
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/16th tsp dried thyme
fresh dill, about a Tbsp, just eye ball it

Whisk all together really well and chill in the fridge.

EDIT - New and better version ranch dip:
75g tofutti cream cheese
2 Tbsp dairy free milk
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried dillweed

Whisk all together until super creamy then chill in the fridge. Perfection. :-)

Sources: zucchini sticks,
ranch dip.

Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes

vegan victorian sponge cakes
First, apologies for not blogging for so long, I did end up in hospital again (the vegan food as outstanding as ever) and have been slowly recovering at home here.

Anyway, back to business! I know these don't look pretty at all - they didn't turn out the way I wanted. I had envisioned little sponge cakes baked in my mince pan, spread with jam on top then topped with a pretty piped swirl of vanilla buttercream. Well, the bottoms were too soft after baking so when I tried to remove them all the tops popped off! So they had to be filled instead and put upside down as the tops were firmer than the bottoms, hence their strange appearance!

Doesn't matter though as they are so, so good, the raspberry jam going so nicely with the buttercream, lovely with a cup of tea! This post is more of an idea so no real recipe - I used a cake mix replacing the egg with sparkling water but any vegan white cake recipe would do. Then just spread with raspberry jam and some vanilla buttercream - I used Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World's recipe here.