Friday 27 November 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Oh my this was good! I should first explain that the photo here is of 1/4 of the whole cake and not an individual slice; it just looked best showing a whole pineapple ring...not that I couldn't shamefully eat a slice that big but half of that would be more reasonable :)

I based this on the recipe from my Purity Foods Cookbook from 1967 because, after all, if you're going to make the ultimate retro dessert, it's best to use a retro cookbook! Pure yumminess, will most definitely be making this one again but next time I would probably add more pineapple to fill the gaps and not worry so much about having 4 perfect looking rings as it could have done with a bit more pineapple.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake:

60g shortening, like trex - room temperature
185g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
230g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
180ml rice milk or other dairy free milk, Kara coconut works very well too
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
50g vegan margarine
100g light muscovado sugar (light brown)
4 pineapple rings, I used tinned, drained well (or more!)
50g chopped pecans - optional, but so, so good with this!

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix the vinegar with the milk and set aside. Cream the shortening with the sugar and vanilla (you may need to add a splash of the milk to get it going). Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk to the sugar mixture until all incorporated. Mix very well after each addition.

Melt the margarine in an 8" square glass baking dish then sprinkle over the brown sugar and the pecans. Place the pineapple rings over top, or slice the pineapple and place all over. Spoon the batter over top carefully spreading it out. Don't worry too much if it doesn't get to all the edges, it will bake over and up. Place in the preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes. Mine took 35 minutes - test with a toothpick. You must do this, especially in the centre, it may look done but could still be doughy in the middle. Only stop baking when that toothpick is clean of batter. Remove from oven and run a knife around the outside of the cake then immediately invert onto a serving plate.

Now, how much of the topping that decides to come out seems to be down to the baking gods....only 2 of my rings decided to come out, the other 2 desperately clinging on to the dish!! Never just adds to the excitement ;) Serve warm! I reheated leftovers for 20 seconds in the microwave. Although I loved this as is, can also see it going really well with a scoop of vanilla Swedish Glace ice 'cream'.

*EDIT - just made an apple pecan version of this and it was amazing!!! Replace the pineapple with peeled sliced granny smith apples (I used 2) and 50g chopped pecans over the melted marg and sugar. It was so good I never even got to take a photo of it :(

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Vegan Pepperoni Pizza

vegan pepperoni pizza
Don't tell me what I can't have as a vegan!!!

vegan pepperoni pizza

This falls in the same category as my last Hawaiian Pizza post of 'I can't believe I'm blogging this'! I know it's nothing original but I do like to post things that people don't expect when thinking of vegan food. I always think back to why I was vegetarian for 12 years and not vegan, as now I know how easy it is. I think I probably thought that it would be too hard and oh, I couldn't have this and that etc... Well, it's all simply not true and had I known this before would have become vegan much sooner than I did :) While it's true that you have to have a taste for cheezly here, as no, it doesn't taste like cheese ;) this was still so, so good!! I made the base myself and it turned out beautifully! Lovely thick fluffy base, crisp on the outside - so good....then just used store bought pizza sauce, redwood foods' vegan pepperoni slices and super melting cheezly mozza flavour.

Makes 1 good sized individual pizza:
112g strong white bread flour (I highly recommend Waitrose's Canadian very strong white flour here, it's fantastic! UK specific though, I know!!)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
75ml hand hot water
1/2 tsp olive oil (plus more to grease bowl)

Dissolve the sugar in the water then sprinkle the yeast on. Let it get frothy for 10 minutes then whisk it up with the olive oil. Stir in the flour and salt then knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic, form into a ball. Wash a bowl with hot water, dry then grease well with olive oil. Add the dough to the warm bowl, turning over to coat with the oil, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch down and give it a few more kneads then shape into the base size you like.

Spread with the sauce, top with pepperoni and a generous amount of cheezly and a few grinds black pepper. Bake in a 220C oven for about 15 minutes or until puffy, edges are golden and cheese is melted and bubbling.

Custard Creams (cheat!)

vegan custard creams
Not a recipe this time but just an idea. We got these 'morning coffee biscuits' from Waitrose the other day - they are on their vegan list. While I found them dead boring on their own, felt they would make excellent sandwich biscuits due to their thinness. I was right - made up a batch of vanilla buttercream and was surprised how much that turned these into custard creams! I've always missed those and have always been annoyed that all brands have whey in them - seriously, what's the point???

Obviously any flavour frosting can be used here but if you fancy some custard creams - go for straight vanilla. I just mixed up some vegan margarine, vanilla extract, icing sugar and rice milk until I got a slightly thicker buttercream than I would use for cupcakes and sandwiched them up :)

Friday 20 November 2009

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Slice of Earl Grey Tea Loaf

So, I was going to call this 'sunken raisin loaf' and try to pull off that having all the raisins sink to the bottom was entirely intentional ;) Of course, it wasn't....amateur mistake, apparently I should have coated the raisins in flour before adding to the batter. Oh well, now I know! Still it wasn't a big deal, I really wanted to try a tea loaf - one actually made with tea, and use my favorite flavour - Earl Grey. I found this recipe on Waitrose's website and thought it looked good.

It did call for 2 eggs and as I started to think what to replace those with read in the comments that one lady forgot to add the eggs and actually preferred the bread that way! I thought, perfect - I'll just omit them then! I made other changes too, it originally called for dried fruits, I personally can't stand peel etc... so just used raisins, used regular flour and some baking powder to replace the self raising flour (which I never have) and then glazed with light agave nectar instead of honey.

Despite my raisins sinking this was absolutely lovely and perfect with a cup of, you guessed it, Earl Grey tea! Strangely I had it one day with coffee and was surprised how much that did not go together....definitely have it with tea :)

2 bags Earl Grey Tea
125g golden caster sugar
300g raisins or mixed fruits
225g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon (I also added some orange zest)
1 Tbsp light agave nectar, to glaze

Place the tea bags in a large heat proof bowl and add 300ml boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, giving them a squeeze and add the sugar - stir to dissolve. Add the fruit and leave to stand for 4 -12 hours. ** as I was only using raisins and not other fruits I didn't do this for so long, I just let the raisins sit while I got everything else ready, don't think it matters** To stop the raisins sinking try draining them off now (keeping the tea of course!) and coating them in flour before adding the rest.

Preheat oven to 180C and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking paper. Add the flour, baking powder, zest and juice of lemon to the tea and beat well, stir in the raisins. It should almost foam up and be light in colour. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 - 1 1/4 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean. Here I have to apologize as I know mine did not take this long but I seem to have forgotten to write down how long mine took.... possibly just an hour. Keep an eye on it, it will be golden on top and a toothpick should come out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then brush with the warmed agave nectar. Remove from the tin to cool on a rack. Best when warm and spread with some vegan margarine and a cup of Earl Grey tea :) Note, original recipe called for Lady Grey tea but any black tea could be replaced here.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Creamy Spinach Pasta Sauce

Creamy Spinach Pasta Sauce
Or to give it it's full title: Creamy spinach garlic lemon nutmeg sauce...yeah, there's a lot going on there but it works and is so easy - just chuck it all into a blender till smooth :) I based this on my previous Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce but had some spinach that needed using up so got to experimenting. I basically kept it the same but as well as spinach added some nutmeg and some nutritional yeast. Like the last post it gets it's creaminess from coconut milk but again, don't worry, with everything else going on you don't taste anything "coconutty" but it does make for a super creamy pasta sauce :) Also, I didn't show it in the photo here but I added some fried mushrooms to mine which went really well with it.

Creamy Spinach Pasta Sauce
Serves 2

• 200ml coconut milk, full fat or reduced. Can also use soy cream.
• zest of 2 lemons
• 1 Tbsp lemon juice
• 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
• 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
• 120g spinach, chopped up so it'll fit in the blender!
• 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
• freshly grated nutmeg
• freshly ground black pepper
• 150g - 200g pasta of your choice.

• optional - 250g sliced mushrooms, fried
• optional - 1 large red onion, sliced and fried

For the sauce simply place everything in a blender and puree until super smooth. That's it! Cook pasta according to package instructions but remove with a couple minutes left. Drain and place back into pot. Pour the sauce over, it will look like too much but don't worry, it cooks down. Cook over medium heat until hot and thickened up. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt/pepper/nutmeg as you like.

EDIT - If adding mushrooms and onions, simply fry the sliced mushrooms and red onion together with some vegan butter and a pinch of salt and pepper until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in with everything else.

Apologies for the messy bowl, but this is it using soy cream and with added mushrooms and red onion, which although hard to see, there was plenty in there!

Monday 9 November 2009

Mixed Berry and Green Apple Gelees

Berry Gelees

Well I promised lots of vegan sweets from my Canadian Living Holiday Cookbook magazine and these are the first! They are really simple - just fruit, sugar and pectin, fairly easy to make and lovely:) I was just going to direct you to their website for the recipe but I can't find it there, so will post it here. The recipe was easy to follow with one exception. After cooking the fruit you are to purée then push it all through a fine sieve to get 2 cups of purée. This was quite difficult - my arm was killing me and I gave up after getting 1 cup. This meant I was only getting half the mixture so only added half the sugar and pectin listed here. It also meant I had to fill only half an 8" square pan. Thankfully the mixture is so thick this is easy to do - just fill half and shore it up with a strip of baking paper.

Mixed Berry Gelees:
2 large granny smith apples *increase to 4 for the green apple version
3 cups frozen mixed berries *omit for the green apple version
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
85g liquid pectin
more granulated sugar to coat

Line bottom and sides of an 8" square pan with baking paper and set aside. Coarsely chop apples, leaving skins and cores but removing seeds. In saucepan cook the apples, water and berries over medium heat until apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. In processor puree the mixture until smooth. Press through fine sieve to get 2 cups* see notes above on this.

In clean saucepan bring the purée with sugar to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring often until candy thermometer reaches 'gel point stage' of 218G (103C) or when spoonful cooled on cold plate wrinkles and does not run together when separated, about 20 - 30 minutes. Note, I do not have a candy thermometer and you really do not need one. You'll tell when it's done as it gets thick to the point where a space is left when you stir with a wooden spoon, only slowly coming back together.

Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the pectin. Pour into prepared pan and let stand at room temperature without disturbing for 18 to 24 hours. Turn out onto a cutting board leaving the baking paper underneath. Slice into cubes, remove from paper and toss in the sugar. Let dry for 3 days. You can eat them right away, I think they say this as they do dry up making them easier to pack up for gifts. Store layered between baking paper for up to 2 weeks.

Saturday 7 November 2009

Chilli and Chips

Chilli and Chips
I really should have blogged this a few days ago as it's a great dish for bonfire night! Nothing original here, I know, but it's yummy and comforting AND my son said these are the best chips he's ever had!! Please tell me he's finally off his McCain's addiction! Success! I got the recipe for the chips and the idea from this year's 'Canadian Living Magazine's Holiday Edition'. I love these so much, my mom sends me one every year as soon as they come out. So many great recipes and good ideas. This years edition particularly has loads of sweets - VEGAN sweets at that! So expect lots of treats in the posts to come :)

A note on the seasoning I used for the chips - my mom also sends me a chilli powder that you can't buy here and I used that. For those in Canada I used Club House brand chilli powder. If you can't find this the ingredients are: chilli pepper, cumin, coriander, salt, oregano, garlic powder and cloves. I think a good replacement would be Discovery Foods' Fajita seasoning. It's surprisingly good with no preservatives or nasties in it.

The chilli is just my super simple and easy recipe, not the one from the magazine. I use tins and frozen corn and even use kidney beans that are already in chilli sauce. Major cheat I know (take that Delia!) But, what can I say? I like the flavour and it's mild enough to give to kids, I add cayenne pepper to ours for the adults.

Chilli and Chips - serves 2:
2 baking potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp chilli powder (see notes above)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
black pepper
1/2 Tbsp corn oil
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
80g frozen sweetcorn
1/2 can red kidney beans in chilli sauce
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 220C. For the chips, wash and scrub the potatoes and dry. Cut into 1/2" slices and then into chips. Soak in cold water for 5 minutes then drain and rinse and pat dry. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil then mix together the chilli powder, paprika, salt and pepper and toss well with your hands. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with baking paper then bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn each chip over then bake for another 10 - 20 minutes, it will depend on how you cut the chips, type of potato etc... you'll see when they are done.

For the chilli, heat the corn oil in a large pot then add the onion, garlic, peppers, cayenne and salt. Fry until the onions are soft. Add the tomatoes, beans, corn and a couple Tbsp water. Cook until thickened up and the corn is cooked. Split the chilli into two bowls and serve with the chips.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Banana Pineapple Muffins

Banana Pineapple Muffins
Happy World Vegan Day!!! I was hoping to blog some new, fancy, savoury dish but have just been too shattered lately.... However I felt I had to do something today and had these lined up to blog. I made them awhile ago when I had some bananas to use up and they are really nice, initially they had too much ginger so I've scaled that back. The texture is lovely in these - really light and fluffy, although next time I may try replacing some or all of the rice milk with the drained off pineapple juice as they weren't as 'pineappley' as I would have liked, but still yum :)

Makes 12 muffins:
280g plain flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp salt
175g golden caster sugar
150ml rice milk
200g very ripe bananas
60ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
432g tin crushed pineapple, drained weight of 260g
demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 190C and line 12 muffin holes with paper liners. Whisk together all the dry ingredients. Combine in a blender the bananas, rice milk, vanilla and oil. Blend until smooth. Stir the wet into the dry until almost all incorporated then add the pineapple and fold in until just mixed. Do not overmix. Spoon mixture into the muffin tins - they will be almost full. Sprinkle tops generously with demerara sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes or until risen, golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Although, they are nice warm too :)