Wednesday 16 December 2009

Snowball Cake Pops

vegan snowball cake popsVegan White Chocolate Coated and dipped in Coconut

vegan snowball cake popsDark Chocolate Coated and dipped in Coconut

vegan cake popsDark Chocolate Coated and dipped in nuts

The inside

How cute are those?!?!?!? Little rum soaked cake balls on a stick, coated in white or dark chocolate and rolled in coconut. Yum! These are another gem from the latest Canadian Living Holiday Baking magazine and as most of the UK is getting some snow today, thought it was a good time to blog them ;) I wanted to make them right away but wasn't sure what to do about the white chocolate. I love organica's vegan white bar but find you can't really bake with it as it melts into oblivion. Thankfully Steven over at Lustrous Musings had the great find of these new vegan white chocolate buttons - cheers! They melt beautifully and re-set really quickly making them perfect in these. Then, after buying out my local Tesco of all they had in them, I still ran out, so decided to coat some in dark chocolate and try different coatings. Here I just went with more coconut and some finely chopped pecans but the possibilities are endless!

Just a note on the cake, I decided to veganize the recipe from the magazine and got lazy and used egg replacers but really, I'm sure any cake recipe you like will work here. I'm kinda kicking myself for not making banana cake for these. Think about it - banana, rum and coconut - that would so work!

Furthermore, these are not just style over substance, they are seriously good!! We all love them and they are so Christmassy, not to mention fun to eat. Think I'll mess about making more food on sticks!

*Recipe says to use apple juice in place of the rum to make alcohol free*

Snowball Cake Pops: recipe says 36, I got about 28

100g / 1/2 cup vegan margarine
170g / 3/4 cup sugar, I used golden caster
40g egg replacer
1 tsp vanilla extract
210g / 1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
200 - 300ml rice milk
80ml dark rum (I used Tesco's own label - it's on their vegan list and cheap ;)
vegan white and/or dark chocolate (sorry, didn't measure but you need a lot 350g?)
-desiccated coconut
-finely chopped nuts
-vegan sprinkles (if they exist!)

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix all flour, baking soda, powder and salt together in another bowl. Alternate the milk into the sugar mixture with the dry using 3 dry and 2 liquid until you get a floppy, almost pourable batter. Pour into a baking paper lined 8" square cake tin and bake in a 180C preheated oven for about 30 minutes. It should be golden, bouncy to the touch and a toothpick should come out clean. Leave to cool fully in the pan. I left mine overnight.

Trim the darkened edges off the cake. Eat them. Take the rest of the cake and crumble into a food processor. Drizzle with the rum and process until finely crumbed - it will come together a bit. Using 1 Tbsp at a time roll into a ball and place a popsicle stick inside (I got mine from Hobbycraft).

Place in the fridge to firm up - about 1/2 hour. Melt the chocolate you are going to use and dip the balls in, coating all over and place back on baking paper lined sheets

When all coated place back in the fridge to set, about 1/2 hour. Dip them again and immediately roll in whatever coating you like. Place back on the sheets and back in to the fridge for about 1 hour.

If you are giving these as gifts, which they would make super cute foodie gifts - tie a little bow around the stick and place some stryofoam into a gift box. You can then package them standing upright - too cute ;)

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!

Sunday 13 December 2009

Double Ring Chocolate Hazelnut Bread

double ring chocolate hazelnut bread
This was featured in the 2006 edition of the Canadian Living Holiday Baking magazine. It is a yeast risen bread with a layer of Nutella and chopped hazelnuts rolled up - you make 2 rolls, and bake in an angel food tube cake pan, placing one roll on top of the other.

I really can't believe it has taken me so long to make. I was vegetarian when it came out so could have made it then with no changes - using eggs and regular Nutella etc... Then when I became vegan I just kept putting it off as I wasn't sure what to do about the Nutella. There are recipes out there for vegan Nutella, Veganomicon has one that is apparently very good and for this I recommend the fabulous Mihl's version over at seitan is my motor for vegan Nutella here . For mine I had ordered a jar of vegan hazelnut spread from the vegan store as I was placing an order anyway. It is very good, quite similar to Nutella and went perfect in this, but it does call for an entire jar!! So, not very economical!

To veganize, I replaced the milk with rice milk and the eggs with egg replacers. I wasn't too sure what to do about the eggs. I don't use egg replacers too often, I'm not snobby about them or anything and do feel they have their place in some things. They always work out in my doughnuts and cinnamon rolls for example. And since this was a similar yeast risen dough decided to go with them. I did run out however and only used 30g instead of 40g but everything turned out fine.

It is absolutely delicious!! Lovely for breakfast with a cup of coffee, heated up slightly with some vegan margarine on the side. I really loved how the outside and top got all crispy too, like bread, but then it's a sweet roll like cinnamon buns in the middle. Nice and moist inside too. I will be making this again, but with homemade nutella to keep the costs down :)

Serves 16:
45g/ 3 Tbsp sugar
125ml hand hot water
14g / 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
160ml / 2/3 cup rice milk
50g / 3 Tbsp vegan margarine
40g egg replacer (I only used 30g)
90ml water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
560g / 4 cups plain flour
400g vegan nutella - my jar was 350g
100g / 2/3 cups toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
icing sugar to dust

If using blanched hazelnuts like I did, preheat the oven to 200C and place whole nuts on a baking sheet. Roast for about 10 minutes or until very fragrant and golden. Remove and transfer to a bowl to let cool. Process in a food processor until finely chopped and set aside. You can chop by hand too of course, this was just easier.

Grease a 10"/4 ltr angel food cake pan with shortening and set aside. In a large bowl, dissolve 1/2 tsp of the sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle over the yeast and let sit for 10 minutes - it should get really foamy. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat up the milk, margarine and water until the marg melts and it's all warm. Remove and let cool slightly. When yeast is done whisk in the milk mixture and the remaining sugar until all dissolved. Mix together 1 cup of the flour with the egg replacer, salt and cinnamon and add this to the liquid. Continue stirring in the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until you get a sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently, incorporating enough flour as you need to stop it all sticking. Knead for about 8 minutes, until smooth. Place the dough in a large warm greased bowl and cover with greased cling film. Place somewhere warm until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. My bowl was a bit small and the cling film stopped it rising a bit more, so be careful of this!

Punch dough down and give a quick knead. Divide dough into 2 sections and roll each section out to a 15 x 10" square. If using the store bought vegan nutella, you'll need to heat it up slightly as it's too thick to spread as is. I put mine in the microwave for about 20 seconds, just to make it 'floppier'. Spread half of the nutella over each square then sprinkle the hazelnuts over top. Roll up starting with the long side and pinch the ends to seal. Place one roll in the tube pan seam side up, and the other roll on top, seam side down.*note - the dough is very soft and I have to warn you that this part is difficult!! It will flop about - just take your time :) Cover with greased cling film again and place in a warm place until risen and the dough fills up the pan, about 1 hour. It should really fill up the pan, right to the top. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190C/ 375F with the rack low enough to fit the tube pan. Bake for about 35 minutes (I took mine out with 7 minutes remaining and it was cooked) it will be golden and sound hollow when tapped. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool more. We had this warm from the oven when it's best :)

Vegan Rullepølse

Vegan Rullepolse
2014 version

Wow, never thought I would be having this again! Rullepølse is a traditional Danish spiced rolled meat but as the first step in making this is going to your butchers and asking for a side of a cow, definitely not vegan!! We always had it at Christmas served like above on white bread rolls and dill pickle. It's so good and the one area I ever felt 'guilt' at with becoming vegetarian, as my mom taught me how to make it as passed down from my great grandparents. Well, I shall be carrying on the family tradition as this worked beautifully!

Now obviously some changes had to be made, the 'meat' here is seitan - a perfect substitute for the meat as it is traditionally cooked by boiling in a brine - just like rullepølse.

I basically kept the recipe for the rullepølse the same (my Great-Grandmother's!) but followed the instructions for the seitan for cooking. I also had to scale down the quantities as I was only making 1 large roll. As I wasn't preserving anything I excluded the salt petre and after rolling the log with the filling immediately boiled it in the brine then pressed it (as best I could without the special presses) while cooling. 

I'm so pleased this worked and will definitely be making this every Christmas from now on. It's very similar, even down to the texture of the 'meat' which I wasn't expecting. Brings back great memories!!

When the rullepølse is boiling in the brine that's when it finally starts to smell like Christmas to me :-) 

Vegan Rullepølse

Vegan Rullepølse:

170g vital wheat gluten
50g vegetable fat (shortening)
170ml water

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp white sugar
good grinding of black pepper

5 cups water
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Additional Supplies:
Kitchen string
bamboo sushi rolling mat (not essential but handy)

First make your seitan, place the flour and fat in a food processor and process until the fat is really fine, you shouldn't even see it in there. Tip this into a large bowl and add the water, stir until it just comes together then dump out and knead gently for about 3 minutes. Add a little plain flour if needed whilst kneading but it shouldn't need any due to the fat in the mixture. Let it rest for 15 minutes then roll it out to a good size square, basically as thin as it will go as it won't roll out very thin. You need some patience here, roll it then pick it up and let gravity stretch it out, roll it out some more....I then cover it with cling film and place a heavy cast iron pan over top to stop it retracting. Eventually you will end up with a good size "square", about 10" x 10":

Now in a high sided pot add all the brine ingredients and bring it to a boil giving it a good stir. While that is coming to a boil make your filling. First add everything except the onion in a small bowl. Next, finely chop the onion but don't add it to the spices yet. If you add the onion to the spices too soon the salt will draw out liquid from the onions and you will have a big old mess! Leave them separate until you are ready to use it.
When the brine is nearly to the boil add the onions to the spices then spread over the seitan pressing the mixture down slightly into the dough,  leaving an edge to seal:

Rather quickly, roll this up lengthwise and give the edge a pinch to seal. Slice this log in half, take one half and place on a prepared sheet of cheesecloth and roll it up, try and leave a bit of room for the rullepølse to swell as it will whilst boiling, this will help when you go to press it later. Tie the edges with string and repeat with the other log:
The brine should be boiling away now so simply place the 2 wrapped logs into the brine, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid askew. I come back to it now and again and flip the logs with tongs. Make sure they are always covered with brine, if it gets too low add some boiling water to the pot.

After the hour remove the logs with tongs and place on a clean kitchen towel to drain. I now line a bamboo rolling mat with cling film, remove the cheesecloth and place the rullepølse on the mat. Roll it up in a somewhat rectangular shape and place a cast iron pan on top, pressing down. You may have to hold the pan on top but it doesn't take long to press. When the rullepølse doesn't spring back when you remove the pan then it's done. 

Transfer to a wire rack to fully cool and repeat with the other log. When at room temperature, wrap them up in cling film and place in the fridge to fully cool. These are even better the next day when the spices and flavours have time to mellow and mingle a bit :-)

Slice and serve on bread rolls with vegan butter, on rye crackers or bread, whatever you like, and I personally find dill pickles essential!

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Vegan Egg Nog - Soy Free

Vegan Soy Free Egg Nog.

I must confess this recipe will have a rather specific target audience. I wasn't after 'traditional' egg nog which is served warm and is an alcoholic drink. I wanted to recreate the egg nog you can buy in North America this time of year in milk cartons which have no alcohol and you drink cold, or at least can drink cold. I had so much of that stuff growing up and haven't had it for years!

While searching for vegan egg nog I soon realized that lucky North Americans can buy cartons of soy egg nog - so lucky!! But, as I am temporarily off the soy anyway decided to try my own. I really loved this, it reminded me so much of the stuff I used to drink by the carton and brought back many happy memories. So if you are vegan, live where you can't buy the cartons of vegan egg nog, miss the non-alcoholic cold egg nog and are also off the soy - here you go! :)

Vegan Soy Free Egg Nog
Serves 1

50ml coconut milk, light or full fat.
50ml rice milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/16 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp rum extract
good grating of fresh nutmeg

Measure everything into a pyrex measuring cup and give it a good whisk. Serve cold, I like mine over ice.

Sunday 6 December 2009

Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew

 Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew - Vegan

So last Sunday was my 3rd year blogaversary! Despite a little break in between my past vegetarian blog and this one that is. Still I was surprised and meant to blog this on the day. It's also on my previous blog and was already vegan. It's been an absolute staple in our house for, well, 3 years now! Especially when the weather turns cold :) Very hearty, full of goodness with lentils, beans and loads of veg and even the boy loves it!

Regular readers will probably have noted that I do have a dumpling addiction, if you do to, here a couple more recipes containing yummy dumplings Newfoundland pea soup with dumplings and Chickpea Noodle soup with herb dumplings . Still, if I fancy some dumplings, this is the recipe I turn to!!

Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew - Vegan

Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew:

Serves 3:

• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 onion chopped
• 450 ml vegetable stock, I made mine with 2 tsp marigold vegan stock granules
• 125 grams carrots, sliced and halved
• 125 grams potatoes, diced largely
• 125 grams zucchini, sliced and quartered
• 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped OR 200g chopped tomatoes from a tin
• 60 grams red split lentils
• 213 gram can of red kidney beans (1/2 a standard 400g tin)
• 1/2 tsp smoked paprika


• 100 grams flour
• 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
• 3/4 tsp dried mixed herbs
• 1 ½ Tbsp vegetable suet*
• 5 - 6 Tbsp cold water

*Edit - for a non-suet version of these dumplings simply replace the suet with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and use 1/4 cup or 60ml of cold water. Just mix the olive oil with the water and add to the dry ingredients - they turn out just as good!

First combine the dumpling ingredients (minus the water) in a bowl and set aside. If using fresh tomatoes - cut x's on the bottom of the 2 tomatoes and cover with boiling water, leave for 5 minutes, plunge into cold water then peel skins, roughly chop and set aside.

Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then fast boil for 10 minutes with the lid off. Drain and rinse and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion with some black pepper for 3 -4 minutes or until just soft. Pour in the stock, carrots and potatoes. Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the lentils, zucchini, tomatoes, kidney beans, and paprika. Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile bind together the dumpling dough with the water to form a soft dough. It should form in to a ball and clean the sides of the bowl. Transfer to a floured surface, knead briefly and cut into 6 equal sections, roll each section into a ball.

Uncover the stew, stir well, then add the dumplings, pushing them slightly into the stew. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes until the dumplings are risen and cooked through. Stir now and again, gently around the dumplings so the stew does not stick underneath the dumplings. 

Serves 3 with 2 dumplings each.

Smokey Red Bean Dumpling Stew - Vegan

Source: 'The Complete Book of Vegetarian Cooking'.

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 :)

Monday 26 October 2009

Creepy Halloween Food!

Severed Fingers

Halloween Food
Shrunken Head Punch

Eyeball Pasta

Oh I do love Halloween!! I also love freaking my kid out and certainly succeeded with these! I've been wanting to do something fun with food for Halloween for awhile now, I know I'm a little early but wanted to give you all some ideas before hand. The severed finger cookies are very common, I think I first saw them in a Canadian Living magazine about 25 years ago! However, this was the first time I made them and loved the way they turned out. In fact they were so effective we've all slightly gone off almonds now :)

My favourite is the shrunken head punch - apples are carved, slightly preserved then baked until they shrink -they turned out so well and look great in the "blood". For the photo I just used wine, obviously for children you'll want to use red grape juice or blackcurrant - whatever looks 'bloody'. Original recipe used cloudy apple juice which I had them in first but as they are the same colour as the apples it just didn't look as good.

The eyeball pasta was fun to make, but, a major waste!! I got the idea from BBC Good Food where they used mozzarella balls for the eyes and a bit of basil for the pupil. I decided to replace that with silken tofu but due to the size of my 'scoop' only ended up with 2 eyes out of 1 block of tofu! Obviously I'll use the rest for something else but I was hoping to get lots of little eyes out of it. As it's plain tofu it's not too yummy as is but the idea is to mash it up with the tomato sauce before eating - if you dare!!

Severed Fingers:

112g vegan margarine
14g vegetable fat/shortening (1 Tbsp)
90g icing sugar
20g egg replacer
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
whole blanched almonds
red decorator gel*

In a bowl beat together the marg, sugar and extracts. Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and egg replacer. Form together into a ball, slightly flatten wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. Working with half the dough take about 1 tsp of dough and form in to a finger shape. Make sure to start off small here, I made my first ones too big - remember they spread out in the oven. Press an almond in for the nail and slice 3 lines for the knuckle. In some I put some dots for hair but don't think those look as good. Place on a baking paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool on sheet for 3 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Lift the almond off and squeeze some gel around then place the almond back on. Also squeeze some gel at the end of the biscuit.

Despite the way these look they are very good - a crisp almond infused biscuit, and the best part is actually the nail! The almond gets nice and roasted in the oven - lovely :)

*for the gel, I found mine in Hobbycraft, it was full of E numbers so was sure it wouldn't be veggie but bought it anyway. When I checked them all out online at home it appears to be fine! It's even set with carageenan instead of gelatine. Now, I'm not happy about all the E numbers but not much is used here. If you can't find this or are worried about it, just use seedless raspberry jam - wouldn't look as effective but at least it would taste nice!*

Source: Canadian Living Magazine

Shrunken Head Punch:

8 firm apples
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp salt (yes, that's not a typo!)

OK, no recipe for an actual 'punch' here as you can use whatever beverage you like - mulled wine for adults, juice based for the kids. Note that the shrunken heads are too salty too eat but just too much fun not to make! For the shrunken heads - In a large bowl combine the salt and lemon juice with 1 cup (250ml) water until the salt dissolves. Peel the apples, cut in half lengthwise and spoon out the seeds and core. Turn into the mixture to stop them browning. Using whatever tools you have carve out the eye sockets, nose and mouth - I have a pumpkin carving kit that was perfect for this. Return them to the mixture turning to coat. Leave them in there for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Pat them dry and place on a wire rack over a roasting tin or rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 120C (250F) oven for 2 - 3 hours, until they begin to shrink and edges are lightly browned. I think I pulled mine out after 1.5 hours though. Let cool on rack. You can make them ahead and refrigerate now in paper towel lined airtight container for up to 24 hours.

Source: Canadian Living Magazine .

Eyeball Pasta:

No real recipe here, I just cooked up some spinach pasta, spooned over some fresh ready made tomato and basil sauce then added the 'eyes'. For them I used a scoop and carefully scooped out some firm silken tofu. Place them on paper towels and gently pat dry. For the pupils, slice some green pimento stuffed olives and place a black peppercorn in the centre. Carefully (the silken tofu will crumble VERY easily!) scoop out a hole for the olive and place it in. To make them look bloodshot I added saffron threads but you'll need to remove these before eating so it's a bit fiddly - they still look good without them. I also brushed on some glycerin to make the eyes look 'wet' but again that's not essential.

Recipe inspired by: BBC Good Food .

Thursday 22 October 2009

Beanburger with Grilled Pineapple

Beanburger with Grilled Pineapple

Well, after all the almost unbloggable posts I decided to go back to an old favorite. This came from an old Tesco Vegetarian magazine - years ago - remember those?? Anyway, it's been tweaked a few times and is one of our favourite burger recipes. I added the pineapple as the Worcester and soy sauce flavours in the patty reminded me of an old 'Hawaiian Burger' I used to do with pineapple. It goes really well with this but feel free to make a 'traditional' burger with lettuce, tomato, onions, ketchup etc... it's equally as good :)

Original recipe was egg free and thus prone to breaking apart a wee bit but as it was initially put inside pita's - not a problem. As I made this one a burger, in a ciabatta roll at that, I added some potato starch to help bind it up a bit more. It was still soft but held together just fine.

Smoky Beanburgers: I tend to get 3 regular size burgers out of this.

50g onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, pureed
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 x 210g tin red kidney beans, 130g drained and rinsed
50g finely grated carrot
40g rolled oats
2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp smoked sea salt (or regular)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 Tbsp potato or cornstarch

Ciabatta, Burger, Pitas OR Wraps (my new favourite!)
Pineapple rings
Vegan Mayo
Very good with "Reggae, Reggae", HP sauce or BBQ Sauce.

Place beans in a large bowl and mash well. Add grated carrot, oatmeal, sauces, salt and paprika. Stir well. Fry the onion in half the oil until soft, stir in the garlic. Add this to the mixture and mix well. If making burgers as opposed to pitas add 4 tsp potato or cornstarch. Oil hands and shape into 2 patties or whatever you like. The great thing about making your own here is you can shape them to fit whatever size bun your using. I made 8 mini ones once to fill pitas for example.

Preheat grill to the highest setting and brush a baking sheet with oil. Place patties on then brush the tops with more oil. Grill 5 minutes one side, flip, brush with oil and grill the other side for 5 minutes. Meanwhile grill the pineapple rings on grill pan until black lines have formed - both sides. Pop the split ciabatta under the grill until lightly toasted, top with the burger, pineapple, mayo and sauce.

Roasted Garlic, Zucchini and Lemon Quinoa with Red Kidney Beans and Pine Nuts

First of all let me explain that I did quite overcook my quinoa here! I mentioned in the post below - losing my cooking mojo!!! So don't cook yours until you end up with quinoa porridge like I did :) Despite that, this was delicious and so nutritious! I was inspired by Susan's recent post over at The Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for Lemony Quinoa with Butternut Squash.

I will just direct you over there for the recipe but I made these changes to suit my tastes and what I had to cook with. I replaced the butternut squash with zucchini as butternut's not my fav and I had some zucchini to use up. Roasted the chopped zucchini, shallot and garlic and fresh thyme with 1 tsp olive oil and salt and pepper for about 20 minutes, added about 65g drained red kidney beans per person to make it more a main dish than side and increased the lemon juice as I do like things very lemony :) I also just cooked the quinoa in water, not stock. At the end I drizzled another tsp of olive oil around just before serving. Lovely, and can't wait to make it again without overcooking the quinoa! (note - changes are for 1 serving)

Banana Custard with Biscuit Crust

Banana Custard
Now like the last soup recipe this is another attempt I wasn't going to blog. What can I say? I've had about 4 cooking and baking attempts lately that have just been....meh, or bad photos, things just not going right...sigh, it's like I've lost my cooking mojo.... That being said I don't know why I wasn't going to blog this, I actually really liked it, as did my husband and the boy liked it so much he asked for more once they were all gone! As I initially wasn't going to blog these I didn't take a picture showing the biscuit crust - sorry! But, it's just a basic digestive (graham cracker) crust pressed in and baked.

It all started just trying to think of something to do with a couple very ripe bananas I had. Tired of the usual muffins, banana bread and cupcakes I started thinking of pies, particularly banana cream pie. This is what I ended up with and it is really good, it has a very strong banana taste though so this one is for banana lovers only :) Please excuse any odd quantities, I made this one up not following any recipe, adding things as I went. I got 5 servings from this using individual serving dishes like you see in the photo.

Banana Custard:
200ml reduced fat coconut milk
300 ml rice milk
220g very ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
60g golden caster sugar
60g "Bird's" custard powder
1 tsp vanilla

Biscuit Crust:
120g vegan digestives
1 Tbsp golden caster sugar
35g vegan margarine, melted

Place the biscuits in a food processor and blitz till very crumbly(no large chunks). Tip into a bowl with the sugar and pour in the melted margarine. Stir well then spoon into dessert dishes, pressing down lightly with the back of a spoon. Pop into preheated 180C oven and bake for 10 minutes - let cool on wire rack.

For the custard, mix the custard powder and sugar together in a bowl and set aside. Mix together the coconut, rice milk and vanilla and set aside. Place the bananas in a blender and add just enough of the milk mixture so that it will blend - blend till smooth. You shouldn't need much of the milks here, it's just to 'make it go'. Pour some more of the milk into the powder/sugar mix just to make a paste. Heat the remaining milk until nearly boiling then pour into the custard mix, whisk well. Pour this back into the saucepan and heat gently, stirring and whisking constantly while you bring it to a boil and it thickens. Add the pureed banana and whisk well, you should have a smooth and thick mixture now - note this will be thicker than traditional custard. You are after a pudding here, not a pourable custard. Spoon this into the cooled bases and set in the fridge to fully cool. We had these as is but they would be nice with some vegan whipped cream on top

Friday 16 October 2009

Coconut Lime Bundt Cake

vegan coconut lime bundt cake
vegan coconut lime bundt cake
I have a new favorite cake! This is so yummy, I got the recipe from BBC Good Food where it was already vegan :) Well, providing you replace the butter with vegan margarine... Only other changes I made was to replace the lemon with lime, as I think coconut and lime should always be together....and added some lime to the frosting as well as I felt it needed some acidity to cut through the richness. Further, the recipe called for coconut cream, I did have some but mostly had full fat coconut milk that I needed to use up so I did a combo of both. I do think the cream can be fully replaced with full fat coconut milk though and still be good.

Some of the comments on their site mention this being quite crumbly. Well, it is, but I have to say I really like that in this. With the coconut in there the crumbliness gives it a macaroon feel and as I feel a lot of vegan cakes can actually err on being too moist - this was a nice change. They cooked it in a regular springform tin but I have this bundt cake ring that doesn't get used too much so thought I would try it. Only thing is I had to take it out of the oven with about 20 minutes left - it didn't need anywhere near the 1 hour cooking time they called for.

Coconut Lime Bundt Cake:
140g vegan margarine
140g golden caster sugar
50ml coconut cream, heated just until liquid (just replace with more milk if hard to find)
100ml full fat coconut milk
juice and zest of 1 lime
50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
85g fine cornmeal (polenta)
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
140g plain flour

Coconut Lime Glaze:
210g icing sugar
juice and zest of 1 lime
about 4 Tbsp full fat coconut milk

For the cake - 'butter' and flour a springform pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 180C. Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the coconut cream, lime juice and zest and whisk well, add the rest of the coconut milk a bit at a time until all incorporated. Combine the flour, cornmeal, coconut, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add this to the milk mixture and whisk until just combined and you have a soft but not too wet mixture - it will be 'thick-ish'.

Spoon into your prepared tin and bake for 30min. If using a different size tin this may take longer, or less - it will look golden on top and a toothpick inserted should come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan on a wire rack. Then remove from pan and insert onto a serving plate.

For the glaze just whisk together everything until you have a thick but slightly pourable mixture. Spoon it over the cooled cake letting it pour over the sides a bit. Leave it too set then slice and serve. I got 16 slices out of my bundt pan for this.

Sunday 11 October 2009

Lentil Bolognese

Lentil BologneseWith homemade vegan garlic bread

This has been a standard in our house for years. I have already blogged this on my previous vegetarian blog but it was already vegan as long as you omitted the parmesan on top.

It's a great basic sauce recipe that is not confined to pasta, anywhere you would use a meat sauce you can use this: in lasagna, in baked potatoes, shepherds pie etc.. It's very versatile and so yummy. This is one of Finn's favorites, I first gave it to him years ago with rotini pasta and I guess the stripes of the rotini and the brown/orangy sauce made him think of tigers as he instantly dubbed it 'Tiger pasta' which it is now of course always referred to in our house!

I actually got the recipe from 'Baby and Child Vegetarian Recipes' by Carol Timperley a cookbook I still use a lot and found indispensable when Finn was younger. It's basically a standard bolognese sauce recipe replacing the meat with brown lentils. The recipe makes a lot, 8 adult servings, which is really handy as it freezes really well making it an easy dinner standby.

Lentil Bolognese:

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Pinch dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped (optional – use 2 carrots if not using)
175g button mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons tomato puree
150ml red wine or water (I use water when Finn is having it...which is always!)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (make sure to use dark, should say dark on the label)
Salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sugar
1 large tin (400g) chopped tomatoes (recipe called for a half tin, I use a whole as I find it needs it)
2 x 400g tins brown or green lentils, drained and rinsed (can't find 'brown' lentils here, the tins labeled 'green' are actually brown in colour inside)

Heat the oil, add the onion, basil, oregano and bay leaf and cook till onions are transparent. Add the garlic, stir, then add the carrot, celery and red pepper, cook for a few minutes then add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms begin to wilt, stir in the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, add more water if too dry but it shouldn't be overly 'saucy'. Allow to cool slightly, remove bay leaf, transfer to a food processor and blend till smooth.

I serve this with about 67g of pasta per person, as the sauce is quite filling on it's own. Some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top before serving is nice too. Lovely meal with the garlic bread and a nice glass of vegan red wine ;)

Makes 8 adult portions, 16 child size portions.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!!

I usually love preparing my thanksgiving feast and was looking forward to it this year as I really wanted to try and perfect the pumpkin pie and try another entree. However, I just couldn't get my act together this year and I've run out of time!

Anyone looking for ideas can go here for my last Thanksgiving dinner and for our last Christmas dinner we had a Tourtiere which was delicious and would make a lovely Thanksgiving centrepiece. Or, how about some Vegan Haggis to work around! See, lots of cruelty free options ;) Enjoy!

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Creamy Lemon Garlic Tagliatelle

Vegan Creamy Lemon Garlic Tagliatelle

So I had some leftover coconut milk from the hot chocolate and really fancied some creamy lemony pasta. I haven't yet tried using coconut milk to substitute cream in a sauce, I thought it would taste too, well, too 'coconutty'. Well, I'm happy to report that it doesn't. This turned out so well :) :) Once you add the rather strong flavours of lemon, garlic and basil the coconut flavour gets a little lost and you are just left with a lusciously creamy sauce. And to be honest what coconut flavour is left is actually really lovely! Lemon pasta has always been one of my favorites and I will definitely make this again!

*EDIT* - just made a mushroom version of this, add 250g sliced mushrooms that you fry with the garlic and margarine until soft. Replace the basil with finely chopped fresh thyme - lovely creamy garlic mushroom sauce!

Serves 2:
10g vegan margarine (2 tsp)
200ml reduced fat coconut milk (guessing regular fat will work too, it's just what I had)
Zest of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 large cloves garlic, pureed
handful of fresh basil, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
150g tagliatelle, or whatever pasta suits you :)

Put the pasta on to cook. Meanwhile melt the margarine in a small saucepan and add the garlic, stir over low heat for a couple minutes then add the lemon zest. Add the coconut milk slowly and stir well, add the salt, basil and some pepper. Stir over low heat while the pasta is cooking. When pasta is ready, drain well and return to the pot, pour the sauce over and over medium heat cook stirring until thickened up a bit. Serve immediately with some more black pepper. I also sprinkled a little nutritional yeast powder over top which was nice.

Monday 5 October 2009

The Ultimate Vegan Hot Chocolate

The Ultimate Vegan Hot Chocolate*see edit below*

I am so happy. You see, I have always loved hot chocolate, not those pissy watered down instant jobs but real decadent hot chocolate. Finding an acceptable vegan version has been a bit of a nightmare as so far I have hated the taste of all dairy free milks heated up. That was until I tried coconut milk. OMG. This is not only the best vegan hot chocolate I have ever had but hands down the best hot chocolate I have ever had - and believe me, I've had a lot!!

Now I do need to warn you all here. This makes a very, very rich and thick hot chocolate, it's how I like it - yes, you are seeing the cinnamon stick actually dent the beverage there!! Think of this more like a dessert than a casual drink, hence the claim of 'ultimate' ;)

Now I'll post my version here but I have made it by adding some hot water to thin it out and that works just fine, the drink doesn't lose any flavour that way and is more like "regular" hot chocolate. So, if hot chocolate's that are so thick they take awhile to get to your mouth are not your kind of thing, do just add some water:) For me though, this is perfect!

Serves 2:
50g dark vegan chocolate, chopped (I used Bourneville's baking chunks and didn't need to chop)
200ml reduced fat coconut milk
1.5 fl oz kahlua
1 cinnamon stick

Place the chocolate, milk and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until the chocolate fully melts and there is no graininess - take your time it will all come together. Remove the cinnamon stick, stir in the kahlua and serve!

*Edit* - I wanted to make a thinner, more casual, not as rich non-alcoholic version of this that my son could enjoy. Keep in mind he's never liked hot chocolate but he loved this. As did we, it's no where near as rich as the one above but still super chocolatey. I first made it chocolate mint with peppermint extract, then chocolate orange with orange extract - lots of possibilities!

50g dark vegan chocolate, I use bourneville chunks
100ml reduced fat coconut milk
100ml rice milk
1/4 tsp extract, peppermint or orange, whatever you like
more rice milk to thin

Place the chocolate and milks in a saucepan and heat up gently until all the chocolate melts, whisk up until super smooth, you don't want any little flakes of chocolate left. Stir in the extract and heat up till hot. Pour into 2 mugs then top up with some more cold rice milk to thin out and cool down a bit. Drink right away!

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks so much to Truestarr for the "One Lovely Blog" nomination! Here are my nods:

Scottish Vegan Homemaker Love Penny's blog, lovely vegan food and just has such a warming and welcoming feel to it :)
Allotment to Kitchen Mangocheek's Vegetarian (but largely vegan too) blog is fantastic, frequent updating and just beautiful :)
Taste my Plate an omni blog I like and a fellow Canadian!

To get your award just copy the photo on my site here and paste onto your blog (if you want to!) and then pass the award to whoever you like! I decided to just give 3 otherwise this list would never end as I love all the blogs I follow, but felt one omni, one vegetarian and one vegan was the way to go :)

Monday 28 September 2009

Vegan Cream Puffs!!!

Vegan Cream Puffs Choux PastryWith a coconut fondant filling and chocolate glaze.

Wahey!!! Ok, these new egg replacers are turning out great!! Really didn't think choux pastry could be veganized but these turned out really well. I have fond memories of both cream puffs and eclairs. My Danish grandmother used to make them now and again and it was always such a treat, remember running over to house whenever she would make them, as did half the kids in the neighbourhood! Now, I have never made choux pastry before, even before being vegan so when I say this was an experiment - I mean it :) I also haven't eaten cream puffs for years so I can't really say how close this is, I feel it's pretty damn accurate. What I do know is they are absolutely delicious!!!

For the filling, if I wasn't off the soy I would have just bought a can of soyatoo spray cream, stuck the nozzle in and given it a squirt! However being off the soy made the question of what to fill these with a little more difficult. I decided on the filling I used for the Bounty Bars but made it floppier and not as stiff. I thought a coconuty filling would be nice and it's almost as much fun freaking people out that it's made with mashed potato as it is telling some omnivores their dessert is made with tofu ;)

It definitely worked out well, the coconut filling is very yum in there, with the pastry and the chocolate on top it reminds me a bit of what deep fried bounty bars might taste like (as I don't have a clue, honest!) Just a note on the dough, it is a lot stiffer and heavier than what choux dough should be. I was unable to drop with a spoon and swirl the tops, instead having to roll them into balls with my hand. As they don't puff up like choux (of course they won't without 7 eggs!) you have to pull out some of the soft filling. What you are left with though is very similar and does the job nicely:)

Choux Pastry: (makes about 7 smallish cream puffs)

1/4 cup vegan margarine (50g)
1/2 cup boiling water (4 fl oz)
1/2 cup plain flour (75g)
1/8 tsp salt
----2 "eggs"----
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp potato starch (for those in UK -available at any tesco, simple!)
1/4 tsp baking powder (I may experiment next with doubling this)
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
100ml water
2 tsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. First make your "eggs" by whisking the dry ingredients together then whisking in the water until smooth, then the oil. Whisk again until slightly frothy. Bring the margarine and boiling water to a boil in a saucepan until margarine is all melted. Add the flour and salt all at once. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball that cleans the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Whisk up your "eggs" again and add half to the dough, mix very well, until smooth and glossy. Repeat with the remaining liquid. Take blobs of the dough and shape into even size balls. Place on the baking sheet spread apart and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. They should be golden and crisp on the outside.

After baking.

Once they have cooled, carefully split them open with a serrated knife and pull out the gooey centre, leaving the crisp shells. Next time I may pop them back in to the oven at this stage to help dry out the inside, but they were perfectly fine this way.

(after cooling and insides pulled out, toothpicks in just to show you the inside)

Now for the filling, again, if you are fine with soy you may just want to fill these with soyatoo spray cream. Here is my recipe for the coconut fondant I filled these with:

Coconut Fondant:
2 Tbsp cold, unsalted mashed potato
1/4 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut (20g)
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

Cook the peeled potato in unsalted water until ready to mash. Drain and return to the pan to dry out a couple of minutes. Mash well then push it through a fine sieve until there are no lumps at all. Let cool and measure out 2 Tbsp. Place this in a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of icing sugar. The starch from the potato reacting with the sugar will turn the mixture to liquid. Add the vanilla then keep adding the icing sugar until the mixture turns white and fondanty. Stir in the coconut - you should have a thick but slightly floppy mixture, think of the thickness of pastry cream....

Once the puffs are cool fill with the coconut mixture, about 1 Tbsp per puff.

Puffs filled.

Chocolate Glaze:
75g dark vegan chocolate
1 tsp virgin coconut oil in solid state - this works so well here, if you don't have it just use vegetable oil

Combine the chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth and glossy. Let cool just enough that it's thick enough to spoon over without it running down the sides of the puffs. Spoon over each one, spreading it out a bit and leave to set!

Vegan Cream PuffsFin!