Monday 25 January 2010

Peanut Butter "Mousse"

vegan peanut butter mousseOMG! This was so absolutely amazing!! I do however apologize for the terrible photo, I only had a few minutes of natural light left and knew these wouldn't last until the next light of day ;) I had some soya whipping cream left from the white chocolate mousse post below and for some reason had peanut butter in mind. I just whipped it up with some creamy PB, icing sugar and some vanilla extract and it turned out sublime. If you love Reece peanut butter cups or like me love VCTOTW's peanut butter frosting, you will love this. The texture isn't really moussy though, not like my previous mousse posts, it's really more of a pudding, in the North American sense, than a mousse, but so, so good! *EDIT - actually when I made this again and made enough to sit in the fridge for over a day it did set up more mousse like! So if you can resist them and wait 24 hours - do!

I loved it just served in a fancy bowl, or glass like that but am thinking it would be gorgeous pipped into those dark chocolate mini 'bowls' you can buy (I think some are vegan), as obviously dark chocolate and peanut butter is a match made in heaven ;) I was hoping it would make a great pie filling but unfortunately I think it's too floppy for that.

*Edit* Found some vegan dark chocolate cups at Sainsburys and the mousse is fantastic in these!! Looks cute too ;)

Serves 3 - 4 (5 if using the chocolate cups)
150g soya whipping cream from a carton
75g super smooth peanut butter**
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chill the whipping cream then add the icing sugar and whip it up well. Whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla then spoon into serving bowls and chill for a few hours.

**a note on the peanut butter, I used sun-pat super smooth in this. I wouldn't recommend a 'natural' peanut butter unfortunately as you do need it to be sweet and really creamy, you don't want any graininess or separation. I know it's not the healthiest of PB's but this is a dessert after all ;)**

Friday 22 January 2010

White Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse

Vegan White Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse
This was so yummy!! It also ended what was quite possibly one of the nicest meals we've had - Ravioli filled with cashew chive cheese , homemade garlic bread , white merlot and then this for dessert! I should have waited and made all that for Valentine's day, but oh well, I'll just have to think up another menu for that!

I used the fantastic vegan white chocolate buttons that are out there now for this and followed my mousse recipe from my Chocolate Frangelico Mousse Tart it's also the filling in my Chocolate Mousse Dome Cake . I just swapped the dark chocolate for the white and decided on Grand Marnier for the liqueur. I love the Kahlua and Frangelico but wanted to keep the mousse as white as possible here and thought orange would be lovely flavour with white chocolate.

It turned out so well but was slightly heavier than the mousse made with dark chocolate, but not a problem! Will definitely make this one again :)

Serves 4:
150g white chocolate buttons (that's 6 bags)
150ml soya whipping cream, from a carton
1 1/2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier
-I also debated adding 1/2 tsp orange extract - I didn't in the end but it might be nice.

Chill the whipping cream then whip up with the icing sugar with a whisk until light and airy. Melt the white chocolate and let cool slightly. You want the cream and chocolate to be close in temperature or else the chocolate will seize up. Quickly add the chocolate, whisking all the while until smooth and creamy. Whisk in the Grand Marnier and extract (if using). Spoon into 4 serving dishes - it will be runny, don't worry - it sets up in the fridge. They should be ready in a few hours.

To make the orange garnishes, you are to use a zester to remove a large strip from an orange but I don't have one and just peeled around an orange then trimmed it and shaved off the white bits. Once you have a thin strip wrap it tightly around a chopstick or skewer, anything small and round, then remove - it will be curly now, I then just made a circle out of it and placed on top.


Vegan Bacon, Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich
That's bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato on lightly toasted sourdough with garlic mayo in other words ;) I've decided I'm going to stop apologizing for my sandwich posts. I always seem to think they are not 'blog' worthy, and yes there is nothing overly original here...but sometimes we all need help with ideas and most importantly - this was amazing!!

2 slices sourdough bread (for those in UK I use La Brea bread from tesco - it's labelled vegan)
Plamil garlic mayo - it's the best!
vegan margarine, I use 'Pure' sunflower spread
2 slices vegan bacon - fried, I used vegi-deli.
slices of hass avocado
slices of tomato
smoked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Lightly toast the sourdough and spread with the margarine and garlic mayo, grind some black pepper over top then add the bacon, avocado, tomato, sprinkling of smoked sea salt and top with lettuce and the other slice of bread. Enjoy!

Saturday 16 January 2010

Wild Rice Crêpes with Chickpeas, Mushrooms and Spinach topped with a Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Well, only one for me as they turned out a lot bigger than I anticipated!

For bigger appetites perhaps....

These crêpes were featured in the 2007 Canadian Living Holiday Baking magazine. I know, I use these A LOT, I'm pretty much going through them and veganizing everything ;) Anyway, they were traditional crêpes (not vegan) and stuffed with chicken and mushrooms. I was going to convert the filling but still have not found any vegan chicken style pieces that I'm happy with. It otherwise sounded lovely, using cream cheese and porcini mushrooms - all easy to make vegan. I ended up thinking too much about what kind of filling to use and ended up using what I had in the fridge - it turned out delicious!

For the crêpes I followed the savoury crepe recipe from vegan brunch adding the wild rice step from the magazine. The sauce recipe also comes from the magazine and was very nice, went beautifully with this although I could also see a vegan white wine cream sauce going nicely as well. Quite simply loads of possibilities here, but I loved this one!

Wild Rice Crêpes:

90g wild rice, raw weight
350ml rice milk
60ml water
120g plain flour
30g chickpea flour
1 Tbsp arrowroot
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
olive oil to coat pan

First cook the rice. Place 500ml of water, 1/2 tsp salt (extra) and the rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer with the lid on for 45 - 50 minutes, or until the grains have popped and are tender. Drain any excess water and rinse under cold water. Leave aside to fully cool.

For the crêpes, add everything into a blender and blend well. Place in the fridge for at least an hour. When ready give it another whisk then add the wild rice. Heat a non stick crêpe pan and brush on some olive oil, when ready pour in about 1/2 cup of the batter - make sure you stir it around with the measuring spoon as the rice will sink to the bottom. Pour onto the hot pan and swirl it around. My crêpe pan is quite large and I got 5 out of this recipe - only 3 were usable, the first 2 simply practise runs! I found it easiest to loosen them from the pan, slide them onto a plate, brush the pan with a bit more oil and then pick up the crêpe and place it uncooked side down to finish cooking. When done on the other side, slide onto baking paper and continue cooking the crêpes, layering each one with baking paper.

Wild Rice Crepes

Chickpea, Mushroom and Spinach Filling:

1 red onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
160g mushrooms, sliced
40g spinach, sliced thinly
100g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Chickpea, mushroom and spinach filling
First a note - this recipe filled the 3 crêpes I had that turned out. If you make all 5 crepes - first of all - well done! Second, you may want to double this. Heat the olive oil in a wok then add the mushrooms, onions and salt and pepper, when they start to lightly brown add the chickpeas and garlic and stir well. When it's all heated and cooked stir in the spinach until just wilted - you may have to add a splash of water.

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce:

1/2 red onion, chopped
2 red peppers, roasted
1 can (400g) plum tomatoes in juice
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red chili flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

First roast the peppers, I use a 'quick' roast method from another cookbook. Remove the core, seeds and membranes from the peppers then slice each one into thirds. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, cut side down and grill for about 5 - 10 minutes, until they are charred. Place into a bag, or into a bowl covered with cling film for 15 minutes. The skins should just peel off now - discard the skins and roughly chop the peppers.

Place the tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and chili flakes into a blender and blend till smooth. Pour this into a saucepan and add the olive oil, salt and vinegar. Bring to the boil then partly cover and simmer until reduced to 500ml, about an hour. Yeah, I couldn't eyeball 500ml either and to be honest am not sure how long I cooked mine, I just had it simmering away while I made the crepes. It was nice and thick and flavourful when done anyway!

When ready, you can re-heat the crepes in the microwave if they have cooled too much, about 20 seconds is enough. Fill in the middle with some of the filing, fold the ends over and roll up. Top with a generous portion of sauce. Now I know just one crepe looks a little skimpy but that did turn out to be 394 calories so a perfectly fine meal. Again, my crêpe pan is large, so a smaller pan will make more reasonable sized crêpes.

Sources: Crêpe is from Vegan Brunch with added step of wild rice from Canadian Living Magazine 2007 Holiday Baking Edition - original non-vegan recipe is here .

Red Pepper Sauce also from Canadian Living Magazine 2007 Holiday Baking Edition here .

Monday 4 January 2010

Chocolate Mousse Dome Cake

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Dome Cake
Vegan Chocolate Mousse Dome Cake

Happy New Year!! I'm back from holidays!! Miss me? ;) I know I should have posted more over Christmas but as I've been blogging for 3 years now most of my traditional meals are already posted (just click on the Christmas tag). Plus we went away to Ireland for the holidays - had a great time even though we didn't make it over until after Christmas due to the weather. Still, had a nice New Year's over there and glad all the travels went smoothly!

Well, back to the post - I made this cake years ago when I was vegetarian, it's on my old blog and was very, very good. Although I already have traditional Christmas meals posted I had yet to settle on a dessert and thought to veganize this one. It was a good call! This was so absolutely amazing!! I loved it even more than the original version - especially that mousse and ganache. I seriously think it's the best ganache I've ever had. It's very rich and decadent - we had to wait a bit after dinner before tackling it.

The only thing I wasn't as keen on was the cake itself. I am struggling to find a really good vegan white cake recipe. I won't post mine here as I'm going to mess about with it but if you would like the one I used just e-mail me and I'll send it off to you :) It tasted great but the texture was a bit heavy and a little gummy, too moist to do the soaking syrup step. Still, it made an amazing cake and this will certainly be our traditional Christmas dessert from now on!

Chocolate Mousse Layer:
200g dark vegan chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp icing sugar
200ml soya whipping cream, from a carton
2 Tbsp Kahlua

Melt the chocolate and set aside to get to room temperature. Chill the whipping 'cream' then whisk it up with the icing sugar, it should get a little airy. When the chocolate is still melted but no longer hot quickly add it to the whipping cream and immediately whisk it up until all incorporated. It's important to do this quick so that the chocolate doesn't seize up. Whisk in the vanilla and Kahlua. You can use any vegan liqueur you like but Kahlua does go nicely in this.

Chocolate Ganache:
140g dark vegan chocolate
120ml soy cream
14g extra virgin coconut oil, in the solid state
1/2 Tbsp Kahlua

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl. Heat up the cream and oil until the coconut oil melts and it just comes to the boil. Pour over the chocolate, let it sit a few seconds then whisk up until all the chocolate melts and you have a nice thick ganache. Whisk in the Kahlua.

Grease a 4 cup oven safe bowl and dust with flour. Pour in your cake mix and bake until ready. Let cool in bowl on a rack then invert onto the rack to fully cool. I left mine overnight.

When ready to assemble, wash out the bowl you baked the cake in and fully line it with cling film. Carefully slice the cake twice, giving you 3 layers. Place the top back in the bowl then spoon over half the mousse, place the next cake layer in, gently pressing down. Spoon over the rest of the mousse then place the last layer on, again, gently pressing down. Fold the overhanging cling film over the top so that it's all covered and place in the fridge for a few hours.

Invert onto a wire rack with some baking paper underneath the rack (to catch the ganache drips) and peel off the cling film. Wait until the ganache thickens up slightly and isn't hot in any way. First give it a 'crumb coat' - this is a thin layer of ganache to make the last layer look nice and smooth. Chill until set then pour over the rest of the ganache, coating all sides and place back in the fridge to fully set. Decorate as you like but the chopped toasted hazelnuts I put around the bottom half of the cake went really well with this. Last time I put fresh raspberries which went nicely with the Grand Marnier flavours. Take the cake out about an hour before serving so it's not so cold, serves at least 8.