Thursday 27 May 2010

Beer Cooked Sausage and Onions in Crusty French Baguette

Vegan Beer Cooked Sausage and Onions in Crusty French Roll
These were featured in the latest tesco magazine and turned out really, really good! As it featured most of my favourite flavours - beer, mustard and onions I figured I would love them. I just had to swap the honey with agave, made sure my lager was vegan and used my personal favourite sausages here - Taifun's Grill Herb Sausages, they really went well with the other flavours. It's a simple recipe and makes a nice change from always using vegan hotdogs with ketchup and French's mustard ;-)

Serves 1:

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 Taifun Grill Sausage
1 onion, sliced
50ml vegan lager
1/2 tsp agave syrup
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tsp vegan Worcester sauce
Crusty French baguette, sliced to the size of the sausage

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions, slow fry on low heat until very soft, reduced and golden brown. Mix together the lager, agave, mustard and Worcester sauce then add to the pan with the sausage. Cook until the sausage is heated through and the sauce is reduced to a thick caramel like sauce. Spoon some of the onion mixture into the sliced bread, top with the sausage and some more of the mixture on top. Of course you want to serve this with the rest of the lager, well chilled ;-)

Coconut Asparagus Frittata with Sweet Chilli Lime Sauce

Vegan Asparagus Frittata
Vegan Asparagus Frittata

Gosh, I made this AGES ago!! I have had about 5 or 6 things lined up to blog but am unbelievably busy these days and just haven't had the time. Big news for us - we are moving to Ireland this summer!! I really cannot wait, we are building a house out in the country (a very eco house I might add ;-) and it's coming along beautifully. But, needless to say, building a house while not only moving house but moving country takes up a lot of time!! I'm afraid my online life will have to take a back seat for awhile, don't expect me on twitter at all really and I'll try and update this blog now and again but it won't be as frequent. When we move at the end of July we'll be moving in with my in laws (who live next door) for a few months while the house finishes up so I won't be able to blog at all then really. Well, who knows, maybe I'll do some vegan restaurant reviews from Cork or something!

Anyway, back to the food! This is just a twist on the post below, I loved the flavour of those crepes so much I wanted to see how it fared as a frittata. It cooked up fine and tasted great but the texture isn't great to be honest. It turned out quite gummy, although I still went back for seconds!! So, why blog it? Well, as my husband pointed out the texture was really like set polenta. Which although not my favourite thing obviously lots of people do like it so thought I would throw this up here too ;-)

Recipe is the same as the Coconut Crepes but I poured the whole crepe batter into a small non stick frying pan brushed with some peanut oil. Cook over medium heat and when it is sort of half set add some pre-steamed asparagus and the finely chopped spring onion. Continue to cook until golden underneath then place under the grill to continue cooking the top. Grill until golden on top. When I first cut mine open it looked like it could do with some more cooking so grilled it a little more as the middle wasn't quite set. I didn't bother with the almonds or peanuts this time but again, that sauce is essential with this - it really makes the dish.

So, it wasn't a bad attempt but I must stress that the crepe version is miles better and will always be the one I make.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Coconut Crêpes with Asparagus and a Sweet Chilli Lime Dipping Sauce

Vegan Coconut Crepes with Asparagus and a Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

I took one bite of these and instantly knew these would become a dinner staple, they are seriously delicious!!! The recipe was on BBC Good Food and I found it intriguing as I just wouldn't think to use asparagus this way. It's hands down my favourite vegetable so I'm always keen to find new ways of using it. Plus the 'in season' British stuff is out now so a good time to use it!

I had to veganize the crêpe recipe they used and am pleased to say it turned out fantastic, I sort of combined their flavours with the quantities I used in my Wild Rice Crêpe recipe. Only thing was these were possibly a little more delicate to work with. The first one had to be scrapped, as seems to always be the case when I make crêpes ;-) The next two didn't tear or rip but it was touch and just bear that in mind when making these. That being said I later ate the first crepe, all ripped up and cold just by dipping it in the sauce and it was just as good. So don't stress if they tear just serve it all together in a bowl!

Oh and that dipping sauce is perfect with these and omg good, I just swapped the honey with some light agave and added a bit more garlic. I also used bird's eye chilli's as that's all I had, I made sure I removed all the seeds and membranes and it still packed a punch. So you may want to only use 2 or a different chilli altogether, depending on how hot you like things.

They included some roasted peanuts in the dipping sauce but I thought they would be better in the crêpe itself. Their version had some hard boiled egg in the filling (bleurgh!) so without it my filling would just be steamed asparagus. I then forgot to buy peanuts so lightly toasted some almond flakes and added that. I really liked the flavour in their and the thin crunchiness was really nice. Later, I made these for my husband with the peanuts and while he liked the flavour of the peanuts in their preferred the texture of the almonds. The peanuts were just a bit too hard.

Whatever way you go - those crêpes with that sauce and the asparagus is amazing! I got 5 crêpes out of this with my large crêpe pan....

Coconut Crêpes with Asparagus and a Sweet Chilli Lime Dipping Sauce:

200ml reduced fat coconut milk
200ml water
120g plain flour
30g chickpea flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch (cornflour) or arrowroot
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp peanut oil, for greasing the pan
25 spears asparagus, 5 for each wrap
25g flaked almonds or finely chopped roasted peanuts (optional)
2 Tbsp light agave syrup
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, strained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Bird's Eye chilli's, deseeded and membranes removed, chop fine

First make your batter, simply whisk everything together until super smooth, or use the blender. Cover and place in the fridge for about an hour.

Next make your dipping sauce. Whisk the agave, soy and lime juice and well mixed then whisk in the garlic and chillies. Set aside to let the flavours mingle up a bit.

Take the batter out of the fridge and give it another good whisk. Heat your crepe pan on medium heat and brush on some peanut oil. Using 1/2 cup measure pour the batter in the centre of the pan and swirl it around making sure it coats all the pan. Immediately sprinkle on some of the spring onion before it sets. Now, turning these are a little tricky. The best way I found was to loosen the edges and pick it up and move it to a plate. I then brushed a little more oil on the pan, picked it up again and placed the other side down. I also wore a pair of (clean!) washing up gloved to do this otherwise I would have burnt my fingers!! Once both sides are cooked, it should be ever so lightly golden at spots, it's a bit more hardy. Turn over onto a plate so that the spring onions are facing up. Continue with the rest of the batter and meanwhile start steaming your asparagus: 3-5 minutes should do it.

When ready to serve, simply place 5 asparagus in the middle of the crêpe and sprinkle on some of the almonds or peanuts, if using. Fold the bottom over then roll them up, you could cut them on the diagonal or just leave whole.

Vegan Coconut Crepes with Asparagus and a Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

Give the dipping sauce another little mix and serve on the side. I spooned a little bit of the sauce over the crêpes and do recommend this as it's an easier way to eat these than dipping them.

Nutritional Analysis: based on 2 filled crêpes with sauce

Calories: 516
Protein: 14.8g
Carbs: 69.8g
Fat: 20.7g (if you use all the peanut oil )
Sat Fat: 1.4g
Fibre: 7.3g
Sugars: 14.3g
Sodium: 1200mg *this is only if you use 2/5 of the sauce recipe, which is unlikely, so really it's not that high :-)

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Healthy Banana Blueberry Maple Cookies

Fat Free Vegan Banana Blueberry Maple Cookies
Fat free, wholemeal flour and no refined sugar to boot!! Yup, you're on the right blog ;-)

I am so pleased with how these turned out. It wasn't my intention when I started these to make a 'healthy' cookie. I simply had some blueberries that I wanted to bake with and thought cookies would make a nice change. I started off with my standard raisin oatmeal cookie recipe but decided to swap the white and brown sugar in that with maple syrup. Then, I figured I might as well go all the way and omit the margarine, making them fat free and swap the white flour with wholemeal.

Even though this was a total experiment they turned out fantastic! They are certainly sweet enough and nice and soft in the middle with a crunchy topping and edges, the blueberries in there are particularly good! In my second attempt I baked them in a jelly roll pan and sprinkled with demerara sugar. My first attempt I made them cookie shaped and dipped them in maple sugar - a hard to find and expensive yet delicious addition. Although, my husband felt the maple sugar was a bit too big and crunchy and distracted from the cookie I did like the taste with them. Again, demerara could be substituted or you can just leave the top plain as they are sweet enough anyway.

'Cookie' version with maple sugar on top

I'm so glad these turned out, we have all been wanting to cut down on our sugar intake, particularly refined sugars and I'm happy to report even the 8 year old loved these!

Makes 12 cookies or bars:
85g mashed ripe banana, about 1 small-medium
80g fresh blueberries
60ml maple syrup
1/2 tsp almond extract
70g plain wholewheat flour
70g rolled oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
maple sugar or demerara sugar (optional)

Mash the banana in a large bowl until well mashed. Slowly whisk in the maple syrup then beat well, whisk in the almond extract. In a seperate bowl whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the banana mixture and beat with a rubber spatula till it comes together. Add the blueberries and gently fold in until incorporated being careful not to burst them. It's best to buy the smallest berries you can find here, if they are too big you may want to cut them in half although that may give you purple cookies....not that that's a bad thing!

If making cookies take about 1 tablespoon of mixture and roll it in your hands and flatten, dip into either maple sugar or demerara (or leave plain) and place on a sheet lined with baking paper.

If making bars, gently press into a foil lined jelly roll pan and sprinkle with the sugar. I used a jelly roll pan which was 7.5 x 11 x 1" but only filled it half way, double the recipe to fill the whole pan.

Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 12 - 13 minutes. They should be golden at the edges and a little puffy. Let cool on the sheet then transfer to a wire rack .

Nutritional Analysis: per cookie
Calories: 68
Fat: 0.3g
Sat Fat: 0.1g
Protein: 1.6g
Fibre: 1.7g
Carbs: 15.8g
Sugars: 5.5g
Sodium: 41mg

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