Monday 20 December 2010

Big Chocolate Chip Orange Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Chip Orange Cookies

Well, these are another gem from the Canadian Living 2010 Holiday Baking Magazine, and, unlike the last post, this one was already vegan! Well, more or less, it did call for unsalted butter which I replaced with half vegan margarine and half vegetable fat (shortening). I did this as I use Vitalite which I love but find it very soft in baking. I find adding half vegetable fat gives the baked goods more structure and support. Of course if you find whatever vegan margarine you use gives you success then just use straight vegan margarine.

The orange is gorgeous in this but you can just omit that for a plain chocolate chip cookie. Altogether a very yummy success! I'll post my version here with all the grams but for those of you who prefer cups etc. the recipe is on their website. Just a note, you will need to chill the dough for 2 hours before baking, so they do need a little forward planning :-) If you can't wait, I have updated my standard Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe based on this one, it's quick and delicious too!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Orange Cookies

Big Chocolate Chip Orange Cookies
Recipe stated 26 cookies, I got 16 (I think! forgot to count!!)

90g vegan margarine
90g vegetable fat (shortening) room temperature
70g caster sugar
65g light muscovado sugar (light brown)
210g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g vegan chocolate chips

In a stand mixer add the vegetable fat, margarine and sugars. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and orange zest and beat well. In a separate bowl add the flour, baking powder, soda and salt and whisk well. Add this to the butter/sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it almost comes together. Add the chocolate chips and stir well, the mixture will seem a bit dry but that's fine. Bring it together tightly and form into a 10" log shape. Wrap in cling film and roll back and forth until you have a nice rotund log shape. Pop into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Slice the log into 3/4" slices and place 1" apart on the baking sheet. I found mine didn't look very round after cutting so reformed them a bit with my hands here. Pop in the preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes or until the edges start to look slightly golden. Cool on tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.

Source: Canadian Living Holiday Baking Magazine and online.

It was hard to keep the boy out of this picture!! 

Monday 13 December 2010

Eggnog Knots

vegan eggnog knots

Wahey! My mom sent me the latest Canadian Living Holiday Baking magazine!! Thanks Mom!! Those of you  who have followed me for awhile know I get this magazine every year and have great fun veganizing whatever I can :-) This year's was slightly different though as it was all cookies - no complaints here! Furthermore, the back even listed all the cookies that don't contain egg or dairy. Nice. So, what's the first cookie I make from it? One that needs veganizing, of course ;-) These just sounded so good, I do love my eggnog, click here for my drink recipe, and thought these looked very cute. So cute in fact I even copied their styling for my photo!

vegan eggnog knots

These are seriously good, the recipe called for an egg yolk which I was going to replace with just some cornstarch but then thought Birds custard powder would be better. It's basically just cornstarch anyway but the added colour makes it even look like an egg yolk! Well, they turned out perfect, the texture of these cookies is sublime, they really do melt in the mouth and the dough is so easy to work with. I wasn't however, that keen on their glaze for these. It was icing sugar, rum and nutmeg and I just found it a bit too bitter, too much rum perhaps? Yeah, I can't believe I'm saying that either..... So I had another go and made some Maple Cinnamon Knots. I didn't take a picture of these as they looked the same, just a little darker but were by far my favourites, whiskey and cinnamon flavours in the cookie then glazed in a maple glaze - lovely!

I'll post both versions here as really, I was the only one not too keen on the eggnog version, husband and in-laws both loved it. Basically you can change the flavours in these to whatever you like, you don't even have to add a spice, they would be nice just vanilla too. Recipe makes 20 'knots'.

Eggnog Knots:
50g vegan margarine
50g vegetable fat (shortening)
40g caster sugar (or granulated)
1/2 Tbsp Bird's custard powder
1/2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp dark rum
140g plain flour
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
110g icing sugar
2 Tbsp dark rum
1 tsp water
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Maple Cinnamon Knots:
50g vegan margarine
50g vegetable fat (shortening)
40g caster sugar (or granulated)
1/2 Tbsp Bird's Custard powder
1/2 Tbsp water
140g plain flour
1 Tbsp whiskey
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Maple Glaze:
110g icing sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp hot water

Preheat oven to 150C / 300F and line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a large bowl mix the butter and vegetable fat until well blended. Add the sugar and whisk until light and fluffy. In a small bowl mix the custard powder with the water until dissolved. Add this to the butter mixture and whisk well, then whisk in the rum or whiskey. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt and spice. Add this to the wet mixture and stir until it just comes together, use your hands at the end if need be and form into a log.

Divide this into half. Roll one half into a 10" log shape then cut into 1" pieces. Repeat with the other half. Take each 1" piece and roll into a ball then into a 6" long rope. Tie into a knot, well, they say 'tie' really you are placing it into a knot shape then put it on the baking sheet. They don't get much bigger so they can be fairly close together here, just make sure they are not touching. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden underneath and firm to the touch. (Mine took the full 30).

Mix the glaze ingredients together in a heatproof bowl and whisk until smooth. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water - make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl and heat the glaze up until it is slightly warm.

Now take your still warm cookies and dunk in the glaze making sure they are entirely coated. Remove with a couple forks and place on a wire rack with baking paper underneath to catch the drips. Repeat until all are coated then leave to set and cool.

Source: Canadian Living Holiday Cookies Magazine, and Online.

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Monday 6 December 2010

Mint Chocolate Thins

Vegan Mint Chocolate Thins
White chocolate covered mint cookie and Mint dark chocolate covered chocolate cookie.

I have a new favourite cookie!! These come courtesy of Heidi Swanson in her fab cookbook, Super Natural Cooking. I absolutely love this book and have been wanting to make these for awhile now. The original recipe called for an egg white and butter, pretty easy to veganize really, vegan marg for the butter and in the end I just omitted the egg white and they turned out perfect! The first time I made these I replaced the icing sugar with fondant icing sugar. It did make the dough slightly easier to work with and the texture perhaps a bit finer but as I know that is a hard to find ingredient tried them again with just regular icing sugar and they turned out just as good.

Her recipe was a plain chocolate cookie covered in chocolate mint and was sublime. However I kept thinking they would be really good covered in white chocolate. For these I flavoured the cookie mint and left the white chocolate plain. I think these where actually our favourite here, but both are seriously good! 

These quantities are scaled down and make about 9 cookies, just double or triple as you like (they will go fast!) I decorated the white chocolate cookies with some red and green edible glitter flakes I found which happened to be vegan. I also would have liked to have double dipped them but as 2 packages of white chocolate buttons only covered 5 cookies decided that would end up way too pricey!

Mint Chocolate covered Chocolate Thins:

50g vegan margarine
50g icing sugar, fondant is nice but not essential
25g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
60g plain flour
pinch salt
125g dark chocolate
1/4 - 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

White Chocolate covered Mint Chocolate Thins:

50g vegan margarine
50g icing sugar, fondant is nice but not essential
25g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
60g plain flour
pinch salt
125g vegan white chocolate buttons (5 bags)

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

In a large bowl cream the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla (or peppermint extract if making the white chocolate version) salt and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the flour and mix until it just comes together, it’s fine if it’s still crumbly – don’t overmix! Gather the dough up into a ball and give it a couple kneads just to bring it all together. Press it down into a disc shape and wrap in cling film then pop it in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Dust your counter with some flour and flour your rolling pin. Roll the dough out quite thin – about 1/8” thick. Cut out shapes using whatever size or shape cookie cutter you like. I used a round one with a fluted edge. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies fully cool.

When the cookies are cool make the chocolate dip – melt the chocolate either in the microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the peppermint extract, taste and add more if you like. (Omit the peppermint extract if making the white choc version.)

Dip the cookies in the chocolate and turn over using 2 forks. Remove from the bowl letting all the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl then place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Repeat with all the cookies. If you want to add sprinkles, do it now before the chocolate sets. Now place the cookies in the fridge for the chocolate coating to set.

Source: Adapted from Heidi Swanson's All Natural Thin Mint Recipe.

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Monday 29 November 2010

Hot Toddy Cupcakes

Hot Toddy Cupcakes

Afternoon tea....just got interesting!  I don't really know why I decided to make these but am sure glad I did. I absolutely love hot toddies, never even heard of them until my first winter in Ireland many years ago and they quickly became my favourite winter tipple. The flavours of lemon, cloves and whiskey are so simple but just perfect in a warm drink, and, I started to think, perfect for a cupcake.

These really turned out well, and amazingly taste just like a hot toddy!! So often flavours in a cupcake can get 'lost' but not here, the lemon, cloves and whiskey all come shining through. The cloves are possibly just a tad too strong though, I added 1/2 tsp but think that 1/4 tsp would be too little. Next time I may try something in-between. They are so very yummy though, the texture is perfect - really nice and light and definitely an 'adult' only cupcake ;-)

Hot Toddy Cupcakes:
120ml soy cream
60ml rice milk
2 Tbsp Irish whiskey (I use Jameson)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (sieve out seeds and pulp)
zest of 1 lemon
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves *see blurb above
80ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
160g caster sugar

Whiskey Buttercream Frosting:
40g vegetable fat (shortening)
50g vegan margarine
270g icing sugar
1 Tbsp Irish Whiskey
zest of 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Mix together the soy cream and rice milk then stir in the whiskey and lemon juice. Now, it will curdle big time, not just get flaky looking but thicken up and look positively revolting!! That's all ok - you want that to happen :-) Set aside. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, soda, salt and cloves and set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and the soy cream curdled mixture until very well blended and sugar seems to be dissolved. It shouldn't look curdled any more. Add the dry ingredients to this and whisk until just blended and no lumps remain. Fill muffin tins until almost full up, you will probably have some batter left over, I get 14 cupcakes out of this. Bake in preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to fully cool.

To make the frosting, soften the vegetable fat first with a fork, then add the margarine and whisk well until well blended. Add half the icing sugar and all the whiskey and mix well. Add the rest of the icing sugar and mix well. You may need a touch more whiskey and or icing sugar. Just keep adding what you need until you get a smooth spreadable frosting. Now stir in the lemon zest.

Frost each cupcake as you like - I decorated with whole cloves, even though you have to remove them before eating I thought they looked very cute!

Recipe loosely based on Vegan Cupcakes take Over the World's Golden Vanilla Cupcakes and frosting :-)

Sunday 21 November 2010

Marzipan Mince Pies with Rummed Up Vegan Whipped Cream

Vegan Marzipan Mince Pies

Well hello again!!!!  I'm back, I'm back!!! First of all, apologies for the extended blog holiday, we really thought we would be living in the new house in September but that turned into October, then November! We are however now in, have slept here twice now and simply love it. The house is amazing, I still can't believe the size of my kitchen, it's an absolute joy to cook and bake in - especially compared to my last closet sized kitchen!

Furthermore, I am loving Ireland. I knew I would as we came here often before but it's even better now :-) All in all, life is grand!! (picking up the lingo ;-)) Thank you all for sticking around and a warm welcome to all my new followers! Thank you :-) Now, back to the FOOD!

I last made these years ago, back in the vegetarian days and you can find these on my old blog. I've been seeing all the mince pies popping up in the shops and had a serious craving, even if it is a wee bit early ;-) Sure, a lot of the store bought pies are vegan but these really are lovely - a little disc of marzipan lines each little tart and the pastry has a little lemon zest in it - very nice. The cream was a total experiment but we both loved it with these, sweet, rummy and vegan - what's not to love?? ;-)

Marzipan Mince Pies with Rummed up Vegan Whipped Cream

200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
100g vegetable fat/shortening
about 120ml ice water
about 85g white marzipan
mincemeat, store bought, check vegan

Rum Whipped Cream

150g soya whipping cream from a carton, well chilled, or chilled coconut cream
50g icing sugar
1 Tbsp dark rum

First make your pastry, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut in the vegetable fat until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the lemon zest and sugar. Add the ice water and stir with a fork until the mixture just comes together, you don't want it too wet. Gather into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C and have a 12 hole mince pie tart tin ready. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to sit for 5 - 10 min. Roll out and cut out circles to fit your pie tin, save all the scraps. Now take the marzipan and roll it out. Cut out circles to fit the inside of the pastry lined tarts, you can have a look at my old blog for a photo of this. Spoon in the marzipan, about 1 Tbsp per tart, depending on the size of your pan. Re-roll the scraps and cut out shapes for the tops, I used hearts and stars here. Place the shapes on top of the tarts then bake for about 15 - 18 minutes, or until tarts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove tarts to a cooling rack.

Vegan Marzipan Mince Pies

To make the cream, simply whisk together the soya cream, icing sugar and rum until light and fluffy - store in the fridge. Tarts are good warm or room temperature, with a big dollop of cream and steaming mug of coffee :-)

♥ 2012 Edit ♥
Vegan Marzipan Mince Pies.

Not that the above pastry isn't delicious, it is, I just decided to try another one that is more based on my standard pastry as it is soooo flaky. This is an alternative pastry recipe for you and really, really good :-) Recipe will make just enough for 12 mince pies using a tart pan, if using a muffin tin or something else "deep dish" you may want to double it.

Alternate Pastry:

1 cup flour
88g cold shortening (1/3 cup + 2 tsp)
2 Tbsp cold water
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp golden caster sugar (or just granulated)
zest of 1 orange or lemon 

Add the flour, salt, sugar, zest and shortening to a food processor and process until well mixed and the shortening is not noticeable. With the motor running slowly add the cold water and vinegar until it is moist but still crumbly. Tip out onto a surface and bring together into a ball then flatten it down to a disc and wrap in cling film then chill for 1/2 hour. 

Monday 26 July 2010

New Beginnings!!

Well, this will be my last post for awhile as we leave in 2 days now I will be without internet or a kitchen!! Didn't think I would get another post in but this beautiful and super yummy vegan carrot cake was made for us for a leaving party and I just had to blog it! It was made by who has a stall at Brick Lane Market and comes highly recommended, she makes simply beautiful and delicious cakes.....and vegan too, yay!! :-)

I probably won't get to blog for quite awhile as we are building our own house and the kitchen isn't even fitted yet, but will if I can! Thank you all for following and hope you continue to for the next stage :-)

Bye for now.....

Friday 2 July 2010

Vegan Caesar Salad

Vegan Caesar Salad with Garlic Bread Croutons.

This is a fine salad. Seriously fine. I could eat bowls and bowls of it and believe me, I don’t say that often about salads! I was inspired by Vegan Yum Yum’s last post of Avocado and Wasabi Salad. I made it the other day and it truly is amazing, I urge you all to make it. But, I couldn't get over how much the houmous in the dressing reminded me of a Caesar dressing. I’m guessing it’s the texture, the slight grain in houmous emulating the parmesan cheese and the garlic flavour coming through. So I set about using houmous in a Caesar dressing and came up with this. I think it tastes like a Caesar salad but more importantly, I think it tastes better. As it should, the raw egg has basically been replaced with houmous, and what would any sane person prefer to eat??? I will be making this one often for sure! :-)

Vegan Caesar Salad with Garlic Bread Croutons.

Vegan Caesar Salad
serves 2

• 150g Romaine lettuce, torn roughly
• 60g houmous
• 1 tsp dijon 
• 1/4 tsp vegan Worcester sauce
• 2 tsp olive oil
• 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
• garlic bread croutons - recipe below.
• freshly ground black pepper
• Parmy or cheddar cheezly, grated fine. (Vegusto Piquant would be nice too!)
• Depending on the consistency of the houmous you use you may need 1 - 2 tsp of water.

Place the lettuce and croutons into a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together the houmous, mustard, oil, Worcester sauce and lemon juice. Pour this over the leaf and toss well (hands are best here - get mucky!) Dish it up with a good grating of Parmy cheezly on top and some freshly ground black pepper.

Garlic Bread Croutons:

30g French bread, crusts removed and sliced into cubes (about 2 large slices)
1 Tbsp vegan butter
1/4 + 1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 + 1/8 tsp dried parsley
pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 160C. In a small saucepan add the butter, garlic, parsley and salt. Heat until butter has melted and there are no lumps. Remove from the heat and add the cubed bread, toss gently with a rubber spatula until as evenly coated as possible. There will be some parts not covered, that's OK - you don't want to saturate the bread here.

Scatter on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. They should be crisp and golden brown at this stage, if not, bake until they are. Remove and transfer to a plate to cool.

Source: based on Savory Sweet Life's Homemade Croutons Recipe.

Vegan Caesar Salad with Garlic Bread Croutons.

Nutritional Information: per serving

Calories: 229
Fat: 16.2g
Sat Fat: 2.0g
Carbs: 16.2g
Sugars: 2.2g
Fibre: 3.3g
Protein: 5.2g

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Monday 28 June 2010

Carrot and Sesame Burger

Vegan Carrot and Sesame Burgers
Served with a lemon tahini soy yogurt sauce, avocado, watercress, shallots and lashings of Thai sweet chilli sauce :-)
Vegan Carrot and Sesame Burgers
Oh I do love a good burger, and a good burger these certainly are!! Recipe comes from BBC Good Food, was featured on their front page awhile back and I knew I had to make them right away. The recipe did call for an egg but I just replaced that with my egg replacer of choice lately - yup, the xanthan gum one, and they turned out perfect! In the comments section a lot of people said they crumbled and fell apart, well, the egg-less vegan ones don't that's for sure (vegan win!!!) Although, I didn't try bbq'ing these, just shallow fried, but I don't see why they couldn't be oven baked for an even healthier burger. **Edit - I just made these by popping them under a hot pre-heated grill for about 5 minutes a side and they came out perfect. You can brush a little olive oil on them before and when flipping if you like but there is no need. Nice healthier way to cook them!**

Anyway, they taste wonderful - the recipe served these with a lemon and tahini yoghurt sauce, avocado, rocket and thai sweet chilli sauce. Whenever I try a new recipe I like to follow it to a 'T' then make any changes I see fit. This time I wouldn't make any. While I didn't find the yogurt sauce that interesting on it's own it went lovely with this burger and everything else, as did the avocado. I used watercress instead of rocket due to personal preference and loved that....and the Thai sweet chilli sauce is essential!! It really made the burger and I have to say I used lashings of it!! So yummy, definitely another burger that will be on the regular dinner rotation :-)

Recipe is on their website but I'll post what I did here, mainly replacing the egg, I added 3/4 tsp salt (they just said to 'season') and their recipe said you get 6 burgers out of it, I halved it and got 5 very good sized ones out of it. Lately I've also been replacing the lemon zest with lime and do prefer that - lime and cumin and carrot all going so beautifully together!

Oh, and we had these with a side salad and a big old glass of Pimms - lovely!! :-)

Vegan Carrot and Sesame Burgers and Pimms

Carrot and Sesame Burgers: 

375g carrots (weight before prepping), peeled and grated
1/2 can chickpeas (120g drained and rinsed)
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp ground cumin
50g breadcrumbs
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
zest of 1 lime or 1/2 a lemon (lime my preference, but both good)
1 Tbsp olive oil
---1 egg----
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp potato starch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/16 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp veg oil
50ml water

To Serve:
burger buns
watercress or rocket
shallots or red onion slices (or any mild onion)
lemon tahini soy yogurt sauce
Thai sweet chilli sauce

Whisk everything up for your egg until thick and a little frothy. Set aside. Put a third of the grated carrots into a food processor with the chickpeas, onion, tahini, cumin and 'egg'. Whizz until you have a thick paste, then scrape into a large bowl. Heat the olive oil in a large wok, tip in the remaining carrot and cook for about 8 minutes until the carrot is softened, they will become more golden as they cook. Add this cooked carrot to the paste with the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, salt and sesame seeds. Mix together well.

Lightly grease your hands with some olive oil then shape into patties whatever size you like. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour. When ready to cook, heat up some vegetable oil in a large frying pan (I shallow fried so added quite a bit) and fry the burgers about 5 minutes a side, or until golden brown on both sides. Alternatively you can grill them by simply popping them under a hot preheated grill for about 5 minutes a side or until lightly golden with charred edges. Lightly toast the buns and serve with the yogurt sauce, avocado, watercress, shallots and Thai sweet chilli sauce.

Lemon Tahini Soy Yogurt Sauce:

150ml plain soy yogurt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp tahini

Simply mix it all together and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Note - this makes a lot!

EDIT - works really nice in a wrap too! Same components but shape the burger into a large sausage shape and fry. Very good!

Nutritional Information: based on 1 patty out of five -not fried.

Calories: 173
Protein: 4.6g
Carbs: 22.7g
Sugar: 4.5g
Fibre: 4.1g
Fat: 7.7g
Sat Fat: 1.1g
Sodium: 347mg

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Tuesday 22 June 2010

Camp Coffee Cake

Camp Coffee Cake

First I must apologize for not getting a good photo of this cake, it was just so good it went too fast!! That photo is the last slice from the cake and a couple days old! I've always loved coffee cake, and I mean that in coffee tasting cake not a 'coffee cake' if you know what I mean. I have made a couple vegan ones on this blog but neither were quite right. I didn't realize that the perfect recipe was under my nose all along - the 'Camp Coffee Cake' recipe from my old vegetarian blog, all I had to do was veganize it which was simple - replaced the 4 eggs with my current egg replacer of choice for 2 and all the butter with Vitalite. The flavour was perfect in this as was the texture of the cake - really impressed with this one, nice and moist but no gumminess at all!! A lovely finely crumbed cake....and the frosting is sublime....uber-sweet, but sublime ;-)

'Camp' is a thick coffee flavoured syrup also made with chicory, nasty as a drink but I do find it imparts a great coffee flavour in baking. In Ireland it's called Irel, hope it's still available there as I'll be making this cake a lot!!

225g vegan margarine, I used Vitalite
225g golden caster sugar
225g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Camp Syrup
---2 eggs----
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp potato starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp vegetable oil
100ml water

225g vegan margarine (Vitalite imparts a lovely buttery taste here)
450g icing sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Camp syrup
soy cream

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of two 8 or 9 inch cake tins with greaseproof paper and grease the sides with marg and dust with flour.

In mixer with paddle attachment, or by hand with a whisk, cream the marg until soft, add the caster sugar and beat until pale and light in texture. In a separate bowl make the 'eggs' by mixing the dry ingredients then adding the water and oil slowly whisking all the time until well mixed, thick and slightly frothy. It's ok if there are tiny lumps. Add to the marg/sugar mixture bit by bit, beating well after each addition. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and fold in until well mixed. Finally stir in the Camp syrup until well mixed.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tins and bake for 25 min. approximately. When cooked the centre of the cakes will be firm and springy and the edges will have shrunk a bit from the edges. Rest in the tins a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack, remove the paper and leave to let fully cool.

When cold sandwich and frost the cake with the frosting. To make simply cream everything but the soy cream together, then if needed add some soy cream to get the right consistency. You may not need any depending on the moisture level of the marg you use.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Mushroom Pie with Potato Pastry and Pearl Barley

Mushroom Pie with Potato Pastry and Pearl Barley
Mushroom Pie with Potato Pastry and Pearl Barley
Well, as usual I'm flat out these days - still building a house and still moving to Ireland NEXT MONTH!! On top of that my son's first holy communion is this Saturday which so far is looking more complicated than my wedding. Seriously. So with all this going on I haven't had much time for the blog or cooking in general. Nor anytime to read all my other favourite blogs and comment, so do forgive me if you haven't heard from me in awhile - I'll be back for sure :-)

This is another dish I made ages ago, finally found a moment here to blog it. The recipe comes from one of my favourite cookbooks, Beatrice Ojakangas's 'The Great Scandinavian Baking Book' - it really is wonderful. It's mostly sweets and breads but the back has a few savoury dishes and this was one of the only vegetarian dishes. For ages I wanted to have a go veganising it as it called for eggs, butter and sour cream and finally did. We really loved this, it tasted fantastic and the potato pastry was really good. At first a little chewy but even better the next day.

I used vitalite in place of the butter, tofutti sour cream for the sour cream (straight swap) and for the eggs I decided to use this egg replacer I've gotten good results from lately using xanthan gum and potato and cornstarch. However, I forgot what happens to cornstarch when heated, of course it thickens like mad! You were to stir the eggs into the pot and cook for a few minutes, so of course mine thickened right up and I had to add quite a bit of water. This didn't affect the taste or the end product though. So, you may want to use a different egg replacer, pureed silken tofu would probably be really good in this, I try to keep my soy levels low. I'll post the recipe I used though, just keep in mind the thickening issue ;-)

Potato Pastry:
3/4 cup cold mashed potato (just potato)
210g plain flour
100g vegetable fat/shortening (I use Trex)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
60ml cold water

40g vegan margarine (I used Vitalite)
1 cup cooked pearl barley, I cooked up 80g raw and had a bit left over.
100g chestnut mushrooms
150g regular mushrooms - or any type of mushrooms you like.
140g chopped onion
115g tofutti sour cream
1/8 tsp ground allspice
ground black pepper

First make your pastry. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the fat and cut in with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in the mashed potato until a dough forms. Now mine was too dry at this stage, I assume different potatoes will give different results and had to add some cold water. You just want it to come together as a dough you can roll out. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling, heat the margarine in a large saucepan and fry the mushrooms and onion until onions are soft and mushrooms are cooked and any pan liquids have evaporated. Mix in the cooked barley, sour cream, 2 'eggs', salt, pepper and allspice then bring to a simmer then leave to cool. Again, I'm thinking 1/2 cup silken tofu would be a good replacement for the eggs, but this is what I used: (with more water to counter the thickening that went on)

1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp potato starch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp vegetable oil
100ml water

Mix the dry together then slowly whisk in the water and oil. Whisk really well until you have a thick, slightly foamy mixture.

Preheat the oven to 220C and remove the pastry from the fridge. Cut it not quite in half, you want one section slightly larger than the other. Roll out the larger section to fit a 10 inch fluted flan dish and fit it in. Tip your filling in smoothing out the top and set aside. Roll out your other section of dough and cut out strips for a lattice topping. I won't go into how to do this as I followed the instructions here. It was my first time doing lattice and besides missing a few links, not too bad a job ;-) Make sure you pinch your edges to seal then pop it into the oven for 25 - 30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is set.

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Tuesday 1 June 2010

Wheat Free Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Vegan Wheat Free Chocolate Almond Biscotti
So I'm still making it through all these things I've made but haven't gotten around to posting. I made these ages ago as well, back when I went through a wheat free kick that lasted about, oh, a day and half ;-) I was having some tummy troubles and started to suspect wheat but I really don't think it was that in the end. Regardless, these turned out really yum! I love rye flour and should use it more often really. I read online that some people cutting out wheat also cut out rye, it's a bit 'borderline' so I'm not sure how "wheat free" these are, but if you are cutting out wheat and are ok with rye - they are a great substitute. The chocolate flavour goes so nice with the almonds and these turned out nice and crunchy, like proper biscotti should be, essential to dip into a mug of coffee. I repeat, essential!! :-)

Makes 12:
40g unsweetened cocoa powder
75g blanched almonds, toasted
100g light muscovado sugar
150g rye flour
50g ground almonds
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
30g caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
----2 eggs------
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp potato starch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp vegetable oil
100ml water

First make the 'eggs' by whisking the dry ingredients together then slowly whisking in the water and oil. Give it a good whisk until slightly frothy and it's thick like beaten eggs would look like. Don't worry if there are some tiny lumps. Set aside. Preheat oven to 180C and spread the almonds on a baking sheet. Toast for about 8-10 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant, remove and let cool then roughly chop. Turn oven down to 150C.

Whisk together the rye flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds, salt, baking soda and set aside. In another bowl whisk together the 'eggs', sugars, vegetable oil and almond extract until light and sugar mostly dissolved. Stir the dry ingredients in with a wooden spoon until a dough forms then add the almonds and stir in.

Flour your hands and work surface and form into a big log shape, about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake in a 150C oven for about 30 - 40 minutes. The log will be firm to the touch and will have spread whilst baking a bit. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer to a cutting board and slice the log into diagonal slices about 1 inch wide, I got 12 out of my log. Arrange the slices cut side down onto the baking sheet and pop back into the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 15 minutes or until crisp and dry. Remove and let cool on a wire rack.

Nutritional Analysis: Per Biscotti
Calories: 167
Fat: 7.1g
Sat Fat: 0.7g
Fibre: 3.6g
Protein: 3.3g
Carbs: 25.1g
Sugars: 11g

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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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Friday 30 April 2010

Vegan Yum Yum's Clementine Teriyaki

Vegan Yum Yum posted this Seitan and Broccolini with Clementine Teriyaki awhile back and I thought it looked so good, as everything does on her site!! However it is almost impossible to get anything seitan based here, even vital wheat gluten to make your own is mail order only! I've recently discovered I quite like Redwood Foods Chicken Style Pieces and thought I would try those with it. Wow. This was really, really good!! That sauce is amazing and it went really well with the 'chicken'. She used Broccolini (tenderstem over here) which would probably go even better, I just happened to have some green beans that needed using up, but they went really well! Next I'm going to try this recipe with chickpeas in place of the 'chicken' for my faux meat and tofu hating husband and will update how it fares!

Chickpea, onion and baby pak choi version

*Edit* - Well, I got around to making this with chickpeas and it's delicious! I also added some slow fried onion and baby pak choi - so good, I prefer the faux meat version but if that's not your thing this is a great alternative :-)

As I converted to weights and made a couple changes I'll post my quantities here, mostly for my future reference - yes, I do use my blog as a cookbook!! But in keeping with blogging etiquette will direct you to her site for all the directions ;-)

Sauce recipe makes more than you need, rest of recipe ingredients below are for 1:

60ml soy sauce
40g demerara sugar
40ml clementine juice, strained
2 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp water
zest of 1 clementine
50g Thai rice
60g green beans
1 tsp peanut oil
75g chicken style pieces, sliced thinner
1/2 Tbsp peanut oil
100g tinned chick peas, drained and rinsed
50g baby pak choi
25g onion, sliced thinly

Directions are here!

For the chickpea version, heat the peanut oil in a wok then add the onion, turn to minimum and slowly fry until slightly golden and super soft, about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and pak choi and fry until the pak choi is soft and wilts and some of the chickpeas are golden, about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add some of the sauce, again, just enough to coat as it is really strong, you could add some water if you want to make it saucier or tone it down but I thought it was fine as is. Serve with rice.

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Tomato and Chorizo Pasta

Vegan Tomato and Chorizo PastaSo I'm slowly getting back into the cooking, I've used some faux meats here but at least there is some chopping involved!! This was inspired by a salad Jamie Oliver did on his Jamie Does... program. He was in Andalucia and made a tomato and chorizo salad which looked delicious, well, minus the fatty meat and excessive amount of olive oil used ;-) I remember seeing that Redwood foods made vegan chorizo chunks and decided to have a go. The recipe is not online anywhere that I can see but it was pretty straightforward: tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, parsley, chorizo and salt and pepper. I first made the salad and it was so, so good!! The vegan chorizo chunks when fried in olive oil release amazing spicy flavour and colour making an fantastic dressing with the vinegar. You simply pour the fried chorizo and garlic over a big bowl of roughly chopped tomatoes with some spring onion and parsley and toss. Served with crusty french bread you have a delicious lunch!

As you can see I didn't take a photo of the salad though, as the next day I got to thinking the same process would make an amazing pasta, and it does. This photo doesn't do the dish any justice, the deep red colour of the oil isn't showing and all my lovely tomatoes are hidden underneath there, but this was delicious! I will be making this again if I happen to have the chorizo chunks on hand, either the pasta or salad :-)

Tomato and Chorizo Pasta (or salad):

Serves 1:
150g good quality tomatoes, you want to splurge here!
40g vegan chorizo chunks, redwood foods make them
2 tsp olive oil (Jamie used WAY more, I wanted to cut back on that)
1 tsp red wine vinegar, he used sherry vinegar but this is what I had
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
For the salad:
spring onion
freshly chopped parsley
For the pasta:
75g pasta
25g sliced spinach

Roughly chop the tomatoes and place in a bowl. If making the salad add the spring onion and parsley and gently toss. If making the pasta start cooking the pasta. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan until fairly hot. Add the chorizo and fry until very fragrant and the oil changes colour, a couple of minutes. Add the sliced garlic and fry a couple minutes more, I like to get the garlic here just slightly golden as I love the flavour that way, and I do eat them with the dish, you could leave them out if you like and just use them to flavour the oil, but I recommend leaving them in. Now add the vinegar and fry about 1 minute more, it will sizzle up then calm down. Using a rubber spatula scrape it all over your tomatoes and toss, season well with salt and pepper. If making the pasta simply add the drained pasta to the chorizo and oil and gently fry with the tomatoes and spinach until it wilts. Lovely with a little grating of mature cheddar cheezly on top too!

Nutritional Analysis: (based on the pasta dish)
Calories: 556 (290 calories for the salad)
Protein: 23.1g
Carbs: 67g
Sugars: 7.5g
Fibre: 5.2g
Sat Fat: 3.3g
Sodium: 468mg

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