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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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Cupcakes, Croissants, Biscuits and Lazy Cooking!

I do apologize for the lack of blog posts as of late. I mention in my 'about me' page that if I'm ever not blogging for any amount of time it's probably down to my lupus, and that is certainly the reason these days! I've been flaring up quite badly and regularly - this tends to happen in the spring when the weather gets nicer - UV rays are NOT my friend!! So, I've either been too sick or sore or shattered to bother with either blogging OR even cooking. We've been having a lot of almost ready meals, cheat ingredients and beans on toast lately :-) And, when I have made something I either can't be bothered to take a picture, or if I do I just don't have the energy to blog it :-(

So I hope you don't mind a multiple post of what I've been up to lately here, as I figured some posts, even if they are un-original and lazy, are better than none ;-)

First Up - Croissants!

Vegan Croissants
Chocolate filled Croissants with Chocolate Drizzle

Vegan Frangipane Croissants
Frangipane filled Croissants with Flaked Almonds 

We've been making these for ages now and I have to give a big shout out to the lovely Christina at Artichoke Zine for blogging about these VEGAN croissant dough in tubes that you can get at Aldi. **Edit - Aldi don't seem to sell these anymore but the Jus-Rol brand croissant tubes are vegan as well, got mine at Tesco.** They are so yummy and versatile, I've made them plain but I have to say my favourites are filled. The ones above are simply filled with chopped dark vegan chocolate before rolling up and baking. I then drizzle on some more melted chocolate once they have cooled slightly - so good!

I also recently made some with a frangipane filling, and omg - these were SO good!  I veganized a frangipane filling from a Canadian Living magazine and was very impressed with it. Brushed the tops with the egg replacer I used in the frangipane, sprinkled sliced almonds over top and baked. Then I simply dusted with icing sugar once they came out of the oven. I think we actually prefer this one to the chocolate filled it's so good!

Vegan Frangipane Croissants

Frangipane Filling:
100g ground almonds
75g caster sugar
1 Tbsp plain flour
50g vegan margarine
3/4 tsp almond extract
---egg replacer--- (note - you'll only need about half of this and some for brushing)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/16 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp potato starch
1/8 tsp baking powder
50ml water

First make your 'egg' - whisk together the dry ingredients then slowly add the the water and oil, whisking as you go until you have a thickish slightly frothy mixture that should be like the consistency of beaten eggs (ha! if you can remember what that is like!) Next beat together the frangipane filling ingredients until creamy (it may be a bit dry) now add about half the egg mixture and whisk well, add 1 Tbsp at a time. It should be a thickish mixture that you can spread, it can be used now but it works even better if you chill it for a couple hours.

When ready to make, simply spread the filling over the triangle croissant dough and roll it up. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper then brush over some of the 'egg', sprinkle with sliced almonds and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle generously with icing sugar.

The fantastic Mandee at Cupcake Kitteh recently blogged some amazing looking croissants that she made from scratch!! Respect!! Do go over and have a look if you are not being a lazy cook like me these days ;-)

Second up - Cupcakes!!

Cappuccino and Maple Candied Pecan Cupcakes
Cappuccino and Maple Candied Pecan

I have a confession to make - I felt I was 'over' the whole cupcake thing. I know. Crazy! I was making quite a lot in the early days of becoming vegan, all from 'Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World', and loving all of them. Then, I just stopped making cupcakes - I think I just got more into regular cakes etc.. and lost interest. Then I made these to take up to some friends house for the weekend and well, I'm back into them! How can you not love cupcakes really?? Anyway, the Maple Candied Pecan turned out sublime, we all really loved them. The maple candied pecans are the recipe from Veganomicon's S'mlove Pie and the cupcake itself is from VCTOTW - the maple walnut one - I just prefer pecans. I didn't however use the maple frosting from that one as it just didn't turn out for me, so I whipped up this one instead:

Maple Frosting:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
40ml maple syrup
2 Tbsp vegetable fat (shortening)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp soy cream, warmed

Soften the shortening then whisk in the maple syrup and salt, add some icing sugar, whisk, then add the vanilla and whisk. Alternate adding icing sugar and soy cream until you have a nice fluffy consistency.

Unfortunately the cappuccino ones need some work. I more or less followed the recipe from VCTOTW, omitting the cocoa powder as I just wanted a coffee flavour cake. I also opted for the higher dose of instant espresso (3 Tbsp's) but it was just too bitter for me. That being said the flavours settled over a day and they weren't that strong then, but it's still back to the kitchen for that one for me! The frosting is just the fluffy vanilla buttercream from the same book and then I dusted some cocoa powder over top, like a cappuccino! They are cute, just not the best, sadly.

Third up - Cheeze and Onion Biscuits!

Vegan Cheeze and Onion Biscuits
First attempt - quick bread style

Second attempt - quick bread style with a touch of yeast

I do love these biscuits!! Especially with a bowl of soup - gorgeous! They are a bit of an ongoing experiment though to get just right.... The first two photos there are from a batch I made probably about a year ago. They were absolutely delicious, light and flaky with a real nice cheeze and onion flavour, but, a little heavy on the baking soda giving them that 'taste' in the mouth.

So, I wanted to try these again and work on that. Reducing the soda simply meant they didn't rise as much and lost some of their lightness - not good. Then I saw in my Canadian Living magazine a recipe for Angel Biscuits. They were made with baking powder and soda but also with a touch of yeast to add extra lightness. I finally got around to making them and you can see them there in the last two photos. They were very good but not as light and flaky as my original ones. Although the didn't have the baking soda 'taste' like the other ones. Still, in the end I think I prefer the first recipe, it's the same as my plain biscuit recipe but with added cheezly (40g) and spring onion (2 finely chopped). The baking soda taste is mild and to be honest I think I'm just sensitive to it as no one else seems to even notice! Some dried mixed herbs or chopped fresh dill would be lovely as well. What is absolutely essential is lathering of vegan margarine on these, as soon as they come out of the oven!!

Angel Biscuits:
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp warm water
200g flour
1/2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable fat (shortening) (45g)
1/4 cup grated mature cheddar cheezly (40g)
1/2 cup non dairy milk, I used rice
1 tsp apple cyder vinegar
2 finely chopped spring onions

Mix the vinegar and rice milk together and set aside. Line baking sheet with baking paper and preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Stir the yeast with the warm water and leave to foam up for 10 minutes. Whisk together all the dry ingredients then add the fat and cut in with a pastry cutter until it is crumbly. Stir in the cheeze and spring onion. Whisk the milk into the yeast mixture and stir to make a soft dough. Mine was quite wet and I needed a bit more flour to get a nice dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead about 10 times till you have a smooth dough. Roll out until 2cm thick and with floured circle cutters cut out your biscuits and place on the prepared pan. Let rise 15 minutes. I then brushed with some rice milk and added some more finely grated cheezly on top, but that's optional. Bake for about 15 minutes or until risen and golden.

Fourth up - Vegan Honey Mustard Mayonnaise!

Vegan Fish Fingers with Agave Mustard Mayonnaise
Yes, those are vegan fish fingers!!!

haha, I'm so happy with this!! My son has been wanting to try fish fingers ever since that first Doctor Who episode where all he could eat was fish fingers with custard! Thankfully Redwood foods make a vegan version and thankfully he declined on having custard on the side!! When I first tried these I really didn't like them because I felt they were just too accurate! But I've been having a strange fish craving lately and this time I loved them! Although, this may be down to my vegan honey mustard mayo ;-) I had quite a lot of fish fingers growing up but I don't think I've ever had one without honey mustard mayonnaise. To me they go together like chips and ketchup, I simply cannot have one without the other! Well, I can't believe how accurate this turned out!! It tasted just like I remember the dip and I can't wait to try it in other things, I'm thinking it'll make a nice creamy potato salad dressing too. I realize it looks quite runny in that picture but I don't know why - it wasn't at all. Super good though, and seriously, if you like the redwood fish fingers do try this with it - they go so well together!

Vegan 'Honey' Mustard Mayo:
1 Tbsp plamil mayo, regular or garlic
1/2 tsp french's mustard
1/4 tsp light agave syrup

Simply mix altogether until creamy! Serves 1 - 2 as a side dip. I have only made this with that specific mayo so don't know how it will fare with different brands as obviously they differ wildly.

Well, that's it for now, like I said I'm relying on a lot of ready meals lately - like the fish fingers, chips and peas post above and not doing much chopping at all!! Hopefully I'll feel better soon and get some proper posts in, until then......

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Well, a cheater's version anyway ;-)

Well, I hope you all had a nice Easter! I didn't do much cooking or blogging (obviously!) myself as I've had my son home on holidays and just wanted to spend time with him. The weather has been gorgeous lately and as well as going our for bike rides and days at the park I've been thinking about ice cream, as you do ;)

I really, really want to get myself an ice cream maker but until then this is such an easy idea to make your own flavoured vegan ice cream. Back in our vegetarian days we used to love some Ben and Jerry's - I would always get Phish Food and my husband would get the Cookie Dough. haven't been particularly missing that in any great quantities but awhile back I made my other favourite flavour ice cream - chocolate chip mint, by simply stirring in some vegan chocolate chips and a few drops peppermint extract and green food colouring into some vegan vanilla ice cream. It turned out so well I started thinking about other flavours and thought I would have a go at recreating my husband's old favourite - cookie dough.

I'm happy to report it turned out fantastic!! This is so good, and so easy, he says it's a very spot on version, certainly the cookie dough itself is, obviously the ice cream won't taste like Ben and Jerry's as it's vegan but as long as you use a vegan vanilla ice cream you like, it'll be good.... Too good!!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream:

1 x 750ml tub Swedish Glace vanilla ice cream (or your favourite vegan vanilla ice cream)
57g vegan margarine
50g caster sugar
54g light muscovado sugar, ground up a little in a mortar and pestle
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
90g finely chopped vegan dark chocolate

First make your cookie dough. Cream the margarine with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat with a whisk. Add the flour and stir until a stiff dough forms. Stir in the chopped chocolate. The dough will be 'dry-ish' and stiff - that's good. Now take little 1/2 tsp heaped blobs of dough and squish them together with you hands. Then roll into a ball and flatten into little cylinder shapes. You can leave them round if you like - I just wanted to recreate the shape in Ben and Jerry's.

Now, lay them out not touching and place in the freezer until frozen - at least 5 hours.

Now, take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften. This is the slightly tricky part. Obviously it's not good food hygiene to re-freeze previously frozen food. You don't want to thaw this!! You just want it to be just manageable to fold in the cookie dough's. It should still be firm and have ice crystals. Thankfully Swedish Glace gets soft enough pretty quick to do this. I think mine was only out 10-15 minutes -not long enough to cause any problems. Spoon out the ice cream into a large bowl and as best you can fold in the frozen cookie dough's. Don't worry if it's all a bit clumpy, it's more important to keep it as frozen as possible than stress it's mixing in enough. Now press it back into the tub and pop it back into freezer to fully set. Again, do not let it thaw!

Now, just remove it from the freezer 5 -10 minutes before serving and scoop it out! Delicious!! :)

I don't have a recipe per say for the chocolate chip mint I made awhile ago but it was the same process simply adding some peppermint extract to taste, green food colour (optional) and some vegan dark chocolate chips, stirred in and popped back in the freezer.

Nutritional Analysis: based on using Swedish Glace Vanilla Ice Cream, per 100g:

Calories: 453 (yeah, I know!! It is worth it though!!)
Fat: 22g
Sat Fat: 10g
Fibre: 1.3g
Protein: 5.6g
Carbohydrates: 33.7g
Sugars: 47.7g
Sodium: 167mg

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