Monday, 31 January 2011

English Muffins from 'Vegan Brunch'

Vegan English Muffins

Vegan English Muffins

Wow, these turned out soooo good! I've been wanting to make them ever since I got Vegan Brunch but never got around to it; probably due to there being vegan English muffins in the shops in the UK. I have not been able to find any here in Ireland though - not a problem though, just a good excuse to finally try this recipe! Those are from my first attempt and they turned out brilliantly, that really is a fine cookbook :-) 

No recipe here of course as these came from a cookbook and I didn't make a single change, sorry! But, you all have Vegan Brunch, right?? :-) You can also have a look at my previous post on Vegan Brunch for how I fared with the Banana French Toast and Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Pineapple, Cashew and Mushroom Fried Rice

Pineapple and Mushroom Fried Rice

Threw this together the other night and it is really, really good. I love pineapple in fried rice and decided to add some of the flavours in my beanburger, mainly the worcester sauce and smoked paprika as the flavours go so well with pineapple. Have made this a few times now - easy and yum! 

Pineapple, Cashew and Mushroom Fried Rice
Serves 2

• 150g basmati rice, dry weight (white or wholegrain)
• 100g onion, chopped (I've also used shallots)
• 200g mushrooms, sliced
• 100g pineapple chunks, or about 3 rings, sliced into chunks.
• 2 cloved garlic, minced or chopped finely
• 2 spring onions, chopped
• 25g cashews, roughly chopped and toasted.
• 2 Tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tsp vegan worcester sauce (Biona Organic is fab!)
• 1 Tbsp peanut oil
• hot smoked paprika
• freshly ground black pepper

Cook the rice according to package instructions (I recommend NOT salting the water here as the dish is seasoned enough and the rice may absorb too much salt). 

Meanwhile heat the peanut oil in a wok on high. Add the onion and mushrooms and fry on high heat with a few grinds of black pepper until they start to sweat. Pop a lid on a cook a few minutes more, stirring now and again. When cooked and liquid is gone reduce heat to low and add the garlic, cook 1 minute. Add the drained cooked rice, soy and worcester sauces, pineapple, cashews and spring onion and fry stirring until heated through and everything is well coated.

Lastly serve with a dusting of hot smoked paprika. For those of you in the UK or Ireland I highly recommend this Tesco brand one. So many smoked paprika's have no heat but this one would rival cayenne pepper in the heat department and the heat really compliments this dish. If not, just a regular smoked paprika would do.

Nutritional Information - per serving

Calories: 456
Fat: 10.3g
Sat Fat: 1.3g
Protein: 12.5g
Fibre: 4g
Carbs: 81.5g
Sugars: 12.9g
Sodium: 1063mg

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Creamy Spicy Tomato Vodka AND a Creamy Almond Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

Vegan Creamy Spicy Tomato Vodka Sauce

Well, the new year diet is going very well. I've lost 10 pounds so far and am eating so much healthier. It's all been very delicious just not very 'bloggable'. You know what I mean, lots of stir fries chock full of veg and light curries....delicious but nothing anyone can't throw together! So, I'm not really in the kitchen creating anything new these days :-)

This, however, has been a basic sauce in our house for quite a while now. I searched online for a vodka sauce as I was curious to try one and came across this one (**edit - see below!). It looked interesting as it used almonds to create the creaminess as opposed to the traditional cream. It is dead easy to make, very versatile and absolutely delicious. The original recipe blended in sliced almonds but I thought I would make it easier by just using ground almonds, or almond meal/flour. It works so well, when you add the almonds the sauce changes from bright red to a creamier looking orange and the sweetness of the almonds counters the sharpness of the tomato perfectly. I've been using ground almonds in loads of sauces now to get the same creamy effect, it's brilliant!

I was also thinking this sauce would make a great pizza sauce, because basically, if I can find any new way of combining booze and pizza, I will :-) So I made my standard pizza base then made this sauce but simply cooked it down a little more so it wasn't as runny as a pasta sauce. Spread it over the base, topped with whatever I fancied at the time, bit of cheezly and baked. It was so good!

Creamy Spicy Tomato Vodka Sauce:

-recipe serves 2 as a pasta sauce

1/2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/8 tsp chilli flakes
250g passata (creamed tomatoes/plain tomato sauce)
1 Tbsp vodka
1/8 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp ground almonds (almond meal/almond flour)
fresh basil
freshly ground black pepper
*If making pasta for two I would add 200g dry pasta for a main dish*

First mix together the passata, vodka, salt and dry herbs - set aside. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on low heat and gently fry the garlic and chilli for about a minute. It will get really fragrant but be careful not to burn the garlic - not nice! Add the tomato mixture, stir well, put the lid on and simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes, stir now and again. It will cook down slightly and get thicker. Stir in the almonds and fresh basil and stir well, it will change in colour and get creamy looking. Add a few grinds of pepper and that's it! Pour over your cooked pasta and enjoy :-)

As this is a very basic recipe it is quite versatile too. In regards to the herbs, I think I've used a different selection every time I've made this, from just oregano, to just thyme, to both, to basil to an 'Italian blend' mixed herbs etc... Just use whatever you have - the recipe is very forgiving. I've even made this with balsamic vinegar in place of the vodka when I discovered quite late that I didn't have any, was still delicious.

Source: Recipe based on this one.
** Edit - was just looking through my Veganomicon cookbook and realized this recipe actually comes from there! So to give credit where credit is due - it's really from Veganomicon!!** (cheeky other site!)

Nutritional Analysis: just the sauce, whole recipe.
Calories: 196
Protein: 6.2g
Fat: 18.1g
Sat Fat: 0.8g
Fibre: 4.8g
Carbs: 14g
Sugars: 9.3g
Calcium: 35.4mg
Sodium: 397.7mg

*2012 Edit - I've since made a new variation on this sauce that we are having much more often than the vodka one. My son couldn't have the spice anyway and to be honest, I really couldn't see what difference the vodka was making in there. I did however love the idea of using almonds to make a tomato sauce creamy and came up with this basic tomato basil sauce using almonds for creaminess, body and their natural sweetness counters the acidity of tomatoes perfectly. THIS is now our standard pasta sauce recipe :-) Recipe serves 3.

Creamy Almond Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

320g passata
100ml water
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp ground almonds
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
300g pasta - spaghetti is nice here

Blend the passata, ground almonds and water in a blender until smooth and creamy looking. In a saucepan heat the olive oil and add the onion, fry gently with a few grinds of black pepper until the onion is soft then stir in the garlic. Add the tomato sauce, salt and herbs and stir well, bring to a simmer, put the lid on and simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened and slightly reduced. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh basil. Pour over freshly drained pasta and return to the heat for a couple of minutes, stirring well until everything is well coated and hot. Serve immediately.

You Might Also Like:

Vegan Sun Dried Tomato PestoLentil Bolognese

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Cinnamon Buns with Vanilla Glaze

vegan cinnamon buns

Well, Happy New Year to you all!! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well. We had a fantastic time in the new house. I had 9 people over for Christmas Eve dinner - my first time cooking for so many and it went really well. Everyone loved the vegan dinner (I hope!) I made my Tourtiere with mushroom gravy as per last year but this time made it with puy lentils instead of soy mince and you know what? It's even better that way! I will definitely be making it every Christmas now with lentils. With that we had stuffing, maple roasted parsnips and carrots, mashed potato and brussel sprouts and petite pois in a lemon hazelnut 'butter'. For dessert I did a traditional Danish almond rice pudding then laid out a smorgasbord of desserts - marzipan mince pies, hot toddy cupcakes, nanaimo bars and mint chocolate thins. Phew.... It was a lot of work but I thoroughly enjoyed it :-)

Now, after all that the diet has commenced :-) Seriously, I am no longer a UK size 6/8 and NOT happy!! This should come as no surprise if you've seen my past few posts ;-) So why the decadent Cinnamon Buns? Well, I made these well before Christmas but never got the opportunity to post them and they are so amazingly good it would be a crying shame not to share the recipe!!

I have made cinnamon buns before and was very happy with the recipe but I did use egg replacer in those (which I am phasing out of my baking) and I really wanted to try and veganize my mom's cinnamon bun recipe - which is the world's best ;-) Her's called for Jello brand vanilla pudding mix and it really makes a light, moist, perfect textured cinnamon bun. Now, that stuff may or may not be vegan, I have no idea as you can't even buy it here so I replaced that with Alpro Soya Vanilla pudding. It's not a mix but pre-made so was able to just omit the eggs and alter the dry/wet ingredients a bit. They turned out perfect! Reminded me just of my mom's - lovely flavour and light, moist texture. Now, I always find that the icing drizzle on cinnamon buns is never enough so dipped these entirely in a vanilla glaze while they were warm giving an all over yummy glaze. Damn, hating that I'm on a diet now!!

Cinnamon Buns:
1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water
1 sachet (7g dry yeast)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) rice milk
1/2 cup (125ml) Alpro Soya Vanilla Pudding
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
about 4 cups (550g) plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
melted vegan margarine
3 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup light brown sugar
250g icing sugar
3 Tbsp hot water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water then sprinkle over the yeast and let sit until frothy - about 10 minutes. Whisk well. Mix the pudding, rice milk and oil together then whisk it into the yeast mixture. Mix the flour and salt together then add that to everything and mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together. Knead gently for 4 minutes add more flour if it's sticky, form into a ball then place in a warm oiled bowl, cover with cling film and place in a warm place to rise - about 1 hour. When doubled in bulk place on a floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle - about 12 " long. Brush with melted marg then sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture generously over the top (you may not need all of it). Now, roll it up from the long side and seal the edge. Slice into 9 slices and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake at 350F/180C for about 20 minutes or until puffy and slightly golden. Let cool on a wire rack for a little bit then glaze while still warm but no longer hot. For the glaze simply whisk everything together until smooth then take each bun and dip entirely into the glaze, make sure each one is thoroughly coated then place back on a wire rack with baking paper underneath for the glaze to set. They are good at any time but especially good once the glaze has set but they are still warm :-)

Now, I haven't tried this yet but I know this recipe would make fantastic doughnuts!! After rising, roll out the same and cut out rings with a doughnut cutter or something that would give you that shape. Deep fry in hot vegetable oil until golden on both sides and drain on paper towels. Dip in the same glaze while still warm and leave to set. Or you can ice them with any of the ones I used in my last doughnut post :-)