Thursday 26 May 2011

Orange Polenta Cake with Orange Drizzle Syrup

This cake is so good!! Not a birthday or celebration cake but rather just a really nice afternoon coffee or tea cake, lovely to serve guests, all my current omni guests loved this! I based this one on my coconut lime bundt cake but changed the flavours to orange and replaced the coconut cream with ready made Alpro Soya Custard. It turned out beautifully, if you can't find a ready made soya custard, a ready made soya vanilla pudding would work as well. Like the coconut lime bundt cake this cake turns out a little crumbly (in a good way!) so lent itself well to a soaking syrup being poured all over. It really makes this cake. You can't see it there too much but the flavour that syrup adds is sublime. I definitely have a new favourite cake! ;-)

Orange Polenta Cake with Orange Drizzle Syrup
100g vegan margarine, I use Vitalite
100g caster sugar
100g Alpro Soya Custard, or Soya Vanilla Pudding, ready made
140g plain flour
50g Polenta, Cornmeal or Maize - fairly fine, not coarse but not powdery
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp orange extract
zest of 1 naval orange
Orange Drizzle Syrup:
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice from a naval orange, strained
100g caster sugar

Line a 7" cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides, preheat the oven to 180C. In a large bowl beat the margarine with the sugar until light and fluffy, I just use a whisk. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, polenta, baking powder and salt. Add the zest and orange extract to the margarine mixture and whisk well. Now add some of the flour mixture and beat with a wooden spoon, then add some of the soya custard and beat well. Alternate until all the flour and custard is added. Scrape into the prepared tin and level the surface. The batter will be very thick, you'll need to spoon it in, it's not a pouring batter :-) Bake for 30 minutes or until firm and golden on top. Let cool 5 minutes in the tin then turn out upside down onto a wire rack and remove the baking paper.

For the syrup add the orange juice and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often until it thickens up and the sugar is dissolved. Set aside. Now you can either pour the warm syrup over the warm cake or wait until it all cools. Either is fine. I poked a few holes around the cake and poured the warm syrup over the warm cake until it couldn't take anymore, then poured the rest over when it was cooled to finish off the syrup. Serve once cool, great with tea or coffee.

Nutritional Information: based on 1 slice out of 12
Calories: 175
Fat: 5g
Sat Fat: 1.1g
Protein: 1.9g
Fibre: 0.7g
Carbs: 31g
Sugar: 18.3 g
Calcium: 69.6mg (depending on brand of soya custard/pudding used)
Sodium: 139mg

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Monday 16 May 2011

Black Sesame, Avocado and Soba Noodle Salad

Black Sesame, Avocado and Soba Noodle Salad

Love this salad!! It's so simple and yummy, I fancied a soba noodle salad but not a spicy one like this (even if it is one of my all time favourites!) so just whipped this up. I always love the flavour combination of lime, carrot, avocado and black sesame seeds, like I use in my standard sushi recipe. Thankfully it works just as good here. Feel free to add some chopped red chilli and or ginger to the dressing, I just felt like keeping this one simple with the garlic :-)

Serves 1:
60g dry weight soba noodles
1/2 avocado, diced (about 60g)
1 small carrot cut into matchsticks (about 45g)
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 spring onion, chopped
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
juice of 1 good size wedge lime
1 small clove garlic, or half a regular clove, minced

For the dressing simply whisk everything together. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions in salted water, usually about 5 - 7 minutes. I cook mine for 7 minutes and like to add the carrots for the remaining minute just to soften them a little bit, it gives a nicer texture in this salad I think. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Soba noodles tend to hold on to a lot of water here so I like to toss them in a clean dishcloth so that the dressing doesn't get watered down. Tip into a large bowl with the avocado and pour over the dressing. Toss gently with a rubber spatula until everything is well coated. Transfer to a bowl then sprinkle over the black sesame seeds and spring onion and give a quick mix. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 346
Fat: 13.2g
Sat Fat: 1.7g
Fibre: 5.8g
Protein: 9.7g
Sodium: 934.2mg
Carbs: 50g
Sugars: 2.5g

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Saturday 7 May 2011

Beer Battered Aubergine with a Lemon Tahini Dip

Vegan Beer Battered Aubergine with a Lemon Tahini Dip

First of all I have to say that we had the most amazing Easter dinner! No, no, not a big plate of deep fried veg - although I certainly wouldn't turn my nose up to that! No - I made one of my favourite dishes from Veganomicon, the Eggplant Rollatini over spaghetti with the olive marinara sauce. BUT instead of filling it with their tofu basil ricotta like last time I made my baked almond feta with some fresh basil stirred in. Now, I love this dish with the tofu basil ricotta but it really was amazing with that basil almond feta inside!! I served them over spaghetti with the olive marinara recipe in Veganomicon and my garlic bread on the side and of course, champagne. It was a simply stunning meal. A massive production of course so something to do for special occasions but if you have Veganomicon do give it a try - especially with the almond feta. :-)

Now, that brings me to this post. I think the only time I buy Aubergine is when I make that Eggplant Rollatini so I don't have it in the house much. Why I don't know as I love it, but there you go. So I had some left over and just couldn't resist using my beer batter from the zucchini sticks post and making these. They turned out absolutely delicious, just as good as the zucchini sticks and a great way to have aubergine. As for the dip, I loved the ranch dip I made to go with the zucchini and it would have gone great with this but I didn't have the ingredients so thought the Lemon Tahini dressing from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks would go nice. A lovely side but I also loved just dipping them into tofutti sour cream, and truthfully, they were great without a dip too.

These were so good it also got me thinking that the beer batter would be good with anything and as I had some batter left decided to fry up some whole mushrooms:

Vegan Beer Battered Mushrooms

These also turned out beautiful and I liked these again with tofutti sour cream but also with my vegan 'honey' mustard mayo dip (the one I cannot eat vegan fish fingers without!). So basically, this batter would be good with probably any veg and there are a vast selection of dips you can use as well. Win win!

Beer Battered Aubergine:
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup vegan lager
Vegetable oil for frying

Whisk 1 cup of the flour with the beer in a large bowl until smooth. Pour through a sieve into another bowl and let sit for 1 hour. 

Meanwhile cut the aubergine into slices then in half. You need to have skin on each one.  Place in a strainer and generously sprinkle with salt. Leave for about half an hour. Rinse well then pat dry. Heat the oil in a large pot - you want about 3 - 4 inches of oil until quite hot (360F if you have a thermometer) I didn't have one but found the oil needed to be hot - it was on maximum the whole time.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of flour with some salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Coat the aubergine slices shaking off any excess flour. Give the batter a good whisk then dip the sticks in the batter letting excess drip off. Carefully drop into the hot oil in batches and fry until crisp and golden brown. Remove and let drain on paper towels. 

For the mushrooms simply brush off any dirt and coat them in flour then into the batter. Fry till crisp and golden.

As I couldn't decide which dip I liked best with these, here are a selection for you!

Lemon Tahini Dip:
1/2 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tahini
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp hot water

Source: 101 Cookbooks

Vegan Honey Mustard Mayo:
1 Tbsp vegan mayo - I use Plamil
1/2 tsp French's mustard
1/2 tsp light agave syrup

Vegan Ranch Style Dip:
1/2 cup vegan mayo (I used plamil)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp plain soy yogurt
2 Tbsp vegan sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (I used 1/8 tsp)
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/16th tsp dried thyme
fresh dill, about a Tbsp, just eye ball it

Instructions are the same for each dip, simply whisk all together! The ranch one you'll want well chilled however. The other two are good to go :-)

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Tuesday 3 May 2011

Other Blogger's Recipes!

You know something I hardly ever do? Make other blogger's recipes. I read a lot of other blogs, gush at their creations, make mental notes to 'make that someday' - then never do. I have a feeling other food bloggers out there will relate to this as well. It's simply because as a food blogger I'm far too wrapped up in creating new recipes myself that I simply never find the time. In fact I love creating recipes so much that when I think of something new I purposely do not search on-line to see if it's been done or veganized before as that would take all the fun out of it for me!! :-D

However, for some reason that has changed recently, I've been jotting down other's recipes and discovering some outstanding gems in the process. I'm just going to blog a couple here that I've found, made and loved. I'm sure there will be more in the future but so far, these have become absolute standards in our house.

Easy Vegan Pad Thai by 'Radiant Health - Inner Wealth':

I've been following Tess Challis who runs this blog for as long as I've been on twitter. She tweeted it awhile back and man am I glad I checked out that link. What drew me to make it was the simplicity - every ingredient in the sauce is pretty much standard cupboard fare. She brilliantly swapped the tamarind with much more common ketchup! I can never find tamarind here but as someone with a 9 year old boy, I always have ketchup :-)

I cannot convey to you how amazingly delicious that sauce is, I'm not kidding here when I say I could drink the stuff! I made no changes to her recipe at all, made it as is. I did stir fry my beansprouts with the noodles and added some shredded Chinese cabbage, simply because I had some. Then topped with a few raw beansprouts, as I prefer most my sprouts cooked. Quick, easy and delicious, definitely on the regular dinner rotation!

15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta by 'Oh She Glows!':

I never even saw Angela's fantastic blog until I came across this post via PopSugar. How she managed to escape me for so long I'll never know but I am so glad I found her blog. We have made this dish so often now I've lost count, it us unbelievable good and easy. In fact I tend to make it for lunch it's so quick! I have made a few wee changes here though. 

First, I omit the olive oil. I have no doubt it makes this dish even creamier and more lush (if that's possible!) but as you all know I'm watching my calories and really, this is super creamy without it. Second, I used regular wheat linguini here as that's what I use, never have spelt in the house. Third, as you can see I added some halved cherry tomatoes which go so well with that sauce. 

Otherwise I follow her recipe for the sauce as is. Oh and one more thing, initially I wasn't bothering with hauling out the food processor, just giving the avocado a good 'ol mash. Then, I tried it with the food processor - wow - if you have one definitely haul it out for this recipe. It made the sauce mega creamy, almost 'whipped' like in texture - I'll never hand mash it again!