Monday 23 April 2012

Garlic Mushroom Pâté

Vegan Garlic Mushroom Pâté

Vegan Garlic Mushroom Pâté

Pâté is a funny one with me as whenever you think of it you think of meat and I've only ever eaten vegan pâté! I picked up Redwood Foods Mushroom Pâté awhile ago and I did really like it but something about foods like mushrooms and tofu which should always be really fresh sitting in a tube that you squeeze out slightly put me off :-/

So I decided to have a go making my own and am so glad I did. This turned out gorgeous! I don't know how pâté like the texture is to be fair, as I've never had "real" pâté, I suppose this more like a thick houmous, but who cares? It tastes amazing, really nice and garlicky but not overpowering and if you follow my food diary you'll know I just couldn't get enough of this stuff! I will be making this one again and again :-)

I loved it as a snack, simply spread on french bread with some grapes and wine in the evening but my husband also loved it as a sandwich spread. I would imagine it would be lovely in a warmed pitta with a soy burger and sautéed onions - yum!!

Vegan Garlic Mushroom Pâté

Garlic Mushroom Pâté: 

250g / 9oz mushrooms
4 large cloves garlic, pureed
30g / 2 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Pure Olive)
60ml / 1/4 cup white wine
110g / 4oz silken firm tofu
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine

My mushrooms were medium in size and I quartered them, if yours are larger you may want to chop them smaller or simply half if using button mushrooms.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms, stir, tossing in the butter on high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the salt and a few grinds of black pepper reduce the heat to medium. Fry until all the liquid which comes out evaporates and the mushrooms start to turn golden at spots and just start to stick to the pan. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and stir just until mixed in well then quickly add the white wine to deglaze and to stop the garlic from burning. Fry until all the wine is absorbed/evaporated and turn off the heat.

Transfer this to a bowl and let cool. Once cool tip it all into a food processor and add the tofu. Process on high until well mixed and there are no longer any large pieces of mushroom. It will still be grainy in texture, you don't want a paste. Transfer to a serving dish and cover with cling film then pop it in the fridge to fully cool and set a little more.

Vegan Garlic Mushroom Pâté

Nutritional Information: per 100g

Calories: 129
Fat: 8.1g
Sat Fat: 1.6g
Protein: 6.1g
Carbs: 6.3g
Sugar: 1.6g
Fibre: 1g
Sodium: 269mg

Garlic Mushroom Sausage Rolls!

Well, I made the pate again and also had a strip of ready rolled puff pastry in the fridge and thought I would throw them together. These were so good! Although I should stress that with this batch of mushroom pate I made had less tofu than before, I only used about 70g, hence the darker colour and thicker texture which actually suits sausage rolls perfectly. It was accidental as I didn't realise I didn't have enough tofu until it was already made but a fantastic mistake! So if you are making the pate especially for sausage rolls, reduce the tofu to around 70g, then simply spoon some into ready rolled puff pastry, roll it up and pinch the edges sealed with a bit of water.

...........and bake in a 220C oven for about 15 minutes or until golden and puffy :-)

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Tuesday 17 April 2012

Warm Portobello Mushroom, Asparagus and Black Eyed Bean Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Warm Portobello Mushroom, Asparagus and Black Eyed Bean Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Well, in keeping with my promise to bombard you with asparagus recipes for their short lived season, here's another one for you! Those of you who follow my daily food diary will know I was having this for lunch quite often as I just couldn't get enough of it. I chose to add the black eyed beans simply for some added protein but the flavour and texture is really nice in there as well. That being said you can replace with your favourite bean or just omit them altogether.

As for the oil, lately I've been using this locally produced Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil from Donegal and have been really impressed with it. I don't know how much of a difference it's made in the flavour of this dish as opposed to using extra virgin olive oil but it's delicious and I'm now a convert ;-) I particularly love that I can use an oil that's been locally produced as not surprisingly, olive oil isn't produced in Ireland!

Oh, and if you don't like asparagus, you'll be glad to hear this will be my last asparagus post this season :-D

Warm Portobello Mushroom, Asparagus and Black Eyed Bean Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing: Serves 1

50g baby spinach
50g black eyed beans, from a tin drained and rinsed.
50g asparagus, sliced into thirds, try and use thin stalks here.
1 large portobello mushroom, sliced
1 large shallot, sliced
1 tsp virgin rapeseed oil, or extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp virgin rapeseed oil, or extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, pureed
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp salt
couple grinds of black pepper

First make the dressing by measuring the oil into a small bowl. Slowly add the vinegar, whisking all the while until fully incorporated. Add the mustard and whisk until thick and smooth (no more little mustard dots should appear). Whisk in the salt, garlic and pepper. Set aside.

Measure the spinach and beans into a large bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan then add the mushrooms, shallots and asparagus. Fry on high heat for a couple minutes and add a pinch of sea salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Reduce heat to low and fry until the mushrooms are cooked and the asparagus is tender. There shouldn't be any liquid left as well. 

Give the dressing another good whisk then pour over the spinach and beans and toss really well. Place in a bowl or on a plate then top with the hot mushroom/asparagus mixture. Serve immediately.

Warm Portobello Mushroom, Asparagus and Black Eyed Bean Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Nutritional Information: using virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil.

Calories: 275
Protein: 9.1g
Fat: 19.1g
Sat Fat: 1.4g
Fibre: 5g
Carbs: 20.5g
Sugar: 3.1g
Sodium: 636mg

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Wednesday 11 April 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Almond Feta Flan

Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Almond Feta Flan
♥ Pastry filled with roasted red peppers, dill almond "feta" and topped with asparagus ♥
Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Almond Feta Flan
 Just out of the oven 
Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Almond Feta Flan
 Together with a simple side salad and chilled champagne it made for a perfect Spring inspired Easter Dinner 
Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Almond Feta Flan

So yes! This was our Easter dinner this year and it turned out so beautifully that this AND the Grand Marnier Spiked Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding are going to be the yearly Easter dinner tradition from now on :-) Not that I won't be making other times of the year of course as it's absolutely delicious and would  also make great picnic food. I got the idea for this from the November 2008 edition of Cook Vegetarian Magazine. The recipe was by Michel Roux, pastry chef extraordinaire but was a decidedly vegetarian dish using butter and egg pastry and filled with eggs and cream. I've otherwise kept the concept the same here, a pastry lined flan dish filled with roasted red peppers and asparagus.

It didn't take me long to figure out how I was going to veganize this one. Ever since I discovered that the almond feta can be baked straight from mixing to make a pasta bake like I used in the Greek Style Orzo Spinach and Almond Feta Bake  I knew this would work. For the same reasons asparagus and parmesan go so wonderfully together so does asparagus with this almond feta. For the pastry I've gone uber simple here and used Jus-Rol ready rolled shortcrust pastry (sorry Michel!). It's labelled vegan, is easy to work with and tastes great but if you want to make your own pastry you could use my basic pastry recipe

His roasted red peppers were a little more complicated than what I've done here as he made mixed semi-confit peppers, that would be grilled peppers, skinned then left to marinade in a herbed oil. I felt there was no need for that here as the almond feta is so packed with flavour anyway so I simply roasted them using my quick roast method where they are roasted, peeled and chopped.

I kept the almond feta recipe the same but added some freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper and then stirred in some chopped fresh dill. It's my favourite herb and the flavour go so well with the 'feta' and asparagus but you can use whatever herb you like or leave it out altogether. The only change I would make next time is in cooking the asparagus. He boiled his until fork tender then laid them on top and the whole thing was baked. I did this but my asparagus got a little overcooked in the oven. My gut instinct was telling me there was no need to pre-boil them and I think I was right. I would say if you are using large asparagus to par-boil them for a few minutes but if you are using thin asparagus like I did there is no need, simply roast it all together.

Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Almond Feta Flan

We got 6 servings out of the flan and felt they were just right, after all the almond feta is fairly rich and just like with the Greek Style Orzo, Spinach and Almond Feta Flan I served this with a simple side salad - just good quality Irish butterhead lettuce and rocket with some chopped tomatoes, and my favourite mustard-dill vinaigrette. Just like with the orzo dish it's sharp tanginess compliments the richness of the almond feta here perfectly.

Also like the orzo dish, I know this one can be modified greatly to suit your tastes. If you don't like asparagus, tenderstem broccoli would be lovely. Or use zucchini sliced thin and lengthwise to fit the tin. Alternatively you can go for a Mediterranean Flan and fill it with roasted peppers, black olives, spring onion, toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil in place of the dill. Actually, I think that will be my next version of this, sounds too good not to try!! :-)

Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Almond Feta Flan

Monday 9 April 2012

Grand Marnier Spiked Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding

Grand Marnier Spiked Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding

So THIS was our dessert on Easter Sunday and it turned out so beautifully I think it will be our Easter dessert every year. I got the idea from BBC Good Food and just thought it was a fab idea - to make bread and butter pudding with hot cross buns = brilliant. To add marzipan to it? Extra brilliant! Me being me and all I had to pour over a good glug of Grand Marnier because, well basically I don't know when to stop :-D

I suppose this is more of a spiced cake with warm boozy custard than how I remember bread and butter pudding being, and for me at least that's a massive improvement! The spice flavours in the cake just went so well with the orange and boozy custard flavours and made a wonderful dessert on Easter. (Our main course was sublime too so watch this space, it's getting blogged next!)

This is also a great way to use up any leftover hot cross buns that are getting a bit dry. If you recall from my last post I made a batch of hot cross buns which turned out too dry, tasted great, but too dry. They then sat on the counter for days as I couldn't bring myself to throw them out, getting even more dry. Well, they were a perfect candidate for this dessert as it all gets soaked in boozy custard then baked. If you are using fresh hot cross buns I would suggest slowly and lightly toasting them just to dry them out slightly.

And yes, my version here does call for Alpro Soy Custard which I know some of you won't be able to buy - sorry about that, but sometimes I just gotta use these ingredients! Also a note on the buns, I used ones that were based on my original hot cross bun recipe, without egg replacer but with apple instead of raisins, brushed with apricot jam and with a maple drizzle like on my newer version hot cross buns. These buns also had cloves instead of nutmeg and that went really well here. So if you were going to make hot cross buns especially for his I would recommend my original recipe with either apple or raisins, or both! :-)

Grand Marnier Spiked Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding:

4 large hot cross buns, split in half, preferably a bit dry, homemade are best!
1 x 525ml carton of Alpro Soy Custard
50g or 1/4 cup golden caster sugar
vegan butter, about 20g
50g marzipan
zest of 1 orange
60ml or 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
icing sugar to dust

Heat the oven to 170C and butter a pie or casserole dish, one that you can spread out the 8 hot cross bun halves and has high enough sides for the custard.

Spread vegan butter over the bun halves and place in the dish:

Dice the marzipan up and scatter all over:

In a sauce pan add the carton of custard, sugar and orange zest and just bring to a simmer and make sure the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Grand Marnier. Pour this over the buns and gently press down on the buns to they are immersed in the custard. Leave this for 10 minutes to soak.

Now pop it into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. 

Ok, it's not the prettiest, but believe me it makes up for it in taste!!

You can either serve it now by simply scooping some out or do like we did and cut wedges out of it, we got 8 servings out of it. Simply dust with icing sugar and serve. I also made mine earlier in the day and simply reheated the serving in the microwave, turned out perfect. Serves 8.

Grand Marnier Spiked Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding

Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving out of 8.

Calories: 235
Protein: 4.7g
Fat: 4.3g
Sat Fat: 0.7g
Carbs: 41.6g
Sugar: 22.6g
Fibre: 1.4g
Sodium: 78.5mg
Calcium: 102.8mg

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Wednesday 4 April 2012

Apple and Cinnamon Pull Apart Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing

Vegan Apple and Cinnamon Pull Apart Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing

Vegan Apple and Cinnamon Pull Apart Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing

Vegan Apple & Cinnamon Pull Apart Hot Cross Bun with Maple Glaze

A Happy Easter / Spring Break to you all!  I've been wanting to revisit my Hot Cross Buns for awhile now as I made my first ones there with egg replacer, something I no longer bake with. You may remember I made those with only raisins in them as I can't stand peel in my baked goods. I mean does anyone really like peel? It's like one of those ingredients we have in Christmas cake and hot cross buns more out of tradition than taste.

This time I decided to go a step further and axe the raisins. I do love raisins in baked goods but my son is not too keen and after I saw some Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns in Marks and Spencer's the other day that was it. I had to make these! So I first went about making my previously posted hot cross buns without the egg replacer and with apple instead.

Vegan Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing

So Pretty!!!

Vegan Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

Sadly, looks are all these had going for them as they were really dry :-( BUT they did have great flavour....So, it was back to the kitchen for me the next day. This time I couldn't stop thinking about my Pull Apart Rolls and how wonderfully moist and light and fluffy they are. This was a no-brainer - combine the flavours of the hot cross bun with the pull-apart rolls. 

Success!! These taste fantastic and have amazing texture - slightly crisp on the outside and moist, light and fluffy inside. See?

Vegan Apple and Cinnamon Pull Apart Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing

Now, just like I mentioned in my first hot cross bun post I much prefer the cross in icing rather than in dough - it's my sweet tooth :-) The apple and cinnamon flavours in this one just calling out for a hint of maple in the glaze. Combining maple syrup with icing sugar may sound like a sugar catastrophe but trust me it works just fine here as you are only getting a little bit of glaze on each bun and it's just the right amount of sweetness.

If I have any complaint it's only that I would like more apple in them but there is only so much apple you can cram into the dough before it rises and this is pretty much the maximum. Once the dough rises there is a lot more room for apple but then it's too late to add more. You still get the odd nice juicy bit of apple though, so it's all good!

Apple and Cinnamon Pull Apart Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing:

280g extra strong white bread flour (2 cups)
1 sachet quick yeast - 7g
30g vegan butter (2 Tbsp)
50g brown sugar (1/4 cup, lightly packed) I used light muscovado sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
175ml unsweetened soy milk
1 large apple, peeled and diced smallish
~ you may need up to 1/4 cup or 35g more flour as well ~

Bun Wash: 
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp golden caster sugar (or regular sugar)
tiny pinch of cinnamon, I used the end tip of a sharp knife to measure.

Maple Icing:
50g icing sugar (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp)
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon unsweetened soy milk

Add the soy milk, vegan butter and brown sugar to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. When the butter and sugar have melted turn off the heat and add the vanilla then transfer to a measuring jug to cool. I used a thermometer here as you want it to get to between 120 - 130F before adding to the yeast. If you don't have a thermometer you should be able to just leave your finger in the mixture comfortably. Quick yeast needs the liquid to be slightly warmer than active dry yeast which gets dissolved in warm water first.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. When the liquid is at the right temperature add to the bowl with the flour and with the dough attachment knead for 10 minutes. If doing by hand stir the liquid into the flour then transfer to a floured surface and knead for about 15 minutes. Either way add some more flour, you shouldn't need more than 35g or 1/4 cup if the mixture is too sticky. When there is a few minutes left remove from the mixer and transfer to a floured surface. Start to add the apple, bit by bit and knead it into the dough. This sounds trickier than it actually is, just take your time and all the apple will get in there! Keep gently kneading until all the apple is in and you have a round ball of dough.

Take a large clean bowl, I like to have hot water sitting in mine to get the bowl warm first, I then dump out the water and dry it well then grease the bowl before adding the dough. Cover with cling film and place in a warm place to double in size for 1 hour.

Remove and punch down the dough, give it a couple of kneads then roll out to a log shape and slice into 8 equal segments. Give each of these segments another little knead then shape into a round ball. You may need a bit more flour here as the apple would have released a little liquid. Slice a cross into the top of each ball with a very sharp knife then place in a greased 7" high sided, loose bottom cake pan, or similar.

Cover again with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise again for half an hour. By then they should have gotten quite bigger and be swelling against each other:

Preheat the oven to 220C / 425F remove the cling film and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. They should be golden brown, risen a bit more and sound hollow if you tap them underneath. 

Remove from the pan, mine was loose bottomed so I just place a can of beans underneath and slid the sides down then used a spatula to remove the whole plate of rolls onto a wire rack.

I also wanted to see how this recipe fared making traditional individual rolls and it worked perfectly. After the first rise and you have shaped them into rolls do not cut them at this stage, just lay them out on a lined baking sheet, cover loosely with cling film and again leave to rise for about 1/2 hour. Now cut the crosses on top and bake as per instructions. Let cool and slowly drizzle the thick glaze over the cut cross.

Vegan Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing

♥ They also bake up beautifully as individual rolls ♥

Vegan Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing

Now, I usually brush my hot cross buns just out of the oven with warmed seived apricot jam and that is what I used on the first attempt you see. It does give a nice shiny, glossy finish but can leave them a bit sticky. This time I decided to use the more traditional sugar syrup glaze but with a tiny pinch of cinnamon added. The pull apart rolls may not look very glossy though as I was in a rush and miscalculated the amount of water and essentially just brushed water over and not a syrup! Ooops... As you can see from the individual rolls I made the next day the syrup (done properly) leaves the buns nice and glossy. 

Leave them to cool then make up the maple glaze by simply stirring everything together. It should be runny but at the same time fairly thick. Spoon some of the icing up, let the first blob fall back into the bowl then run the icing over the marked 'X's on the buns. Dont' worry if it gets a bit messy and it is supposed to fall into the gaps between the buns - it all adds to the flavour!

Vegan Apple and Cinnamon Pull Apart Hot Cross Buns with Maple Icing

Leave the icing a bit to set then pull out a roll and slice - see the lovely texture?

As with all hot cross buns, these are best toasted and slathered with vegan butter. With the icing on these the best way to do these is in the oven under the grill.

While they are toasting get your tea or coffee ready and enjoy :-)

Vegan Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Bun with Maple Icing

Nutritional Information: based on 1 bun.

Calories: 208
Protein: 5.3g
Fat: 3.3g
Sat Fat: 0.7g
Fibre: 2.2g
Carbs: 40g
Sugar: 15.5g
Sodium: 112mg

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Monday 2 April 2012

Warm Salad of Roasted New Potatoes, Sautéed Asparagus and Shallots in a Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette

Warm Salad of Roasted Baby New Potatoes, Sauteed Asparagus and Shallots in a Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette

Firstly, I want to direct you all to the beautiful award you now see on my blog courtesy of The Vegan Woman. My write up there pretty much says it all but I just wanted to again thank everyone who recommended my blog here as well as The Vegan Woman and the judges there. I really am overjoyed to have come third and simply cannot thank you all enough!!

Now, I hope you all like asparagus as I am on a quest to jam in as much asparagus recipes that I can before their short lived season. Consider this post #2 of 4.....maybe 5 ;-) I actually made this ages ago, you might recognize it from the daily food diary, but felt I should wait until closer to asparagus season to blog it. Which means that yes, I made mine with imported out of season asparagus, you see the sacrifices I make for you all?? ;-)

There is not much new to this salad, roasted baby new potatoes with asparagus are a pretty classic combination and there are a load of different versions out there for sure. I have loosely based this one on Oh She Glow's recipe, mostly adopting her method for roasting the potatoes and sauteeing the asparagus. The dressing is pretty much the same as the one I use in my German Potato Salad with appropriate modifications, like olive oil instead of corn oil.

It's simply an absolutely delicious salad, all the flavours work so well together from the creamy new potatoes and crisp asparagus to the mustard, dill and shallots - love it!

Warm Salad of Roasted New Potatoes, Sautéed Asparagus and Shallots in a Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette

Warm Salad of Roasted New Potatoes, Sautéed Asparagus and Shallots in a Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette: 

250g baby new potatoes, washed and dried.
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
smoked sea salt and freshly ground pepper (or regular sea salt)

100g asparagus, sliced into 1" segments
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt)

1 large shallot, diced fine
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp smoked sea salt (again, regular is fine!)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp dried dill, if using fresh use about 1 tsp
few grinds of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Dice the potatoes largely leaving the skins on. Toss in a bowl with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay out on the sheet and roast for 25 minutes, turning them once. They should be lightly golden in places and fork tender.

While they are roasting, make the dressing: Add the olive oil to a bowl and slowly add the vinegar, whisking all the while until emulsified. Whisk in the dijon mustard until fully incorporated then whisk in the salt, pepper, dill and mustard seeds. Stir in the shallots and set aside.

Heat the olive oil for the asparagus in a frying pan and add the chopped asparagus and a pinch of salt. Fry with a lid on, stirring now and again until the asparagus is just fork tender, about 6 minutes.

Tip the roasted potatoes into a large bowl and add the asparagus. Pour over the dressing and toss well. Scrape it all into a bowl and serve. I have also eaten this cold and it's just as good, just note that the asparagus will lose some of it's vibrant green colour then.

Serves 1.

Warm Salad of Roasted New Potatoes, Sautéed Asparagus and Shallots in a Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 389
Protein: 7.8g
Fat: 19g
Sat Fat: 2.8g
Carbs: 50.9g
Sugar: 3.8g
Fibre: 7.6g
Sodium: 629mg

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