Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Well, it's that time of year again when my mom sends me the latest Canadian Living Holiday Baking magazine special! I love these, as I'm sure you'll know by now if you've read this blog for any length of time as they always have great ideas. I immediately started jotting down recipes I wanted to veganize and these Cinnamon Roll Cookies were first on my list. I've simply replaced the egg with a little plain soy yogurt and of course the butter with vegan butter but mostly made some changes in the method. Namely I've found that giving the dough a little knead after the first chill helps develop the gluten a bit which in turn helps the dough bind together better without the egg.

In the end these cookies are delicious and as you can see, beyond cute! They are small, which may not come across in the pictures here, only about an inch and a half wide, taste almost just like cinnamon rolls and would make great gifts this holiday season as they hold together and pack really well. The texture is lovely, slightly crisp on the outside but soft inside and you can eat these just like a cinnamon roll - by peeling off the layers until you get to the solid middle full of buttery, cinnamony loveliness!

As for the glaze, the recipe called for a cream cheese glaze, which of course would go perfectly with a cinnamon roll cookie. I didn't have any cream cheese when I first made these so just made a basic vanilla glaze, as you see in these pictures, which was perfect. 

The next time I made these I did make up a cream cheese glaze which was delicious BUT it wouldn't really drizzle easily like the first glaze, the cream cheese made it rather gloopy so it was easier to just spread all over the top. Tasted good but then you lose the look of the cinnamon roll, it just looked like a glazed round cookie. 

You could pipe it on but furthermore, the cream cheese glaze never set, and that set, slightly crisp drizzle glaze is essential (I think). So, in the end the cream cheese glaze was a fail so I'm sticking with the regular vanilla glaze for these.

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cookies

 Cinnamon Roll Cookies

• 80g vegan butter (1/3 cup + 2 tsp)
• 100g brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
• 1 Tbsp plain soy yogurt
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 175g plain flour (1 1/4 cup)
• 1/4 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
• 1 Tbsp vegan butter
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp icing sugar
• 3 tsp soy cream (or any dairy free milk)
• 1/8 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl add the vegan butter, brown sugar, soy yogurt and vanilla and beat well until lighter in colour and somewhat fluffy. In a seperate bowl mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add half of this to the butter mixture and beat well until all incorporated then add the rest of the flour to the mixture and beat well. You should have a dough that is slightly crumbly but will squish together.

Pull it all together with your hands and shape into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

After chilling, if you try and roll the dough out now it will crack and split and you'll be cursing my name to high heaven! Flour your work surface and knead it. You must knead it here, not hard like you are making bread, just a gentle knead for about 2 - 3 minutes. You will notice the dough change from rather firm and crackly to a smooth ball. Add more flour as need be to stop it from sticking but don't go overboard, I probably added no more than 1 tablespoon here. 

Keep the surface dusted with flour and roll the dough out to a 30 x 25 cm rectangle. Approximate, you don't have to be overly exact here!

Mix together the brown sugar, vegan butter and cinnamon until you have a paste and spread this over top:

Note: the spread will be thin!
From the long side, carefully roll it up, pinching the long end to seal, roll it a little bit to keep it round and you'll find it has stretched out a bit at this point. I slightly push the ends in to get it back to around 30cm long. It will be VERY soft at this stage, and yes, now you may be cursing my name to high heaven, lol! Carefully transfer it to a sheet of cling film, wrap it up, place it on a long plate or baking sheet and freeze it for 30 minutes to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap the cling film and slice it in about 1/4" slices. I ended up with 20 cookies from the log. After you slice them, reshape them into circles with your hands as they will squish a little during cutting:

Now bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through. They will be lightly golden around the edges and feel fairly firm. 

Leave to cool on the sheet for a minute or so then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool. I just transfer the whole sheet to the wire rack so they don't get rack marks on them.

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Once they are fully cool make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar, soy cream or milk and vanilla together until you have a thick yet runny glaze. When you spoon it up it should fall like ribbons back into the bowl. You don't want it too thin or the lines will just run into each other and you'll end up with thinly glazed cookies instead of drizzled. Add more icing sugar and or 'milk' until the consistency is right. Then simply drizzle over the cookies, whilst on the sheet to catch the drips, back and forth until done. You will probably have glaze leftover but it's better to have more than not enough. Leave the glaze to set then enjoy!

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Nutritional Information: based on 1 cookie out of 20

Calories: 86
Fat: 2.8g
Sat Fat: 0.6g
Carbs: 14.3g
Sugar: 7.5g
Fibre: 0.3g
Sodium: 50mg
Protein: 0.9g

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Friday, 19 October 2012

Lemon Coconut Posset with Golden Cardamom Shortbread

Vegan Lemon Coconut Posset with Golden Cardamom Shortbread

I know what you're thinking....what the hell's posset?!?! I had never heard of it but I saw it in a recent Food and Wine magazine and thought it sounded nice and light, basically lemon curd and cream whipped up, much like a syllabub but without the wine or alcohol factor. I've been wanting to try coconut whipped cream for ages now so this seemed like the perfect dessert to try it with.

Vegan Lemon Coconut Posset

FIVE cans of coconut milk later, we got there! Sigh...despite following all online coconut whipped cream tutorials to a 'T' mine just wasn't whipping like in their photos. I used full fat coconut milk, chilled it overnight to separate, scooped out just the thick cream, chilled my mixer bowl and beater but it just wouldn't whip up fully, you certainly couldn't get little whipped peaks like in the photos. 

I eventually determined that it's all down to brands. The first 2 brands both didn't whip really well but I used them to make the posset anyway and it was still really good, just a little more "floppy" than I would have liked. Then I decided to skip out the middle man and use one of those cartons of coconut CREAM you can buy here in the grocery store. I didn't even have to chill it and it whipped up great, held together and gave a perfect texture for the posset. Yay!

Vegan Lemon Coconut Posset with Golden Cardamom Shortbread

The whipped coconut cream is whisked into a homemade citrus curd made with agar. I actually use lemon and orange juice here as I find the orange counters some of the lemony bitterness and simply adds a nice flavour. 

Altogether this is such a light, cool and incredibly creamy dessert, perfect for a light ending, particularly after a curry. It's very zingy and while the coconut flavour is definitely there, it's not overpowering. We all really loved this, including my son.

I decided to add a biscuit to this dessert as I think the change in texture is nice and it kind of finishes off the dessert. I saw this recipe for Golden Cardamom Shortbread in my Canadian Living magazine and thought the flavours would go wonderfully with the lemon-coconut posset. I don't use cardamom much at all, I've only threw in a couple pods into curries so it was all new territory really. 

First, I couldn't find ground cardamom anywhere. A quick search online indicated that it's actually quite expensive so that may be why! Thankfully the pods are cheap, I already had a jar, and I do have a spice grinder, so I made my own. If you have a spice grinder I highly recommend it as this came out so incredibly fragrant and was really very easy.

Vegan Golden Cardamom Shortbread

In the end, I love these biscuits, the cardamom does give them a slightly more exotic taste, like a citrusy spicy ginger which goes wonderfully with the coconut posset, I tend to crumble them on top of the posset as I eat it! That being said, if you don't like cardamom or are unsure about it, simply replace with 1/4 tsp cinnamon or a little ground ginger.

Vegan Lemon Coconut Posset with Golden Cardamom Shortbread

Lemon Coconut Posset

Serves 4 - 6.

• 80ml fresh lemon juice, sieved
• 80ml orange juice, no pulp, I found bottled better here
• 1 Tbsp agar flakes
• 100g (1/2 cup) golden caster sugar
• 250ml carton coconut cream, or the equivalent from chilled cans.
• 1/2 cup icing sugar
• 1/2 tsp vanilla

First make the curd: In a saucepan add the lemon juice, orange juice and sugar. Stir off the heat for a few minutes, just so it's well mixed and the sugar can start to soften. Sprinkle over the agar flakes and let sit for 1 minute. Give it a good stir then turn the heat on and bring to the boil stirring now and again. When it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for 3 - 5 minutes, until the sugar and agar have dissolved.

Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool and set, once cool enough place in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.

Now it should be set but once you give it a good stir it should be like lemon curd in consistency. I have always found at this point that it has little gelatine like balls in it, and who wants little hard bits in their dessert? No one. That's who. So take a fine sieve and push the curd through it to get it nice and smooth. Make sure you scrape any smooth curd clinging to the underside of the sieve when you are done. Now you should have a small bowl of smooth curd, pop it back in the fridge.

If you are using boxed coconut cream simply add the 250 ml carton to a mixer bowl and whip up, adding the icing sugar and vanilla halfway through. If you are chilling cans of coconut milk you will need about 250 ml of cream from the cans, one can should suffice but you may want to chill 2 just in case.

Now take your curd out of the fridge and whisk in about 1/2 cup of the coconut whipped cream until smooth. Now scrape the curd mixture into the coconut whipped cream and whisk really well. Spoon the mixture into serving bowls, whatever you like, I used my martini glasses here and got 3 servings but to be fair, they are a bit big, four servings would a better amount, or even up to 6. I like to pop them back in the fridge to chill and set a little more, although, you can eat them now.

Vegan Lemon Coconut Posset with Golden Cardamom Shortbread

Golden Cardamom Shortbread

• 100g (1/2 cup) vegan butter
• 50g (1/4 cup packed) brown sugar
• 100g (3/4 cup) plain flour
• 2 Tbsp cornstarch
• 2 Tbsp rice flour
• 3/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom or 1/4 tsp cinnamon or ginger.
• granulated sugar
• gold edible dusting lustre - optional

First, if you are grinding your own cardamom it really is very simple. You want to grind just the seeds from inside the pods, I just smashed them with the side of a wide bladed knife and split them open.

Here are the pods on the left with the seeds from inside on the right.
Place the seeds in a spice grinder.
And grind until it is fine in texture, it's really quick :-)

Now, in a small bowl add the flour, cornstarch, rice flour and ground cardamom and whisk well. In a large bowl add the vegan butter and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 additions, beating well after each addition.

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and preheat the oven to a low 150C. Pack the dough into a tablespoon measure then scoop out and roll into a ball. Repeat until all the dough is gone, keeping them on a chopping board or plate.

Now roll each ball into some granulated sugar and place on the baking sheet a little apart from each other. I got my little design here from the bottom of a crystal rose bowl I have:

I just dipped the underside of the rose bowl into the sugar then pressed each cookie giving it the pretty design. A lot of wine glasses have decorative bottoms so you could use that too! 

Now pop them in the preheated oven and back for 30 minutes. Let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.

Vegan Golden Cardamom Shortbread

If you like you can dust them with some edible gold lustre, mine's by sugarflair and happened to be vegan, I used a new clean little eyeshadow brush and just dusted a little bit on. To be honest I wouldn't bother doing it again though, it was mostly for the picture ;-) As you can see they are just as nice and sparkly without the E-numbers!

Nutritional Information

Lemon Coconut Posset                                  
(Based on 1 serving out of 4)                                                                                 

Calories: 293                                                                   
Fat: 12.1g                                                                             
Sat Fat: 9.9g                                                                       
Protein: 2.4g                                                                   
Fibre: 0.3g                                                                          
Carbs: 45.3g                                                                       
Sugar: 42.1g                                                                       
Sodium: 2.9mg

Golden Cardamom Shortbread
 (Based on 1 shortbread)

Calories: 92
Fat: 4.4g
Sat Fat: 1g
Protein: 0.9g
Fibre: 0.3g
Carbs: 12g                                                              
Sugar: 3.7g
Sodium: 47.8g

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Monday, 15 October 2012

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie Bars

Melt in the Mouth Vegan Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars

These actually started off as something altogether different: vegan millionaire's shortbread. I tried this recipe here but sadly, my caramel layer did not turn out. I got an almost crispy fudge layer instead but it was still delicious! What we all loved about it though was the melt in the mouth shortbread layer with the chocolate so I thought I would simply combine the two in an easy to make bar. 

These have been very popular with us lately, once, I replaced the vanilla with almond extract for a dark chocolate almond bar - which was very good too. They get the melt in the mouth texture from the cornstarch, in the same way melting moments or Mexican wedding cakes do and while they hold together just fine I still wouldn't recommend packing these in a lunch or to send away as gifts :-)

Melt in the Mouth Vegan Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie Bars

• 150g vegan butter
• 75g golden caster sugar
• 150g plain flour
• 150g cornstarch (cornflour)
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 150g plain vegan chocolate (semi-sweet) chopped or use chips.

Preheat the oven to 200C and line an 11.5" x 8" jelly roll pan with baking paper.  Place everything but the chocolate into a food processor and process until you have a crumbly mixture. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. Tip the mixture into the pan and press down until it fills the pan and is even. Bake for 12 minutes and cool on a wire rack. Slice into 16 bars.

Melt in the Mouth Vegan Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars

Source: Based on The Veggie Blog's Millionaire's Shortbread.

Nutritional Information: based on 1 bar out of 16

Calories: 184
Protein: 1.5g
Fat: 8.4g
Sat Fat: 3.1g
Carbs: 25.2g
Sugar: 9.2g
Fibre: 1g
Sodium: 9.2mg

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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Vegan Chicken and Macaroni Salad Lettuce Wraps

Vegan Chicken and Macaroni Salad Lettuce Wraps

I saw something very similar to these on Pinterest the other day. I forgot to pin it so cannot say where the idea came from but the original was with orzo pasta. As I was having troubles finding orzo.....ok, I only looked in 1 shop and was too impatient to try this, so I used macaroni instead! 

By the way, quick question regarding Pinterest for those of you who follow me: do you like me pinning my own stuff, by that I mean new recipes, or is that annoying as hell? I'm on the fence on this one. If you have a feeling one way or the other, please let me know!

Anyway, any small pasta shape will do here but I can see orzo working really well. The recipe I saw wasn't vegetarian so I didn't even click on it but I knew immediately how I would make it - with my Vegan Chicken Salad Recipe, which I haven't blogged on here yet, it's over on the Daily Food Blog where I like to stick more "simple" recipes. 

Vegan Chicken Salad Pitta

I usually have it (obviously) without the pasta stuffed into a wholemeal pitta with lettuce and tomato, it's one of my favourite lunches but I really like this twist. It was also most welcome recently as I've been consuming far too much bread lately, yes, I'm a carboholic! And even though this isn't free of carbs with the pasta there, it's at least a little break from the bread :-)

Vegan Chicken and Macaroni Salad Lettuce Wraps

The little gem lettuce cups and a fresh squirt of lemon juice make this a most crisp and refreshing lunch, really light feeling and so easy to make. I was hesitant in calling these wraps however, as you can see they are more "cups" but you do kind of wrap them as you eat them, so we'll stick with that ;-)

Vegan Chicken and Macaroni Salad Lettuce Wraps

Vegan Chicken and Macaroni Salad Lettuce Wraps

Serves 1 as a meal.

• 40g vegan chicken strips, I used Fry's.
• 1/2 tsp oil to fry
• 30g vegan mayo, (2 Tbsp) I use Plamil Organic.
• 1 spring onion, finely chopped.
• 1/4 stalk of celery, diced small.
• 25g small pasta, dry weight, about 1/4 cup
• 4 baby gem lettuce leaves
• sea salt (I like smoked here) and freshly ground black pepper
• dijon mustard - optional
• lemon slices - optional

Heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry the chicken strips for 6 - 8 minutes from frozen or according to your brand's instructions. Set aside to cool slightly then finely chop.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions then rinse well under cold water until cool, toss in a clean tea towel to get all excess water off and transfer to a bowl.

Mix together the mayo, spring onion, celery, a pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl. Add the chicken and pasta and mix well. Season to taste.

Wash and pat dry the lettuce leaves then brush them with a little dijon mustard. Optional, but nice. Fill the lettuce leaves with the filling and serve with slices or wedges of lemon to squirt over before eating. Again, it's optional, but nice! 

Vegan Chicken and Macaroni Salad Lettuce Wraps

Nutritional Information: based on the whole recipe, depending on brand of vegan chicken used.

Calories: 367
Protein: 12.4g
Fat: 23.3g
Sat Fat: 4.2g
Fibre: 4.2g
Carbs: 27.2g
Sugar: 2.4g
Sodium: 494mg

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Friday, 5 October 2012

Sun-Dried Tomato and White Bean Spread with Black Olive Rye Bread

Sun-Dried Tomato and White Bean Spread with Black Olive Rye Bread.

This is a lovely spread, or dip, perfect in sandwiches and oh so easy to make! As much as it looks like a houmous it isn't really, there's no tahini or any other nut or seed paste here and I've used cannellini beans as they give a smoother texture than chick peas would, especially without the tahini. For the sun-dried tomato element I have used a store bought tube of sun-dried tomato puree that I use quite often. It's not pure sun-dried tomato but rather has 65% sun-dried tomatoes, sunflower oil, olive oil, capers, hot chillies, oregano, garlic, salt and wine vinegar. (If you live in the UK or Ireland it's Epicure Sun-Dried Tomato Puree.) This doesn't make this recipe product specific however, you could easily just use straight sun-dried tomato puree and maybe adjust the seasoning as you see fit, but I'm sure it'll be just as yummy! I further add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes (the type packed in oil) to add some texture.

Sun-Dried Tomato and White Bean Spread with Black Olive Rye Bread.

For me, this spread was just calling out for some olive bread. I thought I had a recipe for an "Olive Boule" in one of my Canadian Living Holiday Special Magazines and sure enough it was there! I was so happy to see it was a rye based olive bread as well as I was thinking rye flour would be perfect here. It's a slightly longer process bread in that you make a sponge first, let that sit overnight, then make the bread but is really worth it. The flavour and texture in this bread is so good and just goes beautifully with the sun-dried tomato spread.
Sun-Dried Tomato and White Bean Spread with Black Olive Rye Bread.

Sun-Dried Tomato and White Bean Spread

1 x 400g can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 Tbsp sun-dried tomato puree - see note above.
about 2 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt*
2 Tbsp water

Place the beans, puree, garlic, salt, lemon juice and oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides then add the water and process again until really smooth. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and pulse until mixed in. Transfer to a serving dish and refrigerate.

* I would start with 1/8 tsp of salt and add to taste from there as different brands of puree and beans will have different salt levels. I use unsalted beans packed just in water for reference.

Sun-Dried Tomato and White Bean Spread with Black Olive Rye Bread.

Black Olive Rye Bread

I followed the Black Olive Boule Recipe on the Canadian Living website with the following notes:

♥ I used strong white bread flour instead of all-purpose.
♥ I used quick rise yeast.
♥ I used olives packed in brine as I couldn't find oil packed but I lightly brushed some olive oil over the dough ball once the olives are kneaded in so that the ones on top wouldn't dry out.
♥ I only cooked mine for 30 minutes BUT this was a mistake, as you might be able to see in the photo there my middle could have done with longer. Maybe 40 - 45 minutes but I still think 55 minutes would be a bit too long.
♥ Instead of spritzing the inside of the oven with water I placed a tray of water in the bottom of my oven and I did end up with a lovely crisp and chewy crust.
♥ I brushed some vegan butter all over the hot crust when I took it out of the oven. It gives a lovely gloss and great flavour :-)

Sun-Dried Tomato and White Bean Spread with Black Olive Rye Bread.

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Monday, 1 October 2012

Pan Grilled Chive Polenta Wedges with Sizzling Garlic Mushrooms

Pan Grilled Chive Polenta Wedges with Sizzling Garlic Mushrooms

So, this is the dish that finally won my husband over when it comes to polenta. Up till now I've been the only one in the house who liked it and as such never got to have it that much, as you can see, this is the first polenta dish on the blog! To be fair I could probably add sizzling garlic butter mushrooms to any dish and he'd be won over but I'm glad it was this one ;-) It took a couple goes to get the quantity of polenta right here and to learn how to get the grill marks without the polenta sticking like glue to the pan (patience, you just need patience!) But it's all come together now. The crispy fried polenta with that garlic butter soaking in is heavenly, and don't be too alarmed by the amount of vegan butter in this, it's actually still a calorie wise dish :-)

Pan Grilled Chive Polenta Wedges with Sizzling Garlic Mushrooms

Pan Grilled Chive Polenta Wedges with Sizzling Garlic Mushrooms

Serves 4 as a light meal.

150g polenta
600ml vegetable stock
2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped (or 4 tsp dried)

400g whole mushrooms
80g vegan butter
4 cloves garlic, pureed
1/2 tsp dried parsley or 1 tsp chopped fresh
salt and pepper

(Note - you will need to follow the instructions on your pack of polenta here as they vary wildly. The polenta I use is a "quick cook" variety, ready in 1 minute for soft or 5 minutes for firm polenta. I'll give the instructions for mine anyway in case you have the same type, otherwise just follow package instructions adding the chives during simmering. As for the vegetable stock, I use Marigold Vegan Organic Bouillon and add 2 1/2 tsp to the 600ml water.)

Mix the polenta and chives together. Bring the vegetable stock to the boil then add the polenta in a slow steady stream, whisking all the while. Once all is added, swap to a wooden spoon and stir all the while for 5 minutes. Transfer to an 8" round cake tin that has been greased with olive oil and press in well using a square of baking paper. Put aside to set for about 1/2 hour. 

Preheat the oven to 200C. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms but keep (I now roughly chop these as well). Arrange the mushroom caps in an oven safe dish and scatter the stalks around. In a small bowl mix together the vegan butter, garlic, parsley and a couple grinds of salt and pepper. Fill the mushrooms caps with the butter mixture and dot any extra around. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes giving the dish a shake a couple times. If at any point the mushrooms are looking dry, dot a few blobs of butter around the dish - the water content in mushrooms can vary hugely and I sometimes have to do this.

Back to the polenta: run a knife around the edges of the tin then turn over onto a chopping board and tap the bottom, the polenta should pop out. Slice into 8 wedges. Note - you can wrap up the wedges now and refrigerate to fry up when you like.
Chive Polenta Wedges
Preheat a grill pan till hot then brush the wedges on top generously with olive oil.  Place oil side down onto the hot pan and grill. Now. This takes longer than you think it will, if you are impatient and try to flip the wedges you'll find they stick to the pan. Just wait until the grill marks form a crust then they should be easy to flip, although, you still may need to loosen them slightly with a knife. (Alternatively, if you are not fussed about grill marks, you can just  fry these in a greased non-stick frying pan with no stickage at all!)
Chive Polenta Wedges
Place 2 of the wedges onto a plate then place some of the mushrooms over top and scatter some of the stalks. Spoon some of the garlic butter left in the pan and drizzle over the wedges. Serve with a lemon wedge and some fresh parsley. Squirt the lemon wedge over the dish just before eating, it goes lovely with the flavours in this.
Pan Grilled Chive Polenta Wedges with Sizzling Garlic Mushrooms


Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving

Calories: 271
Protein: 7.1g
Fat: 12.4g
Sat Fat: 2.7g
Fibre: 3.9g
Carbs: 34g
Sugar: 2.1g
Sodium: 752mg (will depend on stock used)

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