Monday, 25 June 2012

Vegan "Orange Julius" Slushy

Vegan Orange Julius

♥ Bring on summer! ♥

Vegan Orange Julius

European readers will have to bear with me here as I relive my 1980's Canadian mall rat youth with the quintessential food fair staple of an "Orange Julius". How on earth does one even describe one of these? They basically took over malls all over North America in the 80's and I, as many others, loved them. They would have been particularly popular in my hometown which was so small we had no fast food outlets - no, not even a McDonalds! BUT we got an Orange Julius one day to much excitement; as well as the orange slushy they did sell fast food - hotdogs, burgers etc... but I only ever got the orange slushy. That being said, if I really knew how they were made, I probably wouldn't have - not much real orange juice, milk and eggs. Yes, eggs. Gross.

Still, I  can remember how they tasted and suddenly had an urge to try a vegan one. Here I have used fresh navel oranges, peeled and membranes removed, froze them and then blended with coconut milk and my own 'secret ingredient'  (far less vomit inducing than eggs) - Bird's Custard Powder. It adds the same thickness and colour that eggs would have plus has a vanilla flavour already added. I then added some sugar and a little more vanilla  - perfect! Just as I, it's better as this one is made with mostly real oranges! 

Please note you have to do some prep the day before you want to have this. Oh, and if any of you follow the daily food blog and are wondering why you never read me making or drinking this it's because I actually made this ages ago but wanted to wait and blog it in summer :-)

Vegan Orange Julius Slushy: makes 1 large slushy.

250ml orange segments and juice, about 2 navel oranges
250ml coconut milk*
1 Tbsp Bird's Custard Powder
1 1/2 Tbsp caster sugar (or more to taste)
1/8 tsp clear vanilla

* I use Kara coconut milk here, it is not a thick, canned coconut milk but the type you get in a regular milk carton so is thin and not overpowering in coconut flavour. Although I haven't tried this with any other dairy free milks I assume your favourite will work here.

First prep the oranges: slice off the top and bottom of the orange then peel with a knife removing not only the peel but the membrane as well. Then slice out the orange segments without the membranes (don't worry if some stays attached) and place in a bowl. Take the orange peel and squeeze all the juice out of them as well into the bowl. You want all the juice and the membrane free orange segments here. Once you have 250ml or 1 cup pour it all into a freezer safe ziplock bag and pop it in the freezer. 

In a pyrex jug measure out the custard powder and sugar then add some of the milk to make a paste. Slowly add the rest of the milk, stirring all the while until mixed. Cover and refrigerate and give it a stir now and again.

Once the oranges are frozen remove from the freezer and leave out until you can break the mass apart with a fork, only because if you try and blend it right away you may damage your blender! Now add it to your blender, give the milk/custard powder mixture another stir and add it too the blender with the extra vanilla. Blend until smooth. If it is too thick and not blending simply leave it about 5 minutes then blend again. The oranges probably just need to thaw a little more. Taste and if you would like it sweeter add more sugar as oranges can vary wildly in how sweet they are.

Nutritional Information: based on 1 slushy.

Calories: 269
Fat: 5.2g
Sat Fat: 4.8g
Protein: 2.1g
Fibre: 3.9g
Sugar: 36g
Carbs: 56.1g
Sodium: 161mg
Calcium: 371mg (depending on milk used)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Walnut Bread

Walnut Bread

So. Walnut bread. I've always loved it and have wanted to make my own for ages but to be honest I usually just buy La Brea Bakery Walnut Bread at Tesco as I love it, and it's labelled vegan. That one is a sourdough walnut bread mind you and as much as I love sourdough I've never had the guts to try my own, all that making a starter and feeding it, I just know I'll end up with some sort of cesspool of bad bacteria and end up poisoning myself. No. I'll leave the sourdough to the pro's until I brave up :-)

I had a search online and was either getting sourdough versions or soda bread versions until I came across this one. Rather embarrassingly it is from the Daily Mail but it was just what I was looking for - yeast based and very simple. I love that it called for fast action yeast too - something I used to be against but find I have been getting even better results with, plus, this makes the bread dead simple to make.

I did make a few changes, first, I swapped the olive oil with walnut oil, which seemed a bit of a no-brainer when making walnut bread. I must add too, I am now seriously in love with walnut oil, I made a salad dressing with it for lunch today that was mind blowing...not my recipe in case that sounded obnoxious!! lol. 

Second, I reduced the amount of walnuts as I simply could not knead more than 100g into this bread and I'm happy with the amount in the end - you get walnuts here and there but it's not overtaking the bread - important. Third, the recipe was a bit vague on how to get the walnuts in there so I kneaded mine in after the second rise and further, I toasted the walnuts before using.

It all turned out perfect, the taste and texture in this bread is unbelievable - I am so happy with it and will be making this one often for sure :-) I was actually making this bread for a sandwich idea I had but it was too good not to be blogged on it's own! Can't wait to try the sandwich now ;-)

Vegan Walnut Bread

Walnut Bread: makes one good size oval shaped loaf.

500g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
7g sachet fast action yeast
4 Tbsp walnut oil
100g walnuts
300ml hand hot water (120 - 130F)

In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, salt and yeast. I like to add hot water to a pyrex measuring jug and add the walnut oil then I insert a thermometer, when it is between 120 - 130F then I add it to the flour. If you don't have a thermometer you want the water hand hot, the water should be slightly hotter when you are using fast action yeast as opposed to yeast that you dissolve first in warm water.

Once you've added the water to the flour turn on the mixer with the dough hook attached and let it knead for about 10 minutes. I added another tablespoon of flour but resist the urge to add too much more flour, let the gluten develop through kneading. You can of course also knead by hand, same rule applies - don't add much more flour. When there is a couple minutes left I like to remove the dough and hand knead just to get a feel for the dough and to shape it into a nice ball. Grease a large bowl with a little walnut oil and place the dough inside, greasing the top of the dough as well. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Whilst it is rising spread the walnuts out onto a baking sheet and pop into a pre-heated 200C oven for about 8 minutes or until ever so lightly golden and fragrant. Remove and let cool then roughly chop and set aside.

Punch the dough down and flatten out slightly then add some of the nuts, sprinkling them all over the surface of the dough. Fold the dough over and gently knead them into the dough, keep adding nuts and kneading gently until they are all added. Shape into a large oval then place on a baking paper covered baking sheet, cover loosely with cling film and place somewhere warm and let rise another hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C and dust the surface of the dough with flour then slash across the top 3 times on the diagonal with a sharp knife. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.

Now it may sound sacrilegious to toast freshly baked bread but for me walnut bread must be toasted and I massively recommend it here - it transforms this bread into something altogether quite heavenly! I had my first taste toasted and slathered with Vitalite with a cup of coffee. Sigh. :-D

Vegan Walnut Bread

Source: Slightly adapted from The Daily Mail.

Nutritional Information: per 100g, a good size slice is about 70g.

Calories: 306
Protein: 8.6g
Fat: 14.2g
Sat Fat: 1.5g
Fibre: 3.3g
Carbs: 38.4g
Sugar: 1.1g
Sodium: 535mg

Friday, 8 June 2012

Three Grain Brown Soda Bread

Vegan Brown Soda Bread

I actually didn't start off here aiming for a traditional Irish brown soda bread but basically that's what I got - and a very nice tasting one at that! I got this recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, 'The Great Scandinavian Baking Book' by Beatrice Ojakangas where it was listed as "Brunbraud" or "Icelandic Three-Grain Brown Bread". A read of the ingredients indicated this was essentially a classic Irish brown soda bread, with a few twists. There is brown sugar in this, just enough so that you can taste a hint of sweetness but not enough to make this a sweet bread and the addition of rye flour gives it a slightly more Scandinavian air about it.

In the end this made a really nice, perfectly textured brown bread, something I've been after for awhile now. You can buy *some* dairy free brown soda breads here in Ireland but this was by far better than any I have tried. It goes beautifully with soup, I made up my Newfoundland Pea Soup (without the doughboys) to go with this which was a lovely combination and a very hearty meal!

It would also be great with any sort of creamy white based soups like Cauliflower or Potato, anything thick and creamy really. I actually didn't make it to go with the previous post of Potato and Leek soup but it's made for it really! It's also great on it's own or toasted and spread with vegan butter and peanut butter, great at breakfast and really sets you up for the day :-) I've made the usual vegan adjustments here and have halved the recipe to just make one loaf and have also measured out the weights.

Three Grain Brown Soda Bread:

50g light muscovado sugar (1/4 cup packed brown sugar)
50g vegan butter ( 1/4 cup)
50g oats ( 1/2 cup)
80g wholegrain rye flour (1/2 cup)
170g wholemeal flour (1 cup whole wheat)
150g plain white flour ( 1 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
300ml unsweetened soy milk (1 1/4 cups)
1 1/4 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and lightly grease a loaf pan with vegan butter.

Cream the butter and sugar together until well mixed. In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients. In a measuring cup measure out the milk and stir in the lemon juice or vinegar and leave to curdle slightly - this is your buttermilk.

Add the dry ingredients and the "buttermilk" to the creamed mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Scrape it all into the loaf pan and level the top - the mixture will be thick. Bake for about 1 hour, until golden and firm on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from the pan onto a wire rack to fully cool.

Vegan Brown Soda Bread

Nutritional Information: per 100g.

Calories: 280
Protein: 8.4g
Fat: 5.5g
Sat Fat: 1.1g
Fibre: 5.5g
Carbs: 50.4g
Sugar: 6.6g
Sodium: 532mg
Calcium: 75.3mg

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Irish Soda Bread

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Simple Potato and Leek Soup

Vegan Potato and Leek Soup

I've been making this soup for years, it's delicious and dead simple - a nice combination! I wish we had it more often but leeks are one of those vegetables I tend to only buy if I need them for a recipe, they are not one of our "staple vegetables". Which is a shame as it means I only make this if I find myself with too many leeks and it's so good it's definitely worth buying them especially for it.

I've kept this really easy using stock powder and it will be key to the end flavour of your soup. I've used Marigold Vegan Bouillon Powder here (the orange container) as it's my favourite and I love the yellow hue the turmeric in the stock powder gives the soup here, if you use another brand you may have to adjust the amount to taste as they all vary wildly, just go by taste, it's easy to add more later!

Vegan Potato and Leek Soup

Potato and Leek Soup: serves 4

1 Tbsp vegan butter, I've used Vitalite
1 large leek (160g prepared weight)
1 medium onion (100g prepared weight)
about 230g peeled white potatoes
4 teaspoons Marigold Vegan Bouillon
1 litre water
freshly ground black pepper

Wash the leek well then slice the white and pale green parts only, place this in a large bowl with the chopped onion and diced potato.

In a large saucepan melt the vegan butter then add the veg, gently fry for a few minutes then add some freshly ground black pepper and put the lid on to let it all sweat for a few minutes more. When the veg has softened add the water and bouillon powder. Stir well and bring to the boil then simmer on a medium to high heat with the lid on for 15 - 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Let this cool a little bit then puree in a blender in batches (2 should do it) until smooth. Return to the pot and heat again until piping hot. Check seasoning and serve.

I usually love this soup with homemade brown Irish soda bread but didn't have any this time so had it with half a toasted multi-grain bagel slathered with Vitalite (vegan butter) - delicious!

Vegan Potato and Leek Soup

Source: Based on and veganized version of Delia's Leek, Onion and Potato Soup.

Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving out of 4.

Calories: 110
Protein: 3g
Fat: 2.6g
Sat Fat: 0.7g
Carbs: 19.8g
Sugar: 3.4g
Fibre: 1.9g
Sodium: 1034mg

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Minted Petite Pois and Potato Soup
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Friday, 1 June 2012

Mocha Frangelico Mousse Torte

Vegan Mocha Frangelico Mousse Torte
 Spiced Hazelnut Cake with a Mocha Frangelico Mousse filling, covered in Chocolate Ganache and topped with Frangelico Candied Hazelnuts.

Vegan Mocha Frangelico Mousse Torte
I'm SO over cupcakes! Give me a proper slice of cake dammit!!

So, it was my husband's birthday the other day and I had asked him to think of what flavour cake he would like. He absolutely adores anything hazelnut and I also realized I have never made a mocha based cake before, coffee yes, but not mocha. I then remembered that there was something that ticked all those boxes in the ever brilliant Vegan Cupcakes take over the World cookbook - the "Hazelnut Cupcakes with Mocha Hazelnut Mousse Filling". He was sold by title alone and that was it I would try that one out.

Vegan Mocha Frangelico Mousse Torte

Of course I had to make this as a whole cake and not cupcakes, something I haven't had much success with in the past, it seems a lot of cupcake recipes don't like to be baked as cakes but I had no problem with this one. I used a smaller 6" high sided loose bottom cake pan here and once baked I thought it was going to be too small (height wise) but once the mousse went on it was actually a perfect height.

Now, you guys know I love my mousse. Unfortunately all my mousse recipes here call for Granovita Soy Whipping Cream and you can't buy it or any suitable replacements anymore. I have made tofu based mousses before, I'm certainly not against them, they taste great it's just texturally speaking they are not mousses!! Firm puddings maybe, but not light and airy mousse which is what my mousse recipes used to give. All that being said, this mocha "mousse" was amazing, incredible flavour and still a really nice texture, perfect in the cake which was dense and moist without being gummy.

Vegan Mocha Frangelico Mousse Torte

The cupcake recipe also calls for some ganache on top and they do provide a recipe however I've gone for my standard ganache recipe here. Not that I'm not sure their recipe isn't fantastic, I'm just used to and love my own :-) My recipe always calls for booze of some sort so of course I've added more Frangelico here.

Vegan Mocha Frangelico Mousse Torte

As for the topping, well, it was a no-brainer really: the Frangelico Candied Hazelnuts that I used in the Chocolate Frangelico Mousse Gateau. This time I kept them whole for decoration (and so my non-hazlenut liking child could easily pick them off) and they just went beautifully with this cake.

Altogether this was a huge success, we all absolutely loved this cake and I will certainly make it again. Now I have to apologise for all these teaser photos when I cannot give you a recipe for half of it as the cake and mousse have come straight out of Vegan Cupcakes take over the World but I will give you some notes here on what I did and links to my recipes for the ganache and candied hazelnuts.

Spiced Hazelnut Cake:

I followed the recipe for the Hazelnut cupcakes in Vegan Cupcakes take over the World exactly as is but greased and lined the bottom of a 6" high loose bottomed cake pan and baked it for 40 minutes instead, you want a toothpick to come out clean.

Mocha Hazelnut Mousse:

Also from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World. For this I could only get firm silken tofu not extra firm so I omitted the soy milk that the recipe called for and I also increased the Frangelico to 1 tablespoon from 2 teaspoons. I also didn't refrigerate it for an hour before spreading it on the cake as there was no need as the whole cake once assembled was going in the fridge.

Frangelico Chocolate Ganache:

200g plain or semi-sweet chocolate (dark)
170ml soy cream
20g solid coconut oil
1 Tbsp Frangelico

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a large bowl. Heat the coconut oil and soy cream together until it just comes to a boil - stir often. Pour this over the chocolate, leave it for a minute and then whisk up. Add the Frangelico and whisk again. Leave it to thicken slightly so that it will still pour over the cake but will pour slowly to cover well.

And, just like with my 10 Layer Chocolate Orange Truffle Cake you will have leftover ganache. I highly recomend making truffle pots with it, just spoon it into little cute bowls and chill - quick, easy and posh little dessert!

Frangelico Truffle Pots

Frangelico Candied Hazelnuts:

I used my recipe here but kept the hazelnuts whole.


Once the cake has cooled, carefully slice it in half. The easiest way to do this is to use a serrated knife and slice all along the edges not going fully through to make sure it is even. THEN use the knife and slice through the centre. Slide a wide spatula inbetween then remove the top layer.

Line the cake pan that you baked the cake in with cling film. Place the top cake layer, top side down into the pan. Fill with the mousse then lay the bottom cake slice, bottom slice up on top. That should be your flattest cake side, which you want on top. Taking the overhanging cling film wrap the top of the cake up and place in the fridge for the mousse to fully set, about 1 - 2 hours. I have step by step photos of all of this on my Double Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake recipe if it helps!

Remove the cake from the pan, just pull up from the cling film and place on a cutting board, removing the cling film. Pour the ganache over, again, it should be thick enough to not run all over the place, using a knife make sure all the sides are nicely coated and place it again in the fridge for the ganache to set. Before it fully sets though, decorate with the Frangelico Candied Hazelnuts so that you can push them into the still soft ganache, it might be a bit too soft to put them on right away but you also don't want the ganache fully set. I probably added mine after 15 minutes in the fridge.

Take the cake out of the fridge about an hour before you want to serve it just so it's not fridge cold. I've been keeping mine stored in the fridge but mostly as it's summer and we have quite a warm kitchen, not sure I would bother in the winter. At any rate, this cake won't last long, trust me :-)

Vegan Mocha Frangelico Mousse Torte

Nutritional Information: based on 1 slice out of 12

Calories: 388
Protein: 5g
Fat: 22.7g
Sat Fat: 7.6g
Fibre: 3.2g
Carbs: 41.5g
Sugar: 27.4g
Sodium: 167mg

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Chocolate Frangelico Mousse Gateau
Double Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake