Sunday 29 September 2013

Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts
Flaky pastry, raspberry jam, moist almond cake and a vanilla glaze.

These came about quite accidentally. The other day while my husband was working in the garden he handed me a small bucket full of blackberries that just happen to grow wild in the bushes on our property. I had been massively craving a good old-fashioned berry pie for days so I very happily whipped up a blackberry pie (which was so pretty, really wish I took a picture!)

Anyway, I had some pastry leftover sitting in the fridge and thought I would make some tarts. The pastry is my standard pastry recipe with a little added sugar. The cake recipe more or less comes from this cherry bakewell cake recipe on BBC Good Food with a little veganizing and scaling down to make tarts.

They really are incredible, I've made them a few times now and they have become a firm family favourite.  Flaky pastry, raspberry jam and a moist almond cake topped with vanilla icing. Absolutely lovely :-) Scroll down for step by step photos!

Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

• 140g plain flour
• 1 Tbsp caster sugar
• ¼ tsp salt
• 75g vegan butter, frozen in blobs
• ½ tsp white vinegar
• 2- 2½ Tbsp ice cold water

• (about) 2 Tbsp Raspberry Jam

Almond Cake:
• 50g vegan butter
• 50g caster sugar
• 1 “egg” – 1 Tbsp cornflour, 1/8 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp xanthan gum, 1 tsp oil, 50ml water
• 50g ground almonds
• 1/2 tsp almond extract
• 25g self-rising flour
• ¼ tsp baking powder
• Tiny pinch of salt

• 100g icing sugar
• ¼ tsp vanilla
• (about) ½ Tbsp water to make a thick glaze 

First, freeze the vegan butter, this will help the butter process into the flour properly and help make the pastry really flaky but you will need small blobs of butter instead of a solid block. Just drop teaspoons of butter onto a plate lined with cling film then freeze until the butter is firm and frozen, it will take a few hours.

Place the flour, sugar, salt and frozen butter in food processor. Process until it's like fine crumbs, transfer to a bowl thin stir in the vinegar and enough of the water so that it just comes together.Tip out onto board and shape into a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour. 

*cheat code - just buy vegan friendly ready made shortcrust pastry. In the UK/IRE Jus-Rol brand is vegan (last I checked) *

Remove the pastry from the fridge and give it a little quick knead - this will make it easier to roll out. Roll out the pastry and cut out circles using a cookie cutter that is about the same width as your tart pan indents and place into tart pan. Return the pastry lined tart pan to the fridge to keep cool while the cake batter is made. 

Almond Cake:
Preheat oven to 180C/ Fan:160C. First make the "egg" - whisk together the cornflour, xanthan gum and baking powder. Slowly add the oil and water whisking all the while. Continue to whisk briskly until it is VERY thick. Then add the almond extract and whisk again.

Cream the butter and sugar together, beat in the "egg" and extract. Whisk in the ground almonds then fold in the flour, salt and baking powder. Spoon a small teaspoon of jam into each pastry case then spoon the cake batter over top of jam, spread it out so it covers the tart then bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden and firm to touch. Let fully cool in pan on a wire rack then remove the tarts to the wire rack. 

Vanilla Glaze:
Mix the icing sugar, water and vanilla until you have a very thick glaze, spoon over each tart and spread out gently just to the edges. The glaze should be thick enough that it doesn't run over the edges of the tarts but just runny enough that it will spread out. I drop a small tablespoon of the icing right in the centre of the tart then give it a gentle push out the edges with the back of a small spoon.

Yields 12 tarts.

Step by step photos! 
(well, except for the icing part - ooops!)
 Freeze the vegan butter into blobs for about 4 hours.

Add the flour to a food processor, then add the sugar.

Add the salt.

Add the frozen 'butter'.

Process just until it is crumbly.

Transfer to a bowl and add the ice water and vinegar, mix with a fork until you have a shaggy dough like this.

 Bring together into a disc.

Wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Cream the butter and sugar.

Whisk the "egg" ingredients together until thick, then add the almond extract.

Add  the "egg" to the creamed mixture. (Note how thick the 'egg' should look).

Whisk the "egg" into the creamed mixture.

Add the ground almonds.

Whisk in the ground almonds (ignore the spatula, I used that after!)

Add the flour, salt and baking powder.

Fold in gently with a spatula until just mixed.

Use a round cutter that is the same size as your tart pan as you don't want the pastry going all the way up the sides - that's for the cake!
Roll out the pastry and cut out circles.
Place each pastry circle into the tart pan. Note the different thickness in my tarts as I suck at re-rolling out dough consistently!
Fill each tart with a teaspoon of raspberry jam.
Top each tart with a small tablespoon of cake batter. It will be thick.
Spread the cake batter out, making sure it goes right to the edge of the pastry. The easiest way is to spread out from the centre using your 2 index fingers.
Bake for 30 minutes at 180C/ Fan:160C then leave to fully cool in the tin on a wire rack.
Once cool transfer to a wire rack then ice them....which I didn't get a photo of as it's messy business! Just drop a blob of the thick glaze in the centre of the tart and gently push it out to the edges. It should be thick enough that it doesn't run over the sides. If it does stop and add a bit more icing sugar to the mix.

Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Wait for the glaze to set, pour yourself some tea or coffee and enjoy!

Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Nutritional Information: per tart (out of 12)

Calories: 155
Protein: 1.7g
Fat: 7.7g
Sat Fat: 1.6g
Carbs: 20.5g
Sugar: 12.9g
Fibre: 1g
Sodium: 118mg

You Might Also Like:

French Fancies
Summer Berry and Almond
Cheesecake Tart

Monday 23 September 2013

World Food Café - Quick and Easy Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey

Moros Y Cristianos and Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook
Cuban Moros Y Cristianos with Mojo Sauce

So, my second cookbook review and recipe excerpt for you comes from Chris and Carolyn Caldicott's "World Food Café - Quick and Easy Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey".

This is a simply stunning book, I mean look how gorgeous it is??
World Food Cafe, Quick and Easy Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey.

From the back:
"This is vegetarian cooking at its most delicious and imaginative. For over twenty years Chris and Carolyn Caldicott have been travelling the world, collecting recipes from home kitchens, street stalls, restaurants and roadside cafés - as well as taking atmospheric photographs and picking up travellers tales.
World Food Café Quick and Easy gathers together dishes from some of the world's most fascinating places, with a wonderful diversity of flavours. And each and every recipe is quick and easy to make at home..."

It really is a beautifully made book with gorgeous photos of both the food and of their travels. The book is organised into chapters by places: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Chile, Cuba, Japan, Laos, Helsinki and Lapland, Namibia, Syria and Vietnam. I was initially concerned with this being a vegetarian cookbook that there might not be a lot of vegan recipes but that was quickly quashed - the vast majority of the recipes are actually vegan and those that are not are dead simple to veganize. It's also so much more than a cookbook, full of stories of their amazing travels and it really is an excellent read.

Moros Y Cristianos and Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook

For my tester recipe I was drawn to the Cuban section of the book, in particular to the "Moros Y Cristianos" described by the authors as the following:

"Literally translated as Moors and Christians, this dish of black beans and white rice is still the mainstay of Cuban cuisine. The beans and the rice are either served separately or combined, usually with a simple fresh salad and fried plantain. Or you can enjoy them as we did, mixed together, topped with a fried egg and doused with zesty mojo sauce..."

Now, I obviously wasn't going to add the fried egg, and plantains are not too easy to come by here but I sure as hell wanted to try the gorgeous sounding Mojo Sauce! Which yes, I *do* keep saying in my head with an Austin Powers accent....Anyway, they describe it as the following:

Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook

"Mojo sauce, originally from the Canary Islands, is one of Cuba's most adaptable signature recipes. It adds zest to black beans or cooked cassava, makes an exciting marinade and is the perfect dipping sauce for malanga fritters and grilled Cuban sandwiches. There are many recipes for Mojo, often depending on what the sauce is being used for that day, but it's essential ingredients are Cuban bitter Seville oranges, garlic, a little cumin, black pepper and salt. For vegetarian dishes olive oil is also an important addition as is  finely chopped onion for a dip or condiment. The sauce is also delicious with chopped fresh oregano or coriander leaves stirred into it.
When Seville oranges are out of season, simply mix orange juice with lemon and lime. It's not quite the same but a good second best."

I made mine with freshly squeezed navel orange juice, limes and lemons, I didn't add the chopped onion as there was already onion in the Moros Y Cristianos, and I didn't have fresh oregano and can't take coriander so I added some chopped fresh leaf parsley, really just for colour and so those of you adding coriander could see how it would look.

And our verdict overall? An absolutely gorgeous meal!! My husband tucked into his while I photographed mine and his positive exclamations had me rushing the photoshoot! 
The Moros Y Cristianos is spicy and packed with flavour, went perfect with the rice and that zesty mojo sauce was just lush drizzled over top. 
I followed their suggestion and served it with a simple salad with leaf, tomato, onion and avocado but found myself drawn to taking the avocado from the salad and putting it on top of the black beans and I'm glad I did - it went so well with the whole dish. Of course, you could still add avocado to the salad as well - the more avocado the better I say!

Moros Y Cristianos and Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook

Furthermore, like all the recipes in this book this was so simple and used all easy to find cupboard ingredients. You might worry that a "World Food" cookbook would be jam packed with ingredients making you run all over town trying to find or needing to buy online but no, that's not the case with this book at all which is a refreshing change.

Moros Y Cristianos and Mojo Sauce from the World Food Cafe Cookbook

Moros Y Cristianos
serves 4 - 6

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large red pepper, diced
2 dessertspoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 generous tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 ½ tins (400g/14oz size) of black beans, drained and rinsed
300ml / 10fl oz vegetable stock
1 ½ tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar
long-grain white rice (approximately 350g / 12oz, depending on appetite)

To garnish
finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
a generous drizzle of olive oil

To serve
a simple side salad of lettuce leaves topped with thin slices of plum tomato, radish, avocado and red onion, dressed with seasoned olive oil and lime juice.
fried plantain slices

     Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper until soft but not brown. Add the paprika, ground cumin, thyme, bay leaves and chilli flakes, cook for a a couple of minutes and then stir in the tomato purée.

     Add the beans and gradually stir in the vegetable stock. Simmer on a low heat until the stock has reduced by half, and mash the beans until they start to break down.

     Add the red wine vinegar and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for a further few minutes, and then serve either on top of or combined with cooked white long-grain rice. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Serve the simple salad and fried plantain alongside.

Mojo Sauce

180ml / 6fl oz Seville orange juice or 120ml / 4fl oz orange juice, 30ml / 1 fl oz lime juice and 30ml / 1 fl oz lemon juice
1 flat teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ small onion, very finely chopped (optional)
60ml / 2fl oz olive oil
8 garlic cloves, crushed
chopped oregano leaves (optional)
chopped coriander leaves (optional)

     Combine the citrus juice, salt, black pepper, cumin and (if you want a thicker sauce) onion.
     Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. When hot, add the crushed garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft but not brown. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring in the citrus mix (stand back a little, just in case it spits). Return to the heat and bring to the boil; then remove from the heat once more and allow to cool, when you can add the herbs if you wish.
     The mojo sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

Excerpted with permission from "World Food Cafe - Quick and Easy Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey" ©2013 Chris and Carolyn Caldicott. Published by Frances Lincoln. 
Published with permission of Frances Lincoln

My Notes

For the Black Beans:
• I used a regular onion in place of a red onion and an orange pepper in place of the red, simply as that's what I had on hand.
• I was only making the bean dish for my husband and I so I halved the recipe and cooked up 150g long grain rice for the 2 of us. This served us generously.
• I didn't have any fresh thyme so added ½ teaspoon dried thyme (for half the recipe).
• I just used 1 tin of black beans for the half recipe I was doing.
• I didn't add the garnish as I was drizzling on the Mojo Sauce.
• I also used the Mojo Sauce as my side salad dressing - it was perfect for it!
For the Mojo Sauce:
• I used the fresh orange juice, lime and lemon juice option.
• I didn't add the onion.
• I used chopped fresh parsley in place of the other herbs.
• Make sure you stir it up well before drizzling as the garlic, pepper, cumin and parsley like to settle on the bottom!

Disclaimer: While I was given this cookbook to review I was not paid to review it and all views expressed here are my own, as are all the photos.

....and coming up next on the blog...
Vegan Raspberry Bakewell Tarts

Raspberry Bakewell Tarts!!
(my own recipe)

Wednesday 18 September 2013

The Sexy Vegan's "Happy Hour at Home"

The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour at Home Corn Dawggies, Okra Fries and Pomarita Cocktail
Corn Dawggies with the Most Wonderful Ketchup, Okra Fries with White Barbecue Sauce and a Pomarita Cocktail.

Well hello again!! Yes, I am back from my somewhat extended holiday :-) First, I should explain that we spent 4 weeks in Canada this summer, back to my hometown to visit my family. We had an absolutely fantastic time, it was my first time back in 6 years and it was SO good to be back. 

We returned late July but then unfortunately the old lupus decided to act up and I just haven't had the energy to blog. At all. So, that's why the break was a little longer than expected but I'm feeling OK now, it comes and goes but I'm happy to be back for the time being anyway! I would also like to apologise for all the late comment posting, responding to emails/twitter and book reviews....everything gets put on hold when I have a flare up.

Speaking of book reviews, I was contacted way back when, just before we left for Canada if I would mind reviewing Brian Patton's (aka - The Sexy Vegan) new cookbook "Happy Hour at Home - Small Plates, Big Flavours and Potent Cocktails" and I was only too happy to oblige. After all, I love cocktails and anything snacky - this sounded right up my alley! 

The Sexy Vegan's "Happy Hour at Home"

It's a great, fun book combining diverse cocktails with small bites, great for parties and small get-togethers. The book is divided into menu's like: "Little India" with samosa pizza, roasted chana and stuffed dates or "Really Little Italy" with rigatoni poppers, grilled asparagus and figs and grilled basil-mint watermelon skewers or "Satay-day Night Fever" with tempeh satay with peanut sauce, grilled baby bok choi and teriyaki almonds....just to give you an idea. Each menu also comes with a cocktail recommendation with all the drink recipes in the back. And of course the whole book oozes with Brian's fantastic sense of humour :-)

The Sexy Vegan's Corn Dawggies with The Most Wonderful Ketchup, Okra Fries and Pomarita

It's quite simply a great cookbook, I loved the sound of all the menus but when choosing which one I was going to test there was no contest - I went with the "State Fair Fare" menu: Corn Dawggies with the Most Wonderful Ketchup and Okra fries with White Barbecue Sauce. The reason is simple - I've actually never in my life had corn dogs (!) and have been wanting to try them for AGES now. Corn dogs being of course hot dogs dipped in a cornbread batter, deep fried and eaten on a stick, a common fair food in America. On top of that, brace yourselves, I've never had okra before (!!) So, how awesome was this menu for me??? 

Well, I'm glad to report that everything turned out beautifully, perfect first try and everything was so easy to do as it's clearly written and well explained. 

The Sexy Vegan's Corn Dawggies with The Most Wonderful Ketchup

The Sexy Vegan's Corn Dawggies with the Most Wonderful Ketchup

Now, as I mentioned above I have never actually had corn dogs before so I had nothing to compare these too, but they looked just like them, cooked up a charm, had perfect texture and most importantly, tasted incredible!! I will definitely be making these again...and I will give him this - that really is "The Most Wonderful Ketchup"! Soon to be a staple in this house :-)

Corn Dawggies:
Canola, vegetable, or any other high-heat oil, for deep-frying
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons unrefined granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1/2 cup arrowroot
4 veggie dogs, cut into thirds
Yellow or whole-grain mustard, for serving
The Most Wonderful Ketchup (recipe follows), for serving

Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a pot, high-sided pan, or deep fryer. Line a plate with paper towels and set it next to the stove. Heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, chile powder, paprika, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Stir in the nondairy milk and keep stirring until you have a batter that is slightly thicker than pancake batter. Let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Spread out the arrowroot on a large plate. Working in batches, roll the veggie dogs in the arrowroot until completely coated, tapping the dogs to remove the excess, and immerse the dogs in the batter. Using a fork or chopsticks, take the dogs out of the batter and gently lower them into the oil. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden on all sides, making sure to turn them a few times for even cooking. Transfer the dogs to the paper towel–lined plate. When they’re cool enough to handle, cut them in half crosswise, and serve with toothpicks, mustard, and the Most Wonderful Ketchup.

The Most Wonderful Ketchup:
1 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons pomegranate concentrate
½ teaspoon agave nectar

Whisk all this stuff together in a bowl.

Excerpted with permission from The Sexy Vegan’s Happy Hour at Home ©2013 by Brian Patton.  Published with permission of New World Library

My Notes for the Corn Dawggies

• I used Fry's brand veggie dogs which come frozen so I defrosted them at room temperature first.
• I cut the dogs in half only as I wanted the more traditional looking corn dog on a stick here.
• I couldn't find ancho chile powder here so I just used a "hot chile powder".
• I used smoked sea salt in place of the salt.
• I fried them in vegetable oil.

My Notes for the Ketchup

• I used pomegranate molasses as it's called here. (Same diff).
• I used Sweet Freedom in place of the agave as it's my vegan syrup sweetener of choice :-)

The Sexy Vegan's Pomarita Cocktail
The Sexy Vegan's "Pomarita" Cocktail

This.Was.Gorgeous!!! Now, the drink recommendation for this menu was actually the lush sounding "Starburst" with citrus juices and strawberry vodka that Brian describes as tasting just like starburst candy (which I would LOVE!) but, I didn't have any strawberry vodka and that stuff is expensive, haha, SO I went with the Pomarita (think pomegranate margarita) as it called for some pomegranate concentrate which I already bought to make the ketchup and well, I liked having another recipe to use the stuff in! 
An amazing cocktail, another regular for sure, and while I would usually shake my margarita style cocktails with ice and pour into a martini glass, I quite like the rustic look of it in my mini beer stein... (which yes, IS a former mustard pot!)

The Sexy Vegan's Okra Fries with White Barbecue Sauce
The Sexy Vegan's Okra "Fries" with White Barbecue Sauce

Like corn dogs I also have never had okra before, I heard that they can be slimy and I think this has been putting me off trying them; but thankfully there was no slime whatsoever here, they had a nice crunchy cornmeal coating, were slightly chewy inside and went perfectly with the white barbecue sauce.

The Sexy Vegan's Okra Fries with White Barbecue Sauce

Altogether this was a great menu, fun to make and easy to do and I look forward to having some people over and trying the other menus in the book!

Disclaimer: While I was given this cookbook to review I was not paid to review it and all views expressed here are my own, as are all the photos.