Sunday, 24 March 2013

Isa's Roasted Red Pepper Almond Mayo

Isa's Roasted Red Pepper Almond Mayo

First, I hope you like the new look to the blog, I've been meaning to update my header and background for ages now, the other ones were supposed to be only briefly temporary! I do get around to things.....eventually :-)

Second, I hope you'll forgive me posting another "no recipe" blog post but I made this Rouille by Isa (she needs no last name!) the other day and it was so epic I just had to blog about it.

Now, I had never heard of rouille before but it's a French breadcrumb based sauce. Isa based hers on a Julia Child recipe which uses almonds instead of breadcrumbs. That swap made this spread taste not hugely dissimilar to the almond feta before it gets baked but with a spicy mustard, roasted red pepper thing going on. Oh yeah....

Pan Grilled Avocado, Baby Spinach and Basil Multigrain Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper Almond Mayo.
Multigrain Pan-Grilled Avocado, Baby Spinach and Basil Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper Almond Mayo

Although it's called rouille (which is a sauce) I decided to fully embrace the mayo title here and use it as a sandwich spread....and wow. It's simply stunning in sandwiches. Those of you who follow my daily blog will know I was spreading that stuff in everything but was loving this sandwich in particular. The flavour combination of that mayo with avocado is a match made in heaven. 

I am so happy to have found this recipe. I always seem to be short of delicious vegan sandwich spread options. Sure, I have a mayo I love - Plamil Organic and there's always houmous and all it's variations but for the most part that's about it. This one will get well used. Thank you Isa!!

Just keep one thing in mind, this may have healthier ingredients than regular mayo but it actually has more calories than full fat egg mayo (!) So, if you are watching the calories you may want to spread conservatively... although, as you can see, I struggled with that one!

Isa's Roasted Red Pepper Almond Mayo

*Make sure you go to the PPK for the FULL mayo recipe
These are just a few personal notes of small changes I made but I otherwise followed the recipe exactly.

I roasted my pepper using the quick roasting method from the "Golden Slipper" post. Simply top, tail and de-seed a bell pepper and slice into 4 large flat pieces. Place these skin side up on a grill safe baking tray and grill until the skin is blackened. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film and let it sit for 15 minutes to sweat. Peel off the skins which should peel off easy now, then simply chop them up before adding to the blender.
I used ground almonds or almond meal instead of slivered. As you guys know, I have a weak ass blender. I used 55g (½ cup) of ground almonds and pan fried the ground almonds in a dry non-stick frying pan until fragrant and ever so slightly golden.
I used 3 garlic cloves instead of 2 (but they weren't very big).
Recipe called for 1/4 tsp of salt and then more to taste. I used ½ tsp of salt in total.
As she says, don't worry if it seems a bit runny at first as it does thicken up in the fridge. Still, if it is getting hard to blend resist the urge to add more water. I only added the amount of water the recipe calls for....I further made no changes to the oil or dijon mustard.

Pan Grilled Avocado, Baby Spinach and Basil Multigrain Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper Almond Mayo.
A great lunch with some thai sweet chilli and red pepper crisps and a refreshing glass of  San Pellegrino Limonata!

Pan-grilled Avocado, Baby Spinach and Basil with Roasted Red Pepper Almond Mayo

• 2 slices good quality multigrain bread (or whatever you like!)
• slices of avocado
• handful of baby spinach
• fresh basil leaves
• 25g or a couple tablespoons of the Rouille / Mayo
• salt and pepper (preferably smoked sea salt)
• vegan butter to fry

Get a cast iron grill pan nice and hot. Assemble the sandwich: mayo, avocado, tiny pinch of smoked sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper, basil then the spinach.
"Butter" the top of the sandwich and place this butter side down onto the hot grill pan. "Butter" the top again and flip over when golden brown. 

Pan Grilled Avocado, Baby Spinach and Basil Multigrain Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper Almond Mayo.

I also made a wrap using this mayo in place of regular mayo in my chicken salad recipe and adding some avocado, tomato and basil. I also chose to pan-grill this one but you could also eat it as is. It was a beautiful wrap.

Vegan Chicken Salad Wrap with Roasted Red Pepper Almond Mayo, Avocado, Tomato and Basil

• 1 large wrap
• 30 - 40g vegan chicken style pieces (I used Fry's)
• 30 - 40g Rouille / Mayo
• 1 large spring onion, chopped fine
• diced avocado
• diced tomato
• fresh basil leaves
• olive oil

Fry the chicken pieces in a tiny bit of olive oil until cooked, or according to your brands instructions.

Warm up a large wrap in a dry frying pan to make it more pliable. Finely chop the chicken and mix it in a bowl with the mayo and spring onion. I added a few grinds of black pepper here as well. 

Top with the avocado, tomato and basil - wrap up and eat OR get a grill pan nice and hot, brush the wrap with olive oil and pan grill until golden brown. 

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Garden Fresh Summer Mint
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Avocado on Garlic
Bread Ciabatta Roll

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Minecraft Cake!

Minecraft Cake

Just a bit of a fun post for you today! It was my son's 11th birthday yesterday and like most boys his age he is mad about minecraft. I thought about making him a themed birthday cake and had a search online and was just floored when I saw this one, looking just like the grass blocks in minecraft with around 1300 hand cut squares of fondant!

Minecraft Cake

I really didn't think I would be able to make this as I've only once worked with fondant before, on the Veggie Burger Cake and let's face it, that was just cutting out rudimentary shapes and laying them down on the cake - nothing difficult. I felt this would be out of my cake decorating ability but the cake's designer, Ann Reardon of "How to Cook That" provides a fantastic video on her site on how to do it so I got brave and decided to have a go!

Minecraft Cake

Overall I was so pleased at how this turned out! Sure, mine is a little more wonky than the more "professional" ones out there, lol, but all those little imperfections do not matter when viewing this cake from a bit of a distance. That's when it looks proper pixelated and is most effective. According to my son I got it "spot on perfect" so that's all that matters to me!

I kept the whole cake a secret from him, working away on it upstairs in the guest room where our old dining room table is set up. When I finally showed it to him he was simply gobsmacked and just LOVED it - well worth the hours of decorating!

No instructions for this one as all you need to know on how to make it is on Ann's website, including a step by step video....bless her!!

Vegan Notes: For the chocolate cake and frosting I used both recipes from my Quadruple Layer Chocolate Cake, halving the cake recipe and baking it in a 6" square cake tin, then repeating that 3 times. I also doubled the amount of frosting to ensure I had enough and it was a good call!

The fondant and food colours where simply purchased from a sugarcraft shop. I made sure everything I bought was labelled suitable for vegetarians as that's always a good start in ensuring colours will be vegan (not a guarantee, just a good start!) then I checked that they would be suitable for vegans by researching all the ingredients online. I'm basically now an expert in e-numbers, ha! 

Altogether this was so much fun to do, and I feel a little more confident in working with fondant now. Finn was simply overjoyed with it and it tasted fantastic! It will definitely go down as a cake he'll never forget :-)

You Might Also Like:

Veggie Burger Cake
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Monday, 4 March 2013

Beer Battered Deep Fried Bananas with Salted Caramel or Toffee Sauce

Beer Battered Banana Fritters with Salted Caramel or Toffee Sauce. Made with Banana Bread Beer!
I have actually been trying to blog this for almost a year now as I first made it AGES ago but something kept getting in the way! We've had this a few times now and it is simply one of my favourite desserts. Despite the deep frying they really are very easy to make and taste just incredible!
Beer Battered Banana Fritters with Salted Caramel or Toffee Sauce. Made with Banana Bread Beer!
I've based the batter recipe on my beer batter as it's so nice and light and tasty. I figured a regular lager wouldn't work for a dessert so have used Well's Banana Bread Beer instead and added a bit of sugar to the batter. I've further dredged the banana in cinnamon flour before battering which really adds to it. The beer gives a hint of banana flavour to the batter which smells heavenly!
Wells Banana Bread Beer
The first sauce I made for this was a toffee sauce as I wanted a banoffee feel to this dessert. It's really easy and tastes fantastic but then I tried a salted caramel sauce and have to say I slightly prefer that one, the bit of salt just gives the whole dish a little lift. However, the salted caramel is a bit of a bitch to make, my first batch turned out perfect but subsequent ones failed despite making them all the exact same way. 

So, I will give you both sauce recipes - the less stable salted caramel and the foolproof toffee :-) Furthermore, if you live in the UK or Ireland and don't want to make a sauce at all I can confirm that Lyle's Butterscotch Sauce is both labelled vegan and works very well with this.

And I know it may seem odd but this is one of those desserts that pairs very well with beer. It really does go perfectly with a chilled glass of the banana bread beer....and you've got to love a dessert you can eat with beer, right??
Beer Battered Banana Fritters with Salted Caramel or Toffee Sauce. Made with Banana Bread Beer!
Recipe Notes:

• Well's Banana Bread Beer is vegan and readily available in both the UK and Ireland. Alternatively any banana flavour beer will most likely work and Mongozo banana beer is also vegan.
• I like to use golden caster sugar but any sugar will do.
• Make sure the bananas you use are not overly ripe, the firmer the better with no dark spots - they need to take some intense heat while frying!
• Use whatever store bought vanilla ice cream you like - my only option is Swedish Glace which thankfully I love but if you are lucky enough to have coconut milk/cream based vegan ice creams for sale where you are I can see them going beautifully with this.
Beer Battered Banana Fritters with Salted Caramel or Toffee Sauce. Made with Banana Bread Beer!

Beer Battered Deep Fried Bananas

1 cup / 140g plain flour
1 cup / 250ml Well's Banana Bread Beer
2 Tbsp golden caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Dredging Mixture:
• 4 Tbsp plain flour
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• vegetable oil to fry
• bananas

Whisk the flour, beer, sugar and salt together in a large bowl until smooth. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Whisk the flour and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl. Remove the batter from the fridge and give it another good whisk.

Slice the bananas as you like. I sliced mine into thirds then each third in half. Dredge them in the flour and cinnamon mixture, the easiest way to do this is in a large ziploc bag.

Pour the vegetable oil into a large high sided pot. I used about 1.5 litres but still had a good 3 inches spare from the oil to the top of the pot - safety first! Don't fill a pot full of oil.

Heat the vegetable oil until very hot, at least 350F if you have a thermometer. NOTE: if the oil isn't hot enough the fritters will sink to the bottom and immediately stick to the bottom of the pan. Then, they will take too long to cook resulting in the banana turning to mush. You don't want that and yes, I speak from experience! When the oil is hot enough the fritters will drop in and then almost immediately rise to the surface. I recommend using one fritter as an oil test first before cooking the rest.

Take the flour and cinnamon dredged bananas and dip into the beer batter until well coated and then carefully place in the hot oil. Add more bananas but don't crowd the pot. As they cook turn them over so that they brown evenly.

Let them cook until golden brown then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack with paper towel underneath to catch drips.

Place a good size scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream onto a plate, place some of the fritters around it and drizzle over some of the sauce. Eat immediately!
Beer Battered Banana Fritters with Salted Caramel or Toffee Sauce. Made with Banana Bread Beer!

Toffee Sauce:

• 25g maple syrup
• 50g light muscovado sugar (light brown)
• 40g vegan butter
• 30ml soy cream
• ¼ tsp vanilla

Mix all but the soy cream in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring all the while. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the soy cream. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool and thicken. If it gets too thick simply heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds and it'll be good as new :-)

Source: based on Demuth's Vegetarian Cookery School toffee sauce recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Salted Caramel Sauce

• 125g white caster sugar
• 4 Tbsp water
• 80ml soy cream
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Heat the caster sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring all the while until the sugar dissolves and it comes to a boil. Stop stirring and let it simmer until it changes to a light golden colour. While it is simmering, make sure you do not stir it but instead brush around the pot just above the liquid with water to stop sugar crystals forming.

When it is nice and golden in colour remove from the heat and immediately stir in the soy cream - warning: it will splatter and foam up a lot here so take care! Once that is fully incorporated then you can stir in the vanilla and salt.

Source: based on BBC Good Food's Salted Caramel Buttercream Recipe
Beer Battered Banana Fritters with Salted Caramel or Toffee Sauce. Made with Banana Bread Beer!