Monday 20 October 2014

Smokey Vegetable Chowder

Smokey Sweetcorn Chowder - vegan recipe
Well we are definitely into the season for warming soups and stews now! Cork has turned decidedly cooler and stormier lately which I love, autumn is easily my favourite season especially as I get to make warming comforting meals like this one :-) Rather shockingly, up until making this I had never had chowder before! I think it's probably because I grew up by the coast and chowder for us meant clam chowder and even when I ate meat and fish I drew the line at shellfish (too much like bugs, bleh! haha) So I was very excited about trying the clam chowder alternative of sweetcorn chowder. 
Smokey Sweetcorn Chowder - vegan recipe
Most sweetcorn chowders seemed to call for potato as well and a lot called for bacon. I went even further with the veg as I felt this was calling out for some carrot and also added leeks which are really nice here. To honour the bacon factor I added both smoked paprika and smoked sea salt which is what gives this it's smokey angle and a wonderful flavour.

When I first made this I made it as a Vegan Chicken and Sweetcorn Chowder. Same recipe as here but with some added vegan chicken pieces in there. It was really good but I just felt that the 'faux-ness' of the vegan chicken was letting down the veg so I decided to omit it and just let the veggies shine on their own here. That being said, go ahead and throw in some fried vegan chicken pieces or some chickpeas or beans for added protein if you like. Just reduce some of the veg to make room for them, or increase the broth.
Smokey Sweetcorn Chowder - vegan recipe

Smokey Vegetable Chowder:
~serves 2~

1 Tbsp vegan butter
80g sliced leeks ( 2/3 heaped cup)
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp smoked sea salt
500ml unsweetened almond milk ( 2 cups)
1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder*
160g peeled and diced potato (1 cup)
80g peeled, sliced and halved carrot ( heaped 2/3 cup)
180g frozen sweetcorn ( 1 cup, heaped)

*As always I use Marigold Organic Vegan Bouillon Powder which has added turmeric which gives this a nice colour. If you are using a different brand bouillon powder then 1/8 tsp turmeric might be nice added to the milk. If you can buy a vegan chicken style stock where you are then I would recommend that.

Whisk the milk with the flour, stock powder, paprika and salt in a bowl or jug and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan then add the leeks, bay leaves and some freshly ground black pepper. Fry gently until just soft, 2-3 minutes should do. Pour in the milk mixture and add the carrots and potato. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the potato is tender, and the broth has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir it now and again and don't worry if you see little white dots of flour or milk. It's not separating and as you can see by the photos it goes away by the end :-)

When there is 6 minutes left add the sweetcorn, turn the heat up to maximum to bring it back to a boil as the frozen corn will bring the temperature down. When it's at a boil again, reduce to a simmer. Check that the potato is tender then turn the heat off, take the lid off and let it sit for 5 minutes. This helps cool it down a bit and thickens the chowder a little more. Check the seasoning then remove the bay leaves and serve. 

This chowder is hearty enough on it's own but as with all soups, great with some crusty rolls or French bread.
Smokey Sweetcorn Chowder - vegan recipe

Nutritional Information: for 1 serving out of 2
Calories: 286
Protein: 7.8g
Fat: 10.7g
Sat Fat: 1.9g
Fibre: 6.7g
Carbs: 39.4g
Sugar: 6.3g
Sodium: 900mg

You Might Also Like:

Smokey Red Bean
Dumpling Stew
Creamy Smoked Paprika
Sweet Potato & Dill Soup

Monday 13 October 2014

Blackberry & Apple Almond Loaf Cake

Blackberry & Apple Almond Loaf Cake. Vegan recipe.
Like my previous post this is another variation on a recipe already on the blog. I have been making loads of different versions of the Cranberry Almond Tea Cake for quite awhile now but haven't gotten around to blogging them.

First, a couple summers ago (!) I made a Blackberry and Lemon version which was so good, and great for using up all those buckets of blackberries we always seem to get in August :-) Then I found myself with some pears that needed using up and made a Pear and Almond Loaf Cake, also wonderful and now, a blackberry and apple almond loaf cake.
Blackberry & Apple Almond Loaf Cake. Vegan recipe.
What I'm trying to say is: this recipe is VERY versatile ;-) You can basically put in any fruit or berries you like, I never add nuts but they would go nicely as well. A cinnamon, apple and pecan version sounds pretty tasty does a cherry and almond version or strawberry vanilla etc... etc... As long as you keep the cake recipe the same and the weight/measure of fruit about the same you can do what you like.

For this one I was given some apples, not sure what kind to be honest, I think they were a mixture of cooking apples and golden delicious and as they needed using up threw them in with some frozen berries I had. I kept the almond flavouring here as is in the Cranberry Loaf Cake as I simply love almond flavoured cakes, easily my favourite and it goes very well here.
Blackberry & Apple Almond Loaf Cake. Vegan recipe.

Blackberry & Apple Almond Loaf Cake:

260g plain flour
120g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
180ml unsweetened almond milk
4 Tbsp cornstarch
110g vegan butter, melted
2 tsp almond extract
150g frozen blackberries
200g peeled and thinly sliced apple, toss in lemon juice to keep from browning

100g icing sugar
1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
¼ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 190C / 380F and grease a loaf tin.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together the milk and cornstarch. Whisk in the almond extract then slowly whisk in the melted butter. Toss the fruit in with the flour mixture then pour over the liquid and fold with a rubber spatula until mixed. Be careful not to over mix.

Scrape into prepared tin, level off the top and bake for 45 minutes. It should be risen, golden brown on top and make sure a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf cake comes out clean. (I have pulled this out too early before and had a doughy centre!) Cool in tin 15 minutes then remove cake from the tin to fully cool on a wire rack. I like to place it on it's side to cool.
Blackberry & Apple Almond Loaf Cake. Vegan recipe.
Whisk together the glaze ingredients until thick but just pourable, add more milk or icing sugar as need be then pour and spread on top letting some drizzle over the sides.
Blackberry & Apple Almond Loaf Cake. Vegan recipe.

Blackberry & Lemon Version:

Swap the almond extract with lemon extract
Omit the apple, can increase blackberries to 200g if you like.
omit the almond extract
increase vanilla extract to 1/2 tsp
add the zest of 1 lemon

Pear & Almond Version:

Make as per the Blackberry, Apple and Almond cake but omit the blackberries, swap the apple with diced pear and increase to 200g.

Nutritional Information: (Blackberry, Apple and Almond version, per 100g)

Calories: 244
Protein: 2.8g
Fat: 7.4g
Sat Fat: 1.6g
Fibre: 1.7g
Carbs: 41.7g
Sugar: 19.1g
Sodium: 250mg

You Might Also Like:

Berry Almond

Raspberry Bakewell

Thursday 2 October 2014

Cheesy Parsnip & Sage Beer Bread

Cheesy Parsnip and Sage Beer Bread (vegan recipe)
This is a variation on the Herbed Beer Bread already on the blog which I've been making for years (and it was always vegan!) The other day my father in law came up with some parsnips from his garden and truth be told they are not my favourite veg. I do love them maple roasted as part of the Christmas dinner but that's usually as far as I go with them. He brought so much I did make a curried parsnip and carrot soup which was good but not bloggable good.

Cheesy Parsnip and Sage Beer Bread (vegan recipe)
I then decided to try something different altogether and was inspired by a Delia Smith recipe for Parsnip, Parmesan and Sage Bread. That flavour combination just sounded wonderful and as hers was also a quick bread recipe (baking soda/powder not yeast) I immediately thought of my Herbed Beer Bread and just decided to adapt that one.

....and I am so glad I did, this is SO good! The addition of nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavour has really added to this recipe, in fact, I don't think I'll make this beer bread now without adding some :-) The parsnips give a nice subtle flavour, you do taste them, this isn't like carrots or zucchini in cake where they are just adding moisture, but, it's subtle and the sage is just perfect in there.
Cheesy Parsnip and Sage Beer Bread (vegan recipe)

Cheesy Parsnip and Sage Beer Bread:

2 ½ cups plain flour (350g)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup nutritional yeast (20g)
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
1 x 330ml can or bottle of lager of your choice, I used Grolsch
150g grated weight parsnips (about 2 small/medium parsnips)
• vegan butter to brush over crust and to serve

Note: I used my food processor to grate the parsnips as it was easier but you can just use a cheese grater.

Grease a 1.5 ltr loaf pan with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 375F / 180C.  Whisk everything but the beer and parsnips in a large bowl. Stir in the parsnips with a fork until well mixed then pour in the beer then stir and fold in with a rubber spatula until fully mixed. It will be very thick! Scrape this mixture into the loaf pan and even off the top. 

Pop into the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until risen and golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Optional - I like to now brush vegan butter all over the top while it is hot to melt in, it just adds a lovely flavour.  Leave it in the tin for 5 minutes then remove onto a wire rack to fully cool.
Cheesy Parsnip and Sage Beer Bread (vegan recipe)
Not optional - TOAST the slices then slather in vegan butter. Seriously, toasting is essential here!! 
Cheesy Parsnip and Sage Beer Bread (vegan recipe)
I mean look at that! :-)