Tuesday 16 December 2014

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
I can't quite believe that after blogging since 2006 (including my vegetarian blog) I haven't posted a basic cream of mushroom soup until now! We are so in love with this soup, it's thick and super creamy with a velvety texture and great mushroom flavour. My husband, a huge fan of anything mushroom based was always disappointed by tinned cream of mushroom soup back when he was vegetarian as they never actually taste of mushroom - just  that rank artificial mushroom flavour. Well, he's  described this one as 'hands down the best cream of mushroom soup he's ever had' - so, yay!
Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
I have made several cream of mushroom soups before but none have compared to this one. I think the reason for that is the outright simplicity of this recipe, I was probably trying too hard before, roasting the mushrooms, using exotic mushrooms, tons of fresh herbs etc.. when all it really needed was mushrooms, stock, cream, onion and garlic. Simple.

It's a great basic cream of mushroom soup recipe and would also work well in all those old time recipes that call for 'a can of cream of mushroom soup' that we all call old school and a bit naff but secretly love ;-) Remember noodle casserole made with a tin of cream of mushroom soup? Haha - delicious!

~Recipe Notes~
• For the mushroom stock I have used 1 Kallo Organic Mushroom Stock Cube dissolved in 500ml boiling water. If you can't buy this brand then I would use another brand mushroom stock, from either a cube or powder to make 500ml (2 cups) OR I would recommend you make your own mushroom stock (sorry I don't have a recipe but there are loads online). I wouldn't really recommend not using a mushroom stock here - you need that extra mushroom flavour happening.
• I have kept this simple with no herbs but if you like, thyme, marjoram and parsley all go brilliantly with mushrooms. Fresh would be best.
• Recipe makes 4 small servings or 2 large. We always go for the small servings as we have lots of bread with it, in fact I almost treat the soup like a mushroom fondue! Plus the soup is thick and rich so I find the small serving just perfect but keep in mind it doesn't look like much in the bowl. These photos have a large serving in them.

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 Tbsp vegan butter
1 onion, chopped
250g white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp flour
500ml (2 cups) mushroom stock
250ml (1 cup) soy cream
1/8 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground nutmeg

All the ingredients!

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and give it a good stir. Sprinkle over the salt and add about 12 grinds of black pepper. 
Fry until the onions are soft and the mushrooms are cooked through, about 10 minutes. You also want *most* of the liquid cooked off but not all of it, stop before you've cooked off all the liquid. Now add the garlic and give it a good stir then turn the heat down to low and add the flour. Stir well and fry gently for about 1 minute.
Dissolve the stock cube in the 500ml of boiling water and add a little bit to the pot, stir well to deglaze any flour then add a bit more stock, again stir well and keep adding more stock until it is all added. Now bring to the boil then reduce and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Do this with the lid off so that the stock reduces a bit. 
Stock being added.

Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes.

...after the 10 minutes, reduced.

Now add the cream (for those of you in the UK and Ireland this is handily a whole 250ml carton of Alpro single cream). Mix well then turn off the heat.
Transfer the soup to your blender and blend on the highest setting until velvety smooth. I used my Froothie Optimum 9400 blender and as always, it did an amazing job here. Absolutely no "mushroom graininess" in this soup!

Return to the pot, add a couple gratings of fresh nutmeg (not too much, it can overpower!) and bring the soup back up to heat.

Ladle into warmed bowls and serve with bread of your choice, a nice 'fresh from the oven' French crusty bread with some vegan butter spread on is ideal :-)
Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

Source: adapted from this recipe.

Nutritional Information: based on 1 serving out of 4 (small bowls)
Calories: 176
Protein: 3.9g
Fat: 12.7g
Sat Fat: 2.2g
Fibre: 1.3g
Carbs: 10.4g
Sugar: 2.9g
Sodium: 607mg

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliated links to Froothie UK, however all views expressed are my own.

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Monday 1 December 2014

Ginger & Spice Cakies

Vegan Ginger & Spice "Cakies" - soft cake like cookies

Yes! Cakies - kind of a cookie, kind of a cake...kind of a marriage made in heaven ;-) I was after a very soft cake like cookie with all the flavour of gingerbread and these hit the spot perfectly, especially with a little drizzle of vanilla glaze on them! They are also a great addition to the holiday baking season, now fervently upon us :-) 

I based the recipe on a recipe in my old childhood favourite cookie cook book, Scholastic's "The Cookie Book" - I've referenced it before on the blog, it was purchased about 1983 through my school and I do still use it! If anyone else in Canada remembers this book, do let me know :-)
In the book these were called "Molasses Cookies" and the name must have put me off as I never made them. They were descibed as soft and a quick read of the ingredients indicated this recipe was probably just what I was after, a big soft gingerbread spiced cookie.

Vegan Ginger & Spice "Cakies" - soft cake like cookies

Naturally I made a few changes: omitted the egg altogether (and it wasn't missed), omitted the raisins, swapped the molasses for Golden Syrup and added a drizzle of vanilla glaze. Now, I love molasses but I was after a more delicate flavoured cookie here, molasses can sometimes overpower things I find. Plus, I already have a gingerbread recipe I absolutely adore and make every Christmas and didn't want something similar here. 

That being said, I know Golden Syrup is hard to find (if at all) for those in North America so molasses can be used instead. You will end up with a darker cookie with a different taste to these but I have no doubt they will still taste great :-

Vegan Ginger & Spice "Cakies" - soft cake like cookies

Ginger & Spice Cakies:

-makes 15 cookies

1/4 cup / 50g vegan butter
1/4 cup / 60g golden caster sugar, granulated is fine too
1/4 cup / 90g Golden Syrup
1/4 cup / 60ml unsweetened soy milk
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup / 200g plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
2 - 3 tsp unsweetened dairy free milk (I used almond milk here)
1/8 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

Measure out the soy milk and add the vinegar. Give it a stir then set aside to curdle. In another bowl mix together the flour, salt and spices - set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until well mixed. Add the syrup and mix well. Add the baking soda to the milk and vinegar mixture and give it a stir, it should get a little foamy. Add this to the butter mixture and stir. WARNING: it will look like a disgusting curdled mess at this point but that's fine - it is actually what you are after :-)

Tip in the flour mixture and stir just until there is no more flour showing but do not over mix. You should have a soft dough, slightly more akin to thick cake batter than cookie dough.

Drop by heaped tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, about an inch apart. Pop into the preheated oven and bake for about 12 minutes. They should be lightly golden around the edges but still soft to the touch.

Let cool on the tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.

Glaze: mix together 2 tsp of the milk and the vanilla with the powdered sugar, stir until all the sugar is dissolved. If it is too thick add a bit more milk - I needed just another 1/8 tsp. You want the glaze thick but "drizzable"- let it fall down from the spoon and if it's falls in ribbons that's about right.

Keep the cookies on the wire rack but place a sheet of baking paper underneath and drizzle the glaze all over the cookies in a back and forth motion. Leave for about an hour for the glaze to set then they are ready!
Vegan Ginger & Spice "Cakies" - soft cake like cookies

Nutritional Information: based on 1 cookie out of 15

Calories: 121
Fat: 2.4g
Sat Fat: 0.5g
Protein: 1.5g
Carbs: 23.1g
Sugar: 8.0g
Fibre: 0.4g
Sodium: 72.9mg

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