Wednesday 18 February 2015

Garden Vegetable Almond Cream Cheese

Vegan Garden Vegetable Almond Cream Cheese - can also be made whipped style for a dip!
Yay! It worked!! *sigh* I've been wanting to make a vegan garden vegetable cream cheese for so long now, styled after Philadelphia's. Since the Baked Almond Feta recipe works so well I decided to base it on that but tried to remove the 'feta' elements from the cheese, mainly the extra salt and the garlic and then I added quite a bit of nutritional yeast to give it a more "regular" cheese flavour. I then drained and baked it off as normal then blitzed it with some veggies. For those I went with what was listed in the ingredients for Philadelphia's Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese - mainly green and red peppers, cucumber, celery and carrot.

Now, I loved the flavour but I was left with more of a dip or spread more akin to houmous in texture. Not really a problem but it was a bit too runny for my liking. I put it in the fridge thinking well, we'll use it as a dip instead when in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep as usual I thought, hmmm, what if I drained it off AGAIN in cheesecloth?

So the next day I did that and left it overnight. In the morning I was saddened to see very little liquid had drained off but the cheesecloth itself was heavy with liquid, it had simply absorbed it from all around and when I removed it I had a ball of "cheese"! 
Vegan Garden Vegetable Almond Cream Cheese - can also be made whipped style for a dip!
This is still soft of course as it is supposed to be like cream cheese and it is just the texture I was originally after - soft and spreadable. I was also happy that doing a second draining did not affect the flavour in any way, it just helped the texture.
Vegan Garden Vegetable Almond Cream Cheese - can also be made whipped style for a dip!
This does add another day to the process of course but you can just stop after blending and use it as a dip. Both versions are just packed with flavour - this stuff is so fresh tasting, you can taste all the gorgeous veggies in there and makes for an awesome sandwich spread - especially with flavours that are not in there - avocado, tomato and lettuce :-)

As usual, my Froothie 9400 high performance blender did an amazing job here, from the first stage of making the cream cheese to adding the veggies. I wanted it smooth so blended them fully in but with the froothie you can just pulse the veggies to have a chunkier texture - it's wonderfully versatile that way!
Vegan Garden Vegetable Almond Cream Cheese - can also be made whipped style for a dip!

Garden Vegetable Almond Cream Cheese:

1 x recipe almond cream cheese, baked and cooled (recipe below)

1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 whole small carrot, peeled and sliced
½ stalk celery, sliced
4" cucumber, de-seed but leave skin on
¼ whole red bell pepper, chopped
¼ whole green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic

½ Tbsp chopped chives

Almond Cream Cheese:
150g ground almonds
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup water
½ cup nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

First make the cream cheese: Place everything in a blender and blend until really smooth. Transfer to cheesecloth, tie up and place in a sieve over a bowl; refrigerate overnight to drain and set. Transfer to a greased dish and bake at 180C for 30 min. Let cool.

Note: there are step by step photos of this process in the Baked Almond Feta post.

Place all the veg except the chives into a blender and pulse blend until finely chopped. Crumble in all of the almond cream cheese and pulse blend some more until well blended and pink-ish/orangey in colour. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the finely chopped chives. 

You can chill it now and have....
Whipped Garden Vegetable Almond Cream Cheese Dip - vegan recipe.
Great for use as a dip, especially with an assortment of veggie crudites and breadsticks....

.....or, transfer the mixture again to 3 layers of cheesecloth, tie up and place in a sieve over a bowl and place in the fridge overnight. Remove the cheesecloth and place the ball of cheese smooth side up on a plate for a spreadable Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese :-)
Vegan Garden Vegetable Almond Cream Cheese - can also be made whipped style for a dip!
It's also great at breakfast simply spread on a toasted wholemeal bagel alongside a cup of coffee.
Vegan Garden Vegetable Almond Cream Cheese - can also be made whipped style for a dip!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliated links with Froothie UK.

Nutritional Information: per 100g

Calories: 358
Protein: 11.5g
Fat: 29.4g
Sat Fat: 3g
Fibre: 6.2g
Carbs: 14.5g
Sugars: 3.1g
Sodium: 602mg

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Thursday 12 February 2015

Frangelico Hazelnut Butter Truffles

Frangelico Hazelnut Butter Truffles - vegan recipe
Well, I thought I would sneak in a cheeky little Valentine's Day post for you....although, truth be told - these aren't really truffles! I just didn't know what else to call them :-) Think peanut butter cups but with hazelnut instead and shaped differently (calling them hazelnut butter balls just wasn't going to happen!) I actually made these last year for Easter and shaped them into eggs but I didn't get around to blogging them. So for Valentine's day this year I wanted to make them heart shaped but seriously overestimated my heart shaping wasn't working. If you have a silicone heart mould, the type for chocolates or ice cubes, that would be perfect here. Or, just take the easy route and roll them into balls like I did :-)
Frangelico Hazelnut Butter Truffles - vegan recipe
I have based these on my peanut butter cup recipe where I have swapped the peanut butter with hazelnut butter and threw in some delicious Frangelico to fancy them up a bit ;-) They are super easy to throw together and so delicious. As you can see, the chocolate coating is pretty thin so feel free to double coat if you prefer. Furthermore, rolling them in some finely chopped hazelnuts wouldn't go amiss either if that's your thing - play around with them! An almond version with almond butter and Amaretto I'm sure would be great as well. 
Frangelico Hazelnut Butter Truffles - vegan recipe
Frangelico Hazelnut Butter Truffles:

Yields about 28 small "truffles"

¼ cup hazelnut butter (all natural, no salt or sugar)
1 Tbsp vegan butter
pinch of salt
1¼ cups icing sugar
1 Tbsp Frangelico
100g dark chocolate, chopped

Measure the butters into a small bowl and soften with a spoon, mixing well. Add the salt, icing sugar and Frangelico. Mix well until you have a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for a couple of hours. Roll into small size balls, I used a measured teaspoon, and place on a plate lined with baking paper. Chill in the fridge until firm – a couple of hours will do.

Melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave in 20 second spurts until smooth. Using 2 forks dip the truffles into the chocolate, turning over until well coated. Let the excess chocolate run off then place them on a chopping board lined with baking paper. If you want to roll them in some chopped hazelnuts do this now before the chocolate sets (unless you want to coat them twice, in which case roll them in hazelnuts after the second coating). Chill until set – a couple of hours. If you wish you can coat them again then chill again. Store in the fridge. Lovely with a sip of Frangelico alongside!

Frangelico Hazelnut Butter Truffles - vegan recipe

Nutritional Information: per "truffle"

Calories: 62
Protein: 0.4g
Fat: 2.1g
Sat Fat: 0.2g
Fibre: 0.3g
Carbs: 6.1g
Sugar: 5.3g
Sodium: 1.7mg

Some more Valentine's Day Treats:

White Chocolate
Mousse Cake
Raspberry Bakewell

Monday 9 February 2015

Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze

Light and Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze. Vegan recipe.
I just might have a new favourite snack! These are absolutely incredible, really light and crispy corn fritters with an almost tempura style batter and a gorgeous sweet chilli apple glaze. It's a match made in heaven! Both the fritters and the glaze have taken many attempts to get just right but I have it now and am so happy. These will be featuring in my life many times I predict :-)
Light and Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze. Vegan recipe.
I was actually inspired by an episode of You Got to Eat Here, I can't remember the name of the restaurant but they had these corn dogs with a chilli apple glaze that just looked incredible. I knew I had to make something similar and opted for corn fritters instead and started experimenting with the glaze.
Light and Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze. Vegan recipe.
The glaze (or dip - you can use it either way) is amazing, essential with these fritters and something I can see going with many other things like spring rolls, wontons or anything else you might use say a Thai Sweet Chilli sauce with but honestly, this is better. 
Light and Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze - vegan recipe.
It's also SO easy to make, just organic natural apple juice, apple cider vinegar, light brown sugar, shallots, garlic and red chilli. Give it a blitz in a blender then simmer in a saucepan until thick and lightly syrupy then chill to thicken a little more. Simple.
Light and Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze. Vegan recipe.
Due to the sauce having so much flavour I've opted for really simple corn fritters here. They are SO light as the addition of sparkling water gives them a tempura type texture and they have a perfect fluffy texture inside. They also reheat in the oven brilliantly (if you manage to find yourself with leftovers!) Just 5-10 min at 200C and they are as good as new :-)
Light and Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze. Vegan recipe.
Light and Crispy Corn Fritters:

Yields about 17 fritters

100g plain flour (2/3 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp melted vegan butter
90ml sparkling water – 6 Tbsp
90g plain or unsweetened soy yogurt - 6 Tbsp
1 x 165g tin of sweetcorn, drained (1 cup drained) 
Vegetable oil, for frying

Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk together the soy yogurt, melted butter and sparkling water.  Mix to create a batter, then fold in the corn. Let it sit while the oil heats. 

Pour enough vegetable oil in a high sided saucepan to about 4-6", depending on the size of your pot. Make sure it's not too full. Heat oil to 190C/375F. 

Drop by heaped teaspoons into the oil and fry until golden and puffy, turning them over once. As the batter is fairly runny it's best to scoop up with 1 teaspoon and quickly push it off with another teaspoon. The quicker you do this the more rounded shaped fritters you will get. Remove with a heat safe slotted spoon and drain in a paper towel lined bowl. This type of batter absorbs quite a bit of oil so I recommend changing the paper once more and flipping the fritters to ensure all excess oil drains off. They can sit for quite a bit before they get cold so do let them drain well.
Light and Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze. Vegan recipe.
Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze:

½ cup cloudy organic apple juice 
¼ cup light brown sugar (45g)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot
½ red chilli, de-seeded and membranes removed
1 clove garlic

Note: when I first made this and tested it I found it too hot and was going to make it again with just 1/4 of a chilli. But when it is used as a dip or glaze it's perfect. So don't be alarmed if you find it a bit hot at first too :-) Of course if you really like super spicy food you might like to add even more! Thankfully this dip/glaze is so easy to whip up you can experiment with the heat levels.

Place everything in blender and blend until really smooth and pink in colour. I used my awesome Froothie 9400 which took no time at all :-) Transfer to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil, stirring frequently until reduced, glossy and thick yet still a bit runny, about 10 minutes. Keep in mind it will thicken up some more in the fridge. Transfer to a bowl and let cool then refrigerate until fully cool. I like to bring it to room temperature before serving.
Light and Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze - vegan recipe.
Serve the crispy warm fritters with the glaze. You can either dip them as you go where the fritters retain their crispiness. Or you can pre-glaze the fritters - they lose their crispiness a bit this way but it's also really good having the fritters saturated with that glaze! I recommend trying both ways :-) Oh, and yes - a nice crisp lager or blonde ale essential here. Enjoy!
Light and Crispy Corn Fritters with a Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze. Vegan recipe.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliated links with Froothie UK.

Nutritional Information

Corn Fritters: per fritter after frying (out of 17 fritters)

Calories: 92
Protein: 1.1g
Fat: 6.8g
Sat Fat: 0.6g
Fibre: 0.4g
Carbs: 7g
Sugar: 1g
Sodium: 117mg

Sweet Chilli Apple Glaze: whole recipe

Calories: 237
Protein: 0.5g
Fat: 0.1g
Sat Fat: 0
Fibre: 0.2g
Carbs: 60.1g
Sugar: 43.9g
Sodium: 24.7mg

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Monday 2 February 2015

Cauliflower Sung Choi Bao

Cauliflower Sung Choi Bao - vegan and gluten-free recipe
This was a bit of a funny recipe development, I had started off wanting to try cauliflower rice which I have been seeing everywhere. That being cauliflower finely chopped to replace rice, not that it tastes like it off course, just for a "healthier" version, or at least less calories than rice. So I set about making just my standard fried rice recipe with the cauliflower and found I ended up with something very similar to this "vegetable sung" dish we love to get from a local restaurant....and loved it!
Cauliflower Sung Choi Bao - vegan and gluten-free recipe
It is so yummy, very healthy and packed with flavour - coconut oil, chilli, garlic, ginger, turmeric, soy sauce with cauliflower, carrots, petite pois, mushrooms, spring onions and chopped roasted cashews and peanuts. It's got great anti-inflammatory ingredients as well with the coconut oil, chilli and turmeric - I feel great having this when the old lupus is acting up :-)
Cauliflower Sung Choi Bao - vegan and gluten-free recipe

Cauliflower Sung Choi Bao:

Yields 2 servings

½ Tbsp coconut oil
½ small onion or a couple shallots, finely chopped 
70g mushrooms, diced small
½ tsp turmeric
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
½ red chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
150g finely chopped cauliflower florets
50g carrot, finely diced
50g petite pois
1 Tbsp soy sauce - use tamari for gluten free version
1 spring onion, chopped
20g chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
20g chopped roasted unsalted cashews
Iceberg lettuce leaves to serve

First, chop all the veg and have ready, everything should be chopped fairly fine here. For the cauliflower, I just slice off the florets leaving the stem and stalks. Don't throw them away though, you can still use them for other dishes! Note: If you don't have already roasted nuts just give them a quick roast in the oven - 180C for 5-10 min should do, give the pan a shake now and again and keep an eye on them, when lightly golden brown, remove and let cool before chopping.

Heat the coconut oil in a large lidded wok or frying pan and add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and fry until soft and fragrant. Add the mushrooms, turmeric and a dash of salt. Fry until the mushrooms start to release liquid. Add the cauliflower and carrot and give it a good stir. Add a splash of hot water, cover and simmer until the carrots and cauliflower are just tender. Remove the lid, add the peas and fry until the mixture is dry. Add the soy sauce and fry again until any liquid is reabsorbed. Stir in most of the spring onion and chopped nuts. Spoon into iceberg lettuce cups then sprinkle with the remaining spring onion and nuts.

Cauliflower Sung Choi Bao - vegan and gluten-free recipe

Nutritional Information: 1 serving

Calories: 220
Protein: 9.8g
Fat: 14g
Sat Fat: 4.9g
Fibre: 5.7g
Carbs: 17.3g
Sugar: 6.7g
Sodium: 504mg

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