Posts Tagged ‘vegan cooking’

Rice Pudding

This is not only a massively easy recipe but it’s also so versatile, as you can add whatever you like depending on your taste. This is the basic recipe, but maybe you fancy putting in some sultanas, raisins, dried blueberries or orange/lemon zest. You could add cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe some cloves or mixed spice, or ginger. I even once kept it all plain, except the addition of about 50g dark, vegan chocolate and a sprinkle of cocoa powder 😀 Anyway, this should serve about 6-8:

  • 200g short grain rice
  • About 1 litre-ish of sweetened soya milk
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 teaspoons dairy free butter/spread

Just put the whole lot together and give it a stir, adding any optional things (ie the fruits or spices) you might wish. Then you could either cook it in the oven for about 3 hours, or a slow cooker for maybe 4ish, but just check on it regularly and once it’s really hot and the rice is soft it’s ready – there isn’t really an exact amount of time, just don’t go burning it…

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

In my opinion, this one is definitely not to be missed! When I first started vegan baking, I thought this sort of thing wouldn’t be all that easy, but this is literally one of the quickest and simplest things I’ve ever made (as you’ll soon see…), it’s just about getting the right replacements, which isn’t a problem at all:

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 275g soft brown sugar
  • 80g butter replacement – such as Trex vegetable shortening, in which case you use 20% less therefore use about 65g, plus extra for greasing
  • 120g vegan soured cream
  • 1 eggs worth vegan egg replacer
  • 500ml boiling water
  1. Preheat oven to about 180°C/160°C fan-assisted, and grease a fairly large and deep ovenproof dish (ideally 1.5 litres).
  2. Sift flour, soda, half the cocoa and 100g of the sugar in a bowl, then combine butter, sour cream and egg seperately.
  3. Stir these two mixes together, then spread the mixture in the ovenproof dish. Sift remaining cocoa and sugar over the top evenly, and pour over the boiling water.
  4. Bake in the oven about 40 minutes, then stand for five minutes. If this doesn’t taste good enough already, then it tastes even better with a bit of vanilla vegan ice cream!

Easter cupcakes!

Who said a vegan Easter had to consist of lovely dairy free eggs alone? Well, I wouldn’t complain if it did… but these cakes really shouldn’t be missed out – they’re a slight twist on the typical traditional simnel cake. If there is one time of year you can guilt-lessly have chocolate and cakes all day and nothing else it’s Easter, so get baking! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 100g butter replacement – I used Trex (and you need 20% less as it contains no water, therefore used 80g), but any vegetable shortening would be good
  • 100g golden caster sugar (white will do)
  • Egg replacement for 2 large eggs – I used vegan egg replacer, but check out the post ‘Egg replacement for use in baking’ for other ideas
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 200g icing sugar
  • Food colouring
  • Other decorations of your choice (e.g. marzipan to make eggs)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan assisted oven/gas mark 4. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  2. In a bowl, beat together the butter replacement, sugar, egg replacement, baking powder, orange zest and ground almonds until smooth. Next, sift the flour then fold it in in a couple of batches, but don’t do this too much or the cakes won’t rise well, and try to be fairly quick.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake them in the oven for 20-30 mins, or until they’re risen, goldenish, firm, and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  4. Now the decorating! 🙂 Sift the icing sugar and add just enough water to form a paste (approx. 2 tablespoons). Divide it up and colour it with different food colourings, then spread over the cakes. Use whatever other decorations you like – I coloured marzipan with food colourings to try to make them look like eggs but I don’t know if they do… Ah well, they taste good anyway…

 

Sticky Marmalade Tea Bread

With butter and 3 eggs in the original recipe, I didn’t really expect this to work at all… But, thanks again to all those lovely dairy and egg replacements out there, I can thankfully say it did – better than hoped. You really really reaaaally should try this! You’ll need, to make a tea bread to serve approx. 12:

  • 140g marmalade (check its vegan)
  • 175g butter – I used Trex, and 20% less is needed (as it contains no water), meaning I used 140g, but check on the packet of your vegetable shortening add use the amount necessary (should make it clear if you need to use less than ordinary butter)
  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 eggs worth of egg replacer, or, as it’s being used for leavening, try 60g dairy free yogurt or approx 1 tablespoon (15ml) mild vinegar combined with 220ml soya milk
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspooons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 100g packet pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/160°C fan. Grease a loaf tin with melted soya margarine or vegetable shortening, and line it with greaseproof/parchment paper. 
  2. From the marmalade, put 1 tablespoon in a small saucepan. Combine the rest in a bowl with the vegetable shortening, sugar, egg replacement, flour, baking powder and spices, blending it for a minute or two until its light. Then stir in about ¾ (75gish) of the pecan halves.
  3. Pour the mix into the prepared loaf tin, and scatter the remaining pecan halves over the top, before baking in the oven for about 40 minutes. I recommend you bake it on top of a baking sheet or something, because this helps conduct the heat through, which just makes it a cook a bit better.
  4. After this time, quickly cover in foil then put back in the oven for about another 20-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. When you think its cooked through, carefully remove from the tin and cool it a little on a wire rack.
  6. Heat the reserved marmalade carefully in the saucepan, but keep stirring to prevent it sticking. Once its smooth, spread ontop of the tealoaf, and you’re done! 🙂

The easy Vegan’s guide to the perfect Mac ‘n’ Cheese!

Being vegan is the best thing I ever decided to do. But sometimes I get this pesky little craving for good old fashioned mac and cheese and it just won’t go away. So I trawled the interweb and came across a couple of recipes, most using this thing called ‘nutritional yeast’. Now, I have heard of this curious little product before and have always wanted to try it but I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere. I had looked in my health food store but I had always come back empty handed, unable to successfully locate it. But I now find that this was down to my eyes, as they say, ‘being painted on’, as whilst browsing the array of vegan mayonnaise on offer I turned around and what did I stumble on? Yup, nutritional yeast. It had been there all along, hiding from me. I was literally so happy I pretty much ran home with my find and started on the task at hand: satisfying my ever growing cravings for mac and cheese! I must say I wasn’t disappointed with the results. This was literally the best mac and cheese I have had in my life. Ever. I couldn’t get enough of it and neither could dear old flouncel. We made tonnes of the stuff, hoping that it would last a couple of days, but it’s so tasty that you’ll be lucky if it lasts the evening let alone, being able to have any for lunch the next day! But it takes less than half an hour to make so it won’t take long to whip up some more!

Without further ado::.

Ingredients:

700g (1.5lbs) pasta, preferably macaroni but feel free to just get your favourite shape of pasta!

for the sauce:

350ml (1.5 cups) unsweetened nondairy milk

65g (1.5 cups) nutritional yeast

250ml (1 cup) vegetable oil (or canola/ rapeseed oil)

250ml (1 cup)water

80ml (1/3 cup) tamari or soy sauce

1 block of firm tofu (not silken!)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon salt

1 dollop mustard (optional, but I highly recommend using it!)

The method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F or gas mark 4. Boil some water in a pan and add the pasta. Cook according to packet’s instructions.

2. Add all the sauce ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.

3. Drain the pasta and put in a large baking tray. Pour the sauce over the top and whack it in the oven for around 15 minutes or until the top is a lovely golden brown and your kitchen smells deliciously cheesy (for the first time in years!)

4. Serve and enjoy!

**EXTRAS**

The great thing about this recipe is the potential to go crazy with it! It’s just so versatile. Remember recipes are only the beginning of exciting culinary adventures don’t follow them mercilessly like sheep. Be adventurous and have some fun with it!

-Why not try adding a few sprinkles of fake parmesan on top

-Add in some peas or green beans or indeed any other green veggies of your choice!

-If you’re worried about the amount of oil, try using a bit less and substitute a little vegan margarine

-I don’t always like adding salt to my recipes so if you’re the same there’s no harm in adding less or even omitting it completely

-Add some bread crumbs on the top. Makes for a crisper topping! 🙂

-You could also use this sauce on top of cauliflower to make a delicious cauliflower cheese side dish! Perfect for those Roast dinners!

All in all, this makes for a fabulously cheesey dish to help keep those cheese cravings in check and I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as we do!

Peanut butter banana cake

This cake is honestly as good as any non-vegan cake I’ve ever had, it keeps for absolutely ages as long as you cover it (not that you’d want to leave it for all that long, of course) and is actually pretty filling! I got it from a book by Kris Holechek called ‘The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes’, but thought I should share it with all you vegan cooks because it tastes so damn good! So, here’s what you’ll need, and it’ll serve about 12 (but like I said, keeps for days):

For the cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Two thirds cup melted soya margarine, cooled to room temperature
  • 1¼ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 4 mashed bananas
  • ½ cup soya milk
  • 1 teaspoon mild vinegar
  • 2 bananas, sliced

For the frosting:

  • 1 8-ounce container soy cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons soya margarine, softened
  • About ¼ cup peanut butter (I used smooth, and actually ended up using a little more)
  • 2 to 2½ cups sifted icing/powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to about 350°F/175°C/160°C fan assisted oven. Lightly grease 2 9-inch cake pans with melted soya margarine, lightly dust in flour, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Mix melted margarine and brown sugar in a large bowl, then add vanilla and the 4 mashed bananas. In another small bowl, and vinegar to milk and leave to sit for a few minutes (this acts as an egg replacer for leavening the cake).
  3. Gradually add dry ingredients to the margarine and sugar mix, and then stir in the milk mixture. Mix the batter until it’s just combined, however make sure you don’t overly mix it or the cake won’t rise and will be rubbery.
  4. Divide the mix between the 2 cake pans and bake for about 25 or 30 minutes until the are lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Simply beat together the cream cheese, margarine, and peanut butter in a large bowl, then add the powdered sugar. You can vary the amount of peanut butter or sugar to suit your taste.
  6. Once the cakes cooled, spread a generous layer of frosting on the 2 halves, and top each with the sliced banana. Finally, put the 2 together! The recipe also suggests serving it with melted vegan chocolate drizzled over the top, but we weren’t brave enough to try that. If you feel like going all out, though, I’m sure it tastes great!

   

Spaghetti tofu balls

This dish is great for everyone and the tofu balls are a fun addition to  plain old spaghetti. A great substitute if you’re bored of soy mince. Nicely served with a fruity red vegan wine!

.::What you will need:

-250g/90z firm tofu, drained (see:the taming of the tofu (not shrew))

-1 onion, coarsely chopped

-2 garlic cloves, crushed

-5ml/1 tsp wholegrain mustard

-15ml/1 tbsp ground cumin

-1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

-15ml/ 1tbsp tamari or soy sauce (which ever you prefer but if you go with the tamari use slightly less)

-50g/2oz/half cup ground almonds

-30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

350g/12oz spaghetti

sea salt and ground black pepper

basil for garnish

.::for the sauce

-15ml/1 tbsp olive oil

-1 large onion, finely chopped

-2 garlic cloves, chopped

-1 large aubergine (or eggplant if you’re in the USA!), diced

-2 courgettes (or zucchini), diced

-1 red (bell) pepper, seeded and finely chopped

-15ml/1 tbsp agave syrup

-400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes

-200ml/7fl oz/1 cup vegetable stock

-1 tbsp sun dried tomato paste (optional)

Step one, make the tofu balls: Tear up the drained tofu into little pieces then place this along with the grated onion, crushed garlic, mustard, ground cumin, chopped parsley, soy sauce, and ground almonds into a bowl. Season to taste and mix thoroughly. Roll up your sleeves and start rolling the mixture into walnut sized balls, squishing the mixture with your hands.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the tofu balls (I would recommend trying out a couple of the balls first, our first attempt was rather a failure to say the least (see picture!) But, as you can see, we soon got the hang of it!).

Cook gently, turning them occasionally until brown all over. Remove from pan and set aside on some kitchen roll.

Step two, prepare the sauce: Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the onion, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened.

Add the aubergine, courgette, pepper, and agave syrup, and stir fry for around 10 minutes until vegetables begin to brown and have softened (as my handy assistant is doing in the photo to your left!) Season to taste.

Stir in the tomatoes  and stock (and sun dried tomato paste if using). Cover the mixture and simmer for about 20minutes or until sauce has thickened. Just before the end of cooking time add the tofu balls to the mix to heat through for about 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large pan of slightly salted, boiling water according to packet’s instructions.

Serve, garnished with basil.

Vegetable shortening – Trex

This post is mainly for those who live in the UK, because from what I’ve read vegetable shortening is pretty well known in America and I probably sound like an idiot for getting so excited about it. Unfortunately I can’t say I’ve discovered any particular brand in any other country, but over here in England I have come across a wonderful thing called Trex…

I found it fairly recently and so have only used it with a few recipes so far, but honestly, it looks like it could be coming in pretty handy and I’ll probably end up using it loads. I don’t want to sound too much like an advertisement for it, but this stuff is definitely worth grabbing hold of, for the crumble in the previous post if nothing else. I make a vegan apple crumble, and I also used to make a non-vegan one for the non-vegans in the family, but I don’t need to do that anymore because apparently it really does taste exactly the same.

Trex – or vegetable shortening – is basically solid vegetable fat (instead of milk fat which butter mostly is) and is stocked in loads of big supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and is by far the best butter replacement I’ve found (it claims to be ‘the ideal partner in the kitchen’, and so let’s hope it’s true to word). Soya margarine is great for tonnes of stuff in cooking, but in some recipes it just isn’t thick enough and so sinks to the bottom, but this is a problem that’s solved by vegetable shortening.

Anyway, I’ve ended up babbling on for quite a bit but basically, if you have the same problem as I did, in that soya margarine is too light for some recipes, I went for about a year thinking I was limited to cooking margarine based recipes, but just get some vegetable shortening such as Trex 🙂

Fruit crumble

Next in line for making is vegan fruit crumble, a nice and versatile recipe. Back in my early days of vegan baking I thought this would be a fairly easy one to convert because all that needed to be excluded is butter, and surely just use soya spread? Sadly not – the olive or sunflower oil is too liquidy meaning it melts through the fruit and settles at the bottom. Don’t get me wrong – it still tasted good, but didn’t look too appealing or taste quite as nice as it could do. Then I discovered vegetable shortening (I use Trex), which I’ll talk about in my next post, but to sum up – if you can get hold of it, use it! 😀

Anyway, enough of that, back to vegan crumble! You can use whatever fruit you choose (blackberries, tinned apricots, plums, apples…) and follow whatever preparation method you wish, but for this recipe you’ll want:

Enough fruit of your choice to fill the oven-proof bowl of your choice (we use a big 4 litre Pyrex dish because the crumble easily keeps for a week and we like to keep stocked up, but you might prefer to make a smaller one). The following ingredients are to make enough crumble topping to cover the 4 litre bowl of fruit, but if you’re making a smaller size just change the ingredients to roughly fit, but there is no exact amount so don’t worry about getting it right:

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 110g Demerara sugar + 1½ tablespoons
  • 110g caster sugar
  • About 30g vegetable shortening, depending on how buttery you like it (if you only have soya spread, go for it, but as mentioned above it won’t be quite as good. You’ll probably need about 60g instead)
  1. Prepare the fruit of your choice. For apple, peel as many Bramley cooking apples as necessary to fill your dish and slice into fairly thick discs. Layer these in the oven-proof bowl, and you could maybe add a layer of another fruit such as blackberries between. Depending on how sweet your choice of fruit is, you may want to put in a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar, but we don’t normally bother because once it has been cooked it’s pretty sweet naturally.
  2. Preheat the oven to about 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 (or 160-170°C for fan-assissted).
  3. Separately, mix all (except for the extra 1½ tablespoons Demerara sugar) dry ingredients in a bowl – personally I don’t bother sifting flour for this recipe. Then gradually rub in the vegetable shortening with fingertips until the mixture forms small clumps.
  4. Spread the crumble mix over the fruit, then sprinkle the 1½ tablespoons of Demerara sugar over the surface. If possible, try to then put the bowl on top of a baking tray because the metal conducts the heat to help cook the fruit through properly, then put the whole thing in the oven.
  5. It will need about 40-50 minutes depending on how well cooked you like it (we’ve found it tastes surprisingly good burnt) and is lovely hot, cold, with soya cream or soya custard or by itself! Wow, so much choice…

The Vegan Larder

Welcome to the home of the vegan larder! Here’s where we’ll give you a run down of the stuff we think are essential vegan must-haves to (try and) always have handy. Here is a list of things that I consider to be essentials and try not to do without or things I wish I always had stocked!

.::The must-haves:

  • Herbs&Spices;

(Without these fella’s, my cupboards and meals would lack life!) Black pepper, cayenne, chilli powder, chinese five spice, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, tumeric. And here’s a spice I recently discovered: garam masala. Wonderful. Will be making this fella a staple in my diet of spices!

Bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, basil, parsley (any one remember parsley the lion from kids tv? He was my favourite! I wish I could have him in my cupboard but that would be cruel…).

  • Rice&Grains;

Arborio rice (for risottos!), basmati rice, brown rice, couscous. And I know this is cheating but I like to keep my cupboards stocked with a couple of the Uncle Bens 3 minute microwaveable rices. They can be life savers when you don’t have the time!

  • Dried foods;

Puy lentils, red lentils, soy mince (I like to use this when recipes ask for TVP or textured vegetable protein! Always comes in handy).

  • Nuts;

Almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts (always nice to sprinkle on stir frys!).

  • Canned goods&jars;

Chickpeas, butter beans, chopped tomatoes, sun-dried tomato paste, tomato purée, peanut butter (for the boyfriend!), your regular condiments such as mustard and ketchup and my personal favourite: brown sauce! I also find it handy to get jars of sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes, they make a great addition to soups, pasta sauces, and pizza toppings!

  • Pasta and noddles;

Linguine, macaroni, rice noodles (I like to get the straight to wok noodles, they make stir fries even quicker and save on the washing up!), soba noodles.

  • Frozen foods;

(I much prefer to buy my veggies fresh but I also like to keep some frozen veggies on hand just in case!) sweetcorn, edamame, peas, spinach, peppers, Linda Mccartney sausages and pies and Fry’s Schnitzels and chicken-style strips (essential for those times you just can’t be bothered to cook!).

  • Fridge foods;

Tofu, rice milk, soy milk (I prefer to get my soy milk from the baking section of the supermarket where you’ll find the UHT milks, not only is it cheaper but you can buy a load and keep them in your cupboard and just transfer them to the fridge as and when you need them!), vegan mayonnaise,

  • Oils and other essential liquids;

Cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, groundnut oil (perfect for those stir fries!), tamari (this is a darker soy sauce, I prefer this to regular soy sauce because it’s got a stronger flavour meaning you don’t need to use as much!), chilli sauce.

Other useful things for vegans to have include nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten, and extra-firm silken tofu. However, these are always things that I find a little less easy to get hold of and so I am, personally, less likely to have these in my cupboard but if you can get hold of these I would highly recommend keeping them in stock!

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