Vegan Red Grapefruit Curd

Sunday, 27 September 2009

I love red grapefruit. I prefer the sour sweetness of red grapefruit to any other kind of grapefruit (though in all honesty, I'll eat whatever you put in front of me) and happily scoff them for breakfast on their own. I also just love the flavour of red grapefruit. The tart but somehow sweet juice and the beautiful colour of the flesh. Give me a grapefruit and I'll be happy.

I came across this recipe while browsing the Vegan Visitor blog. As you might have guessed I'm really getting in to vegan cookery and baking and have been doing some research. I've never made the more traditional lemon curd which involves egg yolks and butter but it's been on my to-do list for an age. I think I'm just scared I'll mess it up. This vegan version uses no scary possibly-scrambling eggs and no heart slowing butter (two of my favourite ingredients despite their propensity to do bad things if you let them) and was simply a mixture of that beautiful ruby juice, some sugar and some cornflour. The magical properties of cornflour thicken this sweet citrusy syrup into a gelatinous and spreadable curd. Divine.

The recipe is available here on Vegan Visitor where it is put into doughnuts (yum!) I've reprinted it here in metric with the addition that I poured mine into sterilised jars and am storing it in the fridge.

235ml Freshly Squeezed Red Grapefruit juice
225g Granulated Sugar
115ml Cold Water
4 Tablespoon Corn Starch
1/8 teaspoon Salt
Zest of Grapefruits, well washed before grating
60ml Soy milk
2 Tablespoons Margarine

In a large saucepan, whisk together the juice and sugar, heating through over a medium high setting
Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water and salt.
Once the juice and sugar have just come to a boil, add the cornstarch mixture.
Reduce the heat to medium and whisk, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full boil.
Add zest.
Allow to boil for 1 minute, without stirring; it should be quite thick.
Remove from heat.
Blend in the margarine, then soy milk, with the whisk.
Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Store in the fridge.


Marshmallow Toasties

Thursday, 24 September 2009

I was at my brother's house last weekend and spied (from across the room) a book called "The Cookie and Biscuit Bible." I just had to go and have a look through it. Within moments I'd asked if I could borrow it and sure enough it is now in my possession.

I had a look through and decided that practically everything looked delicious. With colour photographs of each recipe and easy, clear instructions too I found this to be an excellent quality recipe book. Not only are there recipes for biscuits and cookies there are also muffin, brownie, bar and cracker recipes too. It really covers all the bases!

I was looking through the pages and came across an interesting recipe where a fairly plain biscuit base is baked and then topped with strawberry jam and marshmallows. The marshmallows are then toasted under the grill until the melt and brown. Yum. I love toasted marshmallows. I was the one at camp that used to set theirs on fire to make sure they were really toasted and melty on the inside before extinguishing and eating. I had to make this recipe for its sheer novelty value.

It was quite simple. The mixture includes ground almonds which make the base have a delicious texture and a hint of nuttiness. I subbed the lemon zest for lime as it's all we had in but it gave a delightful citrus note that cut through the sweetness of the marshmallows. I should have used the required 9x9 pan but we don't have one. Using a 9x9 would mean that the base would be more biscuity and less cakey. I think this would be much nicer even though the cakey one was quite good. You need the texture contrast between crispy biscuit and soft chewy marshmallow.

130g butter
75g caster sugar
Zest of a lemon or lime
2tsp vanilla
75g ground almonds
1 egg
115g self raising flour
150g strawberry jam
200g marshmallows

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the citrus zest, vanilla, almonds and egg and mix well.
Place the mixture in a lined 9x9 pan and bake in a preheated 180C oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then spread with strawberry jam.
Cut the marshmallows in half horizontally and place on top of the jam.
Brown the marshmallow top under a moderate grill for 2-3 minutes. Gently press the marshmallows down to form an even layer and then grill for another minute.
Allow to cool before slicing.


Lamb and potato pasties

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Leftovers. There seems to be a lot of talk lately about using up leftover and not letting food go to waste. I come from a family that uses up their leftovers. They're reheated for lunch the next day, made into something new (bubble and squeak made from leftover vegetables is a favourite) or just used until there's nothing left (we make stock from the carcass of a roast chicken to be used for soups and broths). I like leftovers.

These pasties were made using the leftover bits from a delicious lamb roast on Sunday (thanks mum!). You could use any meat you have leftover and a mix of vegtable too. The pastry can actually be filled with whatever takes your fancy whether it's sweet or savoury.

I also cheated and used shop bought puff pastry as it was a Sunday night and it was getting late. Feel free to make your own pastry - you can use shortcrust if you want or you can make rough puff for a flakier texture. Use as much or as little of the ingredients as you want as it's all down to personal taste. If you don't like something then leave it out or substitute something else. These are bound to be delicious whatever you decide to put into them! you must make sure that the filling is cooked and cooled before you put them into the pastry. That it pretty much the only rule.
Filling ingredients
Roast lamb cut into small cubes - you might even want to mince it if you have the means.
Cold potatoes cut into small pieces
Cooked carrots finely chopped
Dried rosemary
Mint Sauce
Mustard Powder
Worcester sauce

Mix all the ingredients together until evenly dispersed.
Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and cut discs of about 12cm/4inches with either a cutter or the back of a pasty press (link below).
Place a small amount of filling into the centre of the disc or press and brush the edge with beaten egg to create a tight seal.
Fold the pastry in half over the filling and seal the edge tightly.
Repeat with the remaining mixture and pastry until it is all used.
Place the pasties onto a baking tray and brush with egg to create a golden top.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and piping hot.
Serve warm or cold with salad and pickle.

I used a dumpling/pasty press to make these which made the process quick and easy. They are available from Amazon here


Cowboy Cookies

Friday, 18 September 2009

Bakerella. Oh Bakerella you tease me with such delicious looking, beautifully crafted treats. I really wish I had the time to make cute little sheep shaped cake pops but I just don't. I wish I could take the time out to create tiny little hamburgers from brownies and cupcakes but at the moment I'm pretty pushed. I do however have the time to chuck everything into a bowl and mix it up to make some simple and delicious cowboy cookies.

I'd never heard of them before. They're simple enough with a good mix of chocolate, oats and brown sugar. This particular recipe included M&Ms, chocolate chips and pecans (which I chose to leave out) and were the perfect mixture of chewy and crunchy and were delicious straight out of the oven. I'm amazed that when I open the biscuit tin there are still a few left! They were a real hit. The only problem I had was that my M&Ms didn't maintain their shape at all.

I was actually trying these out as a test run for making the layered mix for christmas gifts. They are definitely worth making and so simple to make. I'll pretty these up in jars just like in the original post and send them out in the holidays.

150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
90g cooking oats
100g(ish) M&Ms
150g semi-sweet chocolate chips
50g brown sugar, packed
100g white sugar
A handful chopped pecans (optional)
1 egg
115g softened butter
1tsp vanilla

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients and stir until totally combined.
Roll the dough into even balls and place, well spaced, onto baking sheets.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 10-12 minutes.
Leave to cool for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

I told you they were easy.


Vegan Chocolate and Stout cupcakes

Thursday, 17 September 2009

I told you to expect more vegan treats. I've got soy milk that needs using up and a baking bug that just wont go away. These cupcake were absolutely delicious. They were springy and soft, deeply chocolatey and would go great with a glass of the milk of your choice. The crumb topping adds a nice bit of texture and dryness to combat the moistness of the cakes. Oh I wish I had one fo these left...
The important thing for this recipe is finding a vegan stout. There are plenty of them available. I'm lucky enough to have the Spectrum Brewery fairly locally. All their bottled beers are totally organic and vegan friendly as are several of their cask ales. I can't really recommend them highly enough.
So once you've found your vegan friendly stout (a Google search should help you if you don't already have a favourite) you will be good to go. As with the last vegan cupcake recipe it looks like there are a lot of ingredients. They all come together very easily and the resulting cupcake is so decadent. Please give these a try. I converted the recipe into metric measures again.

Crumb topping:
30g all purpose flour
30g cocoa powder
55g granulated sugar
2 tbsp sunflower oil

175ml soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
200g all purpose flour
40g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
60ml stout
170g granulated sugar
80ml sunfllower oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

In a small bowl sift together the cocoa and flour and stir in the sugar. Slowly drizzle the oil in while tossing flour mixture with a fork. Crumbs will form. Stir with fingers and make as many crumbs as possible.
In a large bowl whisk together soy milk and vinegar.
In a seperate bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and mix.
Add stout, sugar, oil, and vanilla to soy milk mixture and beat till foamy.
Add dry ingredients to wet in 2 batches, mix 2 min. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and sprinkle with the crumb mixture. Make sure the crumbs rest on top and don't sink into the batter.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 18-20 minutes and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once again this recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World which is available from Amazon


Vegan Rum and Raisin Cupcakes

Monday, 14 September 2009

I'm really beginning to love vegan baking. I was a bit scared at first but once you learn a few basic rules there is really no stopping you. I've tried to make things that don't require lots of single use ingredients. It seems like a waste of money to go and splurge on something for one recipe which will get thrown out before it can be used up.

I was going to tell you how difficult it is finding vegan ingredients in my small town but in fact, there's a little shop in the town centre that offers a wide range of vegan ingredients as well as a plethora of other random foodie things. The shop is almost heavenly for me but the staff seem somewhat uninterested. Maybe if I become a regular customer I'll feel more welcomed. Anyway, it means that I'll be able to grab vegan cream cheese and silken tofu for further vegan baking exploits. It's the small things that amuse me...

Back to these here cupcakes. This was the last remaining cupcake of the batch. I grabbed a couple of quick shots before scoffing it myself. They were delicious. They were golden and sweet with a nice hint of warming rum and the sticky raisins added a lovely texture. The raisins did sink to the bottom a bit as the cake mixture is quite runny but that was fine. I decided not to ice these as I was transporting them 25 miles (and I didn't want to run to the shops for more ingredients) and they had to sit in my bag for quite a while. I don't think I lost too much without an icing but maybe next time I'll glaze them or frost them in a more interesting way.

The intended recipient (Hi Jhon!) was very appreciative and scoffed the lot on the long drive home after the gig. He also asked for the recipe which is pretty much the most flattering thing you could ask me for. So in honour of Jhon, I post this recipe, please don't be scared of the number of ingredients, they all come together very easily. As ever this recipe is taken from the amazing Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World which is available from Amazon below, I have added my own notes and alterations.

I've converted this recipe from US cups into metric measures.

110g raisins (I used crimson raisins which are slightly sharper than the darker ones
2 tbsp rum (I used Sailor Jerry as always)
190ml soy milk
1tsp apple cider vinegar
80ml sunflower oil
170g granulated sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp rum (again, Sailor Jerry)
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
140g plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

In a small bowl combine the raisins and rum together and leave to stand for around 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl mix the soy milk with the vinegar and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.
Whisk the oil, sugar, treacle, rum and vanilla into the soy milk mixture until well blended.
Sift in the flour, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
Fold in the rum soaked raisins.
Fill 12 lined muffin cups 3/4 full making sure to get some raisins in each cup.
Bake in a preheated oven 180C for 18-20 minutes. They will be golden brown and deliciously scented when you pull them from the oven.
Allow to cool on a wire rack if you can resist them!


Bread Machine Recipes: White rolls

Friday, 11 September 2009

I like rolls much better than sandwiches. There's something about the crusty shell and soft interior of a roll that makes it much more alluring than two slices of bread. They are portable, you get to have one to yourself (not that I'm selfish of course) and they can be filled with any number of delicious fillings.

These rolls are made with white bread flour and the beautiful orangey glaze is from a brush of egg before they are baked. This also makes them beautifully shiny (the sunshine helped with that too of course!). They are easy to make and an excellent project to make with kids. the dough proves nicely in the bread maker then it's upto you how you want to shape them. I stuck with plain rounds rolls as I was making them for dinner but your only limit is your imagination. We always used to make plaits and cottage loaves when I was a kid.

1tsp yeast
500g white bread flour
1tbsp sugar
25g butter
2tbsp milk powder
11/2 tsp salt
300ml water

Place the ingredients into the bread pan of your machine and set on the dough program.
When complete, divide into 10-12 pieces and shape.
Place on a greased baking tray and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Glaze with beaten egg and bake at 220C for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Eat warm with real butter or allow to cool on a wire rack.


Bread Machine Recipes: Flatbread

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I love flat breads. They make eating some things so much easier! They mop up the juice from a curry, they're an excellent carrier of houmous or baba ghanoush, they hold falafels firmly in place, they can be torn apart and shared. They are perfect for a relaxed dinner with friends. I often make rough roti with flour and water mixed to a dough and then fried in a very hot dry pan but I thought this time I'd try yeasted flat breads. They were a big success.

They had a more complex flavour than our usual flour and water creations and weren't much more difficult to make with the use of a bread machine. They can be a bit tricky to roll as the stretchy dough often takes it upon itself to shrink back but do persevere. They don't have to be perfectly round...mine certainly weren't!

1 cup water
1 tsp celery salt
1tbsp olive oil
3 cups white bread flour
1tsp yeast

Place the ingredients into the bread pan of your machine and set it to the dough program.
When complete transfer to a lightly floured surface and divide into walnut sized pieces.
Roll and stretch each ball into a thin disc (the thinner the better)
Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and when almost smoking hot, place the first disc in the pan to cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. It will puff up beautifully and turn a gorgeous golden brown. Turn the dough carefully with some tongs.
Repeat with the rest of the discs keeping the cooked ones under a clean tea towel and keep warm until the others are cooked.
Serve however you wish!


Baba Ghanoush

Monday, 7 September 2009

Baba Ghanoush is an Arabic dish. It's made from roasted aubergine (egg plant to you American types) and seasonings and is so simple. Unfortunately it's one of those foods that isn't particularly photogenic (the fading light didn't help either). I apologise for that but it is amazingly tasty.

I don't have specific quantities for this one as the seasonings you add will depend on your personal taste and the size of aubergine you are using. It's open to a wide range of variation and I've shared some of these in the links below.

I used
1 medium aubergine
Lemon juice
Plenty of salt and pepper
1tbsp of tahini
A small clove of crushed garlic.

You need to bake your aubergine (prick it all over fisrt) in the oven until it's really soft (30 minutes + at 180C). When it's cooled enough to be able to handle it, you need to scrape the soft insides out of the skin and put them in a jug or bowl. Add the other seasonings and mash/puree (I used a stick blender to puree) and taste. Add more of whatever it needs and taste again.

If I was making this again, I'd use 2-4 aubergines for a higher yield. This was mostly an experiment as we'd never had it before but now I know that we like it I can make a larger batch.

Serve with pitta breads or flat breads, salad, falafels...whatever you like really. I think it'd be delicious spread insteasd of butter in a granary sandwich or roll with ham and salad. The possibilities are endless!

Dutch Girl Cooking has this recipe for a hummus and baba ghanoush mix. Beautiful step by step pictures too.

This recipe from the Merrilees Parker at the Good Food Channel uses natural yogurt and mint to lighten the dip up.

Finally this recipe from uses chili and lime to give the dip a mexican twist.


Fat Free Falafels

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

I love falafels. I think I first tried them when I was vegetarian (yeah...I never told you about that did I?) and I fell in love with them. I even managed to convince Al (a hardcore carnivore) that they were a good thing.

The little spiced balls of chickpeas, onion and carrot (in this recipe at least) are fragrant and delicious. These ones are baked in the oven rather than fried so it makes them a little drier than usual. I always serve these with a dip (I made baba ghanoush to go with these, the recipe for that will follow) and plenty of salad. They are also delicious in pitta bread or flat bread (we made some flatbreads too - again, recipe will follow).

This recipe required you to leave the mixture overnight or for at least a few hours. I can't recommend that enough really. The resting time enables the flavours to mingle and really come together to make the overall falafel really tasty. It's worth the extra planning.

1 can chick peas
1 carrot, grated
1 small onion (1/2 a large), chopped
1 1/2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 clove garlic, crushed
1tsp fresh ginger, grated
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
1tsp ground coriander
1 small egg

Place all the ingredients except the egg into a food processor and pulse until blended but with some texture.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and add the egg.
Mix everything thoroughly and chill in the fridge for 6-8 hours (or overnight)
Shape the mixture into balls (should make around 25), spray with a little cookign spray and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes.


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