Friday, 11 February 2011

Vegetable pakoras with tomato chutney and salad

Broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, aubergine (eggplant), courgette (zucchini) and potato are all fab. Make sure cauli and broccoli are lightly steamed and the potato is pre-cooked. I make the batter about 60:40 plain wholemeal wheat flour and chickpea (garbanzo, gram) flour with some bicarb added. Water content is key; neither too runny nor too thick. I usually season the batter with salt, turmeric and a little chilli powder. Serve as soon as possible after frying to ensure crispness!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Sweet Potato Muffins

These are a bit like carrot cake, a bit like passion cake. The frosting turned out a bit runnier than desired, but firmed up in the fridge overnight. This recipe uses my basic vegan cake recipe as a base, so is ultra-quick and easy.

Makes 12 standard-sized muffins (not the smaller fairy cakes)
400g self raising flour
4 tsps baking powder
200g sugar/ 200ml agave nectar
400ml plant milk
150ml coconut or rice bran oil
150g grated sweet potato
50g chopped walnuts
50g sultanas
2-3 tsps ground green cardamom (aka elaichi)
200g vegan plain cream cheese (such as Tofutti)
a few drop natural orange essence
3 tabs vegan margarine (such as Pure or Vitalite)
4 tabs icing sugar
orange/ lemon zest/ chopped nuts to decorate
  • Combine the wet and dry cake ingredients in separate bowls, then add the wet to the dry and beat for about a minute. The grated sweet potato counts as wet, and the dried fruit, nuts and cardamom as dry. If using agave as sugar, then that counts as wet.
  • Spoon into prepared muffin moulds/ tins (you may want to use paper cases) as quickly as possible and bake in an oven preheated to 180C for about 20 minutes, until springy to the touch. you can use a thin skewer to test if you want. The skewer will emerge with no mixture ion it when the cakes are done.
  • Meanwhile, beat all frosting ingredients together and chill.
  • Top each muffin, when cool, with a blob or swirl of frosting and decorate with peel and/ nuts.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Three delicious Dips/ Spreads: smoky red bean pate, hummus and Moroccan chickpea and apricot pate


Smoky red bean pate

 These 3 recipes are brilliant for sandwiches, wraps, crackers, dips and salads! They don't take long to make, either; I often rustle one up alongside making dinner, already for packed lunches in the morning...

Smoky red bean pate (makes a 360g jar full)
500g cooked drain red kidney beans
2dsps soy sauce
2 dsps smoked paprika
2 sticks celery, de-stringed and finely chopped
a little butter
black pepper, hing and seasalt (to taste)
  • Saute the celery in the butter until just soft
  • Mash rest of ingredients
  • Mix in the celery
Hummus (makes nearly a 1kg yogurt tub full): 
The kala channa is better for you than regular chickpeas; it has bood sugar-stabilizing properties.

500g cooked kala channa (dark chickpeas) 
juice of 3-4 lemons (depending on size)
1 tab extra-virgin olive oil
7 tabs light tahini
hing and seasalt to taste
100ml water
  • Put all ingredients in the blender until the desired consistency. I don't like mine too runny.
  • Variations: add smoked paprika or chilli powder. Use broad beans instead of chickpeas.
Moroccan chickpea and apricot pate (not illustrated):
400g cooked chickpeas
10-12 dried apricots, finely chopped
a little water to mix

1 tsp salt
a pinch of black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp hing
2 tsps dried oregano
chopped coriander leaf
pinch of paprika
2 tssp cinnamon
dash of lemon juice
dash of liquid aminos
  • Blend all ingredients together and adjust the seasoning to taste.

More cake inspiration- blueberry muffins

Yummy fresh blueberries were on offer at my local supermarket when I went yesterday, so I made these blueberry muffins for the kids' lunchboxes. I used silicone muffin moulds. My basic sponge cake recipe made 12 muffins plus 4 fairy cakes. Oh, and I used 250g fresh blueberries!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Cake inspiration...

Rhubarb crumble cake

Redcurrant marble cake

Victoria sponge

Chocolate fudge cake
Here are some pics of cakes I made using the basic sponge recipe I posted last year. Apologies for poor quality of some photos.Happy baking!

Date and Apricot Slice- no added sugar

Crumbly on top, moist inside...

This is our take on the 80s wholefood classic. A bit crumbly on top, but succulent inside. I used to use a recipe from "Entertaining with Cranks" -I think; it's been a long time- but mislaid the book, so I worked out the quantities myself and it came  out just fine.

400g wholemeal flour
100g porridge oats
275g vegan margarine (or you could try coconut oil)
200g semidried apricots
200g dried dates
100g desiccated coconut
150ml water
plus cold water to mix
  • Chop the dried fruit and simmer in the water until you get a thick, paste-like consistency suitable for spreading. (Add a little more water if necessary.) Mash coarsely with the back of a spoon and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, rub in the margarine with the flour and oats. Set aside about 1/3 in a separate bowl.
  • Add enough cold water to the remaining dough to make a pastry-like consistency, and press into a swiss roll/ baking tin (standard size). It may take a bit of work to get an even layer. It works out at about 2-3mm thick.
  • Mix the desiccated coconut with the set aside mixture.
  • Spread the fruit paste on top of the oat pastry
  • Add a little water to the coconut mixture, so that it feels like crumble topping. Press down well on top of the fruit.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 180C, for 20-30mins, until the top is browned. Take care not to over-brown it.
  • Cut into 12 bars and remove from tray when thoroughly cooled. As it is very crumby, I recommend wrapping each slice in clingfilm before storing- if they don't all get eaten immediately, that is!