Saturday, 16 April 2011

Ekadasi Cake- gluten-free

Okay, so Ekadasi is all about cooking less and praying more, but there are times when you might need a cake recipe, especially if you have a young and hungry family who need encouraging to keep grain-free all day, or if there is a special appearance day on which Ekadasi rules are followed, but a celebratory feast is also called for- such as Lord Ramacandra's appearance (Tuesday 12th April here in the UK). 
This cake is made with buckwheat flour. Great River Organic Milling, Organic Specialty Buckwheat Flour, 25-Pound Package   Flour, Buckwheat, Organic, 25# Bulk As buckwheat is actually a member of the rhubarb family its seeds are not considered to be true grains so it is permissable on Ekadasi. Despite the fact that I now have a whole queue of draft posts awaiting publication,  I'm posting this recipe next because I think it's one of my most versatile cakes yet: it can be vegan or not and it is wheat and gluten-free. It can be made, as here, to Ekadasi specifications, or made with soya milk on other can change the flavouring too. Excited yet? Well anyway here's the recipe:-
These amounts  make a cake in a 9x7" (22.5x18cm) tin or the round equivalent. It makes 8 portions, so if you are catering for more, just scale up the quanities and it should work fine; just be cautious with the liquids and add less juice if the mixture seems too runny- follow your baking instincts!

250g buckwheat flour
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda (NOT baking powder)
150g demerara or soft light brown sugar
4 tabs desiccated coconut
10 semidried apricots*, finely chopped (*note: if you are going to use dried fruit on Ekadasi, make sure it does not contain vegetable oil. In the UK, Aldi apricots and Sunmaid raisins are okay)
200ml almond milk/fruit juice
2 tabs lemon juice (about 1 smallish ) lemon
50ml peanut or sunflower oil (organic cold-pressed sunflower oil has a strong smell and taste though)
the grated rind and juice of 1 orange
  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl with the apricots
  • Measure out the liquids in a separate container
  • Add the liquids to the dry ingredients, beating well for about a minute.
  • Place in the prepared cake tin (oiled and floured, or dampened if you are using silicone)Wilton 2105-4923 24-Cavity Silicone Brownie-Squares Baking Mold and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about half an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

The flavour of the finished cake is not especially gingery or coconutty: I suspect you could add more of either of these ingredients to get a more distinctive taste.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Vegan "sausage" rolls

Ever eager to come up with something different and healthy for our lunchboxes, I devised these filling "sausage" rolls. Now that the weather seems to be warming up, they would be an excellent picnic food too. Commercially-made "sausage" mixes can contain hydrogenated fat, and although convenient, are quite expensive if you want to cook in bulk. At the time of writing, my stepson and husband have tasted them and pronounced them good- but the real acid test will be if my fussy daughter approves...
The following recipe makes a lot, by the way. Unless you are catering for at least 4 people, you might want to scale down the ingredients. First, make this wonderfully crisp shortcrust pastry with:
700g plain flour (I used white,but only because I had run out of wholemeal)
250 ml organic cold-pressed sunflower oil
100ml water plus more water to mix
1 tsp salt
"Sausage" Filling:
300g dry weight yellow mung dal
200g dry weight unflavoured TVP mince
1/2 tube tomato puree
3 tsps hing
3-4 tsps salt
1 dsp yeast extract
Herbes de Provence and black pepper to taste
  • First, soak the TVP in just enough water so that it all gets absorbed.
  • Wash and cook the dal in just enough water so that it is soft, but still retains its shape. (You will have to keep a close eye on it.)
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients and let the mixture cool
  • Make long sausage rolls and chop into shorter sections, turning over once sealed and making diagonal slits on top (see picture).
  • Bake on an oiled baking sheet at 200C until pastry starts to brown.
Possible tweak: My husband suggested adding a little ground sunflower seed to the filling mixture, especially if it gets too wet.

PS: My daughter did like them!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Bean salad

This was just perfect for an alfresco supper...
Cooked mixed beans (I used butter beans, blackeyed beans and kala channa)
chopped celery
courgette ribbons
strips of sundried tomatoes
whole pitted olives
whole mangetout
dried basil
Peanut oil and fresh lime juice, in equal quantities

Three Bean Crumble- vegan

I was thinking about an alternative to my usual pasta bake in cheese or tahini sauce when I had this idea. I love taking a type of dish (eg: crumble, cake) and changing it from sweet to savoury and vice-versa! If you use cornflour instead of wheat flour in the sauce and buy oats which have not been milled in contact with wheat, it will be wheat-free and gluten free too. This recipe serves 6-8 people.
1kg cooked mixed beans (I used butterbeans, red kidney beans and blackeyed beans
1 small sweet potato, sliced/ diced
1 med parsnip, diced
3-4 sticks of celery
50g fine green beans, sliced
50g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • Sweat the vegetables in a little oil until just tender
  • Remove from heat, stir in the beans and put into an ovenproof dish
Sauce for filling:
2 tabs oil (organic sunflower oil is good)
1 tab yeast extract
2 heaped tabs plain flour
1 l soya milk
1 tsp salt
1 tab tahini
Make a roux by mixing the yeast extract, flour and oil over a gentle heat
  • Mix in the soya milk gradually with a balloon whisk
  • When the sauce begins to thicken, remove from heat and stir in the tahini
  • Pour over the vegetables and beans in the baking dish.
Crumble topping:
200g porridge oats
100g sunflower seeds
100g buckwheat flour
Water to mix 
  • Combine dry ingredients
  • Mix to crumble consistency with a little water
  • Scatter on top of the beans, vegetables and sauce
Bake the crumble at 200C  (or maybe 220C if you don't have a fan-assisted oven) for about 30 mins, or until the top is crispy and starting to brown.