Saturday, 17 March 2012

My new Magimix!

Complete with all the attachments and our first jar of nut butter!
I couldn't resist a little brag about our Magimix, which arrived this weekend! Gone are the days of swapping between blender and grinder, lumpy mashed potato, grating large amounts laboriously by hand- and most importantly of all- buying commercially-made peanut butter. For this machine can effortlessly pulverise toasted nuts and seeds into delicious amd healthy butters with only the salt, sweeteners and oils (if any) that you choose. I think the blade will need re-sharpening regularly but it's worth it. As soon as we had opened it, my husband set about making our first jar of cashew and walnut butter, with nothing else added; just the nuts. It took only between 5 and 10 minutes of grinding. Less than 24 hours later, we also had 2 large Barleycup jars of almond butter and peanut butter. The kids are in Heaven! :)

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Whole mung dal with coconut- vegan

This needs to be served with something colourful as it doesn't have much colour of its own!

This dal can be served with salad and chapattis as a light lunch, or as part of a larger meal with sabji and rice. As you can see from the above picture, I had it at lunchtime with some salted tortilla (corn) chips and salad. It gave me all the energy I needed for an afternoon's housework! This is not just because of the protein and carbs, but also because mung beans are an extremely nutritious food: they are  low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. They are also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Folate, Copper and Manganese. For 2 more of my mung bean recipes, look here and here. This recipe serves 4-5 people.

250g (dry weight) whole green mung beans
1 litre of water
3 tabs desiccated coconut
2 tsps ground cardamom
1/2 tsp hing
1 tab peanut oil
1 tab grated fresh ginger
1 minced small red chilli (optional)
seasalt and black pepper to taste

  • Cook the mung beans in the water until very soft and mushy. I used a pressure cooker for speed. Mung beans do not need pre-soaking. (Another reason why they're a favourite of mine!)
  • Stir in the coconut, salt and pepper.
  • In a small pan, make the chaunce: heat the peanut oil and lightly fry the ginger (and the chilli if using). Remove from the heat and stir in the hing and the cardamom.
  • Add to the dal and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Voila! So quick and easy...

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Maple Drizzle Cake- vegan, sugar-free

I was given this rose-shaped mould at Christmas; it's just perfect for catching the syrup-y drips! 

On Saturday my husband was due home from his trip to India, and I really wanted to cook him something pretty for a treat; plus all three of the kids are celebrating some very good exam results.... so, a cake, right?- But not so fast: I have been suffering from stiff joints and general malaise this last few days as the result of straying from my normally vegan and low or no sugar diet into the realms of mithai (Indian sweets) made with milk and sugar, cheese, yoghurt and even some white chocolate. So no sugar or chocolate then, if I was to have any of it. (I also had to cater for another guest who will take dairy but not sugar.) So how to make a vegan and sugar-free cake without compromising on yumminess? Then I noticed the maple syrup in the cupboard and began to form a plan...

400g self-raising flour
4 tsps baking powder (not bicarbonate of soda)
100g xylitol
400ml soya milk
150ml peanut oil
100ml agave nectar
2 tsps vanilla essence
Maple drizzle frosting*:
75 ml maple syrup
1/4 tab carob powder
1/2 tab tahini  
* I actually made double the amount and poured it on the cake a second time once the first lot had been absorbed. The rest will make a great sauce for tofu icecream!
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Mix the wet ingredients (including the agave nectar and the vanilla essence) in another bowl or jug.
  • Combine the wet and dry mixes and beat together for about a minute.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180C, in an oiled and floured/ dampened cake tin/ silicone mould about 8" in diameter, for 20-30 minutes, or until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Wait until cool, then turn out onto a pate or cake board.
  • Beat the drizzle frosting ingredients together. It might look slightly grainy because of the tahini, but just beat until any lumps are gone.
  • Pour over the cold cake and let it drip down the sides, or try pouring over the cake while it's still warm and it will absorb some of the stickiness.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Baked tofu- vegan

Shown here with brown rice pulao and roasted vegetables

Just got back from work and need to cook something simple, healthy and delicious for your family with minimal effort? -If so, then this recipe could be just what you were looking for! This makes enough for 3-4 people.
1 block (about 400g) firm tofu, drained
1 dsp date syrup
the juice of 1/2  a lemon
a pinch of black pepper
2 tabs dark soy sauce 
1 tsp smoked paprika ("sweet" rather than "hot")
a pinch of hing
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • First mix all ingredients except the tofu together in an ovenproof dish. This is your marinade/ sauce.
  • Cube the tofu and leave to marinate, turning after a few minutes, while you get the rest of your meal ready; my suggestion is brown rice and roasted veggies, as they get on with cooking themselves once you have prepared them, but for a lighter meal you could go for just salad.
  • Bake at 200C until most of the marinade has been absorbed/ evaporated
  • I served this with roasted peppers and fennel over a Mediterranean-style"pulao" of brown basmati rice,  pinenuts, cashews, sunflower seeds and peas with some dried basil thrown in for good measure. Easy!