Friday, 3 May 2013

Tofu Patties/ Cutlets #2- vegan

This is from the previous batch- the new ones got eaten before I had a chance to snap them!
A few weeks ago I got some pictures of some really delicious tofu patties my husband made, but unfortunately we didn't get the recipe, so this weekend I decided to make them myself and write down what I did. The result was good, although not quite the same as the previous batch but near enough; I swapped the tahini for a flax egg and the oats for tomato puree and yeast flakes. The patties are a little delicate so be very careful when you flip them. (I managed to break a couple in my haste!) Next time, I'm going to try adding the tahini back in again as well as the flax egg, for extra sticking-power. This recipe makes 6-8 patties.

500g mashed tofu (or tofu made with 2l unsweetened soya milk and drained rather than pressed)
1 large red pepper
100g white or hispi cabbage (the tender, pale green pointed one)
1 tab sweetcorn kernels
1 flax egg
1 tab tomato puree
1 1/2 tsps seasalt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp compound hing
2 tsps dried mixed herbs
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
2 tabs yeast flakes
2 tabs olive oil
  • Mince the red pepper and cabbage very finely, saute them in the olive oil until soft and set aside, along with the sweetcorn kernels.
  • In a large bowl ,combine the mashed tofu, the turmeric and the yeast flakes.
  • Mix in the vegetables.
  • Add the seasalt, pepper, hing and herbs.
  • Next, stir in the flax egg and the tomato puree.
  • Shape into patties and place on an oiled baking tray. Cook in the oven at 200C until just starting to brown, turning carefully halfway through. (You could try frying them too, but I don't know if that would encourage them to break up.)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Ingredient of the Month 20: Quinoa- and event announcement

A dish of quinoa cooked with chopped vegetables and spices.

This month's featured ingredient is quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah"), which has become a bit of a wholefood staple over the last 15 years or so. It comes originally from the Andean regions of South America, where it was known as "Mother Grain" to the Inca people and held as sacred for its nourishing qualities. The major producers of quinoa today are Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. As demand for quinoa outside these countries is getting high, it is a concern that the people who traditionally grow it and depend on it are becoming unable to afford to eat it themselves as export to more affluent countries inflates the price. (We recommend buying a fair trade brand whenever possible.) Quinoa, although treated as a high-protein grain, is actually not a true grain as it is not a grass but more closely related to beets, Good King Henry (goosefoot) and spinach.
Nutritional value:
Quinoa is now classed as a "superfood" as it contains all 8 essential amino acids for forming high quality protein. As well as containing carbs, it is also a great source of dietary fibre, magnesium, phosphorous, B-vitamins and iron. It also contains calcium, so is a useful food for vegans and those who are lactose-intolerant. Being gluten free and easy to digest, quinoa is also ideal for coeliacs. Sprouted raw quinoa is higher in vitamins and enzymes than cooked quinoa and soft enough to eat without cooking it, so all the nutrients are preserved.
Cooking with Quinoa:
There are many types of quinoa; the ones we see most often are white, red and sometimes black. In general, you get three times as much volume of quinoa once it's cooked. We usually add twice as much water as quinoa to the pot and cook it a bit like rice. It takes only about 20 minutes to absorb all the water and become soft and fluffy. Add a little salt and olive oil, or cook in stock for even more flavour. Some quinoa (although not all these days) still has its natural coating of bitter substances called saponins, so if you're not sure if it's already been washed, rinse it well in cold water before cooking to get rid if it. Quinoa is great for stuffing vegetables, as a pilaff or upma, in salads and even as an ingredient in vegeburgers. See the links below for some quinoa recipes.
-Oh, and btw the UN have officially declared 2013 to be the "Year of Quinoa", so hopefully its important role in South America's food security will be highlighted and the people there enabled to continue using it as a major part of their diet.

We've decided to make our "Ingredient of the Month" series into a event! Link up your recipes including the current month's ingredient to this post, and on the last day of each month we'll post the roundup. Archived entries are accepted- no need to re-post, but please add the above logo and a link to this page to them. You can use the linky tool below, and tell all your friends they're welcome to join us!- Oh, and only pure vegetarian (no egg) or vegan entries please. Just follow our simple guidelines:-

  1. You must include our current ingredient of the month in your recipe.
  2. Pure veg. or vegan only, please- so no meat, fish, eggs or alcohol or ingredients derived thereof (such as gelatine, rennet, eggwhite powder, etc.) 
  3. Please include the logo and link back to this page. We welcome archived entries too; just add the logo and link.
  4. Use the linky tool below, tell all your friends, and let's see what a wonderful collection of quinoa recipes we can collect! (Where it says "name", type in the name of your recipe and paste the URL of the page it's on in the box underneath.) For some reason, the linky will only display the links once you click on it, not underneath it as part of the post like it used to- we've added some recipes already, so please click below to have a look...

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Chewy Apple and Cinnamon Oat Cookies- vegan, no refined sugar

There's nothing quite like home made cookies...
 We haven't had cookies on here for ages, so today (a Sunday) seemed like a good day to change all that! Put my feet up when I get a spare hour at the weekend? -Not me! I'd rather be baking... These are a variation on the coconut oat cookies we posted back in 2011, using gour rather than sugar. The cookies are not overly sweet; you may want to increase the amount of gour. (I did slightly spoil the no-sugar-ness of them by dusting them with icing sugar for the pictures!) The key player in this recipe is the dried apple; I did it myself in our dehydrator rather than than throw away a few apples that were looking a little bruised and past their best for snacking on, but you can buy dried apple rings which would do just as well. I always think oats are a sensible addition to things like cookies because they do slow down the body's absorption of simple sugars somewhat. We got 26 (2 bakers' dozen) wholesome cookies from this recipe: 

500g unhydrogenated vegan margarine
500g organic wholemeal flour
250g gour (try increasing to 300g or maybe even a little more if you have a sweet tooth)
250g porridge oats
100g dried apple
50g lexia raisins
3 rounded tsps ground cinnamon

  • Chop the raisins and apples finely and set aside.
  • Melt the gour in a sturdy pan on a medium-low flame, stirring to avoid burning it.
  • When it's lump-free and completely liquefied turn the heat off.
  • Meanwhile, put the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
  • Combine the margarine and the gour and mix with the other ingredients; I got right in there with my hands to make sure everything was thoroughly combined.
  • Make 26 balls from the mixture, about the size of pingpong balls.
  • Flatten each ball with a spatula on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or so at 200C. (Preheat the oven so it's nice and hot as soon as the cookies go in.)
  • Leave to cool if you can wait that long....

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Chocolate Stars Eggless Birthday Cake

Although it looks fancy enough for a party, this cake is actually quite quick and easy to make and decorate- always a plus if you have a family!
I made this cake for a friend's 50th birthday. It's not a conventional birthday cake, but easy to make and delicious; ideal for a party when you have so much more than just the cake to plan and cook. This cake serves about 20 smallish slices (or 16 for a party of cake monsters!) and is made with a double quantity of our eggless cake recipe to which was added some Barleycup powder with the dry ingredients, for a coffee-like taste. The filling and all-over frosting was made with 400g dairy free spread, 600g icing sugar (use beet sugar or unrefined icing sugar to avoid the bone char filtering.) and a few spoons of cocoa powder. I was going to make chocolate leaves or curls as the decorations but when I got to my local Waitrose and saw their new home baking section with all the wonderful decorations, cakeboards, sprinkles, fancy boxes etc. I ended up buying a packet of chocolate stars! The non-vegan ingredients are of course the Cadbury's Chocolate Fingers (I don't think even the dark chocolate ones are vegan as they are made with Bournville chocolate which contains butter) and the star decorations. You can easily veganise this cake if you want by changing the decorations, as both the cake itself and the frosting are vegan.

The buttercream icing is spread on in swirls rather than piped, decorated with chocolate stars and finished with edible glitter.

Chocolate finger biscuits around the edge secured with a ribbon ensure a neat finish.