Join the Veganlovlie Cocoon!
Receive an occasional burst of sunshine and a little flower, recipes, craft projects and FREE resources.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Pineapple, sweet pineapple!

Pineapple simply is my favourite fruit. And these ones I had yesterday and today for lunch simply were gorgeous! So sweet, they made my cheeks go numb!

Photobucket

Pineapple juice is my favourite juice too. When I'm on the wagon (which is almost always now!) and meeting some friends at the pub, pineapple juice mixed with lemonade is what I have. (Uhh, yeah that's right!).

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Yam Curry

Photobucket

Yummy yams! They are so good to eat just boiled accompanied with some chutney or salsa. Mum got those really cute baby yams. And although I’m not a great fan of curry, I haven’t had curry for a while and had never tried yams in curry.

So I gave it a go and it was great! Really creamy mushy taste combined with pinto beans.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you must have noticed that beans appear quite a lot in my recipes! This is because, as mentioned before, I am intolerant to soy and allergic to nuts! So, beans are my only protein saviour!

This recipe could well be done with tofu instead of the beans.

According to nutritiondata.com, yams are a rich source of manganese, potassium and vitamin C. Quite good! I should eat them more often.

I use a mild curry powder as I don’t like hot curries. I think hot curry powder just blows off the taste. Don’t panic at the use of so many spices in this curry. You could just do a nice curry with curry powder and turmeric. The other spices are optional if you don’t have them but they do add more fragrance to the curry.

Photobucket


One thing I like about homemade curries is that I don’t get a layer of oil floating over the vegetables like when I go to Indian restaurants!

Curries don’t have to be sinful! This recipe only contains 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for 4 servings. I’ve even done curries with no oil at all and they still taste great. I just use water instead.

Woks are quite handy to use for curries I think. They provide enough room for easy stirring without messing up the kitchen.


Ingredients (4 servings)

250g yams, peeled
1 can (250g) pinto beans, drained
1 onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste (or ½ of each)
1 heaped tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
1 teaspoon garam masala (mix ground spices - pepper, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg) (optional)
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
2 tomatoes (canned or fresh), chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Water as needed for cooking

  • Cut the peeled yams into small pieces. (The baby ones only need to be cut in half and some left whole).

Photobucket

  • In a bowl combine the garlic and ginger paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin and garam masala with a little water. Stir to make a paste. Set aside.
  • In a wok on medium heat, add oil.
  • Add onions and fenugreek seeds. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the curry paste and stir.
  • Add about ¼ cup of water and allow the spices to roast.

Photobucket

  • When the liquid has reduced, add some more water and allow to reduce again.
  • Then add about ½ cup water.
  • Add the yams. Stir.

Photobucket

  • Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
  • Occasionally stir and add water if required until yams are soft. Test by inserting a fork.
  • When yams are cooked, stir in the pinto beans.
  • Add tomatoes.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add salt to taste.
Enjoy with rice or Indian bread of your choice.

Photobucket

Coconut Chutney with Tamarind

Photobucket

I’ve previously posted a Coconut Chutney recipe with the Vegetables in Coconut Milk recipe. There are quite a few versions of the Coconut Chutney that I know of and the previous one I posted was with green apple. I’ve made this one with tamarind puree which is the most common version of the Coconut Chutney.

What’s nice about Coconut Chutney is that it keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge and can be eaten as an accompaniment with several dishes. It can also be used as a dipping sauce with snacks or even as a spread on savoury crepes.

Some tamarind paste comes with the seeds. It's easy to separate the seeds by adding a little water to the paste and mixing with hands. The seeds will loosen and come out.


Ingredients

½ fresh coconut meat, finely sliced
1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
4-5 stems fresh mint chopped
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 green chillies (optional)
40 ml water

  • Place all the ingredients in a blender and grind to a smooth consistency.
  • Add more water if required.

Watercress Soup

Photobucket

Here's the recipe for the Watercress Soup I had as part of yesterday's dinner.

I love greens soup. This is a light soup and so easy to make. You could add carrots and mushrooms to it if you are having this on its own.


Ingredients (4 servings)

2 bunch of watercress (or 250 g)
1 onion sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon potato starch or arrowroot
5 bowls water (or 1 ¼ liters)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt to taste

  • Place 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large deep pan.
  • Add onions and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add water.
  • Stir the potato starch in half a glass of water. Add this to the pan.
  • Add salt (3/4 teaspoon).
  • Allow liquid to boil. Do not cover.
  • Place the watercress in serving bowls (deep enough to accommodate the bouillon).
  • Fill bowls with the hot bouillon. Adjust salt if necessary.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Mashed Aubergine with Potato

Photobucket


You could omit the potato for this recipe but I like incorporating them as they provide a creamy texture to the aubergine puree. Aubergine cooked in this way uses very little oil. You could even try this recipe by substituting the oil for water.

If you haven't read my previous post, then have a look at the meal plan. It was a really wholesome dinner.


Ingredients (4-5 servings)

2 large aubergines
1 large potato, diced
1 onion finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves grated or finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Water as needed for cooking
Salt to taste

  • Peel the aubergines. Cut into thin pieces 4-5 cm in length. Set aside.
  • In a deep thick-base pan, on low heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Add onions and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add aubergines and potatoes.
  • Add salt to taste (3/4 teaspoon, don’t be misguided by the volume of the vegetables at this stage. Always add less salt and add more later on if required).
  • Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • Occasionally, stir and add water if required to help the aubergine to soften.
  • Mash the aubergine with a wooden spoon in the pan while cooking every now and then to help it become a puree.
  • The aubergine will gradually change colour to brown. Take care not to burn it. Keep adding water as needed to thoroughly cook the aubergine and potatoes.
  • Test whether potatoes are cooked and soft.

Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce

Photobucket


I really like the rich creamy taste of butter beans. And as all beans, they can be made in a number of recipes. For tonight’s dinner, they were perfect in tomato sauce with some spring onions, accompanied by some Mashed Aubergine with Potatoes and a Watercress Soup. I also had this with some Coconut Chutney and a little rice. But I could have done without the rice. Here’s the recipe for the Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce. The rest is coming up soon, the time it takes to type everything up! (Sometimes cooking is much quicker than writing a post, I reckon!)


Photobucket


Ingredients (4 servings)

1 can butter beans (drained)
½ can tomato puree (or chopped)
1 red onion sliced
4-5 stems spring onions finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
½ cup of frozen peas (or as many as you like)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt to taste

  • Place oil in a deep pan. Add onions and garlic.
  • Cook until onions are semi-translucent.
  • Add tomato puree and peas. (If you are using canned peas, then add them at the end).
  • Allow to reduce for 10 minutes
  • Add butter beans.
  • Add spring onions
  • Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt.

Photobucket

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Coffee Loaf Cake

Photobucket

I bought this new loaf tin on Thursday and was eager to try it out. I wanted to try some bread recipe but I'm more of a cake eater than a bread eater! So, I finally decided to try out a coffee cake that actually had coffee in it. I almost never drink coffee but I don’t mind it in cakes and frostings.

I made this loaf cake on Friday and still have a few slices left over. It actually tastes better the next day when kept in an airtight box. I’ve put very little oil in the dough and though a bit dry, it was nice and light. I prefer making lighter cakes sometimes as I usually find myself just grabbing a slice at anytime of the day (bad habit I know!). So, I don’t feel so much guilt afterward.

What I really like about these vegan cakes is that they are really quick to make. In less than 15 minutes the dough was ready to be poured into the tin.

While I was baking on that Friday, BoyfriendLovlie paid me a little surprise visit with 2 red roses. He probably sensed in the distance that I was baking! Well, he got to taste the first slice and really liked it!


Ingredients

300 g plain flour
150 g demerara sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
5-6 almonds, chopped (optional)
Pinch salt
200 ml coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
50 ml vegetable oil
2 heaped tablespoons ground coffee (or strong instant coffee)
100 ml hot water

  • Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Brew the coffee with the hot water. Set aside. Allow to cool.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • When the coffee is cooled, mix with the coconut milk in a jug or another bowl. Add the oil.
  • Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, stirring gently.
  • Mix well but do not beat.
  • Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin.
  • Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until a bamboo skewer or toothpick comes out clean on testing.
  • Allow to cool before turning over.


Endnote: Thanks to BrOwNfLaVa for tagging me the other day.

The rule is that you have to copy the entire list and add your name below the person who tagged you. Then tag at least 5 people and visit their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

So, here’s the list:

Now I’m tagging:

*Note: not all of the blogs listed here are vegan.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Flageolet and Aubergine Casserole with Spaghetti

Spaghetti is one of my favourite foods as much as flageolet beans are one of my favourite beans. Whenever I have spaghetti or pasta, I like combining it with some sort of beans to add up the proteins.

Photobucket
Tossing in some vegetables as well just make a quick wholesome meal. I usually use any vegetables I have at hand and this time it was aubergine.
What’s nice about this recipe is that you can make ahead for two meals and it keeps very well.

I usually do not deep fry aubergines as they soak up too much oil. I find that shallow frying them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil while covering them gives them a nice creamy texture without compromising on the taste. And this recipe does not require them to be cooked to death beforehand.

Now that I am writing down this recipe, I could go and eat some more!

Photobucket


Ingredients (6 servings)

1 large aubergine
250 g canned (or fresh) mushrooms
1 can (or 250 g) flageolet beans, drained
1 red onion chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch coriander (adjust quantity to taste) finely chopped
Salt to taste

300 g boiled spaghetti


  • Cut the aubergines into small ¼-circle (or cube) pieces.
  • In a large non-stick fry pan, place 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Add the aubergine and stir to coat with oil.
  • Cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. (Be careful not to fully cook them as they will cook for some more time in the sauce afterward).
  • Meanwhile, in a deeper pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Add garlic and onion.
  • Cook until onion is semi-translucent.
  • Add mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and allow to reduce for 10 minutes.
  • By this time the aubergine would be ready.
  • Transfer the aubergines to the tomato sauce.
  • Add the flageolet and stir. Add water if sauce has reduced too much.
  • Cover and simmer for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Sprinkle with fresh coriander.

Serve with boiled spaghetti.

Photobucket

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Mung Bean Pasty

Photobucket
Mung beans are more commonly sprouted and used in many Chinese dishes. In this recipe I am using mung beans for its high protein, potassium and folate content. I am always searching for ways of incorporating as much protein as needed in my diet. So I try to include protein in snacks as well.

While beans have the bad reputation of producing gas, there’s a simple thing I usually do to avoid this. I soak the beans overnight and change the water before cooking.

The most likely reason for the gas producing factor is caused by a lack of enzymes needed to digest this food. Soaking allows some of the gas producing substance to dissolve in the water. As your body gets used to eating beans, the needed enzymes are introduced and this problem disappears. Soaking also considerably reduces the cooking time of the beans. It is best to soak the beans for at least 6 hours then discard the water. Replenish with fresh water and boil until the beans are soft, about 20 minutes.


Ingredients (makes about 12 pasties)

Filling:
250 g boiled mung beans
1 onion finely chopped
2 carrots grated
1 can (250g) mushrooms (you can also use fresh mushrooms)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce (or any other sauce of your choice)
10 stems parsley finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste

Pastry:
300 g plain flour
100 ml vegetable oil
5-6 tablespoons water (or as needed to make the dough)

Oil as needed for deep frying.


To make the dough:

  • Combine the flour and the oil. Add the water and knead to form a dough. The dough should be supple and not sticky. Set aside.


For the filling:

  • Lightly mash the boiled mung beans (so that some of them will hold the rest of the ingredients together).
  • Finely chop the mushrooms.
  • In a non-stick pan, add the olive oil and onion. Stir and cook until semi-translucent.
  • Add the mushrooms, then the carrots and the hoisin sauce.
  • Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.
  • Then add the mung beans and mix well.
  • Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add salt if needed.
  • Turn off heat and sprinkle with the parsley.


  • Divide the dough 3 balls.
  • Lightly dust a board with flour and roll out each dough to 2-3 mm thick (or 20 cm by 20 cm).
  • Cut into 4 squares (10 cm by 10 cm each).

Photobucket

  • Place some filling on each square.
  • Fold diagonally.
  • Close by pressing with a fork around the edges.

Photobucket

  • Deep fry them until crust is golden brown.

I deep fried them this time as I was short of time.

But these can also be baked. They are much healthier when baked.

To bake:

  • Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Grease a baking tray or line with grease proof paper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden.


I find it quite handy to make a big batch and freeze some. They make a quick snack or even a light meal with some salad.

This is how I freeze them:

I usually layer them in a freezer proof box interlined with plastic sheets. (I just slit open a clean food bag). Avoid laying the edges of the pasties on top of each other. This will make it difficult to detach them when frozen. The plastic sheet can then just be lifted to remove the frozen pasties from the box.

Photobucket


They will keep for months. But with me they don’t stay that long in the freezer! I usually eat them within 2-3 weeks.

These pasties are best enjoyed warm with your favourite dipping sauce and in my case – Mum’s Exotic Pomme Citère Chutney!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Coconut and Banana Crepe

I went to the supermarket today (well, it’s past midnight, so yesterday!) and I usually just get what I need and head back home. I always find grocery shopping very time consuming when I stroll around and explore the aisles. Today, however, I did a bit of exploring as I was getting bored of getting the same things every time.

I was in search of some new tea in the herbal category. And I fell on the Bois Chéri selection of fruity and flavoured teas. They must have been there for quite some time but I had never noticed them before. They had quite a selection, I don’t quite remember how many, but the coconut and vanilla caught my attention.

Photobucket

(By the way, if you are wondering whether if I'm getting paid to advertise Bois Chéri's product, uuhhh, sadly no. I was just pleasantly surprised by their new selection of teas).

By the time I got home, it was already tea time (well, not really, but just a sweet little excuse to taste my new tea!). I had to make something to accompany my tea and I thought of making some crepes. Some coconut and banana ones sounded just right. And they would be easy and quick enough to make.

Most vegan crepe recipes call for soy milk but I recently developed some weird bowel irritation when consuming soy. So I substituted the soy milk for 2 tablespoons of powdered coconut milk and the crepes turned out very soft. I like the texture, and the coconuty fragrance just added to my ‘Coconut Tea Break’ theme!

As coconut milk is already very creamy, I did not add any more margarine or oil in the batter nor for cooking.

I always use double the ratio of water to flour when making crepes.


Ingredients (make 5 crepes)

Batter:
150 g plain flour
2 tablespoons powdered coconut milk
300 ml water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ teaspoon baking powder

Filling:
2 bananas sliced
6 tablespoons dessicated coconut
2 tablespoons sugar
Some dried raisins

  • Mix all ingredients for the batter together.
  • Use a whisk or fork if necessary to get rid of all the lumps that may form. You could also mix everything in a blender.
  • For the filling, mix all ingredients together except the banana.
  • Preheat a crepe pan or skillet on medium heat.
  • Using a big cooking spoon, spread and swirl the batter on the crepe pan.
  • Allow to cook for about 2 minutes until the bottom is light brown.
  • Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side.
  • Place some of the coconut mixture in the centre, layer with some banana slices.


Photobucket

  • Turn both sides in overlapping one on the other.
  • Serve hot.

Photobucket

I enjoyed the crepes with my tea and was having a little party on my own!

These are quite good for breakfast as well. I have some left over for tomorrow’s breakfast!

Well, that was enough coconut treat for the day! I almost got drunk with all the invigorating coconut fragrance in the kitchen.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Celebrating Earth Day 2008!

Photobucket


Today is Earth Day. I personally believe every day should be Earth Day as I don't think there should be just one specific day to sensitize people about caring for the environment and saving the planet.
Well, from my part and everyone at home, we have started to grow some greens and herbs in the back garden. There's not much space but it is still a start.


Some coriander seeds just thrown on the soil have given birth to these little baby coriander stems; they have just started to see sunlight.

Photobucket


Some spinach… my favourite green!

Photobucket


A horrible snail is eating all the spinach! I’d be happier if it would eat the weeds!

Photobucket


The baby papaya tree is so cute! I'll have to wait for a while, I think, before this papaya tree bares some fruits!

Photobucket


Lemongrass is always nice in greens soup and Chinese dishes.

Photobucket


The turmeric plant. Turmeric is very good for infections and acnes. I use it as a natural facial mask mixed with oats and sugar.

Photobucket


I’m impatient for them to grow!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Mum’s Exotic Pomme (Fruit) Citère Chutney

Photobucket

I have tried to find an English translation for this local fruit that we get over here in Mauritius but I haven’t been able to find anything. Apparently the Pomme Citère is from Indo-Malaysian origin. It is about the size of a passion fruit with a whitish flesh turning more yellowy when ripe. It has a lovely fragrance. The only annoying thing is the fibrous centre. The Pomme Citère is more commonly made into pickles.

My mum tried this chutney the other day and we all fell in love with it!

If you can’t find any Pomme Citère, then semi-ripe mangoes can also be used although the taste won’t be quite the same.

The first time Mum made this, she used green Pommes Citère. Then she tried ripe ones and I much prefer chutney made with the ripe ones; it has a nicer fragrance and is much tastier.

Ingredients

2 green/semi-ripe Pommes Citère
1 green apple
1 garlic clove
2-3 green chilies
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon unrefined sugar
5-6 tablespoons (or more) water for blending

  • Peel the Pommes Citère. Remove the flesh by cutting small pieces away until you reach the fibrous centre part.

Photobucket

  • Cut the apple into small pieces. (Do not peel).
  • Place all ingredients in a blender and grind until a smooth paste is obtained.

Photobucket

This can be used as a dipping sauce with your favourite snacks, accompaniment with a main dish or even spread on sandwiches/bread.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Chocolate Cake

Photobucket

I finally got some time to write down this post. And as promised, here's the chocolate cake recipe. Chocolate cake is a favourite for many people, vegans and non-vegans alike! One of my biggest fear when I was going through my transition phrase from vegetarian to vegan was how was I going to bake nice cakes without eggs? I have been always passionate about cooking and baking. And chocolate cake has always been my favourite!

I stumbled over this post one day on the Veganfitness forum and was thrilled to find that I could still make good chocolate cake and better still without eggs! From what I can recall, this vegan chocolate cake is far better than any non-vegan ones I’ve eaten before. I never liked the smell of eggs when the cake was baking or even afterwards. I only wished I had discovered this recipe before!

I made this cake for my sister's friend's boyfriend (It was the latter’s birthday). I am always very nervous when baking cakes for people other than my family. As sometimes, despite using the same ingredients and doing the same procedures, the cake just doesn't turn out quite the same. I've never been able to understand this. *sigh*
I was very nervous about this one; it didn't rise as much as it should have. It usually rises to almost double but for some reason this one did not quite rise very well. It could be because I opened the oven halfway through to put in my Semolina Carrot Cake which I was baking simultaneously.
Opening the oven sometimes can cause cakes to collapse! But anyway, the feedback I got for the cake was good! I even got a piece to taste the next day! The taste was just the same as usual.

The recipe on the Veganfitness forum is for quite a small cake. I’ve quadrupled some of the quantities (adjusting some) and I’ve also substituted the vegetable oil for melted vegan margarine.
Although margarine does make the cake taste better, I think in future I will try using vegetable oil itself to cut down on the hydrogenated fats. I’ve been reading DrEddyClinic Alkaline Diet Blog on Trans-Acidic Fats and how they can be very harmful for the body.

So here goes the Chocolate Cake…

Ingredients
Cake:
480 g self raising flour (or 1 additional teaspoon of baking soda if using plain)
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
300 g demerara/unrefined sugar
225 ml melted margarine
450 ml soy milk
6 tablespoons vinegar (cider vinegar is best)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Icing:
200 g vegan cooking chocolate
4 tablespoons water

  • Grease and flour a 26 cm cake tin.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Mix together dry ingredients.
  • Mix together wet ingredients.
  • Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients stirring gently so that they mix completely, but do not beat the mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin.
  • Bake in oven for 40 minutes. Test whether the cake is dry by inserting a metal or bamboo skewer.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for at least an hour before turning out.

For the icing:
  • Break the chocolate to small pieces. Place in a non-stick pan over low heat with the water.
  • Stir gently and allow to melt. Stir and mix well until the melted chocolate is smooth.
  • Pour on the cake and spread evenly on the top and sides using a blunt knife or spatula.



Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Semolina Carrot Cake

Photobucket

I was baking a chocolate cake (I have yet to pour the chocolate topping on, so bear with me, recipe coming up soon!) for my sister’s friend today and as I already had the oven on , I thought I’d just put another one in for myself. I’ve been wanting to make a carrot cake for a while. I got the idea of experimenting with half semolina and half flour. It became a denser cake and was much more filling.

Photobucket

This cake is easy and does not take much time in preparation. You can always opt out of the syrup and just add about 50g more sugar in the dough. Adding some rose water to the syrup might have been nice too but I didn’t have any rose water. I might try it next time.


Ingredients

Cake:
200g plain white flour
250g semolina
2 teaspoons baking soda
150g demerara sugar
Pinch of salt
220 ml vegetable oil
350 ml water
6 tablespoons vinegar (cider vinegar is best)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2-3 carrots (grated)

Syrup (optional):
5 tablespoons demerara sugar
130 ml water


Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius

For the cake mixture:

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together. Then mix all the wet ingredients together except for the carrots. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, stirring gently with a spoon until they mix completely. Do not beat the mixture.
  • Add the grated carrots. Stir and mix well.
  • Pour the cake mixture in a greased rectangular dish approximately 23 cm x 30 cm x 6 cm (9x12x2.4 inch)
  • Bake in oven for 45min. Test whether the cake is ready by inserted a metal rod in the cake. If it comes out dry, it's done. Otherwise, allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes until done.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the dish for half an hour.

Photobucket

For the syrup:

  • Place the sugar and the water in a pan. Allow to thicken on low heat.
  • Pour the syrup on top of the cake.
Cut and serve.

Monday, 14 April 2008

My Favourite No-cheese Pizza

No-cheese pizza

Some people would say, pizza without cheese isn’t pizza! However, when we go back in history, traditional pizza did not have any cheese. In fact, the innovation which gave us the particular flat bread we call “pizza” was the use of tomato as a topping. The tomato was brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th Century and for some time after, it was believed to be poisonous. It was only by the late 18th Century that the poor people of the area around Naples started preparing the dish. They would add tomato to their yeast-based flat bread. And the pizza was born.

The Marinara is the oldest pizza that has been served in pizzerias and also does not have any cheese. It has a topping of tomato, oregano, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and usually basil. It was named “Marinara” not, as many believe, because it has seafood on it (it doesn't) but because it was the food the fishermen ate when they returned home from fishing trips in the Bay of Naples.

I made a no-cheese pizza yesterday and it was really good. Everything held together nicely and I didn’t miss the cheese for a bit. (I can’t really stand the smell of cheese, especially melted cheese, now anyway.)

During my London days, sometimes I used to have vegan mozzarella cheese on my pizza, but no vegan cheese is available over here in Mauritius. But then even if they were, I would cut down on them. Vegan cheeses are high in fat. They might not contain any cholesterol but they are still highly processed blocks of vegetable oil so they are not any better for cardiovascular health. Besides, not using cheese of any sort saves a few pennies (or cents) for today and also much more in future on a doctor’s bill!

This was my Sunday dinner! Yum!

Ingredients (8 pieces)
For the bread:
300g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water (75ml)
130 ml water

Topping:
1 can finely chopped tomatoes (or tomato puree)
3 tablespoons tomato puree
100g oyster mushrooms
1 medium aubergine
5-6 pitted black olives
150g fresh pineapple
1 medium red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon black bean sauce
Dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Add the sugar and warm water to the yeast in a cup. Stir until the yeast and sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Leave to stand for 5 minutes or until the yeast rises.
  • Add the yeast to the flour in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the water and knead until a dough is formed. (Be careful while adding the water and check the consistency of the dough before adding more. It will be difficult to handle a watery dough.)
  • Dust a board with flour and roll the dough flat just slightly larger than the size of the pizza tray.
  • Sprinkle some flour on a 30 cmpizza tray.
  • Loosely wrap the dough around the rolling pin to transfer it to the tray.

Photobucket

Photobucket
  • Cover with a cloth and leave to stand in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
  • Preheat over at 180 degrees Celsius.
  • In the meantime, slice the aubergine about 5 mm thick.
  • Add the black bean sauce to the sliced aubergines. Mix well.
  • In a frying pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Add the aubergines and stir to coat them in the oil.
  • Cover and allow to cook on medium heat until half cooked, turning occasionally. Be careful not to burn them, they can scorch quite easily!
  • Remove from the pan; set aside.
  • In the same pan, add the chopped tomatoes.
  • Allow to reduce a little bit for 2-3 minutes, mashing the tomatoes slightly to a semi-puree. Add salt.
  • By this time the dough would have risen.
Photobucket

  • Place the dough in the oven to pre-cook for 12 minutes.
  • In the meantime, cut the mushrooms and pineapples into small pieces (how small or big depends on how you prefer them to be!).
  • Slice the onion into rings.
  • Cut the pitted olives in half.
  • Remove pizza dough from the oven and lay on a stand.
  • Start by spreading a layer of the tomato sauce on the dough.
  • Sprinkle with some dried basil.

Photobucket
  • Arrange the aubergines.

Photobucket
  • Arrange the mushrooms, olives, pineapple and red onion.
  • Sprinkle a few spoonfuls of tomato puree on top.
  • Add some cracked pepper.

Photobucket

  • Put in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove, slice and serve.

Photobucket

Now, I don’t know about you but I think pizzas are best eaten with the fingers! I eat pizzas with my fingers even when I go to restaurants, otherwise they just don’t taste the same!

I thought you may want to check out this book which features 50 vegan pizza recipes.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION on FACEBOOK


Photobucket

Share This Post

Share This Post

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...