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Monday, 30 June 2008

Papaya Jam

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I had 4-5 medium papayas at home that have gone very ripe. I love fresh papayas in the morning, they make a wonderful breakfast. But there were too many of them to eat up. Mum suggested we make some papaya jam and this is what I did on Sunday afternoon.

I always find store bought jams too sweet. So, I've put much less sugar in this one and besides, the papaya was naturally sweet enough. The only thing is that it might not preserve for as long as store bought jams. But then less sugar means I can eat more of it! So, it won’t even have the time to go off anyway!

It tasted very homemade on sliced bread. I had a big spoonful with porridge this morning. And SisterLovlie is having this as a warm dessert (lightly heated in the microwaved) tonight!


Ingredients:

6 cups (1 kg) papaya
1 cup (225 g) sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange rind
2 tablespoon crushed pineapple (optional)
1 teaspoon agar agar powder
100 ml water

  • Peel the papaya, remove the seeds and cut it into small pieces.
  • Add sugar to it and mash the papaya pieces well.
  • Add the orange rind and pineapple.
  • Cook the mash on a low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.
  • Cook until papaya is well cooked and the liquid has reduced.
  • Mix the agar agar in the water until well dissolved.
  • Stir this into the papaya puree and simmer for about 7 minutes.
  • Fill the hot jam in sterilized pots. Close and refrigerate when cool.

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Saturday, 28 June 2008

Crumbed Top Mung Bean Cake

Crumbed Top Mung Bean Cake

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I feel so bad for not posting anything for ages. I’ve been so busy although my new job isn’t the real reason! I don’t know what I’ve been doing with my time. I really need to get myself organized so that I don’t need to find any lame excuses anymore for not blogging!

The past week and weekend has been devoted to shopping and sewing. I love sewing as much as I love cooking! And I am forever torn between the two when I have to decide which one to do. I did cook a lot of nice things these past 2 weeks though but did not take the time to note down the recipes or take a photo except for this Mung Bean Cake which I thought was too nice not to share with you! You must be used to my fondness for mung beans by now! They show up quite often in my recipes.

This cake is very much like a banana cake in consistency and the crumbed top was a nice combination of texture. It was also very filling.


Dry ingredients:
2 cups plain flour
1 cup semolina
1½ cup light brown sugar (or demerara)
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
Pinch cinnamon (optional)

Wet ingredients:
¾ cup (150 ml) melted margarine
1½ cup (300 ml) soy milk
4 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup boiled mung beans, lightly mashed (1/2 cup of dry mung beans will yield 1 cup after soaking for 6 – 8 hours then boiled)

Crumbed topping:
1 cup pastry flour
½ cup margarine
½ cup demerara sugar
Pinch cinnamon (optional)

  • Preheat oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix all wet ingredients together except the mashed mung beans.
  • Pour wet ingredients over dry mixing gently. Mix thoroughly but do not beat the mixture.
  • Lastly add the mung beans.
  • Pour into a greased 26 cm (10½ inches) baking tin.

Crumbed topping:

  • Mix the flour with the margarine working with the fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add sugar and cinnamon. Mix well.

  • Sprinkle the crumbed topping mixture over the cake batter in the tin.

  • Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Garlic Béchamel Sauce

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During this week (I don’t remember which day) I made this béchamel sauce to go with some vegetables.

I have loved Béchamel sauce very well before my vegan days with Béchamel pastas being my favourite use for the sauce!

This béchamel sauce is not different from other recipes you might find on the internet. I have just veganized my own pre-vegan béchamel recipe using almond milk.

I did not have any almond milk all ready to use. And almond milk requires the almonds to be soaked for at least 6 hours before blending with water. But that evening, I just added about 10 almonds to 300 ml hot water and mixed them in the blended. I obtained a nice milk although a little bit thinner than with soaked almonds. But it was okay to use.

Any other non dairy milk is fine too.

As for the veggies, I used carrots, long green beans and bottle gourd (also known as calabash). Bottle gourd is a tropical local vegetable and it might not be available everywhere. You can just replace it by courgettes (zucchini) if you can’t find any. Just any veggies you like will do! Sautee them in some margarine or just have them steamed topped with the béchamel sauce. The good thing is that the sauce is ready in about the same time that the veggies will take to be steamed. So, you have a meal in about 20 minutes!

Garlic Béchamel Sauce:

300 ml almond milk (or soy milk)
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon margarine
1-2 gloves garlic, grated of finely chopped (or ¾ teaspoon garlic paste)
Salt to taste
Water (room temperature)


  • In a (preferably non-stick) pan, add the margarine and garlic on low heat. Sautee for 1 minute.
  • Mix the flour with a little water in a glass or small bowl. Stir and mix well to remove all lumps.
  • Reduce heat to very low and pour this flour mixture in the pan.
  • Stir vigorously and almost immediately add almond milk, a little at a time, stirring to blend the flour mixture well to avoid lumps.
  • Increase heat to medium and simmer while stirring gently until mixture thickens.
  • Add salt to taste.

To serve, pour the hot sauce onto the vegetables into the serving plate.

The leftover béchamel sauce was used the next day over some pasta with vegetables and red beans. It was nicer with the pasta!

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Monday, 9 June 2008

Savoury Chickpea Cookies

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My first week at my new job has been good so far. But I’ve missed my kitchen very much! So tonight I thought I should bake something not only because I’ve been missing my ‘cooking/baking stress relief therapy’ but also because I need something to nibble on during the day at work! There aren’t any snacks or vegan food that I can buy around there.

I’ve never made savoury cookies before and thought I’d give that a try. I just used my basic knowledge of dry dough cookie and made these chickpea savoury ones.

They are quite nice. Although I think I have been a little bit too generous on the cracked pepper! I think BoyfriendLovlie might like them too.

The recipe is for about 30 square cookies (5 cm or 2 inches).


Ingredients (about 30 cookies)

1 cup pastry flour
½ cup semolina flour

¼ cup ground almonds
1 cup boiled chickpeas (well drained)
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 tablespoon whole flax seeds
½ tablespoon black soya bean paste
4-5 tablespoons water

  • Mash the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher, leaving some coarse.
  • Mix flour, semolina, margarine, salt and pepper together until mixture resembles like fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add black soya bean paste and mashed chickpeas. Mix well with hands.
  • Start adding water a little at time as required to form a dough.
  • The dough should be dry and not sticky; supple enough to roll out.
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Separate the dough into 3 – 4 balls.
  • Roll each out into a big sausage about 5 cm or 2 inches diameter. You can leave it round or flatten it on four sides.
  • Cut it into slices (like you would slice bread) about ½ cm or ⅛ inch thick. I did this as I don’t have a cookie cutter (yet!) and did not want to waste my time rolling out and shaping each individual cookie! You can always roll out the dough flat and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
  • Place on a baking tray or cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until cookies are golden and dry inside.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Chocolate Orange Cake

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I promised I would post the recipe of the mini cakes I made for SisterLovlie’s birthday. They were quite moist and I flavoured the orange and chocolate batters separately.

I used soymilk in this cake; I’ve had a bit of soy in cakes lately and it hasn’t affected me so far! Could my intolerance to soy gradually disappear? I hope so! Probably the fact that I haven’t had any soy products for a long time has immunized my body against whatever substance I can’t tolerate in the soy. Well, I won’t get excited too soon though.

I made mini cakes and 2 slightly bigger cakes but I’ve adjusted the recipe to yield just 8 mini cakes. If you are using muffin tins, you might get more. I baked them in 10 cm or 3 inches diameter ramekins.


Ingredients (8 mini cakes)

Orange batter:

Dry mix:
1¼ cup self-raising flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
⅓ cup demerara sugar
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon orange zest (grated from 1 orange)
¾ teaspoon turmeric (optional if you want a yellowy/orangey colour)


Wet mix:
75 ml melted margarine (I just popped the marg in the microwave until just melted but not boiled!)
75 ml soy milk (I would think other non dairy milk would be fine too, but I’ve never tried it)
75 ml orange juice (from one orange)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons vinegar


Chocolate batter:

Dry mix:
1¼ cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
⅓ cup demerara sugar
Pinch salt

Wet mix:
75 ml melted margarine (I just popped the margarine in the microwave until just melted but not boiled!)
150 ml soy milk (I would think other non dairy milk would be fine too, but I’ve never tried it)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons vinegar

  • Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
Mix the ingredients for the orange batter and chocolate batter separately in two bowls:
  • For each, add the vinegar to the soy milk and let stand for a while.
  • Meanwhile mix all the dry ingredients. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients to the soy milk and vinegar mixture.
  • Stir gently and thoroughly mix all ingredients together.
  • Pour an alternate layer of chocolate and white batter mix into the greased ramekins or cup cake tins. (If you want a marble effect, you could slightly mix the batter with a fork, swirling around. I left mine just layered).
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out dry.

Here they are unglazed. They taste great even without any icing!

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For the glazing:

Chocolate chips

Chocolate icing:
50 g75 g dark vegan chocolate broken to pieces
2-3 tablespoons water

  • Place chocolate and water in bowl and microwave for 2 minutes or less until chocolate starts melt.
  • Remove and stir vigorously to mix the water thoroughly to obtain a smooth pouring consistency chocolate sauce. Add more boiling water if the consistency is too thick.
  • Alternatively, you could place the bowl of chocolate and water into another bigger bowl filled with boiling water and allow the chocolate to gently melt.


Orange icing:
Juice from half orange
Icing sugar

  • In a bowl, mix orange juice with as much icing sugar as required to obtain a thick pouring consistency.

The mini cakes can either be glazed by dipping them head first into the bowl of chocolate or orange icing.

Then drizzle the chocolate iced ones with some of the orange icing and sprinkle the orange iced ones with some chocolate chips.

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Monday, 2 June 2008

Final May Party!

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As the beginning of the month, regular readers will remember I said that the month of May is my happy month of celebrations. Well, on the last day of the month, SisterLovlie sealed the festivities with her birthday party (well just a mini party of four people). (We celebrated her birthday only yesterday though – that is Sunday).

SisterLovlie really liked the cute little mini cakes I made for BoyfriendLovlie for his birthday and requested mini cakes for hers! So, I baked some orange chocolate mini cakes plus one not so mini cake. I actually did not mix the orange with the chocolate but had two separate batters that I poured in the moulds alternatively.

They were really nice. I’ll post the recipe another day. I promise!

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And as for snacks, nibbles and dinner, although we were just four (Mom, Dad, Sister and me), we had quite some feast!

SisterLovlie made the salad. It was yum with the dressing being only vegan mayo, lemon juice, salt, sugar and pepper!

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The veggie skewers were also prepared by SisterLovlie. The veggies were previously marinated in black bean sauce for about 45 minutes.

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And I made the pizza with a brown multigrain flour base. It tasted nice today though. Although next time, I’ll have half brown flour and half white. All brown flour is a bit too heavy for a pizza crust.

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After the Okra Bhajis, we decided to make some cauliflower bhajis. As opposed to the okras, the cauliflower does not require any boiling beforehand. They can just be dipped raw in the batter and deep fried. Also instead of using baking soda, I used baking powder and it changes the texture to crispy instead of soft.

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We had a nice time and were so full! SisterLovlie’s birthday was also the last day of my six months holidays! Yes, I’ve spent the last six months holidaying.

This blog has been keeping me busy! I’ve started a new job today. But, I don’t intend to stop posting though! Until I get used to my new schedule, I will do my best and try to continue posting recipes and stuffs. And yes bear with me with replies to comments; I love your comments and will do my best to reply to all of them!

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