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Sunday, 31 August 2008

Experimenting with pizza base dough and ... just chilling!

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This Saturday, I did not have anything in particular to do. I woke up at 10.30am. And prepared lunch. SisterLovlie made the salads and I just made some
microwave potato chips from the Fat-free Vegan Kitchen.
I quite liked those chips. But I did not have any parchment paper so I greased the plate a little bit. My chips were not fat-free but they still contained less fat than regular chips.
The only thing is that some got stuck to the plate and weren’t that easy to remove.

SisterLovlie made some a pasta salad and coleslaw with sultanas. Both were nice and simple to make. Ingredients for the pasta salad were boiled pasta, chick peas, sweet corn, roasted broad beans, tomatoes, black olives, lettuce and vegan salad cream. The coleslaw was just shredded cabbage, raisins, vegan salad cream, salt and sugar.


For today I made pizza. It’s been a while since I made pizza and was badly craving for it. I tried something new with the dough. I made a sort of ciabatta base dough but it is not quite like I wanted it to me. It did not rise as much as I was expecting. But then I had never made real ciabattas before. I need a little bit of practice with it. I am quite happy though as the base was crusty and it tasted nice.
As ingredients I had tofu strips (marinated in soy sauce, coated with cornflour, then sautéed), cauliflower, mushroom, onions, baby corn, black and green olives, pineapple, and green chilies. I marinated the chillies in some vinegar, salt and sugar for about 1 hour before.
I like chilies but I don’t like them too hot, because then they take away the taste completely and put me off my food! So I find soaking them in vinegar makes them more reasonable to ingest!

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There are left-overs for tomorrow’s lunch, which is good because then I don't have to think of something else to take to work!

So, the weekend was very relaxing although much too short!
I took a few pictures of the bougainvilleas in the garden. They have flourished really nicely this year.

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Sunday, 24 August 2008

Carrot muffins

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Shelby from La Belle Vegan (she's got the nicest breakfast inspirations!) suggested that I make the Fat-free Carrot Cupcakes from the Happy Herbivore. And I did. I must say, these are really "to die for" (quoting Shelby)! I added raisins to mine and used pear puree (3 ripe pears processed in the blender with half cup water) instead of applesauce. I did not have any applesauce and to be honest I think I’ve had my fair share of apples the week before!
For icing, I just used icing sugar mixed with a little water and powdered coconut milk. (The icing wasn't fat-free though).

I really recommend these fat-free carrot cakes! And there so quick to make too!


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Indian Tonight

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Tonight for dinner I had Cauliflower and Soy Kalia! This lovely Indian dish is traditionally a Kashmiri dish prepared with meat or fish and yogurt. Of course my recipe is the veganised version that I made with soy chunks, cauliflower and coconut milk. This can also be made with red kidney beans if you are allergic to soy or don’t have any soy chunks.

By the way, did I mention that my intolerance to soy has practically vanished? I am still crossing fingers on this but I am enjoying more and more soy in my food now with no problems so far!

If you’ve never had soy chunks before, you might want to try them. They are very easily available over here in Mauritius. But in London, I could only find them in health stores. They are dehydrated chunks made out of soy flour and come in various sizes and colours; you can get them in a minced version as well. The ones I’m using are about one cubic centimeter in size and somewhat orangey in colour.

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All you need to do is rehydrate them before cooking. You can either soak them for at least 4 hours prior to cooking or boil them for about 15 minutes (in which case you don’t need to soak). If you are really out of time, just microwave them from dry in a big bowl of water for about 2-3 minutes or until soft and spongy.

You can use them in various dishes like stir fries, curries, stews and I sometimes make patties with the minced ones.


Ingredients (4-5 servings)

2 cups soy chunks (pre-soaked or boiled)
1 medium cauliflower broken into florets
3 medium potatoes (cut into cubes)
2 large white onions, finely sliced or chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can (400g net weight) coconut milk
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala (or just cinnamon if you don’t have this)
1 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 cup finely chopped coriander
2 tablespoons frozen peas (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon powdered curcuma (or yellow food colour)
Salt to taste (probably 1 teaspoon should be enough)**

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a deep pan. Add soy chunks and potatoes with curcuma.
  • Stir well and cook until potatoes are half cooked. (fork test)
  • Remove from pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil.
  • Add onions and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  • Add ginger, garlic, coconut milk, cumin and garam masala.
  • Let simmer on medium heat until liquid is reduced to about half.
  • Add half of the coriander and mint.
  • Add water and simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add potatoes, soy chunks and peas. Add more water if required to create enough sauce for the potatoes to cook without sticking to the pan.
  • When potatoes are almost cooked, add cauliflower. (Make sure to add the cauliflower at the very end, otherwise they will cook too much).
  • Add the rest of the coriander and mint.
  • Cover and simmer until all is well cooked and liquid has reduced and thicken.
  • Add salt to taste.

You can have this with plain rice or Indian bread or yellow rice like I did.

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I made the rice in this way.

Ingredients (4-5 servings)

1½ cups basmati rice
1 teaspoon powdered curcuma (or any yellow food colour, liquid is fine)
8-10 whole cardamon pods
1 big white onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon margarine

  • Boil the rice with 4-5 cardamon pods. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • Heat margarine in a large pan. Add onions. Fry until golden, stirring occasionally.
  • Add remaining cardamons.
  • Add half of the completely cooled rice to the pan. Stir and mix well.
  • Add the curcuma or yellow food colour to the rest. Then add this to the pan.
  • Stir and let fry for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and don’t cover immediately, if you are not eating this straight away, or the rice might become a bit too mushy.

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**Edit: I completely forgot to add salt to this recipe. I did have it when I was cooking this! I think all of you must have picked up on this and guessed it needs salt!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Muffins, pancakes and chutney!

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We had a long weekend over here this weekend with Friday being a public holiday. The thing with long weekends is that I take 2 days to get back on track afterwards! I spent most of my Friday baking and cooking, of course! Then on Saturday, I went to the cinema to watch Narnia - Prince Caspian. I love going to the cinema! And the movie was good. I loved the first Narnia and the second is worth watching as well.

Now, let’s go back to the goodies I baked and cooked on Friday.
Thank you for all your suggestions about the apples, they were really great! I made
fat-free apple and banana muffins, pancakes, apple and carrot chutney and apple sauce (that I used in the muffins).
I searched the internet for recipes and then just cooked out of my head (like I always do!) except for the apple and banana muffins. I just followed the recipe pretty much as it was.



I’ll start with the fat-free apple and banana muffins.
It’s the first time I tried fat-free muffins and they were nicer than what I expected they would be! They were spongy and moist.

The only change I made to the muffins was that I added some almond pulp to the dough. Almond pulp is the left over that I keep from making almond milk at home. I usually keep the pulp as I think they still contain quite some nutrients and fiber and I don’t like wasting them away. I also used only one banana as I only had one left. And as I was using only one banana, I decided to use apple sauce instead of juice. I made the apple sauce by pureeing some of the pre-cooked apples with a little water in a blender.

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The pancakes.
I did not look for any particular recipe for the pancakes. I just used my own basic vegan pancake recipe to which I added the pre-cooked apples. One thing that I should have added to the batter and I only realised this afterward, is some coconut milk powder. It makes a softer pancake.

If you want the recipe, here it goes:

Ingredients (5 pancakes)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or any that you prefer)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons coconut milk powder
1 cup pre-cooked apples
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl using a whisk or fork or in a blender except for the apples.
  • Stir in the apples.
  • (I don't use any oil for frying the pancakes. I use a non-stick pancake/frying pan.)
  • Scoop mixture using a large round spoon. Shape the batter on the pan toobtain a nice round pancake.
  • Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until bubbles start to form and the bottom is stiff enough to turn over without risk of tearing.
  • Cook until other side is done.
  • Remove and stack them on top of one another to keep them soft.

For myself I made twice the amount in the recipe and ate 3 while I was cooking them! I shared the rest of course!

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And finally the Apple and Carrot Chutney.
I went through several recipes online and I did not quite have all ingredients that they were calling for. So I just made up my own recipe and hoped for the best! And it was nice! The proof is half of it is already gone since Friday. That’s nearly 2 cups of chutney!


Ingredients (for about 3 standard jam pots of 340g each)

2 cups pre-cooked apples (or about 3 cups of raw peeled and chopped apples)
1 medium grated carrot
1 onion, finely chopped*
2 cups brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5-6 cloves
2 star aniseeds
2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds
1 cup spirit vinegar (it’s the only one I had. Other recipes have called for rice vinegar, pure cane vinegar or malt vinegar)
½ cup raisins (mixture of golden and black raisins)
1-2 dried chilies to taste (I used green chilies as I did not have any dried ones. I think dried chilies will allow the chutney to preserve for longer)

*Ooops! I just realised I also had 1 onion in the chutney.
  • Mix everything in a sauce pan and cook on low heat for at least 2 hours or until liquid has reduced.
  • Let cool and store in jars.
  • Refrigerate to keep for longer.

This apple chutney tasted very much like the sweet and sour sauces I usually add to stir fries. Next time I make a stir fry I’m going to add some of this chutney instead! That sounds good! Yum!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Apples and Lovlie

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Ok, I've got loads of apples at home and I'm short of ideas about what to do with them! Mum brought them home as they aren't selling very well these days at the market. (Mum and Dad are fruitsellers by the way! You get the idea why there's so many fruits in my baking!)

So help me before they go off, what are your favourite apple recipes? I've made some apple custard tartlets so far.

Sidenote: I made the illustration above at work today. I practically had no work today, so I spent the time making this!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

The weekend...

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I am spending a quiet weekend. It feels like summer although it's something like mid-winter around here. With 25 degrees Celsius today and a high of 29 predicted for tomorrow, it's a very summery winter!

I made these apple and custard tartlets this morning, baked in individual tins. It's the same recipe as from here. (If you halve the recipe, you'll get 5 tartlets, depending on the size of the tins). I glazed the top with some kiwi jam instead of demerara sugar this time.

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And for dinner I had this.

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Now I'm off to watch a movie. 21. It sounds like a quite good movie. It's inspired from a true story.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Sweet Potato Stuffed Rolls – The recipe

Sweet Potato Stuffed Rolls – The recipe

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As promised…here’s the recipe. I only get the white sweet potatoes over here. I would have preferred the orange variety that I used to buy in England, they’re more flavourful. If you can get hold of the orange sweet potato, then I would definitely recommend them.


Ingredients (12-15 cookie rolls - 6-7 cm / 2.5-3 inches long)

Cookie
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup demerara sugar
½ cup margarine
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons warm non dairy milk

Filling
1 cup sweet potato (boiled, peeled and mashed)
4-5 tablespoons desiccated coconut flakes or freshly grated if you have some
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons raisins or other dried fruits
Chopped almonds (optional)
1 tablespoon soy/almond milk (optional – to soften the mixture)

Soya milk for glazing.

  • Pre-boil the sweet potatoes.
  • Preheat oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Add the baking powder to the flour and mix well.
  • Fold in the margarine in the flour. Rub lightly with the fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add sugar and salt. Mix well.
  • Add the vanilla and milk.
  • Knead to form a dough. (Adjust milk quantity if required)
  • Put the cookie dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the sweet potato filling.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the sweet potato filling together.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and divide into 2 – 3 balls.
  • Roll each ball flat to about 2 mm.
  • Cut out circles using a large cookie cutter or the edge of a stainless steel bowl (which is what I used). The bowl I used was about 6 cm (2.5 in) diameter.
  • Place some ¾ tablespoon of filling on each circle.
  • Roll the cookie dough to enclose the sweet potato. Continue rolling lightly to glue the edges together. (It’s just like rolling play dough!)
  • Arrange the rolls on a greased tray or lined with grease-proof paper.
    Glaze with soya milk.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  • Cookies will still be quite soft when removed and will become crunchy on cooling.

    Enjoy them on the same day as they do go cakey the next day because of the moist sweet potato inside. But I still liked them as they then tasted like stuffed scones.


Thursday, 7 August 2008

Sweet Potato Stuffed Rolls

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They are cookies rolled and stuffed with mashed sweet potato and raisins. I made them yesterday and they were really yummy even though they went a bit cakey today. They still tasted great!
I'll post the recipe soon...Recipe here.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Lemony Coconut Cake

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I had never made a lemon cake before and the last time I had a lemon cake probably about 3 years ago was back in my pre-vegan days!
I had nothing planned on Saturday and what else could I do but bake. I improvised with what I had on hand and made this Lemony Coconut Cake. I used lemon juice squeezed from a lemon and the taste can barely be picked out. I should probably have used commercial lemon juice from a bottle instead? (…that sounds a bit too artificial/chemical to me) But anyway, the icing helped bring out the lemony taste. It was really quite tangy with the icing!
I baked them in individual oval tartlet tins (approximately 10 x 6 cm – 4 x 2.5in).


Ingredients (10 small cakes)

Dry ingredients:
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup semolina flour (or omit this and just use 3 cups all-purpose flour)
4 tablespoons coconut milk powder
5 tablespoons desiccated coconut flakes
1 cup demerra sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt


Wet ingredients:
1 ½ (300 ml) soy milk
Juice from 1 small/medium lemon
1 teaspoon zest (or from 1 small/medium lemon)
½ cup (100 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Icing:
5-6 tablespoons icing sugar
Juice from 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon coconut milk powder

Optional:
Coconut flakes
Shredded lemon peel

Preheat oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix all wet ingredients together separately.
Pour wet ingredients over dry, stirring gently.
Do not beat the mixture but make sure everything is thoroughly mixed.
Pour into individual tartlet tins or into a 22 – 26 cm (9 – 10 in) baking tin.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
Allow to cool before icing.


For the icing:
Mix the lemon juice with the icing sugar and coconut milk powder until everything is completely dissolved into a pouring consistency (not too runny). Drizzle over cakes.
Sprinkle with coconut flakes and lemon peel shreds.

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