# Nacho nacho woman, I want to be, a nacho woman! #
I love nachos. But it makes me sad that I can never have them when we go out anymore. Well I could, but I would have to ask for no cheese, no sour cream and to be honest I probably wouldn’t even risk the guacamole (the bottled, un-refrigerated stuff usually contains dairy). So if a veg*n chilli isn’t available on the menu, that would leave me with chips and maybe some tomato salsa. Hmpft.
However, that doesn’t stop me chowing down on nachos of epic proportions at home! Introducing my Ultimate Nachos… tortilla chips, mouth-watering “chilli sin carne”, lashings of realistic cheezy sauce and a generous helping of sour cream. Definitely one of my favorite weekend treats!
Chilli sin carne
I like to use as many different types of tomato as possible to give a nice depth of flavour. Tomato ketchup is my dirty secret ingredient – perfect for adding a hit of sweetness.
1 x tsp oil
1 x medium onion (chopped)
1 x pepper
4 x average sized fresh tomatoes
2 x tsp minced garlic
2 x tsp chopped red chilli (the strength is up to you! I opted for a medium spice)
2 x tsp tomato puree
2 x tsp smoked paprika
1 x tsp dried mixed herbs (unless you have some nice fresh coriander/cilantro to hand)
1 x tsp sugar
1 x tin black turtle beans - drained (you can also use red kidney, but I’m not a big fan)
4 x mushrooms (quartered)
1 x tin chopped tomatoes
1 x cup grated veggies* (optional)
2 x cups frozen soya mince
2 x tbsp tomato ketchup
1 x tsp soy sauce
Juice of one lime
Black pepper to taste
*I always have a bowl of grated veggies in my fridge, usually consisting of any combination of carrot, white cabbage, red cabbage, celeriac, suede etc. This comes in so incredibly useful for bulking up meals – it can be a side, part of a salad, sandwich filler, a base for soup or can easily be turned into coleslaw by adding some vegan mayo.
Heat up the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Fry until translucent and soft.
Add the pepper and continue cooking until soft.
Add the garlic, chilli and fresh tomatoes and cook until heated through. Keep stirring to prevent the garlic and chilli from burning.
Add the tomato puree, dried herbs, smoked paprika and sugar and continue to cook and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the black beans, mushrooms and grated veggies and cook for around 2 minutes before adding the tin of chopped tomatoes. Cook until simmering.
Add the soy sauce, ketchup and soya mince and keep cooking until the mince has completely defrosted and heated through. Add water if the chilli seems too dry.
Take off the heat and stir in the lime juice and black pepper if using.
Tip: As with most tomato based dishes, this chilli is best if left to cool for a few hours (or better still, overnight) so that the flavours have chance to develop. You will need to reheat however before adding to the nachos.
Eazy Cheeze sauce
I’ve seen a few cheeze sauces knocking around the internet which use carrot and potato as a base. This is my version but I quick Google search will bring up many more!
1 x large carrot (peeled)
2 x small potatoes (peeled)
½ x cup nutritional yeast
½ x cup olive oil (don't use virgin!)
½ x teaspoon mustard (or horseradish or wasabi)
½ x tsp black pepper
½ x tsp soya milk
¼ x tsp garlic powder
½ x tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ x tsp white miso paste
Pop the carrot and potatoes into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and continue to heat until the soft enough to mash.
Add the carrot, potatoes and all other ingredients to a food processor and whiz until smooth and uniform in colour. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides.
Transfer to a pan and heat until the sauce bubbles. Stir the whole time using a silicone spatula. Taste great cold or warm!
Chilli sin carne, eazy cheeze sauce, tortilla chips, vegan sour cream and a melt-able vegan “cheese”.
1. Arrange a layer of nacho chips onto a plate and pop under the grill just long enough for the edges to just start turning a pale golden brown. Don’t overdo or else they’ll burn during step 5.
2. Dollop a healthy serving of hot chilli onto the top of the nachos. I like to leave an outer ring of un-topped nachos for presentation purposes. Plus it makes the chips easier to pick up and dip.
3. Add spoonful’s of the eazy cheeze sauce onto the top of the chilli.
4. Add a nice melt-able vegan “cheese” of your choice onto the top.
5. Pop under the grill until the vegan cheese has melted, the cheese sauce has gone bubbly and the edges of the nachos have started to go brown.
6. Add blobs of vegan sour cream (I used Toffuti). If I’d have had some spare jalapeños to hand, I’d have added some of those as well. Same goes for avocado… live and learn!
7. Enjoy with a nice cold beer! I would very much like to recommend Innis and Gunn: http://www.innisandgunn.com - which is my all time favourite beer, even before I turned veg*n!
This recipe will comfortably create either 4 portions of nachos as an appetizer, or 2 healthy portions as a main meal. And if you have any leftovers, you can stick them on a pizza base and have an ultimate nacho pizza – hell yes!!!
Through my Facebook account (did I mention I have Facebook??? Add me!: www.facebook.com/flash.gordonette.5) I got talking to an adorable chappy from New Delhi. He recommended that I try this recipe for jalebi: http://indianfood.about.com/od/specialoccassionrecipes/r/jalebi.htm
I’d never ever heard of jalebi before, but I’m always up for a new challenge!
The original recipe wasn’t quite vegan due to the use of yoghurt, so I just substituted with the plain soya alternative. I also think the quantities used in recipe might be a bit wrong… the ratio of yoghurt to flour wasn’t nearly high enough to create a pourable batter so I tweaked by adding some almond milk. Also, I don’t think that the recipe uses enough liquid to dissolve all the sugar in the syrup so I added more. That said, my jalebi looks absolutely nothing like the picture so maybe I’m not as big a smart-arse as I like to think!
The finished product was still very yummy though…
I made enough batter to fill a 1Kg empty bottle of ketchup, but since I only used ¼ of the batter to create 4 servings, I have quartered the quantities for the below recipe:
Vegan jalebi recipe:
½ x cup self-raising flour
1/8 x tsp baking powder
¼ x cup plain soya yoghurt
½ x cup almond milk (or any other dairy alternative).
1 x teaspoon orange food colour
Mix all ingredients together and whisk into a smooth batter. Pour into an empty sauce bottle (a funnel makes this job a lot easier). Leave to “ferment”. The original recipe recommends 24 hours but I just plonked mine on the radiator for a couple of hours. Maybe this is why my jalebi didn’t turn out looking quite right!
Do NOT shake the bottle too vigorously whilst sat next to your husband, it may end in a messy disaster!
3 x tbsp rose water
2 x tbsp. water
1 x cup sugar
Few strands saffron
¼ x tsp cardamom powder
Put the sugar, water and rose water into a pan and heat whilst stirring. Once the sugar has dissolved, continue to heat and stir until the liquid is boiling and has reduced down to a syrupy consistency. The original recipe recommends sticking your finger in it to test when its ready, but I have experienced enough hot sugar burns in my lifetime to say that I really don’t recommend this!!!
Remove from the heat and stir in the cardamom and the saffron.
The original recipe says to heat up oil in a wok in order to cook the batter. I just used a deep fat fryer because it was handy.
Heat the oil and test if it is hot enough by adding a small amount of the batter. It should bubble and rise to the surface of the oil almost immediately.
Drizzle the rest of the batter into the oil using an erratic, wiggly pattern. When floating and golden brown, scoop out of the oil and place on some kitchen roll. Depending on the size of your fryer / wok, you may need to cook the batter in several batches.
(it was supposed to look like spaghetti, whoops!)
Add the cooked batter to the syrup, gently mix and leave for a couple of minutes so that some of the syrup is absorbed. Serve and enjoy! The portions may not look too big, but don’t be fooled – the jalebi is delicious but pretty sickly!
Even Harvey enjoyed a little nibble! Hope you do too J
I hate it when food goes to waste. Like REALLY hate it. I once had a complete tantrum at a colleague when he threw my one day out of date soya yoghurt in the bin, and I have FORBIDDEN the hubby from participating in food eating challenges until he is man enough to finish the plate…
So you can imagine the burden I was feeling after I was left with a cup and a half of butter-cream after frosting a birthday cake. Well, to begin with it was two cups, but I quickly found out that butter-cream is very sickly when consumed on its own. So what to do? Invent a butter-cream cookie!
These cookies aren't like the last cookies I posted. These are less chewy but much better for dunking in a brew. They are also very yummy and extremely easy to make.
There are endless variations of cookies that I could have made but I went for bran and sultana. They worked very well!
1 ½ x cups butter-cream (left over from my vegan sticky toffee pudding cupcakes).
½ x cup branflakes (double check the ingredients, some supermarket brands use honey).
¼ x cup sultanas.
2 x tsp vanilla essence.
1 x cup plain flour.
Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix. EASY. You might need to use your hands towards the end in order to sculpt into a dough.
Break off walnut sized lumps and mould into a ¼ inch thick circle. Lay each circle out onto a baking tray lined with some lightly greased, grease-proof paper and pop into a preheated oven (180oC) for 10 – 15 minutes. I flipped mine over halfway through to ensure they baked evenly.
Once cooled, scoff the lot! This recipe yielded 15, so you might need someone to help
½ x cup almonds
½ x cup cashews
¼ x cup raisins or sultanas
¾ x cup pitted dates
½ x tbsp cocoa powder
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until a coarse paste is formed. To check if blended enough, squeeze a bit of the mixture between your finger and thumb. The mixture should bind together.
Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased baking tin (I used a round one with a 9 inch diameter) and press down.
Lightly grease the underneath of an identical baking tin and press down hard on the top of your crumble. Add a weight to the top of the baking tin (I used a large jar of golden syrup) and leave in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, but preferably overnight.
Remove from the fridge and take off the top baking tin. Turn upside down onto a chopping board and gently tap the bottom baking tin until the crumble drops out.
Slice up and enjoy!
I individually wrapped mine up in tinfoil so I could take one to work each day. Be careful – they can be slightly messy to eat!
You might have wondered why my last entry was written using a tablet. Reason was that I was in Borovets, Bulgaria on a week’s holiday, celebrating my Hubby’s 40th Birthday.
The big day isn’t until March, but we wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss the snow since we were mainly going for the snowboarding. Ha! They’d had the worst snow in years so only the red runs were open. Fine for him but terrifying for a novice like me! Still, I managed to survive with only a bruised bottom and a bit on a bruise on my arm…
I was worried about what the food was going to be like, especially since we were going half board at the hotel we were staying at. I had visions of it not even being veggie friendly, let alone vegan friendly. Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised. First off however, I will describe the food I had on the plane.
For our Honeymoon back in May last year we flew with Thompson and since it was a special occasion, we upgraded to Premier Class. At the time I was only veggie but since I was offered the option of a vegan meal, I took it out of curiosity. At the time I was SO glad that I was “only” veggie because basically flying both inward and outbound I got a vegan hot dish, and everything else was the same as everyone else’s meal: 2 x cheeses; pack of cheese crackers; 2 x dairy pudding pots; and a bread roll with dairy butter…! And since the flight was around nine hours we got a snack later on. I got handed an egg butty heading out and a cheese and tomato hot roll coming home! Needless to say I complained on my customer service form, not that I ever heard back.
Anyhow, we flew with Thomas Cook this time and I have to say that I was rather impressed. I got the same meal both inward and outbound but it was tasty so I didn’t mind. I was given a vegetable tagine consisting of some sort of squash, red kidney beans, tomatoes and mushrooms, along with a side of vegetable couscous. I also got two wholemeal rolls, a pack of vegan friendly marg, an apple, a little pack of Sun-maid raisins, a pack of water crackers and a mini pack of Marmite. Lovely! (Well, apart from the Marmite, bleurgh!)
Back to the hotel, we stayed at the Festa Winter Palace. I can’t be bothered writing a big review on the accommodation but it was nice, spacious and for the price we would recommend it to someone with the right budget. I can however be bothered to review the food in detail:
Breakfast was a bit of a chore as the choices were the same every day. Mostly there was bacon, frankfurters, scrambled egg, boiled egg, cereals with cow’s milk and also French toast…but luckily there was also normal toast, jam and beans. To be truthful, seven days of beans on toast or jam on toast was a bit of a tedious challenge. There was also fresh fruit so I enjoyed a juicy orange for the first two days, but then they started to add bananas to the fruit bowl. Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit banana-phobic, so I was unable to touch any of the fruit after witnessing this horrific scene!
Lunchtimes weren't included in our package so most days I took a vegan bar up to the slopes whilst the Hubby took a chocolate bar. One day we had chips at one of the slope side restaurants. Another day I was desperate for a change so I gambled and ordered a “vegetarian burger”. The gamble didn't pay off as the burger came and was basically a mass of feta cheese moulded into a patty and topped with a cheese slice in a bun with some salad. The waitress didn't speak very good English (and who can blame her) and I hatehatehate to see food go to waste – so I ate it. Luckily I have only been eating a completely 100% vegan diet for just over a month now (been totally vegan at home for months now, but have previously struggled at business lunches and people’s houses) so I saw no ill effects. BUT I did feel pretty guilty. I also have to admit that I caved and had a couple of hot chocolates because I was cold and at the time felt that I needed a hot drink. I had already learned the hard way that the black coffee was pretty gross, however once I realised that they served hot wine, I stuck to that in the hope that it wasn't made with any gross fining agents. Although I feel bad for slipping up, it has made me more determined to do a better job of being vegan from now on – I don’t want to be a “transitioning vegan” forever! I do think though that I need to persevere with black coffee until I develop a taste for it, it would prevent a lot of trouble during refreshment breaks.
Teatime was the easiest meal to get through; in fact I did pretty well. The Hubby was sick of the sight of tough pork and chewy chicken by the end of the holiday, whereas I was quite enjoying my evening meals. There was always at least plain pasta or a vegetable rice on the buffet and every night they served a versatile sauce made of pureed aubergine, tomatoes, sweet potato and peppers. There was also plenty of salad: green peppers; black olives; beefy tomatoes; sweetcorn; red onion; jalapeños; and white beans. They also served something called “Royal Salad” consisting of raw carrot, cauliflower and white cabbage in a tangy vinaigrette which was surprisingly flavoursome. I had no problem combining ingredients to create nice vegan friendly meals. The only downside was that most of the food was served lukewarm. I’m not sure I would make a very good raw vegan as I was really beginning to crave a plateful of hot steamy food.
My cravings were however fulfilled on the last day of our holiday. We booked a trip sightseeing round the Bulgarian Capital, Sofia. I had researched a vegan friendly bar and restaurant on www.happycow.net , so when the group moved on to visit a shopping centre we slipped away for a spot of lunch. My dish sounds really boring – basmati rice with onions, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, ginger and avocado – but it was piping hot and fantastically balanced. The Hubby bless him has been going around telling people that the best meal he has all week was at a vegan restaurant, so I had to remind him that a) it was a normal restaurant that happened to also cater for vegans and b) that his dish had bacon and cheese in it!!! Still, I really appreciated him missing out on a shopping trip to go somewhere I wanted visit.
If anyone is likely to visit Sofia, the restaurant was called “Cabra Natural Foods and Bar”. The food was fabulous and super cheap, and the girl who served us was warm, friendly, efficient and spoke good English. Also the local beer was lovely, even though I’m not a lager person.
They are on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cabra-Natural-Foods-Bar/164478763618155) but since most of the posts are in Bulgarian, I have to admit that I haven’t bothered to like the page…
So there we have it, my vegan triumphs and failures whilst visiting Bulgaria! I’m off to Germany, France and Hungary soon so I’ll have to swot up on my Vegan survival tactics – any advice would be greatly received!
I’ve been dying to attempt this recipe for ages, the only thing that was holding me back was trying to get hold of vege friendly gelatine. As a kid, the gelatine in the pork pie was always my favourite part. If we were having guests round at Christmas, my mum would put on a buffet which included pork pies cut into quarters - I would go around when no one was looking, removing the meat, stealing the jelly, then replacing the meat into the pastry as if nothing had happened… bleurgh!
I couldn’t find any suitable gelatine in our local shops or supermarkets so I was forced to go online. I eventually bought “Vegeset” (link here: http://vegeset.co.uk/) which did the job very well.
Unfortunately, despite my efforts, the “Jellying” of the pork pies was probably the least successful part of my creation. I used seitan instead of pig which unlike real meat, doesn’t shrink when cooked. Also, the pastry seemed to fluff up in the oven. These two unfactored factors meant that there wasn’t actually a whole lot of room for jelly in between the layers.
Next time I am going to press the pastry more thinly! And there will be a next time because these little pies are DELCIOUS!
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside pastry, with a ridiculously “porky” centre, these bad boys are super sexy served up with a bit of vegan mayo, or maybe a nice chutney.
Vegan pork pie recipe:
1 x small onion
1 x tin red kidney beans (400g)
1 x stock cube
1 x tsp minced garlic
1 x teaspoon veg*n Worcestershire sauce.
2 x tsp dried sage
1 x tsp salt
1 x tsp black pepper
1 x tbsp oil
1 ½ x cups wheat gluten
Into a small pan add the contents of the kidney bean can (including the juice) and add cold water until the pan is ¾ full. Crumble in the stock cube. Chop the onion into halves and add to the pan. Heat until the onions are soft.
Whilst retaining the stock, drain and transfer the beans and onion to a bowl and add a tablespoon of the stock (keep the rest, you will need it). Mix in the garlic, sage, salt, pepper and oil and then blend to a thick puree.
Add the wheat gluten and garlic powder and mix until a dough is formed. You might need to use your hands towards the end.
Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes, longer if you have time (I cheated and used the kneading tool on my food processor). You want the “meat” to be firm and kneading is the key to this.
Using your hands, try to mould the kneaded dough into 4 x “pork pie middle” shaped lumps. Then roll up each middle in foil and loosely scrunch up the ends. Put in a steamer for 1 hour.
After one hour, remove from the steamer and leave in the tin foil until cool enough to handle (about 45 mins).
Once cooled, the seitan can either be kept in the fridge until ready to be used. You may need to trim the sides to make the seitan a good fit for your pies. I kept the off cuts so I could use them in a curry. Yum!
Hot water pastry
3 ¼ x cups plain white flour
1 x tsp salt
1 x tsp ground nutmeg
½ x cup vegan butter (I used Vitalite)
½ x cup vegan lard (I used Trex)
200 x ml water
Although I altered the ingredients slightly, to make the recipe vegan, I basically followed this:
Apologises, this link is NOT to a vegetarian friendly post, but the method described is really good and nicely illustrated..
But to summarise:
Put flour into a bowl and stir in the nutmeg (don’t forget the nutmeg if you follow the above link!).
Put the water into a pan and add the salt, lard and butter (I made up some of the 200 ml of water with the left over stock). Heat until all the fat is melted and beginning to boil.
Pour the fatty mixture into the flour and stir in with a wooden spoon.
Place a clean tea-towel over the bowl and leave the pastry to rest for 1hr.
Lightly knead the dough and flatten it out onto a rectangular tray. Take the right-hand-side of the pastry rectangle and fold over to the center. Do the same with the left-hand-side. Press down to re-mould into a rectangle and turn over and repeat (the link describes this process so much better than I do!). When done pressing and folding, put the pastry into the fridge to firm up.
Once firm, take chunks of the pastry and press into your chosen dish (I used metal pudding tins) until you have created the pie shell. Make sure to leave an edge which over laps the dish. To create the lids I pressed down chunks of the dough until the right thickness, then used a pastry cutter to cut out a circle.
To assemble the pies:
Pre-heat the oven to 200oC.
Place the filling into the pastry shell. The “meat” should be able to rattle – especially if like me you want to have a jelly layer.
Add two teaspoons of stock to each pie – the seitan won’t release liquid like real pork would – then add the lid.
Attach the lid by pinching its edges together with the edge of the body of the pie.
Add a hole to the centre of each lid and brush the tops with a little dairy-free milk.
Add the pies to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drop the temperature of the oven to 180oC and cover the pies with a little foil before cooking for a further 15 minutes. When cooked and golden brown, the pies can be taken out of the oven and left to cool.
They should easily slip out of the tins if removed whilst still slightly warm, due to the fat content.
Gelatine layer (Optional)
200 x ml boiling water
½ x stockcube
2 x tsp sage
½ x tsp Vegeset
Dissolve the stock cube into the water and add the sage. Leave for a couple of hours to cool.
Using the end of a spoon, or a chopstick or whatever, wiggle the hole that you made in the pie lid to make sure there is room for the gelatine.
Strain the stock to remove the sage and transfer to a saucepan.
Sprinkle the Vegeset over the cold stock and turn on the heat.
Whisk constantly until boiling.
Transfer to a jug and pour into each pie, until each appear to be full. I used a funnel.
Pop into the fridge for half an hour to make sue the gelatine has set.
And finally, the money-shot!:
I used to love a cheese and onion pasty from Greggs (the bakers).
I think I’ve managed to create a pretty decent vegan alternative, although I have named my version a “slice” so that my friend from Plymouth doesn’t beat me up. Apparently a pasty has to be pasty shaped, NOT a rectangle. Also, a pasty should be made from short-crust pastry… so “slices” it is!
The majority of what I eat is created from scratch. However when it comes to puff pastry, I can’t see the point in wasting all that effort and energy when you can just buy a packet of “Jus Rol”: http://www.jusrol.co.uk/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductId=6 It’s tasty, fast and vegan friendly. Not to mention fool proof!
So here you have it, my soya and nut-free “cheese” and onion slice recipe:
(Makes two LARGE slices)
1 x roll of Jus Rol puff pastry (you get two rolls per pack)
1 x medium onion
1 x medium-large potato (Chopped)
½ x head of cauliflower (Chopped)
¼ x cup rice milk (or any dairy alternative) (plus extra for brushing)
1 x veg stock cube
½ x teaspoon English mustard
½ x cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 x tsp grated nutmeg
1 x tsp turmeric
1 x tsp salt
½ x tsp garlic powder
Black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200oC.
In a medium pan, add cold water, the stock cube and potato.
Turn on the heat and when the potato just starts to go soft, add the cauliflower.
Cook until everything is tender, strain and add to a food processor along with the milk. Blend until you have a smooth puree.
Add the mustard, yeast flakes, nutmeg, turmeric, salt, garlic powder and pepper and blend some more.
Finely dice the onion and fry in a little bit of oil until translucent. Add to the potato-cauli mixture and stir in by hand.
Un-roll out the pastry so it is flat on your work surface. Cut into equal halves.
Imagine a line down the centre of each pastry half. Spoon half the filling onto one side of each pastry half, leaving a clean edge on three sides (refer to picture if that makes no sense!).
Brush the clean edges with a little milk.
Fold the filling-less side of the pastry over the filled side and press the edges together with the back of a fork.
Brush each slice with a little milk and put into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
It’s Saturday night and I wanted a treat so I served our slices up with chips and beans rather than my usual multi-veg combo. I am secretly chuckling to myself because my Besty will be HEAVING when she sees this photo – she hates beans with a passion, heh heh heh!
I used this recipe:
I did run out of white flour and had to replace the last ½ cup with wholemeal. I think I got away with it although it did give darker dough.
When ready to use, roll out the dough as thinly as possible (when you think you've got it thin enough, roll it some more! The thinner the better!) and then I used a pizza roller to cut out ~3”x3” squares. This amount of dough made around 20 dim sum.
Deep-fried, crispy veg rolls.
¼ x cup chopped kale
¼ x cup grated carrot
¼ x cup shredded white cabbage
1 x tsp mirin
1 x tsp cornflour
1 x tsp Chinese five spice
1 x tsp sesame seeds
½ x tsp minced ginger
1 x tsp chopped coriander leaves
1 x tsp fresh lemon juice
Mix all of the above together in a bowl.
Take a heaped teaspoon of the filling and arrange along the edge of one of the dough squares.
Roll the dough up and tuck in the ends. (Mine were far from perfect looking but since it was only me and the hubby eating them, I wasn't too bothered.)
Drop into a deep fat fryer at 180oC for around 12 minutes, until golden brown. They should float when ready.
Drain and serve.
Peanut, spinach and tofu
⅓ x cup peanuts
¼ x cup wilted spinach (try and squeeze out as much liquid as possible)
1 x tsp minced garlic
¼ x tsp minced red chilli
Whizz up all of the above in a food processor until you get a coarse paste.
Using a teaspoonful of mixture per square of dough, make some parcels (Google “how to fold dim sum” if you’re struggling, there are many different methods).
Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a heavy non-stick pan and add the dumplings. Cover for a couple of minutes, then carefully add ½ a cup of water to the pan and re-cover.
Cook until the water has evaporated off (about 8 mins).
This method creates a dumpling which is steamed and chewy on top, but crispy and delicious on the bottom. Serve crispy side up to prevent from going soggy.
Seitan and black bean dumplings
⅓ x cup chopped seitan (I used a some seitan that I had left over from making my BBQ ribs. I promised I would report back on how well it freezes… and I’m happy to announce that it freezes very well!)
1 x small chopped onion (fried)
⅓ x cup black beans (I used tinned)
1 x tsp minced red chilli
¼ x tsp dried chilli flakes
1 x tsp dried sage (not very authentic but I find sage helps to give a “meaty” flavour)
½ x tsp smoked paprika
¼ x tsp minced garlic
¼ x minced ginger
Whizz everything together in a blender until a paste is formed.
Place a teaspoon of mixture onto the centre of each square of dough. Fold up the corners and mould into a little dumpling shape.
Put the dumplings into a steamer and cook gently for 18 – 20 minutes until the skins are translucent.
I served the dim sum with a side of kale noodles and the following dips:
Sweet and sour: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/sauces/r/sweetandsour.htm
Tangy soy: http://www.chow.com/recipes/28053-tangy-soy-dipping-sauce (Although I swapped chilli oil for minced chilli and added some thinly sliced raw onion)
My husband must be kicking himself for promising to wash up, I think I must have used every pan and utensil in the house haha! But I can’t feel too guilty, my comfy bed awaits…
I’ve been craving sweet stuff lately, probably because of the amount of “untouchable” goodies that have been available at work. So I decided to treat myself...
This delightful smorgasbord of delicious vegan goodies includes two of my own inventions: “Peanutty, nut and seed cakes” and “Choco-coco locos”; and some mini “No Bake Cheesecake cups” courtesy of the One Ingredient Chef.
I’m also beginning to finally recover from the labyrinthitis that has been making life difficult since my trip to Amsterdam last November (http://flash-gordonette.com/2013/12/07/21-vegan-las-amsterdam.aspx) so I fully intend on scoffing a few of these tasty treats whilst enjoying one of my all-time favourite beers: http://www.innisandgunn.com (I nearly cried with joy when I discovered that Innis and Gunn was vegan friendly!).
No Bake Cheesecake Cups:
No point re-inventing the wheel here, please visit the below site to see the recipe for these gorgeous little cups of heavenly yumminess:
They are creamy and flavoursome, with a slight lemony tang and a divine sticky, nutty base. The creator advises that they should be kept in the freezer and thawed out 8 – 10 minutes before serving, but mine turned out solid enough to be kept in the fridge, no problem (although I did pop a few into the freezer, ready for an “emergency”!).
Whoops, mingy photo of a half “nommed” one!
I’m not sure what you would class these as! They’re not quite chewy enough to be toffees, but too dense and tacky to be fudge, definitely too solid to be truffles, but utterly delightful nevertheless. Rich, chocolaty, coconutty and very satisfying. You would never guess that these were vegan.
Unfortunately I never expected these to come out so good so I never bothered writing down the ingredients. I have tried to salvage what I can from my memory, but I would advise not making these unless you’re experienced enough to do your own trouble shooting. They’re quite a lot of effort if you’re not able to divert a disaster!
3 x tsp vegan cocoa powder
3 x tbsp golden caster sugar
2 x tbsp icing sugar
1 x tbsp agave syrup
2 x tsp instant coffee granules
1 x tsp ground cinnamon
1 x tsp ground ginger
2 x tbsp water
4 x tsp agar agar
¼ x cup of coconut cream (the hard stuff in a block)
2/3 x cup of cacoa powder
2 x tbsp water
3 x tbsp. agave syrup
(Makes about 12)
Mix everything except for the agar agar in a pan over a low heat. Heat until boiling and continue stirring to make sure it doesn't catch. Keep boiling and stirring until the mixture has reduced down by a quarter.
Take off the heat and sprinkle the agar agar over the top and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Now here is the part where some imagination maybe necessary. I poured my mixture into ice cube trays, which was stupid as they took me a good 15 minutes to remove! The mixture sets only to a semi hard state so maybe it would be better poured into one big bowl and small chunks pulled from the mass once cooled? (Warning, this mixture really does get incredibly hot. The blister on my lip and finger will vouch for me!)
Anyway, whatever you do to get small ½“ x ½” chunks, you next need to cover them in chocolate.
Whizz up all the ingredients except for the water in a blender. An oily powder should form.
Put in a heatproof bowl and mix in the water. Put the bowl on a pan of water and turn on a low heat. Stir the mixture until it turns to a shiny, viscous liquid. You can add more water if needed, but the more you add, the less the coating will set.
Dip each center into the coating and pop onto a cold plate. When cool enough to handle, roll each one in your hands so that the coating smoothly engulfs the center whilst creating a cylindrical sweet.
Roll each sweet into some desiccated coconut to finish.
Pop into the fridge to set. You’ll have to eat them quick at room temperature if you don’t want a chocolaty mess on your hands (although I doubt they’ll last that long!).
Argh, another mingy photo!
Peanutty, nut and seed cakes:
A perfect way to get some healthy oils into your system (if you needed an excuse!) Crunchy, sticky goodness, a bit like a soft sesame and peanut brittle.
¼ x cup cashews
¼ x cup almonds
½ x cup pitted dates
2 x tbsp mixed seeds (I used sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame)
1 x tbsp agave syrup
Pinch of salt
Enough peanuts to top each cake.
(Makes about 6)
In a food processor, whizz up the cashews, almonds, dates, seeds and agave.
Once sticky enough to form a kind of a dough, take a spoonful and press into a cupcake case. Cover with peanuts and press into the dough.
Take each cake out of the paper and turn upside down and press again to make sure the peanuts are really stuck in there.
Refrigerate and keep refrigerated unless being consumed!
Bang goes my diet But at least unlike dairy and eggy treats, I don’t have to worry about my cholesterol intake!