Sunday, 20 November 2016

Coconut Ginger & Chilli Pancakes

I saw this recipe by Gunpowder Kitchen in The Times and thought it would be great for Sunday brunch.   I was missing some ingredients, so the recipe is slightly tweaked, using all chickpea flour and oat cream instead of yogurt.

110 g chickpea flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp turmeric
125 g oat cream
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 red chilli chopped
1 tbsp desiccated coconut
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Salt and pepper

Serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and turmeric, in a mixing bowl.

Whisk the cream and water together and stir into the dry ingredients, until you have a smooth batter, then season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and drop a ladle spoon of batter into the pan, then sprinkle with coconut, ginger and chilli and cook until bubbles form on the surface and the edges can be lifted with a spatula.   Flip the pancake over and cook until both sides are golden brown.

I always find that the first pancake is always a little messy, think it is something to do with the heat of the pan, but as you cook more they do turn out better.

I served the pancakes sprinkled with more coconut and an avocado, tomato and chilli salsa, but tomato or mango chutney would be good too.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Roast 'Kentucky' Cauliflower

I was inspired to make this dish, by the Plant Food Power Chef, whose vegan restaurant The Allotment opened recently in Stockport, where I am celebrating my birthday in the New Year.

He made a You Tube video highlighting this dish, but apart from mentioning chickpea flour and smoked paprika, I have winged it as to what goes in the coating, so until I get to taste his version, I have no idea if this is authentic or not.

1 cauliflower
100 g chickpea flour
Salt and pepper
500 ml almond milk
2 bay leaves
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp dried sage

Serves 2

Heat the oven to 190º.   Cut the cauliflower into two and wash thoroughly, then blanch in boiling water, until just tender, when pierced with a knife.

Place in a dish with the almond milk, bay leaves and salt and pepper, then leave overnight to marinade, periodically basting with the milk and turning over to ensure it gets a good soaking.

Sieve the chickpea flour into a dish, with the herbs, spices and salt and pepper and mix well to combine.

Add the cauliflower to the flour mixture and coat with the mixture, pressing it on firmly, so it is evenly covered.

Roast in the oven for 45-50 mins until golden brown and crisp on the outside.   The recipe works so well and tastes finger licking good and would make an excellent starter, if cut into smaller pieces, with a barbecue dip or whatever takes your fancy.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Aubergine Parmigiana

I have never eaten Aubergine Parmigiana even before I went vegan, though it is a popular dish in Italian restaurants.   I saw this recipe for a vegan version in Vegan Food & Living magazine and loving aubergine had to make it.   I tweaked the recipe slightly, as it required grated cheese and I only had Good Carma Parmesan substitute, which worked perfectly.

1 large aubergine
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp vegan Parmesan
60 g gluten free breadcrumbs
800 ml tomato sauce (I used homemade)

Serves 4

Heat the oven to 190º.   Cut the aubergine into slices and place on a baking tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and cook in the oven until brown and tender.

Cook the onion in 2 tbsp oil for 10 mins, until translucent and soft, add the oregano and tomato sauce and cook for another 5 mins.

Spoon one third of the tomato sauce into an ovenproof dish and spread out evenly.

Sprinkle on some of the Parmesan, layer on half the aubergine slices, then sprinkle with some breadcrumbs.

Repeat the layers finishing with tomato sauce, add the last of the Parmesan and breadcrumbs and drizzle with the remaining oil.

Bake for 25-30 mins, until bubbling and golden on top, then leave to stand for 5 mins before serving.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Greens Cafe & Bistro College Street Grasmere 29th October 2016

Greens Cafe & Bistro is in the lovely village of Grasmere and highly recommended by two friends (incidentally not even vegetarians), as they cater for every kind of diet, so vegans are welcome and they use fresh and local produce.

We were lucky to get a table, as the place was packed, especially as it was a drizzly day and everyone wanted to eat inside.   Greens is cosy and welcoming with an extensive menu, so I was spoilt for choice, especially as they had cakes and desserts on offer too.

First impressions always count, so when my coffee was served and I was placing my food order and mentioned vegan, the chap took my coffee away and brought it back, replacing the shortbread, with two dairy free vegan chocolates.   How is that for attention to detail.

I chose a jacket potato with spicy houmous, salad and mango chutney dressing, just the kind of lunch I needed, half way round a twelve mile walk.

I love a good jacket potato and with the big dollop of spicy houmous, I was a happy vegan, made even happier, when I bought a takeaway lime and coconut cupcake, to have with a flask of tea later.   The cupcake got well squashed in my rucksack, but it was delicious, with a really zesty lime flavour and plenty of icing on the top.

I would not hesitate to visit Greens again and I wish other non vegan places, offered such a selection of vegan options, they certainly deserve to get vegan business.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Lemon Polenta Cake

My inspiration for this cake, came from a recipe out of The Guardian and you can vary the flavours by using lime or orange.   I use Oatly oatgurt yogurt, the nearest I have found to dairy free yogurt and chickpea flour, as I had no other gluten free flour and both worked great in the recipe.

100 g dairy free margarine
150 g caster sugar
100 g ground almonds
100 g polenta
50 g chickpea flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
200 g oat yogurt 
2 lemons
1 tbsp cornflour

Makes 8-10 slices

Heat the oven to 180° and grease an 8" loose bottom cake tin.   In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine and caster sugar till light and fluffy.

Zest the lemons and add to the bowl with the almonds, polenta, chickpea flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and yogurt and combine thoroughly.

Juice the lemons, put 2 tbsp juice into a cup and heat the rest in a pan.   Add the cornflour to the cup and stir to remove any lumps, then add to the pan, whisking as the mixture thickens to a paste.

Whisk the cornflour paste into the cake mixture, then pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 mins, until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean, when you pierce the cake.

The cake is awesome with ice-cream, cream or yogurt and is a match made in heaven with this fantastic vegan lemon curd recipe.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Aubergine Bacon

I have never been a fan of meat like alternatives, tried fake bacon once and hated it, but I was intrigued by this recipe by Aylin from Ecosalon.   Aubergine is one of my favourite vegetables and coincidentally the day I made it, newspapers were full of news about a form of MRSA being found in pork products, what better time to try vegan bacon.

1 aubergine
2 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if you are not soya allergic like me)
1 tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil

Makes 8-10 slices

Heat the oven to 200°.  Cut the aubergine lengthwise into slices, I did not make them too thin, as I did not want the bacon to be too crispy.   Mix the coconut aminos, paprika, sugar, chilli powder, liquid smoke and maple syrup together, if you want a really smokey bacon, add more liquid smoke and paprika.

Line a baking tray or dish with parchment paper and brush with the olive oil.

Place the aubergine slices on the parchment paper turning over, so that both sides are coated with the oil.

Bake for 10-15 mins in the oven, until beginning to brown slightly, take out the oven and brush with the smoke mixture on both sides.

Return to the oven until brown and crispy, checking to make sure you do not burn the aubergine, turning regularly.   Remove from the oven and drain on kitchen paper.

I served on a granary teacake with sliced tomatoes and ketchup, absolutely loved it, far better to use vegetables, than processed meat replacements.