Archive for August, 2012

Let them Eat Vegan: Strawberry Vegan pancakes

Welcome back Dreena Burton! I make quasi- regular pancakes for the kid with wholegrain or spelt flour, soy milk and eggs. I have no problem with using some well-sourced eggs, but I have been trying to find a good recipe for when we run out of eggs. And here it is!! And look how delicious they look:

You may wonder how they hold together without eggs or processed egg replacers (I did) The baking powder creates the air bubbles, and the gluten kind of traps that air and creates cohesion, in a pancakey sense of the word. Technically, eggs are probabaly more healthsome than 1 tablespoon of raising agent, but when you have run out of eggs at breakfast time, it is not the time for technicalities. Also, some people avoid eggs for allergy reasons or ethical reasons, not just “health” in a wider sense.Also, I don’t think it’s a big deal. So, moving on:

Dreena Burtons vegan pancakes

  • 1.5 cups + 2T)spelt flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder (NOT bicarb of soda)
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1.5 cups (+ 1-2T) non dairy milk
  • 1-2 T neutral tasting oil
  • 2T cane sugar (optional)
  • chopped fruit (blueberries, or strawberries)

Note- she used blueberries, and she also adds 1/3 cup of dark choc chips and 1/2t cinnamon

  1. Combine oil and milk, but hold back 2T of the milk
  2. Sift together the dry stuff to avoid unpleasant -tasting baking powder lumps.Trust me on this one. It does not make for a harmonious breakfast time.
  3. Combine the wet and dry mixes, and stir until well combined.
  4. It will seem too thin- leave for 10 minutes and it will thicken.
  5. Check the consistency, if it is a little too thick- add that milk you reserved.
  6. Heat up a non stick pan on medium-high, and then reduce to low heat. (My ring goes up to 5, and I usually have it on 2, or even 1.5, once it is nice and hot)
  7. Wipe a little oil over the surface of your non stick pan.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the pan (I use my 1/8 cup)
  9. Do not try and flip until large bubbles have formed, and the edges are done- you will be able to see this. This is why the pan should not be too hot- it will burn superficially, before it has had a chance to rise up and “set”.

I was so pleased with the texture!! Light, fluffy, and they did not break up when I flipped them at all. The kids were so pleased….Amelia said “Now we can have pancakes EVERY day even if we are out of eggs!”……….!!!

At this point, I shall re-post the 1 photo I hurriedly took, fork in hand, to remind you how delicious they look.

# Thank you Dreena Burton

And to remind you that they are 100% wholegrain, low-or-no sugar, and free from homogenised cows milk.

And to remind you to visit Dreena Burton’s websites and try and incorporate some plant-powered recipe into your menu plan this week.

And also, to remind myself to visit “The Egg lady” down the road to pick up some Truly Free Range Eggs.

Have a nice day!

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Cooked ‘n’ raw

My regular exception to fried food is tortilla de patatas– Spanish potato omelette.Potatoes and onions, gently fried till soft-but-not-crispy, generously salted, and then drained, mixed with beaten egg, re-seasoned if needbe, and slowly re-cooked…yes…re-FRIED (though this time you can go “oil-free” in a non stick pan…I am sure you know why I have put “oil free” in inverted commas!)   It’s no heart-friendly meal- as I pointed out to my friend who complained how much salt I used the first time she saw me make it. It is a pain in the proverbial to make, but worth it.

However, when I eat it, I always enjoy it with a huge green dish- a salad of some variety. While I have had plenty of “cosy” suppers while in Spain years back of tortilla de patatas and chicken, in recent times, I enjoy it far more with something fresh, raw and crunchy. 

Balancing some heavier, less healthy options with a big raw salad is a great transition tip (with tortilla de patatas, I am still transitioning…and may be doing so forever!) Here’s why (I’m glad you asked)

  • You will probably eat less of the stodge
  • Even if you don’t you will have eaten some delicious raw produce.
  • An all cooked meal can weigh very heavy in your stomach soon after, unless you have been very circumspect in your portion sizing (which is quite difficult for most of us when hungry) A jacket potato with a large salad feels VERY different to the same potato with chili or beans and cheese.Makes you so sleepy!

 

This evening I will be enjoying a piece of our tortilla with- (I’m glad you asked)- a broccoli salad, similar to this one. No cashew-soaking required. It’s the baby that was born subsequent to Broccoli salad Number One. I posted this recipe after one experimental lunch with Alfredo- I hope you like it. I have not followed the exact recipe since, I just kind of throw stuff in , but basically the dressing is kind of oriental- toasted sesame oil, tamari (soy sauce), white vinegar or lemon juice, some honey or maple, garlic, ginger, and cumin. Yum!!  I highly recommend it.

I also recommend the tortilla (even though it’s beige) but there is no way I am explaining the rigmarole. It’s not complex, but there are a not-a-few essential tips handed down from my parents-in-law, and I don’t have very long to write  this post. Try Youtube!

A challenge: centre-plate your salad today with a small cooked side-dishes, as opposed to the other way round.

xxx

 

Let them Eat Vegan: Curried almond dressing meets “mmmm” Sauce

Some things really do not photograph well. Date paste is one of them. Lentil pate. This dressing appears to also fall into that category.

I told my sister I was going to try every recipe in the book she gave me, over a period of time, obviously. You would think I had never seen a vegan recipe book before…..though this is the only one I have been gifted (the rest I have stolen from my mum’s shelves) I have been given permission by Dreena Burton, (click to visit her website) the lovely authoress (?) to print “a few” of the recipes. So, I figure I have to choose them carefully to spread plant love while optimising possibilities of conversion to plant power. This is definitely a fantastic recipe, though because it is quite similar to a sauce called “Mmmm sauce” on another blog called “Peas and Thank you“, I have decided to blend the two recipes into one, and thus, technically, this does not count as one of my reproduced recipes, but does happen to be one very  tasty dressing.

NOTES

  • Peas and Thank You recipe uses almonds and chickpeas, and Let them Eat Vegan uses only unroasted almonds. I decided to use chickpeas for extra protein, fibre, B vitamins and fill-factor.
  • I did not use sweetener (the Dreena Burton calls for it) so I reduced the acidity levels a touch
  • Soak your almonds overnight.
  • I soaked a generous 1/2 cup of almonds which became 1 cup once soaked! Now that’s good news for those who are trying to be thrifty. (me)
  • I added 2T of oil (1 recipe calls for oil, the other does not) although to be sure, I am not sure why. It makes for a slightly silkier texture but if you want whole-food fats only, you could just add a touch more water.
  • Between the two recipes there were a few things I did not add (dijon mustard and fresh grated ginger in one, dried cilantro and dried oregano in the other)
  • Nutritional yeast is from the Peas and Thank You version, and is optional.
  • Dreena Burtons calls for much less curry powder, but I love it….
  • Dressing thickens on refrigeration. Could be a great dip.
  • Serve over salad, steamed veggies, brown rice, coleslaw, whatever you choose…….
  • In short, this is list is getting long. Follow the recipe, and tweak till you love it. More curry? More salt? more acidity? punchier? sweeter? Whatever you choose to do, I think this recipe is a definite keeper.

Let Them Eat Vegan/Peas and Thank you Hybrid:

  • 1 cup unroasted almonds soaked  overnight, and drained (1/2 cup, very full, should become almost a cup once soaked)
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas (freeze the rest, or throw on a salad or in soup, or whizz in a dip)
  • 2T lemon juice or white vinegar (eg white wine, rice, apple cider) Add an extra 0.5Tablespoon if you like it zingier
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4t curry powder
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (optional?)
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast…or more..so yummy (optional?)
  • 3/4 cup water, a touch more if your blender is struggling

Blend till it is as smooth as you can possibly get it, taste, tweak, and serve. Supposedly all the kids of both these ladies love these sauce. Mine did not…..Oh well. All the more for me.

yep. It is indeed “mmmm”….

T*fu Revisited

It’s that four letter word again.

No really though, I made a discovery and it made a HUGE difference.

I can hardly wait to share it and I feel sure you can hardly wait to hear it.

So here’s the thing. This is what I always do when I buy tofu. I buy a pack from the refrigerated section in Tesco. It looks like this:

It costs £2 and you cut it up into 1/4’s , and a 1 person portion is  1/4 of a block. So anyway, I normally cut it up in portions, freeze it, and thaw it when I need it,  because that’s what “everyone” says to do, it helps release all the liquid, as tofu has a LOT of liquid in it.

That’s what I was doing wrong. That is what you should do if you want it firm, like if you want to chop it in pieces and marinade it.  But for a cheeky tofu scramble, you want creaminess, you want the moisture.

When I did a tofu scramble the first time, it was decidedly mediocre, and while it had potential, I couldn’t understand why “everyone” was loving it so much. Probably because it was a different set of “everyones” to those that freeze their tofu before use…. If you look at the photo from the original post, you will see  how dry it is. It wasn’t great, and as a substitute for scrambled eggs (which I LOVE) it was bordering on pitiful. Anyway, so I decided to try again as I have some more of  bean-curd (eeew…sorry…but that’s what it is!) This time I just did it straight from the fridge.

1 splash of tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), 1 small squeeze of tomato puree, and 1 tablespoon (possibly?) of nutritional yeast (how could I live without this stuff?)

Wow. Now there’s an improvement! Great flavour, and very moist and creamy (as scrambled eggs should be) Mine didn’t have any veggies in. I am just imagining if you wanted to saute some onions and red pepper or mushrooms in there, and some pre-steamed kale, it would be pretty darned good.

Result. Next time I shall take a picture.

Blueberry bars- recipe now up.

I received permission to share the recipe, it is on the previous post, scroll down to the bottom of the post for the update.

Let them Eat Vegan: Blueberry Lemon Bars.

Hello little delights!

My first recipe from my new birthday book and delicious  morsels they were too. I am not sure if I am not supposed to just publish the entire recipe or not?  While I am checking, I will give you some pointers about this recipe.

The base and topping is the same mixture, made from

  • oat flour ( porridge oats ground in the nut grinder)
  • spelt flour. Spelt is great for a “lighter” flour without using white flour.
  • mild tasting oil (sunflower) A tiny amount!
  • Maple syrup. Thankfully I had a very cheap haul of maple syrup a while back but in any case the amount was very circumspect as I did half quantities (2 /3 quantities if we are going to be precise)
  • lemon zest

The blueberries were cooked down briefly with arrowroot (similar to cornflour), lemon juice and some sugar, a small amount, to create a sticky thick “jam”. Behold their loveliness once again.

Everybody loved them except Ellie who refused to try them when she heard Amelia say “mmm, has it got lemon in?”  I would not take the lemon out in this case. It is such a delicious combination, and I actually think it is needed. You could, however, do this with any fruit, and strawberries would work wonderfully without lemon, as they have a stronger flavour. I will definitely do this with strawberries.  You could do it with apples/cinnamon and raisins, or even a summer fruit version with peaches or mango. Personally I would rather just eat peaches or mango, but it’s so great to bake healthy things that the kids enjoy. Okay, most of the kids. 🙂

HINT- I used frozen-thawed blueberries, more economical. Even after calculating reduced quantities, I only had half the amount of blueberries that I needed but I managed to eke them out to cover the base just fine, because of the “sauce” that they yield. Using frozen-thawed fruit means you have all the liquid already so they don’t need cooking down as long.

Plus, more economical. I already said that.

There’s a crisis on.

Let them eat cake vegan blueberry bars.

PS Here is the link to authors website again

 

UPDATE

The author said it is fine to share a few recipes. (She also has plenty of recipes that she shares on her website Plant Powered Kitchen) I am not sure what a few is, possibly about 5? There are 200 in the book……..So here are the quantities for the bars. I did 2/3 quantities, a particularly cussid percentage to work out when your maths is rusty and you are working with things like “2 Tablespoons”. My reduced quantities called for 2 cups of berries and  I only had 1, and I got by fine, as noted above.  I hope someone enjoys these. As always, if you generally eat regular hyper sweetened baked goods, it may not taste sweet enough for you because our palates are generally adulterated in the West from so much sugar. Time to re-train?  🙂

FILLING

  • 3 cups of frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 3 Tablespoons of less-refined sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (I think cornflour/cornstarch works the same?)
  • 1/2 teaspoon agar powder (a tasteless thickener derived from seaweed, I didn’t have any)

BASE AND TOPPING

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup oat flour (ground oats) OR spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons lemon zest (1 large lemon?)
  • 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablspoons of neutral flavoured oil

Filling (I am doing this more briefly than the book) Cook down the berries, salt, sugar and lemon juice until they release their juices. If you use thawed berries the juices are already out. Add arrowroot and stir well so it doesnt clump and it starts to thicken. She says 7-8 minutes but mine was a thick “jam” in 2-3.

Base/topping Combine dry ingredients and zest. In a small bowl combine the oil and syrup and add to the dry. Mix well. the mixture will be crumbly but will hold together when pressed. Press about 2/3 into a lined pan and spread out evenly. Top with the semi-cool (not hot) berry syrup, and spread. Crumble remaining mixture over the top. Bake at 180 C for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown.

Transfer to a rack to cool, and when cool, cut into little pieces.

Please feed back if you try these, or if you try some of my suggested other combinations.Enjoy!

 

PS I am sure you know this but in case it is useful:

  • 1 cup=250 mls
  • 1/4 cup=60 mls
  • 1/3 cup=80mls
  • 1/2 cup = 125mls
  • 1 Tablespoon=15 mls
  • 1 teaspoon=5 mls

 

 

“Weight Loss tips” LINK, and Blueberry oat squares on the To Do list

Passing through…..and linking to something that was sent to me by a raw plant loving mother……

Here is the link: 10 weight loss tips for busy Mums, or indeed dads, or indeed busy people

 

Meanwhile, back in my kitchen…time to re-centre myself and be creative with the resources I have……..Thanks to my sister I have THE coolest recipe book called “Let them eat Vegan” by Dreena Burton .My brother in law eats vegan, and my sister in law is a very conscious meat eater (very rarely) and she also happens to have planted a huge organic veggie patch this year which is bestowing a bountiful harvest…Anyway. I don’t have a vegetable patch but I do have 3 massive broccoli heads (20p each on the reduced shelf) I also have frozen blueberries and oats in my cupboard so today I am going to do a little baking from the book, and report back. While I am not sure if I should really post the whole recipe, I will certainly give some tips and pointers for more “plant-powered ” baking. Here is the authors website by the way: Plant Powered Kitchen.

 

A chickpea and veggie stew on the hob. I shall make some Baby Spelt rolls while the kids play with their friend.

Who knew that centering ones kitchen was so simple? You just have to decide to do it again, and do it.

Blessings.

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