Monday, 29 November 2010

Cinnamon cashew biscuits

It's been a dastardly cold wintry day today and it's not even December yet! To warm and cheer us I made these spiced biscuits with cinnamon for warmth and cashews for bite.

Cinnamon cashew biscuits
1/2 cup cashews
1/3 cup margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A large pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A sprinkle of salt

Preheat oven to 180c
Grind the cashews in a mini chopper (or something) then add the other ingredients and whizz until it makes dough.
Roll out (I did it between greaseproof paper, as always) and cut out shapes.
Bake for 8 mintes or until golden.
Cool and decorate with water icing and sugar sprikles.

Later on, Chris made us this hearty winter soup of parsnips, onion, watercress, sprouts and red lentils to boost us up for the cold days ahead. Take that, Jack Frost!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

A prince among sarnies

Juicy tomato, peppery watercress, hearty veggie sausages, tangy sweet homemade apple and yellow pepper chutney. Owp! Happy me.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Preserving peppers

All these peppers cost £1 from our local grocery shop. It would have been rude not to buy them! Chris decided to roast them and preserve them in oil so we don't have to eat them all at once.

 The jar he chose was too big. It looked like so many peppers in the roasting tin!
While he was at it, he decided to make something else from the peppers which wouldn't fit in the roasting tin (there really were loads). He boiled together chopped peppers, chopped apple, red onion, sugar and vinegar and made a lovely sweet and tangy chutney.

 I can't wait to have it in veggie sausage and watercress sandwiches soon. Sausages, watercress and crusty white bread are going on the shopping list right now!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Dinner with the Domestic Goddess and cherry moon biscuits

Last night, five friends and  I were treated to a gorgeous dinner at the home of the Mrs. P, the Domestic Goddess. Our dear friend Mrs. P has many times fearlessly entertained us over the years. She never seems daunted by a kitchen full of hungry ladies (including a vegan to make things more difficult!) and always makes the evening fabulous and memorable.

For our starter we all had a yummy carrot and potato soup. This is a winner! Happy faces all round.

The Domestic Goddess's Carrot and Potato Soup

500g/1lb carrots
1 med. potato
1 med. onion
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
1 bay leaf
2 pints veg. stock
1 tsp yeast extract
salt & pepper

Fry the onion in a little oil in a large saucepan until soft and clear. Add the chopped vegetables and saute for 1 minute.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Cool slightly, remove bay leaf and blend using a liquidiser.

Reheat when needed and serve adding seasoning to taste.

Next, Mrs. P made a beautiful looking lasagna as the non-vegan main and a fab mushroom and aubergine curry with flatbreads for the vegan main. I haven't got the recipe for this one yet but I'll ask her for it because I want to eat it again!
Pudding was brought along by the Culinary Queen, Mrs. H. To my delight, she had made her famous Summer Pudding. This is a conversation stopper like no other (if you don't count mutterings of 'Mmmm' and 'Sumptious!' as conversation).

The Culinary Queen's Summer Pudding

White bread slices to line a large pudding bowl (I'm guessing maybe 6 slices - she didn't tell me that bit)
2 packs of frozen mixed berries
1 pack of frozen raspberries
Sugar (to taste I guess)

In a saucepan, boil up all the fruit with the sugar for a good while until the sugar is dissolved, the fruit is well cooked and you have lots of lovely red sweet juice.
Line a large bowl with slices of bread. Fill with the fruit and top with a layer of bread slices.
Put a plate on top of the pudding with some weights on top to press it all down. Let it sit like that in the fridge for several hours.
When ready to serve, Overturn the pudding onto a large plate and it should hold its shape.

With coffee, we were treated to Choices dairy free caramel chocolates courtesy of ever wonderful Mrs. C. I've seen these in the Free-From section in the supermarket but this was my first chance to try them - and they were goood!
Also in that photo are my Cherry Moon Biscuits, which I made up because I fancied buying glace cherries the other day and I also felt my blog was in need of another Prince reference. These were pretty nice but some were a little darker than I'd have liked. Because they are so thin they cook super quickly and you have to catch them before they burn.

Cherry Moon Biscuits

100 g plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp baking powder
40 g sugar
65 g margarine
8 glace cherries sliced thinly

Preheat the oven to 200c.
Put all the ingredients except the cherries into a mixing bowl and combine to make a soft dough.
Flatten half the dough onto greaseproof paper into a rectangle, say 6" by 4" then lay out your cherry slices on top of the dough.
Roughly cover with the other half of the dough and a layer of cling film.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 2mm thick. You should see the cherries through the surface of the dough.
Cut out large circles using a glass tumbler for the outside of the moons and then lift the circles onto a greaseproof paper lined baking sheet. Now take out take out the insides of the moons using a shot glass to make the fingernail moon shape.
Re-roll the leftover dough and keep cutting moons until it's all used up.
Bake the biscuits for 5 or 6 minutes but keep an eye on because they burn easily!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Cauliflower cheese

This was yesterday's tea. Baked potato with cauliflower cheese. Dead simple to make - it's the same as the non-vegan recipe but subbing in soya cheese and soya milk. Chop and boil a cauliflower until tender. Meanwhile make a white sauce by frying a couple of tablespoons of flour in enough olive oil to make a paste. Keep stirring while you slowly add about 3/4 pint soya milk. Let it thicken and then add about 1/2 block of crumbled or grated Cheezly. Stir until the cheese has melted. Season with a little English mustard. Mix with the drained cauliflower and serve. You could also put it all in an oven dish and bake or grill it with sliced tomato on the top like my Nan used to. It's a nice touch but not necessary!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Exotic Vegan treats from far flung lands #3

I'm so delighted that I've finally found Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castille Soap in the UK! It's lovely stuff. It clears your head and leaves you feeling squeaky clean and refreshed. I can't make any sense of all the supposed wisdom on the label though. And what are the 18 uses?

Yes, our bathroom is rather dark, sorry!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Fake and kidney pie

This morning we went to Stroud Farmers' Market which is held every Saturday in Stroud's Cornhill. It's always bustling with characters and brimming with fresh organic produce. We bought some lovely fresh sprouts, squash and other veggies. We also bought some individual vegan nut roasts from Mandy & Alan's Fab Food Company. All their stuff is vegetarian and they have quite a few vegan options so it's worth stopping by their stall on a Saturday if you're local to Stroud.

This was the Cashew Crunch nut roast, which I really enjoyed for my lunch today. I've also got a Thai one with water chestnuts, coconut milk and chilli waiting for me in the fridge for tomorrow. Yum.

On to the pie. This evening I wanted to roast the beautiful sprouts and squash from the Farmers' Market so I thought a traditional pie would be an appropriate main (sort of 'meat and two veg' type thing). The most traditional and famous British pie I can think of is Steak and Kidney pie. I don't know what that tastes like but it sounds revolting! I reckon a soya chunk and kidney bean pie is a much nicer idea.

Fake and kidney pie

Olive oil, to fry
2 red onions, chopped
1 tin of kidney beans (or your favourite beans)
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
1 cup TVP soya chunks
Boiling water, to cover

4 heaped tsp vegan gravy powder (I used Roasted Winter Vegetables Bisto)

Quick pastry (again)
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cold water
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt

In a small to medium saucepan, Fry the chopped onion in the oil until transparent and then add the drained kidney beans. Stir in the mixed herbs and let it all cook for about 5 minutes to release the flavours from the herbs.

Put all the pastry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Give it a good twirl around with a fork and it will quickly form pastry dough. Smoosh it into a ball and cut it in half for the base and lid of your pie.

Preheat oven to 180c.

Add the soya chunks and then add enough boiling water to hydrate them (enough to almost cover them although they float so you have to push them down a bit with a spoon to judge it!) Let them cook for about five minutes until they've gone soft.

Push one half of the pastry dough into a pie dish with your fingers until it lines the base and the sides. This pastry is very soft and malleable so I don't bother rolling it. There's also no need to grease the dish because the pastry is oily at this stage but it's perfect when it's cooked. Flatten out the other half of the pastry onto a sheet of cling film using your hand (or a rolling pin if you really want to) ready to use for the lid of your pie.

Add the gravy powder to your saucepan. This should thicken the water to gravy consistency. Add the filling to your pie and place the pastry lid on top by overturning your cling film and peeling it off - so much simpler than rolling out pastry on a floured worktop. Pierce the lid with a fork, brush with soya milk and bake for 20 minutes.