Friday, 21 September 2018

Banana sourdough flatbread: Vegan MoFo

It started with a manky banana.  I don't always use bananas as I intend and then they mock me as they just make everything in the fruit bowl ripen too fast.  A few bananas can make a banana cake but sometimes I want savoury not sweet.  And I remembered Janet of TasteSpace making banana naan many moons ago.  But the naan take too long for the yeast to rise and I am always looking for ways to use my sourdough starter so I put the banana in my sourdough flatbreads.

The was definitely the path of least resistance.  I make sourdough flatbreads often enough that all I had to do was use banana instead of water.  My starter was quite stiff, having been fed recently.  Even so I needed more flour than when I usually make flatbreads with water.  You could of course only use 1/2 a banana and less flour if that is all the banana you have (as Janet did).

It is always fun to see the flatbreads puff up as they cook.  Usually I press the eggflip on it to bread the bread and let the steam out but I had a skewer nearby and used this instead which worked quite well.  I have never let the flatbreads just keep growing.  What would happen if I did?  Would it deflate itself with a neat hole?  Would it explode over the kitchen?  Or would it just float to the sky like a balloon?  I must find out one day.

The result was slightly sweet but not too sweet to eat with salad or stew.  The beauty of the slight sweetness is that it also works as a dessert bread.  We had it with nutella but it would work with other sweet nut butters, jam or spreads.  You could even add in fresh banana and choc chips.

More flatbread recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Avocado soy rotis (v)
Chickpea and quinoa flatbread (gf, v)
Kale sourdough tortillas (v)
Sourdough toss-off flatbreads (v)
Spelt sourdough flatbreads (v) 
Staffordshire oatcakes (v)
Tortillas - wheaten (v)

Banana sourdough flatbread
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes 4 flatbreads

250g sourdough starter (mine was quite stiff as only fed recently
1 manky overripe banana, mashed
1/8 tsp salt
250g flour

Mix all ingredients.  It looks quite too shaggy and dry.  Knead and it should come together into a smooth - albeit fairly firm - ball of dough.  Cut into four.  Roll out each portion into about a 0.5cm thick oval on a lightly floured board .

Heat a heavy based non-stick frypan over a high heat.  Place a disc of dough onto the pan.  Heat for a few minutes or until it balloons up and brown spots appear on the other side.  Flip over, flatten with an eggflip or spatula and fry another minute or two until you have some brown spots on the other side.  I tend to brush out the flour from the pan (with a kitchen towel) before frying the next one so it isn't covered in burnt flour.  Cover with a teatowel when warm to stop from drying out.  Best eaten on day of frying.

On the stereo:
Pocket Symphony - Air

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in September 2018.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2018 Vegan MoFo posts.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Oaty thumbprint biscuits and a lesson: Vegan MoFo

You know how some days you have a bottle that you bought in a spirit of excitement but it has sat in the cupboards so long that you just want to finish it.  This bottle of quandong dessert sauce was like that.  I got so desperate to use it up that I put some into a pumpkin soup.  I had forgotten when I bought it that we don't really use dessert sauce.  I thought putting it into some thumbprint biscuts was a good way to use it up, but it seems dessert sauce does not work in thumbprint biscuits (or cookies).

I made the biscuits for bookclub.  They looked perfect before they went into the oven.  When they came out, the quandong dessert sauce had bled into the dough.  It shattered my dreams of beautiful biscuits with little colourful spots of jam.

No matter.  I took them along anyway and was surprised that they were enjoyed while we discussed Those Other Women by Nicole Moriarty.  One of my friends was quite taken with the bikkies because she found them a cross between her favourite biscuits: ANZACs and sesame snaps. I really liked that they were a little chewy and full of flavour.  I must try these again with proper jam that will keep its shape.

More vegan biscuits (cookies) on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
ANZAC biscuits (v)
Chocolate and black tahini cut out biscuits (v) 
Chocolate chip cookies with smoked almonds and cacao nibs (v)
Chocolate peanut butter fudgies (v)
Chocolate tahini cookies (v)
Chocolate walnut thumbprint biscuits (v)
Maple walnut cookies (v)

Oaty thumbprint biscuits
Adapted from Simple Veganista with inspiration from Vegetarian Times
Makes about 20 biscuits

1 tbsp linseed meal (flaxmeal)
3 tbsp soy milk
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 tsp baking powder
good pinch of salt
3 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp tahini
jam, for filling

Preheat oven to 180 C and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.  Mix the linseed meal and milk and set aside.

Mix dry ingredients together.  Melt together margarine and golden syrup.  Stir in tahini and linseed mixture.  Pour this margarine mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls.  Place on baking paper and press with thmb to make an indent.  Fill with jam.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack nd store in an airtight container.

On the Stereo:
Rest: Charlotte Gainsbourg
This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in September 2018.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2018 Vegan MoFo posts.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Miso Roasted Cauliflower Bowl: Vegan MoFo

A few weeks back I was surprised to find out how dependent I am on our wifi.  We got up one morning and found that our modem was not working.  The blue light just wasn't there.  I was quite grateful for the internet on my phone.  It meant I could check on recipes on my blog for ideas for dinner.  I really like searching back through my blog to find notes on what I did previously.  So this Miso Roasted Cauliflower Bowl, like so many recipes on my blog, is a reworking of old ideas.

Perhaps it was the lack of internet that meant I had time to focus on roasting the large head of cauliflower that had sat around for days of good intentions.  Or perhaps it was just that I was procrastinating.  Mere hours after finding the wifi had died, I took it to the computer shop, only to find there was no resuscitation.  I walked out of the shop with a new modem.  But when I got home it sat in the bag until I had time to deal with it that evening.

To be fair, by the time I came home with the modem, I didn't have time to focus on it.  Though it meant I couldn't do banking or look up phone numbers or download documents or blog and all the other things I no longer can do without being online.  And in retrospect I am glad I didn't try and hook up the modem.  I took quite a while in the quiet of the evening to look at what needed to be done, totally fail and end up on a chat line finding out how to do it.  The following night I got onto another chat to hook up our Google Chrome Cast so we can watch shows off the internet on our telly.  The printer wifi connection is still waiting the attention it needs. 

Fortunately the miso roasted cauliflower was far more satisfying to roast (other than burning my arm on the roasting dish while on the phone).  It came out of the oven and was sooooo good I just wanted to sit and eat it rather than rushing off to take Sylvia to swimming lessons.  It was inspired by this miso roasted pumpkin.

The pumpkin sauce in the bowl was a bit of a serendipitous creation.  I had some leftover pumpkin and lentil soup.  I mixed it in my high powered blender with some raw cashews, a spoonful of leftover gravy and a spoonful of Asian marinade.  It was rather good, though it needed a little more seasoning.  I later blended it with some cashew cream for a vegetable tart.  It was the sort of day when I didn't have time for anything but easy recipes so I could focus on making sure I could get my meal on the internet.  As a self-professed luddite, now that I can share this recipe online I think: thank goodness for wifi.

More pretty bowl food on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Asian rice bowl (gf, v)
Avocado black bean bowl (gf, v)
Carrot almond sauce bowl (gf, v)
Creamy red pepper dressing bowl (gf, v)
Watermelon poke salad bowl with pickled radishes (gf, v)

Miso roasted cauliflower
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe

1 large head of cauliflower

Miso sauce:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp ponzu sauce
2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp chilli paste

Cut cauliflower into about 1/2 cm slices.  Mix miso sauce ingredients.  Toss cauliflower slices with miso sauce in 2 large roasting dishes to give them room to crisp on the edges. Roast at 220 C for about 1 hour.  Check every 20 minutes to check if it cooks earlier.

Serving suggestion: Serve with brown rice, brown lentils, chopped red capsicum, rocket and pumpkin sauce.

NOTES: I roasted my cauliflower for 1 hour 20 minutes but it was a bit charred in the top shelf but perfect on the middle shelf so I think 1 hour would be enough.  If you don't have ponzu, you could substitute 1 tsp each of mirin, soy sauce and lemon juice/vinegar.

On the stereo:
Cafe de Paris - 50 French Classics - Les Annees CafConc - Various Artists
This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in September 2018.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2018 Vegan MoFo posts.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Vegan fudge cupcakes or what to do with failed fudge - Vegan MoFo

Today I bring you tales of searching supermarket aisles for vegan ingredients, of failed fudge experiments, of meddling with favourite recipes and of finding that cupcakes are an excellent place to hide failed fudge.

It started on Friday.  I was home a bit later than intended.  So I rang and asked Sylvia to make pizza dough to get dinner started.  It was lovely when I got home and she was in the kitchen with her friend and ordering me to sit and not worry about the dough.  I was never so independent in the kitchen at 9 years old!  Then she told me they were making grubs for the cake stall the next day.  I had plans for fudge that did not turn out as I had hoped so I was quite happy she had made sure we had a contribution.

I headed to the supermarket on Friday night for my fudge ingredients.  I did not think a tin of condensed coconut milk and a block of Whittakers dark ghana choolate was a big ask.  But seems it was the impossible task.  At home I found myself gently simmering home made coconut milk for over an hour.  When I got impatient and turned up the heat it split.  I tipped off the oil and salvaged it for my fudge recipe with dark chocolate with almonds in it.  The next morning the fudge was so soft I realised I just could not veganise a regular fudge recipe.  It was good but just did not set like the butter and dairy version I had made a few weeks back.

I had a chat to an acquaintance who sells fudge.  She said that making vegan fudge is hard.  My thought was that perhaps coconut oil would help here.  Maybe my coconut condensed milk (made with 2 400g tins of coconut milk and 1 cup of sugar) did not work because I had tipped off the oil.  No doubt I had made it worse by finding myself with only 1 tin of full fat coconut milk and 1 tin of lite coconut milk because I didn't have a recipe with me at the supermarket and did not want to go there again when I realised my error.

The fudge was in no fit state to share at a cake stall or even to take to work.  And I was not about to eat my way through it.  So I decided to continue my experiments into some cupcakes.  Fudge-filled cupcakes.  I used a standard vegan chocolate cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and tweaked it so I could add fudge to the batter as well as put the fudge in as a hidden filling.  I made it yesterday afternoon while Sylvia made another of her favourite recipes, Cheese and Parsley Muffins.

Amazingly it worked.  Admittedly a little sunken but they tasted really good.  The cake was not terribly sweet but this worked well with the sweet fudge filling.  My other idea for using up the fudge was as a frosting because it spread rather well but this seemed a bit sweet for my liking.

And so these cupcakes are a perfect segue from week 2 to week 3 of Vegan MoFo.  I tried some vegan substitutes in week 2 and will be looking at leftovers in week 3.  Mostly this will refer to something that needs to be used rather than last night's dinner.  Today I have both my attempt to use vegan ingredients for fudge and my rebirth of the rejected fudge as delicious cupcakes.

More vegan chocolate baking from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chocolate tahini cookies (v)
Coconut and chocolate chunk cake (v)
Kale cheesecake surprise choc mint cupcakes (v)
Malted sourdough loaf with chocolate, figs and brazil nuts (v)
Oreos (v)
Vegan brownies with optional dulce de leche swirl (v) 
Vegan chocolate (layer) cake (v)
Zucchini brownie with smoked walnuts (v)

Vegan chocolate fudge cupcakes
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World via Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes 12 cupcakes

3/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup fudge (see below recipe)
1/4 cup rice bran oil
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/3 cup fudge for filling (see below recipe)

Mix soy milk and vinegar in a large jug and leave aside to curdle.

Preheat oven to 180 C and line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Whisk the fudge and oil into the milk mixture.  Mix dry ingredients in a medium large mixing bowl. Pour the fidge mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix until just combined. Spoon the mixture into cupcake papers to cover the bottom.  Spoon in 1 tsp fudge and then cover with more batter.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked (when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out cleanly). Cool on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with icing sugar or frost if desired.

Vegan chocolate fudge - Work in Progress
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe and

125g vegan margarine (I used Nuttalex Buttery)
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
1 cup vegan coconut condensed milk
180g dark chocolate, finely chopped

Line a slice tin with baking paper and make sure dark chocolate is chopped and ready.

Place margarine, brown sugar, glucose syrup and condensed milk in a large saucepan and stir over low heat (not boiling) for 10 minutes until glossy and the sugar is dissolved.  Turn heat up to medium low so that the mixture simmers.  Simmer for 6-8 minutes until starts to come away from the side.  Pour into prepared tin and let set overnight before cutting.  Keep at room temperature.

NOTES: This fudge was too soft so I would not do it this way again.  Perhaps coconut oil instead of vegan margarine would set better.  I could not find a tin of coconut condensed milk so I made some which took ages.  I used 2 tin coconut milk (should have used full fat but did not have it) and 1 cup sugar.  Wonder if more glucose syrup would give more structure.  I used dark chocolate with almonds in it but would have preferred dark chocolate without any additions if I could have bought it.

On the Stereo:
Boy Child: Scott Walker

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in September 2018.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2018 Vegan MoFo posts.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Spiced carrot nut roast: Vegan MoFo

Last week we had a glorious week of spring sunshine followed by a cold wet weekend.  So we are back to nut roast weather which is not a bad thing (except if you have washing to hang on the line).  This nut roast I have to share today was actually made a few weeks back at the end of winter when the weather was bleak. 

I baked it at night because it was so cold that my overnight sourdough bread dough was not ready to bake in the morning.  I had to wait til 5.30 to bake it.  Which put me behind.  But I had a family lunch with my sister visiting from ireland the next day and I love having nut roast instead of roast meat when my mum makes a roast dinner.  So I made it once I had settled Sylvia into bed.

As I baked in the child-free calm of the evening I reflected on why nut roasts were so popular decades ago.  Back then I think there was more of a frugal approach to cooking than today.  It is very satisfying to make a nut roast and bring out all the bits and pieces hanging around like ends of bread in the freezer that are blitzed into breadcrumbs, the old mushrooms clinging valiantly to the paper bag, the carrots that are looking tired, and on and on.

It was slightly more sweet and spicy with cinnamon than I had expected.  In the recipe below I have halved the cinnamon and nutmeg.  However more disappointing was that it crumbled badly when sliced to go with the roast dinner.  My family was generous and told me it was like stuff (which is high praise among us) but Sylvia was not having a good day so it took me a while to take a few deep breaths and relax.  I was able to enjoy the nut roast more over the new few days when I had it in home made sourdough bread rolls for lunch.  Once cold it sliced much better with only a little crumbling..

More vegan nut roasts on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Basic vegan nut roast
Carrot and smoked cheese nut roast
Festive layered nut roast with tomato and herbs 
Sweet potato and poppy seed nut roast with strawberry glaze
Welsh nutroast with laverbread, leeks and cheese 

Spiced Carrot Nut Roast
Adapted from Thinly Spread
Serves 4-8

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
50g mushroom, finely chopped
350g carrots, cooked and mashed roughly
225g cashew nuts, ground (not too fine)
140g dried wholewheat breadcrumbs
60ml water
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp  tahini (or a nut butter)
1 tbsp light miso
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp stock powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 nutmeg, finely grated
freshly ground black pepper

Fry onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft (10-15 minutes while you prepare other ingredients).  Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until mushrooms soft.  Mix with other ingredients and scrape into a greased and lined loaf tin.

Bake 180 C for 1 hour covered with foil then uncover and bake 10-15 minutes.  Cool at least 10 min before turning out.  (I think I let mine cool in the tin.)  Best served when warm rather than piping hot out of the oven.  Even better sliced up cold with salad or for a sandwich.

On the Stereo:
Tooth and Nail: Billy Bragg

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in September 2018.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2018 Vegan MoFo posts.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Vegan pasta bake with cashew cream: Vegan MoFo

Today I bring you a pasta bake I made a few weeks back which is embarrassingly easy but it worked so, hey ho, let's share!  It is one of those dishes I never intended to share but enjoyed so much I thought, why not!  By then my photo options were limited.  Hence not much photographic evidence of its goodness!

I first made the tomato pasta sauce (similar to marinara sauce in the USA but I don't use this term as here in Australia we have spaghetti marinara with a tomato sauce with seafood in it).  I fried some onions and garlic, added 750g jar of passata, a drizzle of maple syrup, few drops of worcestershire sauce, seasoning and that is about it.  My 9 year old loved it because I blended it to be plain and smooth.

The next night, I had some cashew cream so decided to bake it with the cashew cream and throw in a tin of lentils.  It was simple and delicious but too complex for my 9 year old.  However it was decidedly easier than any other vegan pasta bake I have made.  In fact the cashew cream is easier than a traditional cheese bechemal sauce so it is likely to be repeated.

More vegan pasta bakes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Fennel and lentil lasagne (v)
Macaroni cheese with sauerkraut, cauliflower and blue cheese (v)
Neofolk buckwheat pasta bake (gf)
Nut roast lasagna (gf, v)
Pumpkin and tofu ricotta cannelloni (v)

Vegan pasta bake with cashew cream
Serves about 6-8

500g packet of shell pasta
approximately 2 cups of tomato pasta sauce
400g tin of brown lentils, rinsed and drained
about 1 and 1/3 cups cashew cream

Cook pasta according to packet.  Drain and mix with tomato sauce and lentils.  Tip into a shallow 22cm square tin or a slice tin (which might be my preference next time).  Either bake at 200 C for about 20-30 minutes until brown spots appear or if pasta is hot, heat under grill (aka  broiler) until brown spots appear.  Keeps well in fridge for leftovers for a few days.

On the Stereo:
Something Else: Brian Jonestown Massacre
This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in September 2018.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2018 Vegan MoFo posts.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Cauliflower ceviche tacos: Vegan MoFo

Today was a glorious spring day of 24 C when you want good fresh food that doesn't take too much effort.  Ideally you are out walking through sun kissed fields with a gentle breeze in your hair.  In my case, I am just busy hanging the sheets on the line, catching up for coffee with friends and going for a swim in the indoor pool.  These cauliflower ceviche tacos were an excellent way to end the day.

When I started preparing for the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) this month, I decided I didn't want to follow the daily prompts - too restricting - but that I would give myself weekly themes to reflect the Vegan MoFo themes.  Then my computer wouldn't open in the first week and my plans fell in a heap.  However I have still had some vague weekly themes.  The first week it was colourful food.  This week I am doing vegan substitutions.

I tell you this as an introduction to Cauliflower Ceviche.  I didn't actually know what a ceviche was.  But then I saw Anna Jones's recipe for cauliflower ceviche tacos in the Guardian online on the weekend.  I knew her recipe wasn't quite right for me so I googled it and found that ceviche actually relates to a raw seafood dish.  (I am not sure I have ever eaten seafood in my life and it holds no attractions for me despite many people thinking I must eat it or miss it.)  So I realise I have no idea what the traditional ceviche tastes like but I suspect I would much prefer the cauliflower version.  If you are a traditionalist and cringe at using the term ceviche, then pickled cauliflower tacos would probably work too!

I grew up with a very narrow idea of tacos.  They had to have crisp tacos with chilli con carne, tomato, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.  Blogging has opened my eyes to all the different sorts of tacos out there.  This taco recipe is so different to any I have had before and oh so amazing.  The cauliflower mixture was a bit tart and spicy when I first mixed it together but after sitting for a while the flavours mixed and settled into something really tasty and less confronting.  I didn't use raw onion which is not a favourite of mine.  Instead I used some baby leeks (very similar to chives) from my garden and some capsicum or pepper for a bit of crunch.

We don't often have corn tacos but Anna Jones used them so I decided I would too.  I love their flavour but they are slightly more fragile than their wheaten cousins.   Anna Jones dry fried her corn tortillas but I was in a rush and decided to microwave them.  Following the instructions on the package (40 seconds for 12 tacos) was a nightmare.  They tasted stale and ripped easily.  I remembered cooking these corn tortillas with my mum.  I had been surprised that the recipe to said to microwave each tortilla for 30-45 seconds wrapped in damp paper towels.  So I tried this and the tacos were great.

I prepared most of the meal during the day so when I came in with Sylvia from her swimming lesson,  there was very little to do for dinner.  Anna Jones suggests some edible flowers for Mexican colour and spirit.  All I had in my garden were purple rosemary flowers so I added these.  It wasn't a meal for Sylvia but she enjoyed eating some tortillas and cheese with some veg on the side while we tried to eat our tacos neatly.  Of course it was a mess but tacos are always fun and sociable ad a perfect way to welcome warm spring weather.

I am sending this dish to VegHog (and Shaheen) for Eat Your Greens.

More taco fillings on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Avocado, bacon and tomato salsa (gf, v)
Haggis tacos
Kidney bean stew (gf, v)
Lentil and cauliflower taco filling (gf, v)
Rapid refried beans (gf, v)
Refried lentils with garlic scapes (gf, v) 

Cauliflower Ceviche Tacos
Adapted from Anna Jones and West of the Loop
Serves 2

Cauliflower Ceviche:
1 small or 1/2  a regular cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1/4 red capsicum and 1/4 green capsicum, finely chopped
chives or red onion  - about 1 tbsp finely chopped
small handful of parsley 
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
14 tsp salt

For tacos:
6 corn tortillas
1 avocado
juice of 1/4 lime
pinch salt

To make the cheviche:
Steam the cauliflower for about 2 minutes or until it still had a slight crunch.  Immediately cool under cold water.  Drain well.  Mix with remaining ingredients.  Sit at least 30 minutes at room temperature (I think mine was left about 3 hours.) 

For the tacos:
First mash the avocado and mix with lime juice and salt.  Set out with ceviche, and tomatoes.  Now heat the tortillas.  To make the corn tortillas soft and flexible microwave wrapped in damp paper towels for 30-45 seconds.  They will be unbearable hot when straight out but will cool quickly and be good to smear some avocado, top with tomatoes and ceviche and wrap up to eat with fingers.

On the Stereo:
The Greatest Showman soundtrack

This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in September 2018.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2018 Vegan MoFo posts.