Wednesday 29 August 2012

Tofu-bacon and spinach muffins

After making vegan cheddar cheese, I wanted to try baking with it.  When Sylvia started up a request for tofu bacon I liked the idea of making muffins with both home made vegan cheese and bacon.  These Bacon and Spinach Muffins were fantastic.  Vegetarian.  Dairy-free.  Easy to adapt to Vegan. Chunky.  Even rustic.  Not overly cheesy but full of flavour.

I think I would be right in guessing these are far less fatty than regular bacon and cheese muffins.  Both the vegan bacon and vegan cheese don't ooze oil the way their omnivore counterparts do.  So possibly the texture of these would be slightly richer if I had followed the recipe more religiously.  I also decided to fry my onion and bacon separately because I have tried it together and it isn't great.

We ate the muffins with some pumpkin and lentil soup (a bit like this one).  It was fantastic.  Not quite as early as I would have liked.  I guess I did ok, given that I only started pressing the tofu at 5pm (and we ate at 7.30pm).  Ideally the pressing and marinating of the tofu bacon should take hours but I take shortcuts here. 

As an aside I wanted to include some random reflections.
  • I am really enjoying watching Puberty Blues.  I think I read the book but can't quite remember.  It was seen as x-rated when I was at school.  The tv show brings back memories.  I remember the Big M girls (I had a Big M beach bag), watching Storm Boy at the cinema (a friend of a friend had seen Greg Rowe somewhere and said he was really stuck up) and slang like 'dobbing', 'root' and 'mole' being in common parlance in my school playground (more than I would have liked).

    Not all is perfect in the tv series.  I have noticed a couple of anachronisms.  Tonight's episode is that it showed a mother going through the Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book.  The series is set in the 1970s and the book was published in 1980. 
  • Today we went into a fruit and veg shop where I apologised for Sylvia sampling the grapes.  I offered money.  Instead the "payer", as Sylvia likes to call the cashier, very kindly gave her a small bunch of grapes and waved away my offers to pay.
I am sending these muffins to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays event.  It celebrates foods made from scratch.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Coconut brittle, leftovers and a week of eats
Two years ago: Taste of Melbourne: on a sugar high
Three years ago: Accidental Plastic Tart
Five years ago: WTSIM ... Beggars Burgers

Facon and spinach muffins
Adapted from Food Ideas June 2006 via
makes 12

2-3 teaspoons olive oil, or as required
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1/3 batch of tofu bacon, chopped
120g baby spinach, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese (I used my vegan cheese)
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk (I used soy)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).  Grease a 12 hole muffin tin.  (I also cut little rounds out of baking paper  to line the bottom of each muffin hole because my muffins usually either stick to the bottom if I don't use muffin papers or they stick to the muffin papers - this was a great compromise.)

Fry onion in 1 tsp olive oil (or more) for about 10 minutes until golden brown and cooked.  Fry the tofu bacon in remaining oil (I used 1 tsp and then added more oil while it was frying) until crispy and brown.  Remove from heat.  Add spinach and cheese.  (They don't need to wilt/melt, they are just then easy to add together.)

Meanwhile mix flour, egg, milk, and oil to make a stiff batter.  Gently stir in tofu and onion mixture.  Spoon into prepared muffin tins.  Mine were really full but they don't rise too much.  Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out cleanly when inserted in a muffin.  (I did 30 minutes.) 

On the stereo:
The Sound of the Smiths


  1. Nice. I've been looking for more recipes using tofu bacon. It's funny how the longer I'm veg the more I start getting into meat subbing. I remember slang like 'dobbing' and other stuff from watching "Home and Away' and 'Neighbours' for years as a kid. When did they stop? Brings back memories.. Good one on the grapes btw - you should give her your list next time and see how much she can get given off it as she samples her way through the shop : )

    1. Thanks Adam - I find that tofu bacon goes well in lots of recipes - one of my favourite ways is fried rice. I think I enjoy using meat substitutions more that more that I am comfortable with how I make them.

      Funny that our soaps have given the world some of our slang - though I suspect that mole and root might now have made it into family viewing :-)

      That's a cunning plan our yours with the grapes - but I wouldn't give sylvia any encouragement - it is amazing how much people give her because she is cute!

  2. This blog is wonderful. It gives you everything...great tasting inovative vegan tucker, links to past great tasting vegan tucker, and a tasty little sippet of old school vinyl to round it all off. I love this blog! Now that I have found it I am going to spend precious time trawling through the archives to stuff my already overstuffed recipe folder like a Tasmanian scallop fisherman dredging the seabed of every precious mollusc (although the only scallops on Serendipity Farm are of the potato kind ;)).

    1. Thanks Narf77 - glad you are enjoying browsing the blog - always happy to share my ideas here - trawl away :-)

  3. AND you don't have to hunt out weird ingredients only available in the big wide world! What's not to love here! :)

    1. thanks narf 77 always pleased when I find the ingredients easy to find!

  4. It's a pleasure discovering your blog - I've never cooked or baked anything with tofu bacon before, but I'm intrigued, especially with the combination of spinach in muffins. It sounds like a tasty, healthful side or snack... Thanks so much for sharing with Made with Love Mondays and welcome to the series!

    1. Thanks Javelin Warrior - welcome - highly recommend tofu bacon - and highly recommend these muffins - great portable snack - was pleased to discover Made with Love Mondays - hope to be back soon

  5. I have never made savoury muffins and I think one day I am going to have to rectify that. These would be a good starting point!

    I loved that tale of Sylvia receiving free grapes but am sad to say I haven't been able to get into Puberty Blues - I had such high hopes for it (I never read the book but it was X rated in my school years too and I've always been intrigued!) but we didn't get past the first episode. Maybe I'll dip into it again.

    1. Thanks Kari - you definitely need to make savoury muffins - I love them for breakfast or to take to work or picnics. That's interesting you didn't get into Puberty Blues - maybe it doesn't spark the memories for you like it does me!

  6. These muffins sound great! I love savoury muffins so much more than sweet ones but I never make them as no-one else at home appreciates them.

    Puberty Blues is bringing back lots of memories for me too! I never read the book or saw the movie but I do recall hearing whispers about it when I was growing up. I love Storm Boy too, we re-watched it with the young man years ago, it's such a great movie.

    1. Thanks Mel - i think I prefer savoury muffins to sweet!

      I loved storm boy as a kid and we watched it again recently - I hope to show it to sylvia some day

  7. I remember Puberty Blues too! I wonder what the new show will be like? Delicious looking muffins and good to know that the vegan cheese and bacon cooks up well into muffins!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - it is the first time I have used either tofu bacon or vegan cheese in baking! The bacon was great but I didn't feel I could taste the cheese really strongly - though I suspect it added to the taste of the muffins (I was worried they weren't seasoned enough when hot but they were great when cold)

  8. I love how you substituted both bacon and cheese in these! And personally, I'd be very content if most of the world switched to vegetarianism...then I wouldn't have to ever worry about there being no vegetarian options at restaurants ever again!

    1. Thanks Joanne - a vegetarian world would be very convenient - though I am sure it would take a while to convince others :-)

  9. Great combination of flavors here--these are the kind of savory muffins I'm sure I'd love. And what a heartwarming anecdote about the cashier giving Sylvia the grapes--restores one's faith in humankind a little bit!


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