Sunday 28 May 2017

Cinnamon doughnut banana muffins

It was 4 o'clock on an autumn afternoon.  We had not had lunch because our brunch at The Snug was so filling.  I was happy that I had bought some tubs to organise Sylvia's clothes, a bouncy ball for her to play with (outside only please), and a tunnel for Shadow the cat. These cinnamon doughnut banana muffins with a cuppa were just what we needed.

I wanted to make choc chip cookies.  Sylvia wanted banana bread.  I showed her the page in Coles Magazine with "6 ways with banana bread".  She wanted the cinnamon doughnut banana bread.  I conditionally agreed.  We took the idea and made the banana bread into vegan banana muffins.  Amazingly they smelled like cinnamon doughnuts.  These ones were much lighter. 

I have seen recipes for jam doughnut muffins with jam inside and the muffins rolled in butter and sugar.  The recipe in Coles Magazine was fine but it had more eggs, butter and sugar than I wanted.  I altered a recipe for vegan banana bread I found online that used less sugar and substituted oil for butter.

I took out some of the sugar and used it to make cinnamon sugar.  We sprinkled it on top and stirred it in with a toothpick.  It made the muffin tops slightly nubbly.  Of course you could mix the sugar and cinnamon into the batter but this way the muffins hit you with the heady aroma of cinnamon doughnuts.  In fact, E did not even realise that there was banana in the muffins.  I really liked it this way.

Lastly I have been watching the local show, War on Waste.  It is a really interesting look into the stuff we throw out, what happens to it and how much of it is really necessary.  In the first episode, Craig Reucassel, visited banana farmers in Queensland to discuss the mountains of bananas thrown out each day.  He discovered that the regulations on what supermarkets accept are really tight and mean lots of bananas are too big or too small, too bent or not bent enough.  It is quite shameful.

I usually list how many bananas are needed in a recipe.  This program made me think that if the regulations were relaxed, there would be a far greater variation in bananas and it might change how we write recipes.  No big deal of course.  Banana bread would still be delicious!

More banana baking on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Banana and choc chip scones
Banana and coconut cake (v)
Banana weetbix muffins
Banana and yoghurt cake
Butterscotch banana muffins
Choc caramel banana cake
Healthy banana bread
Mum’s banana cake

Cinnamon Doughnut Banana Doughnuts
Adapted from BBC Good Food and Coles Magazine
Makes 12 muffins

3 large bananas, mashed
80g brown sugar
75g rice bran or neutral-flavoured oil
225g plain flour (half white, half wholemeal)
3 heaped tsp baking powder

Cinnamon sugar:
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp cinnamon

Firstly make cinnamon sugar by mixing sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.  Mash bananas in medium mixing bowl and mix with brown sugar and oil. Mix in flour and baking powder.  Spoon into greased 12 hole tin.  Sprinkle generous 1/2 teaspoonfuls on top of each muffin and swirl into mixture with a toothpick.  Bake at 200 C for 20 minutes or until golden brown and passes the skewer test.

On the Stereo:
Fearless: Taylor Swift

Thursday 25 May 2017

Cheddar, kale and facon muffins

As soon as I saw Cakeyboi's Cheddar, Kale and Bacon Quick Bread I bookmarked it.  Of course I was never going to use traditional bacon.  But I make vegetarian bacon quite often and immediately had ideas on how to substitute.  It took some time to get around to it.  Once I did, the quick bread became muffins and was most delicious.

I changed the recipe quite a bit.  Tofu bacon seemed the obvious choice to substitute for the bacon.  The texture is right and I was already making a batch for a rice bake.  In fact after baking these muffins I found I had made some similar savoury muffins some years ago: tofu-bacon and spinach muffins.  This latest batch is richer, more complex and more delicious.
I took the muffins out of the oven just before rushing out the door for Sylvia's swimming lessons.  The muffins were wonderful to come home to.  The next day I felt like a domestic goddess at work eating a couple of muffins with some chopped red capsicum for my lunch.  They really are a meal in a muffin.  And they taste excellent accompanying a mug of soup.

I really loved these muffins and wish that I had more impressive photos to show you.  Sadly I spent too much time rushing about before darkness fell.  So I just snapped a few pictures the next morning before work.  However I hope you will understand that these are so good that you wont want to stop and take photos. 

I am sending these muffins to Meat Free Mondays and Eat Your Greens

More tofu bacon recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Artichoke, sun-dried tomato and cheese muffins 
Bubble and squeak frittata (gf, v)
Cauliflower risotto wih tofu bacon (gf, v) 
Lentil and potato filled pancakes
Potato, cabbage and facon soup (gf, v)
Pumpkin facon soup (gf, v)
Red capsicum and mozzarella pasta bake

And 20 more recipes with facon

Cheddar, kale and facon muffins
Adapted from Cakeyboi
Makes 12 muffins

2-3 tsp olive oil, divided
125g tofu bacon
1 red onion chopped
120g chopped kale
150ml milk (I used soy)
1 tsp lemon juice or cider vinegar
2 medium eggs 
125ml olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
175g plain flour
125g grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 200 C and grease a 12 hole muffin tin.

Fry tofu bacon in oil in 1-2 tsp oil until golden brown.  (If it is taking quite a while to colour, you can add some more oil.)  Set aside bacon and fry the onion in the same frypan with an additional 1 tsp of oil (if required) until starting to colour.  Add in kale and fry until starting to brown around the edges.

While doing this frying, mix milk and lemon juice for about 5 minutes in a small mixing bowl until it starts to curdle.  Lightly whisk in eggs, olive oil and maple syrup.

Meanwhile, place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Gently mix in the fried ingredients and wet ingredients.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  Keeps about 3 days or can be frozen.

On the Stereo:
Word Gets Around: Stereophonics

Sunday 21 May 2017

Book Review: But I could never go vegan

I was lucky enough to have a long term loan of Kristy Turner's But I Could Never Go Vegan cookbook.  I had followed her Keepin It Kind blog so I already knew she does great recipes and beautiful photos.  The book delighted me with recipes that really inspired me but were (mostly) easy enough to make.

The book takes a humourous approach to vegan advocacy.  Sections are organised around how to counteract protests about being vegan.  Such as "Where would I get my protein?".  It is funny but it is a bit negative too.  Personally I prefer the more positive subtitle "Satisfying ways to pack in the protein".  I don't need to be convinced that vegan food is fantastic.  I just want good recipes.

The recipes are for the experienced cook who wants some interesting recipes that go beyond the basics.  They include both quick weeknight recipes and some more extravagant entertaining dishes.  I have cooked a lot from the book over more than 6 months. I love the recipes but not the way it is organised.  Even knowing it quite well, I find it hard to find recipes because I don't find the ordering intuitive.  On the plus side, this meant I was always discovering more dishes I just had to cook when looking for a recipe.

I am listing the recipes I made under each section.  Note that I did not make recipes from every section and only made some components.

SECTION: All those special ingredients are way more expensive 

From this section I made:
  • Sunflower Sausage - this was a great minced meat substitute.  I used it in bolognaise a few times.  It could be a little dry if cooked too long but was really tasty and a great basic protein to add in lots of dishes for some oomph.
  • Barbecue Sauce - I liked it but even with halving the sugar it was a bit sweet and needed better seasoning.  I think that I should have seasoned better and that it lacked some flavour because I didn't have any ancho chile powder.  Having said that, I didn't have any trouble finishing it as there were lots of ways to use it.
  • Tofu Sour Cream - I made this for a soup topping and then it lingered in the fridge.  It was nice in the soup but I am not really into creamy and don't use sour cream much.
  • Honey Bee Happy - this is boiled down apple juice, sugar and lemon juice.  It had a honey texture but tasted like apple juice concentrate.  I was not that impressed but then it was really good in the brownies I made it for.
I made a few of these basic recipes because they were required by other recipes.  While they weren't overly complicated they did add to the time needed for some other recipes.  Once I had made some of them, I wanted more ideas of how to use them.  What I would have loved would be a list of recipes in the book that used them, so I wasn't rifling through the book trying to find them.  Niggles aside, I liked the range of basics in this section.

SECTION: I could never given up cheese

Tofu Feta (from Tofu Feta, Spinach and Potato Gratin)

I made this tofu feta for a salad recipe.  It did not work that well for me in the salad.  The texture was too soggy to imitate feta - perhaps my tofu was not hard enough.  I also found it more sharp than salty in flavour.  Then I made savoury muffins with the rest of the feta and really loved the flavour and texture it gave them.  I might make it again just for muffins.

SECTION: Tofu doesn't taste like anything

BBQ Baked Tofu

I really love tofu and don't need anyone to suggest I love it.  This BBQ baked tofu used the above BBQ sauce and was delicious.  We had it for dinner with coleslaw and spinach.  I loved it so much that I ate some cold for breakfast.  The the rest went into a tortilla casserole

SECTION: Vegan cooking is too hard

Chickpea Omelets

I enjoyed these omelets made with chickpea flour and vegies.  However as they took longer to make than my regular ones I probably would not make them a lot.  I am sure I took a photo but can't find it.

SECTION: Where's the Beef?

Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze

I love a good nut roast but find vegan ones more challenging.  This loaf looked really promising with lots of lentils, oats, mushrooms, and almond meal.  It held together well and I enjoyed it but if I made it again I would tweak it.

SECTION: Just thinking about salad makes me yawn

Three Pea and Orzo Pistachio Pesto Salad

This was a nice salad for dinner.   I used some pesto that wasn't in the book.  I didn't use orzo as I could not find it and bought small shells instead.  So my version was slightly different.  I made the tofu feta (above) for the salad but did not really like the texture of it as a topping.

Roasted Broccoli and Apple Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

The Roasted Broccoli and Apple Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing was brilliant.  I made enough changes that I blogged my version of the salad.  However it was still hats off to Kristy for the idea of adding roasted seasoned broccoli to a salad, for the creamy dressing and for the combination of crunchy, creamy, sweet, savoury.  I used sausage crumbles on top as that was what I had but I think the tempeh bacon that Kristy used would be great.  However I really liked my addition of raw purple cabbage in it for flavour and colour.

BBQ Cauliflower (from BBQ Cauliflower Salad with Zesty Ranch Dressing)

I love the BBQ Cauliflower that was part of a salad.  I had cauliflower and BBQ sauce so it was pretty easy.  But I did not have the time for the salad dressing and crumbed onion rings.  I used hot sauce for bite because we don't have ancho chilli powder.  The cauliflower was great as a side dish and in sandwiches.  Above it tops (bio)cheese melted on toast.  I really loved the mayo, celery, grated carrot, baby spinach and BBQ cauliflower in a sandwich.

SECTION: What about brunch?

Chickpea Scramble Breakfast Tacos

I love making chickpea scramble and was pleased how well it worked in these breakfast tacos.  Unfortunately I did not have time for Kristy's method of whisking the ingredients, leaving them to set and then frying chunks.  Instead I did my usual quick fry method.  They were great with seasoned roasted sweet potato, red capsicum and onion as well as avocado (I fried it because it was not ripe and enough - this was a revelation!).  I cannot imagine making it for breakfast but loved it for dinner.

SECTION: Fake "foods" freak me out

Potato and Pea Samosa Cakes with Tamarind Sauce

These samosa patties were impressive.  I was amazed and pleased at how well they held together with a bit of chickpea flour.  They were a little chewy and quite spicy.  They would make great finger food as they were all too easy to nibble on before dinner.  Thank goodness they made lots.

Lentil, Chard and Sweet Potato Curry

This was a really nice curry, bordering on a dal with all the lentils.  I added a few more vegies.  The addition of a spoonful of black salt at the end gave it a slightly different flavour to my usual curies but it was very good and comforting.

SECTION: It's all rabbit food

Nacho cheese sauce (from Jackfruit Nacho Supreme)

I really liked this nacho cheese sauce.  My cheese sauces are usually thick enough to double as a dip but this was more pouring consistency.  At first I worried it lacked bite but then I found I had left out the miso which made a big difference to the flavour.  I added some to some soup which worked well.

SECTION: Not soup again

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This soup was tasty but very thin.  I might have added some liquid than the recipe.  By the next day it had thickened a little.

Potato Sauerkraut Soup with Sausage Crumbles

I partly made this because I loved the photo.  I also would like to eat more sauerkraut.  The soup was nice and I really liked the crumbles on top.  However it was a bit on the sour side.  Perhaps it needed better seasoning or a little less sauerkraut.  A nice change on the usual potato soups.

SECTION: I'd miss pizza

Buffalo Cauliflower Calzones with Cashew Blue Cheese Sauce

I did not make this recipe but a few years back I made Kristy's Buffalo cauliflower pizza with tofu blue cheese on my own sourdough base.  The cauliflower was great but the tofu blue cheese did not quite do it for me.  However I would like to try the cashew blue cheese she uses.  And I have to say it was a great innovative pizza topping like others in the book.

SECTION: Can't i be pescatarian instead?

Beer Battered Faux Fish and Chips

I have no desire to be a pescatarian but I do long for a fish and chip shop that does vegan fish.  The beer battered tofu was excellent.  I loved how the tofu sat in marinade for an hour or so and I really loved the batter with beer in it.  My tofu was smaller and took a while to fry.  It wasn't an easy recipe but was great for a birthday treat.  As an aside, I would have preferred the ingredients to be separated into the marinade and the batter rather than all in together but this is nit picking, esp when I loved the results.  I didn't follow Kristy's chip recipe as it is better to roast chips my own way in my oven.  I loved having fish and chips at home (with a leftover salad from a community lunch) and I really loved the leftover tofu fish fried until crispy and eaten in a sandwich with mayo.  I really need to make this again.

SECTION: My friends wont want to come over for dinner

Cashew Carrot Pate

I made this pate ages ago.  It was more dip than pate but very nice.  I think I fiddled with the ingredients a bit but can't remember why.

SECTION: No way.  I'm Italian (of Southern/German/Mexican/French)

Pretzel Dumplings with Sauerkraut Mushroom Gravy

You don't make these dumplings to gaze upon and admire their beauty.  Sylvia and I made fun of them especially when they had cooked the the stew was like gunk with a thick gloopy skin.  The dumplings were not quite as I expected.  (I struggled to work out how much her 4 pretzels weighed and deducted it was 225g.  I didn't have enough and used some breadcrumbs to top it up.)  Rather than be like a dough, they seemed like chunks of soft pretzel.  They were better the second day. More cohesive and better taste.  The stew was quite tasty and a good way to use up some of my sauerkraut.  I really liked this stew but was not quite as wowed as I expected.

SECTION: I don't want to be left out at potlucks and family get-togethers

Maple Baked Beans and Cornbread Casserole

This was a delicious oven bake.  I found there was too much maple in the baked beans which were a bit sweet.  I then forgot it in the dumplings which could have done with a little.  However despite this, I really enjoyed the casserole and would love to have it again.  The dumplings were a little sandy but I find this with polenta. I didn't have the right white beans so I had a mix of kidney beans, lentils and black eyed peas.  I would love this at a potluck brunch.

SECTION: Wait, is chocolate vegan?

Chocolate Chip Brownies

Vegan brownies can be challenging but I was swayed by the claims that these were fudgy.  Over summer I made these and took them warm to a friend's pot luck dinner party.  They were really disappointingly crumbly and would barely hold together.  The next day they firmed up and were more brownie-like but still a bit softer than I had hoped.  But very very moreish.

It has been very generous of Faye to loan me the book.  It is not a new book, having come out in 2014.  Since then Kristy has also written But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan.  You can see some of the goodness from the second cookbook on Faye's Veganopoulous blog.  I really must give my copy of the book back to Faye soon. I am reluctant as I continue to find recipes I want to make in it.  Maybe I need to buy my own copy.  I highly recommend you find a copy of the book, even if you just want to cook good vegan food rather than go vegan.

But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner is written by Kristy Turner, published by The Experiment in 2014.

Friday 19 May 2017

Overnight sourdough mashed potato bread

Quite some years ago I went through a love affair with Nigella's potato bread.  I remembered it when I made Tim's Lemon Trickle Mash Cake recently.  Because I had some leftover mashed potato.  I could have just eaten it on toast with vegemite or stirred it into a stew.  But the yen for mashed potato in bread still hits me occasionally.  It was time to do it.

Nigella's potato bread is a yeasted bread.  I have wanted to make my regular Overnight Sourdough Bread with mashed potato.  Just because I have a sourdough starter to keep alive.  And because our foremothers knew that mashed potato and potato water make mighty fine bread.  I had a quick look online and found some advice about replacing a little water and a little more flour with the mashed potato.  But I am not sure I got the quantities as intended.  My dough was very sticky.

Fortunately the lovely Celia, who first shared the overnight sourdough bread recipe, has updated this recipe with a high hydration sourdough bread version.  I have tried reducing the flour for a stickier dough a few times and her advice on handling it is really useful.  She bakes hers on baking paper because the really sticky dough does stick to the tins (I have tried it) unlike the firmer dough.

I sort of follow Celia's shaping advice but in a slapdash way.  I don't rest the dough or have a great method for oblong loaves but I do try to roll the loaf so it is upside down, pull the dough together tightly under the loaf, seal it and roll it upright (just watch the video in Celia's post).  Ideally I would not have small child make patterns with her finger in rising loaves.

I made the mistake of trying to bake this bread while making pancakes for Mothers day breakfast last weekend, prior to going to my parents house for lunch.  It was a pretty crazy morning and not quite as relaxed as I had hoped it might be.  Thank goodness that the bread looked and smelled wonderful coming out of the oven before we headed off.  A bit of a miracle considering how it seemed to crumble a bit going into the oven, what with being so flippy floppy moist.

The loaves were delicious.  Great to come home to after our Mother Day lunch.  I brought home some leftover salads to eat with bread and cheese.  When it came out the oven I had a chance to taste it and it seemed slightly sticky.  However by evening it was soft and wonderful.  By Day 3 it was still soft enough to eat without having to toast it.  Which made for lots of happy breakfasts, sandwiches and snacks.  I will surely be braver with experimenting with mashed potato in my loaves in future.

More mashed potato baking recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Mashed potato chocolate cake
Potato boston bun
Potato scones (v)
Tim's lemon trickle mash cake (gf) 
Wholemeal mashed potato pizza bases (v)

Overnight sourdough potato bread
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe and Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
Makes 2 loaves

300g starter
200g mashed potato*
225g potato cooking water*
345g water*
16g salt*
900g flour

A few hours before making the loaf, take sourdough starter out of the fridge and feed it so it gets nice and bubbly. 

About an hour before going to bed (or first thing in the morning) mix everything together to make a sticky dough.  It is easiest to mix everything except flour first and then add flour.  Use hands to mix if required.  Set aside covered with a tea towel for half an hour.  Knead in the bowl for about 1 minute (sprinkle with a little flour if necessary).  Cover with greased clingwrap and leave at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

Scrape dough out onto a well floured board.  Very gently without punching the air out, fold the dough in three.  Shape into a loaves (see Celia's post for advice on shaping).  Place on a sheet of baking paper and cover with lightly greased clingwrap.  (Maize flour is great here.)  Set aside to rise for 30 minutes.  While the loaves rise, preheat oven to 240 C, with casserole dishes heating* if you are using them.

Slash the loaves and (still on the baking paper) put in the heated casserole dishes with lids on (or on a tray or in a tin).  Bake for 20 minutes with lid on.  Remove lid and bake another 20 minutes.  Then reduce oven heat to 180 C and return to oven for another 10 minutes to make sure the crust is crispy and golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.

* NOTES: For more extensive notes on this method, go to my post on overnight sourdough bread.  Celia does not preheat her casserole dishes before putting the bread in them as she finds that they heat up quickly enough.  My mashed potatoes were just cooked in some slightly salted water and then mashed without adding any milk, butter or seasonings.  I would quite like to try a potato and mustard seed version as I love to add mustard to mashed potato. 
I just used the potato water that I drained off the potatoes and then used tap water to make up the rest of my usual 570g water.  I reduced the salt a little because of the salted water that I cooked the potatoes in.  I think I could reduce the salt a little more. 

On the Stereo:
The Rough Guide to Paris Lounge: Various Artists

Monday 15 May 2017

Tim's Lemon Trickle Mash Cake (GF)

I used to claim I hated lemon desserts.  I have never liked lemon pudding or lemon meringue pie.  Lemon tarts are not for me.  But I have a lemon tree.  And my mum loves lemon desserts.  So occasionally I go against the grain.  For Mothers Day this year, I made Tim's Lemon Trickle Cake for my mum.  It was an exceedingly good gluten free cake.

Here are my lemon and lime trees.  They have only fruited on one side this autumn.  Perhaps it is the attack of the citrus leafminer.  I picked my first lemons of the crop the night before Mothers Day.  I was out in the dark with my torch trying to work out which ones were ripe.  I had planned to do it in the afternoon.  But the hot water heater died and so instead, we had the plumber over.  He fixed it pronto.  I really appreciated my hot shower on Sunday morning.

The cake was baked after we watched La Puta: Castle in the Sky with Sylvia and put her to bed.  She was so excited about Mothers Day.  It was so gorgeous to see.  Except when she woke me unreasonably early in the morning to say Happy Mothers Day and let the cat out of the bathroom to bother me as well. 

I took the cake to Geelong for a Mothers Day lunch.  I forgot to take a photo of the salads.  I made a Japanese snowpea salad and my sister made a pea and corn rice salad and a peanutty coleslaw.  My mum and my niece made san chow bao (with tofu) and fried tofu.  Then for dessert mum made pavlova and toblerone cheesecake.  My sister made banana avocado chocolate mousse with berries and Greek yoghurt.  We ate very well.

The cake was excellent.  I have had it bookmarked for years.  I can't remember where I first saw it but I found it again via Cakelaw's blog.  It is gluten free with almond meal and mashed potato and has a lemon syrup poured over it when hot.  I just reduced the sugar a little but otherwise followed the recipe.  The cake was very moist but not so dense as some almond meal cakes tend to be.  I think the mashed potato makes it softer and lighter.  My mum loved it.

More lemon baking from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Baked lemon cheesecake (gf)
Citrus grape cake (v)
Lemon and honey cake (gf)
Lemon slice
Lemon yoghurt cupcakes (gf) 
Sesame and lemon bread (v)

Tim's Lemon Trickle Mash Cake
Adapted slightly from River Cottage via Epicurious

175g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
4 eggs
200g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
250g plain, cold mashed potato
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons

For the topping:
Juice of 2 lemons
60g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Grease and line a 23cm round springform tin.

Cream butter and sugar.   Beat in eggs one by one, adding a spoonful of almonds if mixture curdles.  Fold in almonds and baking powder, then mashed potoat and lemon zest.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Check if it is done by inserting a skewer inside the middle and only a few moist crumbs should cling to skewer when it is taken out.  Cover with foil if cake is browning too much before it is baked through.

Pierce hot cake with a skewer all over to make holes that are deep but do not touch the bottom.  Mix lemon juice and sugar.  Before sugar dissolves, pour over the cake.  Cool in tin before serving.

On the Stereo:
Ended up a stranger: The Walkabouts

Friday 12 May 2017

Home made cheese tortilla chips (vegan)

Wow it has been a bit of a roller coaster of a couple of weeks that has seen my work email account hacked, Sylvia having her school photo with sticky tape holding together her broken glasses frames and  sticky taped together, and me forgetting to bring Sylvia's swimming stuff to her lesson*.  Thank goodness for little victories like finding time for a catch up with friends, getting on top of the school paperwork, camellias blossoming in the backyard.  And fun with home made cheesy tortilla chips.

I had half a packet of tortillas in the bread bin (yes we are using our bread bin again after years of filling it with paper bags).  Despite good intentions I was never getting around to make tacos.  So on a rainy afternoon I made corn chips.  For fun.

E and Sylvia and her friend who was visiting were not impressed.  They were quite tasty and mostly quite crisp but occasionally slightly chewy in the middle.  I really liked them.  And if not for these cute little corn chips, the tortillas probably would have been thrown out.  I call it a little victory.

*PS for the curious among you, we got Sylvia's glasses frames replaced under warranty, my work email had blocks on it for a day and then IT fixed it, and Sylvia missed her swimming lesson this week but given that she did 3 days of NAPLAN tests and a cross country run, it probably wasn't the worst week to go without her swim.

More easy snack ideas on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Cheeseymite puffs
Coconut bacon (gf, v)
Seed crackers (gf, v) 
Tamari chickpeas (gf, v) 
Zucchini pizza bites (gf)

Home made cheese tortilla chips
Adapted from Fork and Beans and The Kitchn
Serves 2-4

Seasoning mix:
4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion flakes
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

6 corn tortillas
olive oil (1-2 tbsp)

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Make seasoning mix first by mixing all ingredients in a blender until a fine powder.  Set aside.  Stack tortillas and cut into 6 -8 wedges.  Place on a lined tray.  Brush with olive oil (or spray the oil) then sprinkle with seasoning mix.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until edges curl up very slightly and slightly darker in colour.  Cool and snack.

NOTES: Leftover seasoning can be kept in an airtight container for baking, stews and vegan cheese sauces.  I cooked my chips for about 14 minutes and put the oven at 200 C because my oven is so slow.  I could not be bothered blending seasoning to make it finely ground so I just used a hand held blender in a small mixing bowl.

On the stereo:
Rough Guide to Gypsy Music: Various Artists

Monday 8 May 2017

Vegan fluffy pancakes

Are pancakes becoming old hat?  After all, they have lots of competition these days with fancy waffles and crumpets and the like.  We went out for brunch on the weekend to The Boot Factory which has recently taken the pancakes off the menu.  Sylvia was most displeased.  I should have just made her a batch at home.  It isn't that hard.

This recipe for vegan pancakes is one I stumbled across and really wanted to try.  They looked fluffy and used common ingredients.  I made them a week ago because I had stewed plums and fancied them on some pancakes.  We always enjoy sitting around the kitchen table on a weekend morning with maple syrup, lemon and sugar at the ready, waiting for the pancakes to be flipped onto our plates.

One of the biggest challenges with vegan pancakes is to the get the right fluffy texture.  These were not quite as fluffy as eggy pancakes but pretty damn close.  I think these would make good large pancakes but I can't help reverting to the way my mum made them small so that nobody had to wait too long for their pancake.  But unlike in my childhood, I am very fond of maple syrup on pancakes, even when serving them with plums.

More vegan breakfasts at Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Banana oat pancakes (v)
Chocolate muesli (granola) (v)
French toast with banana (v)  
"Nutella" stuffed pancakes (v)
Potato scones (v)
Spinach, sundried tomato and chive chickpea scramble (gf, v)
Tofu besan omelette (gf, v)
Tofu scramble (gf, v)

Vegan fluffy pancakes
Adapted from The Pretty Bee

1 1/2 cups plain flour - I used half and half white and wholemeal
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups soy milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice bran oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
margarine, for frying

Mix all ingredients (except margarine) to make a thick batter.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Meanwhile heat frypan over medium heat.  Rub a little knob of margarine to cover the pan.  Drop heaped dessertspoons of batter on the pan.  It takes quite a while (5 minutes or so) until bubbles appear.  It should be golden brown.  Flip over and cook another few minutes until browned on the other side too.

On the stereo:
Magnifique - the Icons of French Music: Various Artists

Friday 5 May 2017

ANZAC biscuits with milo and white chocolate

I didn't have the energy for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service this year so instead I baked bread and ate a fresh loaf with butter and honey at a friend's house.  Then I left Sylvia there to play with the kids while I went grocery shopping.  I wheeled my trolley around the aisles, laughing at all the Aussie products on prominent display: ANZAC biscuits, Tim Tams, BBQ shapes.  Then I fell for the patriotic hype anyway and purchased a tin of milo to make a quirky take on the traditional ANZAC biscuits.

I must remember not to add choc chips to ANZAC biscuits.  When you add the hot butter and golden syrup mixture the choc chips melt.  I've done that before.  I took out a little flour to compensate for the milo but it make the biscuits flatter and crispier.  Especially the first batch.  I left them in too long (12 minutes).  They spread so much that they came out of the oven as one big biscuit.  I spaced the second batch (in the photos) far more generously.  I took them out earlier (8-9 minutes).  They had more chew than crunch.  However I have changed the flour back to 1 cup rather than the 3/4 cup I used as I want them less flat next time. 

I really liked these biscuits.  They weren't really chocolatey but I liked the little extra flavour and the occasionally marbling from the white choc chips.  (Milo is quite a mild chocolate malt powder and doesn't add heaps of flavour.)  Just don't tell the traditionalists that I messed with their recipe.  I don't want them to throw me in prison before I have a chance to experiment more.

I am sending these bikkies to Choclette for We Should Cocoa.

More patriotic Aussie baking from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
ANZAC biscuits with cranberries and chocolate
Cheeseymite scones
Damper (v)
Marshmallow weetbix slice
Pumpkin scones 

And for more, go to my list of Aussie recipes

Milo and white chocolate ANZAC Biscuits
Adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe
Makes about 36 biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour (I used half wholemeal)
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milo
3/4 cup white choc chips
1 desstertspoon cocoa

125g butter (I used Nuttalex margarine), chopped
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp boiling water

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a small saucepan. When melted take off the heat. Mix the hot water and bicarb in a separate bowl and add to the golden syrup mixture. Mix and watch it froth up.

Once it is frothing, pour the golden syrup mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Roll into walnut sized balls and press down slightly with a fork on a lined baking tray.  Leave plenty of room around them as they will spread quite a lot.

Bake in 160 C oven for about 10 minutes. (Or 6-7 minutes at 180 C).  Your nose will tell you when they are cooked. Leave to cool on tray for 5-10 minutes because they are really really soft but will firm up.  Cool on a wire rack.

On the stereo: 
Molly: Do Yourself a Favour: soundtrack to the television series

Tuesday 2 May 2017

In My Kitchen: May 2017

May is feeling wintery.  I know we still have a month left of Autumn but chilly winds and lashing rains have been quite common lately.  I am leaving the house in the morning with more layers of clothing on and am drinking warm mugs of tea by the heater in the dark evenings.  Let's see what is going on in my kitchen.

Chocolate is always in demand but even more so when the weather is cold.  I have enjoyed trying the new Cadbury Cocoa flavours: Sea salt and pecan, Salty Liquorice, and Raspberry.  These are pleasing dark chocolate blocks with crispy chips of flavour.  I quite like the Salty Liquorice which is quite unusual and not too sweet.

E is quite a fan of Pringles.  So I bought him a tube of these Pringles Tortilla corn chips with a sour cream and onion flavour.  We all thought they were preferable to the regular Pringles.  While I like Pringles crisps they usually taste so processed that there is very little potato involved.  The corn chips taste more real and substantial.

I wanted to try a fried rice with scrambled tofu recently.  I took some guidance from Kitchen Treaty and really loved the results.  The tofu was seasoned and coloured yellow with a little turmeric.  It was eerily like egg in fried rice.  But so much better.  Excuse the poorly coloured photo that I took once it was dark.  The nights darken too early for much good food photography.  I must make it again and hope to blog about it some day.

We returned from visiting family in Geelong over Easter with a few extras.  My sister Fran gave us soy milk, lemons and apples.  My mum loaned me The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriatry.  (I've just about finished reading Scoundrel Days by Brentley Frazer and look forward to something a bit lighter.)  And Sylvia was given quite a few Easter eggs.  We still have some Easter chocolate around the house.

In my dreams, I would start each day with a breakfast that is savoury and filled with vegies.  Breakfast tacos fit the bill.  If only they were as easy as yoghurt and cereal.  I made the above breakfast tacos and another batch for dinner recently.  The ones above were inspired by Mary Ellen's Breakfast Tacos.  However I had chickpea scramble instead of tofu scramble, kidney beans instead of black beans and omitted the jalapenos.  I also added some biocheese.  They were good but not quick enough.  Perhaps a large batch of scrambled tofu early in the week with lots of vegies could make quick breakfasts.

I had a weekend past where I tried to catch up around the house.  I cleaned the shower (a thankless task as it is the original shower and is never clean enough), retouched some scratches on the car (another thankless task as any touch up makes the rest of the car look like it needs a paint) and cleaned the venetian blinds in the lounge room.  I found this Venetian slat cleaner for dusting and then I wiped each slat.  Very boring.  Thank goodness for some interesting podcasts (such as one on the ABC about diet and mental health).  I was really pleased to have clean blinds but filled with longing to replace them altogether.  Then I remembered that I still hadn't cleaned the blinds in the other rooms.  I will never catch up with everything that is needed around our house.

On the weekend we went to our local Pet Barn.  It is amazing how many cat accessories there are in the world.  We bought a red cat bed that is very popular with Shadow.  We also bought this Fresh Kitty Scratch Guard.  Shadow has a bad habit of scratching on the bed for attention in the middle of the night.  We have managed to reduce it somewhere by locking him in the bathroom on some nights.  Last night he was at it again so I stuck this tape the his favourite corners.  The scratching didn't last long.  Then he took up scratching at a paper bag.  Slowly slowly we make progress.

By the way, I think I mentioned that we had to put a lock on the bathroom because Shadow seemed to open the door when we put him in.  Sylvia and I watched him open the bathroom door the other day.  I was surprised at how easily he jumped up and held onto the door handle to lever it down.  

Today at the supermarket I could not resist these Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Super Nova special edition Doritos Lime and Pepper corn chips.  I have not opened them but I hope they are as green as they look on the packet.

Lastly I also brought these pretzels today.  They were for a recipe for Pretzel Dumplings in sauerkraut and mushroom gravy from But I Could Never Go Vegan by Kirsty Turner.  While it is very easy to find Turkish Bread and Pita Bread in my part of Melbourne, pretzels are not so common.  Occasionally we find them at the farmers market.  Today I found some at the supermarket.  There were only two so I had to supplement with a little sourdough bread.  It was a great warming winter dinner.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event, that was started by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 10 May.  Or just head over to her blog to peek into more kitchens.