Apple and Ginger Little Cakes

Howdy!

What did you do today? It was such a wonderful, sunny weekend. I had a cleaning frenzy on Saturday. And today I made apple and ginger cakeys and had afternoon tea in Hyde Park.

I saw Pear and Ginger Loaf on The Kitchen Maid  the other day (love her blog). It looked like the perfect afternoon tea cake. But I don’t often eat pears. So I used apples. I made a loaf last night but added WAY too much apple. It turned into a delicious apple-ginger pudding. Would have been perfect with some custard. But not for afternoon tea in a park.

cake pudding

cake pudding!

So today I made little cakes. Or little mounds of delightfully, moist fruity goodness. So good. Especially with a cup of tea, sitting in the sunshine in the park.

Original recipe from here. Oh and I made this vegan.

1 cup brown sugar

1 no-egg egg replacer

1 ¼ cups self-raising flour

2 teaspoons ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 ¼ green apples, peeled and diced

¾ cup naked ginger, chopped

5 ½ tablespoons castor oil

apple ginger cakey goodness

apple cakes of tasty!

I followed the recipe but added oil at the end, mixed it with my hands and then put a tablespoon or more in a patty tin and baked it in the oven at 160°C for about 20–25 minutes.

They turned out slightly crunchy on the outside, moist and sweet on the inside. I’ve already eaten more than I should. Make some now.

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Mulberries and Scones

I won a bottle of homemade mulberry jam at my CWA meeting on Monday for trivia—i love me some trivia! And i love me some mulberry jam. Thanks Annie!

Mulberry is the bombest of berries. And the ones I can actually recall picking from a tree. In the Enid Blyton books I read as a kid, Dick, Fanny, Jane and Tom are always going off into bramble bushes or finding blackberries and such. I’ve never seen a bramble bush in my life, but I can always find a mulberry tree if need be. When I was 4 or 5, at kindy they would dress us in painting smocks, we’d be given old plastic butter containers and would head to the back of the yard, to collect them from the trees that lined the back fence (I don’t really know what the butter containers were for, cause most of the mulberries we collected went straight into our soon-to-be dark purple mouths).

And mulberries feel like my very own special birthday berry cause they always appear in October and my nanna would start making her delicious mulberry pie during that month. Actually mulberries and scones both make me think of my nanna. Cause she would always make mulberry pies. And the best scones. She taught me how to make scones, but the first batch of good scones (still nowhere near as good as hers) I ever made were the scones I made the day after she died. I took them over to my Poppy’s where the family had gathered and I felt that the baked goods mantle was being passed on to me. I would now be the one  to ensure there was always something delicious for afternoon tea.

But I’ve been failing at scones this week. Actually, failing at vegan scones. Jam goes with scones (they’re practically the only thing I eat jam with, apart from jam-filled baked goods). So, on Tuesday I thought I’d make some to go with my new jam. I’ve got the joy of vegan baking and all the ingredients—flour, baking powder, nuttelex, soy milk and salt—what could go wrong? When they were cooked, they looked perfect. And when I bit into them they were the lightest scones I’d ever made. But something went terribly wrong because they tasted like poison. Or metal. Or metal poison. I found out that baking powder has aluminum in it and, in large amounts, can make baked goods taste metallic. Perhaps baking powder was the culprit? So I chucked the poisonous batch out and on Wednesday attempted them again, this time using some homemade baking powder (bicarb, cream of tartar and cornflour, in case you’re wondering). Again, beautiful to look at but they tasted worse! Salty and gross! Argh!

Thursday night rolled around and I wasn’t going to be put off. I’d try another scone recipe, this time from the CWA. It had only milk, cream, flour and a pinch of salt. Should be onto a winner, I just swapped out the cream for more milk. I’d looked at lots of other vegan and non-vegan scone recipes but I’m of the opinion that scones should only be flour, milk and maybe some salt or sugar and maybe a dash of baking powder. Definitely no butter (I’ve never made scones with butter and it seems weird to me, maybe cause my grandma and nanna never use butter). Maybe cream and lemonade instead of milk, but very few ingredients. More than 4 ingredients and it’s too much work. So this recipe fitted my four ingredients or less rule. But the dough was very wet, so I kept adding more flour. And touching the dough. Scone dough hates being touched. These ones looked like rock cakes when they came out of the oven (they may also have been on for 2 minutes too long) and they tasted like old boots made of vegan leather. Apart from the chewiness they were edible. But not the scone of my dreams.

So by Friday night, I decided to veganise my ol’ faithful scone recipe. Lemonade scones, with soy milk instead of cream.

Original recipe from here. I’ve veganised it, duh.

2 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup soy milk

1/2 cup lemonade

pinch of salt

4 pinches of baking powder

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Mix the ingredients together with a knife. I didn’t even bother lightly kneading the dough, just floured my hands, grabbed a small piece of dough and shaped it a bit and placed it on a greased baking tray. Shoved them in the oven for 10 minutes (recipe said 10–15 but 15 minutes would have given me burnt scones). When i took them out they were a little crunchy on the outside (not burnt, just crunchy). And they were tasty. They were also very scrumptious with some jam. Not the lightest, fluffiest scones I’ve ever made. But for my first batch of edible vegan scones, they were pretty damn good.

scones with jam on a pretty plate

scones with jam on a pretty plate

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Monday Night Munchings

Hiya, how’s things? Been a bit busy here. Uni, work, friends. Not been spending as much time on the interwebz.

But I had to share this. I’d been um-ing and ah-ing all weekend about what to do with my mini butternut pumpkin that was my veg box last week. I had some spinach and thought I’d wack the two together (classic combo style!) but didn’t really feel like pumpkin and spinach pizza or pumpkin and spinach risotto. Started thinking about making a dal with them…but felt like something a bit simpler. Then I remembered I still had some quinoa lying around my cupboard (or more like balancing precariously between all the other food I’ve stockpiled). So thought that would be hella easier.

I was very much looking forward to refuelling with delicious times. Had tomato and veg pasta for lunch (homemade), which satisfied but didn’t make me hum as I ate. But this was delicious!

First up, I roasted the pumpkin (with a sprinkly of cinnamon and cumin seeds). Quinoa went into the rice cooker with some water and veg stock.

Then I chopped up a leek and a red onion, put them in a pan, drizzled WAY too much olive oil on top and cooked them on really high heat (was too lazy to caramelise, but that’s where my mind was going). I added some red wine vinegar to them as well.

Then it was on to chopping up some basil, parsley and spinach leaves. And toasting some pine nuts and pepitas (pine nuts for creamy-ness and pepitas cause toasted pepitas are the best thing IN THE WORLD!!!).

When everything was cooked, I mixed it all together in a giant bowl and stuck a spoon in. Was thinking of adding a dressing, but didn’t think it needed it. Plenty of herbs and olive oil and a bit of salt and vinegar.

Pretty good for a Monday night. The rest of my meals this week will probably be all down hill from here.

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Cinnamon Scrolls!

So I have finally made cinnamon scrolls. Or rolls, as people insist on telling me. Whatever, they’re scroll-like.

cinnamon scrolls

cinnamon scrolls fresh from the oven!

It took me ALL Sunday morning to make them. Cause I had to make the dough, let it rest, punch the dough, let it rest, roll the dough up, let it rest. Scroll pastry is real lazy! But they were worth it. They turned out pretty perfect (except for a bit of a burnt arse, cause of being too close to the bottom of the oven and my baking nemesis, nuttelex).

 

lazy scrolls!

lazy scrolls resting before being baked.

They were pretty damn delicious! I haven’t eaten many cinnamon scrolls in my time but I thought I hit the nail on the head. This was my first time trying an egg replacer (organ no-egg). I don’t know why you need eggs in cinnamon scrolls but who am I to question the cinnamon scroll.

all rolled up with nowhere to go

all rolled up with nowhere to go

I got the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. It’s the first thing I’ve made out of it since getting the book and I will definitely be trying some more things very soon.

But I think the next few items I’ll be trying will be this and this. Peanut butter and brownies, I am drawn to you like a sugar-addicted moth to a candy-coated flame! Both are vegan and gluten-free, which AL will like. And I will like also.

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miso musings

I’ve been flicking through Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. I’ve only recently come across Heidi. She cooks vegetarian food, with lots of vegan options and I picked up the book at my favourite place, the library. All the food in it looks so damn good. And some really different meals to the stuff I usually cook. I tend to be quite familiar with my food and not stray too far away from vegetables and flavour combinations I know (I do like to try new things, but I always like making things I know I’ll like). So this book has really interesting things to push my food-making boundaries. Like this dish I made.

miso-curry pumpkin

half-devoured miso-curry pumpkin

It is roasted pumpkin, potato and tofu with a white miso/thai red curry/olive oil flavouring. Then, once it’s cooked, stir in some toasted pepitas, add some lemon juice to the extra dressing and dollop that on and add kale (I used broccoli) and garnish with coriander.

It’s delicious! And really quick to make. I would never think to mix red curry paste with miso, let alone add them so some roasted vegetables.

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Monday Menu of Marvellous Munchings

I had an impromptu three-course meal for dinner on Monday night, for no particular reason other than I just felt like it. I was only in the kitchen for 50 minutes! And it was a Monday night! But all the things I made were super quick and easy. Here is my three-course out-of-the-blue dinner I had, in case you’re interested in recreating it at home.

Entrée

I had seen this on the blog roll and thought they looked awesome! I LOVE Doritos. The recipe was from here, with some changes from moi.

Homemade Doritos

Homemade doritos

crispy chips straight from the oven

Half a packet Mountain Bread, rye’s my favourite (they’re my favourite wraps cause they don’t have a list of ingredients a mile long and they’re super thin, so I don’t get overwhelmed by bread-ness when I eat them).

1 teaspoon paprika

Sprinkle of salt

1 teaspoon nooch (nutritional yeast)

Some olive oil

Fold the wraps in half, then cut down the fold. Cut in half again, then cut those squares into half diagonally and then in half again. So you have triangles!

Sprinkle with the spices and then drizzle some olive oil on them. Mine were barely oiled, cause you don’t need much on these wraps. Layer them in one layer on a lined baking tray and bake at 190°C for 7 minutes (you may need to adjust the time depending on your oven, but 7 is the magic number for me).

Then devour with your favourite dip. Mine is beetroot hummous from Syndian at the moment. They have a great vegan range. I haven’t strayed too far from the beetroot hummous though. SOOOOOOO delicious, I usually have to buy it irregularly otherwise I eat too many biscuits/chips just so I can consume more dip.

Main

Next up was Brown Rice and Bean Bowl. My version of this recipe is based on the Barley and Red Beans is courtesy of Skinny Bitch Kim Barnouin from her book Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook, which I borrowed out of the library. So many great vegan meals in that book! Everything I’ve made so far has been delicious and nutritious. The only little downside I had was the chapter on Match Meat and recipes to use it with. I skipped over those recipes. It’s a brand of fake meat and while I don’t mind people recommending products or brands (especially vegan ones, when so much vegan product could end up tasting like arse) I just don’t use fake meat when cooking and I don’t really think I want to recreate a fake meat meal (apart from my awesome meatless meatloaf, which didn’t use fake meat anyway). But the book is definitely on my list of cookbooks to buy cause the great stuff far outweighs that one section of recipes.

Anyway, back to my Monday Menu of Marvellous Munchings!

Brown Rice and Bean Bowl

beans and rice

mmm...beans and rice

2 cups brown rice (The original recipe calls for barley, which I couldn’t find.)

3 cups stock (I use Massel Chicken-style stock)

1 red capsicum, diced

1 green capsicum, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 handfuls of baby spinach, chopped

1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (from this recipe here)

¼ cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped

Grandma’s mango chutney, to serve

This is a no-cook recipe if you have a rice cooker. Chuck the rice and stock in the rice cooker and switch on. Chop up all your vegies and put them in a large bowl with the kidney beans. Mix the Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and garlic together. Once the rice is cooked, mix everything together in the bowl and consume with copious amounts of my grandmother’s mango chutney (I have not learnt to make this, otherwise I’d share the recipe). It is the most delicious thing to eat and it looks so pretty and colourful. Here is another photo just so you can see how lovely and shiny it looks with the dressing.

beans and rice take two

beans and rice take two with chutney!

Dessert

While the rice was cooking, I made dessert. During the day, a woman at work had been telling me about how she was on a diet and she had no flour in the house so she couldn’t make brownies if she wanted a sweet snack.

All my brain latched on to was ‘BROWNIES!’. You may remember that I am on the quest for the perfect vegan brownie. I had found another vegan brownie recipe to try in How it All Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer (also from the library) and thought I’d give it a go.

I made some slight variations.

Maple Walnut Brownies

brownies attempt 2

brownies attempt take 2

1 1/3 cup self-raising flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup maple syrup

¼ cup golden syrup

¼ cup apple juice

1/3 cup oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup walnuts (I kept them whole cause I was too lazy to chop)

I mixed dry ingredients together, added the wet and mixed. Baked in a 170°C oven for 30 minutes which was 5–7 minutes too long I think. The brownie tastes nice, but it is a bit crumbly and not moist like a good brownie should be (probably cause I overcooked it). It’s chocolatey enough and sweet enough without sugar (the recipe called for ¾ cup maple syrup but I ran out so subbed in trusty ol’ golden syrup).

By the time I was ready to eat dessert, I could hardly fit any more in. So I just had a taste of the brownie. But it  gave me something nice to munch on this afternoon with my tea (definitely needed tea to wash them down with).

PPK has a raspberry choc brownie recipe that I will try next. And I’d like to attempt these again but bake for 20-25 minutes, to see if they turn out more gooey.

So that was my three-course meal. What do you like to eat on Mondays?

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Birthday Food!

So I had a birthday waaaaaay back in October. (I’ve got a few posts from last year that I never posted due to laziness and an aversion to sitting in front of the computer.)

My housemate Anna Lise also has a birthday in October. So we decided to have a little get-together (she was calling it a birthday party, I called it an afternoon hangout). There was muchos food (all vegan and gluten free) and booze in the tub. The sun came out and we were able to spread everything out on the back lawn. So fancy!

party at night
candles and an empty cake plate (photo from Celeste)

We sat out there till it got dark, then lit some candles till it started raining.

Anna Lise took care of the fancy stuff. I made the snacks and party food things. She made this delicious-looking (and tasty) quinoa salad.

Summer Quinoa Salad

Summer Quinoa Salad

And some lovely apple tea cakes with earl grey syrup that disappeared very quickly. If you have not tried making an apple tea cake and poured fragrant earl grey syrup over the top, I recommend you go do that now. I’ll wait…

apple tea cake with earl grey syrup

I chopped up vegis and had them with dips. I also made finger sandwiches with avocado and cucumber filling from PPK.

naked vegetables!

naked vegetables!

party food spread

this was about half of the party food spread

And tasty peanut butter balls with chocolate from here. Except instead of using choc chips (I can’t find vegan ones!), I melted some dark chocolate over the top instead.

Peanut Butter Balls with Choc Topping

Peanut Butter Balls with Choc Topping

And I grilled up some polenta squares and served them with tomato and basil, and mushrooms and garlic later in the evening when people got peckish again. And the last thing I made was this.

Birthday cake with strawberries!

It looks very impressive, no? It wasn’t as impressive in person. The icing was too runny and the cake was slightly strange, but I think that was the gluten-free flour. Sometimes gluten-free tastes not quite right.

It had a jammy middle. And did I mention the berries!

It had a jammy middle. And did I mention the berries!

It was a bit dense.Nice with jam the next day but not spongy at all. I think I may have over-cooked it. I sort of based it on this recipe and then freestyled the gluten-free flours cause couldn’t find sorghum flour. Her recipe looks really cake-like and mine certainly didn’t. So could also have gone wrong there with the flour mix (used the gluten-free flour mix Annalise Roberts uses. Wasn’t the Owl Cake of my dreams, but it looked real purdy. It looked even prettier when Celeste took a photo.

pretty cake!

pretty cake!

It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. People seemed to enjoy themselves and all the food was eaten. And that’s all you could want from a birthday.

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