Product: Lamyong Mushroom Vegetable Bun

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The packaging

Lamyong is a Sydney based Asian food company the specialises in vegetarian and vegan products. Their products can be found at any Asian store in with the Kim Wang Asian Grocery in Chinatown having the biggest range. The products are stamped with a vegan registered symbol but there are a few items that are not vegan so keep an eye out.So I picked up a pack of the mushroom vegetable buns at an Asian supermarket in the northern suburbs and I couldn’t wait to try them. I’m a big fan of steamed buns. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes in a sandwich bag or container and your ready.

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The bun (frozen)

Firstly can someone tell me what the point of the bits of paper stuck onto the bottom is? (Okay I know it’s to stop the bun sticking to the steamer), when microwaved it just sticks to the bun and you lose some of the bottom trying to get it off.

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The filling

Texture: Not bad. The dough was fluffy and the filling was all right but not perfect: too much cabbage. 4/5

Flavour: Not too bad. It had an okay mushroom flavour, mostly shiitake, but the primary flavour was unfortunate pepper. 2.5/5

Overall: Not a bad effort but could have been better. 3/5

Recipe: Eggless Cinnamon Macarons with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Macarons. Something I used to eat often and have been hoping to find a vegan version of. For week 8 of the 52 Weeks of Baking sub on Reddit the challenge was gluten free. In the challenge intro there was a link to a classic french macaron recipe and I decided to Google “vegan macaron recipe” and I was surprised to actually find something. A test of the recipe I found was Attempt 1. This attempt did not go well.

2 weeks later and it’s time for the first Cake Liberation Front picnic of the year which also happened to coincide with the french challenge on the 52 Weeks of Vegan Cooking sub so I decided to try again. Attempt 2 went much better.

Attempt 1.

This recipe was problematic. I basically ended up with a sticky almond paste that was unusable. See below.

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The failed mix

The reason for this is simple. The recipe asked for what amounts to 4 1/2 cups of dry ingredients to be added to the equivalent of 3 eggs; a normal macaron recipe only has 1 1/2 + 2/3 cups of dry ingredient.

Attempt 2.

I used the recipe that was linked on the 52 Weeks of Baking intro and altered it to vegan.

Ingredients: Macaron.

Note: This recipe is not perfect and while it tasted quite good, it still needs a little work. See my Verdict at the end for more information.

1/4 Cup of Powdered Egg Replacer (I used Organ No Egg).
1/2 a Cup + 2 Tablespoons of Water.
2/3 Cup of Almond Meal (also known as Almond Flour).
1 1/2 Cups of Icing Sugar (also known as Powdered Sugar or Confectioners Sugar).
5 Tablespoons of Caster Sugar (Granulated Sugar).
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract.
1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon Powder.

Method:

Preheat oven to 140C (280F). Line baking tray(s) with baking paper and if you can be bothered draw circles on the back of the paper as guides for your piping. Circles should be about 1 inch and 1/2 inch apart.

Sift the Almond Meal and Icing Sugar into a bowl and combine. If your Almond Meal coarse you may need to put it through a food processor first.

Place Egg Replacer and Water into mixer with whisk attachment (beaters are also fine) and turn onto fastest setting, you may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. When the mix starts to get frothy add the Caster Sugar on tablespoon at a time.

The mixture should expand and when it looks like the picture below slow the mixer to the lowest setting and add the Vanilla Extract and Cinnamon Powder.

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The “egg” mix

Add  half the Almond Meal and Icing Sugar mixture and when combined add the rest.

Remove the bowl from the mixture and combine any remaining mixture. Be careful not to work the mixture too much as you want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

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Put the mixture into a piping bag (if you don’t have one use a sandwich bag and cut off the corner once filled). Pipe 1 inch circles onto the baking paper.

Lightly tap the tray on the bench to break up any larger air bubbles. With a traditional macaron mixture you are meant to let the trays sit for 15+ minutes until the mixture is no longer sticky to the touch and has formed a skin. I have no idea if this would even work/matter with the eggless mix but I did it anyway.

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Place trays in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. After the first 2 minutes open the over to release any steam.

With mine it took nearly double the time to cook the macarons; this may be because the mixture was wetter than it should have been or the fact that the oven is weird and I don’t entirely know how to use it or because my piping was terrible (in my defense it was my first time using a piping bag). Probably all three.

The macarons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are just hard. Take care to not underbake (insides will still be mushy) or overbake (tops will begin to brown).

Remove them from the oven, and cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.

Ingredients: Salted Caramel Buttercream.

1 Cup of Vegan Margarine (I used Nuttalex), at room temperature.
1/3 Cup of Salted Caramel Sauce, at cool room temperature.
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract.
1 1/2 Cups of Icing Sugar (also known as Powdered Sugar or Confectioners Sugar).
Salt to taste.

Method:

Clean your mixing bowl and attach the scraper (again a beater is also fine).

Beat the Margarine on a medium speed for 1 minute.

Add Salted Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Extract and beat on medium for 2 minutes.

Add Icing Sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Increase speed to medium, mix for 2 or 3 minutes until smooth.

Taste and add Salt if needed. (I forgot to taste and just added the salt).

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Note: this make a LOT of buttercream, way more than you need for the macarons. Fortunately you can freeze it.

When the macarons are cooled pick 2 of equal size, spread or pipe some buttercream on the bottom of one and stick them together, Repeat as until you have no more macarons.

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Verdict: The macaron were overly sweet and the butter cream was a bit too salty but together they worked. The macarons had the right chewy texture, but they were not quite correct, they cracked easily and had hollow bits. As I mentioned before they also took longer to cook as they were quite wet.

I think that the ratio of Egg Replacer to Water was correct, but there was too much in comparison to the Icing Sugar and Almond Meal mixture. Now you could use less Egg Replacer and Water (keeping the same ratio) however as I mentioned the macaron was too sweet so I would alter the Icing Sugar and Almond Meal mixture by adding more Almond Meal.

Lastly the Cinnamon flavor was strong when raw but less noticeable when baked.

I took the finished macarons to the Cake Liberation Front picnic (and a few for a friend who is always stuck at work on picnic days) and they were very well received,

Restaurant: Dumpling King

So dumplings are a popular thing right now and I love them, always have. There’s a lot of dumpling shops around and all of them have at least one vegetarian dumpling option and more often than not the vegetarian dumplings are vegan. Yay!

Dumpling King has two stores in the Adelaide CBD; one on Moonta St in Chinatown and one on King William St. I prefer the King William store: less busy, better food.

It’s a pretty standard dumpling shop. Various meat and seafood based dumplings, a few soups, some sides and a whole bunch of stir fry dishes.

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Fried shallot pancake

For a starter I ordered the fried shallot pancake. The pancake is straight out of the packet and sadly lacking in shallots (spring onions). The pastry had a good texture but was desperately in need of some salt.

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Dumplings and dipping sauce

Next I had the vegetarian dumplings. You get 12 of these and a bowl to make your own dipping sauce out of the vinegar, soy sauce and chilli and fried shallot paste that’s on every table. Be warned the paste is spicy! But anyway back to the dumplings. Within the flower and water skin you’ve got chopped vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and chives (the ingredients are on a price of paper taped under the menu board in the King William store). They’re yum; you can really taste the mushroom and they have a good texture as well. The vegetarian dumplings I had at the Chinatown store were different. LOTS of garlic.

Food: Standard dumpling shop but the vegetarian dumplings are the best I’ve found so far. Plus you get a free pot of hot tea (only if you don’t order any other drinks). 4/5

Setting: Uninspiring. Plastic chairs, plain walls, minimal color. Can get quite busy at the Chinatown store but the King William location is usually pretty quiet. 1/5

Service: Not bad. Polite. Efficient. A little quiet. Flexible ordering: you can order and pay when you get there or you can sit down and order from a waiter and pay at the end. 4/5

Overall: Yummy dumplings and a good place if you want to eat out with your omni friends. 3/5

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