Vegan MoFo2014 – Recipe: Baked Doughnuts with Lemon Glaze

At the last minute I decided to RSVP for a pot luck picnic being run on Sunday by one of the meetup groups I subscribe to. It’s not a vegan event so I was at a bit of a loss as to what to make. After a lot of useless thinking I decided to have a look through the recipes bookmarked on my computer and I came across a jam doughnut recipe. After a bit more thinking I decided that The recipe wasn’t the right one for me as they required deep frying (which I have only done once in my life and wouldn’t taste as good when cooled down and served the next day. So I did a bit of Googling and found this recipe

Ingredients:

2 Cups of Non Dairy Milk (I used soy).
1/3 Cup of Oil.
1/3 Cup of Agave or Maple Syrup (I used Brown Sugar).
1/2 Cup of Sugar.
1 7g Package of Dry Active Yeast.
4 1/2 Cups of Flour.
1 Teaspoon of Salt.

Method:

In a saucepan combine the Milk, Oil, Syrup and Sugar and bring to the boil. Turn of heat and leave to cool for 1/2 an hour.

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The boiled mixture

Add the Yeast to the liquid mixture and stir in. Leave to activate for 10 minutes.

Put 4 cups of the Flour and the Salt in a large mixing bowl and add the activated yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly.

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Before proving

Cover the mixture with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour.

Set the oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). After the mixture has proved, it should have doubled in size, add the remaining 1/2 cup of Flour.

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Cutting out

Roll out dough to about 1 Inch thick and cut into shape. Place the doughnuts and the holes on a tray covered with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes

Lemon Glaze

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup of Lemon Juice.
1 Cup of Icing (Powdered) Sugar.

Method:

Combine Lemon Juice and Icing Sugar thoroughly and leave to harden a little.

Remove the doughnuts and holes from the oven and dunk them into the glaze. Leave to cool on a rack with something underneath to catch drips.

Eat.

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Baked and glazed

Verdict: Unfortunately my dough didn’t rise properly (I think the wet mixture was still too hot when I added the Yeast). The end product was a bit doughy, edible, but not something I would serve to others. The glaze was delicious. Since I can’t take the doughnuts to the picnic I had to make something else.

Vegan MOFO2014 – Recipe: Tomato, Lentil and Herb Lasagne

This recipe s for the 52 Weeks of Vegan Cooking week 36 Italian Challenge on Reddit. For all my talk of “Italian food is not just tomato and cheese” in the challenge introduction for this week… I’ve made a pretty traditional (westernised) lasagne. In my defence I’ve had most of the ingredient in the cupboard for a while but have been too lazy to actually make anything.

Tomato and Lentil Sauce

Ingredients:

1/2 a Yellow Onion, diced.
1 Clove of Garlic, minced.
1/2 a Medium Capsicum (Red Pepper), diced.
1/4 head of Cabbage, chopped small.
125 Grams(4.5 Ounces) of Spinach, I used frozen.
2 Cans of Diced Tomatoes.
1 Can of Lentils, drained and washed.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Method:

Heat some oil in a large pot and add the onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent.

Add the Capsicum, Cabbage and Spinach and cook until soft.

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Veggies!

Add the Lentils, then add the Tomatoes plus one can full of water.

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Before reducing

Cook until the excess water is gone, you want it wet but not watery.

Herbed White Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup of Vegan Margarine or Oil.
1/4 Cup of Plain Flour.
1 Clove of Garlic, minced.
2 Cups of Water.
2 Cups of Non-Dairy Milk, I used Rice Milk.
1 Teaspoon of Vegetable Stock Powder, I used Massel.
1 Tablespoon of Dried Thyme.
1 Tablespoon of Dried Basil.
1 Tablespoon of Dried Oregano.
Mustard (Optional).
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Method:

In a large pan heat the Margarine and the Garlic. Add the Flour and whisk.

Add the Milk and the Water one cup at a time, whisking as you go.

Add the Stock Powder and the Herbs. Add the Mustard if you’re using it.

Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

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The herbed white sauce (it’s under the steam)

Assembly

Ingredients:

1 Packet of Lasagne Sheets, I used Wholemeal.
Vegan Cheese (optional), I used Cheezly Parmasan style.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

In a large deep baking pan ladle 1/4 of the White Sauce and spread evenly over the bottom. Place 1 layer of Lasagne Sheet.

Add 1/2 of the Tomato Sauce, then 1 layer of the Lasagne Sheet.

Add 1/3 of the White Sauce, then 1 layer of the Lasagne Sheet.

Add 1/2 of the Tomato Sauce, then 1 layer of the Lasagne Sheet.

Add the remaining White Sauce and then top with Vegan Cheese if using.

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Ready to bake

Bake for 40 minutes.

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Done!

Cool for 10 – 20 minutes then serve.

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Delicious

Verdict: Yum yum yum! A little too salty, but that’s my own fault. Sweet too, presumably from the cabbage. The vegan cheese left a lot of oil on the top, otherwise fantastic!

Restaurant: Cherry Darlings Bakehouse

Cherry Darlings Bakehouse is a newly opened bakery in Forrestville, right next to the tram stop. Oh yeah and it’s completely vegan! (Though they style themselves as Cruelty Free). Cherry Darlings is the evolution of a home based vegan catering business called Veganised who are well known for their Bakehouse Boxes (full of sweet and/or savoury yumminess) as well as supplying vegan treats to places like Godzilla Pizza and Out Of Step. The bakery opened yesterday (21/06/2014) and has been a big hit.

It’s a smallish shop with some indoor seating and another seating area out the back which includes  well stocked children’s play area. The interior is pastel colours with interesting things on the wall including a classic series Star Trek poster and a small embroidered gun control message. Like many an Adelaide eatery these days they’ve gone with a bit of a retro Americana theme.

The shop sells the usual bakery fare; lots of interesting pies and other savouries, many kinds of cupcakes and so many other yummy (and unhealthy) treats. A number of the treats are gluten free. They also do milkshakes, soda floats, tea and coffee. It’s all very reasonably priced with the cheapest item at $2.50 and nothing above $10. I ordered the BBQ Rib Mac & Cheese Pie and a slice of Banana Caramel Pie.

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BBQ Rib Mac & Cheese Pie

The pie was interesting The BBQ marinated gluten strips were well balanced and the capsicum, onion and (oddly) broccoli were a nice flavour combo. The Mac and Cheese didn’t have much flavour but added a nice texture contrast and creaminess to the pie. The pastry was unremarkable; I know I ate it but I can’t remember it

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Banana Caramel Pie

The Banana Caramel Pie was pretty awesome. One of the people who was with me (pictured below) said it was one of the best things she’s ever eaten. The caramel sauce was clearly homemade and delicious (and very sweet!) The cream was wonderful and it tasted like the real thing. However I found the base to be a bit to thick and a little lacking in flavour. It could’ve used a little more banana as well.

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So many desserts so little time

I also had the chance to sample a few other desserts thanks to a companion who couldn’t decide and ordered more than she could eat. All very yummy though the cup of tea was ludicrously strong due to the fact that they used enough loose leaf tea for a whole pot!

Food: Very yummy and lots of options. 4.5/5

Setting: A nice leafy area not too far from the CBD. The interior is a little cramped but once the opening fervour calms down it should be fine. 4/5

Service: Polite but a little clunky. Should improve with time. 3.5/5

Overall: Very good. I’m a bakery fan from way back and I’ve been missing it so much since going vegan. Now if only they had profiteroles on the menu (hint hint). It’s probably a good thing I don’t live to close to Cherry Darlings because I’d be there at least once a day. 4/5

Cherry Darlings Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

Recipe: Creamy Tomato Pasta

This recipe is based on the recipe of a friend of mine; the original can be found here. I was a little unsure about this as I’ve never had a creamy tomato dish before, but I had some discounted Tofutti to use so I tried it.

Ingredients:

500 Grams of Pasta (I used penne).
Salt for the Pasta water.

1 Small Onion, diced.
2 Teaspoons of Garlic, crushed.
100 Grams of Mushrooms, sliced.
1 Teaspoon each of Dried Thyme, Dried Basil and Dried Oregano (or whatever Italian herbs you want).
1/2 a 700 Gram Jar of Passata (pureed Tomatoes).
125 Grams of Cherry Tomatoes, halved.
Olive Oil.
100 Grams of Spinach.
1 Tub of Vegan Cream Cheese (I used Tofutti).
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Method:

Boil water in a medium pan, then add salt and the Pasta. Cook until tender, drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan heat the Olive Oil then add the Onion and Garlic. Cook until Onion is see through, stirring occasionally.

Add the Herbs, the Mushrooms and the Cherry Tomatoes, cook until softened.

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Onions, Herbs and Mushrooms

Add the Passata and stir through.

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Tomato!

Add the Cream Cheese and combine thoroughly.

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After the cheese is stirred in

Stir through the Spinach and add the Salt and Pepper.

Add the pasta and stir through.

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Ready to eat

Verdict: So creamy! I can’t believe my friend actually suggests using 2 tubs of Cream Cheese! Despite the creaminess the dish still has a strong tomato flavour. It’s nice but I wouldn’t make it again. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just not my thing.

Recipe: Cashew Cream Cheese

For the 52 Weeks of Vegan Cooking on Reddit this week we are using nuts as the theme. Nuts are so very versatile, especially in vegan dishes. When I saw the theme my mind when instantly to cashew cream cheese. Now I have previously review a few of the commercially available vegan cream cheeses (here and here) and it basically boils down to this: I like my cream cheese savory and the vegan options I have tried are far too sweet and therefore taste terrible with pickle.

I used this recipe and altered it a little.

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Raw Cashews, soaked.
2 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast. Can also be called Savoury Yeast.
1/4 a Cup of Lemon Juice.
1/2 a Tablespoon of Canola Oil.
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt.
1 Teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar.
1 Teaspoon of Minced Garlic.

Method:

Place Cashews in a food processor and process until smooth.

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Cashews ready to be processed

Add all other ingredients and process until incorporated. I has to add some water to get it smooth but that’s due to the fact that my food processor isn’t powerful enough.

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Processed

Taste and adjust flavours to suit your palate. I added a bit more salt.

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On a cracker

Enjoy.

Verdict: Very nice. I’m not too sure if the vinegar is needed as the lemon juice adds enough flavour on it’s own. I will leave it out next time. The smell of the final product is odd, it smells like the yeast which I find a tad off putting. Otherwise it’s great. Should go well in a pickle sandwich.

Recipe: Mac and Cheese

I’ve based my mac and cheese on the Chef Chloe recipe but I’ve made a few alterations of my own.

Ingredients:

1 500 Gram packet of Pasta, any smaller shape will do.
Salt for water.

1/4 Cup of Nuttlex (Vegan Margarine).
1/3 Cup of Plain Flour.
2 Cups/500ml of Vegetable Stock.
1 Cup of Soy Milk (or other non dairy milk).
1/2 Cup of Nutritional Yeast (called Savory Yeast in Australia).
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste.
1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder.
1 Teaspoon of Paprika or Sweet Paprika.
Lemon juice, Salt and Sugar to taste. For the Sugar you can use Agave or Stevia, I used Raw Sugar this time.

You can also add 1 Teaspoon of Turmeric Powder for color if you want to.

Method:

Boil water and add some Salt and the Pasta. Turn down to low heat and cover. Cook for time specified on pasta packet.

Melt Nuttelex in pan and add Flour and mix into a roux.

Add Vegetable Stock and Soy Milk 1 cup at a time. Use a whisk to incorporate all of roux into the liquid.

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Stock, milk and roux

Add the Tomato Paste, Garlic Powder, Paprika and Nutritional Yeast. Whisk in thoroughly and taste, then add sugar, salt, pepper and lemon juice to gain desired flavor. Be careful with the sugar and lemon juice as too much will taste odd.

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The sauce

Cook on a low heat whisking constantly to thicken a little. This shouldn’t take long.

Add cooked Pasta and stir through until pasta is covered in sauce. Eat.

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The finished product

Verdict: Yummy as always. Unfortunately I made a mistake with my ingredients and accidentally added 1 Teaspoon of chilli powder in place of the paprika. Not a good thing as it made it very spicy. I made up a batch of this every few months with the intention of keeping portions on the freezer for when I can’t be bothered cooking.  I usually eat all of it within 2 to 3 days of making it.

Recipe: Pizza!

I was craving some pizza but I had no money and then I realized something. I had all the ingredients to make my own!

The base was taken from this recipe.

Ingredients:

7g Sachet of Dry Yeast.
1 Teaspoon of Caster Sugar.
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt.
3/4 Cup of Warm Water.
2 Cups of Plain Flour.
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil.

Method:

Put Salt, Sugar, Yeast and Water in a bowl and mix.

Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm area. i put it on the front of the top shelf of the oven on it’s lowest heat with the door open a little bit.

Wait 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles up.

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Bubbles!

Sift Flour into bowl and add the Olive Oil.

Add Yeast mixture and mix into dough.

Place on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes (3 songs on the radio).

Put back into mixing bowl and cover with cling wrap. Place in warm area and leave for 30 minutes until the dough doubles in size.

Turn oven onto 200 degrees Celsius/450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Knead dough for 1 minute then roll out into desired shape and place on tray.

Put sauce, toppings and vegan cheese on top of the dough.

My toppings:

I made my own sauce. I used:

1 Small Can of Tomato Paste.
1 Medium Tomato, diced small with seeds.
1/4 Teaspoon of Chilli powder.
2 Teaspoons of Capers, chopped up.
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Basil.
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano.
1/4 Teaspoon of Stevia Granules.
1 Teaspoon of Minced Garlic.
1 Dash of Balsamic Vinegar.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Put it all in a bowl and mix it up. You’ll only need about 1/3 of the mixture, but you can freeze the rest for next time.

My other toppings were:

1 Handfull of Spinach, chopped.
1 Small Onion, sliced.
3 Mushrooms, sliced.
Sheese Mozzarella Style.

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My toppings

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Ready for the oven

Bake for 10 – 15 minutes.

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Ready to eat

Verdict: the dough had good texture but the flavour was a bit lacking. If I were to make this dough again I would put in less sugar and more salt. The sauce was beautiful. The onion was a tad under cooked so next time I might blanch or pan fry it a little first. My Sheese had been open and in the freezer for a little while and it had dried out. I tried to rejuvenated it by microwaving it with a glass of water and this certainly helped, but the spread of the Sheese on the pizza was clumpy and didn’t cover the other ingredients properly. That said the Sheese tasted perfect. Salty and cheezy, so yummy.

Product: Tofutti

Tofutti is an American based vegan company specializing in mock dairy products. They are special as you can find at least one of their products in almost every Coles and Woolworths supermarket in Australia.

Better Than Cream Cheese.

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The old packaging style

This is the product most readily available, look for it next to the dairy cream cheese in any supermarket.

Texture: Smooth and creamy, absolutely

flawless. On a side not the color is almost blindingly white, it’s quite disconcerting. 4/5

Flavor: This was the first cheese substitute I ever tasted. Being a big lover of cream cheeses I had high expectations, which were not met. On first taste was surprised to find that instead of being salty it was in fact slightly sweet. Very odd. However unlike the Sheese product it it not over powering and has none of the odd scent. Only slightly cheese it works well as a creamy element to sandwiches. 3/5

Overall: Not amazing, but certainly the best cream cheese substitute I’ve found so far. I’m told it works well as part of cake icing and cheesecakes, but I am yet to try it out. It’s also well priced and as previously stated readily available. 4/5

American style soy cheese slices.

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Very bright but no necessarily easy to find amoungst the dairy

The second most readily available Tofutti product. Can be found in some Woolworths hidden among the cheese slices or occasionally near the tofu.

Texture: Not great. when first taken out of the individual wrapping the slices greasy and floppy. Not particularly nice. When eaten the slices have the usual curdled texture that mos

t mock cheeses have. 2/5

Flavor: Again not particularly nice. they have a strong soy taste and while they are cheesy it’s not an entirely pleasant flavor. I had to remove the cheese from a cheese and tomato sandwich because the taste was so uncomfortable. Best eaten with strong flavors like pickle or tinned spaghetti. 2/5

Overall: Not good. The only reason I would buy this again would be if I had no other access to any other cheese substitutes. 2/5

Mini ravioli.

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Oddly packaged in a cardboard box

Pasta filled with Tofutti Better Than Ricotta.

Texture: Fine. The filling is creamy, the pasta is okay but not spectacular. The pasta is a little thick as well. 4/5

Flavor: Not so nice. The ricotta suffers from the same issues as the cream cheese. Too sweet. Even with a strong tomato sauce you can’t escape the sugary filling, it’s like eating dessert and dinner in the same mouthful. I’ve only tried the mini’s but I can’t imagine what the regular size taste like. 1/5

Overall: Not something I’d eat again, I’d suggest that the Better Than Ricotta product should only be used for desserts. 1/5

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The packaging

Sour Supreme.

Definitely my favorite Tofutti product so far. Unfortunately is hard to find. I Adelaide it’s only available at Everything Vegan and sometimes at Bliss Organic.

Texture: Slightly grainy but not overly unpleasant. 4/5

Flavor: Has a definite soy taste but it’s not too strong, could be a bit more sour but otherwise is a good substitute for its dairy equivalent. 4/5

Overall: Great. Goes well with burritos and nachos. 4/5

So Tofutti has some good and some not so good products and there’s a whole lot more out there for me to try. I really want to have a go at some of their ice creams but they’re so darned expensive!

Product: Vitasoy Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Oat Milk

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I seriously have little kid hands / The packaging.

This product is the latest in Vitasoy’s range of vegan friendly options and it’s pretty good. Sold only at Coles (at least that’s the only place I’ve seen it). Pop it in the fridge and it’s there when you need a yummy sugar hit.

Texture: One problem with oat milk is that no matter how much you filter it it will always be grainy. 3/5

Flavor: Pretty darn good. Not too sweet and the cinnamon is just right a well. Plus being an oat based product you don’t get the aftertaste like you would with soy or rice milks. 5/5

Overall: I like this product, however there is one problem: the price. At $4+ for three 250ml serves it’s a little steep. It’s also not readily available so you may have to hunt around for it. That said it is worth it. 4/5

Product: Sheese

Sheese is a range of vegan cheese substitute made by Scottish company Bute Island Foods. Their products are not easily available in Australia and can be a tad expensive but they can be worth it. In Adelaide you can find them at Everything Vegan and a couple of Foodland supermarkets (I’ve seen them at Henley Beach and Norwood.)

So far I’ve only tried two products one good, one not so good.

The good: Blue Style Sheese.

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The packaging

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this product having had some bad experiences with cheese substitutes previously. I chose blue style because I assumed it would have a stronger flavor. I certainly didn’t expect it to actually taste like blue cheese!

Sold as a melty cheese but as I never actually tried to melt it I can’t comment on this claim I’ll let you know. You don’t need much to make an impact and it lasts in the fridge. Can also be frozen, though this will effect the texture.

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The cheese

Texture: Smooth and hard, but crumbles when you cut it, which can be slightly annoying. 3/5

Flavor: Tastes like blue cheese. Not over powering. Has a soy aftertaste, but that’s only noticeable if you’re eating it by itself and it’s not too bad anyway. 4/5

Overall: Very good! A perfect cheese for sandwiches. 4/5

The not so good: Original Creamy Sheese.

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Cream cheese package

Finding a good vegan cream cheese can be hard. After my great experience with the blue style Sheese I was expecting great things from this product and was sorely disappointed. At first opening it was struck with a scent that reminded me strongly of cheap caramel lollies. Not a good start.

Texture: Smooth-ish, a tad gritty. 3/5

Flavor: Has some cheesy flavor, but is over powered by the sweetness. The caramel smell continues into a slight flavor. Not great for sandwiches or by itself May be good for desserts, but at the price, why bother. 1/5

Overall: Not good. I wouldn’t bother buying it again. I may in the future try one of the other flavors in Sheese’s creamy range, but I’m not hopeful for a better outcome. A real letdown after their success with hard cheese’s. 2/5