Homemade Vegan Truffles – VeganMoFo Day 17

Mmm, chocolate. Yes, I know chocolate is tomorrow’s prompt. But who says I can’t do two days of chocolate in a row?

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When I saw the “boozy” prompt, I knew I had to make something like this. You see, I have a lovely bottle of creme caramel liqueur that is all vegan, and very delicious, and I knew how well it would work with chocolate in a dessert.

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I picked this up from Aldi actually – the budget chain is surprisingly good for alcoholic drinks – and they have a vegan list  so you can check that anything you buy is vegan. It’s great in hot chocolate.

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These truffles are actually really easy to make. They are made with a surprise ingredient –  broken biscuits! That’s right, biscuits, like the ones you have with a cup of tea. Kind of like what Americans call cookies, only not quite. You crush the biscuits until they’re pretty much a powder – I like to do this in my food processor, but you could just put them in a bag and bash them with a rolling pin, like I did when we made these as children (without the booze, of course). Then, chocolate, butter, and golden syrup all gets melted together and mixed with the biscuits, along with some icing sugar, and your booze of choice. The mixture sets for a while in the fridge, until you can mould it into balls, and then you can roll it into truffles!

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I rolled my truffles in three different toppings – caster sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate strands. It can be hard to find vegan chocolate strands, but I got mine from The Range here in the UK!

If you’re not an alcohol drinker (or eater, in this case?) you could experiment with replacing the liqueur with other liquids – coffee, or smooth orange juice, or anything else strongly flavoured!

Chocolate Truffles

  • Servings: makes 35 truffles
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Ingredients

  • 300g vegan biscuits
  • 200g vegan chocolate
  • 75g vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup (sub maple if you need)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 100ml liqueur of choice
  • cocoa powder, caster sugar, and sugar strands to decorate

Directions

  1. Begin by crushing the biscuits in a food processor until they are mostly a powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, melt together the chocolate, butter, and golden syrup, either in the microwave or over a double boiler.
  3. Stir the crushed biscuits into the melted chocolate mixture, along with the icing sugar and liqueur. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is firm enough to be formed into truffle sized balls.
  5. Place your toppings of choice either on plates or in bowls, ready to form the truffles.
  6. Using your (clean!) hands, take a bit of truffle mix and roll it into a ball. Next, roll it in one of the toppings until completely coated.
  7. Place the coated truffle on a baking tray, and repeat until finished.
  8. Place the truffles in the fridge to completely set before eating.

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Kidney Bean Koftas – VeganMoFo Day 16

It’s the beginning of Week 3 in VeganMoFo land! This week consists of ingredient challenges and it’s a tricky one. When they say “challenges”, they really mean challenges. The first day asks us to imagine being in a zombie apocalypse, without access to the supermarket, what would we make? Having never actually been in a zombie apocalypse, this is a little tricky, but I decided to imagine that I wanted tasty food, that would also be portable, in case you wanted to eat it on the move.

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Koftas are, to super simplify them, basically spiced meatballs. Often they’re served with a curry sauce or similar, but I put them in bread with rocket leaves, because they are very tasty that way. Rocket, well, I don’t know much about foraging, but you could surely forage some salad (er, if you know what you’re doing)!

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For the koftas themselves, all the ingredients are things you can keep in the store cupboard! The breadcrumbs can be made by crushing up a box of crackers (like ritz, etc) which are storecupboard friendly. If you are not in a zombie apocalypse, and have access to a freezer…they freeze really well!

Kidney Bean Koftas

  • Servings: makes 12 balls
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Ingredients

  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • several grinds black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp oil

Directions

  1. Begin by mashing together the beans, curry powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large bowl. Mash until pretty thoroughly mashed!
  2. Add the tomato puree, peanut butter, and breadcrumbs, and bring together to form a stiff dough like mixture.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and once hot, form your mixture into twelve balls, and add to the pan.
  4. Fry over a medium heat, turning regularly, until golden brown.
  5. Serve as you like!

 

Creamy Courgette Turmeric Pasta – VeganMoFo Day 15

It’s Day 15 of VeganMoFo 2017, which means we’re pretty much halfway through (already!). Today is the last day of “behind the scenes” week and it’s all about spices. What spices do we use, and do we have any favourites? Well, I like to use a huge variety of spices. I would take a photo of my spice cupboard, but to be honest it is not very organised and probably isn’t very interesting! So we’ll talk about one of my favourite spices instead: turmeric.

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Turmeric is actually really good for you. It’s not just “that yellow powder that dyes your counter when you spill it” (though it is that too). It contains curcumin, which is what makes it so yellow, and has anti-inflammatory effects, similar to those found in NSAIDs like ibuprofen, only without the whole stomach upset those can cause (BBC). It’s been shown to be useful in treating pain and swelling in people with arthritis too, and there are trials ongoing with regards to other conditions!

It also looks pretty cool. I feel like Delia Smith could easily serve this at a Norwich City club meal and nobody would bat an eyelid. Look at that bright yellow!

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You don’t want turmeric to be too raw as it can have a kind of powdery taste. So, when you put it into the mixture, you let it cook for thirty seconds before doing the next step. This cooks the turmeric and gives this dish a delicious savoury flavour!

I also have white beans in this pasta which add to the creaminess, and give a nice protein boost – making this really very good for you!

Courgette Turmeric Pasta


Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium courgettes, sliced into half moons
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (or 1 tbsp oil)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tin white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 500ml unsweetened milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Cooked pasta

Directions

  1. Begin by melting the vegan butter in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and fry until translucent.
  2. Add the courgette slices and fry for 5-10 minutes, until turning translucent.
  3. Add in the tin of beans, and stir.
  4. Next, add the flour and turmeric, and stir over a high heat for thirty seconds.
  5. Gradually add the milk, constantly stirring, until the sauce thickens.
  6. Stir in the mustard and lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Stir through the cooked pasta, and serve!

Vegan Meringues! – VeganMoFo Day 13

Today’s VeganMoFo prompt is all about repurposing food – using food you’d otherwise throw away. I’m going to write about something that took the vegan food world by storm a few years back – aquafaba!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may remember it being used in my hot chocolate cupcakes last winter to make a marshmallow fluff topping. Today I’m showing you how you can make vegan meringues from it!

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Aquafaba is, quite simply, the liquid you get in a can of beans. The stuff that you throw down the sink when you’re making a curry. Well, stop throwing it down the sink! The proteins in this liquid make it great for whipping up just like egg whites – and it doesn’t even taste like chickpeas at all.

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You add vanilla, and cream of tartar (to help stabilise it), and just whip it up until it becomes light and fluffy and creates nice stiff peaks – unlike with egg whites, you can’t whip it too much, so you’re safe to just keep whipping away.

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Once it’s good and whipped up, you gradually add sugar and keep whipping until you have a lovely glossy mixture. This goes into a piping bag, onto a baking tray, and into the oven on a very low heat for two hours. After the two hours are up, you turn the oven off and leave the meringues to dry through in the oven until completely cool. And there you have it – vegan meringues! If you like, you can put sprinkles on them before they go in the oven, like I did in my pictures. Just make sure your sprinkles are vegan!

Vegan Meringues

  • Servings: 2 large trays
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Ingredients

  • Liquid from one tin of chickpeas (“aquafaba”)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 200g sugar

Directions

    Preheat your oven to 95C/200F
  1. Begin by, in a large, clean, preferably not plastic, bowl, adding the aquafaba, cream of tartar, and vanilla.
  2. Using either an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix until the liquid fluffs up.
  3. Keep whisking until you reach the “stiff peak” stage – where you can create peaks in the mixture that don’t fall over. Classically, this is where you can hold the bowl upside down over your head and it won’t fall out on you!
  4. Once you reach the stiff peak stage, begin slowly incorporating the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, continually whisking.
  5. Whisk until all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick and glossy.
  6. Use a piping bag, or a spoon if you prefer, and put meringue mix on your trays in the shape you’d like them to be. Experiment – but don’t make them too big or they’ll need to dry out for longer!
  7. At this point if you want to use sprinkles on top, do so now.
  8. Place the tray in the oven for two hours.
  9. After two hours, turn off the heat, and leave until the oven is completely cool.
  10. Remove and store in an airtight container.

Marble Cake – VeganMoFo Day 10

Today’s VeganMoFo Prompt is “secret ingredient” – what ingredients do us MoFo-ers use that you may not suspect?

My “secret ingredient” is – well, I don’t know if you’ll think it’s weird or not. For some, it may be totally normal – if you’re familiar with the depression-era wacky cake for instance. For others (and I’ve had this reaction before), you may be going “you put what in your cakes?

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The secret ingredient – the one that makes my cakes work even without eggs and butter – is vinegar! Cider vinegar is the best as it has a neutral-sweet taste, but most white vinegars would work (don’t use the stuff you put on your chips!). You mix it with non-dairy milk and let it curdle (making a kind of buttermilk) and this helps give the cake rise.

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You can’t deny, it makes a pretty nice looking cake. You don’t even taste the vinegar at all, as it neutralises out with the baking soda (that’s what produces the rising reaction). So, here is a guide on how to make a delicious vegan marble cake!

First, you make your batter, by combining your milk and vinegar mix in one bowl, and your dry ingredients in the other. Mix them all together, and split it in two. In one bowl, you add cocoa powder, in the other, you leave it plain.

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Then, you spoon the batter alternately into your cake tin. One blob vanilla, one blob chocolate. Repeat until it’s all used up.

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Once the batter is all in the cake tins, get a knife and gently swirl it around. This creates the “marble” effect.

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Then, bake the cakes in the oven until lovely and golden brown, and leave them to cool completely.

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Once the cakes are completely cool, you’re ready to ice them. You need to prepare them by cutting their tops off to make them flat (otherwise your cake will be wobbly). I have this handy gadget that I got fairly cheaply from a local shop but you can also use a long serrated knife. Eat the cake scraps, they’re tasty.

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To fill the cake, pipe circles of icing in alternate colours on the inner layer of cake. Then, pop the top layer on top of it. Pipe alternate colours of icing around the outside of the cake, and smooth it all with a long knife or an offset spatula.

For the top of the cake, I just put dollops of different icings on top and swirled it all around with a butter knife to make little peaks.

Marble Cake

  • Servings: 1 two layer 9 inch cake
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Ingredients

    For the Cake

    Wet Ingredients

  • 600ml dairy free milk
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 300g sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 150ml oil
  • Dry Ingredients

  • 550g self raising flour (or use plain flour and add 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 tsp bicarbanote of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For the chocolate cake

  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100ml dairy free milk
  • For the Icing

    Vanilla

  • 100g vegan butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp dairy free milk
  • Chocolate

  • 100g vegan butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 3-4 tbsp dairy free milk

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 170C
  1. Begin by mixing the milk and cider vinegar in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Next, in another large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
  3. Going back to the wet ingredients bowl, add the sugar, oil, and vanilla, and whisk with a fork until well combined.
  4. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until no flour pockets are left.
  5. Split the batter between two bowls (don’t worry too much about being precise!).
  6. Into one of the bowls, stir the 50g cocoa powder and 100ml milk.
  7. Into your prepared cake tins, alternate between spooning the vanilla batter and the chocolate batter, until all the batter is used up.
  8. Using a knife, swirl the mixture around in the cake tins to create a marbled effect.
  9. Place the tins in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Leave to cool fully before the next steps.
  11. To make the icing, put the ingredients for the vanilla and chocolate icing in separate bowls. Either using an electric mixer, or a spoon and some muscle, mix each bowl until fluffy and creamy.
  12. Once the cakes are cool, trim the tops until they are flat.
  13. Pipe alternate rings of chocolate and vanilla icing on top of the bottom layer of cake, then put the next layer on top.
  14. Pipe alternate rings of chocolate and vanilla around the outside of the cakes, smoothing with a knife or a spatula.
  15. For the top of the cake, dollop the remaining icing on top, and swirl with a knife for the desired effect.
  16. Leave to set in the refrigerator.

Chickpea Tahini Soup – VeganMoFo Day 9

It’s week two of VeganMoFo 2017! That means a different theme – this week’s is “Behind the Scenes” with each day being about something…well, behind the scenes, in your cooking life. Today is about gadgets you can’t live without. Mine would be my immersion blender. Or stick blender, whatever you like to call it. I used to think they were just a gimmick and I was happy with my countertop blender, but then one day my Granny found out that I didn’t have one, was horrified, and bought me one (she reads this blog once in a blue moon – if you’re reading this, thanks Granny!). And it was brilliant! So much easier than transferring everything from a pan to a blender, then back to the pan, then washing it all up. The stick blender is easy to wash up and control, you can blend to your desired consistency just by watching it…it’s really good.

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First of all, please ignore the giant chip in my bowl. I am so embarrassed about that, apparently I didn’t notice when I was taking photographs. Anyone want to get me pretty bowls for my birthday? 😉

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This soup may sound familiar to you, because it’s very similar to my chickpea tahini pasta recipe, just in soup form. It’s lovely and warming for a cold, cold night – this would be absolutely perfect midwinter when you need to cosy up with a hot soup. I served it with pita bread this time, but if you fancied making (or buying) some freshly baked bread, it would be excellent!

 

Chickpea Tahini Soup

  • Servings: 2 large servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped,
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tins chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon (approx 3 tbsp)
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • salt + pepper to taste

1. Begin by frying the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent.
2. Stir in the cumin and saute for 30 seconds.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.
4. Using your stick blender, or a countertop one if you don’t have one, blend the soup until it’s completely smooth.
5. Return to the heat and warm through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
6. Serve in bowls with bread!
[/recipe-directions]

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad – VeganMoFo Day 8

Today’s VeganMoFo prompt is all about salad. Yeah, the thing that we as vegans apparently eat a whole ton of. Just leaves, right? What else can we eat? (I hope I don’t have to answer that, if you’ve been reading this blog!) But salad can actually be nice. If I’m honest, most of the salad I eat is in sandwiches or burgers, but sometimes I fancy making a salad for dinner. I tend to make it nice and hearty though.

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This butternut squash and chickpea salad is perfect for this time of year. It’s served warm, with the squash and chickpeas roasted in the oven, and the pepperiness of the rocket – also, I learnt, called arugula in the US – compliments the sweet tinge of the squash in a wonderful way.

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If you’ve never tried roasting chickpeas, please give this a go! Roasting them brings out their nutty flavour and gives a nice crispness to them.

I’ll also explain how I make my salad dressing. I use an old mustard jar, washed clean, but you could mix it in a bowl with a fork/whisk, or use any clean jar you have. Put the dressing ingredients in, and just shake it! Shake it hard (with the lid on, of course), until it all emulsifies and forms a lovely dressing.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad


Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, cut into bitesize chunks
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • few grinds black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Rocket/arurgula, to serve
  • 1 tsp mustard (the hot stuff)
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
  1. Begin by placing the cubed squash on a baking tray with the chickpeas. Stir in the onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and olive oil.
  2. Place the tray in the oven for fifty minutes, giving it all a stir once halfway.
  3. Meanwhile make the dressing. In a jar, add the mustard, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt & pepper, and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. To serve, place rocket on a plate, top with the chickpea butternut squash mixture, and drizzle over salad dressing.

Chickpea Spinach Pasta – VeganMoFo Day 7

Yesterday, I posted a recipe for cheesy sausage rolls, which are pretty obviously imitating a non-vegan counterpart. They are really delicious, as are a lot of vegan cheese and meat substitutes, but sometimes it’s nice to step away from that and make something that is tasty of its own accord, not because it’s imitating something else. That’s what today’s VeganMoFo prompt is about – making an original vegan meal, something that isn’t replicating a non-vegan food, but is great as it is.

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This dish is possibly my husband’s favourite meal. It’s one he always requests, which is great because it is so simple. Fry off onion and garlic, add some chickpeas, vegetable stock, and spinach, and cook it all down a little, then stir through hot cooked pasta! And that’s it.

This recipe also gives me a great opportunity to lament about how much spinach shrinks. Look at this!:

It’s the same amount of spinach in both pictures – just uncooked and then cooked!

Chickpea Spinach Pasta


Ingredients

  • Cooked pasta (enough for 2)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 150g fresh spinach
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Begin by frying the onion and garlic in the oil until softened and translucent.
  2. Add the chickpeas, and fry for a few minutes more.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and the spinach, stir, and cook until the spinach has wilted.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Stir through cooked pasta, and serve!

 

 

Cheesy Sausage Rolls – VeganMoFo Day 6

Cheese! Second to “but I could never give up bacon”, cheese is given as the main reason people won’t go vegan (not a scientific fact, but near enough). I’ve heard plenty of times “I would go vegan, but…. cheese”. I’ve never quite understood why not being able to give up cheese means you have to eat all the other animal products too, but that’s a different story. The upshot is, not being able to have cheese is pretty difficult for new vegans.

Thankfully, things have been changing in the vegan cheese world. Ten years ago, vegan cheese was not so good. It didn’t melt, it just sat there and got warm, and tasted slightly of old socks. Nutritional yeast, lovely as it is, didn’t quite fit that cheese craving. These days, most supermarkets in the UK sell vegan cheese – Violife is the main one, which I’ve used in this recipe, but Tesco and Sainsbury’s both have their own brand!

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So, to showcase what vegan cheese can do, I decided to make cheesy sausage rolls. These were inspired by sausage rolls you can get at Sneinton Vegan Market, a monthly vegan market in Nottingham near me. I thought I’d have a go at making my own. I served them of course with mushy peas!

To fill these sausage rolls, I used granose sausage mix, which I bought from Morrisons, but you could use any sausage mix or vegan sausages themselves, just cut them to fit. I used jus-rol puff pastry as it’s vegan and cut it into six pieces.

Vegan Cheesy Sausage Rolls


Ingredients

  • 1 packet sausage mix, made up as directed
  • 1 puff pastry sheet, cut into six rectangles, as pictured above
  • 1 packet vegan cheese, sliced
  • olive oil for brushing

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
  1. Get a rectangle of the puff pastry, and place it on your baking sheet.
  2. Top with a spoonful of the sausage mix, spread so you can easily fold the puff pastry over.
  3. Place a slice of cheese on top of the sausage mix.
  4. Fold the puff pastry over the filling, and using a little water, seal tight (see photos above).
  5. Repeat until all the pastry is used up.
  6. Brush the unbaked sausage rolls with a little olive oil, then place them in the preheated oven.
  7. Cook for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

 

Vegan Rocky Road Bars – VeganMoFo Day 5

People have some weird ideas about vegan foods. If you’ve been following VeganMoFo participants’ posts the last few days, you’ll be familiar with all sorts of strange foods we’ve been fed. Boring, unimaginative, or just odd, it’s all there. So, in making food for non-vegans, I like to prove their perceptions wrong – show them that vegan food can be really good.

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These are super decadent and delicious. Full of chocolate, biscuits, and marshmallows, they make the perfect gift, cut into bars (you can cut them whatever size you like!) and offered to people who aren’t sure about vegan sweets. “Are you sure these are vegan?” they’ll ask, whilst they reach for another helping…

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For this recipe, I used Freedom Marshmallows, which you can get from Holland & Barrett here in the UK, but any vegan marshmallow would work – if they’re large, chop them into pieces first! The rice crispies I used came from Lidl, as they’re vegan there, but whatever vegan version you can find will be great! I also used Oreos as my biscuit as I think they’re really tasty, but any vegan biscuit would be lovely.

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Make these and show off how great being vegan can be!

Rocky Road Bars

  • Servings: makes 28 bars
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Ingredients

  • 300g vegan chocolate
  • 100g vegan butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 150g oreos (or other vegan biscuit), chopped up
  • 60g rice crispy cereal
  • 50g vegan marshmallows (chopped if necessary)
  • For the topping

  • 300g vegan chocolate
  • 50g oreos, chopped
  • 40g vegan marshmallows

Directions

  1. Begin by melting the 300g dark chocolate and the butter together, either over a double boiler or in the microwave.
  2. Next, sift in the icing sugar, and stir until combined.
  3. Stir in the oreos, rice crispies, and marshmallows.
  4. Press the mixture into a lined tin, making sure to pack it down into the corners!
  5. Next, make the topping. Melt the remaining 300g of chocolate and spread it over the rocky road mixture.
  6. Sprinkle over the chopped oreos and marshmallows.
  7. Place the tin in the fridge to fully set before slicing into bars!