Saturday, 28 February 2009

R's Chocolate and Raisin Cookies.

I'm back - with photos and recipe as promised! First here's my lovely daughter enjoying the fruits of our labours!
The cookies themselves on display -
and the recipe!

Chocolate Raisin Cookies
Makes 18

¼ C Soft Tofu
¼ C Oil
½ C Brown Sugar
¼ C + 2 T Sugar
½ t Vanilla Extract
2 T Soymilk
1 ¼ C Plain Flour
¼ C Wholewheat Pastry Flour
½ t Baking Soda
½ t Salt
2 T Cocoa Powder
½ C Chocolate Chips
¼ C Raisins

Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl whisk together the tofu, oil, sugars, vanilla and soymilk until very smooth and thick, with no visible bits of tofu.
Sift in the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder then mix to incorporate.
Stir in the chocolate chips and raisins. Dough is pretty thick.
Scoop heaping Tablespoons of the dough, roll into balls and place on prepared trays. Flatten to about ½” with the bottom of a flat mug – spray mug and tablespoon with non stick spray if the dough is sticking.
Bake for 12 – 14 minutes then cool for 5 minutes on tray before moving to a cooling rack.

A grand way to use up leftover soft tofu! Enjoy!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Cookies to follow!

R and I have just spent a bunch of time making cookies. I had some soft tofu to use up so they were based on that, and on her choice of flavours - chocolate and raisins.
There will be photos and a recipe to come, but we need to race out the door to pick the big kids up from school soon, and we have an extra for a play date after school today so maybe not until later, or tomorrow.
Here's a cute picture of R with her big sister just for now as I hate posting without a photo!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

I have to post again so I can enter a competition!

As the title says - Chocolate Covered Katie in this post is giving away a bunch - like a whole case - of Jocalat Bars from Larabar.

As I love anything chocolate I have to enter! Now I'm off to peruse her recipes to see if I can enter again!

First of the season's pee.

Asparagus pee that is.
I await the start of the asparagus season each year. Love the stuff, even with its smelly bathroom side effects. and its in the stores here now! Cheap too, though at the moment its coming from Washington State, so while not exactly local its only over the border and not that far away. LOVE IT.
With something as lovely as the first asparagus of the year, simple is best. I'm sure as the season goes on I'll make it into soup, and risotto as I do every year, but at the moment its all about simplicity. A little oil, a little seasoning, and roast at 400F for 30 minutes. Or blanch, then grill in a hot non stick pan. Or steam, and add on top of a salad. Or when the weather is better - barbecue. Last night I roasted.

Roasted Asparagus, Salad, Garlic Miso Dressing, Aduki Bean "Mince" and Smashed Potatoes.


I made a lovely dressing to go with the salad and asparagus alongside the rest of dinner. Its great as a drizzle, or a salad dressing or as a dip for raw or cooked veggies. Quite garlic-y so only for lovers, though you can leave some out and make it less so, and you can control the thickness with how much water you add.


Garlic Miso Dressing
Makes about 2 C

½ C Soft Tofu
1 T Miso Paste
2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
2 T Lemon Juice
2 T Oil
1 T Maple Syrup
½ t Soy Sauce
2 cloves Garlic – finely chopped
½ t Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
2 – 4 T Water

Place all the ingredients except the water in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times to ensure everything is well combined.
Add the water a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Its almost a food book....

I have just finished reading this wonderful book to M. The copy I have is nothing like this, as mine is a super old one, which was given to us when we were kids by our aunt who's children had it before we did. The copy of the book I have will be at least 30 years if its a day, and its a tatty falling apart old thing, but M was captivated by the end of the first chapter.

She loved the adventures of Charlie and his fellow factory invitees, and liked when all the naughty children got their just desserts. She wants me to read her more Roald Dahl now, which I am happy to do, but I can see that the day she can read them to herself isn't too far off now either.

I don't know if the more modern versions have been made a little more PC or not, but the story remains a great one. Some things are just timeless I guess.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Perfect Vegan Pikelets.

Don't know what pikelets are? Not that the link there is all that helpful, so here's a better one, but you have to read down a way to get the reference, so here it what Wikipedia says -

"Smaller pancakes (usually about 3.5 in / 9 cm in diameter) are known in the UK as Scotch pancakes or drop-scones (after the traditional method of dropping batter onto a griddle (a girdle in Scots)), and in northern England, Australia and New Zealand as pikelets. They can be served with jam and cream or just with butter."

With me? and why am I blogging about pikelets today? Obviously as it is Shrove Tuesday, aka "Pancake Day", and pikelets are sort of baby pancakes. Though they aren't really, the batter is a little thicker and they are sort of "tougher" (in a super good way) than pancakes as we know in North America.

Anyhow, we had large pikelets warm for lunch, which is completely non traditional, and if there had been any left I would have served them cold with marg and jam for afternoon tea (more traditional!). However, there wasn't, so bad luck for the kids at school.

Here's the recipe I made up and used, and following the directions as stated makes them much larger than is usual at home in New Zealand, but more pancake-y seeing as it is Pancake Day. To make them more pikelet sized perhaps use only half the batter as I've indicated.
Pikelets
If using a ¼ C measure yield is 10 large pikelets.

¼ C Soft Tofu
¾ C Soymilk
¼ C Water
¼ C Maple Syrup
2 T Oil
½ t Vanilla Extract
1 C Plain Flour
1 T Cornstarch
1 t Baking Powder
¼ t Salt

In a large bowl whisk the tofu until broken up and smooth. Add in the soymilk in two batches, whisking well between each to ensure tofu well incorporated and smooth.
Add in water, maple syrup, oil and vanilla and whisk until well combined and smooth.
Sift in the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Stand for 5 minutes and preheat a large non stick pan over just the low side of medium heat.
Using a ¼ C measure (or size as desired) scoop the batter into the pan, allowing to spread to an even circle. Depending on the size of your pan you may be able to get 2 or 3 cooking at a time.
Once small bubbles appear over most of the surface of the batter, and the underside is golden brown, flip and cook the other side until lightly browned.
Spray pan with a little non stick cooking spray if desired prior to cooking each load.

Monday, 23 February 2009

No photo but...

I just have to tell you about dinner last night. I used the Crispy Fried Tofu (or whatever its exactly called) recipe in this book, having marinated the tofu as directed first. and oh, boy was it ever good. Even H was raving about it, and he got home late so his tofu was more soggy than crispy, as it had sat for a while and then got microwave reheated.

One day I'll be in Toronto and be able to get this at the actual restaurant! If you don't have the book, I really do recommend it!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

A dinner without a recipe.

As I said yesterday I have had bits and pieces in containers in my fridge to use up, and this dinner was another using up stuff one. This time some tinned pumpkin which I turned into this really nice curry.
No recipe really but what I did was to saute some onion, garlic and celery with some mustard seeds, added tomato paste and my Tandoori Spice mix then the pumpkin, some potato and some sweet potato as well as a tin of coconut milk and some veggie stock. I let this cook down for about 45 minutes, added in some chickpeas and frozen green peas, cooked another 15 minutes, and there we have dinner. I have loads of leftovers too!

Yum!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Not a tester, but still cookies.

I had an urge to make cookies yesterday. Sneaks up on you like that sometimes doesn't it. At the moment when this happens I usually head over to the (obviously top secret) tester forum for Isa and Terry's upcoming cookie book, and make whatever takes my fancy. When I did that yesterday there was nothing open for testing which a) took my fancy and b) had all the ingredients in my cupboards. In desperation I made up a recipe - using some things I've been meaning to use up for a while - you know leftover stuff that sits in your fridge or cupboard waiting patiently to be used. In this case, date puree and roasted salted pistachio nuts. There is a couple of good sides - I got cookies, and I get to share the recipe with you! Bit of thinking and some mixing later, et voila -
Pistachio and Pecan Cookies
Makes about 14

3 T Date Puree
¼ C Oil
1 t Vanilla Extract
¼ C Brown Sugar
¼ C Sugar
2 T Ground Flaxseed
2 T Almond Milk
½ C Plain Flour
½ C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
½ t Salt
¼ t Baking Soda
½ t Cinnamon
¼ t Cardamom
¼ C roasted and salted Pistachio nuts
¼ C raw Pecan nuts – chopped into smallish pieces

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk together the dates through almond milk until smooth.
Sift in the flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Mix to combine.
Stir in the nuts.
Using a Tablespoon sized measuring spoon scoop heaping balls of dough, roll into a ball and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
With the bottom of a measuring cup (sprayed with non stick spray if necessary) flatten the cookies to about a ¼” thickness.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until just browned at the edges. Rest on the tray for 5 minutes prior to transferring to a cooling rack.
For a less “healthy tasting” cookie, replace the whole wheat pastry flour with plain.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Saucy.

More like a gravy really, but very good!

I made this for dinner to go with broccoli, and liked it so much I made it for lunch the next day for over rice too! I think it would work well with Soba Noodles, or mashed potatoes, I must get some more Almond Butter.


Lemon Almond Sauce

1 T Oil
2 cloves Garlic – grated
2 Shallots – grated
2 T Ground Almonds
¼ t dried Thyme
¼ t Lemon Zest
¼ t Cumin
¼ C Water
3 T Almond Butter
¼ C Almond Milk
2 T Slivered Almonds
1 T Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Over medium low heat, sauté the garlic and shallot in the oil for about 3 minutes, until aromatic.
Add in the ground almonds, thyme, zest and cumin and sauté for another 30 seconds or so.
Add the water and stir to combine.
Add in the almond butter and mix until smooth.
Add in the almond milk and cook, stirring, until thickens.
Once thickened add in the slivered almonds and lemon juice. Check for seasoning.

If making in advance this will thicken more as it stands. Add in water by the tablespoon to thin as required.


With Broccoli -

and with Rice.

Friday, 13 February 2009

More Potatoes.

This time a potato casserole.
H thinks this is reminiscent of Scalloped Potatoes, and it is in a way, but that's not really exactly what I was aiming for. I wanted a casserole of potatoes in a thick, savoury custard type mix, more stick to your ribs than a wishy washy scalloped potato, and I got it.

These will be made again!

Potato Casserole
Serves 4

6 – 8 medium Waxy Potatoes (like Yukon Gold) sliced widthwise into ½” slices
½ C soft or silken Tofu
¾ C Soy or Almond Milk
2 T Ground Almonds
2 T Nutritional Yeast
2 cloves Garlic – grated
1 Shallot – grated
½ T prepared Dijon Mustard
½ t Salt (or to taste)
¼ t Black Salt
¼ t Turmeric
¼ t Black Pepper
½ C Panko

Preheat oven to 400F.
Steam the potato slices until just tender when poked with a knife, about 12 minutes.
In a food processor or blender combine the remaining ingredients, excepting panko, until smooth and thick.
Toss the potatoes in the blended mix and transfer to a 7 X 11” baking dish. Smooth level.
Cover baking dish with tinfoil and bake for 40 minutes until sauce somewhat thickened.
Uncover, sprinkle with panko and bake, uncovered, a further 15 – 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Potatoes.

My mum used to make potatoes somewhat like this when I was growing up. These are like them but different. I've never written a recipe as such down for these before as its whatever spices / herbs I feel like that I use with them, but this is often the way it turns out. As kids we called them Fry-Bake Potatoes so I've kept the name!Fry-Bake Potatoes
Serves 4

1 T Nutritional Yeast
1 T Panko
1 t Rubbed Sage
1 t dried Thyme
1 t dried Rosemary
½ t Salt (or to taste)
¼ t Black Pepper (or to taste)

3 T Oil
6 – 8 medium Potatoes – scrubbed if needed and unpeeled

Preheat oven to 400F.
In a wide bowl combine the nutritional yeast, panko, herbs and seasonings.
Pour the oil into a large baking dish and heat in the oven for 5 minutes.
Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, getting the largest surface you can.
Dip the sliced side of the potato into the seasoning mix, then place cut side down into the hot oil.
Cover the tray with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes until the potatoes as tender.
Turn heat up to 425F, uncover the potatoes and cook a further 15 – 20 minutes until browned and crispy.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Birthday Cake and Birthday Girl.

Couple of pictures for this post!
Here's M's cake - not the best picture, but you get the idea.
She is studying penguins in school at the moment and wanted a penguin cake, but it had to be a girl penguin. I had a template from The Australian Women's Weekly Cake book, and changed it up a little to make it more girly. The kids all loved it and we even got a chorus of "we want the penguin!" chants while it was being cut. The cake itself was 4 X the Vanilla Cupcakes from VCTOTW baked as a sheet cake.
This is the birthday girl and her little sister before the party. How grown up do they both look!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

I am here.

and I have birthday cake photos to share but I am battling a head cold which has been incubating since Friday and am not feeling the best. I will get to it as soon as I can.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Happy BIrthday to M!

I don't have a photo yet as she is at school, and her party isn't actually until Sunday, but 7 years ago today she appeared in a flash! Truly a flash, I had less than a 2 hour labour from go to whoa.

She had a hard time getting to sleep last night, she was so excited, and was up at 4.44am ready to get to her presents as we had told her she could open them before school! We finally got up at 6.40am after a time check every 10 minutes from when she was first awake.

I had to bake a batch of cookies for sharing with the class, nothing special, just a Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookie which I've made before and has gone down well. No pictures again, sorry.

Happy birthday to you, my big girl!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

I've never been a low carb sort of girl. Even at the height of the low carb craze I never really bought into it, and now all sorts of research and experts (like in this article) are saying that its not good to not eat carbohydrates, but you have to eat the right type - whole grained, unrefined. Like you didn't know that already, right?

Being as I'm about food not science I have something else to share.This hearty, filling soup contains good starch and healthy carbs in a number of forms, and if you eat it alongside some home made wholewheat bread you'll be carb loaded for sure!

Carb Loaded Soup
Serves 4

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes
1 Onion – finely chopped
1 stalk Celery – finely chopped
3 cloves Garlic – finely chopped
½ T Orange Zest
1 t rubbed Sage
1 t dried Thyme
2 large Potatoes – peeled and cut to a 1cm dice
½ C Red Lentils
1 14oz tin Coconut Milk
1 Coconut Milk Tins worth of Water
2 Coconut Milk Tins worth of Vegetable Stock
1 ½ C cooked Brown Rice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 400F, prick the sweet potatoes and bake for about an hour until soft. Remove from oven (and turn it off as you’re done with it) allow to cool, peel off the skin and mash the flesh. Hold until required – you can do this days in advance and have it ready in the fridge if you like.
In a large soup pot, over medium heat, sauté the onion and celery until soft, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic, zest and herbs and sauté 2 minutes more.
Add in the diced potato, lentils, mashed sweet potato and liquids. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour until lentils and potato are very soft.
Blend until smooth, either using a hand held immersion blender or in a food processor. Return soup to the pot once blended.
Add in the cooked rice, season to taste. Simmer for a further 10 – 15 minutes until the rice is heated completely.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Breakfast for Lunch

I had some multigrain bread slowly going stale in the fridge, so I sliced off the hard crusts and made Fronch Toast from Vegan with a Vengeance for lunch yesterday. Yummy!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Cookie testing.

I keep telling you I'm doing cookie testing for Isa and Terry's upcoming cookie book, but because I rarely post photos of them I bet you're all thinking, "oh, yeah, right" all the time. But I do really! and here is a photo of two I made over the weekend just to prove it!

Left - Grapefruit Icebox Cookies and Right - Hazelnut Fudge Dreamies.

and they are dreamy!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Some meals....

I lost my posting motivation half way through the week, (could you tell?) and then our Saturday is always crazy with 4 dance classes (2 each) so I'm just getting to this now.
First up - a plain bowl of Soba Noodles, steamed Kale and Vegan with a Vengeance Peanut Sauce. A simple lunch but so very very good!
Then we have a dinner from one night during the week. Linguine with a homemade pasta sauce, seitan sausage slices (not sure if you can actually see those) topped with Rocket (arugula) and served with a Rocket and Pinenut Muffin (see I'm still making them!)

Here's the muffin recipe -

Rocket and Pinenut Muffins
Makes 12

2¼ C Spelt Flour
2½ t Baking powder
1 t Salt
½ t Baking Soda
¼ t Black Pepper
¼ t Paprika
2 C finely sliced Rocket (about 3 cups loosely packed)
1 C toasted Pinenuts
1¾ C Soymilk
2 T Lemon Juice
½ t Lemon Zest
¼ C Oil

Preheat oven to 375F and prepare tins.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, pepper and paprika.
Add in the sliced rocket and the toasted pinenuts, use your finger to separate and toss to coat in the flour.
Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl, add to the dry ingredients and mix to just combine.
Spoon mix into tins and bake for 18 – 22 minutes until tests done. Cool in tins for 5 minutes and then on a cooling rack.
These are lovely muffins - and even H who is not a big fan of savoury muffins enjoyed them alongside his pasta.