Friday, 13 May 2016

Vegan Bakewell Tart

It's been quiet on the blog front lately, as I'm somewhat otherwise occupied these days with my beautiful two month old daughter (!). In fact, not only do I barely blog anymore - I barely ever cook anymore! My partner comes home every night and cooks dinners as I have my hands full and have usually had a pretty full on day. As for lunches, even if my lovely baby decided to sleep for longer than 40 minutes at a time (gah!), I certainly wouldn't feel like cooking (and photographing) delicious gourmet meals. In fact I always have to hope there are leftovers, otherwise I might not get lunches at all!

I don't want to let the blog completely wither and die though. Luckily, I have some photos and recipes filed away that I haven't gotten around to posting yet from way back when I was featuring United Kingdom recipes. It might take me more than one 40 minute nap to get each post up, but I'm keen to get back to it - especially since I've been contacted by readers who miss my posts :)

The posting will be less frequent than previously, at least for now - but I'm still here :)

I'm actually really excited to share this one with you, partly because I just love the photos of it and also because it was delicious and easy to make. It's called a Bakewell Tart, and it's a classic English afternoon tea delight. It's shortcrust pastry filled with jam and topped with almond-y frangipane. 

A couple of notes on mine, before I go on to the recipe. 
- I've used only 1/4 tsp almond extract, because I've never really been a fan of the taste of almond extract. It would be more traditional to use more, so if you like the taste feel free to up it to a tsp.
- Mine (you might see in the pics) came out slightly undercooked, so I've added an extra 5 minutes to the cooking time. This will vary anyway, depending on your oven, so use your own discretion. 
- I've used raspberry jam here, you can also use cherry or strawberry. 
- The jam is meant to make a nice distinct layer that you can see when sliced. I looked at some other blog pictures of Bakewell Tarts before and thought their layers of jam looked a little thin, so I added mine very generously. Alas, it still seemed to get absorbed by the frangipane during baking and didn't make much of a distinct layer when sliced. I'm sure if I was on the Great British Bake-Off, such a sin would be the end of me. If you don't care about that kind of thing, then don't worry because it still tastes crazy good. If you want to try and get the jam layer nice and distinct then I would suggest adding a super generous amount of jam - and then adding a whole heap more. 

Vegan Bakewell Tart


For the pastry:
250g plain wholemeal flour
125g margarine
Ice cold water

Everything else:
170g caster sugar
170g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
170g almond meal
1/4 tsp almond extract
150ml canola oil
200ml water
Raspberry jam
Icing sugar, to decorate

To Make:
1. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C. 
2. Put the pastry ingredients in a food processor and blitz until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs (alternatively, use your fingertips to rub the margarine into the flour until the same consistency), then add just enough ice cold water for it to come together as a dough ball. It shouldn't stick to your fingers when you touch it, if you slip up and add a bit too much and end up with sticky dough then just add a little more flour until you get it right. 
3. Roll out the dough to about 3mm or so and line a tart tin with it (one with a removable bottom is best). Prick the base with a fork and bake for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile you can mix together all the other ingredients except the jam and the icing sugar.
5. Spread a generous layer of jam over the pastry base and pour the frangipane batter over the top. Bake for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake for a further 30 minutes. 
6. Leave it to cool and then decorate with icing sugar. You could also decorate with flaked almonds, if you like. 

I'm featuring lots of recipes from the United Kingdom,
Check out my other recipe posts here:

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Home Made Cocoa Bread

Home made bread is such a lovely treat, every time I make some I always think to myself that I should make it more often. But, then modern life gets in the way. So, I still only rarely bake bread. When I do though, I don't like to make plain standard breads. Cocoa is one of my favourite additions to bread. No, it's not chocolate bread! It would only be a sweet chocolate bread if you also added lots more sugar to it. The cocoa adds a deep richness and ever so slight bitterness to it, which is so divine.

I love these kinds of breads in winter, served with soup or tagine or casserole. But they're also wonderful in summer because they're lovely to snack on and to use for summery open sandwiches. When it's freshly baked I love just eating it in slices with just vegan margarine, nothing else needed!

Nuts can be a nice addition to this bread, and can be added (about 1/2 cup) during the second kneading.

Cocoa Bread

2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soy milk
3 tbsp vegan friendly margarine
2 1/2 cups plain flour

To Make
1. Combine the yeast and warm water set aside, this should become frothy and smell very yeasty. If it doesn't froth up on top, check to see that your yeast is in date.
2. Mix the cocoa, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Warm the milk in a saucepan and then remove from the heat and add the margarine. Combine this with the cocoa, sugar and salt in the bowl. Cool slightly and then add the yeast mixture. 
3. Add enough flour to come together into a dough. I'd suggest adding the two cups and then adding the 1/2 cup gradually as needed until you reach the right consistency. The dough should not stick to the edges of the bowl or your fingers, but should be sticky enough to stay together in one ball without crumbling. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour. 
4. Roll into a ball. Knead on a floured benchtop for 5-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. 
5. Dust the mixing bowl with flour and place the dough back in. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot to double in size (probably about an hour). 
6. Punch down the dough and knead briefly again. Place on a greased (or lined with greaseproof paper) baking dish or baking tray and shape into a nice loaf shape. Cover and allow to rise again until double (or almost) in bulk). 
7. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C while you're waiting for it to rise again. Use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut some slits in the top of your loaf and then bake for approximately 1 hour. 

Makes 1 loaf. 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Moroccan Spice Mix (Edible Christmas Gifts)

Edible Xmas gifts are a passion of mine, because most people I know don't need more stuff and home made consumables are such a nice thing to give. I've tended to try and go on the healthy side the last few years, making Tomato Vodka Pasta Sauce Gift Packs, Cornbread in a Jar (2 kinds) and Bean Soup in a Jar. Also in keeping with the less-sugary-treats theme (but so much 'healthy') I've also made lots of infused vodkas - chilli, raspberry and strawberry lime.

I've been blogging for years now, and still trying to come up with new and different ideas to share for home made Xmas pressies. This year* I've gone with a theme of home made spice blends, giving away my own home made Garam Masala and also this beautiful Moroccan Spice blend. I like to try and give some guidance with my gifts though, so I've written a basic recipe on the label to help my recipients use it up.

* actually, I'll let you in on something. I hate to spoil the surprises for my family and friends by blogging about their Xmas presents before they even get them, so each year I blog about last years home made Xmas gifts. These spice blends were part of my gifts last year :)

I've started by toasting some of my spices, because I just love to do it. You can simplify the whole process and just mix pre-ground spices if you prefer. Get some little jars with good sealing lids, so the spice blend keeps nice and fresh for as long as possible. If you want to add the the gift you could combine it with some good quality couscous, a jar of Preserved Lemons or even a tagine. 

Moroccan Spice Mix

3 cinnamon sticks (you can substitute 1/4 cup ground cinnamon)
1/4 cup black peppercorns (you can substitute ground black pepper)
1-2 dried chillis (more or less to taste, you can substitute 1/4 cup cayenne pepper)
1/2 cup cumin seeds (you can substitute ground cumin)
1/2 cup ground ginger
1/4 cup smoked paprika
1/4 cup turmeric

To make: 
1. Combine the cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, dried chillis and cumin seeds in a dry frypan and toast until fragrant. Crush in a spice grinder/coffee grinder/food processor/mortar and pestle into a fine powder. 
2. Add in the ground ginger, smoked paprika and turmeric. 
3. Divide into small jars with tight sealing lids. 
Makes about 2 1/2 cups spice mix, will keep for several months. 

Write a label with a basic recipe if you like, here is what mine said:

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Yule Mule (Cocktail)

Ever since I made this delicious Dutch Orange Bitters, I've been keeping an eye out for cocktails to use it in. This Yule Mule is (as you can tell by the name) a traditional Yuletime cocktail, but really is great any time of the year. It's incredibly refreshing on a hot Australian summer day, so bring it out at your family Xmas this year. You could even give gifts of little bottles of home made Orange Bitters to family with a copy of the recipe for this cocktail so they can replicate it at home.

How are you going for Xmas gift ideas? If you're a bit stumped, or are looking to add in some home made edible stocking fillers then Gormandize has definitely got you covered! Small edible gifts are also great for colleagues, teachers or neighbours who you want to give a gift to but don't know that well and don't want to spend too much on. All this month starting tomorrow, I'll be sharing Christmas Gift ideas on the Gormandize facebook page. Don't worry, they're not all just different types of biscuits in jars - they're very varied. Follow the page on facebook to get all these nifty ideas in one place. 

Yule Mule

1 1/2 measures of vodka
1/2 measure fresh lime juice
1/2 measure cranberry juice
Dash of orange bitters 
3 measures ginger beer

To Make
1. Combine vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice and orange bitter. Shake well and strain into a highball glass half filled with ice.
2. Top up with ginger beer and serve. 

Makes 1 drink - multiply by however many people you're making it for.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Vegan Treacle Tart

The most fun thing about featuring recipes from the UK was certainly getting to try all the classic desserts. I've never had a treacle tart before, so was glad to get the opportunity to make one. Actually, it was very easy because the traditional treacle tart recipe is generally already vegan. I wasn't sure if it was going to be sickly sweet, but it actually wasn't that sweet at all. I was really pleasantly surprised. Even though it's full of sticky sweet golden syrup, it's offset by the fact that the pastry isn't sweetened at all and there is lots of lovely fresh lemon juice to cut through the sickliness. The amount of lemon juice you use is really 'to taste' - some people like less lemon juice so the tart is sweeter, some like more juice so it's more sour. This recipe uses quite a lot of lemon juice, but you can add less if you like less tang and more sweetness.

Treacle Tart

250g plain flour (I prefer wholemeal, but you can use either)
125g vegan margarine 
3 tbsp iced water
400g golden syrup
150g fresh breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of 2 lemons

To Make
1. Put the flour in a food processor and cut in the margarine. Pulse it until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also do this without a food processor - just put the flour in a bowl and rub the margarine through with your fingertips. Gradually add in the iced water until the mixture clumps together. Test the consistency, it should be a firm dough, but not sticky when you touch it. If it's too crumbly to form a ball, add a little more water, if it's too sticky add a little more flour. 
2. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (you can also make the pastry the night before). In the meantime, grease your flan tin (one with a removable bottom is really easiest) well. 
3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and put a baking tray in the oven to heat up.
4. Set aside about 150g of the pastry to make the lattice. Roll out the rest of the pastry into a large thin disc and line the greased flan tin. Prick the base with a fork to prevent bubbles while cooking. 
5. To make the filling, heat the golden syrup in a saucepan until runny. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice and lemon zest and remove from the heat. The filling should be fairly thick, if it's too runny - add more breadcrumbs. Pour into the pastry base.
6. Roll out the reserved pastry and cut into thin strips to make the lattice top. Once the lattice is complete, trim off any overhanging edges by pressing them down on the side of the metal tin. 
7. Place in the oven on the preheated baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 180 degrees C and cook for a further 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving, to firm up and to allow the filling to cool a bit. 

Serve warm or cold, with a dollop of whipped coconut cream if you like. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Mushroom & Guinness Pie

I'm currently making and sharing lots of recipes inspired by the United Kingdom. As spring here has had plenty of chilly days and nights, the stodgy comfort food has been quite nice. I felt it was important to include an Irish inspired dish loaded with Guinness - so here it is. Unfortunately, Guinness itself is not actually vegan, so if you're making this dish and you're a vegan or a vegetarian you can just swap out the Guinness for a vegan/vegetarian friendly stout (such as Coopers).

I never do things by halves, so I've used almost a whole can of Guinness in my pie. This makes for a lovely strong Guinness flavour, which may not be for everyone. If you like it a bit milder, just substitute one of the cups of Guinness for some more beef stock (I've used Massel beef stock, which has no animal content).

Mushroom & Guinness Pie

2 onions, finely chopped
4 gloves garlic, minced or crushed
2 tbsp butter or margarine (vegan friendly)
500g large field (portobello) mushrooms, washed and cut into medium chunks
3/4 cup wholemeal flour
2 cups Guinness (or stout beer)
1/2 cup strong hot 'beef' stock (no animal content brand)
1 tbsp soy sauce
cracked pepper to taste
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Sesame seeds, to sprinkle

To Make
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. 
2. Melt the butter in a frypan and cook the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the chopped  mushrooms and 1/2 cup Guinness and simmer until the mushrooms are cooked.
3. Add the flour and stir vigorously. Next, gradually add in the remaining Guinness and the beef stock, stirring continuously to make a gravy. Adding gradually and stirring lots should prevent it forming lumps and keep it nice and smooth. If it's looking a bit too dry, you can add a touch more stock or beer to slacken in a bit (this can vary, depending on how juicy your mushrooms were in the beginning). 
4. Season with soy sauce and plenty of cracked pepper.
5. Grease a pie dish and line the bottom with one of the sheets of puff pastry. Pour the filling in and top with the remaining sheet of pastry and crimp the edges firmly together using your fingers, or a fork. If you want to use cutouts, like I did, cut them out of the pastry before you put it on the pie. If not, just use a knife to make a few slits in the top to let the steam out while it cooks. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
6. Set your oven to the 'bottom only' setting and bake for 20 minutes (ensuring that the bottom is properly cooked) and then switch to the normal baking setting (top and bottom) and bake for another 10 minutes. It should be golden brown on top. 

Makes 1 pie, serves 4-6.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Summer Pudding

I wish I had managed to get some better picture of this dessert - it's such a special one! Luckily it's also absurdly easy and actually fairly healthy, so I have no excuse not to make it again to try and get some better shots :)

When I first read about this very simple English dessert, I thought it sounded way too simple to actually work. I toyed with whether I needed to make changes when I made it to make it stay together (I was really worried the whole thing would fall apart when I cut it!), but this very simple method was so prevalent all over the internet that I figured it must work. I sceptically made it in the traditional way and was slightly amazed at how well it worked. It stays together beautifully when you cut it up into slices!

It made for such a refreshing and healthy dessert that I ate the leftover with vanilla yoghurt for breakfast the next few days.

I was a bit unsure about using white bread, because I really don't like white bread in general. I've used it, because I followed the traditional recipe faithfully. It was nicer than I expected, although I wonder if it might also work with other types of breads?

Summer Pudding

1 kg mixed berries, fresh or frozen
3 tbsp water
1/2 cup sugar
Fresh white bread with the crusts removed

1. Set aside a handful or so of the berries for garnish and place the rest in a saucepan with the water and sugar. Cook for about 8 minutes or so, until the berries are no longer frozen and the juices run (you may need a bit less time if you are using fresh berries).
2. While the berries are on the stove, line a small pudding bowl with the trimmed bread slices. Press the edges together well, plug any little holes and make sure there are no gaps. 
3. Reserve 1/4 cup of the berry juice and pour the berries and remaining juice into the pudding bowl lined with bread. Cover the top with more sliced bread and press down gently.
4. Cover the pudding with a clean saucer that fits just inside the pudding bowl (if you've got one!) and put a weight on top (like a can or something similar).
5. Refrigerate the pudding overnight, or for at least 5 hours. 
6. To serve, remove from fridge and take off the saucer. Place a serving plate over the bowl and invert the pudding onto the plate. Use the reserved juice to cover up any white spots on the bread. Decorate with the reserved berries and drizzle any remaining juice over the top. 

Serve as is, or with whipped coconut cream or vanilla yoghurt. 

Serves 8-10 people. 

Friday, 2 October 2015

Vegan Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower cheese is a bit of a household classic in any Australian home and, I imagine, any other country with a strongly British-influenced cuisine! This next month or two I'm going to be featuring dished from the United Kingdom, and I thought cauliflower cheese was a great way to start. It might sound like a bit of a contradiction to make vegan cauliflower cheese, but really, the key to cauliflower cheese is white sauce rather than cheese itself. If you're not a vegan, feel free to top with some grated cheese for an actual 'cheese' experience. To be honest though, this recipe tastes exactly like the cauliflower cheese that I used to eat as a child so I don't actually think the cheese is necessary.

For a good vegan white sauce, I prefer not to use soy milk because it has such a strong flavour which can dominate the mild creamy sauce. Any mild flavoured milk substitute should be fine, I prefer oat milk but almond milk would work well too.

Vegan Cauliflower Cheese

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup nuttelex (or other vegan margarine/butter)
2 onions, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup vegetable stock (hot)
2 1/2 cups unsweetened oat milk (or rice/almond milk)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup breadcrumbs mixed with 1 tbsp nutritional yeast

To Make
1. Parboil the cauliflower until only just tender and then drain and transfer to a large baking dish. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Melt the margarine in a medium saucepan and then add the onions and garlic. Cook until softened and translucent.
3. Add the flour and stir vigorously to make a roux. Gradually add the hot vegetable stock, stirring as vigorously as you do to keep the roux smooth. Once all the vegetable stock has been added, start adding the oat milk, also gradually and while stirring.
4. Once all the milk has been added, stir the roux over a low heat and add the lemon juice and the nutritional yeast. Season to taste with salt and pepper (you probably wont need to add salt, as vegetable stock is usually already very salty). 
5. Pour the white sauce over the top of the sliced caulifower and smooth over evenly. Top with bread crumbs and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for just long enough for the breadcrumbs on top to get lightly browned and crispy (you can switch your oven to the grill setting for this, in which case it will only take a few minutes). 

Serve as a side dish or as a main accompanied by some steamed green veggies.