Thursday, 30 May 2013

Pumpkin & Jalapeño Empanadas


After having such good success with my super tasty sweet corn empanadas, I wanted to have a crack at some more empanadas as part of Argentinian food month. So sink your teeth into these super tasty pumpkin and jalapeño empanadas. You can also use sweet potato in the place of pumpkin, it's equally delicious.

Ingredients
1 batch empanada dough (I just used this recipe from Global Table Adventure, but I used 1 1/2 cups white flour and 1/2 cup wholemeal flour)
Soy milk, for brushing

Filling
300g pumpkin
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
Pepita seeds, to decorate

To Make
1. Make the empanada dough and put it in the fridge while you make the filling. You'll also want to preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Peel and chop the pumpkin and place in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil, simmer until the pumpkin is soft and then strain.
3. Place the pumpkin in a bowl and mash roughly with a fork or masher. Add the garlic, jalapeño and season with salt and pepper. Stir well.
4. Roll the dough out on a floured bench top quite thin. Use a cutter or a bowl with a diameter of 12-13cm to cut out circles in the dough.
5. Place about a dessert spoon of the filling in the centre of the circle. Dampen the edges with water and press them together. You can just use a fork to press the edges together or you can try the traditional repulgue edging - there is a video on Global Table Adventure.


6. Continue with remaining dough and filling - you may have some filling left over (you can use these in some store bought puff pastry to made little triangles or money bags).
7. Arrange on a tray and use a fork to poke some holes in the top. Brush with milk, decorate with pepitas and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.


Makes 16 medium sized empanadas.


This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Argentina!
Check out my other Argentinian recipe posts:

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Vegan Alfajores (Argentinian Dulce de Leche Sandwich Biscuits)


Have you been enjoying all the dulce de leche-y goodness? Guess that is a silly question. Who wouldn't love treats laced with rich creamy vegan home made dulce de leche? You don't have to answer that.

So - earlier this month I made some vegan dulce de leche and then used it in a Argentinian dulce de leche tiramisu (yum!! you should check that out). But that isn't it for the dulce de leche this month. Now, feast your eyes on these! Or, better still - make them and then feast your mouth on them too. They're light crumbly vegan shortbread sandwich biscuits filled with decadent dulce de leche. Need I say anymore? I hope you said "no" because I wasn't planning on writing any more on this post - just enjoy the recipe!


Vegan Argentinian Alfajores

Ingredients
1 cup plain flour (I like to use 1/2 wholemeal and 1/2 white, but you can use all white if you prefer)
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup soft icing mixture (confectioners sugar)
1 cup dairy free margarine (such as Nuttelex)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp rum or Pisco (or to make a dairy free version, substitute cold black tea)
Vegan dulce de leche (home made or use store bought if you can find a vegan one)

To Make
1. If you haven't already, jump over to this recipe and make the dulce de leche so that it has time to cool while you make the biscuits.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
3. Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and icing mixture in a bowl and mix well.
4. Cut the margarine into the mix and rub with your fingers until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs and there are no big lumps left.
5. Add the vanilla extract and rum and mix with your hands until it forms a smooth dough. If it's a little dry you can add a bit more rum, if it's too sticky add a little more flour. It should be wet enough to hold together in a ball, but not so wet enough that it sticks to your fingers as you form it. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 40 minutes.
6. Generously flour a bench space and your rolling pin. Cut your dough in half and roll out half to a bit more than 1/2 cm thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out your biscuits in whatever shape you'd like (I used heart shapes and lip shapes). Transfer them to a tray lined with baking paper.
7. Bake the biscuits for 12 minutes, rotating the tray half way through to ensure even cooking. This may vary depending on how hot your oven really is - so keep a close eye on them. They shouldn't be browned on top, they should stay nice and white - not in a racist way of course... :)
8. Transfer to a cooling rack carefully until completely cold. Then spread the wrong side of the biscuit with a liberal amount of dulce de leche and gently place another biscuit on top. Continue until you use up all the biscuits.

Makes about 20 sandwich biscuits (this will vary depending on the size of your cutter).



This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Argentina!
Check out my other Argentinian recipe posts:


Monday, 27 May 2013

Argentinian Sweetcorn Empanadas


A foray into Argentinian food wouldn't be complete without some empanadas, they're iconic. They're also really versatile - you can make them with any filling you like. Traditional fillings include beef, cheese, corn, pumpkin, sweet potato or fruits like apple. I've made these ones with a creamy and delicious sweetcorn filling.


In all honesty, I found these a little challenging and it took me a couple of tries to get it right. I generally prefer wholemeal so I made my first batch with all wholemeal flour but it made the dough less pliable and I couldn't do a very neat 'repulgue' on the edges. So the next batch I used a combination of white and wholemeal flour and they turned out much better. 

I also struggled with the fact that none of the recipes in my cookbooks or on the internet for empanadas told me to poke holes in the top of the empanadas to let the steam out while they cooked. So I didn't - for my first two batches. The result was that they puffed up a lot and many of them burst open while they were cooking. So I poked holes in my second batch and they worked much better - none of them burst open and they didn't puff up so much. If anybody knows the secret to not poking holes in them and still getting them to work then please let me know!


Ingredients
1 batch empanada dough (I just used this recipe from Global Table Adventure, but I used 1 1/2 cups white flour and 1/2 cup wholemeal flour)
Soy milk, for brushing

Filling
4 tbsp non dairy butter or margarine
4 tbsp plain flour
1 cup non dairy milk (I used oat milk - but use soy, almond or rice etc.)
1 x 300g creamed corn
1 x 300g corn kernels, drained
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

To Make
1. Make the empanada dough and put it in the fridge while you make the filling. You'll also want to preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan and then add the flour. Stir continuously while it heats through and starts to cook a little, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Gradually add the milk while stirring vigorously until you have added it all. You should have a thick sauce now.
4. Remove from the stove and then add the creamed corn, corn kernels, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well.
5. Roll the dough out on a floured bench top quite thin. Use a cutter or a bowl with a diameter of 12-13cm to cut out circles in the dough.


6. Place about a dessert spoon of the filling in the centre of the circle. Dampen the edges with water and press them together. You can just use a fork to press the edges together or you can try the traditional repulgue edging - there is a video on Global Table Adventure.


7. Continue with remaining dough and filling - you may have some filling left over (you can use these in some store bought puff pastry to made little triangles or money bags).
8. Arrange on a tray and use a fork to poke some holes in the top. Brush with milk and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Makes 16 medium sized empanadas (and a little leftover filling).


This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Argentina!
Check out my other Argentinian recipe posts:

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Vegan Dulce de Leche Tiramisu


I mentioned in my last Argentinian recipe post, the Fugazza (Caramelised Onion Focaccia), that there is a lot of Italian influence in Argentinian cuisine. Just in case you didn't believe me - here is another Argentina-meets-Italy recipe. I've created my own vegan version using my home made dulce de leche and a home made 'mascarpone cream' type thing. Anyway - enough introduction. Here is it (fyi: it was absolutely delicious).


Ingredients

The Cake
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups wholemeal plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarb soda

Dulce de Leche 'Mascarpone' Cream
1/4 cup cashews, soaked for 1 hour
300g silken tofu
1 can coconut cream, refrigerated over night
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 - 2 cups Vegan Dulce de Leche (you can vary this according to personal taste)

You'll also need
1 cup strong black coffee, sweetened
Chocolate shavings, for decorating.

To Make
The Cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for a few moments to curdle.
3. Add the sugar, canola oil and extracts and mix well (I use a whisk for this), then sift in all other ingredients and mix well to combine.
4. Line a medium sized lightly greased square baking dish with baking paper. Pour in the cake batter.
5. Bake for 20 minutes – or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
6. Set aside to cool completely (you can work on the other bits of the tiramisu while it cools).
7. Once cooled, cut into smaller, more manageable sections and slice in half lengthways.


Dulce de Leche Cream:
1. Drain the cashews (which you have soaked for at least an hour) and place in a food processor with the tofu, lemon juice, sugar and salt. 
2. Open the tin of coconut cream which you have had in the fridge (at least) overnight. Scoop out the thick solid white layer and reserve the remaining clear liquid for another used (such as a curry or a smoothie). Add the solid while layer to the food processor and process until completely smooth. This may take a while, as you want the cashews completely smooth as well - so be prepared to process it for up to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides and stirring often.
3. Once completely smooth, transfer to a bowl and stir the dulce de leche through. Keep in the fridge while you prepare your ingredients for assembly.



To Assemble:
1. In an individual dessert glass, layer a piece of the vanilla cake on the bottom and sprinkle generously with the sweetened coffee. Then add a layer of dulce de leche cream, then another layer of cake and finally more of the cream. 
2. Repeat until you have made enough portions or you run out of ingredients. 
3. Garnish them with shaved chocolate and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Can be made in advance and will keep well for up to 3 days.

Makes 10 individual portions.

NOTES~
~For the more boozy alternative, use kalua instead of the sweetened coffee. 
~ This can also be made into one large tiramisu instead of individual servings.


This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Argentina!
Check out my other Argentinian recipe posts:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pear & Mandarin Dessert Soup


I'll be honest with you on this one - this delightful fresh fruity dish is completely inappropriate for the weather we are having at the moment! But if you're living in the Northern Hemisphere than this is absolutely what you need right now. So why am I posting such a seasonally perverse dish? Well, the theme for this month's Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is raw desserts. I almost gave it a miss - for 2 reasons. Firstly, because I generally don't recommend raw food diets and secondly, because it's freezing cold here and raw desserts really don't hold much appeal right now! In fact, as I type this I'm sitting looking out the window at the pouring rain wearing big fluffy socks, a large cardigan and a beanie - and I'm still cold!

But I really can't help myself, I always like to accept a challenge. So I rolled [down] my sleeves and decided to give it a red [cold] go, even though this is not my favourite theme. This soup is delicious, but if you're living in Australia then you might want to bookmark it and try it during warmer weather! This is perfect for the end of summer, when those warm Autumn days bring you plenty of seasonal pears and mandarins.


In good news, however, I'm excited to announce that I'll be escaping 5-6 weeks of winter this year and heading overseas on holiday! We're travelling in Scandinavia for 5 whole weeks and although I'm hoping to post you some pictures and updates along the way, that means it may be a quieter 5-6 weeks on the blog than usual. I'll be scheduling some posts that I've got on file and I'll also be helped out by some other wonderful bloggers with some guest posts. But I could definitely use a couple more - so, if you're a food blogger and you rather like my site, then please consider helping a brutha out (yes, I'm a dork) and contributing a guest post. I'll be more than happy to repay the favour any time you need it. Get in touch with me via email, facebook, twitter or whatever, if you're interested. It's a great way to get all my readers reading your blog, and vice versa.



Pear & Mandarin Dessert Soup

Ingredients
2 pears, cored and chopped
1 orange, peeled and chopped
4 mandarins, peeled
2 passion fruits
Pinch of salt (optional)
2 cups sparkling apple juice
Fresh berries, to garnish (optional)

To Make
1. Combine the pears, orange, mandarin segments (check for seeds and remove any that you find first) and the pulp of the two passion fruits in a blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Strain the fruit blend through a fine sieve, catching the strained liquid in a bowl. Use a spoon to press out as much of the liquid as you can and then discard the pulp.
3. Stir the salt and sparkling apple juice into the strained soup and stir gently to combine. Serve.

Serves 2-4 (depends on the size of your bowls really).

Variations ~
~ For a special occasion, substitute the sparkling apple juice with champagne
~ You can also enjoy this as a cocktail - simply add one measure of vodka or rum per 2 people.
~ In summertime, include fresh strawberries or raspberries to give it a summer flavour.
~ For a warming winter drink, heat on the stove over a low heat and add a pinch of cinnamon (or use whole spices as you would for mulled wine)


Friday, 17 May 2013

Fugazza (Argentinian Caramelised Onion Focaccia)


This month I'm cooking and sharing lots of Argentinian food, and I've learn't a lot about it so far! I was surprised how often pasta, gnocchi and focaccia came up in my research and in talking with Argentinian friends. Italian in Argentina? Apparently so! There is quite a strong Italian influence in Argentina which lead to some delicious fusion and the prominence of some classic Italian dishes (you'll be seeing a couple from me this month!). 

I love focaccia so I couldn't pass up the chance to make this one. Whilst the Italian varieties tend to be topped with olives and herbs (or sometimes sundried tomatoes), the Argentinian version is generally topped with onions and dried oregano. It's called Fugazza - and it's delicious. You can either top with raw chopped onion (it'll cook up as you bake the focaccia) or you can make it even tastier by slightly caramelising the onions first. Guess which option I picked? Caramelised onions every time.



Ingredients
1 cup warm water
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 2/3 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 onions, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp dried oregano

To Make
1. Combine the warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is frothy on top.
2. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add 5 tbsp olive oil and the yeast mixture and mix to form a dough. It should be soft and pliable, but not sticking to your fingers. If it's too wet add a bit more flour, if it's too dry to hold together add a little more water.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured benchspace and knead for 10 minutes (set your oven timer and put on some good music to sing along to).
4. Lightly oil the mixing bowl and return the ball of dough to it. Cover with cling wrap or a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes (or until doubled in size). In the meantime you can preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
5. Once risen turn the dough out and punch down into a smooth ball. Oil a round pan with 2 tbsp olive oil and place your ball of dough in the centre. Gently flatten the ball out into a disc with your fingers. You'll get to a point where you can't stretch it any further without it springing back. When you get to this stage just set is aside and let it rest for 10 minutes (while it's resting you can chop up your onions).
6. After 10 minutes the dough should have relaxed, allowing you to spread it out further. Keep doing this until the dough covers the whole pan and reaches the edges (you may have to rest it again before you can get it the full diameter).
7. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a fry pan and saute the onions until softened. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook for about 5 minutes.
8. Spread the onions over the the base and sprinkle liberally with dried oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.
9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges become golden brown. Remove from the oven, slice and serve up.



This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Argentina!

Check out my other Argentinian recipe posts:



Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Blackberry & Almond Braid


Making bread is so many things. Therapeutic, impressive, aromatic, calming. Also very, very rewarding in a delicious way. I hope you're enjoying 2013, and that you take a bit of time out to relax, read a book and bake some bread. Maybe even this bread - a sweet bread perfect for breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea or dessert.

Blackberry & Almond Braid

Ingredients
1/4 cup soy milk, slightly warmed
2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (180ml) coconut milk
3/4 cup blackberry jam
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
Extra soy milk for brushing

To Make
1. In a large mixing bowl combine the warm soy milk, yeast and sugar and whisk together. Set aside for 10 minutes until the top gets frothy.
2. Add the flour, salt and coconut milk to the yeast mixture and mix to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead it until it's smooth and elastic, which should take no less than 5 minutes, and as much as 10 minutes.
3. Return to the bowl and and cover with cling wrap or a tea towel. Leave in a warm spot to rise for 90 minutes. 
4. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Divide dough into three equal pieces and place on a floured benchtop. Roll each piece in a long thin strip about 45 cm long and about 6 cm wide (don't get a ruler out, just make them all long and thin and about the same length!).


5. Spread 1/4 cup jam and 1/3 cup chopped almonds along each piece, leaving about 2cm around the edge.


6. Fold the edges in on all three pieces and transfer to a large baking tray lines with greaseproof paper. Pinch them together at one end and braid the strands as tightly as you can (you're probably going to benefit from an extra pair of hands for this). Twist the strands a bit as you plait, to make the jam even more marbled through the bread.
7. Brush the top with soymilk and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown on top and cooked through. The jam may spill out the sides a bit, don't worry.
8. Cool to room temperature and slice.



Makes 1 large loaf.


Saturday, 11 May 2013

Turkish Delight Martini


I'm participating again in one of my absolute favourite blogging events - the Vegan Virtual Potluck. I almost didn't make it in this year, as I've been flat out and almost didn't get time to make my drink. So much travel planning to do! I'm heading overseas in July for almost 6 weeks so I have so much to organise and think about! I'm also looking for guest posts to help keep my blog from dying while I'm away - so if you are a blogger and you enjoy my blog, please think about contributing a guest post (I'll be happy to return the favour). Get in touch with me if you're interested. Enough about that - now to the cocktail!


In last year's potluck I brought a dessert - my Choc Banana Ice Cream Pie (Vegan & Sugar Free!). This time I thought I'd change it up a bit and bring a beverage, so that I could try out a new cocktail on you all. It's called a Turkish Delight Martini, even though it doesn't actually contain any of the ingredients of a martini. But let's not let nitty gritty get in the way of a good cocktail name. 



Turkish Delight Martini

Ingredients
3 measures vodka
2 measures Frangelico
2 tsp rosewater
2 drops pink food colouring (optional, just for colour)
1 cup ice
Pieces of Turkish Delight

To Make
1. Combine vodka, frangelico, rosewater and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into martini glasses.
2. Place a small piece of Turkish Delight in the bottom of each glass. Enjoy!

Makes 2.

Variation:
You'll notice that this cocktail is just straight booze. Don't worry it tastes incredibly sweet and smooth. If, however, you'd like to thin out the booze a bit you can replace one of the measures of vodka with 2 measures of simple syrup.

This is the virtual vegan potluck, which is so much fun so make sure you check out everyone else's posts too!

To start from the beginning and work your way through head to the very first blog in the chain by clicking right....... here. If you've already worked your way through all the recipes before me then I hope you're enjoying all the dishes. I can't wait to sit down with a cup of tea and go through them all!

What's next in beverages? Time to move on to the next Potluck Offering. 


Hit this button to go to the previous post (Walnut Date Smoothies by Gazing in) or click here:



Hit this button to go to the next post (Citrus Glow Smoothie by Almost Raw Vegan) or click here:



Thursday, 9 May 2013

Vegan Dulce de Leche


Happy May everyone! You know how I always say that I'll be more organised this month with my posts? Well, once again I haven't. It's 9 days into May and I'm yet to post anything. Oops! Not only that, but I have a couple of leftover Dutch recipes to post from last month! Oops.

But I'm going to turn around and change that now! I'm starting with this - Dulce de Leche. Can you guess which country I'm featuring this month? I don't know if you guessed Argentina, but if you did then you're absolutely right!

I'm so excited that I've finally got a chance to head over to South America! I've had lots of different continents requested, but this is the first from South America and I'm very excited to get my teeth stuck into it! Although, if my initial reading is right, the Argentinians seem to love their sweets so that may not be so good for my teeth.

I'm starting with a fundamental - Dulce de Leche, but vegan. This had to be my first step because I'm going to be using it in several of my other recipes this month. Also because I've just always wanted to try it! This delicious vegan version is very easy to make, using coconut cream instead of condensed milk.

Vegan Dulce de Leche

Ingredients
2 x 400ml cans coconut cream
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp treacle (just for richness & colour, you can leave it out if you like)
1/2 tsp salt

To Make
1. Pour the coconut cream (including any solidified bits) into a saucepan and add the brown sugar.
2. Heat over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and any lumps in the coconut cream have melted.
3. Add the treacle, and simmer on a medium heat with the lid off for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt.
5. Pour into clean glass jar(s) and set aside to allow to cool. Cool it at room temperature, rather than in the fridge. Putting it in the fridge will make your coconut cream start to solidify and you'll get lumpy dulce de leche.

Makes 2 medium jars (this really varies depending on the size of your jars).
Store at room temperature. Use however you like!

Check out my beautiful Alfajores - Argentinian Shortbread Biscuits filled with creamy Dulce de Leche (recipe coming later this month, so don't miss it!)



This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Argentina!
Check out my other Argentinian recipe posts: