Tag Archives: baking

Easy veggie sausage rolls, in honour of #ivjfd15

30 Aug

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Whenever I post a recipe for something less healthy, I usually feel the need to include a disclaimer about my diet normally involving vibrant, healthy, whole foods. Well not today! Yesterday was the second annual International Vegan Junk Food Day, an in its honour here is my unapologetically unhealthy sausage roll recipe.

Sausage rolls were the first thing I ever cooked for Mr Veg, so they hold a particularly special place in my heart. Delicious food and with no animals harmed, I think that’s a pretty good start to a new relationship.

It is entirely serendipitous that one sheet of puff pastry is exactly the right amount for one packet of sausage mix. It’s like the universe wants it to happen. If you wanted to make sausage rolls from other ingredients, roughly equal weights of pastry and filling would normally be a good place to start.

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Recipe (makes 16 small or 8 large sausage rolls):

  • 1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry (375g) – store-bought puff pastry is usually vegan, but please check the ingredients first
  • 1 packet of veggie sausage mix (150g dry weight)
  • Herbs and spices (optional)
  • A small amount of oil, for greasing the baking sheet
  • A small amount of non-dairy milk, for brushing
  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Make up the sausage mix according to the packet instructions. I like to jazz it up with extra herbs and spices, but this is optional.

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  1. Unroll the pastry sheet. Leaving it on the backing paper for now, and cut it in half lengthwise.

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  1. Spread half of the sausage mix lengthwise along the middle third of each pastry rectangle. This is the only slightly fiddly bit, I find it easiest to put small spoonfuls of the mixture along the pastry, and then spread it out with my fingers.

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  1. Brush a small amount of non-dairy milk along one of the edges of the pastry; this will help the pastry stick together.

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  1. Carefully take the edge of the pastry that you didn’t brush with milk, and fold it over the sausage mix.

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  1. Continue rolling, so the edge you rolled onto the sausage mix now goes onto the edge you brushed with milk. This double layer of pastry (the seam) should stay underneath.

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  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls to your preferred size.

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  1. Keeping the seam underneath, transfer the sausage rolls from the backing paper to the greased baking sheet. Prick each sausage roll with a fork to allow any steam to escape.

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  1. To help the sausage rolls brown, brush each one lightly with more non-dairy milk.
  1. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through and golden. Enjoy hot or cold.

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Roasted broccoli tofu quiche

15 Feb

 

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Poor old quiche doesn’t have the best reputation, people either think that (a) it’s a bit fiddly to make, or that (b) it belongs in the seventies along with vol-au-vents and cheese and pineapple on sticks. If either of these applies to you then please cast aside your doubts and give it a go! Vegan quiche is gorgeous, it’s a good balance of healthy (tofu and veggies!) and naughty (pastry!), and it works both hot or cold. Also, it’s not difficult or time-consuming to make at all. The most active part of the recipe is making the pastry, which takes, what… three minutes? You can do that, right?!

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Roasting the broccoli in this recipe was a last-minute brainwave. I was planning to microwave it, then I read an inspiring article written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz where she said roasting makes everything taste delicious (you can read the full article here for this and five other pearls of wisdom). I’m so glad I did, roasting the broccoli deepens the flavour and contributes to the slight cheesiness. Ground almonds add a little extra firmness to the filling, and increase the cheesy quality of the flavour profile.

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Recipe (serves 4)

For the pastry:

  • 50g margarine (check it is suitable for pastry)
  • 100g flour (white or wholemeal, this time I used half wholemeal spelt and half plain flour)
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 200g broccoli, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tb vegetable oil
  • A 396g block of firm tofu, drained but not pressed
  • Quarter of a cup (or 4 tb) nutritional yeast flakes
  • Quarter of a cup ground almonds
  • One clove of garlic, mashed to a fine paste
  • 1 ts salt
  • Plenty of black pepper

For the pastry, rub the margarine into the flour and salt. Continue mixing with your hands, adding some cold water a splash at a time until it comes together in a ball. Put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.

Lightly grease a 20cm / 8 inch quiche dish. Roll out the pastry and use it to line the dish. Trim the edges but not too much, be aware that the pastry will shrink a little bit when you cook it. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, then blind bake it for 15 minutes at 200˚C. You want the pastry to be starting to go dry and golden, but not brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Put the chopped broccoli in a small roasting tin with the oil and roast for about 15 minutes, until softened and starting to brown round the edges. Crumble the tofu into a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix well with a fork.

When the broccoli is cooked, remove it from the oven. Chop about half of it even more finely, then add all of the broccoli to the tofu mixture. Carefully tip this into the pastry case, pressing it into the corners and smoothing out the top. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes, until it is heated through and golden brown on top. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, it will be much easier to get out of the dish. Serve hot or cold.

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BBQ pitta bread

2 Aug

This is really just my basic recipe for anything bready, you can also use it to make breadsticks, naan breads to mop up your curry, or a base for your home-made pizza. We were having a barbecue one day and didn’t have any bread in the house, so I decided to try making some flatbreads directly on the grill, just to see how they’d come out. Amazingly they puffed up just like pittas, so we stuffed them with hummus and grilled veggies and they were absolutely delicious. You have to try this next time you have a barbecue!

Recipe (makes eight decent-sized pittas, enough for four hungry people):

  • 300ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon any kind of sugar
  • 250g bread flour (I prefer to use brown)
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • A handful of semolina or polenta

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water in a large bowl and leave to activate. After 10 minutes or so it should have a layer of foam on top, once this appears, mix it into the flours, oil and salt. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Knead the dough for another couple of minutes, then divide into eight pieces. Scatter a handful of semolina or polenta on a large tray. On a floured surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll a piece out into a circle about 15cm across then put it on the tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough. If there’s not enough room on your tray to comfortably fit all of the pittas it’s ok to overlap them as long as you scatter some more semolina or polenta on each one – it should stop them sticking together. Let the pittas rise for half an hour or so while you light the barbecue and get the rest of your food ready.

To cook a pitta, put it straight on the hot grill. Let it cook until it has completely puffed up all over, this should take less than five minutes. Flip over and cook for another two minutes, until nicely browned on both sides. Split, stuff, and enjoy!

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Vegan quiche with spinach, leeks and pine nuts

6 Apr

WordPress has just reminded me that today is my blog’s first anniversary. I started the blog one Saturday afternoon, when I decided that the pea pesto recipe I’d invented a couple of days before was so good that it deserved sharing with the world. Armed with a name I plucked out of nowhere, and a slightly blurry photo of some basil, I got started. I only really expected a couple of people to look at it, that maybe I’d put one or two more recipes online, and that basically it wouldn’t really go anywhere. Over the next few weeks I did post a few more times, and I read a lot of other people’s blogs, and I got hooked. One year later, with 38 posts, 149 comments, 123 WordPress followers, I feel like I’ve become part of a community. I’ve made contact with people all over the world, stayed up late because I was having an interesting conversation with strangers on Twitter, and annoyed my husband on many an occasion by spending ages taking photos of our dinner. Other bloggers and Twitter-folk have given me the inspiration and support to go from sort-of-cutting-back-on-dairy to 99% vegan (I’m almost there), and I’m grateful to each and every one of you for that. To thank you, I’m sharing a new recipe, my first ever attempt at a vegan quiche.

Quiche is one of my favourite things to make. It does require a fair bit of multitasking, but it’s really versatile and over the years I’ve come up several different combinations, usually involving a vegetable and a cheese. Making something eggy and cheesy without eggs or cheese sounds impossible, but as firm tofu can act as a good sub for both vegan quiche is actually easier to make than the real thing. It’s not strongly cheesy – think ricotta rather than feta – but I am certain that I could feed this to omnivores and they wouldn’t realise it was vegan.

Recipe notes:

  • The filling from this recipe would also work well wrapped in puff pastry, à la my non-vegan spanokopitta sausage rolls.
  • I use frozen for spinach-heavy recipes like this. It’s better value for money by a long long way, you’d need a sack full of fresh spinach leaves to get the same amount, plus you’d still have to wash and cook it. Unless you’re growing your own and have a glut of it, just buy whole leaf frozen spinach.
  • If there is any filling left, you could use it to stuff a couple of tomatoes and bake them at the same time as the quiche.

Recipe (serves 4)

For the pastry:

  • 50g margarine (check it is suitable for pastry)
  • 100g flour (white or wholemeal, I use a mix of both)
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 ts margarine or oil
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, sliced into thin half-moons, thoroughly washed
  • 50ml your preferred non-dairy milk
  • 400g frozen whole leaf spinach, thawed
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted then very roughly chopped
  • A 396g block of firm tofu, drained but not pressed
  • ¼ ts grated nutmeg
  • Plenty of ground black pepper
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1 ts cider vinegar
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 2 tb nutritional yeast flakes

For the pastry, rub the margarine into the flour and salt. Continue mixing with your hands, adding some cold water a splash at a time until it comes together in a ball. Put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.

Lightly grease a 20cm / 8 inch quiche dish. Roll out the pastry and use it to line the dish. Trim the edges but not too much, be aware that the pastry will shrink a little bit when you cook it. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, then blind bake it for 10 minutes at 200˚C. You want the pastry to be starting to go dry and golden, but not brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small saucepan over a medium heat, melt the margarine or heat the oil, then add the leek and fry for two minutes until it starts to cook down. Add the milk and cook for a further five or so minutes, until the leeks have completely cooked down and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Tip the spinach into a sieve or a muslin-lined bowl. Squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as you can.

Crumble the tofu into a large bowl with your hands. You could use a fork or masher, but doing it by hand is much more efficient.

Add the nutmeg, pepper, salt, vinegar, oil, and nooch to the tofu and mix well. You could continue mixing it by hand, but it’s less messy from now on to use a spoon or spatula. Add the cooked leeks, pine nuts, and drained spinach, and mix until well combined. Tip the filling into the blind-baked pastry, and return it to the oven for around half an hour, until the top is firm and golden. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, it will be much easier to get out of the dish. Serve hot or cold.

Speedy, seedy soda bread

3 Nov

I love baking my own bread, but because I work full-time I just don’t have the time to make it in the week and really do it justice. Luckily I’ve recently discovered soda bread, which doesn’t need kneading or rising time. It takes about five minutes to throw everything together and stick in the oven alongside whatever we’re having for dinner, leaving the rest of the evening free to veg out and watch a bit of Breaking Bad (no spoilers please, we’re only on season 4).

The texture and the taste is different from regular bread, but this isn’t a disappointing short cut. It’s still a beautifully tasty, healthy bread, which is particularly lovely toasted and dunked in soup.

Recipe (makes one loaf)

  • 300ml your preferred non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 50g mixed seeds

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a baking sheet or small loaf tin.

Mix the milk and vinegar together in a mug, and leave to curdle while you get the rest of the ingredients together.

Put all of the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and briefly toss together. Add the curdled milk and mix until it just comes together into a smooth ball of dough.

For a roundish, free-form loaf, place on a greased baking sheet and cut a cross in the top. Otherwise, for a regular loaf quickly form into a long sausage shape and put in a greased loaf tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and well risen. Turn out onto a cooling rack. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Swede and carrot soda bread (vegan)

13 Oct

Soda bread is much faster and easier to make than regular bread. Bicarbonate of soda reacts with acid to quickly produce carbon dioxide, which gets trapped in the dough and makes it rise quickly. Usually, the acid would come in the form of some sort of soured dairy, such as buttermilk, yoghurt, or whey. For vegans, non-dairy milk curdled with cider vinegar work equally well.

Adding root vegetables to soda bread adds moisture and flavour. I decided to try this when I got yet another swede in my weekly vegetable delivery. I like swede but I’m seriously lacking interesting recipes for it. It can go in soup, curry, mash, and ummm…. that’s about it. One of my colleagues keeps raving about carrot and swede mash which is undoubtedly now my favourite thing to do with it, so I decided to expand on that combo and try it in bread. It was worth the gamble. It’s glorious, and particularly good dunked in some spicy soup.

Recipe (makes one loaf)

  • 300ml your preferred non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 100g each swede and carrot, grated
  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a large baking sheet.

Mix the milk and vinegar together in a mug, and leave to curdle while you get the rest of the ingredients together.

Put all of the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Add the curdled milk and mix until it just comes together into a ball. Don’t over-mix it or knead it, you’ll knock out all of the gas that makes it rise.

Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet, and slash a cross in the top with a wet knife (this helps it rise evenly). Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the loaf has approximately doubled in size and is golden brown all over, including underneath. Enjoy hot or cold.

Spanokopitta sausage rolls

9 Jul

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At the weekend, my mum asked me to bake some vegetarian sausage rolls for a family picnic. Normally I’d wrap some veggie sausages in puff pastry and get on with my day but on this occasion I was the only vegetarian there, and I wanted to make something the omnivores would enjoy as much as I would. I decided to make something based on my favourite Greek dish, spanokopitta (basically an AMAZING spinach and feta filo pie).

So here’s what I came up with. They went down really well, even with the meat-eaters. The children didn’t really like them (my two-year-old niece ate half of one and politely shoved the rest in my mouth); perhaps a milder, less freaky cheese would make them more child-friendly.

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Recipe (makes 24 mini rolls)

  • 500g puff pastry
  • 300g frozen spinach, defrosted, preferably the whole-leaf stuff
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 30g pine nuts, toasted
  • Two eggs (one for the filling and the other to use as eggwash)
  • One clove of garlic, mashed to a pulp, or a handful of finely chopped garlic scapes
  • A good grinding of black pepper and nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Roll the pastry out into two long rectangles, roughly 20cm x 40cm each, about 0.25cm thick.

Mash the drained feta with one of the eggs, then add the garlic, pepper, nutmeg, and pine nuts.

Drain the spinach in a sieve, and press as much of the water out of it as you can. Stir it into the feta mixture. It should be fairly dry, otherwise the pastry will end up soggy and the filling will spill out of the edges.

Spread half the filling down the middle of one of the sheets of pastry. Brush some beaten egg along one of the edges. Roll the sheet of pastry into one long sausage, ending on the side that you brushed with egg. Cut into 12 mini sausage rolls and place them onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the filling and the second sheet of pastry. Brush all of the sausage rolls with beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden. Enjoy hot or cold.

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