Tag Archives: pastry

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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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.

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.

Cheese and caramelised onion quiche

21 Jun

A couple of days ago I updated my About page to mention that most things I cook are simple, seasonal, mostly healthy, and mostly vegan. I’ve somehow managed to contradict myself already with this recipe. It’s not simple (it’s not that complicated but I wouldn’t do something like this after a long day at work), it’s not healthy and it’s definitely not vegan. You can get onions all year round, so you couldn’t really call it seasonal, although technically it’s not unseasonal either. Don’t let any of these things put you off though, unless you’re vegan, obviously. Quiche is a great retro treat, which is well worth the effort and the extra calories.

I get a weekly organic vegetable delivery, which includes 500g of onions a week (just over a pound). I love onions and use them quite a lot, but this is slightly more than I regularly use, so every few weeks or so I get the delivery and realise I’ve not even started eating the onions from the previous week. Luckily I’ve got a few onion-heavy recipes on hand to use up these occasional gluts. This is the least healthy onion recipe I have (recipe below).

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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:

  • 500g onions, peeled and sliced
  • 100g mature cheddar, grated
  • Either two eggs plus 100ml cream or three eggs (the cream gives it an extra wobble, if you prefer a firmer set or a lower fat content then just use eggs)

First, slowly cook the onions. Put them in a small saucepan with a splash of oil, cover, and put on a very low heat, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until golden brown and reduced to about a quarter of their original volume. This will take a long time, at least an hour. Once cooked, allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, for the pastry, rub the margarine into the flour and salt. Add 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 slightly browned and crisped up.

While the pastry is blind baking, mix the cooked onions, cheese, eggs, cream (if using), and some salt and pepper. Pour these into the pastry case, and return it to the oven. Bake it for a further 20-30 minutes (depending on how well set you like it).

Allow the quiche to cool for 10 minutes, this helps it slice a bit better. Serve hot or cold.

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