Baking in Veganuary – Frangipane Tart

Veganuary doesn’t mean you can not have Treats!
I made this yummie Frangipane tart in a Gluten Free Version with Raspberries. You can choose to use different Fruit, like Apples, Pears or maybe Blueberries.

You need a little bit of time as the Pie Crust needs to rest for 30 Minutes in the Fridge, but it is absolutely worth it.

Put your baking Form (26 cm Circumference) / tin in the Fridge as well, so it is cool when you put the Dough in.

The baked Cake can be Frozen as well, so if you actually have anything left over, it will not go to waste.

Here is the Recipe:

Base – Pie Crust

250 gr Flour – (I used Buckwheat Flour as the Gluten Free Option)
1 TBSP Psyllium Husks (if you use Gluten free Flour)
50 gr Sugar
1/2 TSP Salt
120 gr cold Vegan Butter, cut into Small Pieces
60 ml (5 TBSP) cold Water
Optional: 1 TBSP Plant Based Milk + one Pinch of Tumeric



Add all ingredients and combine into a Dough. Form a Ball, put into Foil and let rest in the Fridge for 30 Minutes.

Filling

300 gr Raspberries
100 gr. Icing Sugar
approx. 1 TBSP Plant Starch

Or: 2-3 Apples / Pears

Topping

100 gr Pistachios, hacked into small Pieces.
or 100 gr flaked Almonds



Place the Raspberries into a pot, add 1-2 TBSP of Water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir until the Raspberries fall apart.
Use a Sieve and a Bowl and pass the Raspberries through it, so the Kernels are separated. If don’t mind the Kernels, you can skip this step.
Put the Raspberry “Juice” back into the pot, add the Icing Sugar and still until dissolved. Increase the heat and add the Starch. Bring briefly to boil until the Juice thickens. Take from the Heat and let it cool.

Preheat the oven to 200 °C

Vegan Frangipane

125 gr. Ground Almonds (I used blanched ones for a lighter colour)
1 TSP Baking Powder
85 gr soft Vegan Butter
85 gr. Sugar
85 gr. Apple Sauce (unsweetened)
1 Pinch of ground Vanilla (optional)
1 TBSP Plant Starch
45 ml Almond (or other) Plant Based Milk

Add the dry ingredients in one Bowl and set aside.

Place Butter and Sugar in another Bowl and use a hand mixer and beat until creamy. Add in the other ingredients and combine. Afterwards add the dry ingredients in batches until everything is well combined.



Take the Dough out of the Fridge and roll between two Sheets of either Foil or Baking paper until the Circumference is big enough for the Baking Form.
Place the Dough into the Baking Form. Use a Fork to poke some holes in the dough. Then place some Baking Paper on Top of the Dough and Add Baking Weights (blind baking). Place the Baking Form into the Oven and bake for around 15 Minutes. Remove the Baking Form from the Oven and – optional – brush the edge with the Milk/Tumeric blend for colouring. Place the Cake back in the Oven and bake for further 10 Minutes.
Remove the Baking Form and set aside to cool slightly.



Lower the Heat for the Oven to 180 °C.
Add some Tablespoons of the Frangipane Mixture on top to the Pie Crust and spread evenly. Afterwards put the Raspberry Puree on top of it and spread evenly as well*. Then place the rest of the Frangipane Mix on top of the Raspberry Puree and spread. I used a Spoon for this and then carefully spread it. As the Puree is liquid, you need to be careful to not mix it too much. Top with the Pistachios.
*If you use Apples or Pears you put all the Frangipane Mixture in the baking tin and place the Fruit on top, followed by the Pistachios or flaked Almonds.

Place the baking form back in the oven for approximately 50 Minutes. Use a Tooth Pick to see if the Cake is baked. Once this is the case, take it out of the Oven and let it cool.

And enjoy! It is also nice with some Vegan Ice Cream or Caramel Sauce!

Easy Lunch!

Veganuary has well started and I guess You will see many ads online. I am pleased with it!

Life is full of appointments, deadlines, work, family and much more so cooking or making your own lunch seems time consuming. Maybe try and shift your mindset a wee bit here. You take time to fill up your car, you take time to do your sports and too many people take too much time watching too much TV / Shows. Think of it this way: Fuelling your Body is important. Fuelling your Body with good and the right nutrients is also very important. You need your Body and it does great work every Day! Self care is not only going to a massage or workout, it is also taking care of what we Eat.

So here is one of my favourite Lunches – made in approx. 5 minutes! (To take it to work, you can pre-fry the Tofu, and take the rest with you to assemble in your Work kitchen)
You will need:

1 Slice of Bread
1 Avocado, mashed and seasoned (I use Salt and freshly ground black Pepper)
1 small Tomato
Smoked Tofu, diced
Chili Flakes (if you like them)

Toast the Bread, Peel, Smash and season the Avocado, dice the Tomato and Fry the Tofu in either a little bit of Olive Oil or Coconut Oil. Assemble and add Chili Flakes. Done!
Really yummie, Healthy and very quickly made.

Enjoy!

Summertime – Bruschetta Time!

Summer has arrived in Scotland (yes we do get warm Days and lots of Sunshine!) and as usual, my Body goes into “cool” mode, meaning I do not need cooked meals! So Salads, Fruits, Sandwiches or easy recipes are now on high demand.

Here is one of my absolute Favourite. It is so easy to make, takes very little time and has few ingredients!

My Gluten Free Recipe:

4 Gluten Free Panini (I used the ones from Schär)
1 Garlic Clove peeled and halved
200 gr small Vine Tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste

Cut the Tomatoes into Quarters, put them in a Bowl and add the Basil, Oil, Vinegar, Pepper and Salt to taste, then mix Ingredients together.

I cut the Panini before putting them in the oven into two Halves and turn them around half way through their baking time.

Spike the Garlic with a Fork and rub it onto the cut side of the Panini after they have been baked in the oven.

Using a Spoon, top the Garliced Panini with the Tomatoes and Serve.

I hope you will love this Recipe as much as I do!



Vegan and Gluten Free

I remember some years ago, when I went to a Café, I saw these “Gluten free and Vegan Cakes”. I also remember what I thought “Really? What is this cake made of?” I know, I was judgemental and did not know better!

Today I am following a Vegan and Gluten free diet. I am not a Coeliac but Gluten sensitive. Me! Who loves Bread, Cakes, Pasta and all the rest!

I started developing symptoms that I had no explanation for. More Headaches, Migraines, Brain Fog, Muscle aches, digestions problems and the weirdest: Stumbling for no reason when walking sometimes. All of those can of course have another cause (Thyroid problems, Pre/Menopause and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for example). As I went through a stressful time with renovating a new House while working two Jobs and eventually moving, I put the severity of my ill feeling down to that. But the Symptoms did not ease off after we moved. By coincidence I saw a Documentary about Gluten and why so many People struggle today which was my eye opener. Gluten itself is not harmful, neither can the body do much with it and takes longer to digest it. The development of the Grains and the Chemicals used today have made a massive change though and are believed to be the issue for so many People.

So I thought I can at least try and see if that is actually what is effecting me so much. Luckily, every Supermarket these days stock many “Free From” Products and so it was not a difficult move for me.
After a three to four weeks things got better for me, especially my bad Muscle aches. I also realised that I feel much better with less Gluten based products. “Lighter” I would describe it as.

Going into a Café or Restaurant though comes with challenges. You will find both options in General, but combined is a different story all together.
At home it is very easy. There are many options for Bread (from Schär for example) and Pasta alternatives are plenty, made from Corn, Beans, Rice, Lentils, Peas, Quinoa, Buckwheat etc.
Give it a try, they are actually really good.

So just in case you find yourself with issues as described, have a look, do some research, maybe speak to your Doctor.

I for one will stick as much as I can to a Gluten free Vegan Diet.

The recipe for the Cabbage salad with Fried Sesame Tofu from this Blog Entry will be here soon. As will others. Stay tuned 🙂

It’s Waffle time :)

After years with no Waffle Iron, I treated myself and my loved ones with a super new Waffle Maker. It is a little bit more costly but I can guarantee you, you will love it! I did a little research before making my decision and mine was based on liking Belgian (square) Waffles and the many good reviews I read beforehand. So I decided for the Sage Smart Waffle Maker (for 2 Waffles). It works a treat and has many options so you can make the Waffle the way you like it! They offer the same Waffle Maker for four Waffles in one go too.

So my super yummie Waffle Recipe is pretty simple and you probably have all the ingredients in your house any day of the week 🙂

240 gr Flour
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 pinch Salt
2 Tsp Vinegar (Apple Cidre or else)
50-75 gr melted Vegan Butter or Coconut Oil
450 ml Almond Milk (or any other Plant Based Milk)
1/2 Tsp ground Vanilla (optional)

Since my Waffle Maker needs Zero fat for making the Waffles, I use 75 gr of Vegan Butter. If yours needs fat for the Baking, I would reduce it to 50 gr.

Mix all ingredients in a big Bowl using a large Whisk and Bake 🙂

We love our Waffles with Agave Syrup / Maple Syrup and or Ice Cream. The photo shows Ben & Jerry’s Vegan Dough Option and “plain” Vanilla Ice Cream.

Enjoy!


Vegan Cheese

One thing I really missed when I became a Vegan was Cheese. At the time the Alternatives where scarce and also really really bad. In fact they were awful. As I like a hearty breakfast, I found great Vegetable Spreads made of Pumpkin, Aubergine, Tomatoes etc.

In the past 3 years things have changed and there are now some really good Vegan Cheeses around. Not all of them are available in the UK and some really locally produced and sold (which I like) but I am convinced that this will change in the near future.

There are many books out there now to make your own Vegan Cheese which I always found a wee bit inconvenient for myself as it takes time to make them, in some cases you need a Dehydrator etc. But everybody’s personal situation is different. For a family of 4 or 5 people, it would probably be beneficial to make your own Vegan Cheese.

There are 3 Vegan Cheeses that I can now buy in some shops that are local and are made by “bigger” companies.

All of these options are Soy free which I personally appreciate:

One is Violife which I find to be really good Vegan Cheese. My favourite is the Cheddar Style one. I know that Violife offers Organic Versions as well but they are actually hard to come by where I live. Apparently the grated Violife Cheese is a good substitute for Pizzas / Lasagnes. I haven’t tried it so can not really comment on this one.

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The other Vegan Cheese I recently came across is the Smoked Gouda by Follow Your Heart. If you are in favour of a Smoky taste, this is your Vegan Option for Cheese.

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My most recent find is the Cheddar Vegan Cheese made by KoKo. As it is made with Coconut, it has a hint of it which bothers some people, others find it ok. So again it is up to you to have a try and see. It is also Soy free and has added B12, Calcium and D2.

 

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The prices of the Vegan Cheese Options vary from 2.40 GBP to 3.50 GBP, so are slightly higher in price, depending on what kind of Dairy Cheese you used to buy.

I have to say that the Vegan Movement brings so many new Products into regular supermarkets at the moment – keep your eyes open! I am sure in the next 10 years Vegan Products will have increased hugely.

The future is Vegan 🙂 .

Vegan Scones

If you live in Scotland or travel to the UK, there is one thing you will come across: Scones!
Almost every Café will offer them in different varieties. Traditionally they are plain or sweetened with raisins and eaten with Jam, Butter & Clotted Cream.
Savoury Scones usually are with Cheese and often eaten with Soups or Salads.

They are one of my favourites when it comes to a Treat and I make a batch from time to time and freeze them so we can easily defrost them on a Sunday and enjoy them.

The traditional recipe has little ingredients but surely not all of them are Vegan. A wee while ago I came across a lovely and easily made Vegan Version that my son and I love!
Quickly made and you probably have all those ingredients in the house anyway!

Here is how I make them (makes 12 small one or approximately 8 medium sized ones):
Preheat the oven to 200 °C

450 gr self raising flour
40  gr icing sugar
200 ml Coconut Milk
200 ml Soda Water
1 pinch of Vanilla powder

Mix the flour with the sugar and Vanilla in a bowl, then add the Coconut Milk and the Soda Water. Take a knife (a regular one that you would eat with) and “cut” the dough together. It will take a wee while. The dough should be sticky but not runny.
Knead the dough together on a surface with flour, then roll out to approx. 3 cm thickness. I use a drinking glass dipped into flour to cut out the rounds which usually works very well.
Place on a baking tray with Parchment Paper and brush the top either with some Coconut Milk (if you have any left) or some plant based Milk as an alternative.

Place in the hot oven for about 20 – 30 minutes, depending on your oven. They should be golden brown and risen. Place on a wire rack to cool.

I eat my Scones with Jam only, but if you need the “Clotted Cream” there is Soy Cream, Oat Cram or Coconut Cream which will complement the Jam.

I hope you enjoy baking those Scones yourself!

Christmas Treats

At this time of year, the treats are everywhere and whereas I try to eat very healthy during the year, I have to admit that I do appreciate and indulge in the not so healthy Treats at Christmas time.

I recently baked this lovely black and white Cake that isn’t necessarily a Christmas cake, but I added the Christmas Spices to it to make it just that.

It was quickly made, is very yummie and can be frozen should you not eat it all at once.

I found this recipe in a book that was given to me by a friend a couple of years ago. The original version is using Soy yoghurt but as I am not a fan of the taste of Soy, I used Coconut yoghurt as an alternative and added a bit more starch to the mix.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do and have fun baking it!

Recipe:
Preheat the oven at 200 °C
For the dough:

150 gr flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp Cocoa
1 pinch of Salt
1/2 Tsp Christmas spices
70 gr vegan Butter
3 Tbsp plant based milk (I used Almond)

Mix all ingredients together (I do this by hand) and roll out with a pin roller to fit into a 28 cm cake tin. Leave approx. 1/4 of the dough to cut Stars (or else) with a cookie Cutter

For the filling:

60 g vegan Butter at room temperature
90 g Sugar
90 g ground Almonds
75 g Starch (I used Potato Starch)
1/2 Tsp Vanilla or mark from 1 Vanilla pod
1 pinch of Salt
grated Lemon zest from 1/2 Lemon
1 pinch of Cinnamon (or to taste)
1 pinch baking powder
500 g plant based  plain Yoghurt

Mix the vegan Butter and Sugar until foamy, add all the other ingredients until you have a smooth consistency.
Add the mix into the baking Tin, place the Cookies on top and bake for approx. 45 Minutes or until golden brown. I covered the cake for 30 mins in the oven and without for the remaining time.

And now enjoy!

 

New Vegan products

I am always delighted to see new Vegan products in the regular supermarkets. My local one (Sainsbury’s) has a new Vegan range in the fridge section. I tried two of these and there were really good!
Whereas I am normally not a “ready made” buyer, I am of course glad to have things like these available as I am a single working mother.
I ate these with Houmous and self made Ketchup. They easily go with Salad as well or as part of a dish with potatoes and veggies.

If you are in Britain, look out for these.

 

 

 

A Vegan Christmas

As the Advent is drawing close and Christmas only a month away, I started my traditional biscuit baking. I love baking and have changed many of my old recipes from the times when I was a Vegetarian to the Vegan version.
My favourite biscuit is traditionally called “Spritzgebaeck” and I bake the recipe that my mother used converted into the Vegan version. I also inherited her old device and it gives me some nostalgic times when using it as my mother sadly passed away in 2004.

This recipe is close to a Shortbread and can either be roll pinned and used with cookie cutters or, as I do it, form them into the shapes that gave them their name “Spritzgebaeck”.

You can certainly use a different flour or sweetener but as I have no experience with that, you might have to go through some trial & error :).

I hope you enjoy making and eating them as much as I do! I store them in a glass container to keep them fresh and they are actually super yummie for weeks.

Here is the original recipe changed to the Vegan version:

500 gr     plain white flour
250 gr     sugar
250 gr     vegan butter
replacement for 1 Egg
50 ml plant based milk

Combine the ingredients (I do this by hand!) and form into a ball which should rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Bake the biscuits at approx. 190°C for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy this super treat!