Friday, 17 January 2014

Lush Lemon Drizzle Traybake - Vegan Version

Some time ago I blogged my recipe for lemon drizzle squares, and it's still a favourite in our house. However, since I offered to bring cake to my book-signing at our independent October Books in Southampton, and some of the staff there are vegan, a suitable adaptation was needed. I've some experience of wheat-free baking, but less with vegan, so sleeves were rolled up, teddy bear apron tied round the waist, and off we went. This is adapted to be really easy - the ingredients are mixed with just a spoon.

Here's what the rough copy of the final recipe looked like:
Some tidying up needed here.
This makes 25+ squares, of course depending on how small you want them. The picture at the end has more, as the pieces were intended as nibbles rather than whole portions.

Preps take about 20 mins, baking 30 mins, then drizzling just a further minute or two, followed by cooling time. The result was, I have to say, one of my best ever cakes.

Lush Lemon Drizzle Traybake - Vegan Version
The baking tin should have an area of about 400sq cm - that's about 26x17, or 21cm square. The tin should be lined (bottom and sides) with baking parchment. A fine grater is needed and a means of juicing the lemons - here are my trusty tools:

The oven should be heated to 175C, middle shelf ready.

225ml soya milk
2 tsp white vinegar (wine, balsamic or cider)**
2 lemons
75ml oil, e.g. olive
200g + 65g gran sugar
250g plain flour
2 rounded tsp baking powder

(** I checked some websites and it seems Waitrose Essential White Wine Vinegar and Cider Vinegar are OK, and Tesco White Wine Vinegar. Couldn't find info on sites for Aldi, Lidl or Asda. The Vegan Society site suggests almost all vinegar is suitable.)

Mix the soya milk and vinegar in a small bowl; it may curdle, which is good.
2 Grate the zest of both lemons and place in a large bowl with the juice of one of them,
         saving the juice of the other for the drizzle later.
3  Add the milk/vinegar mix, the oil and 200g of the sugar and mix well with a spoon.
4  Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix gently, trying to eliminate any lumps.
5  Pour the mixture into the tin - it will be quite runny. Bake for 27-30 mins until the
         cake is golden and a skewer poked right to the bottom comes out clean. Then
         remove from the oven but keep in the tin.
6  While it cools, make the drizzle by mixing the remaining 65g of sugar with the juice of
         the second lemon and warm through without boiling so as to keep the crunch (hob 
         or 20sec in the microwave).
7  Make plenty of holes around the surface of the cake with a skewer then spoon the 
         drizzle slowly all over it so that it spreads over the surface and drips into the holes.
8  Leave until nearly cold then use a very sharp knife to cut into squares.

Oops! One piece missing.

Next project might be a vegan orange drizzle traybake - although it's hard to veer away from lemon if you love it as I do. Other possibilities are coconut, cranberry, even choc chip. Or even chopped hazelnuts and a maple syrup drizzle. Lovely!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Onion, Sage and Garlicky Soup

A quick posting of the recipe for my latest soup - there were enquiries on twitter!

I made it up as I went along, and it disappeared in double-quick time at lunch, so no pictures available. The quantities are therefore approximate, and this recipe serves two. I use a stick blender for soup but it can be whizzed in a processor. This would be vegan if the milk were omitted and the stock increased a little, and of course leaving out the cream.

Should take 30-35 mins from start to serving.

Onion, Sage and Garlicky Soup

2 tbsp oil
5 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 medium potato (washed but no need to peel), cut into 2cm dice
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped (or use a garlic press)
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 pint of hot vegetarian stock , e.g. using Marigold Bouillon powder
about 2 tbsp snipped fresh sage leaves (or 1 tbsp dried)
1 tbsp ground cumin
200ml any organic milk
optional: a little double cream and snipped coriander to serve

1  Heat the oil in a large pan (a deep one if you'll be using a stick blender).
2  Add the onions, potato, garlic and sugar and cook gently for 10 mins, stirring
3 Add the stock and simmer a further 5 mins.
4  Add the sage and cumin, and simmer again 5 mins, stirring occasionally.
5  Puree using a stick blender, or whizz in the processor.
6 When ready to serve the soup, stir in the milk and bring again to a simmer.
         Ladle into bowls, then swirl a little cream (if using) gently over the surface
         and sprinkle the coriander over.

Without the cream, this is a relatively low-fat soup and it's very warming. More liquid can be added if the result is a little thick for the cook's liking, and thyme would serve instead of sage. I hope you like it!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Boston Baked Beans with Sausages: Warming and Treacly

Commercial tinned baked beans: ready in five. Boston Baked Beans: ready in 2h 20m. However, most of the Boston time does not need any attention, the recipe is tweakable, and the results are very pleasing.

Our slow cooker is small and the quantity here serves 2. Mr P likes Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages, while I prefer the Lincolnshire type, so we used two of each. Haricot beans could, of course, be bought dried, then soaked overnight and cooked vigorously, but I've used a can.

The only 'equipment' needed is the slow cooker, a small bowl and a melamine/wooden spoon! If you want to have a go at the recipe and don't have a slow cooker, use an ovenproof dish and keep in the oven, covered, for the duration on a lowish temp - around 130C - so that it bubbles very gently once heated up. Still stir occasionally. In the early stages the sauce may seem runny, but it thickens up nicely towards the end of the cooking time.

Treacle, sugar, mustard & sputniks
Boston Baked Beans with Sausages

410g tin haricot beans in water
2 small onions, each studded with 3 cloves
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 good tbsp black treacle
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp dijon mustard (or wholegrain)
Half tsp salt
Plenty of ground black pepper
4 vegetarian sausages
Juice and grated zest of half a lemon

1  Switch slow cooker on to high.
2  Drain the beans (saving the liquid) and add to the cooker with the onions.
3  Place the sugar, treacle, puree, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper in the bowl with
         3 tbsp of the liquid from the beans and mix well. This will be quite syrupy to start.
4  Leave to cook for about 75 mins, stirring occasionally. Once it's bubbling gently,
         alter the setting from high to medium/low/auto, whatever keeps it at that point.
5  Add the sausages and mix around so they're covered in the beans and sauce.
6  Leave to cook for a further 45 mins.
7  Discard the onions (or save for soup), then stir in the lemon juice and zest.
8  Cook a further 5-10 mins for the lemon flavour to mix in.

As alternatives, black-eyed beans could replace haricots, and a couple of tablespoons of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce could be used instead of lemon juice.

With these we had small Charlotte potatoes with optional parsley butter, but roasties would go well, as would rostis or bought breaded potato cakes. A nice full-bodied red wine goes well. So I'm told.