This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pears with Ginger and Star Anise
from Vegan Cooking (Eating for Health)

6 tbsp caster sugar
1 1/4 cups white dessert wine
thinly pared rind and juice of 1 lemon
7.4cm piece of fresh root ginger, bruised
5 star anise
10 cloves
2 1/2 cups water
6 slightly unripe pears

Put first six ingredients in a saucepan (big enough to hold all the pears in upright position). Don't put the pears in yet but bring liquid to boil. 

Peels the pears but leave the stems. Add the pears to the liquid making sure they are completely immersed. Return to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until pears are tender. 

Remove the pears with with a slotted spoon and place them in a heatproof dish. Boil the remaining liquid rapidly until it reduces to about half the volume. Pour liquid over the pears and allow to cool. Then chill.

Cut the pears into thick slices and arrange serving with some soy icecream or yoghurt. The recipe also suggests serving with sliced pieces of ginger from ginger in syrup.

I loved this dessert. Geoff was not so impressed. I loved the flavours and how light but delicious it was. I didn't have any dessert wine on hand (well, I did, but it was a rather expensive bottle we had picked up in Tasmania that we were keeping for a special occassion) so used some champagne which gave it a bit of a tang. I also didn't have any of the ginger in syrup and only made this recipe to use up the pears in my fruit bowl and didn't want to have to go out and buy it. I'm sure it would have added to the delicious flavour and wonderful textures but it was tasty without it. I also just used the normal green pears that you get in the supermarket. It would be great for a dinner party as you can prepare it before, leave it in the fridge, and could dish it up on one big plate or on inidividual dishes.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mini Crustless Quiches

A while ago I was talking about quiche. I finally got around to making some from this great recipe on the FatFree Vegan website. They are light and delicious and great for fingerfood or snacks. I'm going to even try adding a crust (maybe brown rice). I've Australian-ised the recipe below.

Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches

olive oil spray
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup red capsicum
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (or spring onions)
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp. dried, crushed)
black pepper to taste
350g lite firm silken tofu, drained of water
1/4 cup plain soymilk
2 tbsp savoury yeast
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp tahini
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 190C (375 F). Spray 12 regular-sized muffin cups well with non-stick spray.
Lightly spray a non-stick frying pan with olive oil and sauté the garlic, capsicum and mushrooms over medium heat until the mushrooms just begin to exude their juices. Stir in the chives, rosemary, and freshly ground black pepper, and remove from the heat.
Place remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender. Process until completely smooth and silky. Add the tofu mixture to the vegetables and stir to combine. Spoon equally into the 12 muffin cups: it will fill regular muffin cups about halfway (mine didn't so if you want bigger quiches maybe only fill 11).

Put the muffin pan into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 180C (350 F). Bake until the tops are golden and a knife inserted into the middle of a quiche comes out clean–about 25-35 minutes depending on your oven and muffin cups (silicone will take longer than metal, so if you’re using a metal pan, check it at 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes.

Chocolate Cheesecake

My Dad loves cheesecake. He also has a bit of a cholestrol problem. So I served him up some of my chocolate cheesecake and he loved it. He said he could tell it wasn't real cheesecake, and it's true that it doesn't have the same heavy cheesy taste, but it's light and delicate and delicious. And very easy! The only con about this recipe is that it uses two tubs of vegan cream cheese. My favourite to use if Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese (which my local Coles stocks and I'm pretty sure you can get it at Woolworths too) but it's quite expensive. I also have a lot of trouble getting reasonably priced vegan chocolate cooking chips. So I normally just buy a dark vegan chocolate cooking block and chop it up. Takes time and is a bit messy! Still, it's worth it if you are having a dinner party and want to serve up something yummy!

Chocolate Cheesecake

6 tsp egg replacer
1/2 cup water
1 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
690g vegan cream cheese
3/4 sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cookie Crust:
1 cup crumbled vegan cookies (I find chocolate ones are yummiest!)
1/2 vegan butter melted

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Lightly oil a round springform pan. Mix crust ingredients together and press into bottom of the pan. Mix egg replacer and water together in small bowl (best done with electric hand mixer or food processor). Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or double boiler. Beat together cream cheese, sugar and egg replacer mixture in food processor (although I use a blender). Mixture should be smooth and fluffy. Add melted chocolate and vanilla to this and blend again. Pour into prepared crust.

Bake for 50 mins. Be really careful with baking time. The cheesecake centre should barely jiggle when the pan is tapped.

Remove from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan. Then move to a serving plate and cover with cling wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. If you need to serve it straight away you need to chill it for at least 2 hours.