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.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Flour-free Lemon & Blueberry Polenta Cake

I have had polenta sitting in my cupboard for quite a while. I actually kind of like eating it as a meal but it's such a hassle to cook.

I recently made some savoury muffins with polenta and the result was really quite yummy. So, when I saw a recipe at a friend's house for a flour-free cake using polenta (and lemon and blueberries!) I couldn't help veganising it and trying it for myself.

I've recently come to realise that what I know as a 'cup' is quite different to that in the UK and US. As a result, I'm going to start including the weights in my recipes as well as the measurements. However, as long as you are consistent with the types of measures you use, it really shouldn't matter.

Flour-free Lemon & Blueberry Polenta Cake

3/4 cup (100g) sugar
1/4 cup (100g) vegan butter
2 tsp ground flaxseed*
4 tbsp (80ml) water
1 1/3 cup (100g) ground almond meal
3/4 cup (90g) polenta
1 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, grated rind + juice
 100ml soya yoghurt
1 cup (100g) blueberries

Preheat oven to 180C.

Cream/beat together sugar and butter in a large bowl.

In a small cup or bowl whisk together the flaxseed and water until thick and creamy. Add 2 tbsp of the ground almond meal and whisk again until it thickens a bit more. Add this to butter/sugar. Stir in rest of almond meal, polenta, baking powder and lemon rind and juice until combine. Stir in yoghurt until combined. Finally, stir in half of the blueberries. 

Press mixture into a pre-greased loaf tin. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries on top and press lightly into mixture. Bake for 45 minutes.

*Or other egg substitute.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spiced Cocoa Muffins

These chocolatey but earthy muffins are perfect for winter afternoon tea. My muffins came out a little cracked on top due to the fact that I am too lazy to move the racks in my oven. But they were still really delicious! The recipe is adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking (which is the best vegan baking book ever so you should all get it).

Spiced Cocoa Muffins

3 tsp ground flaxseed (or other egg replacer for 2 eggs)
4 tbsp water
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking/bicarb soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup soya milk
1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
1/2 cup vegan choc chips

Preheat over to 200C (400F).

Whip together ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl.  Add milk and melted butter.

Mix the dry ingredients (ex choc chips) together in a separate large bowl. Add the liquid mix to this and stir until just combined. Stir in choc chips.

Spoon into pre-greased muffin pans. I normally fill 12 to just under the brim of the muffin tin. Put it in the centre of your oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean except if it hits a melted choc chip!).

Take them out of the over, let them sit for 5 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Creamy Curried Lentil and Pumpkin/Squash Soup

Winter finally made it to Cambridge. It's been very mild and then suddenly we had ridiculously cold weather last week and then snow last night. I had never really seen snow fall properly so it was quite a treat. We spent the day frollicking in town. I even managed my first snow ball fight!

Selwyn College Old Court

But after a long day of walking around in snow it is nice to come home to a warm house and some yummy food. We had a butternut pumpkin/squash in the cupboard so I decided to make a yummy soup but with lots of lentils and chickpeas for protein (but with almost no fat)!

Creamy Curried Lentil and Pumpkin/Squash Soup

1 brown onion, chopped
1 leek (white and green bits), cut in half and then sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 small gold sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 butternut pumpkin/squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped
1 cup of red lentils, prewashed
1 cup chickpeas, presoaked* but not cooked**
1 tbsp soya sauce
1/2 tbsp hot curry powder
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp garam masala
1/2 tbsp hot chili powder
1/2 tbsp salt
black pepper to taste

Put the vegies, lentils and chickpeas in a large soup pan/pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 40 min-1 hour (or whenever the chickpeas cook). Blend the hot soup in the pot with a stick blender or transfer to a food processor/blender/liquidiser and then transfer back to the pot.

Keep the blended soup on a low heat and add the spice. Note that you are putting 1/2 tablespoon of each in. Simmer for another couple of minutes and then serve.

*a couple of hours soaking in some water should be fine
** if you only have cooked/canned chickpeas then just add them at the end instead of at the start