Egg-free Yorkshire Puddings

 

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Yorkshire puddings are surely an iconic feature of the British menu and the ideal way to pep up a roast dinner for the long suffering ‘you can just have the veg’ vegetarian. I have tried so many approaches but all my previous attempts at Yorkshire puddings have been a total failure – greasy little doughy things with no noticeable rise – just not nice. Some people swear by a recipe that uses grated potato, but it didn’t work for me and I’m a bit baffled by Yorkshire puddings containing grated potato!

This recipe I devised is as true to the original ingredients as possible (if you leave out the main ingredients of milk and eggs of course!). The puddings you end up with are crisp but also light and fluffy with an airy centre, just perfect as a vehicle for some rich red wine gravy. I didn’t get the sunken in the middle effect, but am going to try egg-free vegetarian ‘toad in the hole’ and see if the puddings get the sunken thing going on when made on a bigger scale.

Egg-free Yorkshire Puddings (egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Makes about 18 small ones

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup dairy-free yogurt
  • 1 cup dairy-free milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

- Mix together all the ingredients and set aside for at least half an hour
– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 4 (or there abouts if already have it a bit higher for some roast potatoes in the oven)
– Pour 1/2-1 tsp sunflower oil into each cup in a cupcake tray
– Heat in the oven for 10 minutes
– Carefully remove the pan from the oven and half fill each cup with the batter
– Place back in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until risen and golden

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Pain au Chocolat Palmiers

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This recipe is genius, even if I do say so myself! Delicate little pastries, whipped up with no fuss in minutes, that taste just like pain au chocolat. I’ve made authentic method free-from viennoiserie before, but wow is it hard work! Definitely not something to attempt when you’re in a rush. This recipe, on the other hand, enables you to whip up a batch of pastries in a flash, perfect when catering for those who don’t do dairy.

Like an authentic pain au chocolat, these are not too sweet, with the dark chocolate centre encased in flaky layers. They certainly won’t be hanging around for long in the cookie tin.

Pain au Chocolat Palmiers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan, soya-free, sesame-free)

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makes loads!

  • 1 pack puff-pastry, ensure its not the butter type
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free spread
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Caster sugar, probably less than 1/2 a cup

- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 6
– Line a baking sheet with parchment
– Mix together the dairy-free spread and cocoa powder and set aside
– Roll out the pastry, using caster sugar rather than flour, until it forms a nice large rectangle. Odd I know, but this is what gives the sweet palmier effect.
– Spread the cocoa mix evenly over the pastry and sprinkle with a fine layer of caster sugar
– Fold up by bringing the short sides to meet in the middle.
– Repeat, until you have done the same 3 times.
– Cut 1 cm slices and place well spaced on the baking sheet
– Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

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Mexican spicy polenta and corn cakes

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I think there is a perception that Mexican food is on the whole quite humble and not refined. This is a delicate, elegant dish that could make a small starter or larger main. This is another one inspired by The Gate Restaurant – a trip to a good veggie restaurant always fires up my imagination. These polenta and corn cakes are really flavourful, crispy and went fabulously with my black bean salsa, chipotle infused sweet potatoes and shallots, and a good dose of avocado and coriander mayonnaise.

We also found the left over corn cakes made wonderful crispy polenta fries that we served with a salad the next day.

Mexican Polenta Corn Cakes (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves 4

  • 100g quick cook polenta
  • 400ml water
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tin of sweetcorn
  • 1/2-1 red chilli, finely sliced (I left it out of the children’s half as our chillies were hot hot HOT)
  • Salt

- Bring the water to the boil
– Pour in the polenta in a fine stream, then whisk over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the polenta has thickened and no longer sticks to the side of the pan but forms a large ball around the whisk
– Stir in the sweetcorn and thyme and salt to taste. As its essentially very bland you may need to add more than you’d think
– Pour onto a flat baking tray that has been lined with cling film
– Cover the top with more cling film and form into an even square or rectangle
– Place in the fridge to firm up, at least 30 mins
– Cut into desired shapes – squares, circles or fries work well
– Pan fry til golden, then transfer to a medium oven for 10 minutes to completely warm through
– Serve with the black bean salsa, roasted sweet potatoes and this wonderful avocado mayonnaise for a veritable mexican feast

Avocado and Coriander Mayonnaise (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of 1 lime (use less for a non-Mexican mayonnaise)
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsps sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 small handful coriander, chopped

- Whiz together the avocado, lime and vinegar in a food processor.

- Season.

- Add the other ingredients and whiz until smooth.

- Taste and adjust the seasoning.

- Add a little more sunflower oil if too thick.

- Keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days

Chocolate and vanilla pinwheel biscuits

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It was the termly school cake sale last week, giving the perfect excuse to bake like crazy! I always make two types of baked offerings so that my girls get to choose, it seems a bit sad to have a vast array of cakes before you and you can only go for one type. Obviously it would be far better if there were more options for them, but I do what I can. Also, I always make a point of trying to make them as pretty and tempting as possible – I want my daughters to see other children choose and enjoy their ‘funny’ cakes. Whereas often people will say ‘ oh it’s got no dairy in it? No, I’m fine thank you’ – such closed minds!

Anyway, I made a massive batch of vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream, which are always a favourite. For the second type I was going to make chocolate chip cookies, but in the end I decided they’re weren’t special enough. What I needed were some real WOW biscuits, some that were pretty, irresistible and yummy. While that may be quite a tall order, these chocolate and vanilla pinwheels fit the bill perfectly – they’re really tasty, nice and crunchy so will travel well, oh so pretty with the contrasting swirl, and well, who can resist some sprinkles! I’m pleased to say they flew out of the tin – Big S wasn’t too impressed as she wanted to bring lots home!

Chocolate and Vanilla Pinwheel Biscuits

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makes at least 20 cookies

  • 2 1/3 cups of plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable fat (I used Trex)
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free spread (Pure)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsps oat milk (Oatly)
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tbsps sprinkles

- Sift together the flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder.

- In another bowl whisk together the fat, spread and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the extracts and oat milk and whisk again.

- Add the flour mix and carefully combine.

- Split the dough into two equal sized portions. Add the cocoa to one and mix to thoroughly combine. If its too dry add a splash of dairy-free milk

- Roll out one dough. Then roll out the other and sandwich together. Tightly roll into a sausage shape.

- Place a sheet of cling-film onto the work surface. Put the dough cylinder on one side, liberally sprinkle the decorations next to it, then roll over to coat the whole log.

- Wrap in the cling-film and then place in the fridge for at least half an hour.

- Cut 1/4 inch slices with a sharp non-serrated knife.

- Place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden round the edges

- Cool on the sheet before moving to a wire rack.

 

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Black Bean Salsa

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This is a nifty little recipe for an interesting variation on a ‘regular’ salsa. Inspired by a delicious lunch I had at the fabulous the Gate Restaurant the other day, this is my take on black bean salsa. Wonderful scooped up with tortilla chips, as an addition to a wonderful Mexican main course (recipe coming soon!) or a topping for nachos or any tortilla based dish. It’s also the kind of dish that is enjoyable to prepare, just simple ingredients put together in an uncomplicated way.

There’s nothing wrong with a tomato salsa (especially this awesome salsa), but it’s good to have more in your locker, and for me a great new way with beans that is fresh and zingy.

Black Bean Salsa (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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  • 1 bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 1 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes, chopped fairly small
  • 1 tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime (or more to taste if you have a dry old line that gives little juice!)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

1. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside for about half an hour for the flavours to mingle

2. Taste and adjust the salt and lime juice accordingly

3. Enjoy!

Mini Blueberry Scones

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Dried fruits are a fabulous addition to any baked goods, giving an intense flavour hit, with none of risk of excess moisture that fresh fruit can produce. However, dried fruits can be tricky to find if you have concerns over nut traces. They always seem to process fruits and nuts in the same facilities, meaning we usually give them a wide berth. Which is a shame really as they’re such wonderful little flavour bombs, and can even appeal to those who don’t like the sogginess of fresh fruit (like my children).

I don’t have the luxury of a dehydrator but if your oven goes low enough and you have the time and patience, home dried fruits that are totally safe are at your disposal. These berries were literally placed on a lined baking sheet and put into a low oven (100 degrees Centigrade) for 3-4 hours until they were wrinkled and shrivelled but not dried up.

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The berries work wonderfully in these elegant little canapé sized scones; think a similar effect to sultanas but with bags more flavour. I couldn’t stop eating these light, crumbly and tasty little morsels – pity I made quite so many!

Mini Blueberry Scones (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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  • 450g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 75g dairy-free spread
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 300 ml dairy-free milk, I used Oatly
  • 1 tsp berry essence, if you have it
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries, roughly chopped
  • To top: 2 tbsp oat milk 2 tbsp granulated sugar (I used blue sugar crystals)

- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade/gas mark 6

- Grease and flour 2 baking sheets

- Rub the spread into the flour, sugar and baking powder until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the dried fruit.

- Pour in the essence and dairy-free milk and very gently bring together to a soft dough. It’s very important not to work scone dough.

- Gently pat out the dough until its about 1 inch thick. Using a 1inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds and place on the baking sheets Continue, gently bringing the dough back into a ball and cutting out, until all the dough has been used up.

- Brush the top of each with dairy-free milk and sprinkle with sugar Bake for about 20 minutes until starting to turn golden. Cool on a wire rack.

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Sweet corn and sundried tomato savoury muffins

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I saw some wonderful looking savoury muffins in Ottolenghi’s deli/restaurant the other day and was inspired to make a free-from version. And they are quite a success! Light and fluffy but packed with sweet corn kernels, bundles of herbs and sticky sun dried tomato pieces.

These muffins would go nicely with a picnic, salad or bowl of soup. I’m even thinking they’d work rather well alongside a steaming hot bowl of chilli! A good dose of red chilli is also a good addition, especially as it works so well alongside the sweetcorn. The nutritional yeast is entirely optional, but does add an extra savoury dimension if you have some to hand (feel free to sub some mature cheese if you eat dairy as it would have a similar end result).

Savoury Muffins (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 12

  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 1/2 cups oat milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn
  • 1/4-1/2 red chilli (optional)
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 4
– Line a muffin tin with paper liners
– Sift together the flour, bicarbonate, salt and mustard powder.
– Stir in the sweetcorn, chilli, sundries tomatoes, thyme and nutritional yeast

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– In a separate bowl combine the oil, vinegar and dairy-free milk
– Pour into a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and mix to a lumpy batter
– Ladle into the muffin cases
– Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and a knife comes out clean
– Cool on a wire rack

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Moroccan Couscous

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I’m trying to challenge myself. Some of my least favourite pulses are chickpeas and I’m mostly not more than luke-warm about any squash or pumpkin. So this recipe is a bit of a ‘leap of faith’ for me. In using flavours (Harissa) and textures (couscous and roasted onions) that I like in the dish, I was hoping to make the squash and chickpeas more palatable. Roasting them gives a wonderfully sweet flavour and the robust spicing overwhelms the bits I don’t like in the veg. It looks wonderful piled high on a platter and works equally well as a salad, side or even main dish. Can I say I’m a convert? Well, nearly! Just have to keep the variety going to pep your unloved veg. Hope you enjoy as much as I did…

Worth noting that this is the best, most foolproof way of cooking couscous I’ve ever come across – always resulting in tasty, fluffy grains in a flash. Couscous sounds like it should be so easy, but the number of times I have it off a menu and it’s been cooked terribly is shocking.

Moroccan Couscous (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves 4

  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 red onion, roughly sliced
  • 1/2 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Harissa paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Small handful if parsley, finely chopped

For the couscous:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of any combination of lemon or vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

- Mix together the squash, onion, chickpeas, oil and Harissa and roast for 30 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade, tossing now and then
– Add the balsamic and cook for an extra 10 minutes
– Taste and adjust seasoning as desired
– To make the couscous: bring the water, lemon/vinegar, oil and salt to the boil
– Pour over the couscous and cover
– Leave for 10 minutes then fluff up with a fork
– Add the roasted veg to the couscous, pls the raisins and parsley
– Serve warm or room temperature

 

 

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Mediterranean Salad

 

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I guess you could say this is a combination of a salade Nicoise and a Greek salad – featuring the punchy flavours of olives, roasted peppers and basil mixed with the fresh vibrancy of ripe cherry tomatoes and fine green beans. Ideal at any time of year, I think this salad particularly sings in early autumn when tomatoes are at their very best and the beans are still vibrant and delicate.

Mediterranean Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course

  • 2 peppers
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes (a big handful!)
  • 1 handful French green beans, stalk end chopped off
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup mixed olives
  • Small bunch of basil leaves

Mustard Dressing

  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of sugar

- Skin the peppers, either by blistering the skin over a flame/under the grill. Or peel with a vegetable peeler, roughly slice
– Place in a baking tin, sprinkle with the oil and herbs, (plus some salt and pepper) and roast for 10-20 minutes in a hot oven until sweet and slippery. Cool.
– Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside
– Mix together all the salad ingredients with the dressing
– Serve on a pretty platter with some rustic bread

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Funfetti Cupcakes

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I’m in the habit of making cookies or cakes for the girls’ classes on a Friday. I normally make them for little S as another mum has always made them for Big S’s class and I’ve never wanted to step on any toes. Anyway, for this week, little S requested cupcakes rather than the usual cookies. I don’t need much convincing to whip up a batch of cupcakes ;-)

I’ve only ever come across the concept of funfetti cupcakes online before – (they’re not something you come across in the UK) but they do sound fun, and a little step outside the ordinary.

So here’s a recipe for funfetti cupcakes which I flavoured with raspberry essence rather than the usual vanilla , topped with a chocolate buttercream and more sprinkles – they were a big hit! What’s not to like?

Funfetti Cupcakes (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Makes 24

  • 400g self-raising flour
  • 209g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 300ml oat milk
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp raspberry essence (or whatever flavour you fancy)
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles/funfetti

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 5

- Place liners in a cupcake tray

- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Stir in the sugar.

- In a separate bowl, mix together the oat milk, bicarb, lemon, vanilla and oil.

- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix, until well combines.

- Stir in the sprinkles/funfetti

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- 2/3rds fill the liners and bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly golden and a knife comes out clean.

- Cool on a wire rack.

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- Ice with chocolate buttercream and decorate with more sprinkles/funfetti

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