Donuts.

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Last weekend did not only feature my udon noodle soup premiere, but also my first time ever for baking donuts. My daughter was going to a birthday party (actually two that weekend) and I always give something along, so that she has the option to eat something vegan. Now the (first) birthday boy in question had been announcing in class that there would be donuts at his party. With little time on my hands on a Saturday morning, I looked for the quickest donut recipe I could find. The first recipe (more or less) looked easy and tasty enough, but in the midst of making the batter I realized that donuts are supposed to be yeast-based, whereas this recipe contained baking powder. I had crossed the point of no return, so I just went ahead and fried the donuts. They were extremely dense and heavy, but my daughter was totally thrilled nonetheless at the prospect of getting 3 donuts (yes, I always tend to exaggerate). And a bit in tears at pick-up time that two boys had each taken one of her donuts (as it turned out, hers were ironically the only (wannabe) donuts at the party, where waffles and cupcakes were served), so that she was left with “only” one (it did count for at least two).

I quickly consoled her with the promise that I would be baking new ones the day after to take with us as a coffee table treat when visiting vegan friends. And even better ones this time. And so I did.

I found a recipe on a blog called Darth Vegan, and I decided to give them a try, despite one of the ingredients listed being coconut milk. There was the minor fear that the taste of coconut would be overpowering, but I decided to go for it anyhow. Looking back I certainly do not regret doing so! These were totally easy to make, the dough was a charm to handle, and the donuts tasted, well, like REAL donuts. Needless to say all vegan kids around the table were totally thrilled and devoured them in no time.

If it weren’t for all the fat (I fried them in coconut oil), I’d make a batch of these every week. But as it’s the plan to spend some of our summertime on Italian beaches, that wouldn’t be the best plan I guess. At least not when speaking for myself. So this will be just a once-in-a-while treat from now on.

Donuts (Darth Vegan style)

  • Servings: 15
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 TB lukewarm water
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (the kind I buy, the home brand of Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize, is very rich and creamy and hardly contains any liquid. Good value for money.)
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (this is roughly the amount one apple yields; you can quickly make apple sauce in the microwave)
  • 2 TB vegan butter or oil
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Directions

  • Mix water and yeast and let sit for a couple of minutes until foamy.
  • Take a large bowl and combine coconut milk, sugar, salt, applesauce, and oil/margarine.
  • Add the foamy yeast/water mixture, the flour, and stir until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if it’s to sticky.
  • Let rise until doubled in volume.
  • Roll out the dough to 2 cm thickness and cut out donut shapes (I used a glass and the piping piece of a piping bag for the centre).
  • Let rest until doubled in size.
  • Heat the oil in a pot.  To test whether the oil is hot enough, test with a small piece of dough: if the oil is sizzling when you add the lump of dough, then it’s ok to start frying.
  • Fry the donuts for 30-45 seconds on one side, until golden, then turn and fry them on the other side.
  • When done, transfer to a plate lined with paper kitchen towels and let cool.
  • Decorate them. (I decorated them with either a chocolate ganache (vegan chocolate + soy cream), partly with strawberry icing (half a strawberry mixed with icing sugar), and with vegan sprinkles).

     

 

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Udon noodle soup.

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Up until today, I had never made udon noodle soup. Never. Go figure. It just happened to be this way, right until 5 to 12 this noon when I urgently needed to start prepping lunch. My husband suggested we’d have some soup, and this triggered my mind to start wandering back to the package of brown rice udon noodles I earlier this week had considered using in a stir-fry, only to eventually toss away the idea.

So now I again grabbed that very same package from the drawer and thought I actually might use those in a soup, rather than in a stir-fry. To give the soup a Japanese touch, I started out with a base of roasted sesame oil, ginger, tamari and rice wine vinegar, and I used a variety of veggies which I had around (being some leftover broccoli and zucchini, celery, spinach, red bell pepper and baby corn). Today is the 1st of May aka Labour Day, so shops are closed and I had to make do with what I had in my fridge. A fridge which, quite frankly, is pretty full, since we went grocery shopping only two days ago. But no bok choy or shiitake mushrooms. Not that that was any problem, however, because the soup turned out marvellously well without too.

I dare say I was pretty pleased with the result, the more so because the children seemed to enjoy their portions and my husband exclaimed several times how delicious this was. He has even already secured the single leftover soup bowl for this evening (we’re having scrap dinner, featuring three types of leftovers), so that definitely means something!

I cannot but wonder what took me so long to use udon noodles in soup. They always rather left me kind of disappointed in stir-fries, so I guess from now on, I’ll just stick to the ultimately safe noodle & soup combo.

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Udon noodle soup.

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2TB roasted sesame oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 knob ginger (sliced/grated/chopped – as you prefer)
  • A variety of veggies (such as e.g. paksoi, shiitake mushrooms, celery stalks, red bell pepper, celery stalks, broccoli, baby corn,…)
  • 3 TB tamari
  • 1 TB rice wine vinegar
  • 1 TB vegan mushroom and “oyster” sauce
  • 1/2-1 tsp red chili flakes
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 5-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 250 g brown rice udon noodles
  • 2 thinly sliced spring onions, more chili flakes and sesame seeds for garnish

Directions

  • Sauté the onion in a decent splash of sesame oil, together with the ginger and garlic.
  • Add the veggies, and after some minutes also the broth, soy sauce, vegan mushroom and “oyster” sauce, rice vinegar, seasonings and broth.
  • Bring to a boil, then add the noodles.
  • After approximately 5-6 minutes, the noodles should be done and the soup ready to be served. Add a splash of lime juice and garnish with sesame seeds, spring onion and dried red pepper flakes.
  • Enjoy!

Leek-pea risotto with lemon & thyme.

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Spring has arrived, trees are blossoming all around, and then it’s almost time for asparagus. Roasted asparagus, asparagus salad, and -of course! – asparagus risotto. But we’re not entirely there yet. When I checked last week, our supermarket only had asparagus on offer with serious mileage attached. So I decided to wait until local green asparagus becomes available – which is like anytime now – and to cook a leek risotto instead, which, in fact, as far as I’m concerned, is every bit(e) as good and is, with its hint of lemon and thyme, equally capable of conveying a decent sense of spring.

Lemon, thyme, leek and peas make a pretty good combo, and it’s a child-friendly one on top of that. I remember that as a tiny one-year-old, my son would amaze me each time, eating no less than three portions of this risotto. It’s a dish he now, 6 years later, still loves. And so does his sister.

leek-pea risotto with lemon & thyme

  • Servings: 3 to 4
  • Time: 30 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2,5 dl or 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 leeks (white parts; don’t discard the green parts: chop finely, wash thoroughly, and freeze for later use in e.g. soup)
  • 0,8 dl or 1/3 white wine
  • 6-7 dl (or 2,5 cups) vegetable stock (adjust the quantity to your need)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt (or more)
  • 0,5 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1,8 dl or 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 TB lemon juice (I usually have some lemons at hand in the freezer – next to fresh ones -, and you can just grate frozen lemon too, both the zest and the fruit itself)
  • 3 TB nutritional yeast, also called nooch amongst vegans 🙂 (make sure to use a decent brand, as taste varies greatly from brand to brand, and whereas some types are really awesome, others may be downright disgusting (at least according to my experience). I like the nooch from Vitam, but totally avoid the Rapunzel brand, for instance, which ironically is most widely available where I live.)

Directions

  • Heat the oil and add the arborio rice. Stir until the rice is translucent.
  • Add the wine, and when the wine has evaporated, move over to the leeks and some of the stock (not all of the stock, as you’ll be adding it in batches), as well as the garlic, thyme, salt and black pepper.
  • Stir until all liquid has been absorbed, then add some more. Repeat this process until all stock has been used, or until the rice has softened completely. Mind that the rice should not become mushy, but should still have some bite. If the rice needs more liquid, then add some more water, until the risotto has reached the consistency you’re looking for.
  • Bring to taste with lemon juice (or grated lemon, see ingredients), nutritional yeast, and perhaps more salt and pepper if you like. If you’re a fan of vegan parmezan (I am not ashamed to admit that I am!), you can of course cover your risotto with a decent layer of grated vegan parmezan. But if you’re not, or if you can’t get your hands on some where you live, then never mind: this risotto will do what it promises without the parm just as well :-).

Black pepper stir fry with marinated tofu.

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If you are in search of a delectable stir fry, you needn’t look any further: this black pepper stir fry is definitely the one!

Black pepper is something I use in just about everything, but whereas it usually isn’t but an extra (though an important one at that), in this dish it justifiedly takes a leading role. Usually we have this stir fry with these truly heavenly seitan-based balls in sesame oil from Vantastic Foods, but this time I decided to use marinated tofu instead. It was worth every single minute of extra work (which was, all in all, not that significant). Preparing tofu seems something new or non-veg(etari)ans often struggle with, as they do not know how to transform a bland block of admittedly tasteless tofu into something awesome. The trick usually (although not necessarily) involves marinade, and that is not any different here. The tofu mantra goes like this: press – marinate – fry. Simple as that. So if you’re a novice in this area, try your hands on the recipe below, and next thing you know, you’ll be a totally tofu convert and see a world of infinite possibilities opening up.

If you like things hot, be very generous with the amount of black pepper you add; if you have young children, though, like I have, first spoon out their portions, before adding the full load of spiciness. At least that’s what I’d recommend if you want them to appreciate this meal as much as you no doubt will.

dav

black pepper stir fry with marinated tofu

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 min + pressing and marinating tofu
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

Marinated tofu
  • ca. 400 g plain firm tofu
  • 1 TB rice vinegar
  • 4 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB vegan (!) mushroom ‘oyster’ sauce (I used this) – if you don’t have this, just leave it out, the marinade will still be superb.
  • 2 TB sesame oil
  • 1 TB agave syrup
  • 1,5 TB thinly sliced ginger
  • 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • some black pepper
  • coconut oil and 3 TB of cornstarch for the frying process
Stir fry
  • coconut oil for frying
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • about 10 ears of baby corn
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • a large handful of broccoli florets
  • 1 – 1,5 TB freshly cracked black pepper corns (I use mortar and pestle here)
  • 3 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 1 TB agave syrup
  • 2-3 TB cornstarch dissolved in 6-8 TB of water
  • sesame seeds and sliced scallions for garnish

Directions

Marinated tofu
  • Remove the tofu from the package, wrap in a clean kitchen towel, place a small cutting board on top and some items with a significant weight (like a carton of soy milk or a can of kidney beans, or whatever you come across in your kitchen). Press the tofu for at least half an hour, remove from the towel (which now should be soaked), and cut in small cubes (or triangles, or whatever shape you like :-)). Transfer the cubes to an airtight container.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the tofu.
  • Let sit for at least half a day, preferably overnight.
Stir fry
  • Remove the tofu from the container, and keep the excess marinade, as you’ll need it for the stir fry sauce.
  • Heat some coconut oil in a skillet for stir frying and add the drained tofu cubes. Sprinkle 3 TB of cornstarch over the cubes and make sure they get evenly coated. Stir fry until nicely browned and a bit crisp. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  • Heat some more coconut oil and add the carrots, thereafter the softer vegetables, one by one. Pour the leftover marinade over the vegetables and add the remaining ingredients for the stir fry. Make sure not to stir fry the vegetables too long; they should still have a bite when served. So when the vegetables are fork-tender, again add the tofu to the stir fry, and make sure it get’s nicely coated with the stir fry sauce.
  • Serve over rice, and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.

 

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Eggplant marinara sauce with basil & kidney beans.

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Yes, I know, yet another pasta dish (or rather sauce destined to be amply served over pasta). But really, who does not have pasta on the menu at least once a week? So here’s a sauce I made quite a while back but postponed blogging about, because, you know, it’s just a marinara sauce. At the same time, that’s actually not being fair, because this sauce does deserve it’s own, be it ephemeral, moment in this blog’s spotlight. How do I know? Well, benchmarked against the average reaction of my children towards eggplant-based sauces, this sauce one is top-notch. How else to explain that both wolfed down their meal (of course they were on an empty stomach, as they had just had had their swimming class, but still… :-)). And on top of that, my daughter, who in the past on more than one occasion showed herself not to be an ardent lover of eggplant (to say the least), this time, in the night following this pasta dinner, ended up in our bed after a nightmare and did not fall asleep again before begging me to “make this pasta sauce again, every single day”. Of course she has forgotten all about that sauce since (figures), but that compliment made my day – and night.

eggplant marinara sauce

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

 

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 small to medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 3 tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/3 cup or about 15 half sundried tomatoes, very finely chopped (I used a food processor)
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • A large handful of fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (240g) kidney beans
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  • Sauté the onion until translucent, add the garlic and the carrots. After some minutes, add the remaining ingredients and let the sauce simmer until all vegetables have softened.
  • Adjust seasoning if desired.
  • Serve over the pasta of your choice. (This does not have to happen immediately; you can make this sauce in advance, and let the flavours blend in the meantime. I made the sauce at noon and served it in the evening.)

Chocolate chip-peanut chickpea cookies.

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Today’s blogpost takes you to cookies via a short detour featuring curry. I still need to blog about my go-to vegetable curry, as I promised some friends who requested the recipe after having enjoyed that dish at our dinner table, but that won’t be today (sorry friends! but I will, soon!). No, the detour is all about Miriam Sorrell’s (aka the Mouthwatering Vegan’s) wonderfully luscious and creamy curry with eggplant, potato and chickpeas. That curry is only one of an entire chapter on curries in the Mouthwatering Vegan cookbook, and one I had not made until two days ago. Although the ingredient list will not blow you away (for a curry, it’s relatively short), the aroma of this dish certainly will. You do have to be a star anise lover, though, in order to appreciate it. If you are, have a look at this page, where you’ll find the recipe (but ignore the pics or the video, as I find the curry presented there not entirely true to the recipe’s essence; the sauce should really be thick and creamy, and on that page it looks rather thin) – or click the link above (direct link from the author’s own page) which will lead you to the cookbook itself, which is totally worth its money.

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Eggplant, potato and chickpea curry       (splendid recipe by Miriam Sorrell – not that splendid photo by me)

You might wonder how this detour will eventually lead us to cookies, but it’s a actually quite a short step from curries to cookies, and the link between both is CHICKPEAS.

I used a can of chickpeas in the curry, saved the drained liquid (or aquafaba), and thought about a way to put it to use. As usual, I came up with something sweet, and this time it was something I had been wanting to try for quite a long time: chickpea flour-based cookies. I had seen some on Vegan Richa’s page, and also on Oatmeal with a Fork, and I could not wait to start experimenting myself. So using the above recipes as a starting point and inspiration, I came up with a recipe for chocolate chip-peanut cookies which I made with my daughter’s assistance. I got help from both my children as  soon as we got to the point of eating them – they were gone in no time, and I’ll soon be baking more. As soon as there is a new load of peanuts in the house.

One would never guess these cookies are actually gluten-free and do not contain regular flour. A giveaway is the raw batter, though. Do NOT taste it (if you do, you’ll seriously regret it)! Refrain from licking your fingers until you have actual baked cookies in your hands.

dav

chocolate chip-peanut chickpea cookies

  • Time: 1h 30min, including resting of the dough
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Ingredients

  • 6 TB aquafaba
  • 1 TB pure peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup (or ca. 1,6 dl) coconut oil: softened, but not warm (otherwise the chocolate chips will melt)
  • 2/3 cup (or ca. 1,6 dl) dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup (or ca. 3,6 – 3,7 dl) chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (use real vanilla powder if you have it)
  • 2/3 cup (or ca. 1,6 dl) chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (or ca. 1,2 dl) peanuts (unsalted)

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients until you get a non-sticky, elastic and easy to handle dough. Divide the dough into 16 portions (a heaped TB per portion) and roll into balls. Let sit for an hour, then flatten them and bake for about 14 minutes on 175 degrees C.

 

  • Note 1: I put the dough in the freezer for 45 min, then baked the cookies, and my initial ‘fear’ that the cookies would flatten out too much (because of the coconut oil) proved totally unjustified. I actually had to help the cookies a hand in flattening out, with a spatula.
  • Note 2: You can substitute the peanut butter by other nut butter (I tried hazelnut-almond), the peanuts by other nuts, and the dark chocolate by vegan white chocolate (I did the latter in the hazelnut-almond version).
  • Note 3: It is possible to replace the muscovado sugar by a liquid sugar such as maple syrup, BUT you will have to increase the amount chickpea flour. I tried a maple syrup version, and had to use 2,5 cups chickpea flour, and the dough was still too sticky to roll. So I scooped the portions, froze them for an hour (as I did with the muscovado-based cookies), and then  reshaped them a bit and baked them. Also these needed to be flattened by a spatula during the baking process (which means you can just go ahead and flatten them before baking them.))

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Semlor.

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Now aren’t these semlor first-class beauties? Perhaps it’s not that appropriate to blog about pastries on the first day of Lent, but since vegans abstain from plenty of other not-so-good-foods out there and usually consume quite consciously,  I think this should be okayed. So last week I wrote about the Belgian pancake tradition during this time of year, which is simple and straightforward, contrary to the often rather sumptious (often wine- and beer-based) local customary cuisine. Now in Sweden (where our family once spent 2,5 years), it seems to be the other way around: husmanskost, traditional Swedish food, is quite modest, but exceptions are gladly made for baked goods that are linked to various festivities throughout the year. When Shrove Tuesday approaches, for instance, semlor, cardamon-scented pastries amply filled with marzipan and whipped cream, are eaten in bulk. And every year I bake them too.

I use the recipe by Karolina Tegelaar (kakboken (Swedish version) or Swedish Vegan (English version)) from one of her vegan baking booklets (svenska klassiker), but which she each year also re-publishes on her facebook page and encourages people to share. So this is exactly what I will do below. Just like I made a minor adjustment to her original recipe for cinnamon rolls (kanelbullar) by partly substituting the soy milk by aquafaba, you can also here opt for doing so. As with the cinnamon buns, I also here need more flour than in the original recipe (which perhaps is down to the fact that I use spelt flour), and I do not use the indicated amount of marzipan, but mostly half of it (otherwise I find it too decadent and heavy, but that’s perhaps just me).

Don’t wait for next mardi gras to bake these – just go for it now :-).

dav

 

Semlor

Ingredients

  • 50 g vegan butter
  • 1 dl soy milk + 1 dl vegan cream OR 0,5 dl aquafaba + 0,5 dl soy milk + 1 dl cream
  • 25 g yeast
  • 0,75 dl sugar
  • 0,5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 7 dl spelt flour

Fill

  • 250 g marzipan (less will work too – I usually use about 150-200g)
  • 2 TB water
  • 1-2 packages of whippable cream (I use only 1)
  • powdered sugar for decoration

Directions

  • Melt the margarine and add milk/cream(/aquafaba) and sugar.
  • Mix yeast, sugar, salt and cardamom and add the mixed fluid ingredients. Mix unti you obtain a workable dough. Don’t add too much flour at a time, so you can stop adding flour once the dough is non-sticky enough to work with.
  • Let the dough sit for 40-60 minutes.
  • Divide the dough in about 10-15 equal portions and roll into balls.
  • Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Brush them with some soy cream (this is optional, but this will make them more shiny).
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for 9-14 minutes at 225°C. Keep a close eye on them and take them out when they have turned golden.
  • Let them cool a bit. then cut out a lid, skoop out some of the inside and keep apart. You can mix part of it with the marzipan and water. Fill the pastries with the marzipan mixture and pipe some whipped cream on top. Close with the lid, and dust with powdered sugar.

 

 

 

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Vegan madeleines.

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No, I won’t start this post musing over Proust and how the shell-shaped delicacy called madeleine has more or less become a pars pro toto for A la recherche du temps perdu (speaking for myself, at least, for I quite frankly dare admit that the excerpt on madeleines is actually the only part I ever read from this novel, way back in high school). However, this is an apophasis, of course (and here some other dusty high school recollections surface, those from a lesson on Latin rhetorics). If I am honest, namely, a substantial part (not all!) of vegan cooking is about exactly this: the search for tastes inextricably linked to one’s pre-vegan days, the quest for reconstructive, but fully plant-based, recipes.

When it comes to madeleines, this culinary journey has been a meandering one, starting about four years ago, when I bought a silicone madeleine mold during a Christmas vacation in Belgium. Back home (we were living in Sweden at the time), I tried out two different madeleine recipes I found online, and was so utterly disappointed over those wasters that were totally unworthy of the madeleine label, that I stowed away the mold in a rarely used and hardly noticeable storage drawer just below the oven.

I then went on to forget all about that particular mold until one day last year, when we had already moved back to Belgium for nearly over two years, and I suddenly wondered where on earth I had left it. It dawned upon me we must have forgotten to clear out that one well-concealed drawer upon moving out. Shortly after that realization, I spotted the exact same molds in the sales corner of a local store. They were a true bargain (only €2 a piece!), so I immediately bought two of them (and in hindsight, I should have bought three :-)).

Now I had a good reason to start experimenting again, and this time I found this recipe from Green Sage, which used aquafaba. I was already blown away by the batter, and even more so by the madeleines themselves. BUT, I was disappointed by the fact my madeleines were very sticky and did not achieve that signature ‘bump’ (other than the madeleines in that original blog post, which did have it). I still don’t know what exactly I did wrong, but after three attempts I just gave up, more or less, and decided I should come up with a tweaked version which would work better for me. Since the origin of madeleines is French, I thought I should be looking for French recipes, instead ending up on fellow Belgian bloggers’ pages (in French, however), like this and this one. There I got the inspiration to partly cover the madeleines in dark chocolate (hell yeah, why hadn’t I thought of that before!?) and to open the oven door during the baking process, to let the temperature drop somewhat, as this would be beneficial to getting that particular bulging shape.

In a next step I tried combining several recipes, and first ended up with madeleines that had nicely risen but were way too dry, then, after more tweaking, the result was madeleines that were easy to remove from the molds, but were too flat.

But my patience, tweaking and tinkering was rewarded: the fifth and final recipe I tried my hands on was an absolute hit! They had nicely risen, had a tiny bump, and could be smoothly removed from the molds without sticking and breaking. So here comes the recipe, in case you would like to have a go at it yourself. Warning: these madeleines ARE addictive!

 

dav

Vegan madeleines

  • Servings: about 18 pieces
  • Time: 20 min + refrigeration time
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 130 g flour (I used spelt)
  • 80 g cane sugar
  • 100 vegan butter – I used Alsan, as that is more solid than Alpro (I find that alpro’s vegan butter is often too soft for baking; that is definitely the case when making puff pastry, for instance). Another option is using a blend of 60 g odourless coconut oil and 30 g canola oil (for instance with butter flavour). I’ve tried this too, and the result is similar to the one with Alsan.
  • 7 TB aquafaba
  • 2,5 tsp lemon zest
  • 1,5 tsp baking powder
  • 0,5 tsp salt
  • optional: some drops of vanilla-butter flavouring

Directions

Whisk all ingredients until you have a smooth batter. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Grease the pan and dust it with flour. Then drop a tablespoon of the batter in your mold for each madeleine. Preheat the oven at 220 degrees C (if you do not use silicone molds, you can even increase the heat to 240 degrees). Bake the madeleines for 6 minutes at 220 degrees, then open the oven door and let the temperature drop to 200 degrees and let the madeleines bake for 4-6 more minutes (I advise to just keep an eye on them, so that you see when it’s time to turn off the oven; they should have turned nicely golden). When they’re done, leave the oven door ajar, and let the madeleines sit for about fifteen minutes. Then remove them from the oven ánd from the mold, and let them cool on a grid.

For chocolate covered madeleines, melt some chocolate, drop half a (tea)spoonful in each individual madeleine mold and make sure the mold is entirely lined with chocolate (use a brush or just a finger to distribute the chocolate evenly), and then gently press the cooled-off madeleines back into the mold. Let cool (in a freezer it just takes five minutes), and then remove the madeleines from the mold.

dav

Pasta with curried zucchini & mango.

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In one of my previous posts I mentioned how my youngest absolutely adores pasta with a creamy zucchini sauce. However much I like that one too, some variation on the table is wished for, so inspired by a zucchini-curry spread I once bought, I came up with this ‘oriental’ take on it. Zucchini and curry are a good match, and the mango brings on a wonderful sweet complementary tang (and did I mention that my daughter is the major consumer of mangoes in our household?; she eats them before we even get a chance).

Other than ‘regular’ tomato- or cream-based pasta sauces, this curried zucchini one would be a totally off combination with vegan cheese, so I decided to use sunflower sprinkles instead. Toasted sunflower seeds are super tasty and very addictive (give me a bowl, and I’ll empty it in no time), and what’s more, they add a nice crunch and bite. Ever since I had Dreena Burton’s Roasty Toasty sunflower seeds (and that was like over a decade ago; Vive le Vegan! dates back to 2004), I every so often make this treat to have it on salads. But I assure you, these seeds work wonders on pasta too. For optimal flavour pairing, I swapped out the regular balsamic vinegar from the original recipe by apple cider vinegar.

Pasta with curried zucchini & mango.

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/2 mango, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2,5 dl (= 1 cup) plant-based cream (I used soy cream)
  • 2 TB curry
  • 1 tsp mango powder (amchoor), optional
  • 50 g spinach, fresh or frozen
  • 300 g pasta of your choice
  • salt and pepper
  • sunflower sprinkles: 1 TB toasted sesame oil, 1 TB apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar, and a handful of sunflower seeds
  • optional: 150 – 200g chicken-style pieces (I used these from retailer Edeka, which I bought during a shopping trip to Germany, but in Belgian supermarket Delhaize you can find similar ones from Greenway and de Vegetarische Slager). I know some vegans are reluctant to food items that mimic the taste and/or texture of meat, but I do use them, as I don’t associate them with actual meat and its taste at ALL. To me, they are ‘soy pieces’, and that is also what we name them at home. Apart from that, my husband, who is not a vegan, likes these, and our kids who are raised vegan do too. Of course one could  just use tofu here, but I’d  then marinate the tofu in a tangy curry marinade first. Smoked tempeh would even work better than tofu, imho. Also in the tempeh-scenario, I’d marinate the whole batch (a tempeh bacon marinade would be great).

Directions

  • Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  • Toast the sunflower seeds with sesame oil, vinegar, and a dash of salt, and set aside.
  • If using them, fry the chicken-style pieces until golden and set aside.
  • Fry the zucchini in some olive or coconut oil, until the cubes turn nicely golden and browned. Add the curry, mango powder, salt and pepper, mango, spinach and plant-based cream.
  • When the spinach has wilted, taste the sauce and adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Add the optional chicken-style pieces.
  • Serve the sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Split pea soup & tofu sausage tornadoes.

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I’d been longing to make split pea soup for quite some weeks and yesterday I decided to finally grab a pan and cook those pulses now that it’s still the right season to do so. Split peas take a while to cook until tender, so Saturday is a convenient day for soups with a long simmering time.

Usually I add tofu wiener slices or bits of smoked tofu with this hearty soup, but I wanted something slightly different today. I recently came across a cooking video featuring sausage tornadoes, and thought this would be something the children would love (given their predilection for everything on skewers). And they did, as they had 3 each alongside a decent bowl of soup.

Yet as my husband is not the person who warms to the idea of wieners (neither the tofu nor the regular kind), I used some of the freshly made pizza dough of the tornadoes to create a couple of handpies filled with smoked tofu, vegan Gouda slices and Dijon mustard. Apparently they were tasty, so mission accomplished.

I will not include a sausage tornado recipe below, as it’s basically just sausages on a skewer, with a spiralling cut that is filled with a swirl of pizza dough. No rocket science, no gourmet cooking. Just fun!

Split pea soup.

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1h 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 250 g split peas
  • 2,5 l (or 10 cups) vegetable stock (optionally, you can sub 1,5 dl of the stock by white wine)
  • 2 TB dried thyme (or half the amount fresh thyme)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Optional: 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Sauté the onion until translucent, then add the rest of the finely chopped vegetables.
  • Rinse the split peas, then add them to the pan, together with the stock (and wine, if using) and herbs.
  • Let simmer until the split peas are soft. This might take a little over an hour. Bring to taste with salt and pepper, and a splash of liquid if you like. If the soup is too thick to your liking, pour in more water (but with 2,5 l added to the soup already, you should be safe).