Lemon Curd Tartlets
Lemon Curd is one of the delights that those on a vegan diet could miss terribly. The good news is that plant based lemon curd is even nicer than its egg based cousin.
Vegan Margarine 480
Creamed Coconut 125g
Caster Sugar 500g
Soya or Coconut Milk 1ltr
Plain Flour 500g
Self Raising Flour 500g
Oven Temp 130 C.
Plain Flour 500g
Vegan Margarine 400g
Mix both ingredients until they come together as a dough. Wrap in greaseproof paper and put in the fridge until needed.
Grate the rind and extract the juice of 6 Lemons
Place Juice and Rind of Lemon in a saucepan with 300g of Caster Sugar and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 3 minutes to make a sugar syrup.
Add in 125g of Creamed Coconut with 80g of Margarine and stir until dissolved (about 5 mins). Make sure
it does not stick to the end of the pot. Put the Lemon Curd into a jug to cool. When it is cool put in the
fridge until cold.
In a bowl take 200ml of Milk (Coconut, Soya, or any plant milk). Add a table spoon of cider vinegar and
allow the milk to curdle.
Place Margarine and Sugar in a mixer. Beat until Fluffy.
Add Self Raising Flour.
Add Milk and whisk it in. Put aside as much sponge as you want for Tarts.
For Lemon Tarts, have the wet and dry Sponge ingredients ready to go but do not mix until you need to fill the tart cases.
When the Tart cases are blind baked, then you mix the sponge and place a spoon full on each tart remembering that it will double in height and you have to leave enough space for Lemon Curd.
Put in the oven and bake for approx 10 minutes. It may take less time as it is a shallow layer. Look to see the top of the sponge getting dry to know when it is baked.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes and spoon on some Lemon Curd allowing it to spread to the edges and fill evenly. The place in the fridge and serve cold.
Date and Peanut Treats
I don't like the whole concept of protein balls or energy bars. What we are really talking about is spinning the fact that these products offer a sugar hit. These treats can be made in any shape you want, either a ball or a bar. I love the crunch of the chocolate around the sweetness of the date and salty vibe from the peanut butter.
Peanut Butter 1 jar
Bar Chocolate (at least 70% to be vegan)
Desiccated Coconut 300g
Cover the dates in boiling water and set aside for ten minutes. Put the Peanut Butter in a bowl and mix in a teaspoon of salt. This gives a sweet and salt contrast. Drain the dates and blend them roughly leaving larger bits.
Mix with peanut butter and add tablespoons of coconut. Form into balls.
Melt chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Dip the balls in and cover in chocolate.
Cover a baking tray with coconut. Put the balls on a tray of coconut and roll around Leave in the fridge to firm.
Ginger Nut, Lemon and Lime Cheese Cake
Happily there are food products out there that are coincidentally suitable for vegans. Some of the plainer biscuits on the market fall into this category such as Ginger Nut and some Digestives. A traditional cheesecake will use digestive biscuits in the base but for this recipe I prefer Ginger Nuts. The base for this cake may also be made with ground almonds instead of biscuits if you are on a raw vegan diet.
Cashews 200g (Covered just to the top in boiling water and soaked for 2 hrs)
Tin of Coconut Milk (chilled)
Agar agar flakes
Lemons and Limes
Ginger Nut Biscuits
Crush half a pack of Ginger Nut Biscuits with a rolling pin or in a blender. Add 150g of finely chopped dates and use 2 table spoons of Margarine to bind together. Press the mixture into a lined 9inch spring form tin and put in the freezer.
For the filling, blend the soaked Cashew until they are a smooth paste. Open the chilled Coconut Milk, the cream will have risen to the top. Scoop off the cream and blend into the Cashews.
Put the rest of the milk into a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of Agar Agar and bring to the boil. When boiling, simmer fr 3 mins and then add to the cashew mixture.
Add the Juice and Zest of 2 Lemons and 2 Limes into the filling and mix well.
Pour the filling onto the base and put in the fridge for 4 hrs or the freezer for 45 mins checking until it is set.
To decorate top with Lemon and Lime zest. You can take a couple of spoons of jam and add some boiling water to loosen it up as a sauce for the cheesecake.
Sushi Nori Seaweed Rolls
I learned to roll Nori seaweed many years ago when the restaurant I was working in sent me on a Japanese Cooking course in Lettercollum House. It was pretty exotic back then, but is commonplace now. I still make it the same way with the same ingredients. It is perfect for lunch boxes.
Sheets of Nori seaweed
Sushi Rice (short grain Japanese rice)
Veg (avocado, carrot or what ever you can cut into thin strips)
Rice Wine Vinegar
Wasabi Paste (Horse radish mustard, very hot!)
Black Sesame Seeds
Put rice and in a saucepan and cover with one and a half times water, example: 300 g of rice 450 ml of water. Bring to the boil and cover. When it's boiling simmer for 3 minutes then turn off leaving the cover on for 10 minutes.
Lightly toast to sesame seeds on a dry pan. Put two tablespoons of seeds in the min rice as well as 50ml of Rice Wine Vinegar. Stir rice occasionally for the next 20 minutes leaving it cool down, this brings out the starch
Cut the Carrots into batons and cut Avocado into strips. Have a little bowl of water two wet fingers.
Put a sheet of nori seaweed on a sushi mat, rough side up now you're ready to roll.
Place some of the cold rice on the sheet and spread out evenly covering all the sheet except for one inch at the end. Put a row of Avocado and Carrot one third of the way of the rice.
Roll forward gently, seal by putting some Wasabi mustard on the strip. Place seem down on a chopping board you can leave in fridge to cool for a while before you cut it into 6 pieces
Cashew Nut and Mushroom Wellington with Gravy
My friend Frank is a great vegetarian cook. Every Christmas he makes a Mushroom Wellington for his family dinner. I went to a cooking demo he did for a charity event and this is where I saw vegetarian Wellington for the first time. I decided to do a Vegan version based on the Cashew Nut Butter we made in cooking classes. The dish is accompanied by Gravy that is made from scratch, which is a slow process.
Fresh Herbs: Parsley/ Oregano/ Thyme/Sage
Tapioca Flour or Corn Flour
Cranberry Jam or Other Jam
This dish is best made in advance leaving all the elements to cool down in the fridge overnight if possible. It is made from many layers so each is done individually. We want sweet sauted Onions wrapped in a Cashew Nut Butter Log. This in turn is wrapped in Chestnut Mushrooms, the Cabbage leave. Cranberry Jam, and Puff Pastry.
Sauté 4 Onions on a low heat until completely broken down to a sweet paste. This should take 45 mins.
At the same time as the Onions, we start the Gravy as it is a reduction that will take a lot of time. Add a handful of mushrooms to some oil in a pan. Add salt and pepper and stir allowing the mushrooms to stick a bit to the bottom of the pan. Add an Onion, 100g of Celery and 100g of chopped Carrots. Cook for 4 to 5 mins then add a good glug of wine. This deglazes the pan taking the caramelised veg bits from the bottom. Allow the the mix to sizzle for a minute as the alcohol will then burn off.
Add 1.5l of water to the pot and leave to simmer until it reduces by half.
Roast about 200g approx. of Cashews on a pan to gain a little colour, then put them in a blender with a good handful of herbs (about half of what you have. Blend and use a little Olive Oil to loosen if needed. Take the nit butter, wrap it in parchment paper and put in the fridge.
Take six Savoy Cabbage leaves and cut out the large stems. Put in boiling water til soft. When cooked remove from the water and if you want to male the green colour more vibrant but straight into iced water.
Put 300g of Chestnut Mushrooms in a pan with a little oil. Chop roughly with a knife while in the pan and then sauté. Season to taste. Drain the liquid and put the mushrooms in the fridge.
Take a sheet of Puff Pastry and lay it out on a sheet of Parchment Paper. Brush the pastry with a generous amount of Jam.
Lay Cabbage Leaves on the Jam. Allow about2 inches of space all around at the edgesfor folding later . Next put a layer of the Chestnut Mushrooms.
Place the Cashew mix on a sheet of Parchment Paper the same size as the Puff Pastry. Cover with another sheet and then roll flat. Put Sautéed Onions in the middle and roll into a log shape.
Place the Cashew Log in the middle of the Mushrooms and then carefully wrap the pastry around it using the Parchment paper.
Palce on a paper on a baking tray and brush with some of the Gravy. Put in the oven at 200C for a bout 20 mins or until nice and brown. Remove a allow to stand for 10 mins before cutting into slices.
Meanwhile finish the Gravy. By now it should have a deep flavour. You can add a spoon of Miso to make it more salty, a capful of Cider Vinegar can lift the acidity.
Put 2 teaspoons of Tapioca Starch in cup and mix with 100ml of water. Add the cold paste to the gravy and put on the heat. It will thicken very quickly.
Slice the Wellington and put on a plate showing the layers. Spoon some gravy over and serve with the usual Christmas fare such as sprouts and potatoes.
Chocolate Oat and Raisin Cookies
You can't beat the combination of Oats and Raisins. These are my wife's favourite cookies so we have a constant supply in my house. Like all the recipes here, the ingredients are readily available in most shops. You won't need a food processer either. Get the wooden spoon out and get mixing. To store keep in an airtight container. They will last a long time if stored correctly.
Self Raising white flour 450g
Vegan Margarine 300g
Coconut sugar 250g
Oat Flour (ground Oats) 150g
Chocolate 70-85% 60g
Sugars and Margarine are beaten together until soft.
Add Oats, Raisins mix at slow speed. Add flour and mix in half way, then add chocolate pieces.
Mix at slow speed until coming away from the side of the bowl.
Cut into approx 24 pieces of 50g in weight.
Bake at 150C for ten minutes. Keep an eye for colouration at the edges of the cookie, then will take one or two minutes more.
Leave to cool for ten minutes on the baking tray, then transfer to a wire rack.
Date and Oat Slice
I have made a version of this treat in every restaurant I have worked in since the beginning of my food journey. I have seen many recipes including seeds and coconut etc, but I like to keep it simple. Like everything it is best to make with as few ingredients as possible.
Make the Date Jam first. Simply put 300g of pitted Dates in a pot and cover with Water (about half an inch over the top of the dates). Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20mins until soft. Mix together with a wooden spoon until you get a smooth jam. It may be necessary to add more water. Melt 250 g of Margarine and rub it in to 500g of Oats. Add a drop of milk and test how the mix holds together by squeezing some in you hand. You will have to adjust the amount of soya milk.
Spread half of the Oat mix onto a shallow baking tray. Put in a fairly hot oven until it gets some colour (about 10 mins)
Spread the Date Jam on the Oat based and the sprinkle the rest of he Oats on top. With wet hands, pat it down until smooth. Bake until a nice golden colour.
Buckwheat is a beautiful nutritious plant often overlooked in this part of the world as it is mainly used for ground cover between valued crops. I always thought of it as a grass or grain like wheat but it is actually related to the Rhubarb family. You can treat as a grain when cooking the seeds or use the ground seeds as a flour. Buckwheat crepes are really a Breton staple known as Galettes. You can have a filling of your choice either sweet or savoury. I went for Spinach, Mushroom, and Smoked Cheese but you could easily swap for fresh fruit or nutella.
Water/ Plant Milk
Smoked vegan cheese
Place 100g of flour in a bowl and and liquid while whisking. You are looking for a fairly runny consistency. It is not very useful to measure the flour and liquid because as you let it sit, the mixture will thicken as the flour absorbs the liquid. This is a trial and error event but you will eventually find the correct consistency for you.
Coat a crepe pan in oil with some kitchen towel and bring to a good heat. Put a ladle of batter in the middle of the pan and pick it up and rotate until it spreads out and covers the pan. Wait until the edges begin to lift then go around the edge with a spatula and flip. Cook on this side for 30 seconds.
Saute thinly cut mushrooms, add spinach and cover the pan until the leaves have shriveled. Season to your taste. Add in diced smoked cheese. Place a good spoon full in the crepe and fold it over.