Thanks for your patience over the past couple of weeks – Wolvie is hanging in there and has been having more good days than bad, so that’s certainly helping keep my spirits up. I bought a kids’ play tent and new tunnel for the bunnies’ room yesterday (yes, they have a room) and both buns seem to be impressed with the new arrangement!
I’ve certainly been diving into comfort food these past couple of weeks – an easy baked beans recipe (that isn’t really baked) is something I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while. The other week I asked on Facebook whether people preferred them home made or from a tin – the opinions were strong and divided. Personally, I’ve never eaten baked beans from a tin. True story. I have, however, eaten plenty of baked beans from cafés, so I generally know what I like: herbs, tang & not too much sugar. I also really like lots of texture, so I’ve used both diced & pureed tomato. If you’re not a fan of onion or garlic, feel free to skip them. I’ve also included some quantity ranges so you can make this to suit your palate.
These corn muffins have become a favourite of ours and I make them often. They’re great with bean salad on a hot day or chili on a cold day. Initially we used to just spread vegan margarine on them, but now I prefer them with avocado; try both!
Savoury Corn Muffins
1 C Polenta
1 1/2 C Plain Flour or Gluten Free Alternative
1 TBSP Caster Sugar
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1 TBSP Flax Meal
1-2 TBSP Canola Oil
1 3/4 C Water + 1 TBSP
1/2 t Dried Parsley Flakes
1/4 t Salt
2/3 C Corn Kernels (I used frozen)
- Pre-heat oven to 200C.
- Stir together dry ingredients.
- Add wet ingredients & corn kernels. Mix well and leave to sit for a couple of minutes. The flax meal will cause the mixture to thicken.
- Grease muffin tray(s) and fill 12 muffin cups with batter. These won’t rise much, so you need to be generous with the batter; fill them to the top.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes in a fan forced oven.
- Leave these in the tray for a few minutes to cool, but don’t leave them in the tray too long or the bottoms will become tough/chewy.
(Sorry, this one will be a bit vague – I didn’t measure everything out.)
1x 400g Tin of Mixed Beans
2 Truss Tomatoes, diced
1 TBSP Red Onion, Finely Diced
1 TBSP Sliced Spanish Olives
Juice from 1 Lemon
Drizzle of Olive Oil
S + P
- Toss together all of the above ingredients. Leave to marinate for 5-10 minutes, then serve. There will be liquid at the bottom of your bowl – try to drain the scoops of salad a little before putting on a plate.
In the below recipe, you’ll be making home made vegan sausages and wrapping them in commercially made puff pastry. Making them spicy is completely optional (but recommended). The sausage recipe is adapted from the “Chorizo Sausages” recipe in Vegan Brunch, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I tried a few recipes from this book – some recipes were total winners, others were very so-so and could use improvement. If you have/get this book – make the lemon poppy seed muffins. They’re divine.
Don’t feel limited to turning these sausages into sausage rolls. They’re also excellent grilled or fried up with mashed potato and peas!
Makes a lot! (8 sausages)
1+1/2 C Wheat Gluten
1/2 C Savoury Yeast Flakes
2 TBSP Smoked Paprika (or 2 TBSP Sweet Paprika + 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke)
2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 tsp Dried Oregano
Up to 1/2 t Cayenne Pepper (optional)
1 heaped C of Cooked Beans (any kind)
2 C Vegetable Stock
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Soy Sauce
140g/4 heaped TBSP Tomato Paste (no added salt)
1 Lemon (zest & juice)
3 Cloves Garlic
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together everything in “Ingredients A”.
- In a blender or food processor, blend together everything in “Ingredients B”
- Add blended “Ingredients B” to “Ingredients A”. Mix well – you will need to use your hands and make sure there’s no dry bits left in the dough.
- Divide into 8 portions, wrap each portion into a bon-bon shape in some aluminium foil with twisted ends and steam for 1 hour.
- Unwrap and leave to cool.
Now to turn your sausages into sausage rolls!
- Defrost the puff pastry at room temperature so that it’s soft enough to bend without splitting, but don’t let it get too soft/sticky.
- Cut sausages in half length wise.
- Put one sheet of puff pastry on a chopping board. Cut in half so that you have two rectangles. Spread the halved sausages across the rectangles just off centre, then wrap. You may need to use a little water to get the pastry to stick to itself. Cut into bite sized sections. Each rectangle of pastry will require 1.5 sausage lengths.
- Repeat above step until there are no sausages left. Brush with some rice milk & sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- If freezing, arrange in a container with baking paper between the layers so they don’t stick to each other.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 180C and bake for 20-25 minutes on a sheet of baking paper. Do not defrost these before baking them – put them in the oven with the pastry frozen.
*If you’re in Australia, the Borg’s brand low fat puff pastry is vegan and so is the puff pastry at Aldi. Both specifically state on the packaging that they’re suitable for vegans.
Happy International Day of the Nacho, everyone!
When it comes to nachos, I don’t mess about. Here’s proof.
50g Corn Chips
1/2 C Cooked Kidney or Black Beans
1 C Chopped Veg (I used tomato, red & green capsicum & corn)
4 TBSP Salsa
1/2 C Cashew Béchamel (Original or V2.0)
Toppings: fresh coriander leaves, spring onion, 1/4 avocado, sliced olives & a lime wedge.
- Preheat your oven to 220C.
- Prepare your cashew bechamel.
- Spread the corn chips across an oven proof plate.
- In a bowl, mix together the beans, veggies & salsa.
- Assemble the nachos by pouring 1/4 C cashew béchamel onto the corn chips, piling on the mix of beans/veg/salsa, then pouring the remaining 1/4 C cashew béchamel on top.
- Bake at 220C for 12 minutes.
- Prepare your toppings and serve with hot nachos straight out of the oven.
2 Corn Tortillas
2 tsp Tomato Paste
1 C Kidney Beans
1-2 TBSP Water
5 tsp Taco Seasoning*
1 + 1/2 C Shredded Baby Spinach or Cos Lettuce
1 + 1/2 Diced Tomatoes
1/2 C Diced Capsicum (red & green)
1/2 C Cooked Corn Kernels
1 Sprig of Spring Onion, sliced on the bias
1/2 Fresh Lime
Chopped Coriander + Sprigs for Garnish
1/2 Avocado, diced or roughly mashed
- Preheat over to 200C.
- Puree 1/2 C kidney beans with water & taco seasoning. If you don’t have a food processor, you can do some rough mashing with a fork instead. Next, stir in the remaining 1/2 C kidney beans. You want a mixed texture here.
- Smear 1 tsp of tomato paste on each of the corn tortillas, then top each tortilla with half of the bean mix.
- Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine in a bowl: the diced tomatoes, capsicum, corn kernels, spring onion and chopped coriander with the juice from half a lime. Toss and season with salt & pepper.
- When your tortillas are ready, place them on plates and top with 3/4 cup shredded greens each, half of your tomato salsa each, 1/4 of an avocado each and some fresh coriander.
*If you’re using a store bought taco seasoning rather than my recipe, the amount you will need here will vary.
One day, when having dinner at the in-law’s house, Mr. AA’s mum had made a beef stroganoff for the family; it had been YEARS since I’d eaten stroganoff – so a few days later, when it had finally eaten away at me enough, I called and asked her for her recipe. This is my [vegan, gluten free] version of it! It serves 6 hungry people and is freezer friendly.
750g Button Mushrooms, quartered or chopped fairly chunky (this is the “meat” of the dish)
1.5 Cups Cooked Kidney Beans (1x 440g tin)
1 Brown Onion, diced
3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced/finely chopped
140g Salt Free Tomato Paste
1-2 Cups of Stock (I used Massel “chicken” stock, which is gluten free)
A splash of red wine* (optional but highly recommended)
1 tsp tamari** or soy sauce
Cashew Cream (recipe follows)
A CRAPLOAD of freshly cracked pepper
2 TBSP Lemon Juice
Fresh Parsley (to serve)
- To make your cashew cream, blend 1/2 cup unsalted cashews with 1/2-3/4 cup water. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you may want to soak or blanch the cashews first so that your cream isn’t grainy. It should be really smooth.
- Sauté your onion. When it starts getting a bit of a tan, add the garlic, followed closely by the mushrooms.
- Add kidney beans, tomato paste, stock, wine, tamari/soy sauce & cashew cream. Stir through.
- Add a crapload of cracked pepper – go on, don’t be shy!
- Turn off the heat, stir through the lemon juice and serve on brown rice with fresh parsley.
OK – really, you could use any kind of rice/pasta/noodles… I’m just trying to encourage you to have healthy bowel movements. Let’s face it – nobody likes to be constipated.
*Traditionally, you would use sherry in stroganoff but since I’m not much of a booze hag, I don’t have any lying around at home. Red wine definitely does the trick here.
**Tamari is the gluten free version of soy sauce. If anyone eating this dish has celiac disease, make sure you do the right thing by them.
EDIT: You may only need 1 cup of stock, depending on personal preference.