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Dinner for friends

This post is all about simple good food, it’s not that difficult to make I’ve included instructions and pictures.
There’s a Leek and Carrot Flan, Popcorn, Banana & Chocolate Cake and a Lemon Cheesecake

I love making flans… I’d bake them all the time if I could :)here’s a Leek and Carrot Flan I have also made a Carrot and Tofu Flan see this recipe

I followed a recipe from The Vegan Cookbook (and here is the updated version of the book), but as usual I’ve messed with the recipe again as that’s only for the Carrot Flan and I LOVE leeks with a passion!

Leek and Carrot Flan

Flan shell ~ Making Pastry
I bake this first and make the filling while it’s cooking in the oven

½lb (¼kg) of flour (wholewheat/spelt/(mixture depends what you like)
¼lb(125g) of vegan marg
4-5tbs of water

Rub the marg and flour together, so it resembles breadcrumbs

Add water bit at a time so it holds together
Roll out to the thickness you like

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Put into a greased (with marg) flan case
Prick the pastry case with a fork (also add dried beans so it doesn’t puff up during baking)

Bake for 10-12 mins in centre of oven 425°F /218°C/gas mark 7
Let it cool and take out the beans, this is called baking blind (as you are just cooking the flan case by itself)

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Flan Filling

Serves 4 (big helpings)

2lbs of carrots ( I use 1 ½lbs as I’m putting in leeks)
1 big leek and 1 medium leek

2 clo
ves of garlic
8fl oz (225ml) soya milk
1 tbs (25ml) wine vinegar ( I use red wine vinegar, you could use cider vinegar) (I also leave this out sometimes)
2tbs soya sauce (tamari) ( original recipe says 3tbs/45ml) I prefer a little less
1 tbs sesame seeds

While the flan case is baking in the oven start cooking the carrots and leeks
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I chop up and wash the leeks (gets out the dirt) and sauté them in some marg or sunflower oil for about 15 mins
You can add the carrots as well or you can steam them separately

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Peel some garlic and crush it (I’ve had the same crusher for over 15 years! Great invention!)

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Add all the ingredients to a blender and whizz for a few minutes
Add to pastry case and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake it in oven 350°F/177°C/ gas mark 4 for 30 minutes

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Steam some seasonal veggies, I had some local organic kale, organic broccoli and some peas (frozen)

Pudding/Dessert

Lemon Cheesecake
The Flan pastry for the Lemon Cheescake is made differently from the savoury pastry but all the rolling out etc is the same as above

Flan shell ~ Making Sweet Pastry
I bake this first and make the filling while it’s cooking in the oven

½lb (¼kg) of flour (wholewheat/spelt/(mixture depends what you like)
¼lb(125g) of vegan marg
4-5tbs of water
2oz (60g) rolled oats
1oz (30g) sunflower seeds
1oz (30g) raw demerara sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Put flour, oats, sunflower seeds, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl ans mix well together
Rub the marg and flour together, so it resembles breadcrumbs
Add water bit at a time so it holds together
Roll out to the thickness you like

Put into a greased (with marg) flan case
Prick the pastry case with a fork (also add dried beans so it doesn’t puff up during baking)

Bake for 10 mins centre of oven 425°F /218°C/gas mark 7
Let it cool and take out the beans

Some people prefer a biscuit base, rather than a pastry base

Cheesecake Base (Biscuit)

½lb (250g) Digestive biscuits
3½oz (100g) vegan marg (melted)

Make the base: Marg and line a 23cm/9 inch loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment/greaseproof paper.
Put the biscuits in a plastic food bag and crush to crumbs using a rolling-pin.
Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, then pour over the melted marg.
Mix thoroughly until the crumbs are completely coated.
Tip them into the prepared cake tin and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer.
Chill in the fridge for 1 hr to set firmly.

Cheesecake Filling

Now I have fiddled with this recipe a lot as I wasn’t happy with the result, as the cheesecake tasted ok, it was very lemony, yet the texture for me was lacking. So I collaborated with my friend Zee and we devised a better recipe, (I have since tweaked it again!!)

I tested it too, while at my sister’s house in Scotland so that the recipe is now good enough to go on my blog (well it had to be done!)

Original recipe

4 lemons
1¼lb (575g) firm tofu
¼ pint (125ml) soya milk
¼ pint (125ml) sunflower oil
¼lb (125g) raw Demerara sugar
1
½tbs (25ml) vanilla essence

While the pastry is chilling, finely grate the lemon rind and put the grated peel in a blender
then squeeze the lemons and add the juice

Add all the other ingredients and blend together until the mixture is smooth and creamy
Pour the blended mixture into the flan case, smooth the top and bake in the middle of a warm oven at 325°F/163°C/ gas mark 3 for 1¼ hours, the finished cake will be a rich golden brown on top.

Allow to cool on a rack and chill throughly before serving

Before baking and after – original recipe

Me and Zee’s improved recipe

4 lemons (juice, and rind)
1¼lb (575g) firm tofu, I used Mori-Nu tofu, I like the texture of it for cheesecake
¼ of (approx 70ml) of Alpro soya cream carton (single) or 300ml ( 1 carton) GranoVita Organic CremoVita (whipped cream) play with each type to see what you like
2 heaped dessert spoons raw Demerara sugar (add more to taste; I like my lemon cheesecake quite tart)
1
½ tsp vanilla essence

While the pastry is chilling, finely grate the lemon rind and put the grated peel in a blender
then squeeze the lemons and add the juice

Add all the other ingredients and blend together until the mixture is smooth and creamy
Pour the blended mixture into the flan case, smooth the top and bake in the middle of a warm oven at 325°F/163°C/ gas mark 3 for 35-40 minutes  the finished cake will be a rich golden brown on top.

Allow to cool on a rack and chill throughly before serving

New Cheescake


Banana and Chocolate Cake – made at my sister’s house in Scotland

6½ oz (185g) plain flour ( I used Doves Farm Organic Spelt flour this time)
1½ oz (45g) cocoa or carob powder

1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp of baking powder
50z (140g) Demerara sugar
2 tbs soya flour or gram flour
¼ pint (140ml) vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
¼ pint (140ml) water
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 60z/170g)

Preheat the oven to to 325°F/163°C/ gas mark 3
Beat all the ingredients together (flour, cocoa/carob, bicarb, baking powder, sugar,soya/gram flour, oil, water and mashed banana.
Place in 7 inch round cake tin which has been greased with marg and floured
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until a knife inserted into cake comes out clean (with no sticky cake on it)

batter for cake mix

 

 

 

 

 

Let it cool and transfer to a plate, decorate as you wish or leave plain and just eat it once it’s cooled down

Snacky Bits

Popcorn with Agave Syrup

Very easy to make popcorn and so much cheaper as a lot of ready-made popcorn isn’t very vegan and can sometimes be full of a lot of rubbish, put a knob of marg in a big pan (that comes with a lid, I have a glass lid so I can see the corn popping easily)

Put a layer of corn (no more, trust me –  it pops a lot!!) in the melted marg and on a medium heat shake it every now and then to stop it burning and wait… until it starts popping (put the lid on..as the popcorn will ping out of the pan and all over the kitchen! :D)

Once it stops popping – it takes longer than you think, then take it off the heat and let it settle for a minute, it’s a bit trial and error sometimes, transfer into a big bowl and pour on agave syrup to taste ( I used a small bottle (there will be a lot at the bottom when you have finished) serve in little cups  (IKEA plastic cups are great for this or just pass around) –  everything gets well sticky, including yourself..enjoy!

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