Wednesday, 31 October 2012

German Month: 9 German Inspired Vegan Recipes

Guten Tag - October (or Oktober) has been a delicious month for me here at Gormandize with A-dizzle & K-bobo, because it's been German food month. In fact, it's been difficult to decide what to make because there are so many wonderful things to try from Germany! Especially the desserts - wow the Germans know how to do dessert! I had about five other desserts shortlisted that I really wanted to try but if I had made all the things I wanted to then I would probably weigh about 5kg more than I do! Hopefully I might get a chance to try some of them at other times!

So settle in and get ready for cabbage, pickles, cherries and pancakes. Here is a recap of what I made:


A delicious cabbage and fruit salad with my own home made creamy vegan dressing! Looks unassuming but this salad was a huge hit with the guests at my German dinner night and a firm favourite of many. The light, crisp and fresh nature of it makes it a perfect hot weather salad and I predict it would be an absolute hit at any summer bbq. Or just for dinner on any given night. Check out the recipe here.

Rosenkohl in Bier
Sometimes simple things are the best. This side dish is fresh brussels sprouts cooked in beer, delicious and easy. Definitely a different take on your steamed or boiled sprouts. I recommend it, unless you really hate brussels sprouts and you don't like beer - in which case move on to the next one! Check out the recipe here.

This delectable onion pie was a challenge to veganise, but boy was it worth it! It's more of a quiche than a pie (if you want to split hairs). But in the end it doesn't really matter what you call it - it's buttery crumbly pastry filled with creamy onion filling. It was also a huge hit at my German dinner party! Check out the recipe here.

German Potato Salad
This simple and easy salad was my favourite from the savoury recipes for this month. It looks plain and simple, but it is anything but boring! It is the perfect combination of flavours and I honestly could have eaten a whole bowl of it and been very, very happy! Try this version of potato salad next time you're asked to bring a salad! Check out the recipe here.


De constructed Black Forest Cake
No German month is complete without black forest cake right? Well, sort of. This is what I like to call "Black Forest Mess", it's a delicious de constructed dessert of cake, cherries, cream and cherry brandy all smashed together in a glass - what's not to love? Fun to make and fun to eat! Check out the recipe here.

Frankfurter Kranz
Vanilla bundt cake layered with black cherry jam, covered in delicious rum buttercream and topped with crunchy sugared almonds? Yes? This recipe is not for the faint hearted, but if you have a mammoth sweet tooth then this is your new best friend. It's an absolutely amazing creation! Check out the recipe here.

Rote (und Grün) Grütze
A slightly different take on a classic German dish, this dessert is an easy vegan fruit jelly which combines rote grütze (red) with grün grütze, just to be extra fruity and colourful. You can just make the red one if you like, but it's fun with the green on top. Check out the recipe here.


Apple Pancakes
Pancakes get a little section of their own here because pancakes would traditionally be eaten for dessert in Germany, but I love pancakes for breakfast so I went ahead and made them for breakfast anyway. These apple pancakes were a great variation on my plain old pancakes. Check out the recipe here. 

Last but most definitely not least - the kaiserschmarrn. This dish of torn up pancakes with delicious sweet apples really won my heart. At first I was worried that there was no sugar added to the recipe, but I needn't have worried! The sweetness of the apples was perfect and honestly this is a perfectly balanced breakfast or dessert. Check out the recipe here.

So, What Next?
Next month I will be exploring the wonderful cuisine of Indonesia - so keep your eyes on the blog for some delicious delights from my close northern neighbour!

Chocolate Skeleton Cookies for Halloween

My years of study and my medical degree have all been leading up to this moment - skeleton biscuits. The science nerd in me desperately wanted to have intense attention to detail and anatomical accuracy, but it very soon became apparent that that wasn't going to be possible! Both because of the disproportionate nature of my biscuit cutter and the difficulty of piping small details.

When I was a kid I was one of the only people I knew that went trick or treating for Halloween. This was because we had American neighbours who would organise it in our street and they did a great job of it. Today, mostly because of the rapid Americanization of this country, Halloween trick or treating is becoming slightly more common. But, it poses a new problem for Aussie households, because it's difficult to know if you'll get any kids knocking on your door expecting lollies. 

When I was a kid, our neighbours organised a great system. We would write a little note saying that we would be coming around trick or treating and attached a balloon. People who were happy for us to come to their door would attach the balloon to their letterbox and we only went to the houses that had a balloon out the front. This made it safer for us kids, and easier for the households because if they didn't want to be bothered with us then we didn't come to their door.

Not celebrating any sort of Halloween generally in this country, last year I didn't even know it was Halloween when we heard a little knock on the door and the excited voices of some children. A rapid inventory in my head revealed to me that we had absolutely nothing in the house that we could give them. So, we kept very still and quiet and pretended that we weren't home until they went away. Cowardly? Perhaps. But what could I say to them?

This year I decided to be prepared so I bought some lollies. The problem, however, is that I have no idea how may (if any) kids will knock on my door. So I made some little bags of lollies but if more than 6 kids come knocking on my door then I don't know what I'll do. If less than 6 kids knock on my door then I'll be left with lollies that I don't want which will probably end up in the bin! It's a conundrum really, and makes me think that when I have children I will certainly reinstate the balloon system so that my neighbours will know that 1) my kids are coming and 2) roughly how many kids will be coming!

Even though I don't celebrate Halloween, I decided to give these chocolate skeleton biscuits a try. Why? Three reasons:
1) I thought they would look really cool!
2) The vast majority of my readers are Americans, so I thought they might like them :)
3) If no kids come knocking on my door then at lease I am perfectly happy to eat all these up (unlike most lollies).

In honour of my American readers I have even gone so far as to name these 'cookies'.

Chocolate Skeleton Cookies

1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 cup pomegranate molasses (of you don't have this then substitute treacle or blackstrap molasses)
1/4 cup rice/soy milk, plus 1 tbsp
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/3 cup cocoa

38g (approx.) nuttelex (or other non dairy margarine)
1/2 cup soft icing mixture
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

NOTE: I iced my skeletons with a simple buttercream, but if you would rather use a glaze which will set hard (which you would want to if you were wrapping these up to give as a gift, then use the glaze recipe from my Super Gingery Gingerbread People Biscuits)

To Make
1. Whisk the canola oil, sugar, molasses and 1/4 cup milk together. 
2. . Add one cup of flour and whisk through. After this you will want to put the whisk aside and get a wooden spoon because the mix will get too stiff.
3. Add the bicarb, baking powder, cocoa and the other half a cup of flour and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Add the final tbsp of rice milk and knead into a ball (easiest if you just get your hands dirty).
4. Wrap the biscuit dough up in plastic wrap and flatten slightly into a thick disk. Refrigerate for about an hour and a half (or as long as it takes before you have time to make them - you can leave in the fridge for up to 2 days), but make sure you take it out of the fridge 10 mins before using to soften it up a bit.
5. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
6. Flour your benchspace and roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thick (keep the piece of plastic wrap aside though as you will use it again). Use a person shaped biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits and transfer them carefully to a tray lined with baking paper (you will want to do this with a thin spatula). Continue until you can't fit any more out of your rolled dough.
7. Grab up all the little extra bits of dough and put them back in the plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and knead a bit before flattening out into a disc shape again (this will smoosh all the pieces together). The roll this piece out and cut some more.
8. Keep repeating step 7 until as many biscuits are cut out of the dough as possible. 

9. Bake each batch for about 7 minutes (if you know your oven is very hot you will probably want to reduce that to 6 mins, or reduce the temp) and then transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before icing.

1. Combine the nuttelex, icing mixture and vanilla in a bowl. Cream together and spoon into a piping bag with a small round tip. Pipe your best skeleton outline onto the biscuits.

If you don't want to roll out the people shaped biscuits and pipe the skeletons on, you can just roll these into regular round biscuits and then pipe some spiders, bats or spider webs on. It's a bit less effort but still looks pretty cool.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Rote (und grün) Grütze (German Fruit Jelly)

My last offering from Germany - and it's a real winner! It's a dessert called rote grütze, an easy fruit dessert made from fresh red fruits with cornstarch to thicken. Rote is German for red, as this dessert is made with a mixture of red fruits. Traditionally, the main fruit used is red currants - which means mine is slightly lacking in authenticity because red currants really aren't available anywhere near me. You can use any combination of red fruits you like such as currants, raspberries, bilberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries etc. 

Mine also differs from the traditional in that it contains a touch of grün grütze (grün meaning green). Although red is the most common type, this dessert is sometimes also made in green, yellow or blue grütze. Green is made with kiwi fruit, pineapple, gooseberries, grapes and anything else green you like. Yellow is made from peaches, yellow gooseberries, golden kiwifruit, pineapple, banana and anything else yellow you like. Blue is made from blueberries, blackberries, plums, blackcurrents and grapes. So, I thought I might be a bit tricky and make my rote grütze with a little layer of grün on top - because it's pretty!

Rote Grütze
600g mixed red fruits (I used 200g strawberries, 200g raspberries, 200g sour cherries)
3 tbsp raw sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cold water

To Make
1. Wash and slice the fruit and place in a saucepan with the sugar. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. 
2. In a small cup combine the cornstarch and cold water and stir well until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. 
3. Remove the simmering berries from the heat and stir through the cornstarch, stirring continuously. Pour the berries (while still hot) evenly amongst your serving glasses and place in the fridge to chill while you make the grün grütze.

Grün Grütze 
500g green kiwifruit
100g pineapple, crushed
3 tbsp raw sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cold water

To Make
1. If the pineapple is fresh, you may want to puree it in a food processor or blender to make is smooth. Scoop the kiwifuit flesh out and chop roughly in a saucepan with the sugar and pineapple. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. 
2. In a small cup combine the cornstarch and cold water and stir well until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. 
3. Remove the simmering fruit from the heat and stir through the cornstarch, stirring continuously. Spoon a layer over the top of the red fruits in the serving glasses. Allow to chill for several hours before eating. You can decorate with fresh fruit if you'd like to make it even more pretty.

Makes 6 if you use martini glasses, or 4 if you use larger glasses (such as wine glasses or parfait glasses).

This month I'm featuring lots of amazing recipes from Germany!
Check out my other German recipe posts:

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Vegan Kaiserschmarrn (German Torn Pancakes)

I have been particularly enjoying the excuse to make lots of pancakes for breakfast during German month. Even though in countries such as Germany pancakes are served more as a dessert than a breakfast, I still can't help making these recipes for my breakfast. Earlier in the month I made some German Apple Pancakes which were a bit of an eye opener to me - because they made me realise I should have been experimenting with putting fruits in my pancakes, but for some reason I wasn't! Well, I've learnt my lesson now and I think you will be seeing a lot more fun and fruity pancake variations from me, I'll call it the Germany Month legacy.

These pancakes were inspired by a recipe in one of my older editions of SBS Feast magazine. If SBS was a person then I think we would be awesome friends. Why? Because we have so much in common! We both love world things -
~different cultures - history and stories,
~wonderful food - where it comes from, how it is made
~AND most importantly the love child of those two things: world + food = world food!

Sometimes I dream that SBS will give me a job travelling the world presenting a food show. Then I wake up and realise that this is the real world - but hey, I can dream. That's my dream job - what's yours?

Vegan Kaiserschmarrn
Adapted from Feast Magazine Issue 11 (July 2012)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup soy milk
1 cup soda water
7 tbsp non dairy margarine (such as nuttelex)
2 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (don't do this too far in advance though, or the apples will go brown)
Icing sugar for sprinkling

To Make
1. Combine the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the soy milk and soda water. Stir with a whisk until batter is a smooth consistency (it doesn't matter if it's not completely smooth, as long as all the ingredients are combined).
2. Heat a large frypan over a medium heat and add 1 tbsp margarine.
3. Add about 1/4 of the batter to the pan at a time, you will need to cook them in 2 batches. Flip the pancakes after about 2-3 minutes, or when bubbles appear all around the edge of the pancake and the bottom looks golden brown.
4. Add an extra tbsp of margarine to the pan and cook the second batch. Once cooked set the pancakes aside.

5. Return the saucepan to the heat and add 2 tbsp of the margarine. Add the sliced apples and cook for about 4 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until slightly softened. 
6. Tear the pancake into pieces - if they're not too hot then you can use your hands, if they are still very hot then you can use 2 forks.
7. Increase the heat to high and add an additional 3 tbsp margarine along with the torn pancake pieces.
8. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes or until the pancake pieces are golden.
9. Transfer to a serving plate and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Serves 2-3.

~ This recipe doesn't have any sweeteners added (except the dusting of sugar at the end) so it main sweetening element are the delicious apples. If you have a crazy sweet tooth then you can add a touch of sugar to the batter or a drizzle of maple syrup at the end - but I recommend trying them without first, because they are perfectly balanced as they are!

Friday, 19 October 2012

German Potato Salad

I have mixed feelings about potato salad, I'm not much a fan of the overly creamy mayonnaise based potato salads. This salad, on the other hand - is out of this world. I could sit down with a big bowl of this salad every night of the week and never get sick of it. Sometimes simple things are simply the best, and I believe that pickles and potatoes are a match made in heaven. In salad, in soup, or in gorgeous Croatian pogaca - I will never tire of this ingredient combination.

This is a very simple and elegant recipe, but it was one of my favourite ones from the whole German month. No kidding, just make it ok?

6 large waxy potatoes (such as desire)
1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or 1 cube if you buy them in cubes)
1/2 cup boiling hot water
2 dill pickles
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 shallots (scallions), chopped (white and green parts)
Salt and pepper to taste

To Make
1. Peel the potatoes and chop into large chunks. Cover with water and boil until just tender. Drain and place in a bowl.
2. Dissolve the stock powder in the 1/2 cup of water. Pour over the hot potatoes.
3. Dice the pickles and add to the bowl of potatoes with the olive oil and vinegar, stir through gently. Set aside to cool.
4. Once cooled to room temperature stir through the shallots and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

This month I'm featuring lots of amazing recipes from Germany!
Check out my other German recipe posts:

Monday, 15 October 2012

Balsamic Strawberry and Cucumber Sushi Rolls

Wow, this is my fourth post for today! I think I'll have to take a few days off after today, I've had to post a lot more than usual because all of my blogging events unfortunately fell on the same day.

Firstly, at 8am this morning entries opened for the infamous Chopped/Vegan challenge hosted by vegan cooking guru Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The challenge was to create brunch dishes using butternut pumpkin, fresh rosemary, popcorn and apricot jam - quite a challenge but I really did enjoy it! Here are my two entries: Pumpkin Rosemary Popcorn Crumble and Lemon Rosemary Popcorn Cupcakes with Pumpkin Apricot Glaze. It was so much fun cooking with this unusual combination of ingredients and I have to say the results were actually quite delicious!

Secondly, it's time again for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, this month with a High Tea theme. I entered a German creation, in keeping with the country theme of this month. You can see my German Frankfurter Kranz Cake here, it's a layered bundt cake filled with black cherry jam and delicious vanilla rum buttercream.

Lastly, the Eat the Alphabet challenge. I enjoy this event, because it's fun to experiment with different vegetables and fruits each month. This may be my last one however, because the rules have changed around a bit this time and getting my head around the time zones and the submission rules is getting a bit much!

Here are my other entries this year:

September (P, Q & R) - Afghan Pistachio Biscuits
August (M, N & O) - Roast Pumpkin & Chickpea Salad with Nasturtiums
June (I & J) - Jalapeño Chocolate Truffles
April (E & F) - Vegan Fig and Red Wine Ice Cream

1 quantity sushi rice
6 sheets nori seaweed
1 punnet fresh strawberries (200-250g)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Cracked pepper
1 cucumber, sliced
Mint leaves, fresh

You will also need:
A sushi rolling mat
Plastic wrap
A bowl of water with a splash of rice vinegar

To Assemble:
1. Slice the strawberries and combine with the balsamic vinegar and cracked pepper. Set aside to macerate while you prepare all your other tools/ingredients.
2.  Lay a sheet of nori seaweed on your sushi rolling mat. Wet your hands in the bowl of water (this stops the rice sticking all over your hands) and grab a handful of rice (about 2/3 cup worth, but you don’t need to measure it out). Spread it over the nori sheet evenly, making sure you spread it out to all the edges as well but leaving about an inch or so at one end.
3. Lay a generous amount of strawberries (use more than I did in the picture above), a few slices of cucumber and some fresh mint leaves along the lower edge of the rice (about 1 inch from the bottom).
4. Pick up the edge of the mat and roll it gently over the ingredients, pressing gently on the filling with your fingers as you go to keep them in the centre. Press gently on the roll to mould it together. Be careful not to let the mat get rolled up in the sushi.
6. Once the sushi is rolled into a neat log press gently around it with the matt to make it firm.
7. Repeat steps 2-6 until all the ingredients are used up (approx. 6 thick rolls).
8. Use a very sharp knife to cut each log into eight equal pieces. Serve immediately with soy sauce and wasabi to taste.

Tip: dip the knife in the bowl of water between cuts to prevent the rice from sticking to the knife.

Makes 6 large sushi rolls.

Vegan Frankfurter Kranz (German Bundt Cake with Cherry Jam and Rum Buttercream)

I generally have a rule that I never post more than one recipe a day. Today I am breaking that rule big time! Why? Because all my blogging events have happened to fall on exactly the same day. Today. Today I will be posting four recipes!

Firstly, at 8am this morning entries opened for the infamous Chopped/Vegan challenge hosted by vegan cooking guru Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The challenge was to create brunch dishes using butternut pumpkin, fresh rosemary, popcorn and apricot jam - quite a challenge but I really did enjoy it! Here are my two entries: Pumpkin Rosemary Popcorn Crumble and Lemon Rosemary Popcorn Cupcakes with Pumpkin Apricot Glaze. It was so much fun cooking with this unusual combination of ingredients and I have to say the results were actually quite delicious!

Secondly, it's time again for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop, this month hosted by Jennifer from Delicieux with a 'High Tea' theme.

Thirdly, the Eating the Alphabet Blog Hop is kicking off as well featuring the letters S and T, I've put up these lovely Balsamic Strawberry and Cucumber Sushi Rolls.

Whenever I think of high tea I always think of tiny mini cakes and bundt cakes. I'm not sure what it is about cakes cooked in a ring shape that makes me think of sitting on a balcony drinking tea at a white table strewn with doilies. This month is also German Food month, so I am pleased to be able to combine this Sweet Adventures Blog Hop with my theme for the month and bring you Frankfurter Kranz - a German bundt cake which translates to Frankfurt Crown. It's not hard to see why, it does look rather like a crown.

I'll give you a heads up though! It's very sweet. Vanilla cake + cherry jam + buttercream + sugared almonds equals a whole lot of sweet! I thought it was fantastic though, so don't let this turn you off, just make sure you invite some friends around to help you eat it!

Thanks again to the lovely hostesses of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop. Here are my entries from the previous months:

August's Berry Hop - Sugar Free and Vegan Raspberry Fudge
July's Nut Hop -  Best Ever Vegan Carrot Cake  (I got this one in just in time, but it never appeared on the link list so you may have missed it!)
June's Pie Hop - Easy, Sticky, Messy Banana Rum Pie
May's Tea Hop - Thai Red Tea Vegan Jelly with Poached Apples
April's Lemon Hop - Lemon Curd 'Cake Sandwiches'
March's Layers Hop - Rhubarb and Apple Sago Parfait
February's 'Love' Hop - African Almond, Pistachio and Orange Blossom Bites
January's Choc Hop - Black Forest Shots & Truffles in 3 Flavours: Paprika, Tahini & Strawberry Gum
December's Festive Hop - Chocolate Ice-Cream Christmas Pudding

Vegan Frankfurter Kranz


The Cake
2 cups soymilk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup canola or rice bran oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond meal
2 cups wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb soda

The fillers and toppers*
1 cup nuttelex (or other non dairy margarine)
3 cups soft icing mixture
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp vanilla rum (if you don't have vanilla rum just use plain dark rum - but don't use vanilla white rum!)
Black cherry jam
1/3 cup castor sugar
2/3 cup blanched almonds

*This recipe for buttercream makes enough to do a crumb coat and a top coat of icing, which is a good idea for a layer cake, as there will be plenty of crumbs to get though the icing. If you don't want to do a crumb coat then you can probably make about 2/3 of the icing quantity.

To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Combine the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl and whist until frothy. Set aside to curdle.
3. Add the oil, sugar and vanilla to the soy milk and mix well.
4. Add the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
5.  Pour into a well greased bundt tin and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15-20 mins and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
While it's cooling you can:
6. Cream the margarine, icing mixture, vanilla and vanilla rum together to make the buttercream.
7. Lightly toast the blanched almonds in a pan or a grill/oven.
8. Heat the castor sugar in a small saucepan until completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir the almonds through it until completely coated with the sugar. Then spread out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and put in the fridge to harden up.
Now that the cake is cooled you can:
9. Cut the cake into 3 fairly even layers (the top one will obviously be smaller, don't stress).
10. Spread a generous amount of cherry jam onto each layer. Then top with a layer of your rum buttercream.

11. Reassemble your layers and you're ready to ice it.
12. Spread a layer of the buttercream icing all over the cake, don't worry about making it too neat because this is the crumb coat or 'undercoat'. Then put the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
13. Take it out and do the top layer. Make this layer nice and neat and smooth it out as much as you can. 
14. Roughly chop/break/smash your almond brittle and decorate the top with it liberally.

Makes 1 ring cake.

This month I'm featuring lots of amazing recipes from Germany!
Check out my other German recipe posts:

Lemon Rosemary Popcorn Cupcakes with Pumpkin Apricot Glaze (Chopped/Vegan Challenge)

Yes, this is actually my second entry for the Vegan/Chopped Brunch challenge. Initially when I read the challenge and the four theme ingredients (butternut pumpkin, fresh rosemary, popcorn and apricot jam) I couldn't think of anything and decided that I might not enter. But then as I pottered about my day my brain was set to thinking about the possibilities and I actually came up with quite a few things that I wanted to try! So yesterday I set about cooking two of them up and they both worked out beautifully. So I'm entering them both!

If you haven't already checked out my first entry then it's here: Pumpkin Rosemary Popcorn Crumble. You can also jump onto the Vegan Mofo page to see all the other entries, I think that there will be some interesting ones!

Cooking with popcorn is new to me! In fact I don't really like popcorn that much. I always think it smells so delicious but then the taste is a let down! So cooking with it was challenging, but I was adamant when I decided to enter that I didn't want to do any dishes which just incorporated the popcorn by sprinkling it on top - it had to be integral to the dish. Popcorn cupcakes are a beautiful way to do this. However, because of German Food Month on this blog, we have been eating a lot of cake lately. I really didn't feel like eating more cake! So I made a half batch of cupcakes - to save our waistlines! You can turn this into a full batch by doubling the recipe if you like.

1/2 cup soy milk
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2/3 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/2 cups popped popcorn (pop according to the packet instructions)

For the Glaze
50g butternut pumpkin (you can sub other pumpkin if you like), boiled and finely mashed/pureed, cold
2 tsp apricot jam*
2 heaped tbsp soft icing mixture
1 tsp lemon jucie

*For this recipe you want to try and use an apricot jam that doesn't have big chunks of fruit in it - if yours does then just try to pick around them 

To Make:
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. 
2. Combine the soy milk, rosemary and lemon zest in a bowl and mix to combine.
3. Add the flour, baking powder, bicarb and popcorn and mix through.
4. Prepare cupcake baking tray with six paper cupcake pans. Fill the pans almost to the top with the mix (a lot of the bulk of them is the popcorn, so they won't rise too much).
5. Bake for 18 minutes (note: this time may increase if you make a full batch).
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before adding the glaze.
7. To make the glaze: combine the cold pureed pumpkin with the jam, icing mixture and lemon juice in a bowl. Mix with a hand held electric mixer or you can do it with a whisk if you don't have a mixer. 
8. When cupcakes are cooled spoon the glaze on top and decorate with sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Makes 6 cupcakes. 

Pumpkin and Rosemary Popcorn Crumble (Chopped/Vegan Challenge)

Vegan/Chopped is a competition hosted and judged by the queen of vegan cooking herself, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This time around it is a brunch theme, and the challenge is to create dishes which use Butternut pumpkin, fresh rosemary, popcorn and apricot jam. Man, she surely knows how to throw down a challenge. Those 4 ingredients are ones that I could never ever have imagined that I would cook together if it weren't for this! So, I have to give a thank you to Isa for this - because these little crumbles were delicious and I would never have made them if not for Vegan/Chopped. 

700g Butternut pumpkin (or you can substitute other pumpkin varieties)
3 tbsp sugar
2/3 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups popped popcorn (popped according to the directions on the packet)
1 tbsp pepitas
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/4 cup almonds, chopped up
2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 heaped tbsp sugar
1/2 cup apricot jam

To Make
1. Remove the skin and seeds from the pumpkin and chop up. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the pumpkin is well cooked. Drain.
2. Put the cooked pumpkin back in the saucepan and add the sugar, rosemary and nutmeg. Mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth. Place back on a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
3. Divide the pumpkin amongst 4 ramekins.
4. Combine the popcorn, pepitas, sunflower seeds and almonds in a bowl.
5. Put a small saucepan over a low heat and add the sugar, margarine and jam. Stir well and keep over the low heat until the it has all melted. Pour over the popcorn mixture in the bowl and mix to coat it all over. 
6. Spread this sticky topping over the pumpkin mixture in the ramekins. Place on a baking tray and put under the grill (at about 180 degrees) for 2-3 minutes, or until browned on the top.
7. Remove from grill and let stand for 15 minutes before eating. 

Makes 4 individual crumbles.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Vegan Zwiebelkuchen (German Onion Pie)

Zwiebelkuchen is not the most vegan friendly of foods! It's a single crust German pie filled with onions, cream, bacon and caraway. It's more of an egg-less quiche, I think. Despite it's very non vegan nature, I thought it looked like a dish with delicious potential, so I decided to give it a try as part of my German food month. This recipe is my own vegan version, which turned out even better than I had hoped!


The Pastry Base
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch
9 tbsp vegan margarine
1 1/2 tsp canola oil
4 tbsp soy milk

The Filling
5 big onions, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup cashews, soaked on cold water for an hour or more
300g silken tofu
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp arrowroot
1 tbsp chopped oregano (or thyme)
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp flour

To Make
To make the pastry: 
1. Combine the flour, salt and cornstarch in a food processor and pulse once or twice to mix. Add the margarine a couple of tablespoons at a time and process until the mixture looks like rough breadcrumbs. Then add the canola oil and soy milk (1 tbsp at a time) until the mixture clumps together as you process it (you may need to add more soy milk if this consistency isn't reached). If you don't have a food processor: combine the dry ingredients and then rub the margarine through the dry ingredients with your finger tips until it reaches a breadcrumbs consistency. Add the wet ingredients and knead with your hands until  the dough sticks together in a ball, but doesn't stick to your fingers.
2. Flatten the dough out into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
4. Roll out the pastry (it is a fairly crumbly pastry so it is a little difficult to work with, but don't worry you can patch it up very easily) about 1/2 cm thick and lay it out on a greased pie or quiche dish. Patch up any gaps or holes by pressing pieces of rolled dough into it. Don't worry, it doesn't need to look pretty!
5. Prick the base with a fork and bake for 20 minutes.

NOTE: After you remove the crust from the oven increase the temperature to 180 degrees.

To make the filling:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions until lightly golden and cooked. Place in a mixing bowl.
2. Drain the cashews (which have been soaking) and place in a food processor with the lemon juice (a small one will work best - if you have a mini one like a magic bullet then use this and then transfer to a larger processor for the rest of the filling ingredients) and process until they form a smooth paste (you will likely need to scrape the sides a lot.
3. Add the tofu, garlic and arrowroot to the filling and process until all smooth.
4. Add this mixture to the bowl with the onions in it along with the oregano, caraway seeds, flour and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
5. Pour the filling into the baked pie crust and smooth the top over as much as you can.

6. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.

Serves 6. 

This month I'm featuring lots of amazing recipes from Germany!
Check out my other German recipe posts:

Friday, 12 October 2012

Vegan Chai Banana Bread

Can you believe it's been snowing in some places near me today?! Snow in October! 

Today has been windy and stormy and rainy. The kind of rain which soaks all of your "covered" outdoor areas as well. It's the kind of day for staying late in bed, drinking lots of tea, having hot soup for lunch and baking. Baking is a lovely thing to do on a cold windy day. The oven helps warm up the house and at the end you get a nice still-warm baked treat to devour. Preferably with a cup of tea.

I recently did a clean out of my cupboard and found that I had 48 different types of tea, I'm serious - 48! I decided that I had better not buy any more tea until I had consumed some of what I already have. I am pretty crazy about tea, but even to me 48 seemed excessive. Even though I drink several cups of tea a day, I decided that it would take me too long to work through them just by drinking. So I decided that it was time to do more baking with tea and to experiment with some new fresh iced tea drinks (if the weather ever warms up enough!).

One of my 48 types of tea was this beautiful Tulsi Chai Masala, which my friend brought back from India as a gift for me. It's quite different to other Chai Masala that I've had, it's a blend which is very strong on cinnamon. So I thought that this strong spice would make it perfect for baking. If you've read much of this blog before then you'll also know that I really don't get into breakfast. So I settled on Chai Banana Loaf - to serve the joint purpose of using up some of my teas and getting me excited about breakfast. It didn't disappoint. 

2-3 heaped tsp chai masala (this depends on how strong your chai is)
2/3 cup boiling hot water
1 banana, mashed well (should make about 1/2 cup, a bit more or a bit less is fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil (to make a healthier loaf you can substitute 1/3 cup apple sauce and 1 tbsp canola oil)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda

To Make
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (if your oven is fan forced then reduce to 170).
2. Steep the chai masala in the boiling hot water for at least 10 minutes. You can leave for longer if you want a stronger flavour. Strain and allow the tea to cool.
3. Combine the banana, sugar, oil, tea and spices in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarb into the batter and mix well. You'll have lots of little wholemeal husks left in your strainer after sifting, but you can just throw those in too.
5. Line a 22cm/9inch long loaf tin and line with greaseproof baking paper. Pour in the batter and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Makes 1 loaf.