Saturday, 29 June 2013

Vegan Pyzy (Polish Potato Dumplings) with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Dumplings are a universally comforting food - from the fried or steamed Chinese dumplings dipped in tantalising chilli and soy sauce, to the hearty and satisfying potato and vegetable based dumplings of Eastern and Central Europe, there is something about dumplings which satisfies the soul as well as the stomach! Generally, I've had a lot more experience making the Chinese variety than the European ones, but that changed when Poland was requested by a reader to be featured on the blog.

This June and July you'll see a lot of Polish recipes, and that is going to include some dumplings! Dumplings in creamy I-can't-believe-it's-vegan mushroom sauce. When I made these and served them up it looked like a bit too much sauce and I made a mental note to alter the recipe - but when I served them up we mopped up every little last big of that sauce and could have had more! So I didn't alter the recipe, you're going to want that much of this sauce!

I used my home made vegan sour cream in this recipe, and the result was luscious and super creamy! I can't predict how it will turn out with store bought vegan sour cream, but making it was really, really easy. So you can jump over to my recipe here and make some yourself.

Vegan Polish Pyzy (Potato Dumplings) with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
1 kg potatoes, peeled
5 tbsp flour (or more, as needed)
1/2 tsp salt

Creamy Mushroom Sauce
400g mushrooms
3 tbsp vegan margarine
2 tbsp plain flour
2 cups hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill (or substitute 1 tsp dried dill)
Salt and pepper to taste

To Make
1. Grate half of the potatoes raw and place in a strainer placed over a bowl. Leave to drip dry for at least half an hour then use the back of a spoon to push any remaining liquid out. Keep the liquid though!
2. Roughly chop the other 500g of potatoes and boil until tender. Mash and place in a bowl with the grated potato and the flour. Mix well.
3. The leftover liquid should now have settled and separated out, gently pour off the clear liquid from the top and add the starchy sediment to the bowl of potatoes and flour. Mix well.
4. Your dumpling mix should now be a thick and sticky consistency that you can roll into balls - if it is too dry add a little water, if it is too wet you can add a little more flour.
5. Dust your hands with flour and roll into walnut sized balls. Set them aside while you make the sauce (you'll boil them just before you need to serve them).
6. To make the creamy mushroom sauce: wash and slice the mushrooms. Melt the margarine in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir vigorously to form a smooth paste. Gradually add the hot vegetable stock, just a little bit at a time, and stir well to keep the sauce as a smooth paste. Continue until all the stock is added.
7. Add the mushrooms to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked. Add the sour cream, dill and season to taste and then remove from the heat.
8. To cook the dumplings - bring a big pot of water to the boil and gently add the dumplings. Stir gently to make sure none stick to the bottom. Boil for about 10 minutes, you'll know they are done when they float to the surface (you may have to do 2 batches to get them all done). Serve hot with the mushroom sauce and garnish with extra dill as desired. 

Serves 4.

This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Poland.
Check out my other Polish recipe posts:

Friday, 28 June 2013

Grapefruit Waffles with Chocolate Dipped Strawberries (for someone you love!)

I'm coming up to my anniversary soon, so I thought I'd bring a little romance onto the blog. After being with someone for many years and living together for most of that time, it's easy to feel like the romance is dead sometimes. After all, you don't often tend to make a special effort with someone when you spend every evening and every morning with them anyway. There are fewer romantic dates, fewer mushy text messages going back and forth and, sometimes, a lack of spontaneous romantic gestures. We always try and do small unexpected nice things for one another though, because it is a really lovely feeling to make somebody that you love smile.

Special breakfast is a nice way to remind someone that you love them. My partner gets up stupidly early to go to work almost every day, though, so I don't really get many opportunities. We've both been incredibly busy lately but the other day we had a fluke day that we were both home from work and we had deliberately made no other plans for the day. So, I felt I should seize the occasion to get up and make him breakfast in bed. Not just any breakfast either - grapefruit waffles with chocolate coated strawberries! I ask you - is romance dead?! :)

Yes, a decadent and sweet breakfast - I don't advise having this one for breakfast too often. I've used yellow grapefruit because I had a big bag of them bequeathed to me from someone's tree. You can also use pink grapefruit. The grapefruit adds a fantastic fresh zingy aspect to the sweet waffles, so I recommend try it. If, however, you're making these for someone who hates grapefruit, you can substitute some freshly squeezes orange juice in it's place. 

All in all they take about 15 minutes to make, which is not very long for someone you love! Try these for birthdays, anniversaries, mothers or fathers day, Valentines day or (my favourite) any day of the week because nobody needs an occasion to tell someone you love them. Or just make them for yourself - because it's also important to love yourself, right? 

Vegan Grapefruit Waffles with Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

150g dark chocolate
6 strawberries, washed and dried completely
1 1/4 cups wholemeal flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (with the pulp!)
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
Maple Syrup (fo' drizzlin')

To Make:
1.  Mix the dry ingredients for the waffles together in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and gently stir in the soy milk, grapefruit juice and oil.
2. Melt you chocolate by chopping it up and placing it in a completely dry metal mixing bowl (glass or ceramic is ok too, it just will take longer to melt). Fill a separate bowl with boiling hot water and suspend the metal bowl over the top so that the steam from the hot water heats the metal. This will melt the chocolate evenly. Stir as it melts. 
3. Make sure your strawberries are completely dry. Once the chocolate is melted, coat the strawberries in it and then place them on a non stick baking sheet on a plate. Continue with your remaining strawberries and then place the plate in the fridge while you cook the waffles so they can set. You'll have some chocolate left over, keep it suspended over the hot water to that is stays melted while you cook your waffles.
4.  Heat up your waffle iron (be sure to spray with oil to prevent sticking) and make the waffles according to the instructions of your waffle maker. Make sure you re spray the waffle maker between each waffle.

5. Once the waffles are cooked, get 2 plates and place 1 waffle on each plate then drizzle maply syrup over the waffles. Top with another waffle and drizzle the remaining melted chocolate over the top. Place the chocolate dipped strawberries on top and eat it straight away!

Makes 2 servings (because you deserve some too, right?)

This recipe makes enough for 4 waffles (this may vary depending on the size of your waffle maker) and 6 chocolate dipped strawberries. 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Home Made Vegan Sour Cream

Hello all! After a long period of silence I'm finally back. You may have noticed that June has been a bit of a quiet month on Gormandize. I've been totally overwhelmed by business this month so sadly blogging has fallen along the wayside lately. I've recently gotten a second job which is fantastic for my bank balance but no so much for my time. Secondly I've spent every spare moment I've had this month organising our big trip abroad. We are leaving next Monday!! It's very exciting but it's a big trip, and since we're travelling in peak tourist season (European summer) we've been advised to book pretty much everything in advance!

What a mammoth task it has been - this month I have booked accommodation in 17 different places (shopping around in each place for the cheapest good accommodation to save money!), 2 internal flights, 2 car hires in different countries, 6 ferry tickets and 2 train tickets. Also travel insurance, International divers license and a couple of other necessaries. It's been totally exhausting and it feels like it has consumed my whole life. But now finally it is all in order and this time next week we will be on a plane heading off on a 6 week trip! It is so exciting. So - want to know where we are going? Scandinavia!! Here is a map of our complete trip plan:

Looks great doesn't it? I'll do my best to keep posting updates as I go (if I get much time or internet access). I'm also going to schedule some posts so there won't be complete silence on the blog while I'm gone. I've got lots of delicious recipes to share via scheduling and also some absolutely lovely blogging friends who have offered to contribute guest posts which I know you're going to love!

But, what about my featured country for June? Well, I have actually cooked a lot of dishes that I had planned to share with you in June. But as it's almost over, I don't think I'll be able to get through them all before the end of the month - so I'm making my next featured country for June and July. What country is it? POLAND! Oh, yes - very excited about this one because Polish food is one of my absolute favourite cuisines. So I hope you'll enjoy my spread of Polish dishes over June and July!

This first recipe isn't a Polish recipe as such, but it's such a vital ingredient in Polish cooking that it is really where I have to start! It's my home made vegan sour cream. You'll be needing quite a bit of this for my Polish recipes - so I made a double batch and I used it all up.

Vegan Sour Cream

350g silken tofu, drained
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp white wine vinegar
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp salt

To Make
1. Combine all ingredients in a food process. Process until completely smooth.
2. Transfer to a bowl or jar and place in the fridge for at least an hour before using. Should be nice and thick and scoopable.

Use in place of dairy sour cream in any recipe that calls for it!

Makes about 1 cup sour cream.