Vegan Victoria Sponge (Basic Yellow Cake)

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One of things I missed since going vegan was baking. I tried and failed at baking good cakes so many times that I gave up. I used to bake some really good cakes before, and I used to find baking very soothing so I have missed it for a while.

Vegan cakes were so difficult to bake that I was this close to baking a non vegan cake for my not so vegan husband on his birthday but I ended up baking nothing. Anyhow, I did not want to do the same for my daughter’s upcoming birthday so I experimented until I nailed it!!

Chocolate cakes seem to be much easier and forgiving than yellow sponge cakes. But here is a recipe for a perfectly soft and moist yellow cake for your victoria sponge.

I am not going to share the recipe for the buttercream because there’s too many online. Just google it and you will find many.

So here it goes:

Ingredients:

300g dairy free margarine (plus extra for greasing)

300g self raising flour

300 g caster sugar (I used granulated)

200g soya yoghurt (I used alpro)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground flaxseed (or xanthum gum)

any vegan milk (optional)

2 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence

Method:

Preheat the oven on gas mark 5/190ºC.

In a bowl, beat the margarine and the sugar for 4-5 minutes (this stage is important, unlike buttery eggy cake vegan cakes require some work). Now mix in the vanilla and the yoghurt.

In a separate bowl mix in the rest of the dry ingredients with a fork.  Once combined, mix in the dry ingredients with the wet. Mix it all in thoroughly so that there are no lumps.

Now grease two 6 inches cake tins with some margarine and dust it with some flour. Now divide the mixture half and half into the two tins.

Bake the cakes for about 20 minutes and then check if the middle is cooked with a skewer. If it comes out clean the cake is ready. The cake must have a light brown hue on it and it should come away from the sides of the tin quite visibly (don’t sweat if they don’t).

Let the cake sit in the tin but outside the oven for ten minutes and then take them out of the tin and cool it completely on a rack.

Once cool, decorate it whichever way you like. You can make your own buttercream or buy some from the supermarket. I simply out some raspberry jam in between the two cakes.

Please try it and let me know how it was!!

Tip: With Vegan Cakes I have learnt that it is best to divide the cake batter into two batches and then place them one on top of the other when ready. If you try and bake one fat cake, it end up very stodgy.

 

 

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Bombay Aloo

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“What is that?”,were my thoughts when I saw it on the menu in the UK. In 21 years that I spent growing up in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), I never came across a dish named so. But when I ate it, I knew instantly what it was!

Bombay Aloo will mean different things to different people and just like any curry, every family will have their own version.

Here is my dad’s version. Bombay Aloo served in England tastes closest to what my dad used to make.

Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients:

5 diced potatoes

1 1/2 tsp turmeric

2 1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp oil

Salt and Sugar to taste

Coriander to garnish

Method:

Boil the potatoes. I used the pressure cooker. Two whistles and then I let it rest.

In a pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the drained potatoes. Add all the spices and gently fry until everything is mixed. Don’t mix too much, you risk mushing up the potatoes. Cook until potatoes turn slightly golden and spices loose its raw smell. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot!

Vegan Gnocchi With Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

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This recipe is a complete experiment and it turned out delicious. This is my healthy version of Mac n Cheese or Alfredo sauce.

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 chopped carrots

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp dried sage (or fresh)

3 tbp of nutritional yeast

1/2 cup of grated vegan pizza cheese

1 cup soy milk

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Salt to taste

500 gms gnocchi

Method:

Cook the carrots and cauliflower and then blend it with the soy milk to get a creamy thick mixture. Set aside!

In a hot pan, add the oil and fry the onions. Add the garlic granules and mustard. Stir well and add just a little dash of water to stop it from sticking. Now add the cauliflower mixture, cheese, sage and nutritional yeast.

Let it cook for a couple of minutes and set it aside.

In a separate saucepan, cook the gnocchi as per instructions.

Once cooked, drain and stir it in the cauliflower sauce.

Serve hot!

Tip: Sprinkle some chilli flakes or throw in some butternut squash. Instead of gnocchi add macaroni or any other pasta of your choice.

If you thin out the sauce with some plant based milk, you could have it like soup.

Beetroot & Chickpeas Burgers

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This recipe is so easy and can be made in less than 2 hours. A good way to get those veggies into your kids. The beetroot adds a nice raw pink colour to it which we loved. We were surprised by the combination of beetroot with chickpeas. Flavours were subtle but very satisfying.

Servings: 8 to 10 patties

Ingredients:

3 cans of chickpeas

2 big beetroots, cooked & grated (I used precooked from the shop, a pack of 6 to 7 tiny beetroots)

1 finely chopped red onion

3 – 4 cloves of garlic

Handful of chopped coriander

4 – 5 tbsp quick oats

1 tbsp cornflour

1/2 tbsp of grammar flour

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

2 tsp of chia seeds (optional)

100 grams of walnuts, coarsely ground

1 tbsp of cumin powder

1 tbsp of smoked paprika

Salt to taste

3 tbsp oil to cook

Method:

Take a can of chickpeas and blend it with its water. It will be nearly as smooth as hummus, pour it in a mixing bowl. Drain other two cans and put it in with the ground chickpeas. Now mush up the chickpeas with a potato masher.

Add all the other ingredients and mix well. I would get in with your hands. If it is too wet, add more oats or a sprinkle of cornflour should do the trick.

Once the mixture is ready, form your patties and set them aside in the fridge to set.

In the meantime, chop up all the other fillings you would like to put in your burger: tomatoes, red onions, gherkins, cheese etc.

After about 30 minutes of chilling. I shallow fried the patties until golden brown on both sides and then put them in a preheated oven on gas mark 5 for 20 mins or so.

Check after 15 minutes and cook accordingly. Voila!

Serve with some homemade chips and cold glass of lager! Perfect way to welcome spring.

 

 

 

 

Kohlrabi And Broccoli Stir-Fry

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So last week, Nethergong Nurseries sent me this amazing summer vegetable called Kohlrabi. It is one of those vegetables that you won’t find in the supermarkets easily and so if you are a supermarket junkie (which I was until I found the veggie box), you wouldn’t know what to do with this amazing vegetable.

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Kohlrabi is great either cooked in curries or stir-fry or raw in salads or sandwiches. It has a texture of radish, fresh, juicy and crunchy. Both the stem and the bulb is edible and they have a sweet taste with some kick like that of a radish to it.

Because Kohlrabi is similar to cabbage and broccoli, I decided to toss them together in a healthy stir-fry and served it with some white rice and pan fried salmon fillets. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 whole broccoli, cut into florets

1 whole kohlrabi, sliced

2-3 carrots, sliced

1 large onion, sliced

4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 inches of ginger, julienne

2-3 tsp soy sauce

1tsp honey

handful of chopped spring onions

salt to taste

sprinkle of chilli flakes

2tbsp oil

Method:

Heat oil in the pan. Saute garlic, ginger and onion until translucent. Add broccoli and kohlrabi along with carrots. Fry them for 5 minutes and then add soy sauce, salt, honey & chilli flakes. Cook on slow flame until the vegetables are tender. Do not overcook. Make sure the vegetables have a bite to it. Last but not the least sprinkle some spring onions.

Garnish with some sesame seeds. Voila! Serve hot.

Beetroot and Avacado Salad

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Unlike many, I am not a big fan of beetroot. So when my veggie box came with locally produced yummy beetroot, I had to get creative. This is a very simple yet healthy recipe. My curry eating aunty even enjoyed it for her dinner – which was an achievement in itself.

Ingredients:

3 beetroots, sliced

2 avacados, sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 sprig of chopped spring onions

handful of coriander (chopped)

few mint sprigs, chopped

1 can of broad beans (or soy beans or chick peas even)

Dressing:

3-4 tsp of olive oil

2 tsp cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

2-3 tsp of honey

Salt to taste

few drops of tobasco

Method:

For the beetroot, cook them whole (easier if using pressure cooker) and then peel and slice them.

If using raw broad beans, make sure you blanch it in salt water.

Mix all the ingredients and set aside.

For the dressing, combine the ingredients and stir it very well. Then add the dressing in the salad. Toss and serve.

We served it with fish cakes and garlic bread. But it will be good for a meal in itself for lunch boxes as well.

 

 

Rajma (Red Kidney Beans)

Rajma or Red Kidney Beans curry is one of the most loved North Indian recipes. My memories of it takes me back to my school days when my babysitter was a North Indian woman. She used to cook and feed me rajma and rice on a regular basis. It is a very simply and healthy recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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Ingredients:

2 tinned red kidney beans (or soak up the dry ones overnight and then boil them until cooked)

1 onion, finely chopped

1 – 2 inch of ginger, chopped

3 tomatoes

1 cinnamon stick

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

3 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder

2tsp garam masala

2 tsp oil

salt and sugar to taste

coriander to garnish

Method:

Grind the tomatoes and ginger into a puree.

Heat the oil in a pan and then add the cumin seeds and cinnamon. Once the cumin seeds turn light brownish in colour, add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the tomato puree along with the spices, sugar and salt. Let it cook until the oil separates from the tomato mix. Then add the beans, a bit of water and simmer it for 30 mins. Add more water if the curry starts to dry out. You want to almost overcook the beans, that helps the curry to form a smooth and creamy consistency. In the end, add chopped coriander and serve hot with parathas or steamed rice.

Enjoy!