Monday, August 29, 2011

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

It is rhubarb season. I love rhubarb.  Especially when it is baked in a crumble or pie!

Crumble is such a simple and quick dessert to make.  And I can pretend it is healthy because of the fruit and because I add oats and nuts.  I am trying to avoid eating too many "empty calories" so this dessert is easier to justify than say chocolate cupcakes!  (More on the subject of chocolate cupcakes coming soon).

400gm of Rhubarb and 2 Granny Smith Apples.
400gm Rhubarb
2 apples - I think Granny Smiths are best for crumbles and pies
1/4 cup freshly squeezed citrus juice - lemon, lime or orange all work well. 
1/3 - 1/2 cup castor sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 tablespoons of corn flour

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
100gm margarine
Optional - 1/2 cup nuts.  I find that walnut pieces or slivered almonds work really well.

Can you peel an apple without breaking the piece of peel?

1. Preheat oven to 180oC
2. Trim the ends off the Rhubarb and cut into 2cm pieces.
3. Peel the apples, remove the core and cut into similarly sized pieces.
4. Place in a baking dish.  I use a 21cm square glass dish.
5. Sprinkle the cornflour, castor sugar and citrus juice over the fruit and stir to coat well.
6. In a large bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients.
7. Use a knife to "chop" the margarine into the dry ingredients.  And then use your hands (wash them first of course!) to rub the margarine in until it is well distributed.
8. Take a handful at a time of the crumble mix, squeeze it into a lump and place on top of the fruit.  Repeat until all the crumble is on top of the fruit.  You will need to press it down and spread it around a bit to cover all of the fruit.
9. Bake for 35 minutes.  If your dish is quite full some juice may drip over the edge so put a tray underneath to avoid a messy clean up.
10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then serve with soy vanilla icecream or soy custard or both!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mmm for Moussaka

I have been making a very special layered eggplant dish for years from Alison Holst's Meals without Meat.  I have plans to veganize it.  But for now, whenever I have a yearning for a layered eggplant extravaganza I have a go-to recipe that I found in Veganomicon.  I just love saying the name of that book.  Veganomicon.  Nom, nom, nom!

Happily, here is the recipe on the Post Punk Kitchen Website: Eggplant Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream.   So you too can bake this wonderful dish.  Thanks PPK for being so generous with your recipes on line.

This is not one of those throw together for a quick dinner kind of recipe.  It is a little fiddly.  But it is well worth the effort.  And, if there is just two of you in the house, like me and dear husband, then you will have instant dinner for the next night or two.  It reheated pretty well in the microwave.

The Pine Nut Cream really is fantastic!! Although I will be very, very careful with the salt next time.  The recipe calls for "1 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste."  I thought I would start a bit lower and so added ~ 3/4 teaspoon and it was still a bit too salty for us.  But once that salt has hit the food processor there is no undoing it.  So I suggest starting with even less, I think 1/4-1/2 teaspoon will probably do the trick for me next time.  Is that American taste buds like salt more than we Aussies do?  I often find I have to reduce the salt a bit when cooking from an American cook book. If anyone else has made this (or ever gets around to making it) I would like to hear how much salt you added "to taste".

Apparently the extra pine nuts for garnishing are "optional", but personally, I strongly recommend a generous handful of pine nuts on top.  They toast to perfection while the dish bakes. 

Will I make this again?  Definitely!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Porcini Mushroom Stroganoff

I have been having a great time with my friend's vegan cookbooks.  I have tried quite a few recipes and most have been very successful.  One recipe was so divinely, deliciously, delectable that immediately after eating it I e-mailed the publisher for permission to print the recipe exactly from the book.  And, much to my surprise, I received a couple of lovely e-mails back and then this:
"We are pleased to grant this permission free of charge.  Please be sure to credit title, author, and publisher." 
Hooray!!  So here it is:
The recipe: Porcini Mushroom Stroganoff
The book: The Candle Cafe Cookbook
The authors: Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza with Barbara Scott-Goodman
The publisher: Clarkson Potter Publishers New York, 2003

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
2 tablespoons soy margarine
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
1 pound button mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup soy milk
Pinch of dried parsley
Pinch of dried dill
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1 pound fettuccine

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil.  Stir in the flour and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the soy margarine, garlic, onion, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
2. Add the porcini and button mushrooms, wine, tomato past, and soy milk.  Stir in the parsley, dill, thyme bay leaf and chives.  Bring to the boil, then simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
3. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the fettuccine according to package directions.  Drain.
4. Spoon the sauce over the fettuccine and serve at once.

The only intentional change I made was to use considerably less pepper than the 1 tablespoon called for in the recipe.

If you look at my pictures you may notice that I used button mushrooms and field mushrooms.  How did this come about?  Well, I quickly scribbled down 2 pounds porcine mushrooms and 1 pound button mushrooms on my shopping list and headed for the shops.  I had somehow managed to complete miss that the porcine mushrooms were supposed to be dried, and that the recipe called for 2 ounces, not 2 pounds!  

The Fruit and Veggie store that I usually go to was all out of fancy mushrooms.  And there were none to be had in the other Fruit and Veg store and 2 supermarkets that I went to.  So instead I bought 2 pounds of button mushrooms and 1 pound of field mushrooms.  The result was an amazingly delicious Stroganoff that delighted us.  I only realized my mistake when I made it again last weekend and was re-reading the recipe.  Well never mind because, fortunately my mistake didn't stuff it up.

The second time I made it I noticed a very slight after taste that I have detected if I overheat soy milk when I make Soy Hot Chocolate.   I think I had the pan too hot when I added the soy milk and so I will be carefully not to make that mistake next time.  Because, oh yes, there will definitely be a next time!

I am guessing that using the dried mushrooms would result in a less runny sauce and I am going to try making it the "official" way soon.  I will let you know how that turns out.

I have also found a Stroganoff recipie in Vegan with a Vengeance.  The recipe is quite different and includes Seitan and sounds a little more complicated.  I will get around to making that one day too, and it will be interesting to compare the results.