Hot Cross Buns


Somehow in all the quarantine chaos, we managed to track down flour AND yeast!
Traditional but also comforting, these fruity, yeasty sweet rolls bring some happy to our stress baking.

It’s crazy to be “celebrating” anything really while in quarantine, but we’ve managed to do my birthday and it’ll be my daughter’s next week. These really are the times to make the best of it.

Happy Baking and good health to you all.

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HOT CROSS BUNS

1 1/2 Cups (Any non-dairy) Milk
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
4 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour, plus more, if necessary, for kneading
1 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Ground, Black Cardamom
1 Tablespoon Crystalized Ginger, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 Cup Dried Blueberries
2/3 Cup Candied Orange Peel, chopped*

2 Tablespoons Apricot Jam, warmed

Orange Icing

1/4 Cup Icing Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Orange Juice*

 

Cover the dried blueberries with boiling water to soften. Set aside.
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let sit until it bubbles, about 5-10 minutes.
Warm the milk, checking the temperature to just lukewarm and add the yeasted water to a bowl of a stand mixer. (or a large bowl to mix by hand). Combine with the sugar and salt to dissolve.
At a low speed, mix in the melted coconut oil.
One cup at a time, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. The dough should be sticky but pliable.
Drain the blueberries and add them along with the peel.
Continue to knead, adding the remaining flour as necessary to have the dough come together and release from the sides of the bowl.
Lightly grease a large, clean bowl and transfer the dough to rest and rise until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
After the first rise, cut the dough in half, and roll into an tube to cut it into 9 pieces. Repeat to get 18 total. Shape pieces into a ball and evenly place on a parchment lined baking sheet them in six rows of three. Slash a X on the top of each.
Cover and let double in size again.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Bake until golden; about 20-22 minutes.
Glaze with warmed apricot jam and once cool, line the tops with orange icing.

*Make your own candied orange peel or just use zest, keeping the juice for the icing.

Vegan Longevity Chow Mein Noodles


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Noodles are traditionally served at Chinese New Year’s feasts. Ancient Chinese belief says that long noodles are the key to a long life  and good fortune, so don’t cut those noodles as you eat!  Longevity noodles are usually stir fried and so are these.

These noodles are fresh, store bought, egg-free Chow Mein, but you can use vermicelli,  ramen or whatever you have available.

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CHOW MEIN LONG NOODLES

1  8oz (225g) package Eggless Chow Mein Noodles
1 ½ Tablespoons Neural Oil, vegetable or sunflower
1 Block Firm Tofu, diced into ½”cubes
1 Clove Garlic, finely minced
1 Carrot, sliced into thin strips
2 Cups Shredded Napa Cabbage
½ Cup Sliced Sugar Snap Peas
1 Cup Mung Bean Sprouts
4 Green Onions, finely sliced – divided
¼ Cup Dark Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
¼ Cup Water
¼ teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon Red Chilli Flakes, optional
¼ Cup Cilantro, torn for optional garnish

 

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add the noodles and cook for one minute. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Shake well to remove all water. Drizzle over the sesame oil and set noodles aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté tofu for about 3 minutes per side until golden and crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside.
To the skillet, add the garlic and carrots to sauté for 1 minute. Add the cabbage, peas, bean sprouts and 3/4 of the green onions. Continue to toss for another minute, until the cabbage has wilted.
Add the reserved noodles and tofu and toss well to combine with the vegetables to warm through. Add the soy sauce, salt, a few grinds of pepper, chilli flakes and the water. Using tongs, continue to toss until all ingredients are just mixed together.

Remove from heat and transfer to a platter to serve. Top with remaining sliced green onions and cilantro, if using.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Dumplings For A Health-filled New Year


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Happy New Year!

Lunar New Year is the extra bit of horoscope magic we like to celebrate in our house. Years ahead full of health and prosperity are good things to strive for. Sitting down and folding dumplings as a family is pretty amazing too.
Other than a lot of dicing, the filling comes together pretty quickly to make a dinner full of dumplings. Folding isn’t too tough either. There are lots of folds varieties to choose from. An easy triangle, to more complicated pleats, but the trick is just to get the air out and seal the edges well.
For these I started with an off point triangle and to fancy them up, folded each of the lower corners up to make a bit of a lucky dragon type of shape.

Gong hei fat choy!

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VEGAN DUMPLINGS

For The Filling:

1/2 Block Firm Tofu, pressed and finely diced (about 1 Cup)
3 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, reconstituted and finely diced (about 1/4 Cup)
1 Medium Carrot, finely grated
1 Cup Napa Cabbage, finely shredded
1/4 Red Pepper, finely diced
1 Clove Garlic, finely grated (with a microplane)
1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, peeled and finely grated (with a microplane)
1 teaspoon Cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Package Wonton Wrappers
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seed Oil, for frying
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil, for frying

Combine the filling ingredients together. To fill the dumplings, add about one teaspoon of the filling to one wrapper. Glide your finger along the edges of the wrapper to dampen the edges. Fold the dumpling into a triangle, working the air out and sealing the edges well. Fold the corners up to create a dragon fold, or bring them together and seal to create a more traditional wonton shape.
Collect the finished dumplings on a parchment lined baking sheet. If you’d like to freeze for later use, store in an airtight container.
To cook, add 1/4 cup of water to a large skillet. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to medium and add the dumplings, with space in between, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add 1 Tablespoon of sesame seed oil and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Loosen any dumplings, as necessary to get the oil under them, then leave them to fry for about another 3-5 minutes or until golden-crisp.

For The Dipping Sauce:

1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
2 teaspoons Sesame Seed Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds, optional

If using, toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently. Once they begin to pop and brown, remove them from the heat.
Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sriracha. Stir in the chopped cilantro and sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds.

Makes 30 Dumplings

New Year’s Day Brunch


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Whether you partied or slept through the ball dropping, brunch just always seems to be in order to welcome in the New Year.

Invite the masses or treat your loved ones, to this welcoming round-up of a spread!
Fully vegan and absolutely delicious. This is a way to hail in a new decade and stick to some resolutions too!

Start with Mimosas, Bloody Mary Caesars and continue in with some of these favourites:

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Rapini & Red Pepper Strata

 

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Quinoa Mixed Grain Breakfast

 

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Multigrain Waffles

Brown Sugar Scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

*photos by ElKeegan

 

Holiday Classic: Gingerbread Cookies


It’s surprising to admit, but I was never a kid who was overly impressed with getting a gingerbread man during the Holidays or any days for that matter.

Maybe it’s that those grocery store offerings were harder than sinking your teeth into a wooden plank? Or maybe it was the bitter, lip staining food colouring used to fill in Ginger-Santa’s suit? Even as a kid, artificial wasn’t my thing, but upon rediscovering the amazing, wafting aromas of spicy ginger cookies at my Grandparent’s house , I think I truly regained my love of molasses and the Gingerbread Man.

Packed with freshly grated ginger and that slow pouring dark molasses, these cookies are barely sweet, leaving room for plenty of adornment for the Holidays.

VEGAN GINGERBREAD COOKIES

1/2 cup Coconut Oil, room temperature
1/2 Cup Fancy Molasses
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 teaspoons Freshly Grated Ginger, include any juice
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
pinch, Freshly Grated Nutmeg
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cream the coconut oil and sugar until fluffy.
While this goes, and you’ll need the time, use spray oil to coat the inside of your 1/2 cup measure.
Pour in your molasses, and don’t forget that s l o w  saying… it does take it’s time.
Add molasses into the fluffed sugar, along with the vanilla.
Using a spoon, peel your ginger, then grate into a bowl to catch any extra juice.
Add grated ginger along with its juice, discarding any really stringy bits, until evenly blended.
Follow by adding the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Next, add the soda right to the dough and, on the lowest setting, follow with the flour, a half cup at a time.
Mixing just until dough comes together.
Shape dough into 2 discs and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling.
Preheat oven to 375 °F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc to just over 1/8-inch thick.
Cut your dough out into desired shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until edges are firm to touch but centers are still soft.
Allow to cool completely before decorating.

For the icing, I’ve used this or I found that about 2 Cups of Icing Sugar (check your source), 1/4 Cup Corn Starch or Soy Flour, a drop of vanilla and a dribble of water mixed to a thick ribbon, will pipe really well.

Foodista – Best of Food Blogs Cookbook


When I got home today, I found a lovely surprise in my mailbox!

It’s the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook, and I’m on pages 32 & 33!
Just from my quick flip through, the book looks like a best seller. There are pages of scrumptious photos, winning recipes and personalized stories of bloggers from around the world.

I found it amazing watching this come to be. I had first heard of the idea during a food blogging conference over a year ago. I was later approached by Sheri Wetherell, the founder of Foodista, regarding their call for submissions and took her up on the offer!
Having seen the end result, I’m very glad that I did as they did a quality job bringing together great blogger’s recipes and their stories.

Please go out and have a look yourself. In fact, the lovely Foodista people are hosting a contest for those who buy the book on Noevember 3rd!

… And for those of my readers who haven’t seen Vegan Visitor’s new look and location, reset your RSS readers to veganvisitor.com!