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.

IMG_0629

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


longevity_noodles

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.

veg_chowmein_invert

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


vega_chinese_newyear_dumplings

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!

Vegan_dumplings

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

Versatile Meatless Meatballs


The other day, my friend dropped me a line asking if I had any meatball recipes.
You see, she was off to a Holiday potluck and being vegetarian, her and her husband wanted to offer something familiar on the carnivorous table, as well as have something to satisfy themselves.

I suddenly realized that the site was a bit lacking on the soy and meat replacement type options. I’d decided I was long overdue. Since the whole point of this site is to satisfy (everybody) I figured I’d better get cracking.

One option, other than just removing meat, is to just use breadcrumbs but since most meatballs are held together with eggs, I had a little more of a challenge ahead to make them stick. However, my biggest concern was, of course flavour and texture. With a combination of finely chopped mushrooms, crumbs and a glutenous flour to hold them together, they turned out pretty great, if I may say so myself:)

Hence the name, this recipe is pretty versatile, good for either marinara sauces or gravies.

MEATLESS MEATBALLS

1 Cup Breadcrumbs, coarse
1 Cup  Minced Mushrooms, I used crimini
1 Clove Garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 t garlic powder will do in a pinch)
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes
3/4 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten Flour
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, vegan
1 Tablespoon Tamari or soy sauce
3 Tablespoons finely chopped baby spinach leaves*
1 Vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 Cup Hot Water

Dissolve the bouillon cube in the hot water. Add the worcestershire and tamari and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, mushrooms, garlic, nutritional yeast flakes, and flour.
Pour over the liquid and spinach.
Knead the mixture together to form a firm dough.
Pinch off 1 inch sized pieces to roll into balls.

Either heat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) or heat a layer of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.
If baking, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and evenly distribute the meatballs so they aren’t touching.
Bake for 15 minutes then roll each of the meatballs over to brown the other sides, baking for an additional 15 minutes.

If frying, (I liked this version better) add the meatballs to the heated oil to fill the pan, without overcrowding.
Fry the meatballs, moving occasionally to evenly brown them on all sides.
Remove from the pan and allow to drain on a paper towel while you finish up any remaining meatballs.

*Depending on the end dish, you could choose to add additional seasoning such as parsley, thyme, oregano or basil for tomato sauces and rosemary or thyme for brown (mushroom) gravies.

New Year’s Day Brunch


_DSC4397-Edit

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:

_DSC4498
Rapini & Red Pepper Strata

 

_DSC4466-Edit
Quinoa Mixed Grain Breakfast

 

_DSC4523
Multigrain Waffles

Brown Sugar Scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

*photos by ElKeegan

 

Greatest Grampa’s Cookies


My Grampa is almost 85, so I guess you could say he’s the man who has just about everything.
…But there is one thing he never forgets to ask for; these cookies:

I’m so glad that I could find something that he really loves. I’m sure he’s tasted a few great things, so I’m pretty flattered. We have always made the trip up to see him and Greatest Nana after the holidays. Recently in addition to celebrating, the kids and I often pack along a few things to stock their freezer with into the New Year.
Even though I’m sure he knows what he’s getting. Along with the soups and staples, the care package wouldn’t be complete without these little surprises. Just to be festive, I’ve fancied them up a bit with hazelnut butter. I really hope he likes them.
Continue reading Greatest Grampa’s Cookies