Peanut Brownies

3 Jun

More traditional food of my people.

Don’t get our brownies confused with chocolate brownies, American-style. These are biscuits, or “cookies”, as you types may refer to them.  They are best enjoyed with a big glass of soy milk.

My  mum is addicted to these crack-like biscuits, so now she can make some for us to share when we visit. Pay attention Ma! 

They’re both crunchy and chewy.  You like what you see? You like it? Aw yeah you do. So do I. For this reason tonight I’ll be featuring a beetroot salad on Tahini Sauce.


INGREDIENTS

125g margarine
1 cup sugar
1.5 cups flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
1 cup peanuts
1 tablespoon of water

INSTRUCTIONS

Blend all ingredients, except peanuts, in a blender. Mix batter with peanuts. Roll into balls, press, bake on a greased tray at 180ºC, until springy to touch and cooked through.  When you remove them from the baking tray they will be bendy so let them cool on a cooking-rack; they’ll firm up and the final result will be a chewy-but-crunchy biscuit.

Ginger nuts

30 May

I could say something funny here, like; ‘Kids will go nuts for these Ginger nuts!’ – but that probably wouldn’t be very funny. Pregnant women on the other hand… well, sugar (tick) plus (possible) anti-nausea properties of ginger (tick)… they go down a treat.

These are probably the easiest/quickest biscuits I know how to make. You can whip up the batter before the oven’s even preheated. So again, great for those pregnant women who want things NOW.

INGREDIENTS

125g Margarine
1 C Sugar
2 Tblsp Golden Syrup
2 Tblsp Water
2 C Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
3 tsp Ginger Powder

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large pot, melt the marg over low heat. Remove from the heat, then mix in the sugar, golden syrup and water. Finally, sift in the flour, baking powder and ginger powder.

Roll into balls, place onto a greased oven tray, flatten, and bake at 180ºC for ~ 15 minutes. They should start turning golden brown, but still be slightly soft to the touch. Don’t cook them till they’re firm (like my mother used to), as they harden when they’re cool.

I advise dunking them in coffee as the best way to eat them. Enjoy!

Upside-down Apple Pie

25 May

Do you have a pie dish? I don’t! Which means I make all my pies ‘upside-down’. If you do have one, feel free to make yours the right way up. I imagine it will still taste as good.

This is a great way to use up any apples that are getting old, or home grown ones that just don’t look appetising enough to bite into.

INGREDIENTS

4 Apples
1 tsp Sugar
Pastry

INSTRUCTIONS

Peel, cube and slice the apples. Put them in a pot of boiling water with the sugar for about 10 minutes, until they are soft. Drain of the water completely.

Split the pastry into 2, and roll out both of them. Lay one piece on a greased oven tray, pile the apple in the middle, and then place the second piece on top. Roll up the edges of the pastry, if you’ve made your layers the right side this should seal the pie up.

Poke a few holes in the top with a fork, and bake at 180ºC for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes, and then serve with cream.

Dessert Pastry

25 May

Pastry is a quick and easy base for many a pudding. While it often isn’t hard to find vegan pastry in stores, it’s cheaper to make at home and is reasonably fast to throw together.

The important think about this recipe is it’s more about the ratios than the actual measurements. To tell the truth, this was the first time I’ve ever measured the ingredients – the things I do for you guys. In general, just chuck in 1 part marg to 2 parts flour, enough water to bind, and make as much pastry as you need.

INGREDIENTS

150g Margarine
2 C Flour
1 Tblsp  Sugar
3 Tblsp Water

INSTRUCTIONS

Chuck the margarine, flour and sugar into a food processor, and blend to form ‘crumbs’.  Tip into a bowl, and mix in the water to bind it all together. Roll into a ball, put into a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.

Once it has been cooled, roll it out on a floured surface to do whatever you need with it.

Some recipes may require blind baking, whereas others you’ll cook the pastry once you’ve filled it with yum stuff. Either way, cook at 180ºC for about 20 minutes or until it starts turning golden brown.

As I said, it’s the base for many a pudding; and now I’ve told you how to make pastry, you can count on it that I’ll be sharing some more desserts using pastry.

Ultimate Cupcake Recipe

20 May

Got some Vegan Solidarity Baking to do?

Got a community project on? Selling cupcakes in a bake-sale?

This is your basic fail-safe recipe.

It’s extremely cheap to make, has a good consistency and it’s quick to throw together. We have made hundreds of cupcakes before, using this recipe.

You can add variety by mixing up the frosting flavours, or you can flavour the mixture by adding: lemon, vanilla, cocoa, raspberry or mint – whatever you like.

Makes 12.

INGREDIENTS

1 & 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
6 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients. Mix well. Fill paper cupcake cups*. Bake until springy to the touch (approximately 15 minutes). Frost.We make simple frosting by blending generous helpings of margarine, icing sugar, food colouring and flavour (in this case, raspberry).

*We use large sized paper cups, and rest them in a muffin tray so they hold shape. We added 1/4 cup of mixture to each cup.

Cream Filled Donuts

12 May

I was at football today (almost scored too! (I’m a defender, so that’s a big deal)) and one of our supporters was eating a long cream donut from a bakery. How I wanted that donut!

Now, Jess asks me to make her a cream donut every time I make normal Donuts, and I never do. This may be another one of those selfish moments where I make what I want. Then again, she still got cream donuts, so she can’t complain to much.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/8 tsp Yeast
1/8 C Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
2 C Flour
2/3 C Water
1/8 C Oil

INSTRUCTIONS

If you’re lazy like me, combine all the ingredients in a bread-maker and tell it to make you some dough. Otherwise, combine ingredients in a bowl, then knead to form a smooth dough (about 10 minutes) and leave to rise for a few hours.

Cut the dough and roll the dough to the shape you want it. Leave to rise for another 20 minutes or so.

Heat a pan of oil to approx 190ºC (not that I’ve ever measured the temperature of oil when deep frying). IMPORTANT: Cut a slit down the middle of the donuts – this is where the cream will go later, and it is important to cut the slit BEFORE frying, or else the donut won’t cook throughout. Add a few donuts to the pan, and fry until brown, then turn over and fry till the other side is brown. Remove from the pan, shake off the oil, and then sit on a paper towel to absorb any remaining oil.

Leave donuts to cool, dust in icing sugar or ice with raspberry icing, and fill with cream. Finally, add a dallop of jam for that authentic look.

Fresh Whipped Cream

12 May

There comes a time when you have made every non-cream-including pudding out there, and you really are starting to crave some; be it trifle, chocolate-chip cookie log, or cream filled donuts.

You can usually buy a vegan cream from an expensive organic, gluten free, or other such speciality store. But why buy it, when you can make it for a lot cheaper (and without that nasty soy after-taste).

An electric beater would be recommended here, to make the cream light and fluffy and to make it easier on your arm. But they aren’t necessary – I made this whipping everything by hand.

INGREDIENTS

1 tsp Cornflour
1/2 C Soy Milk
100g Margarine
3 tsp Icing Sugar
a few drops Vanilla Essence

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine the cornflour with a tablespoon of the soy milk into a paste. In a pot, bring the remaining soy milk to the boil. Remove from the heat, then pour the boiling soy milk into the paste – beat until well combined. Return this to the pot, and heat for another couple of minutes until the mixture starts to thicken (it should be quite bubbly, but won’t flow around the pot). Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

While the milk mixture is cooling, beat the margarine till it is also light and fluffy. Once the milk mixture has completely cooled, beat it into the margarine part by part. Then beat in the icing sugar one teaspoon at a time. Taste as you go along  to make it as sweet as you want it to be. Finally, beat in a few drops of vanilla essence.

I found it remarkable how much difference the vanilla essence made. Up until it’s inclusion, it tastes like margarine with a small amount of icing sugar. The addition of vanilla essence transforms the mixture into cream. The moral? DON’T MAKE THIS IF YOU DON’T HAVE VANILLA ESSENCE.