Friday, 31 August 2012

Chocolate Brownie

It's practically the weekend so to celebrate here come this lovely brownie recipe. Seriously who doesn't like brownies? They are smooth and crunchy at the same time. It's like heaven!!! This one is sooooo tasty and chocolaty you won't believe it. Give it a try and have a nice weekend! :)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.      In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
2.      Pour in water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a 9x13 inch baking pan.
3.      Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven at 170c, until the top is no longer shiny.
4.      Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
Source -

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Sun-Dried Tomato and Palm Hearts Fusilli

Pasta are always welcome, especially when you don't have much time to spend in the kitchen and still wants something nice to eat. This one I've done last Sunday for lunch and was a hit at home, all the ingredients complement each other and the result was so tasty that I have decided to share, so give it a try! You'll love it. :)

300g dried fusilli pasta (I used Sainsbury's Taste the Difference)
1 onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic smashed
100g broccoli florets
1 can of palm hearts sliced
50g sun-dried tomato chopped
250g chestnut mushroom chopped
2 tbsp capers
15g pine nuts
Spinach leaves
Black pepper

1 - Cook the pasta as per package instructions.
2 - Fry the onion and garlic until tender
3 - Add the mushroom and broccoli florets and stir for about 10 minutes
4 - When the mushroom lost most of its water and the brocolli florets are tender add the palm hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, pine, black pepper and salt and stir for another 7 minutes
5 - Add the pasta when cooked and eat with spinach leaves


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Shimeji Pillows

Ok I know this recipe sounds a bit complicate but it's actually not, just time consuming. The pockets are soooooo tasty that it totally worth the time you'll spend in the kitchen. The pastry I used is the dumplings pastry so it's light and easy to prepare and the sesame oil makes the whole difference. So give it a go, you'll thank me later! :)

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water
150g shimeji
1/2 onions chopped
3 sticks spring onions chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp soya sauce
4 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp parsley and lemon seasoning
Black pepper

1 - Mix the water and the flour to a dough
2 - Put a wet towel over the dough, and let it stand for several minutes
3 - Divide the dough into 18 pieces of 1 x 1.5cm
4 - Fry the onions until tender, ad the rest of the ingredients and only 1/2 tbsp of the sesame oil. Stir for about 10 minutes
5 - Using a rolling pin open the dough pieces as round as possible
6 - Divide the shimeji mixture into the pastry circles placing about 1 tbsp of the mixture into each pillow
7 - Close the circles and use a fork to seal. When that is done close the two ends of the pastry together so you can get the form of a pillow
8 - Steam cook the pillows until they all reach the surface of the water. It's like cooking regular pasta
9 - Using the rest of the sesame oil fry the dumplings, 2 minutes each side or until golden brown and serve it with soya sauce


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Tofu and Courgette cakes

This cake is another version of the courgette balls I've done the other day. But as it got so tasty I decided to share the recipe. One tip, don't get worried if you think the mixture is to lose, it is supposed to be like that, and the reason it that this way you get a crunchy cake on the outside and a smooth texture on the inside. In other words, just what you want for a vegetable cake, right? I hope you like it!

3 courgettes slices
200g Taifun Tofu Rosso cut in tiny cubes
3 sticks of spring onion chopped
1/2 onions chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp parsley and lemon seasoning
6 tbsp flour
50g spinach or watercress chopped
Black pepper

1 - Take the courgette slices into boiled water for 15 minutes to lose its water
2 - In the meantime mix all the ingredients together apart from the flour
3 - Add the courgettes and the flour and mix well
4 - Coke a big tray with baking sheet and divide the mixture into 16 small cakes.
5 - Bake it in a pre-heated oven for 45 minutes at 180c or until the cakes are brown.


Friday, 24 August 2012

Pine Nuts and Lime Rice

This rice is perfect for a summer meal. It's refreshing and light. The lime and pine nuts go perfectly well together. You can use arborio rice with the same recipe with you prefer a risotto. I hope you like it!

300g basmati rice or arborio (if you prefer to have it as a risotto)
1/2 onions chopped
3 cloves garlic smashed
3 tbsp pine nuts
20g parsley chopped
Zest of one lime
Juice of 1/2 lime

1 - Fry the garlic and onion until tender
2 - Add the rice, pine nuts and parsley and cooked as per package instruction
3 - The last time you pour water, add the lime zest and juice
4 - Stir well and using a ramekin makes the round shape

I used a leaf of basil for decoration. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Strawberry Pie

This week I have decided to try on a few difficult recipes. The first one was a gyosa which didn't quite go well so I'll have to give another go at the end of the week and the other one was this pie. It's not exactly difficult it’s just time consuming, but it’s totally worth it. There are no words to describe how lovely and tasty this pie is. Ah! This is the first pie I ever made (uhuuuu!!!) so I was quite proud with myself with the result.
It is sweet on right amount, the crust it's crunchy and the filling is rich and moist. Simply perfect!! Give it a go, I can guarantee you'll love it! :)

Ingredients for the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
8 tbsp spread
2 tbsp light brown sugar
Ice-cold water

Method for the crust:
1 - Place all the ingredients except the water in a bowl. Using a fork, mix the ingredients
2 - Then slowly drizzle the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, over the flour, mixing with the fork quickly until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl and comes together
3 - Divide the dough into half and place each half in cling wrap, shaping into a disc as you wrap
4 - Place both dough discs in the refrigerator for an hour at least or longer.

Ingredients for the strawberry filling:
400g strawberries sliced
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla

Method for the strawberry filling:
1 - Mix in all the and stir thoroughly
2 - Set aside for 15 minutes

Putting the pie together
1 - Take one of the discs of dough and roll it out to about 12 inches, using as much flour as you need to keep it from sticking to the surface. Keep moving the dough as you roll it to ensure it does not stick.
2 - Open the dough on to a greased 8 inches round spring form baking tray or on a pie pan if you have one.
3 - Pour the filling into the crust. Place the baking tray into the refrigerator while you prepare the top crust using the second disc of dough.
4 - Open the second disc and use a small cookie cutter in any shape to cut out little pieces of the dough
5 - Keep them on a baking sheet while you cut out the others
6 - Gather the scraps, roll out the dough, and cut more shapes until you have exhausted the dough.
7 - Arrange the shapes on top of the strawberries in a decorative pattern
8 - Sprinkle 1 tbsp of light brown sugar on the crust. This gives some additional sweetness and helps the crust brown.
9 - Bake it at 180c for 1 hour
10 - When ready let the pie pan cool thoroughly before cutting and serving



Source – inspired by a recipe on Holy Cow Vegan Recipes

Monday, 20 August 2012

Fusilli with Mushroom and Cashew

Ok, I know this is not a rocket science recipe but it can be very handy when you get home late on Sunday night (or any night) and only have the strength to cook something easy and quick for Monday's lunch. I have to say that I am not a big fan of sandwich for lunch, I know there is a big market out there that would hate to hear this, but its just not healthy. I also know that sometimes it can't be avoided but I try my best to have something better for lunch. And pasta it always welcome, right? This one is so tasty that in the end I had to share it. I hope you like it! :)

300g fusilli pasta
250g chestnut closed mushroom sliced
1/2 onions chopped
20g flat leaf parsley chopped
15 cherry tomatoes cut in half
100g broccoli florets
50g baby leaf spinach
2 tbsp cashew nuts
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp Parmezzano
Black pepper

1 - Cook the past as per package instructions on a salted water
2 - Fry the onions on 1 tbsp of olive oil
3 - Add the mushrooms, parsley and stir for about 7 minutes
4 - Add the tomatoes, broccoli and cashew and stir for another 7 minutes
5 - Turn the fire off and add the pasta, the rest of the olive oil, spinach, black pepper and the Parmezzano
6 - Stir it all together and serve while still hot


Friday, 17 August 2012

Courgette Balls

Although I love courgettes and eat them often, yesterday I realised that I hadn't experimented much with it, so the idea of this recipe came to me. It has a perfect combination of flavours, it's crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside. When making the balls it will appear as if they are not holding together but don't worry they will stick together. It is perfect with rice and salad!! :)

2 courgettes sliced
1/2 onion thinly chopped
100g smoked tofu cut in tiny cubes
A handful of baby leaf spinach chopped
3 tbsp flour
Black pepper

1 - Boil the courgettes for about 15 minutes to lose its water
2 - Make sure you drain most of the water out of the courgettes
3 - Mix the boiled courgettes with the rest of the ingredients in squash it with a fork
4 - Using your hands make small balls and place on baking tray covered with baking sheet and bake it for 30-35 minutes at 180c or until golden brown.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Aubergines Strudel

Ok, I know strudel is more applied for sweets but I decided to call my new recipe a strudel. You might have already noticed that I love aubergines and as it helps reduce plasma cholesterol levels, I guess is not a bad thing to like, right! :)
I used 1/2 a sheet of puff pastry, as there it only the two of us at home, but if you want to use it all just double the ingredients. You might end up with some of the aubergine mixture and you eat it with crackers or with plain rice. Either way is lovely, trust me!

1/2 sheet of puff pastry (I used Jus-rol)
1 aubergines cut in small cubes
1/2 onion thinly chopped
25g pine nuts
1 tbsp cup raisings
1 vegetable cube
2 tbsp olive oil
Black pepper

1 - Leave the aubergines cubes is boiling water for 10 minutes so it loses its water
2 - Fry the onions until tender
3 - Add the aubergines cubes, pine nuts, raisins, black pepper and the vegetable cubes and stir for 20 minutes
4 - Turn the fire off and wait until it cools down a bit before you apply the mixture in the middle of the open sheet.
5 - Cover a baking tray with baking sheet and place the strudel at the centre. Bake for 30 minutes at 180c.


Monday, 13 August 2012

Tomato and Parsley Tartlets

Still on tartlets posts but this time salty ones. As I tried the sweet ones last week I started itching with the idea of trying it with salty fillings. I'm glad that I did as this will go to the list of things I do often. You can serve this cold as a canap├ęs or hot as an accompaniment for your meal. Either way it is just lovely!!!

85g spread (I used Pure)
160g flour
1/2 onions chopped
20g parsley chopped
12 plum tomatoes cut in small slices
20g pine nuts
1 cube of vegetable stock
200g single cream (I used Alpro)

1 - In a bowl blend the spread and the flour together
2 - Divide the pastry on each of the holes of a greased muffin tin and bake it at 180c for 20 minutes or until a little brown.
3 - Remove the tartlets shells and set aside
4 - In a small pan fry the onions until tender than add the tomatoes, parsley, vegetable stock and pine nuts and stir for about 10 minutes
5 - Pour the single cream, mix well with the rest of the ingredients and pour the mixture onto the tartles shell.


Friday, 10 August 2012

Chocolate Tartlets

This is a little bit of heaven, there is no other way to describe it. The smoothness of the chocolate with the crunchiness of the tartlets is to die for. As they are bite sizes there is no need to feel guilty to eat them, the only problem is being able to eat only one. It doesn't take long to prepare and believe me, people will thank for the effort! :)

85g spread (I used Pure)
160g flour
200g dark chocolate
200g single cream (I used Alpro)
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 - In a bowl mix the spread and flour into a dough.
2 - Divide the pastry on each of the holes of a greased muffin tin and bake it at 180c for 20 minutes.
3 - Remove the tartlets shells and set aside
4 - Melt the chocolate on the microwave and add the rest of the ingredients
5 - Pour the chocolate mixture onto the tartlets shells and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serve.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Banana Pancakes

I've been meaning to try this recipe for a while and the wait was totally worth it. It's light, easy, quick e everything you can hope for on a lasy Sunday morning. This recipe gives either two big pancakes or four good size ones. It's a nice change from the good one porridge or cereal. Believe me, it's just perfect!!!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup almond milk
3 tbsp oil
1 banana
3 tbsp sugar
Golden syrup
Cinnamon to sprinkle

1 - In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt
2 - In a food processor combine the milk, oil, banana and sugar until smooth
3 - Pour into the flour mixture and stir together gently until mixed
4 - Pour the mixture on a hot non-stick, lightly oiled frying pan and cover
5 - Let sit on medium heat until the centre starts to bubble or the pancakes get lose
6 - Flip the pancakes over an cook the other side until golden brown
7 - Sprinkle the cinnamon and serve it with the spread and golden syrup


Source - from the book "La Dolce Vegan!" from Sarah Kramer

Monday, 6 August 2012

Bruschetta Vinaigrette

Don't you just love bruschettas? They are so tasty and lovely, it's a real treat!! You can make it as a starter and the only thing you will hear at the dinner table is "yum that is delicious". If you are not into bruschettas yet, give it a go at this recipe, I can guarantee you will become a huge fan!!! :)

1 olives ciabatta bread (I used Sainsbury's Taste the Difference)
3 tbsp spread
15 cherry tomatoes cut in 4
1/2 onions chopped
2 sticks spring onions chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Maldon smoked salt
Black pepper

1 - Heat a big frying pan with half of the spread
2 - Cut the ciabatta in half than in 4 so you have 10 slices
3 - When the spread is melted add half of the ciabatta slices and using a wooden spoon press it a little, leave it for about 5 minutes or until is golden brown and turn the slices upside down
4 - In the meantime in a bowl mix the rest of the ingredients, apart from the rest of the spread and set aside
5 - When you finish with the first batch of bread add the rest of the spread and to the same with the rest of the ciabatta.
6 - Add the vinaigrette sauce in on the top of the bread slices and serve it while still hot

This vinaigrette sauce is also perfect for salads. Enjoy!!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Roasted Vegetables

This is light dish for the days when you have loads of vegetables in fridge and don't want them to go to waste. It's a good way to help with your 5 a day and it also helps if you want to cleanse a bit as it is tasty without too much seasoning. Try it with rice and salad. It's perfect!!

1/2 onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic smashed
250g close chestnut mushrooms sliced
160g small salad potato cut in small bits
200g tofu cut in small cubes
90g park choy
10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
20g pine nuts
35g carrots sliced
100g broccoli florets
Olive oil
Black pepper

1 - In a large pan fry the onions and garlic n the olive oil until tender
2 - Add the mushrooms and stir for 5 minutes
3 - Pre-heat the oven at 180c
4 - Add the rest of the ingredients and stir for about 8 minutes
5 - Transfer the vegetables for a baking tray and bake it for 30 minutes


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Strawberry Chocolate Muffins

This muffin is so fluffy you won't believe it. The combination of the strawberries with the chocolate is perfect. One tip, when eating the next day heat the muffin on the microwave for 30 seconds before serve. It goes extremely well with chocolate sauce and ice cream.

Muffins ingredients:
2 cups of flour
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup of light brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups of almond milk
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of fresh strawberries cut in small cubes (it has to be really small)

1 – In a large bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and sugar
2 – Add the almond milk, oil, vanilla and the strawberries cubes
3 – Spoon the mixture evenly into a greased muffin tins and bake it for 20-25 minutes at 200c or until a fork comes out clean