Cardamom and Almond Cake (Vegan)

With January almost over (yippee!), and the days becoming noticeably longer (another yippee!) I hope to have a flower or two to share very soon. But in the meantime I decided to make my Cardamom and Almond Cake again, so that I can share the recipe with you. I made it at New Year and it was so good, but not as cardamommy as I had hoped. So today I added an extra teaspoonful of this delicious spice and it was perfect!

It reminds me a little of the (non-vegan) Swedish Visiting Cake I made a few years ago, with a soft spongy texture, the contrasting crispy flaked almond topping, and of course the lovely aroma. And this one is of course vegan. 😃

So here is my recipe – my second for Veganuary 2020. Please let me know if you try it as it is my own creation!

Cardamom Almond Cake

Preheat your oven to 180° C (350°F) and grease and flour a 24 cm (9 inch) baking tin.

In a large bowl, sift together:

  • 250g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds or almond flour
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsps cornflour
  • 6 tsps ground cardamom spice

In a pan, melt:

  • 60g (half stick) vegan butter
  • with 250g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
  • and then add 60 ml (4 tbsps) vegetable oil (eg rapeseed oil)

In a dish, mix:

  • 450ml (2 cups) plain unsweetened soya yoghurt
  • a dash of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps soya milk

In addition you need about 25g (1oz) flaked almonds.

Now pour all the wet ingredients into the sieved flour mixture and gently fold in. You should not beat or mix, only fold. And watch the bubbles appear as the chemistry does its magic! Pour into your prepared tin immediately, scatter flaked almonds on top and place in your hot oven. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. I made half this recipe (8 slices) in an 18 cm (7 inch) tin today and it only needed about 35 minutes. Do check regularly though, as the almonds may start to burn if it is in too long.

Here is the larger cake:

And here is a slice for you to try…. 😉

Enjoy!

And have a good week!

😃

Homemade Potato Soup and Life in January

It tends to go a bit quiet here in January at Words and Herbs, with frosty days and chill winds keeping the gardener indoors. But inside it is warm and my kitchen is welcoming.

And with January also becoming known as Veganuary in the UK (and anywhere else?) I simply can‘t let the month pass without posting a recipe or two.

😃

If you haven‘t heard of Veganuary, it is basically a month of vegan eating to get the new year off to a healthy start – and to promote a vegan lifestyle. Magazines are full of ideas for new vegans or for people who simply want to try out a plant-based diet. For old vegans like me I find the magazines rather repetitive and full of time-consuming recipes using trendy ingredients that are either unavailable in our part of the world or out of season or horribly expensive!

So here is a simple and delicious recipe using ingredients you probably have in your pantry already, created at the request of my Man of Many Talents who grew potatoes for the first time last year. (They were a big success – here is one of our harvests!)

I hoped to make the soup like his Mum used to, but I believe she must have used celeriac, which I have never tried – I substitute with a parsnip. 😉 If you see soup recipes in German they usually say ‚Suppengrün‘ which is typically pieces of vegetables like this, sold in our supermarkets in bunches:

My version comes pretty close to the original though. Please let me know what you think if you try it. It has become a favourite in our house!

German Potato Soup

You will need:

  • 1 kg potatoes (any sort will do!), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs (and 1tsp of marjoram if you have any)
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A good glug of olive oil

Heat the oil in a very large saucepan and sauté the onions and leek until nice and soft. Add all the other vegetables and put the lid on for a few minutes. Add the stock and herbs (save the parsley for just before serving) and simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked through – about 20 or 25 minutes. Allow to cool a little. Now the important part!. We like whole pieces of vegetables in our soup, but with a creamy consistency too, so I take my hand blender and pulse very briefly to break down some of the larger chunks of potato.

Add the chopped parsley (and chives go well too) and stir through. Serve with crusty bread, pretzels, crisps or croûtons. 😜

Enjoy!

P.S. I usually make an extra large pot of this soup and freeze some for a rainy day. 😉

 

 

 

I Love 💖 Black Bean Burgers!

Yes, they are my favourite veggie burgers ever, and I can’t believe it took me so long to try making them!

They are so full of flavour, so quick to make, and so good for you too.

Here is my recipe, which has been tried and tested several times. I have tuned it to our taste, but try adding other herbs and spices if you prefer.

Black Bean Burgers

For four burgers you will need:

  • 1 (400g/14oz) tin of black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsps oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed (the sort that is like flour) or soya flour
  • 2 tsps mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried breadcrumbs for coating
  • oil for frying

Place all ingredients except the breadcrumbs and oil into a food mixer and process to a slightly chunky paste. Form into four patties, coat in the breadcrumbs and chill for at least thirty minutes. Then heat the oil in a frying pan and fry until golden brown. Serve in buns with fries and all the trimmings (e.g. gherkins, salad, ketchup and mustard or mayonnaise). 😀

Enjoy!

In a Vase on Monday: Warm and Spicy

With this Monday meme, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden encourages us to find materials from our gardens every week, all year round. By the end of November pickings are limited, but there are surprisingly still a few blooms to be found, some seedheads saved, and foliage of course too. The colours for my vase this week reminded me of cinnamon and spices, both of which will be used soon in my Christmas baking. 🙂

I decided I could spare one sprig of the Hypericum, which is still looking so very pretty in the rockery. To accompany it there is a sprig of bronze Epimedium foliage, some Clematis seed heads, Briza (saved in the summer), and an oriental poppy seed head, all secured in floral foam inside my shallow dish which also has useful holes in the lid. A Physalis seed head and a maple and oak leaf complete the November scene, along with cinnamon sticks and a wooden mortar and pestle for grinding spices, found at a Christmas market several years ago.

Talking of Christmas markets, some have already opened, but most will open at the end of this week for the first Advent weekend. I am looking forward to the delicious smells of Cinnamon, mulled wine and roasted nuts…

Will you be visiting a market or doing some baking soon? Have a good week and stay warm!

The Best Pesto I Have Ever Eaten!

The title of this post refers to the compliment I received from friends who are not vegan, when I served up our homemade vegan basil pesto for dinner recently. I was chuffed, and my Man of Many Talents thought it was time I shared my secret recipe. So here it is!

Vegan Basil Pesto

For 4-6 servings:

  • 3 cups/45 g fresh basil leaves (homegrown is best! 😉 )
  • 90 g pine nuts (they are expensive, but splash out on the best quality you can find)
  • 15 g cashews
  • 4 level tbsps nutritious yeast (essential for texture and the slight ‘cheesy’ flavour)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (fresh if possible)
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes (the sort that come in a jar, marinated in oil), roughly chopped
  • 1 – 2 tbsps of the sun-dried tomato oil
  • 100 ml of mild olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a mixer until chunky. If the mixture is too thick you can either add a drop more oil or – if it is being eaten the same day – a splash of water to thin it slightly.

Serve over hot pasta and let all that sunshiny flavour tickle your tastebuds! Very good with a tomato salad and a cold drink. 🙂

Do you love basil too? What sorts do you grow and what do you use it for?