Strawberry Season and a Vegan Sponge Flan

My strawberry plants are finally slowing down at last after a bumper season – that was a pleasant surprise, as I had never grown strawberries before and the slugs kindly left them alone (mostly). ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Six little plants bought from my local supermarket last year have produced several kilos of delicious fruit.

In addition, the wild strawberries in my Herb Bed have also produced more fruit ย than ever before. (The smell is heavenly!) We have been eating both the cultivated and wild fruit fresh every day, and have had strawberry ice cream and strawberry flan too. And (since strawberry season as usual coincided with some very hot weather!) several vacuum-sealed bags are in the freezer awaiting cooler weather for making jam.

๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ“

I am sharing my sponge flan recipe with you because it is not only extremely quick and simple to make, it is also perfectly ‘spongy’ and vegan too!

I think the original was on a supermarket website, but here is my version:

Vegan Sponge Flan

  • 225g (1 4/5 cups) plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 250 ml (1 cup) plant- based milk such as soya or almond
  • 6 tbsps neutral tasting vegetable oil such as rapeseed or corn oil
  • 125 to 150g (about 2/3 cups) sugar (depending how sweet the fruit topping will be)
  • an optional dash of vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients with a food mixer. Pour into a greased and floured sponge flan tin. Bake at 180ยฐC (350ยฐF) for about 20-25 minutes. ย Turn out when cool and decorate with fresh strawberries or fruit of your choice. I also added a clear glaze – a ready made mix based on cornflour (e.g. Dr Oetker’s). ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Hope you are enjoying strawberry season too. What’s your favourite way to eat strawberries?

๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ“

Vegan November 2020: Sweet and Simple Buns

As November is traditionally Vegan Monthย I thought a traditional recipe from Bavaria might go down well. These are simple buns, made with a yeast dough, sweetened slightly and served dusted with sugar/icing sugar.

They have various names here, depending on where you live, but my Man of Many Talents knows them as ‘Rohrnudeln’ – oven noodles! His Grandmother used to make them and they were a filling treat for hungry boys.

Here is my vegan recipe for them.

Sweet Buns

  • 300g strong flour (2 1/2 cups)
  • 100g plain flour (3/4 cup). (or all plain)
  • 50 g (raw cane) sugar (1/5 cup)
  • 1 packet instant yeast (7g or 2 1/4 tsps)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 150 ml lukewarm water (5 oz)
  • 150 ml lukewarm soya (or other non-dairy) milk (5 oz)
  • A little soya milk or cream and melted vegan butter/margarine for brushing
  • Extra sugar (caster sugar or icing sugar) for sprinkling

Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and add the yeast. Stir in the water and soya milk. Mix and then knead briefly until it is a soft ball of dough. Place in a clean bowl, brush all over with a little vegetable oil, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 190ยฐC (375ยฐF)

Punch down the dough and roll out into a long sausage shape. Cut into twelve equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place close together into a greased ovenproof dish (my dish is about 24 x 20 cm … 9×8 inches?) and leave to rest another 15 minutes. Then brush with milk/melted butter or margarine and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

When golden brown, remove from the oven and brush with milk and butter again, and immediately sprinkle caster sugar over them. Leave to cool a little before serving, dusted with more sugar/icing sugar as desired.

They remind me a bit of doughnuts. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ They are best eaten fresh, and taste very good with custard, but on the next day try slicing them and spreading jam over them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Zucchini (Courgette) Soup

I am waiting for the second wave.

No, not that one.

The second wave of zucchini!

Yes, it is that time of year where many gardeners find themselves inundated with zucchini. My first wave hit at the end of June. And continued until early July.

Since then a steady stream of smaller ones have made it more pleasurable and less stressful! I made large quantities of soup. Twice. With some in the freezer too. And stuffed zucchini is also a regular at the moment.

 

My soup has been a big hit. I think the key to adding flavour is plenty of garlic. I will have to try growing my own garlic one day as we consume an awful lot of it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ A good vegetable stock, a potato and some (surprising?) seasoning make it delicious. Here is the recipe. I wrote it down the first time I made it and liked it so much that I have been using it since:

Zucchini soup

  • 1.25 kg (2.75 lbs) zucchini, roughly chopped into cubes
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • a little olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 250 ml almond milk

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sautรฉe the onion until soft. Add the garlic, zucchini, potato, all the herbs and spices and the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat until the zucchini and potato are soft. It will only take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Add the almond milk and then blend until smooth and creamy. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

(And if you like garlic as much as we do, this tastes great with garlic bread. ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Zucchini Soup

 

Oh dear, now I am hungry!

Are you enjoying vegetables from your own garden this summer?

xxx

Store Cupboard Recipe 5: Jam Tarts

As restrictions are slowly in the process of being removed in most parts of the world, this will be the last of my vegan store cupboard recipe series for a while. It has been an interesting exercise in seeing how long I can eat a varied diet without popping to the shops regularly. However, I do hope we will all be able to return to our usual routines soon!

The ingredients for these tarts are bound to be in anyoneโ€˜s store cupboard or refrigerator. And when that craving for something sweet grabs you, why not whisk up a batch of these! They are very quick and easy, and go beautifully with a cup of tea. Just in case you have never made these before, here is the recipe.

Jam Tarts

For approx. 18 tarts you will need:

  • Some muffin or patty tins, greased, and a cookie cutter
  • 250 g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 125 g (1 stick and 1tbsp) very cold margarine or vegan butter, cut into small chunks
  • a little cold water
  • Jam of your choice

Preheat oven to 180ยฐC (350ยฐF)

Make shortcrust pastry by rubbing the margarine into the flour with fingertips until fine and crumbly. Add just enough cold water to bring the dough together into a ball. (Tip: shortcrust pastry freezes really well – I only made 12 tarts and froze the remaining pastry for a rainy day. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ)

Roll out on a floured surface to about 3mm (about 1/8 inch) and, using a cookie cutter that fits your patty tins, cut out shapes and place in the tins. Add a heaped teaspoon of jam to each. I used several different jams – strawberry, apricot and blackcurrant.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the pastry starts turning golden and the jam is bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the tins.

Enjoy!

 

Store cupboard recipes 3 and 4

I have been craving sweet stuff recently and made myself some flapjacks. After all, you only need sugar, margarine and oats! If you have golden syrup even better. ย Mine were bit crumbly, but this recipe I am linking to uses half sugar and half syrup, so give yourself a treat and give it a go!

BBC website Flapjacks recipe

Of course, mine were vegan, using margarine instead of butter. And I added a little maple syrup. Other options for spicing them up would be adding a teaspoon of cinnamon or cardamom. Or a handful of dried cranberries.

The second recipe is one I have been meaning to post for years! It is an old favourite for a quick and tasty dinner when there are no fresh veggies left in the fridge. I think it was originally a rice salad that ‘evolved’ into a hot dish. I call it ย simply ‘Curry rice’. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Curry Rice

All you need for two to three portions is:

  • 200g basmati rice
  • About 2 tbsps margarine
  • 1-2 tbsps curry powder (depending on how hot your curry powder is!)
  • 200g (frozen) green beans
  • 200g tin of sweetcorn
  • Salt and black pepper

Warm a large serving dish in the oven. Cook your rice and your green beans separately, according to the instructions on the packets. When the beans are cooked, turn off the heat, add the sweetcorn and leave for a couple of minutes to warm through. Then drain.

Mix the rice, beans and corn, the margarine and the seasoning thoroughly and place in your warm serving dish.

We like this with homemade naan bread or spicy fried tofu cubes. You could in fact serve it as a side dish but we like a big portion, so it is a main meal in our house!

Hope you too are eating well during lockdown. ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.S. Here are a few more recipes that can be made with minimum ingredients:

Falafel

Cannellini and Tomato Bake

Vegan Milchreis