In the kitchen

VEGAN ‘TORTA DI MELE’

Now, I don’t consider myself a recipe developer. But, much to my husband’s eye-rolling amusement, I do like to experiment in the kitchen. I am always changing and adapting tried and tested recipes based on what I have in the cupboard and what I want to achieve (most frequently converting non-vegetarian dishes into vegetarian ones) with mixed results.

So when I couldn’t find the perfect Vegan recipe for ‘Torta di Mele’ – a classic Italian apple cake made lovingly by Italian nonnas for decades, I decided to invent one myself!

Its not that there aren’t recipes for vegan apple cakes around. A quick google search produces plenty to choose from. My problem is that I wanted that homely and cozy feeling that comes from a freshly baked cake that is fluffy and oh-so-deliciously buttery. But all the vegan recipes I found were….healthy. Now, I’m all for simple substitutes to improve my diet but sometimes you just want an indulge!

I wanted to bake a cake that if served to a non-vegan, they wouldn’t be able to taste the difference. And so I enlisted the help of a secret ingredient ~ silken tofu. I know if you are not familiar with using this ingredient for vegan cakes and sweets it may sound wacky, but it works incredibly well.

And now that I have this successful vegan cake recipe it is easily adapted to make other types of vegan cakes….even more healthy ones. Just replace the brown sugar with a vegan sweetener of your choice and change the flour too if you want. I made a delicious Vegan Banana & Blueberry Cake based on this recipe, subbing out the apple sauce for half a banana (the other half I used to top the cake along with the blueberries and shredded coconut). The possible combinations are endless!

 

VEGAN ‘TORTA DI MELE’ – SERVES 6

(ADAPTED FROM RECIPE FOUND IN ‘LA MIE RICETTE CON BIMBY’ – THE ITALIAN VERSION OF THE THERMOMIX EVERYDAY COOKBOOK)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 apples
  • 75g silken tofu
  • 50g apple sauce/mousse
  • 30g coconut oil (melted)
  • 90g coconut cream
  • 130g brown sugar
  • 30g Brandy (optional)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 15g yeast
  • a pinch of salt

METHOD

1. Peel apples, cut into quarters removing the seeds and stems. Then using a sharp knife make parallel cuts on the exterior of the apple (like scoring). Put aside

2. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees and grease a cake tin with coconut oil

3. Insert the butterfly into TM bowl

4. Put the silken tofu, apple sauce, coconut oil, coconut cream and Brandy (if using) in the TM bowl and mix – 20sec/speed6, scrap down sides

5. Add the flour, yeast, brown sugar and salt. Mix  – 20 secs/speed6

6. Pour batter into cake tin and arrange the apple quarters on the surface, with the cut/scored exterior facing up.

7. Bake in oven for 30-40mins or until a toothpick comes out clean

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A SNOWY SATURDAY MORNING SURPRISE – VEGAN BANANA, COCONUT & WALNUT CAKE

I awoke this morning to quite a surprise. Yup, you guessed it snow. Maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise, it was forecast. But snow has been forecast many times before and I get my hopes for a winter wonderland that never arrives. And considering the Spring-like weather we’ve had this week, I was sure it was a false alarm. But I was wrong and it’s been snowing quite heavily since the wee hours of this morning.

So what’s a gal to do with such an unexpected event? Bake with my Thermomix of course!

VEGAN BANANA, COCONUT & WALNUT CAKE – SERVES 5

(ADAPTED FROM PAOLA GALLONI’S RECIPE IN THE MARCH EDITION OF CUCINA NATURALE)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 banana
  • 60g cornstarch
  • 30g coconut flour
  • 30g self raising flour
  • 50g walnuts
  • 75g vegan sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, agave syrup etc)
  • 10g chia seeds
  • 3g vanilla
  • 50g coconut milk (or other plant based milk)
  • 30ml (2 tblspoon) water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Icing sugar and/or cinnamon to decorate

METHOD

1. In a small bowl add the 30ml of water to the chia seeds, mix and put aside (for 15 mins)

2. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees

3. Grease a cake tin with coconut oil

4. Put the walnuts in the TM bowl and mill – 10sec/speed6, scrap down sides

5. Add the cornstarch, coconut flour, self raising flour, vanilla and salt. Mix with blades off – 10 secs/speed4

6. Add the banana, milk and sweetener and mix – 10 secs/speed5

7. Add the amalgamated chia seeds and mix with blades off – 10sec/speed 3.

9. Pour batter into cake tin. If the batter is dense, wet your fingertips with water and use them to evenly spread the batter around the cake tin.

10. Bake in oven for 30mins or until a toothpick comes out clean

11. Allow to cool completely before decorating with icing sugar and/or cinnamon

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Australia Day Lamingtons

From what I hear (and read) Australia Day created some controversy this year with some people instead referring to it as ‘Survival Day’ and others suggesting the date of the national holiday should be changed to an appropriate day that ALL Australians, including the first, indigenous Australians can celebrate. Even Google put in their two cents by using artwork depicting the ‘Stolen Dreamtime’ as their Google Doodle for the day.

But whats an Australian ex-pat living in Italy to do with such a holiday? It certainly doesn’t feel like Australia Day, as rather than hitting the beach I’m rugged up against the cold. And without getting involved in the controversy surrounding the holiday, it is a day that calls for some sort of commeration. And what makes you feel more like home than FOOD!

So, I made Lamingtons. I made them for the first time with my new Thermomix and they turned out pretty good. Of course, you can make Lamingtons all year round, but they went down a treat yesterday (and today and I’m sure they still will tomorrow) and reminded me of home.

Lamingtons – Makes 12

Ingredients

Sponge

  • 100g brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 120 self raising four

Icing

  •  25g unsalted butter
  • 160g milk (I used plant based)
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 50g cacao
  • Shredded coconut to coat

Prepartion

  1. Pre heat oven to 190 degrees C
  2. Grease rectangular cake/loaf tin and set aside
  3. Place brown sugar in mixing bowl and mill – 10 seconds/speed 10
  4. Add eggs and insert butterfly
  5. Whip  – 7min/50C/speed 3
  6. Slice vanilla pod in half and scrap out seeds. Add to bowl
  7. Add butter and stir – 5 seconds/speed 4
  8. Remove butterfly and add flour. Mix – 10 seconds on dough setting
  9. Pour batter into pre-greased tin.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and springy
  11. Cool in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto rack to cool completely
  12. Place cooled sponge in freezer for 15 minutes
  13. Place butter and milk into mixing bowl and combine –  2 minutes/80C/speed 2
  14. Add icing sugar and cacao and mix – 25 seconds/speed 4
  15. Pour mixture into a bowl
  16. Scatter coconut on a plate or flat tray
  17. Remove sponge from freezer and cut into approximately 12 squares
  18. Carefully coat each square completely in icing then roll in coconut
  19. Place on a tray lined with h baking paper until icing sets

(Recipe adapted from one found on the Australian Thermomix Recipe Community website)

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Recipe Round Up – Pumpkin

October has arrived and so has autumn!

I love this season and witnessing Mother Nature’s kaleidoscope of colours change as the leaves fall.

October is also all about pumpkin, not just the carving-kind for Halloween, but in the kitchen and I couldn’t be happier…I LOVE pumpkin.

So here is my round up of just some of my favourite pumpkin recipes!

zucchini-pumpkin-ricotta-lasagne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin, Zucchini and Ricotta Lasagne – Donna Hay

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Gluten-free Pumpkin, Basil, Goats Cheese and Fig Tart – George Eats

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Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup – Love & Lemons

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DogTreats-pups-3

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats – Brit & Co

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Brown-Butter-Pumpkin-Muffins-1

Brown Butter Pumpkin Streusel Muffins – Two Peas in their Pod

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no-bake-pumpkin-cheesecakes10+srgb.

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake – Cooking Classy

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You can find more of my favourite vegetarian recipes on my Pinterest Page!

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From my vegetable garden

There isn’t anything much more Italian than the humble tomato! The base ingredient of so many traditional recipes from the ‘bel paese’ its little wonder that mine are flourishing under the warm Italian sun.

But after making countless pasta and pizza sauces, I’ve decided my latest harvest are bound to a different fate. Here are just some of the recipes I’m considering:

tomato tarte tatin

Cherry Tomato, Oregano and Balsamic Tarte Tartin – From My Dining Table

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Zaatar_salad_3

Chickpea Za’atar Salad – Green Kitchen Stories

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salsa

Grilled Polenta with Tomato and Zucchini Salsa – Love & Lemons

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galette

Heirloom Tomato Galette – Local Milk

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soup

Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup – Deliciously Ella

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Tomato-Chia-Jam-side

Tomato Chia Jam – Its a nourishing thing

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bread salad

Panzanella (Tomato & Bread Salad) – Jamie Oliver