Saturday, 25 April 2015

Magic Instant "Cheese," Toastie

Store-bought vegan cheese substitutes can be awful. And they can be great, apparently. I don't know, I rarely ever buy them. Home-make cheese substitutes are rarely awful. They're often great, I occasionally make them. 

However, the vast majority of the time I just can't be bothered. Making them involves remembering to soak the cashews the night before and food processors and cooking and cleaning and most worryingly of all, effort. So this leads us onto 

Problem 1: The lack of effortless, INSTANT melty vegan cheese. 

I've solved this problem for anyone who owns a toastie maker/panini press, along with a problem also frequently encountered by said toastie maker/panini press owners:

Problem 2: The inability to make a toastie without the filling going everywhere. 

This is really more of a simple technique than a recipe, so I've added photos to show you what to do, though the recipe I've included is delicious, and very customizable to your tastes! 

First, get yourself a messy worktop and a red kettle like this.

Place your tortilla in the toastie machine as shown. Spread and stack the fillings on the innermost triangles. Then fold it in half and fold the excess neatly up at the sides. Like this:

Slam the lid shut and leave it as long as you can possibly stand to wait. I'd recommend at least 5-10 minutes for a really cheese-like, properly cooked oozy goozy toastie.

Chop off that dodgy awkward unfolded bit of excess tortilla on the left. Saw that toastie in half, put it on a plate with a couple of tomatoes and try to make it look pretty.

Give up and eat it.

Magic Instant "Cheese," Toastie

by Shonalika Tilak
Cook Time: 10 mins
  • 1 wholemeal tortilla wrap
  • 1-2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt, if your PB is unsalted
  • Optional: Add-ins of choice, e.g spinach. 
1. Place the tortilla wrap into the toastie machine and spread the peanut butter evenly in the shape of the two innermost triangles.
2. Stack with tomatoes, yeast, spices and pepper.
3. Fold tortilla over, and fold edges up. Turn on and close toastie machine. Cook for 7-10 minutes.
4. Saw in half and enjoy with salad and mustard:D
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Monday, 6 April 2015

Marzipan "Simmel," Easter Brownies

OK so I'm late to the party, but since I wasn't originally planning to post at all for Easter, late is better than never right? Besides, this recipe is perfect for using up some of those pesky ingredients you may have bought in the process of making other Easter treats.

In our family, Easter never really was a thing. My sister and I celebrated Christmas like everyone else (except, much to our glee, without the requirements of attending church, or waiting till any time past 4 am to open our presents) but on the flip side of this, we found that round about this time of the year, all the other kids were getting to decorate eggs, participate in scavenger hunts, and eat a lot of chocolate, whilst in our house absolutely nothing out of the ordinary seemed to be happening. We complained, of course, the result of which being that our slightly perplexed mum started to buy us a single gold-wrapped rabbit each per year and giving them to us pretty much at random as soon as they appeared in the shops. We appreciated this, but gave up on the whole celebration thing after a point.

Even after moving out, I still could never really be bothered with Easter, but recently my partner's mum, who very much celebrates Easter, gifted both of us with a tradition Simmel cake, which intrigued me. I've no idea whether or not it was vegan but will confess so scoffing almost half of it anyway - generally if I can't taste the non-vegan elements in a thing, it won't affect me psychologically, which means I can eat (and enjoy!) stuff that needs eating rather than let it go to waste. This cake was practically more fruit and nuts than cake, which may have been part of why I liked it, as I'm not really a cake person - but also, it re-introduced me to a long-forgotten favourite food of mine - marzipan!

I used to love this stuff as a child, and delighted in saving the cake topping now to scoff later. Once the cake was gone I decided I had to do something else with the delicious confectionary - whilst eating the cake, I thought (predictably) the only thing that could make it better, apart from making it vegan obviously, was to make it, you know, chocolate.

I had a couple of bananas that needed using so nosed around and basing the recipe on a combination of these brownies by Marfigs and MyInspiration, created my own highly untraditional take on Simmel Cake.

Happy Easter everyone.

Marzipan "Simmel," Brownies

by Shonalika Tilak
Cook Time: 30-35 mins
    For Marzipan:
    • 50g almond flour
    • 3 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    For Brownies
    • 1 cup spelt flour
    • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ginger
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 small bananas, mashed
    • 1/2  packed cup pitted dates (soaked)
    • 3/4 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened soya)
    • 3 tbsp golden sultanas
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
    • 8 walnut halves, chopped
    1. If making your own marzipan, simply combine ingredients in a bowl and squish with your hands! Set aside until needed.
    2. Blend dates with bananas + 1/3 cup soaking water until smooth.
    3. Combine wet ingredients in a bowl.
    4. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
    5. Add wet to dry and mix in add-ins - add marzipan LAST as it is the softest ingredient, especially if you made it yourself, so you can fold it in gently.
    6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, pour in mixture, smooth and bake in pre-heated oven until a knife inserted into the centre comes out dry (or just 20 or so minutes for squishy brownies!)
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