Saturday, May 29, 2010

Adventures with Pastry: Pics of the Baked Bean Sausage Rolls

As I said the other day, I made Theresa's baked bean sausage rolls. She didn't give a detailed recipe so I just made one up, based on her description, assuming that she probably had actual home made US-style baked beans instead of the canned ones I used. I agree with her assessment, they were some of the best vegan sausage rolls I have made. The kids loved them. They have also been popular cold in the children's lunch boxes. I pop a frozen one in before school and it defrosts by lunch time.

Anyway, here's a picture:

Baked Bean Sausage Rolls (a la Theresa)


2 tins of baked beans (1 drained and one with liquid)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup Weetbix crumbs (or use bread crumbs if you wish)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon each paprika, salt and pepper
4 sheets vegan puff pastry (I used Borgs)

  1. Heat oven to 200°C.
  2. Process everything but the pastry in the food processor until the mixture is almost smooth.
  3. Cut each sheet of pastry into 4 squares.
  4. Put 1/16th of the bean mixture in a line in the middle of each square of pastry.
  5. Roll each sausage roll into a tube shape and seal edges of pastry, using a little water if necessary.
  6. Bake until golden and pastry is puffed (35-45 minutes).
Can be eaten straight away, reheated for a few minutes in the microwave or frozen for later. For smaller cocktail-sized rolls, cut each roll into 3 before baking.


Sister cats can be very satisfactory pillows:

As you can see, Berry and Switch are very fond of each other. They are litter mates who have lived together their whole life. As the weather gets colder, they love to sleep snuggled together.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Adventures with Pastry: Sausages rolls

Theresa at Tropical Vegan had these sausage rolls on her blog. They looked amazing, so I stole her idea. I processed a tin of baked beans with oats, soy sauce and herbs. I rolled them in Borg's puff pastry. Yum! Thanks Theresa!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adventures with Pastry: Spring Rolls

My kids love spring rolls. We frequently by large packs of vegetable spring rolls (60 or 64) from the supermarket, because they are quick, easy and good for dinner or lunch boxes. I have often thought that they must be easy to make. My sister-in-law (hi Madonna!) told me a while back that she makes her own spring rolls and oven bakes them for a lower fat option. When I saw spring roll pastry on special at Woolworths, I decided to give her idea a go.

They worked out pretty well. We had half of them for dinner, with rice, tofu, greens and store bought vegan BBQ buns. The kids will have the leftovers for lunch at school. One advantage of no meat is that they are much less likely to spoil in a lunch box and the kids get a nice serve of vegetables.

Oven Baked Spring Rolls


1 tablespoon rice bran oil or other neutral cooking oil
1/4 wombok (Chinese cabbage) chopped well
1 large carrot, grated
1 onion, chopped finely
3 dried shiitake mushroom, reconstituted in water and chopped finely
100g rice or bean vermicelli
1 cup bean sprouts
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon each salt, white pepper and ginger
pinch star anise
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Packet of 20 spring roll wrappers (check ingredients to make sure there is no egg)
Cooking spray or a few tablespoons of extra oil

(you could also add chopped coriander and chilli for a Thai flavour)

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Cover 2 cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. Cook noodles as per packet instructions. Chop into 2-3 cm lengths.
  3. Heat skillet. Add oil.
  4. Add cabbage, onion, carrot and mushroom. Fry over low medium heat until onion has softened.
  5. Add remaining ingredients to skillet. Cook until bean sprouts soften slightly.
  6. Separate spring roll wrappers.
  7. For each spring roll, put a few tablespoons of filling (1/20th of the mix) above one corner. Fold up the corner. Fold ends in. Roll up. Seal with water.
  8. Spray oven trays and rolls with cooking spray or brush with oil.
  9. Bake rolls until golden, turning over after 20 minutes. It will take 30-40 minutes.
  10. Serve with dipping sauce of choice. We like sweet chilli sauce.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Adventures with Pastry: Croissants

I will admit up front that I don't have a great history with pastry. I think I overwork it. However, I buy a mean puff pastry (Borg's - it says "Vegan" on the packet!"). After visiting Vegan Dad's excellent blog and seeing his croissants, and in spite of my pastry history, I decided to give them a go for Mother's Day. M asked if she could help. I used this recipe from Jennifer of Vegan Lunch box fame.

First step was to mix the simple yeast dough and let it rise. That bit was easy enough. We then punched it and M rolled it out:

After that, we added a layer of margarine (Nuttelex):

I tried rolling and freezing the margarine as Jennifer directed, but the Nuttelex did not freeze hard. Instead, I just spread it around.

After that, we folded it as directed:

We then refrigerate, re-rolled and refrigerated the folded dough several times as directed.

Finally, we shaped them:

And here is one the next morning on my breakfast tray, as arranged by M, who made me breakfast in bed:

(By the way, the tray was made by J, who gave it to me for a present last year. He is very talented at woodwork and is toying with carpentry for a career idea.)

How were the croissants? The flavour was excellent and they rose well. The whole double batch was eaten by our family on Mother's Day. However, they were a bit more bread-like than flaky inside. That's probably done to the Nuttelex not cooling hard and me over-enthusiastically rolling it. However, I need to give another recipe a go to see if it's the recipe or me. (I'm guessing me!)


Berry's Box: Enter at Own Risk

Our cats love boxes and hiding places, so we grabbed a box the other day from a pile at the shops. Berry commandeered it, though Switch frequently sniffed it, interested in smells that we couldn't detect. We realised why it was so popular once we actually read the details on the front of the box!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lemon Muffins

I have a few fruit trees in pots. One is a lemon tree. A bit over a month ago, I harvested a couple of lemons. Here is the first one:

If life gives you a lemon, make Lemon Muffins!

These were made using the lemon poppy seed muffin recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance. I didn't have any poppy seeds, so I left them out. They were pretty good. M and I are big fans of lemon baked goods, though the guys of the house aren't so keen. More for me!

Caturday on Sunday:

Miss Switch accepting scratches from both Z and J. She was purring like mad and rolling on her side and back to encourage tummy scratches.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vegan Dad's Hot Wings

Do you like seitan? Bake bread? Feed kids? If you answer yes to any of these, you have to go and see Vegan Dad's blog. His food is consistently amazing and appealing.

These are Vegan Dad's Hot Wings, with his Sweet and Sticky Sauce. In this meal from a while ago, I served them with peas, corn and homemade chips. They are little breaded seitan chunks served with a sweet tangy sauce. My kids love these with a passion. Try them. They are seriously good. They also freeze well for a quick meal. I always double the recipe and freeze half of them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spicy Chopped Salad

I made a big bowl of salad Last Friday and have been eating it ever since. It was great.

Spicy Chopped Salad

Serves 8 as a side salad (or it can be 4 lunches!)

  • 1 tin 3 bean mix, drained
  • 1 tin corn kernels, drained
  • 1 apple chopped
  • 4 spring onions chopped
  • 1 apple diced
  • 1 small carrot peeled and finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 12 pitted olives halved
  • 3 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 8-16 lettuce leaves to serve (or may be diced and added to salad for immediate use)
Dressing Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • Additional ground chilli or harissa paste to taste (I added a tablespoon of harissa, but this might be too much to serve to non-chilli lovers.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each for me)
  1. Combine all salad ingredients, other than the lettuce leaves, if you wish to serve them whole on a plate.
  2. Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk or shake to combine.
  3. Stir dressing well through salad.
  4. You can serve this immediately, but it is good if allowed to sit in the fridge for a few hours at lease.
  5. Serve with lettuce.
This would also be good with extra tomato, added grains, eg leftover rice, or a few teaspoons of olive oil in it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm ba-a-a-ack! (Spinach Calzones)

Two months?! I can't believe that I have ignored this poor blog for that long. Life stuff has been hectic, but still ... two months!

Anyway, I'm back with mini spinach calzones. I needed to take a plate* to a party last night, so I threw these together quickly. I had the dough for a pizza base in the freezer, as well as some spinach and some Cheezley cream cheese, so I decided to combine a couple of favourites, spinach and calzones. I also like my party nibbles small and not too messy, so these worked well.

Mini Spinach Calzones

Makes 24.

  • Pizza dough for 1 base, uncooked. (I used some from the Vegan with a Vengeance recipe, with whole wheat flour swapped for about about 1/3 of the plain flour in the recipe. I always make extra when I make pizza and freeze it in 1 pizza batches. Use whatever pizza base recipe you like)
  • 250g frozen spinach
  • 2 large spring onions chopped
  • 75 grams vegan cream cheese (I used Cheezley Sour Cream and Chives variety that I found in my freezer)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (also called savoury yeast) (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees centigrade.
  2. After you have prepared your pizza dough, cover it and put it aside.
  3. Defrost and drain the spinach.
  4. Add cream cheese, yeast and spring onions to spinach. Mix well.
  5. Add salt and pepper to spinach mix to taste. Mix again.
  6. Using a rolling pin, roll pizza dough very thin, about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch).
  7. Cut 7 cm circles of dough from the rolled dough. I used the top of a skinny glass, but a round biscuit cutter would work well.
  8. Consolidate remaining dough, roll and cut again. Keep doing this until you have used all the dough.
  9. Divide the spinach mixture between the circles of dough, leaving a clear rim of dough to use to shut the calzone.
  10. For each circle, wet the rim of the circle and fold it over into a half circle over the filling. Seal the edge.
  11. Place calzones on two baking trays. Leave a little space (1/2 - 1 cm at least) between the calzones.
  12. Bake until gently browned, turning once. (Approx 10 - 15 minutes)
  13. Serve hot or cold.
I served them cold, in a large bowl. They were delicious and popular. They had a thin crust of pizza bread with a nice substantial serve of savoury spinach filling. I think that they would also be good in lunch boxes or made into approximately 6 larger calzones as part of a meal. The kids loved them, so I'll be making these again.


Why would you want to use the printer? Why would you want the contents of your canvas satchel? Cat sleep is far more important than your paltry human concerns. (Featuring Berry sleeping on a satchel and wedged onto the printer tray. Bonus Switch staring at moths out the door.)

* For the non-Australians, the Australian phrase "bring a plate" means to bring food to share appropriate to the type of event. It can mean to bring a main dish, a side, a salad, a dessert, finger food or any similar item to share. I'm told this phrase is far from universal and that it has led to confusion for non-Australians in the past.