Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vegan Raspberry Lemon Cornmeal Mini Muffins

Since my friend asked for lemon raspberry cake for her birthday I have been thinking about the flavour combo. I found a recipe for raspberry cornmeal muffins that I thought I would adapt. Plus who doesn't love mini muffins? I know I can't resist.

Lemon Raspberry Cornmeal Mini Muffins

1 And 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Cornmeal
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Lemon Zest From One lemon
1 Cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease or line a 2 mini muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl combine together the dry ingredients including the lemon zest.

In another bowl whisk together the milk, oil and vanilla extract.
Gently fold in the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. Then add lemon juice.
Do not over mix the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, about 2/3rds full. Top each mini muffin with a raspberry.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the pan.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Savoury Grape Relish & Pinapple Sidecar Cocktail

For this month's Secret Recipe Club I was assigned a lovely blog called Kate's Kitchen. Kate and her husband Connie (AKA her sous chef - cute) seem like they are on the road a lot travelling and visiting with family. Her blog not only has some great recipes but lots of lovely photo's of the places they have been and things they have eaten. The best part of this blog is that Kate gives a lot of recipes for yummy cocktails!

After a day of helping a friend paint and put furniture together I thought it was time for an appetiser and a drink. I found two perfect recipes on Kate's blog. First up was this Grape Relish that I served with toasted baguette. The ingredients in this recipe are suppose to be grilled on the BBQ however it is December and we don't have a BBQ so instead I just cooked everything in a pan.

The cocktail was a Pinapple Sidecar (I traditional sidecar is my favourite drink so I had to try this twist). Kate's recipe used fresh blackberries but instead I used frozen raspberries as the garnish rather than as part of the mix.

Both turned out really delicious. Please check out all the yumminess over on Kate's Kitchen. Cheers Kate!

Savoury Vegan Grape Relish
Adapted from Kate's Kitchen

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 medium red onion, cut into thin slices
4 t olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 large bunch seedless red or black grapes
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper

In a dry pan toast the walnuts. Put into medium bowl and set aside. Add 2 tsp of oil to the pan and caramelise onions. Once cooked let cool and add to the walnuts.

Add the remaining oil and grapes to the pan. Cook until grapes are soft about 10 minutes. While grapes are cooking begin to squish them with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Let cool then add to mixture.

Finish by chopping the rosemary and adding it along with the balsamic vinegar. Taste and season with salt & pepper.

Serve with toasted baguette.

Pineapple Sidecar
Adapted from Kate's Kitchen

5 Ice cubes
4 oz Cognac (we used Courvoisier VS)
1 oz Cointreau or other triple sec (we used Grand Marnier)
3 oz pineapple juice
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
Fresh or frozen raspberries

Shake all of the ingredients (except raspberries) in a cocktail shaker.

Sugar the rim of the serving glass (optional) and add 6 or 7 raspberries to he glass.

Strain cocktail into the glass and serve.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lemon Potato Soup with Pistou

We have had some really beautiful fall weather and somehow still don't have snow. Since it had been cooling off we have been making more and more soups. This one was thrown together as we had a jar of pistou in the cupboard. If you happen to have some fresh basil though you can make your own pistou by blending basil, garlic and olive oil together. This soup is sharp, aromatic and lemony.

Lemon Potato Soup with Pistou
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
Juice from 1 whole lemon
2 broth cubes
1/4 cup pistou

In medium sized pot saute the leeks and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add carrots, potatoes and lemon juice and cook for 2 minutes.

Fill the pot with enough water to cover the vegetables with 2 or 3 inches of water. Add broth cubes and bring to a boil. Lower heat a simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender (25 minutes).

Take soup off of the heat and using a potato masher mash the soup so that carrots and potatoes break up a bit. (This soup is not quite blended and not chunky).

Add pistou and serve with a big hunk of bread.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

I think these black bean brownies have been popular for long enough that I do not need to justify putting beans into a dessert. But just in case you are sceptical all I will say is you can not taste the black beans at all. They just add to the gorgeous texture of these brownies.

Recipe from Happy Herbivore
Vegan Black Bean Brownies
15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
2 whole bananas
⅓ cup agave nectar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup raw sugar (optional)
¼ cup instant oats

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8x8" pan and set aside. Combine all ingredients, except oats, in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scrapping sides as needed. Stir in the oats and pour batter into the pan. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.