Tag Archives: Cooking

Vegan Crepe Pancakes

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Fabulously simple, it’s hard to believe these are vegan. These are still as light and moreish as their eggy counterparts, just a teeny bit better for you.

I love pancakes, and every year I like to focus on bringing a new pancake recipe to the blog. This year, however, you’re being treated to two new recipes – both vegan! Although I’ve always been keen to experiment with more vegan recipes, I will admit that I have another personal reason for now giving it a wholehearted go (but that is a story for another time). Safe to say for now that finding a way to make great vegan pancakes has been a big part of my happiness in the last few months. The approaching Pancake Day (next Tuesday 28th Feb!!) is just a great excuse to share them!

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I will admit that I was very sceptical of vegan crepes working. I just couldn’t understand how they could hold together without an egg… let alone how they could be as light yet crispy as a ‘normal’ pancake. But these really are, and they honestly use the simplest of ingredients; flour, baking powder, non dairy milk and oil. That’s it. Unless you count the lemon and sugar toppings of course!

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I’ve said it before that I think baking powder is the secret to amazing vegan baking, and here it is no exception. The purpose of the baking powder here isn’t really to ‘rise’ the pancake, but to give it a light texture from all the air bubbles – much like an egg does. The only thing then that you’re missing is the fat. Ever so important in baking, this is such a key step to cracking vegan recipes. So don’t be put off by the oil content. It may sound a lot, but trust me when I say it’s needed to help bind the pancakes together, and to give them flavour.

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So here it is… my last pancake recipe for Pancake Day 2017. I personally don’t think these need anything other than a light sprinkle of sugar followed by a generous squeeze of lemon. But maybe that’s because I’m old school! Go mental with these and top them however you like – chocolate sauce and banana, ice cream and caramelised oranges… the combinations are delicious and endless!

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Filed under breakfast, pancakes, Sweet treats, vegan

Pistachio, Almond and Chocolate Éclairs

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Indulgent éclairs, filled with a pistachio and almond crème pâtissière and topped with a sweet chocolate icing. Not as impossible as they seem, these éclairs would make the perfect special treat.

Whoops. You know that feeling when you think, ‘when was the last time I….‘… well that’s rather how I’ve been feeling about blogging recently! Life has been more than a little hectic, and the end of 2016 seemed to flash by like big and exciting blur. Whilst the rest of the world seems to be (understandably) lamenting the going ons in 2016, I actually had a great year. I took a big leap forwards in life and now when I introduce myself to people, I can say I am a full time baker! So, with a wedding to plan and a new business to grow, the end of 2016 flew by.

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I’m back with a triumphant recipe with these delightfully indulgent éclairs. I don’t know if there is anything as pleasing as making something that belongs in a French Pâtisserie (in taste, not in looks – these definitely don’t have quite the finesse of professional pastry makers) at home. It’s something to do with debunking the myth that they’re impossible to make and only a demigod can succeed! I talked before in my recipe for Profiteroles that Choux pastry is not nearly as complicated as it seems, and then we’re just making a simple Crème Pâttissière (or thickened custard if we want to be less fancy about it!) to fill it.

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Now, I wouldn’t be me if I just made normal chocolate and vanilla éclairs, would I? So, of course, these come pumped with extra flavour from pistachios and almonds in the crème pâttisière. I’ve really grown to love pistachios in the last few years, and they work beautifully together with the chocolate topping and sweet almond flavoured cream. To get the hit of pistachio flavour, this recipe calls for you to make a pistachio paste. It really is quite simple to do, just a bit of a faff. The paste should be a vibrant, inviting green colour. But to get this, you need to rub the skins off the pistachios before roasting. As we don’t need much paste it doesn’t take too much time – but this is your warning! If you decide to skip this step (which you can!) just be prepared for your paste to come out more brown than green…

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As with all filled choux pastry recipes, these are best eaten as soon as possible after filling. If you don’t want to eat them all in one go (then you deserve a medal!) cooked choux pastry buns freeze well. Just defrost at room temperature, and pop back in a hot oven for a few minutes to get crisp again before filling.

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Filed under Chocolate, dessert, Pastry, Uncategorized

Naan Breads

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Soft and chewy Indian flat breads, traditionally made with yoghurt and butter and served alongside dishes from the north of India. With a few substitutions and a simple cooking method, you can now enjoy these at home whenever you please!

I often get a bit of a surprised look from people when I tell them the things I miss most. Cheese, Naan breads and Twixs. I admit, it is a strange list, but the one thing they have all had in common is that you just can’t make them yourself at home and get the same results. People are often surprised at Naan breads not being dairy free – however they almost always contain yoghurt, which gives it it’s chewy texture, and are then slathered in butter.

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Well, it turns out that it is possible to make perfect Naan breads at home. And it is really simple. And it doesn’t require any special equipment at all! Who’d have thought?! And, even better, I can genuinely promise you that you would never know there have been any substitutions. Now, when I say simple… You do have to make a bread dough, which I know strikes fear in some people! But I promise it isn’t hard, and as this is quite a wet and sticky dough it is very hard to go wrong. You can’t over or under knead – just play with it for about 5 minutes and you can’t go wrong.

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The other reason that I had thought Naan bread would not be possible to make at home is because they are traditionally cooked in a Tandoor – a very hot and dry clay oven which gives them a subtly smokey and charred flavour. The very high temperatures also mean the bread cooks quickly, creating the big air bubbles which give the bread it’s traditional look. To replicate this type of cooking at home is actually, surprisingly, really easy and requires no special equipment at all. All you need is a good non-stick frying pan. Ideally a heavy bottomed pan as this will retain the very high heat better – but any frying pan will work.

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Now I’ll admit that you can’t have these without working and waiting for them. However, they freeze and reheat excellently and you can easily double the amount you make. And so that’s it. The secret of making dairy free Naan breads at home is revealed – let us rejoice, as we all know that no curry is complete without a humble and yet majestic Naan bread on the side.

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Filed under Bread, Savoury