Friday, 20 March 2015
It's turning disticntly to Autumn here, the mornings have started to get chilli, the leaves are starting to yellow and the beautiful summer fruits are diminishing in stores. Around this time of year I like to try and preserve some of the flavours of the summer fruits so that I can enjoy them once the fruits are no longer available. Jams is a wonderful way to do this, but I'm also a big fan of infused vodkas - Strawberry & Lime Infused Vodka, Raspberry Vodka & Pineapple & Basil Vodka have featured on the blog in past years to preserve the flavours of summer fruits (plus they make great gifts).
This time around I had a big bag of plums on the verge of being over ripe, and I thought I'd try something a bit different. I love Japanese plum wine, so I thought I'd try a fresh plum infused wine. No, they're definitely not even close to being the same thing, but my fresh plum infused wine worked really beautifully.
It's not really a recipe, use whatever quantity you have or want. Use whatver type of plums you have, and choose a wine you like. I recommend starting with a mild flavoured wine, and definitely not one that is too sweet. I recommend starting with a Semillion or Semillion Savingnon Blanc. If you start with a wine that is already sweet, all the sugars in the plums will make for a very sweet wine! Mine turned out just the right amount of sweet with a mild Semillion Sauvignon Blanc, it was fresh and fruity - and a truly beautiful colour.
Plum Infused Wine
About 500-750g plums
1 bottle mild flavoured white wine
1. Wash the plums (then pat dry, you don't want to water your wine down) and then remove the seeds and slice.
2. Place in a large (probably 1 litre) clean jar and pour the wine over the top. Seal well and store in the fridge for 2-4 weeks.
Will last several months in the fridge.
Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Any excuse to make spring rolls is good with me! These veggie spring rolls are particularly good and the vinegar dipping sauce was sensational! I tend to always have my spring rolls with sweet chilli, sweet and sour or chilli dipping sauce, so I wasn't sure how this vinegar sauce was going to turn out. It was so delicious, I think I'll make it for all my future spring rolls and rice paper rolls!
2 tbsp. oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced sweet potato
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups sliced celery
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
1 tbsp. Soy sauce (or vegan fish sauce)
1 cup sliced green beans
2 cups shredded green cabbage
20 spring roll wrappers
Lots of vegetable oil, for deep frying.
Vinegar Dipping Sauce
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
1. Heat the 2 tbsp. oil in a wok and sauté the onion and garlic until just softened and translucent. Add the sweet potato, carrot and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for a few minutes and then add the celery and peanuts. Once the sweet potato and carrot are just tender (they can be just slightly undercooked), turn off the heat and add the soy sauce, green beans and shredded cabbage. The residual heat will just slightly cook them.
2. Cool the filling (while it's cooling, you can make your vinegar dipping sauce) and then roll up the spring rolls. Use about 2 heaped tbsp. per roll.
3.Once your rolls are all done, clean out the wok and then fill generously with oil. Heat the oil and then test it by throwing in a corner of spring roll wrapper - if it floats to the top and look like it's fizzing then your oil is hot enough.
4. Deep fry the spring rolls in batches until golden brown (if you prefer, you can shallow fry them and make sure you turn them while cooking to cook both sides). You will probably need to turn them over to cook both sides as they'll float on the surface. Once golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a bit of paper towel to absorb excess oil.
5. Serve hot with vinegar dipping sauce.
Vinegar Dipping Sauce:
1. Combine all ingredients and mix well until sugar is completely dissolved.
Makes 20 medium sized spring rolls.
Saturday, 14 March 2015
I had so many dishes from Jamaica month that I just couldn't get around to posting them all last month, so I've got a few stragglers to share with you. I'm a huge fan of fruity salsas, and I wanted to share this one with you before pineapple goes completely out of season! Enjoy the last of the lovely warm weather with a Jamaican cocktail and some gorgeous fresh and tangy pineapple salsa.
I think the jalapeños have the loveliest flavour for this dish, but if you want it even more brightly colourful then chopped red chilli would look lovely.
Jamaican Pineapple Salsa
2 cups fresh diced pineapple
1 jalapeño chilli, finely minced (I like to leave the hot bits in, but you can remove them first if you prefer)
2 tbsp. finely chopped mint
2 tbsp. finely chopped coriander
3-4 shallots, sliced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1. Combine all ingredients. Store in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to let the flavours deepen.
This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Jamaica.
Check out my other Jamaican recipe posts:
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
The start of Autumn in Sydney means take advantage of the last few mangoes around before they disappear until next summer. One of the many things I miss about summer as I'm trudging through the winter months is the beautiful summer stone fruits, so it's nice to make the most of them while I still can.
Mango float is a dessert popular in the Philippines and several of it's neighbours - including parts o Australia. It's a nice simple dessert, easy to make and usually not vegan. My version has a few changes. I've used whipped coconut cream (a vegan's best friend) but I've also included grated fresh coconut because Filipino versions use young coconuts, it adds a lovely texture to the whipped cream and enhances the beautiful coconut flavour. Most recipes use whole biscuits for the biscuit layers, but I've just used crumbs because I found it a bit easier. If you like, you can layer whole biscuits and just use crumbs to fill in any gaps.
Mango float is often made like a slice, in a long dish and then cut into slices. I've made mine in jars because they look so lovely plus they're very easy to store. You could also make them in individual parfait glasses or dessert bowls, or even in one big glass bowl like a trifle. If you're making it like a slice, you'll want to start with a bottom layer of whole biscuits to make the base, but if it's in jars or parfait glasses then I prefer to start with a layer of mango because I think it's nice getting to the bottom and finding fruit!
If you like a boozy dessert, try marinating the mango in 1-2 tbsp. rum.
Coconut Mango Float
2 x 400ml cans coconut cream (refrigerated for at least 24 hours)
1/4 cup soft icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated fresh coconut flesh
3 large mangoes
200g digestive biscuits (or other plain biscuits) (you'll need more if you want to make it slice-style, as you'll need a bottom layer)
1. Remove the cans from the fridge (the longer you refrigerate them the better), open them up and scoop out all the solidified cream. Discard any watery liquid in the bottom of the can.
2. In a bowl, whip the coconut cream solids with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Move the beaters up and down while you beat to aerate the cream as much as possible. Once it's smooth and whipped, add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat in well.
3. Chop the mango flesh into cubes or slices. At this stage you can add a tbsp. of spiced rum or another liqueur if you want to.
4. Turn the biscuits into crumbs either in a food processor or just crumble with your hands.
5. Start with a layer of mango and then top it with coconut cream and a fairly generous layer of biscuit crumbs. Follow this with another layer of mango and another of coconut cream. Garnish with more biscuit crumbs.
6. Set in the fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight).
Serves about 8.
If you want to make it as a slice, use a long rectangular dish. Start with a layer of whole biscuits and fill in any gaps with crumbs. Then layer mango and then coconut cream. Repeat with another layer of biscuits, followed mango and coconut cream.
This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food the Philippines.
Check out my other Filipino recipe posts:
Monday, 9 March 2015
In the Philippines, spring rolls (or lumpia) come in many varieties with many fillings. Often it's ground meats, but can also be a mixture of vegetables. The rolls can be fresh, fried or even absent (I'll explain this in a later post). I love spring rolls in any form, so I took the opportunity to make several different types of Filipino Lumpia. These ones aren't so much Spring rolls as they are Summer rolls, as I've used easy rice paper rolls as a bit of a cheat. Usually Lumpiang Sariwa refers to spring rolls which are not deep fried and are made with a special kind of egg wrapper (halfway between a spring roll wrapper and a thin crepe?) . You can make your own wrappers, or you could use fresh spring roll wrappers (or indeed, frozen spring roll wrappers - just defrost and use them as they are without frying). The drawback of using spring roll wrappers is that they're usually square, and lumpiang sariwa are made with round wrappers which allow you to leave one end open so the lettuce can poke out and you get a glimpse of the yummy colourful veggie filling. If you want to try making your own wrappers, just google it. There are lots of websites with recipes and instructions. If you want to take the easy road, improvise with what you've got! Like this lovely rice paper version.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup hard tofu cut into small cubes
1 cup sweet potato cut into small cubes
1 cup julienne carrots
2 tsp vegan fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans
1 cup cabbage
5 lettuce leaves
10 rice paper rolls (or fresh spring roll wrappers)
For the peanut sauce:
2 cups water
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup finely chopped peanuts
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp cornstarch
1. Heat oil in a large frypan or wok and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent and then add the tofu and sweet potato. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring often.
2. Add the fish sauce and soy sauce. Once the carrot is just slightly cooked, turn off the heat and stir through the green beans and cabbage. The residual heat will cook the cabbage just enough and finish cooking the carrots.
3. Set the filling aside to cool a little, it can be warm but not hot when you wrap up the rolls.
4. Cook each rice paper roll wrapper according to the packet (usually by immersing in hot water for 30-60 seconds). Lay 1/2 lettuce leaf in the top middle of the wrapper and add about 1/10th of the filling. Wrap the bottom upwards and then roll the two sides over it nice and tightly, leaving it open at the top. Continue with the rest of the filling and wrappers.
5. To make the sauce: Combine 1 1/2 cups water, soy sauce, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Once all the sugar is dissolved add the peanuts and garlic and simmer for 3-4 minutes. In a cup, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water with the cornstarch and stir until smooth.
6. Stirring the sauce continually, add in the cornstarch. Stir continuously over a low heat until the mixture thickens up a bit. Remove from the heat.
7. Arrange lumpiang sariwa on a platter and drizzle the peanut sauce over the top.
Makes 10 large rolls.
Monday, 2 March 2015
March is Philippines month on the blog, and I'm looking forward to sharing a lot of new dishes with you. As with a lot of Asian nations, the Philippines has a long history of association with a lot of different countries - all of which have influenced their cuisine. The resulting cuisine has Malaysian, Spanish, Chinese and even American influences which have contributed to their unique cuisine. Generally, I have to say, it's a very meaty country! They love eating their pigs over there and most of the recipes I found contained several part of the pig. But I found a smattering of lovely vegetarian dishes hidden amongst all the meat and have more than enough to share a month's worth of recipes with you.
I'm going to start with some Adobo Tofu. You might think of Spain when you hear the word adobo, and infact the adobo is quite well known and well used in America thanks to it's large hispanic population. But what you might not know is that when the Spanish explored the Philippines in the 16th Century, they discovered that the Filipino population had a very similar method of cooking with vinegar. Because it was so similar to the Spanish method, they named it adobo, despite the fact that it was indigenous to the region.
Filipino Adobo Tofu with Pineapple & Bamboo Shoots
500g hard tofu (sometimes called extra firm tofu)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 small pineapple (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, you can use palm vingear, coconut vinegar or any other variety of white vinegar)
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 bay leaves
Generous grinding of black pepper
1 small can (220g) bamboo shoots (if you can find fresh shoot, even better!)
1. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the tofu and cut into cubes or triangles. Heat the oil in a wok and fry pieces until lightly browned on both sides. Remove and set aside.
2. Peel and chop your pineapple and set aside. Peel and slice your garlic and lighty fry in the remaining oil in the wok (you may need to add more if there is not much left) until just starting to go golden. Then add the pineapple and cook for about another 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the vegetable stock, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves and black pepper. Bring to a simmer.
4. Add the tofu and drained bamboo shoots. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
You can serve with rice and steamed vegetables.
Friday, 27 February 2015
The first great thing about this cake it how easy it it. Mix everything in a bowl, bake and then sprinkle with icing sugar and serve. I love finding cakes which don't need any kind of icing or fancy decoration, because it's so much less work :) The rich taste of this cake doesn't need any icing, glaze or drizzle - it's perfect just how it it. The second great thing about this cake is that it tastes like a million dollars in your mouth. It's got a double it of ginger - fresh and ground - and luscious molasses to give it that dark and sticky quality. The flavours are reminiscent of gingerbread, but the consistency is soft, moist and sticky. It looks plain and unassuming, but I think it's probably my favourite of all the cakes I've made for all the countries I've featured (that's a big call, but I'm making it!).
Jamaican Ginger Cake
Adapted from Feast Magazine Issue 35 (September 2014)
160g vegan margarine or butter
200g dark brown sugar
90g castor sugar
2/3 cup apple sauce
4-5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
100g blackstrap molasses
100ml oat or soy milk
300g plain flour (I prefer wholemeal, but you can use either)
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
Powdered sugar, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Lightly grease a 22-23cm cake tin and line with baking paper.
2. Beat margarine and both sugars together using electric beaters for about 5 minutes, until smooth and thick.
3. Add the apple sauce a bit at a time and beat in. Then beat in the molasses, grated fresh ginger and milk. Fold in the flour, bicarb soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
4. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool slightly in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
5. Sprinkle the cool cake generously with powdered sugar. If you like an extra ginger hit, mix a pinch or two of ground ginger in with the powdered sugar that you sprinkle on the top.
6. Eat it. Preferably with a cup of tea.
Makes 1 x 23cm diameter cake.
This month I'm featuring lots of delicious food from Jamaica.
Check out my other Jamaican recipe posts:
Tuesday, 17 February 2015
It's wonderful to make your own lemonade - at least that way you know what goes in it! I absolutely loved the Limoonada (Egyptian Orange Blossom Lemonade) that we had for Egypt month, so I jumped at the chance to make another variation from another culture. This Jamaican lemonade is fantastic, the dark brown sugar and molasses make for a much less sickly sweet drink with a bit more of an adult flavour. It goes fantastically with a shot of rum mixed through, but mostly we just appreciated it on ice because the day I made it was so hot and we were running around cleaning the house. It seriously hit the spot!
This recipe fills up about 3 x 750ml bottles, so great for a party. If you're just making it for yourself at home, you can use a half or third of the recipe or just bottle it up and drink it over the course of a week or two. Those 3 bottles we made, they didn't last for long!
10 limes (if your limes are not very juicy you may need a couple more)
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 (generous) tsp molasses
10 cups cold water
1. Juice the lemons and limes. Combine the juice with the brown sugar, molasses and water and stir until all the sugar and molasses has dissolved.
2. Pour into bottles and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Makes about 3 x 750ml bottles. May be more or less depending on how juicy your lemons and limes are.