Tag Archives: spreads

Give (homemade) vegannaise a shot

7 Jul

Ever wake up and find that you no longer like the things you used to obsess over? Well, it happens to me quite a lot. I used to love mayo, for example. I’d slather on a thick layer of mayo in all my sandwiches. So much that my Egg Mayo sandwiches looked more like Mayo cream sandwiches with egg. I’d even use Mayo to dress a salad or to spread on crackers for a snack. Mayo madness, if you will.

Then one day I woke up from a pretty unspectacular sleep and found myself turned off mayo completely. Suddenly the thought of eating raw eggs (emulsified with oil and vinegar/lemon juice) was just such a turn off and I was put off forever. Wierd, huh?

So, I substituted Mayo for mustard and home-made relishes and spreads. But sometimes there can be no substitute for mayo. An Egg Mayo sandwich needs to be an Egg Mayo sandwich. How now?

A vegan mayo, of course — vegannaise! I remember my sister whipped up a vegan mayonaise made with tofu many years back, while I was yet a giddy teenager. It tasted good but I pooh-poohed it, opting for the original instead.  Funny how things come full circle, eh?

So I decided to make my own vegan mayo and, having tried making regular mayo before (you whisk egg yolks, dry mustard, salt and pepper and gradually add oil and watch as the mixture emulsifies in the blender) I can attest to how much easier it is to make a vegan version. It sometimes takes me a few tries before I  make  one successful batch; with the vegan version you will be guaranteed success immediately. It’s that simple.

The vegan mayo is tofu-based. Hold on all you tofu haters. I guarantee, it won’t be like you’re spreading tofu paste on your sarnies. Nope. Mixed with mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper (you can try variations like a curry vegan mayo with curry powder or a basil mayo) the tofu is well masked.

If tofu really is a turn off, try THIS RECIPE for almond mayo, also vegan and also tasty.

The texture of the vegan mayo is lighter than the regular mayo.

What you will need

250 gm silken tofu

1 tbsp mustard

1 tbsp sugar or honey

1 tbsp lemon juice or cider vinegar

salt and pepper

1/4 cup oil

Blend all the ingredients except the oil. Once smooth, gradually add the oil and blend till they emulsify. Voila, you have your creamy vegan mustard. You can add/reduce the sugar/sat and pepper to your taste, of course. You can add seasonings too like herbs or nuts, spices like curry powder is great too. Or tomatoes.

I wanna jam it wid you …

5 Jul

I’ve been going jam crazy over the last couple of weeks. Mango, apricot, apple, blueberry … I have more jam in my fridge than I know what to do with. It’s easy to get carried away because it’s really so easy to make jam and, trust me, homemade jams taste undescribably better than store bought ones. Check out the recipe for the mango jam I made HERE. The picture above is an apricot jam I made using organic apricots: an indulgence surely, but organic fruit (or food for that matter) is much tastier and better and I was in the mood for some superior goodness.  I used just 4 smallish apricots which yielded slightly more jam to filla 30 ml jar with. I included the recipe for the apricot Jam in this month’s Don’t Call Me Chef column which focused on preserved food. Click HERE for the article/recipe.

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve found numerous sites on jam making online that are quite  interesting. My next jam project is with tomatoes. I haven’t quite completed my research on tomato jam (I kinda go crazy with “research”) yet but  you could check out THIS link for a Tomato Jam which looks quite fun to make.

For simple, basic tips on making your own jam check THIS site which gives you ten tips for making the perfect jam, jelly or marmalade. It’s really all you need to know if you aren’t keen on trawling the net for 100 different ways to make a simple bottle of jam.

If you too, like me, have gone J-amok and have too much jam on your hands, you may want to consider baking with Jam.  I made some PEANUT BUTTER AND JAM COOKIES last week and they were an easy and tasty alternative to your standard PBJ sandwich. HERE’s another pretty cookie I want to try sometime soon: Almond Linzer star cookies, they’re called.

Pies and tarts are also a wonderful way of utilising your jam. I like this recipe for Italian Jam tart on The Fresh Loaf:  just click here.

If you’ve got any ideas, I’d love to hear them and try them too. Let’s all jam together, shall we?

Almost chunky peanut butter

24 Jun

Man cannot live by bread alone. He must have peanut butter ≈ Bill Cosby

I think I discovered peanut butter when I was in my teens. You’re amazed? Yeah, me too. My mother never included peanut butter in her grocery lists … ever. I don’t really know why … I never asked her. But when I was 13 or 14 I had a sleepover at a friends house and for breakfast, we were served PBJs: yeah, the all famous Peanut Butter and Jelly (Jam) sandwich.  Imagine how blown away I was. I took a while to get over my reaction to the peanut butter: what was this creamy, buttery, nutty spread that made bread taste like cake? And, wait a minute, Peanut Butter and Jelly. PBJ. That’s what those kids on TV have all the time.  Cool!

And so began my love affair with PBJ which lasted about six years. Needless to say, after that sleepover, I bugged my mum to buy peanut butter for us. She acquiesced — she couldn’t bear the many, many “please, mummy, please” pleas any longer, I guess.

As I grew, I kinda ate less PBJ sandwiches though. Breakfast became a jumbo cup of thick, sweet tea and nothing more. But, if you’ve read this blog often enough, you know how many random cravings I have all them time and lately it’s been for a PBJ: a think chunky layer of peanut butter and layered with Jam. I love store bought peanut butter; jam, not so much (they’re always just too sweet). But I decided to make my own: both peanut butter and jam. I’m on vacation from work for a couple of weeks and I wanted to stay home and chill with my pal, Mojo the Dachshund.

This first installment (Part I) is making the peanut butter. It’s simple and actually a lot easier than getting dressed, putting on make-up, driving to the store and buying a jar. All you need are some skinned peanuts and salt and a little sugar (optional). The sugar is optional as some peanuts are sweater than others and also because it depends on how sweet you want your PB. I  added just a tbsp  sugar as I prefered the  nutty flavour to stand out.

Homemade peanut butter

400g peanuts, skinned

4 g fine salt

2 tbsp sugar (optional)

Roast the peanuts in the oven till they’re lightly toasted (just slightly brown). Add the sugar, salt and sugar in the blender and … blend, blend, blend. The nuts will first be blended to powder and then with more blending, their natural oils will be released and the mixture will form  a paste. More blending and you will get your buttery treasure.  TIP: You may want to add the roasted nuts bit by bit (three batches) especially if yours is not a high powered blender (mine wasn’t either). If you prefer your PB chunky, set some nuts aside and add them towards the end of the blending process).  Oh, and blending takes a while: about 30 mins with my ratty blender. So, while waiting for the peanuts to transform into butter, check out some PB trivia here.

Next up: Home made jam!