May 3 2017

Gluten Free Vegan Pear and Polenta Cake

Back before having to go wheat and dairy free I once made a delicious pear and polenta cake. Annoyingly when I thought to make it again I couldn’t find the recipe or remeber which book it was in. I having  feeling it may have been from a carribean recipe book I borrowed from our local library.

Fast forward a few years and three out of the five of us are having to avoid wheat, gluten and eggs. I had some fruit to use up including three pears and this cake came to mind. Gluten free vegan pear and polenta cake is born 😀 I can’t remember how it compares to the original cake but this version was light, soft and yummy.

 

gluten free vegan pear and polenta cake

 

Aquafaba

Aquafaba is a versatile ingredient that can be used as an egg replacer in many recipes, such as cakes, cookies, meringues and sweets. It can also be used as a binder for burger and is ideal for people who suffer with egg allergies or intolerances or anyone who is avoiding eating animal products. Although aquafaba sounds like a fancy, hard to find or expensive ingredient in fact nothing could be further from the truth. This unusual sounding liquid is in fact the liquid that is found in cans of chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) and other beans and something that is normally thrown away without a second thought. It is also possible to use the liquid that is left from cooking dried beans.

The name aquafaba has been created using the Latin words for water and beans, aqua (water) and faba (beans). It is believed that the proteins and starches in the liquid enable it to be used in this way due to the fact that they closely resemble those found in traditional egg whites. Generally 3 tbsp of aquafaba should be used to replace one egg. It can also be stored in the fridge for several days or frozen. Freezing in ice cube trays in tablespoon measures is an ideal way to do this, making the liquid easy to defrost and use at a later date.

 

Pears

Pears are a delicious and healthy fruit that are available in many varieties. They contain a range of vitamins and minerals including niacin, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.

Some health benefits of eating pears include:

  • Pears are a good source of dietary fibre, containing approximately 8% of fibre per 100g.
  • They are a good source of nutrients such as beta-carotene and lutein which can help protect against harmful free radicals.
  • Pears help to boost the immune system due to the fact that they contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and copper which help to fight off disease.
  • The fibre content in pears helps to promote good colon health and reduce the chances of cancer.
  • They are one of the least likely foods to cause an allergic reaction.
  • The potassium in pears helps to keep your heart healthy and muscles working well.
  • Boiling the juice of Chinese pears with honey creates a warm tea that is very healing for the throat and vocal cords.

 

Polenta

Polenta is a cornmeal grain that has many uses in cooking. It is often cooking in water and then left to set solid before being sliced and baked grilled or fried. It can also be used in baking in place of other grain flours and adds a pleasant sweetness and texture.

Polenta is made from milled corn and is an excellent source of carotenoids and is a low carbohydrate food. It is a source of including vitamins A and E and as corn is gluten free it is ideal as a replacement for wheat flour in baking or for breading foods such as chicken or fish. This food also contains traces of the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and zinc.

 

Gluten Free Vegan Pear and Polenta Cake Recipe

 

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp liquid from canned beans or chickpeas (aquafaba)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 soft pears (tinned can be used), peeled, quartered and cored
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend such as Doves Farm
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup fine polenta
  • Sprinkle cinnamon
  • Sprinkle sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and grease or line a 7 inch cake tin.
  2. Whisk the aquafaba as you would eggs.
  3. Lay the pear quarters in the bottom of the cake pan. Sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar over the pears.
  4. Mix together the aquafaba, vanilla extract and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the oil.
  5. Sift the flour, polenta and baking powder into the wet mixture and stir to mix well.
  6. Beat in water to create a smooth batter.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before turning over and serving.

 

 

Photo source – free photos, [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

 

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March 29 2017

Sweet Potato, Bean and Spinach Vegan and Gluten Free Curry

My favourite plant based curry is sweet potato, chickpea and spinach. A restaurant we sometimes go to has a delicious one on their menu so although they don’t have many vegan and gluten-free options I don’t mind so much. However, a few years ago I discovered that I have a mild allergy to chickpeas and although it’s not serious and medication does help, I prefer not to eat them very often. Sometimes I make this vegan and gluten free curry and just leave out the chickpeas, but it’s never quite the same. In several other recipes I have successfully swapped chickpeas for beans so I decided to give that a try here. It’s not exactly the same, of course but the beans help to keep the look and texture very similar and it’s still super yummy.

 

vegan and gluten free curry

 

The recipe makes two good sized portions and would most likely stretch to three if served with rice, nann bread, chapatis or poppadoms.

The baby broad beans can be swapped for any type of beans you like. I have used tinned haricot beans in the past or you could cook your own from dried. I had these frozen baby broad beans in the freezer left from another recipe and so thought this was a good opportunity to finish them off. This vegan and gluten free curry could also be cooked in a slow cooker so is great for busy days. So nice to come home to the smell of home cooked food and know you can eat a tasty nourishing meal. If cooking this way you can skip the frying if you wish. Add all of the ingredients except the spinach to the slow cooker and cook on high for approximately 3 hours or low for 5 hours. Add the spinach 20 minutes before the end of cooking.

The finished curry can be frozen and used at a later date.

 

Sweet potato, bean and spinach curry

 

Sweet potato, Bean and Spinach Vegan and Gluten Free Curry

150g (5.3oz) sweet potato, cubed (approximately 1cm cubes)
50g (1.8oz) red onion, diced
400g (14.1oz) tin of chopped tomatoes
200ml (7fl oz) tinned coconut milk
60g (2.1oz) spinach
150g (5.3oz) frozen baby broad beans
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 cloves garlic
Oil for frying

1) Fry the onion, sweet potato and spices in a little oil for three minutes, stirring.

2) Add all of the remaining ingredients except the spinach and simmer, covered for 30 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked.

3) Add the spinach and stir into stew. Cook for 2 minutes.

 

vegan and gluten free curry

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April 1 2016

Beany Veg Pie (vegetarian, vegan, gluten, dairy, egg, wheat and nut free recipe)

Beany Veg Pie (vegetarian, vegan, gluten, dairy, egg, wheat and nut free recipe)

This veggie recipe is based on a traditional shepherds or cottage pie. The meat has been replaced with delicious and nutritious vegetables and beans to create this hearty and comforting dish. The baked beans could be replaced with a tin of drained haricot or cannelloni beans if preferred. I have also made the pie and substituted some of the potato for sweet potato or butternut squash for variation.

You can find the complete recipe as well a some facts about potatoes and haricot beans here.

February 29 2016

Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup (vegan and Gluten Free)

This recipe is perfect for the cooler autumn days and is not only a healthy choice full of fresh ingredients but is also gluten, wheat, milk, egg, nut and soya free. The recipes is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

The finished soup can be successfully frozen as a whole or in portion sizes, which is particularly useful if you are the only person following a gluten free, dairy free, vegan or vegetarian diet in your household as it means you can have a nutritious meal or snack ready in a short time. The soup can be served on its own or with croutons, bread or toast for a more substantial meal. The consistency can be adjusted to suit your tastes simply by adding more or less of the vegetable stock at the blending stage. If you are unsure how much to add it is always best to add a small amount, blend and test. You can always add more if the soup is too thick but cannot take it back out easily if you add too much and end up with a thin watery finished soup.

This healthy butternut squash and tomato soup would also be delicious made a little thinner and served in mugs as a cup a soup on chilli autumn nights or around a bonfire.

Serves 6
Large butternut squash
10 ripe tomatoes
2 red onions
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 red chilli (remove the seeds for less heat)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 litre (2 pints) vegetable stock (check for gluten and milk ingredients if needed)
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5. Peel the butternut squash and cut it in half, remove the seeds and chop into 2cm cubes.

2. Halve the tomatoes, and peel and thickly slice the onions.

3. Place the butternut squash, tomatoes, onions, chilli and garlic into a roasting tray, pour over the oil and mix well to coat the veg. Cover the tray with foil and bake for 30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes.

4. Once the vegetables are tender place everything into a food processor or blender with half of the vegetable stock. Blend until smooth. Check the soup for thickness and add the rest of the stock or part of it as required to achieve the desired consistency.

May 5 2015

Munchy Mix – Dried Fruit and Nut Mix

Fruita nd nut mix

An unusual and enjoyable mix of dried fruits and nuts that can be made in advance ready for use. This mix is ideal as a healthy snack or trail mix when at home or on the move. It can also be used in cakes and cookies or added to granola and other cereals.

Store the fruit and nut mix in a sealed container or jar and it will last for several months at least.

 Munchy Mix

You do not have to have exact cup measures to make the mix. Any container is fine as long as you use the same one throughout.

1/2 cup of dried pineapple, torn into pieces if required
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of dried papaya pieces
1/2 cup of dried apricot pieces
1/4 cup of whole almonds
1/4 cup of cashews

1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well to combine.

2. Pour the mix into a suitable container and seal.

You can also label the container so you know what is inside and with an ingredients list if desired.

 

March 31 2015

Beetroot, Pineapple and Carrot Juice Recipe

Beetroot, carrot and pineapple juice

Beetroot, Carrot and Pineapple Juice

Makes approximately 1500ml of juice.

4 cups fresh pineapple juice
2 large carrots
2 medium beetroot

1. Chop the carrots and beetroots into chunks.

2. Blend in a high powdered blender until smooth.

 

Alternatively the ingredients can be juiced but the finished produce will not have the same nutrient and fibre content due to the loss of the pulp.

I prefer to make my juice and smoothies in batches but feel free to scale down the recipe to suit your needs. To make a thinner finished juice more pineapple juice or water can be added. This can be done before blending or it can be added afterwards. If you are unsure how much extra to add in order to get the consistency you wish, add small amounts at a time after blending the ingredients. This method will help to ensure you do not end up adding too much. Keep a note of any extra fluid added to make the process easier in future.

 

 

January 29 2015

Searching for Recipes at Elderberry Arts

The Elderberry Arts blog featurs many of the vegan recipes I have created or adapted to be vegan and gluten free. I have added a page in the Writing menu at the top of the page to make these easier to find. This page contains links to each of the currently published recipes. The recipes on this page are organised by the date they were added to the blog, newest first. The recipes can also be search through by using the search box on  the right of each page or using the tag and category cloud links.

Although the vast majority of the recipes on the blog are vegan recipes, there are some that are vegetarian only and a small percentage that contain meat due to the fact that my children eat meat as well. These will be clearly tagged and titled to show this. Feel free to adapt the recipes to suit your own needs but please do not claim them as your own. It would be great to see what you all make.