Monday, 29 June 2015

Chocolate Oat Hazelnut Chewy Biscuits (Vegan)

Oh, chocolate biscuits - how heavenly you are. I try my best not to cook biscuits, because there are only two of us here and of course that means we would eat them all. Very easily.

But sometimes you just need a big giant home made chocolate biscuit, the kind with everything in it and which is chewy and fudgy and rich and spectacular. These are those biscuits, they were incredible.

Chocolate Oat Hazelnut Chewy Biscuits

2 tbsp ground flaxseeds (linseeds)
2/3 cup oat milk (you can sub soy or almond or hazelnut milk)
2/3 cup apple sauce
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups wholemeal flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
3/4 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate chunks

To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Whisk together the ground flaxsees and oat milk and then add the oil and the vanilla extract.
3. Add in all the dry ingredients, leaving the hazelnut and chocolate chunks til last and then folding them through.
4. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Drop about 3 generous tablespoons of batter onto the paper for each biscuit, leaving plenty of space between them (at least 2 inches) for them to expand as they cook. I could only fit six onto my rectangular tray. 
5. Bake for 12 minutes (they should have spread out and be cooked on the outside, but still a bit soft in the middle when you gently press on them), then remove from the oven and let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 
6. Continue until you have used up all the batter.

This makes about 8-10 really big biscuits, but you can make them smaller if you like, just reduce the cooking time by a couple of minutes. 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Spinach, Mushroom & Sesame Udon Noodle Soup

We just came back from travelling in Singapore, which we absolutely loved. We had such a good time and I think it's probably the coolest Asian city I've ever visited, with a great vibe to the whole place. We will definitely be going back there. While we were there we did a bit of street market shopping. Singapore is by no means a cheap place to visit and travel, but I picked up a few knick-knacks to remind me of our time there. One of them were these cute pairs of chopsticks. My partner and I are both year of the Rabbit, so we picked up two pairs of rabbits and I got a pair of dragons for my best friend. In hindsight I should have got a pair for everyone - but maybe next time I'm in Singapore!

This beautiful soup is quick, easy and so very tasty and is a favourite go to quick lunch or dinner for me. Spinach is not a common addition to an Asian noodle soup, but the flavour and colour are so well suited. Don't scrimp on the sesame seeds, they are more than just a garnish!

Spinach, Mushroom & Sesame Udon Noodle Soup

6 dried shitake mushrooms
2L vegetable stock
5 tbsp soy sauce
250g button mushrooms
150g oyster mushrooms
1 small tin of bamboo shoots
4-5 leaves of spinach (silverbeet)
2 small bunches of bok choy
2 tbsp mirin
4 x 200g packets of fresh udon noodles (or a large 800g pack)
4 tbsp white sesame seeds
Sesame Oil

To Make
 1. Put the dried mushrooms, soy sauce and the vegetable stock in your wok and set it to simmer while you do all the rest of your prep.
2. Prep the ingredients: slice the button mushrooms, slice the oyster mushrooms into strips, drain the bamboo shoots, chop the spinach into thin strips and chop the bok choy finely horizontally.
3. Once you’ve done all that (will take about 10 mins depending on how fast you chop) remove the whole shitake mushrooms from the stock and slice them.
4. With the stock simmering add the ingredients in the following order: shitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, bamboo shoots, oyster mushrooms, spinach.
5. Simmer for about 2 minutes once all the ingredients are in and then turn off the heat and add the bok choy and mirin.
6. Rinse the udon noodles gently under some hot water and put about 200g in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the hot soup on top of the noodles in each bowl.
7. Heat a non stick frypan over a medium heat and dry toast the sesame seeds until just golden brown.
8. Drizzle some sesame oil over each bowl and top generously with toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 4 .

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Corn & Tofu Soup

About a week and a half ago we flew home from holidaying in The Maldives, which looked like this:

Back home now and it's officially "unseasonably cold". Sad face. There is only one upside - for the last week or so we have been having soup for dinner most nights. It's perfect on four fronts - warming, easy, cheap and healthy! We overindulged a lot while travelling (of course) and although I have absolutely no regrets, it doesn't hurt to have a healthy couple of weeks now that we're back.

I made this delicious Corn & Tofu Soup when we had people over for dinner the other night and it was incredibly popular, including some people saying they 'don't usually like soup' (causing me to question why I'm friends with such people) but loved this one. A few asked for the recipe, so I've made sure I blogged it nice and quick.

It only takes about 15 minutes to make, which it another point in it's favour. You could also opt to puree it at the end, if you like creamy soups, but then you'll loose the nice texture of the pieces of tofu.

Corn & Tofu Soup

1 onion, diced
1 tbsp margarine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tomato, finely diced
200g hard tofu, cut into small cubes
500g corn kernels (use fresh, frozen or canned)
1 x 400g can of creamed corn
1 litre vegetable stock
Salt and pepper, to taste

To Make
1. Heat the margarine in a large soup pot and saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and grated fresh ginger and give it about another minute.
2. Add the tomato and the tofu and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Then add the corn, creamed corn and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. 

Serves 4. If you're big soup lovers, make a double batch and eat it for lunch as well!