I’ve been making these for several years now at Easter, managing to avoid the temptation to buy them in the supermarkets (from February onwards)! Seems to get earlier every year but I like special occasion foods to be just that and so only make these once a year and they are so much nicer – and oil free – and wholemeal – and no preservatives – that its really worth it. I usually am cooking them for a crowd so I want to impress and therefore don’t do 100% wholemeal flour as they are much heavier and take longer to make as the rising time has to be longer. Feel free to go that way if you wish and in that case add a splash more liquid to the dough and allow an extra 30 minutes or more rising time
You will need: A large mixing bowl, a whisk or fork, measuring spoons, a clean work surface, a large rectangular baking tray, baking paper, digital scales (not essential unless you’re particular about bun size like me!), tiny zip lock bags, small bowl (1/2-1 cup size), teaspoon, cling film, oil spray, pastry brush.
Hot Cross Buns
- 230g wholemeal flour
- 220g plain flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- 50g raw brown sugar
- 7g instant yeast
- 270ml warm water
- 150g mixed dried fruit & peel - any combination you like
- extra: plain flour rolling, for making crosses; & sugar for glazing
- [Dough can also be mixed in a breadmaker or with a dough hook attachment in a food processor or hand mixer - just mix all ingredients from flour to water together then mix in the fruit]
- In a very large bowl whisk the dry ingredients all together then slowly stir in the water. It will suck up the water very quickly and seem quite dry but keep mixing until all the flour is incorporated and then add a splash more (tablespoon at a time) until the dough is soft and a little sticky. It should be a little wetter than a regular bread dough. Tip it onto a floured working surface and knead in the dried fruit. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough becomes springy and elastic and all the fruit is incorporated.
- Wash out the bowl and place the dough inside, cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour or so or until doubled in size.
- Tip the dough back onto a floured work surface.
- Line a large baking tray (as wide as a regular oven) with baking paper.
- Here is where digital scales are very useful. If you're at all like me, you want 12 buns exactly the same size. The only way to achieve this is to weigh each ball of dough. 🙂 So weigh the entire amount, divide by 12 and then pull off balls of dough that weight, roll in to a neat ball between your lightly floured palms and place on the tray. Repeat! You want 3 x 4 on the tray, even spaced. They will grow as they rise so allow a good 3-5 cm between each bun.
- Spray a piece of cling wrap with oil (otherwise they will stick and deflate when you pull off the wrap). and place over the buns and return to their warm spot until they have risen sufficiently to be stuck to each other.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.
- Make the cross paste: Mix 2-3 tablespoons of flour in a little bowl with enough water to make a thick but runny paste (like single cream). Pour it into a little ziplock bag.
- Remove carefully the cling wrap and take your bag of flour and water paste. Snip off a tiny corner off of the bag and carefully drizzle in long lines across the middle of the buns, then back the other way. It's easier to do this in one continuous motion rather than individually. Plan your route before you set off! 🙂
- Once you've finished, place in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Make the glaze: Mix 2-3 teaspoons of sugar in a small bowl with boiling water and stir until it dissolves.
- Once the timer goes off check that they're cooked by cutting one open (use tongues!), it should be firm and not wet inside.
- Brush the glaze over the hot buns and leave to cool - if you can. 🙂
I had a craving for this dish which I used to love as a child when we would very occasionally go to a Chinese restaurant. Of course it wasn’t tofu back then, was probably chicken or pork but it was the way that sweet tangy sauce soaked into the rice that I loved so this satisfies that completely! After trying a few recipes I found on the net, I combined the best of them plus a few variations to make this version. We usually enjoy it with some steamed bok choi or broccoli on the side. You can also add other vegetables such as snow peas or bamboo shoots / beansprouts at the end if you like.
Sweet & Sour Tofu
Recipe type: Dinner
- 1 300g pack of firm tofu (we like to use smoked but plain is fine)
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Juice from 1 400g can pineapple pieces
- ½ cup water
- Pineapple pieces from the can
- 2 tablespoons brown unrefined sugar
- 2 heaped teaspoons corn flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced / microplaned
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 large red capsicum cut into strips
- 1 large green or yellow capsicum, cut into strips
- 1 large red onion, sliced into strips
- 1 small can water chestnuts, drained - optional
- 4 tablespoons roasted cashews - optional
- Put your brown ride on to cook
- Mix together the pineapple juice, vinegar, tomato ketchup, soy sauce and lime juice in a small bowl, whisk in the corn flour and water and mix thoroughly until smooth with no lumps. Put the tofu in to a shallow dish and pour the sauce over and leave to marinade.
- When then rice is almost ready heat a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat and saute the onion and peppers until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and stir around for 5 minutes, adding a tiny splash of water if any sticking is occurring. Put on the lid and allow to cook on a low heat for a further few minutes until peppers are tender.
- Add the tofu and sauce to the pan, along with the pineapple, water chestnuts and cashews. Stir consistently until the sauce thickens and becomes transparent. Add a splash more water as needed to create as much sauce as you'd like.
- Serve with the rice and accompanying vegetables as desired.
This is based on a thing I’d kind of throw together for myself for lunch when I was a stay-at-home-mum and one day when I was marvelling at the deliciousness of it I realised I was being selfish to keep it to myself so I made it into a proper family meal and everyone loved it. Better still this is a quick and easy weeknight dinner, whilst not skimping on plenty of veg. It’s kind of like a risotto so should be soupy and not a dry pilaf-type thing. If you like it hot spicy feel free to add chopped chillies or chilli powder at the start. Otherwise this is totally kid friendly. 🙂
Spicy Spinach & Mushroom Rice Bowl
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 4 field mushrooms, diced or a bag ready sliced
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tablespoons salt reduced soy sauce
- 2 tsp smoked (or regular if you're' not a fan) paprika
- 1 bag baby spinach, 2-300g, chopped
- 1 cup frozen sweetcorn and / or peas
- 3 cups ready cooked medium grain brown rice
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2-3 tablespoons tahini (or ½ cup fat free hummus)
- 1.5 cups tomato pasta sauce
- Juice of a (juicy) lime
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Prep all your vegetables.
- Heat a large, deep non stick pan (which has a lid preferably)
- Saute the onion, capsicum and mushrooms with the spices and cook for 5 minutes until the capsicums are softened a little then add handfuls at a time of the chopped spinach, stirring until it wilts in to the mixture - should take around 5 minutes.
- Add in the cooked rice, frozen corn / peas, the stock, the tahini (or hummus) and pasta sauce and stir well. Once it starts to bubble put on the lid and turn down to gentle simmer. After 5 minutes check the vegetables are all done to your liking. Stir in the lime juice, scatter with the parsley and serve!
These were a bit of an experiment which turned into a huge success! We had them for dinner topped with hummus and salsa (or hot sauce or tomato sauce depending on your age!) with some steamed broccoli. Also were a great breakfast the next day sandwiched into some sourdough with avocado and tomato.
Potato, Chickpea & Veggie Cakes
Recipe type: Patties & Burgers
- 700g potatoes (peeled weight)
- 1-2 cups dry breadcrumbs (I used a sourdough crust, pulsed in food processor, toasted in oven, then pulsed again into a fine crumb)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 T tahini
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, halved lengthways, washed and finely sliced
- 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
- 100g chopped mushrooms
- 1 medium carrot grated
- ½ cup frozen baby peas
- ½ cup frozen sweet corn
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
- ½ t paprika
- ½ t turmeric
- ½ t coriander
- 1 T soy sauce
- 5 cubes frozen spinach defrosted and squeezed dry
- Peel your potatoes and put into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil.
- Meanwhile, prepare your other vegetables (and breadcrumbs if necessary.)
- Blend the chickpeas with the tahini in a food processor until mostly smooth, a few chunks is ok.
- Put the onion, leek, cabbage, mushrooms, carrot into a large nonstick frying pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently until softened, adding a splash or two of water if starting to stick. Stir in the herbs and spices and soy sauce and cook until very soft and most moisture evaporated. Turn off the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line a large baking tray with paper and place inside.
- When your potatoes are just tender, drain well and mash until smooth.
- In a large bowl combine the potato, chickpeas, the cooked veggies, frozen peas and corn, and the spinach. The mixture should be very thick and quite difficult to stir. Hands are easier if it's too hard! Can be refrigerated at this stage until you're ready to cook them.
- Take large spoonfuls and shape into patties, then coat in breadcrumbs.
- Cook a batch at a time in a dry frying pan over a moderate heat for a few minutes until crispy on both sides, then transfer to your baking sheet in the oven whilst you cook the rest. Bake them in the oven for a further 15 minutes. I managed to get 14 cakes.
This recipe has been a surprising favourite for many years, having been adapted from a recipe in BBC Vegetarian Good Food magazine circa 1999! It’s a rustic Italian inspired dish. More vegetables have been included, oil eliminated and wholewheat sourdough toast substituted. Interestingly it features cumin which I thought was very unusual for in Italian cuisine, however after researching I find it used to be more popular and was even called Roman Caraway! 🙂
Even my kids love this dish; it’s both simple in terms of ingredients and yet complex in flavour. You WILL go back for a second bowl!
Italian Cabbage & Beans
Recipe type: Casserole / Soup
- 1 large leek, sliced
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 garlic clove, cut in half
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or try fennel or caraway for interesting variations)
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small savoy cabbage, roughy shredded / and / or kale, shredded
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
- wholewheat sourdough bread, toasted
- flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
- In a large deep casserole pot, saute the leek, onion, cumin seeds & crushed garlic for 3 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally and adding a small splash of the stock to stop it sticking
- Add all of the stock, and bring to the boil.
- Add the bay leaves, cabbage beans potatoes and return to the boil.
- Turn down to a simmer and put on the lid.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes whilst you toast the bread and rub them with the cut garlic cloves.
- Serve the cabbage and beans scattered with the parsley alongside the garlic toast
I have been trying to come up with really easy recipes for after work suppers which involve little in the way of chopping, measuring etc as after hard day at work that’s all just too much sometimes. There’s really nothing wrong with canned beans, tomatoes, and frozen vegetables etc so finding ways to use them to speed up your evening meal is a no-brainer.
Here I’ve used canned beans along with frozen kale, wraps and jarred tomato sauce to create a delicious enchilada bake. I topped ours with my Quick Cheezy Sauce which only takes 5 minutes to make but if you really don’t feel like even slicing a leek you can omit and top with purchased breadcrumbs, homemade breadcrumbs with walnuts or just the tomato sauce itself. I hope you try it! A possible variation, if you like a refried beans type of filling is to substitute the can of chilli beans and sauce for one of refried beans instead. Either works well, it’s just your preference. If you can’t get or don’t like frozen kale, you can use spinach instead. :
Recipe type: Main
- 1 can black beans - rinsed & drained
- 1 can lentils - rinsed & drained
- 1 can kidney beans in chilli sauce - not drained
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon semi dried coriander (Gourmet Garden range)
- 1 pack frozen kale defrosted and water squeezed out
- 3 tablespoons salsa
- 2 cups passata
- Thin wraps - I used BeFree gf sweet potato ones or mountain bread ones are ok
- ½ batch my quick cheezy sauce
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
- Mix the beans, seasonings, spices, coriander, kale, salsa together in a large bowl. Add some chilli if you like it spicy!
- Pour one cup of the passata into the bottom of a lasagne style dish and tip to cover evenly.
- Spoon a generous amount of filling in to each wrap and then roll up and place into the dish.
- Continue until all the filling is used up, 5-6 wraps is usual.
- Pour the other cup of passata over the top and then the cheezy sauce if using.
- Bake in the oven for 30 mins, covering with foil for the last 10 minutes to prevent burning if necessary.
Not really a pie so don’t get excited – there’s no pastry! But delicious all the same! It’s kind of a variation on bubble and squeak. I used to make a dish of potato and onion which had peas on the side and one night just thought damn it, I’m just mixing them in! So good! There’s something about the texture of peas mixed into mashed potatoes that I just love; maybe it’s childhood memories of Sunday lunch. Either way this is a great midweek meal as there’s only a few steps and adding the peas makes it a complete meal so you don’t need any sides if you are pushed for time or just not inclined. We had ours with just some wilted spinach and sweetcorn.
Potato & Pea Pie
Recipe type: Main
- 1kg white potatoes, peeled (we used Desiree)
- ½ cup oil free hummus (we use SSS brand from Woolies)
- 2 medium brown onions
- 3-4 tablespoons freshly chopped mint
- 1 cup or 150g baby frozen peas (minted if you like!), defrosted
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
- Cut the potatoes into 2 inch chunks and steam the potatoes for 15-20 minutes
- Meanwhile, defrost your peas, finely chop the onions and cook them in a large frying pan, stirring frequently until starting to brown. Turn off the heat and they will unstick themselves naturally.
- Rinse the bunch of mint under the tap and finely chop.
- Once your potatoes are tender drain and then tip back into the pan and mash with the hummus until smooth, season to taste.
- Scrape in the onions and add the peas and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Line a baking tray or pizza tray with baking paper, scrape the contents of the pan into the centre of the pan and smooth it out into an even round shape about 4-5cm tall.
- Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins until starting to brown on the top.
- Cut into slices and serve!
I must thank my amazing friend Emma Roche and her husband Scott for helping me sort out a major security issue with my site! By very small way of thanks, I’m plugging her site www.plantplate.com for amazing recipes, tips, advice and info on the Plant Based Diet. You’ll also see a link there to Emma’s new eBook which you can download for a very reasonable fee. Her eBooks include shopping lists and full instructions.
Whenever I put up a new recipe I always add it to my facebook page which is https://www.facebook.com/plantbasedfamilyaustralia/ where I welcome comments and questions etc, rather than putting comments here as it’s more interactive and besides which allowing comments on my website is impossible right now without inviting in spam back in again! So please like my Facebook page and you’ll be kept up to date with any new recipes. It’s so nice to be back in operation! 🙂
Tender vegetables simmered in a creamy sauce. Perfect for an Autumnal dinner served with mash & more veggies.
Chunky Vegetable Mornay
- 1 large leek, sliced
- 1 large green capsicum / bell pepper, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced small
- 1 large stick celery, diced small
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 cup soy / other plant milk
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons creamy style hummus
- 1 tsp chicken style stock powder
- 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
- 2 tsp cornflour mixed til smooth with a splash of soy milk
- Salute the 1st 4 ingredients (leek to celery) in a large frying pan (skillet or casserole dish with a close fitting lid) until tender, adding a splash of water if necessary to stop sticking.
- Add the remaining ingredients apart from broccoli & cornflour mix and stir well, replace the lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and replace lid, allow to steam until broccoli is almost done. Add the cornflour mix, and stir slowly until thickened and flour is cooked out. Turn off the heat, replace lid and allow to sit whilst you prepare the plates & accompaniments.
- Best served with mashed potatoes, or a cooked grain. May also go well with wholewheat pasta.