Tofu ‘Ricotta’ and Kale Filo Pie

Something I really miss since going dairy free is ricotta or feta and spinach pastries. I often use to buy one for a quick breakfast before work. However all that dairy was not doing my hips a favor. This version has creamy texture and mild cheesy flavor of ricotta without the lactose and casein. The filling would also work well in a hand held filo pastries, which can be prepared in batches and froze before being baked fresh.

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Tofu ‘Ricotta’ and Kale Filo Pie (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients:

olive oil

3 cups tuscan kale leaves, chopped

1 brown onion, chopped

375g firm tofu

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1.5 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 tablespoon white or barley miso paste

1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

1/2 cup vegan mozzarella or cheddar (I used Vegusto No-Moo Melty)

7 filo pastry sheets

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil a fry pan on medium heat. Sauté the tuscan kale leaves in a few batches. Only cook the leaves for a few minutes until they start to wilt, then place on a dish or a tray to cool down.

3. Use the same fry pan to sauté the chopped brown onions, until they are transparent. Place the onion on a dish to cool down.

4. Place the onion, garlic, and tofu in a processor. As it blending add the sea salt, black pepper, miso paste, apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast. Blend until the onions and garlic are broken down and the mixture becomes like a moist crumbly ricotta texture.

5. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir through the tuscan kale and vegan cheese. Add more salt and pepper if you need.

6. Take a 20cm-round springform pan and brush the base and sides with with some olive oil.Take 1 sheet of filo sheet and place on a flat surface. Brush the filo with olive oil, then place the oiled side on the base of the pan, letting the edges hang over the edge. Repeat this, layering 5 more sheets on top of each other in a clockwise pattern.

7. Place the tofu ricotta and kale filling in the centre of the pan, making sure its equally distributed.

8. Scrunch the sides of the filo sheets to form a border around the filling.

9. Brush another sheet of pastry with oil on both sides, then scrunch the sheet over one side of the filling, within the pastry border. Repeat with another sheet on the other side of the filling.

10. Bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crunchy. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the springform pan and serving.

*Serves 6

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Cauliflower Cheezy Thyme Pie

Hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was pretty quiet. I was pretty hungover all Saturday after work drinks on Friday night. I haven’t drank more then a glass for over a year so I was a bit out of practice. I did go on one vegan adventure last night to Freestyle Tout. Last time I had a vegan dessert there I wasn’t too impressed. My chocolate avocado mousse was so dark, it was uneatable. But this time was a big difference. I had a Vegan Hazelnut Cake with Hazelnut Chocolate Sauce, Vanilla Cocolusious Vegan Ice cream. It was amazing and on pare with the regular desserts they offer.

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Tonight I wanted to make some kind of pie, because its so cold here. I decided on cauliflower because I had two and a half of them in my fridge. Why so much? Well I already had a half and then both mum and I went shopping again with out telling the other. So expect to see more cauliflower recipes this week.

I have never liked cauliflower, but they are growing on my. Marco still doesn’t like them. But we both loved this cauliflower pie. All three of us had seconds and I am looking forward to taking this to work. Marco even commented that it looks like something he would have at a vegan restaurant with the sprout salad. This can be made gluten free and soy free with gluten free puff pastry and almond or oat milk. The nutritional yeast isn’t essential, but definitely makes it more cheezy and delicious.

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Cauliflower Cheezy Thyme Pie (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more to brush pastry

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 large cauliflower, chopped

1 large potato, grated

1 cup unsweetnered plant milk (rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

2-3 teaspoons sea salt

black pepper to taste

2 sheets of frozen puff pastry (or gluten free puff pastry)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. Heat a nonstick pot with olive oil, then saute onion and garlic for a few minutes or until it softens.

3. Add cauliflower and grated potato and saute for a 5 minutes. Stir continuously so the potato doesn’t stick to the bottom.

4. Add soy milk, thyme, sea salt and black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower has softened.???????????????????????????????

5. Add nutritional yeast and stir through. Add more salt if you need.???????????????????????????????

6. Place a defrosted puff pastry sheet in the base of a 9 inch pie pan.

7. Fill the pastry with the cauliflower mixture.

8. Top with another sheet of puff pastry and tick in the edges around the sides.

9. Brush pastry with olive oil and then bake for 30 mins or until pastry is cooked.

*Serves 6

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A little bit British

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by Fry’s Country Mushroom Pies. I’ve never been a big pie eater, preferring to eat pasta then Aussie Beef Pies and Sausage Rolls. I have always equated meat pies to unhealthiness and thought it to be more like a tradey’s food. My mothers ex-husband was a tradey, so meat pies and ice coffees were a typical daily lunch from the snack truck. But since I have stopped eating meat I have been open to look at foods like this in a different light. So when I saw this product on sale at Coles, I thought I would give it a go.

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This is not a meat pie, but rather more like a vegan version of a mushroom & chicken pie. Mushroom & Chicken Pie is a British classic and is one of the most popular pies in Great Britain. It has pastry on the top and bottom, the top being puff pastry and the center holds the chicken and mushroom in a nice creamy sauce. They are commonly bought from fish and chip shops across the country. Pies-Box-Country-Mush

So after trying out Fry’s Country Mushroom Pies I think I would definitely purchase it again. I made this dinner for Marco, my mother and her partner Ted and they all really liked it the pie. They all said they liked the puff pasty top and the pie filling was nice and creamy and tasted just like it had meat in it. I thought it was good too. Only thing I can say was there wasn’t that much filling. The picture on the box and on the website makes it look really full, but it doesn’t all ooze out when you cut it. However, I think if it was really full it may have been too much and I would of felt too heavy after eating it. The pastry top was also really nice tasting and was not greasy at all. It was easy to make. The packet instructions said 20 mins  in the oven, but for my oven took about 25-30 mins. All in all it was a easy main to prepare and great for a lazy vegan dinner.

Before baking

Before baking

After baking

After baking

To get into the spirit of eating a British classic I thought I would prepare some sides to go with it. So I made Lemon & Thyme Roasted Chat Potatoes, Carrots & Garlic and Mushy Peas. For the roasted vegetables I didn’t add the lemon, thyme and garlic until 15 mins before they were ready. A lot of recipes suggest added fresh thyme when you first put in the potatoes, but I saw on a Jamie Oliver show recently, that he recommends not added them till towards the end, as the oven will burn them to a crisp. It turned out really well this way. The lemon flavor was also really nice and everyone said they preferred this flavor to my usually roasted vegetables. Below is the recipe.

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Lemon & Thyme Roasted Chat Potatoes, Carrots & Garlic (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1kg chat potatoes

5 carrots

1 garlic clove

olive oil

sea salt & pepper to taste

1 lemon

sprigs of thymeDSC02607

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Cut the potatoes in halves, chop the carrots in chunks and place in a baking tray. Coat with olive oil, sea salt & pepper, and cook for 30 mins or until you can at least get a fork through the potatoes.DSC02609

3. In the mean time remove skin from garlic and juice the lemon.

4. After 30 mins add the garlic, lemon juice and thyme. Add more olive oil if the potatoes and carrots are too dry. Cook for a further 15 mins or until vegetables are slightly browned.

*Serves 4

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As for the Mushy Peas, I got the recipe from here. I really love this recipe. It was my first time making mushy peas and they just tasted so fragrant and delicious. Only thing I had to change was use shallots instead of eschalots, nutlex instead of butter and used vegan chicken stock. Only thing I would do differently next time is make more, because this portion size was not enough. It was so morish. It was also really easy and quick to make.DSC02612

Firstly I cooked diced shallots and garlic in nutlex for few minutes.

Then add the stock and brought it to a boil. After that I added the peas and cooked them until they were soft.

Once the peas were soft, I added the apple cider vinegar and mint leaves and cooked for 1 more DSC02614minute.

Lastly, used the bar mix to make the peas mushy and then it was ready to go.

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Another vegan product I just tried today is Macro Moroccan Pumpkin Dip (Free from Dairy). It is also gluten free and free from artifical colours, flavours or preservatives. The fact that their are no artifical preservatives is really great since most of the dips available have something in it to last longer. I do prefer to make my own hummus and other dips, but when you are in a hurry its always great to have good products like this on hand.

Today I made a snack pita with this dip. I just used half a pita bread and filled it with the pumpkin dip, cucumber, baby spinach and mint leaves and toasted in the sandwich press. It was a great healthy snack to have between lunch and dinner.

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Merry Christmas to all!

Hope everyone had a good Christmas  I spent the 24th-26th preparing food and eating it. We had Marco’s Birthday Lunch with his family, Christmas lunch and dinner with my family and Boxing day celebrating with his family again for lunch.

We are off to Melbourne tomorrow  I can’t wait! All my family are down there and I haven’t been for a few years. But I am also eager to discover some of the great vegan eats down there too. I have heard that Melbourne is the best state for vegans and vegetarians. I hope I have time. Its difficult to find time to do your own thing when visiting family. I feel guilty for ditching them or that I am not making the most of my time with them. I have a very big italian family. My mum is one of 10 and most of  her siblings live down there with their kids and my father is one of four and his parents and grandmother are still alive. There is always a bit of jealously when I go between one family to the other. I also don’t know how they are going to take my new diet. They love meat down there. I know people think well they others should respect their lifestyle choice as vegan/vegetarian, but I always feel like I should be as little trouble as possible when I stay like people. Thats just the way I have been brought up and if you go against the norm then you are a problem. I am hoping I am worrying about nothing and it will all turn out well!

Over the last few days I cooked for Christmas with my family and for Marco’s family. I made another Rosemary Galette with tomatoes and zucchini, Chat Potato Salad, Sweet Potato CroquettesStone Fruit Slice, and a Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake. I ended up making everything except the Cheesecake for Christmas with my family. Unfortunately none of them even tried or asked about what I cooked. I was a bit annoyed after going to all that effort. This part of my family is very pro meat and milk. They don’t believe that food is important to be healthy and it shows. I hope they don’t read this. Its their choice anyway. At least they didn’t put caesar dressing on the other salads, so I could eat them. It’s something I suppose. They did eat my fudge, which  also brought and Marco served out. Didn’t get any feedback, but considering the plates didn’t come back with any left over I guess they liked it.

I ended up taking the Sweet Pototo Croquettes and both cakes to Marco’s the next day for his family. Considering when I met this Serbian family they ate meat for nearly every meal, they have come a long way. Most of them don’t drink dairy and make a conscious effort to not eat so much meat. It isn’t just my influence, but also cancer, intolerance and a lot of reading that has really changed their eating habits over the past 5 years. So they were really happy with everything I brought and it cheered me up.

Their were also a lot of vegetarian options at their lunch. One of the ladies brought their traditional pita, but instead of putting cheese in them, she put some with semolina and some with grated potato. They were really really good. I couldn’t stop eating them. I wish I took a photo of them. The Serbian’s have traditional called Slava, where they don’t eat any meat or dairy products for a day. So they do have a few vegan friendly recipes. Hopefully I can learn a few.

Below are some of the foods I prepared for Christmas:

 

Rosemary Galette with Tomato & Zucchini (vegan, nut free)

Adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen???????????????????????????????

Ingredients:

1.25 cups plain flour

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon rosemary leaves

1/2 cup nutlex (vegan butter)

5 tablespoons ice cold water

olive oil

2 truss tomatoes

1 small zucchini

Method:

1. Preheat the oven 180 degrees and start the dough. Take a large ???????????????????????????????bowl and combining flour, sugar, salt, rosemary in a bowl. Then adding nutlex in small chunks. Use your hands to combine so it becomes like bread crumbs, then add the water, so that it becomes like a dough. Place in the fridge for 10 mins.

2. Roll out the ???????????????????????????????dough with rolling pin on baking paper. Cut out a large circle about 20cm and place into a circle baking pan. Refrigerate for 10 mins.

3. Brush the dough with olive oil, fan sliced tomatoes in the center and add the thinly sliced zucchini around the edges. Then fold down the edges on top of the zucchini and season it all with salt. Refrigerate for 15 mins.

4. Bake for 30-35mins and serve.

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Chat Potatoes Salad (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

500g chat Potatoes

olive oil

sea salt

200g soft tofu

1/4 cup olive oil

1  garlic clove

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 shallots, chopped

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

vegan sour cream (I used Chef Chloe’s recipe)

1. Preheat oven 180 degrees. Coat the chat poatoes in olive oil and sea salt. Bake for 40 mins or until soft. ???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????2. In the meantime prepare the sour cream. Blend the tofu, oil, garlic, lemon, mustard and salt and place in the fridge till you need it. Should make 3/4 of a cup.

3. When potatoes have cooled down cut the potatoes in halfs or quarters. Add sliced shallots and sliced sun dried tomatoes.

4. When ready, coat in sour cream and sea salt.

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Mixed Fruit Slice

This is adapted for my Stone Fruit & Berry Slice. I used nectarines, peaches, kiwi fruit, pineapple, green grapes. One thing I really changed was adding a cup of soy milk to the base of the slice when I was making the dough. I also didn’t add maple to the fruit. I just squashed them on top and added a sprinkle of raw sugar.

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Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake

This recipe is from The Veggie Nook. Really easy to make. Next time I wouldn’t add so much banana and put a bit more maple syrup in the filling. It was sweet enough for me, but not for Marco.

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These are a couple of recipes I have made from leftovers this week, while I was cooking:

Tempeh ‘Tuna’ Salad (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

I have been hearing about this mock tuna for a while, but I never got around to trying to make it. I looked at a few recipes, but didn’t have all of the ingredients for them. It does have the texture of tuna but not quite the fishy taste. I will have to keep trying. But otherwise a good creamy salad filling for a sandwich.

Ingredients:

75g tempeh

2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons celery, finely diced

1 small dill pickle, finely diced

1.5 tablespoons vegan mayo

1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Steam tempeh in a steamer for 20 mins (to remove bitterness)

2. Combine all the ingredients and season to taste. Serve in a sandwich, on toast or with a salad.

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Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese (vegan, gluten free option)

Ingredients:

100-150 g Macraroni (or other short pasta, use gluten free pasta if you prefer)

1/4 cup mashed pumpkin

1/2 cup milk

2-3 tablespoons nutitional yeast

2-3 tablespoons vegan sour cream (I used Chef Chloe’s recipe)

sea salt to taste

corn crumbs

Method:

1. Boil Pasta according to instructions. Then strain and set aside.

2. Heat pumpkin with soy milk. Stir till it becomes a thick sauce, then add nutritional yeast and stir. Add pasta and take off the heat.

3. Add sour cream and season with salt, then place into a baking proof dish. Top with corn crumbs and cook in the oven for 10-15mins or till golden brown on top.

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Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup and Spinach & Mushroom Galette

Last nights dinner was inspired by what was left in the fridge. I had vegetable stock, coconut ceam,  cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, and heaps of kiwi fruit. I went a bit over board with dinner, but now I can relax for a couple of days.

Since I had time, I  decided to roast the cauliflower and garlic before making the soup. It payed off, as the soup had the flavors from the roasting. Marco wasn’t a big fan of the soup last night, as he doesn’t like cauliflower. But today he said it tasted better. I think he just needed to get use to the taste of cauliflower. I have heard you need to try something at least 10 times till you develop a taste for it. After forcing mushrooms, spinach and avocado on him for last 5 years he has finally came around. I really like the soup. I don’t usually like cauliflower at all. My mum use to only make it steamed with a bechemel and cheese, which I hated. But lately I have been exploring more ways to cook it and have found that it is quite a tasty vegetable. It is also extremely healthy. It is a good source of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K, and is high in fiber.  It also has a broad spectrum of antioxidant, which ‘helps lower the risk of oxidative stress in our cells’. It is a cruciferous vegetable from the same family as broccoli  kale and cabbage. It originates from the Asia Minor as a wild cabbage and later evolved and became a important vegetable in both Turkey and Italy in ancient times [1].

The garlic tasted really, really good roasted  I often dice it and add to roasted vegetables, but I don’t often roast it on its own. I bought heaps of Spanish garlic from Aldi the other day. I prefer it over Chinese garlic. China exports about 75 % of the world’s supply of garlic and accounts for about 90% of garlic in Australia. Chinese garlic is very white and and very cheap. The problem with this garlic is that it doesn’t meet the food safety protocols in Australia. According to Henry Bell (Australian Garlic Industry Association), Chinese garlic  is drenched in chemicals in order to stop sprouting, to whiten it, and to kill insects and plant matter. He even states that it is often grown in untreated sewage [2]. If you can find local garlic that is probably the best option. I also prefer garlic that have a purple color, as they have a strong flavor the the whiter ones.

I recently bought wholemeal spelt flour, as I have been eating too many things made of regular flour and I needed more variety in my diet. Spelt is an ancient grain that was used Europe and the Middle East and is still used today. It is very special, because ” unlike wheat, where vital nutritional nutritional bran and germ are usually removed during milling, the vital substances of spelt are found in the inner kernel of the grain”. “Spelt also has high water solubility, the grain’s vital substances can be absorbed quickly into the body. The nutrients are made available to the entire organism with a minimum of digestive work. The body cells are then nourished, strengthened, and prepared for their optimal performance while the body is flooded with vitamins and other nutritional substances. Spelt contains more protein, fats and crude fiber than wheat and also has large amounts of Vitamin B17 (anti-carcinoma). It also contains special carbohydrates which play a decisive role in blood clotting and stimulate the body’s immune system so as to increase its resistance to infection.”

Another great reason for you to eat spelt is, if like me, you have had or have a gluten intolerance you should be able to tolerated spelt. This is due to the “larger quantities of available protein found in spelt are soluble and, therefore, can be easily assimilated by the body with the minimum of digestive work” and therefore can be tolerated by people with gluten intolerance [3]. In many cases you can use it to substitute wholemeal flour, but I always like to check online before substituting for everything. When making pizza dough with the spelt it stuck to my tray. So sometimes its better to mix it with other flours.

Anyway, when I was looking online for some ideas to use my wholemeal spelt flour, I came across this recipe, Spinach Galette with Wild Mushrooms, on Yummy Supper. So I adapted it with the ingredients I had on hand. I used spelt flour instead of plain flour for the crust. Since I couldn’t use Parmesan in the crust,  I made a paste with water and nutritional yeast. Also to make the filling more creamy and cheesing I used Tofutti cream cheese, mixed with nutritional yeast and soy milk. It turned out really well. It was also good cold today. This is definitely something I want to recreate with some different ingredients.

As for all the kiwi fruit, you can see my dessert on the next post.

Untitled

Roasted Cauliflower Soup (vegan, gluten fre, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

olive oil

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

1 head of spanish garlic, unpeeled (about 18 cloves)

rosemary leaves from 5 sprigs of rosemary, minced

1 yellow or white onion, diced

4 small potatoes. peeled & diced

3.5 cups vegetable liquid stock

sea salt & black pepper to taste

3/4 cup coconut cream (about 1/2 can)

Method:

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1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Take a baking tray and add cauliflower, garlic and 2 tbsp of oil. Cook for 15-20 mins or until cauliflower is tender. Once cooked peel the garlic cloves.

DSC010262. Take a large pot and add 1 tbsp oil. Add onion and rosemary and cook for 3mins or until garlic is browned.

3. Add potato and cook for another 3 mins. (add a little bit of  water if it begins to stick.

4. Add cauliflower, garlic and vegetable stock, salt & pepper.  Cover and bring to the boil, then let it simmer for 30 mins or until vegetables are soft.

5. Blend the soup so that it is smooth and silky.

6. Add coconut cream to the soup and heat through, then serve.

*Serves 5

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Spinach & Mushroom Galette (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients for Crust:

1.5 cup wholemeal spelt  flour

pinch of sea salt

5 tablespoons cold nutlex (vegan butter)

6 tablespoons ice water

Ingredients for Filling:

olive oil

1 medium red onion

160 g baby spinach

100g sliced mushroom

3 tablespoons nutrtional yeast

1 tablespoon water

5 tablespoons toffutti cream cheese

2 tablespoons soy milk, sea salt to taste

Method:

1. First you need to make the crust. Take a large mixing bowl and add flour and salt. Stir through. DSC01028

2. Then add vegan butter and use your hands to mix it all through.DSC01038

3. Add water and make it into a dough. Roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven 180 degrees.

3. Take a pan and heat 1 tbsp oil, then add onion. Cook for 3 mins, then add baby spinach. Cook for 1-2 mins (till soft) Place in a strainer, to strain out the water.

DSC010404. In same pan heat 1 tbsp oil, then add mushrooms. Cook for 3 mins then add to strainer.

DSC010415. Take large chopping board and place parchment paper with sprinkle of flour and roll out dough on top. Roll into a large circle. Trim edges and add to the centre and roll into dough.

6. Take two small bowls. In one bowl place 2 tbsp nutritional yeast and 1 tbsp of water and make into a paste. In the other bowl add 5 tbsp tofutti cream cheese, 2 tbsp soy milk and 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast and stir with a fork.

7. Place the paste around the outside of the dough, leaving a little bit of room around the edges. This will be in the crust of the galette.

DSC010438. Take the pan and add the vegetables and cream cheese. Stir through and adjust seasoning.

9. Place the mixture in the centre of the dough and then fold the edges up to form a crust.

10. Cook in the oven for 35-40mins. Serve warm or cold.

*Serves 4-8, depending on the serving size.

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[1] WHFoods, Cauliflower,  <www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=13>

[2] The Age, Fresher and smellier, <http://www.theage.com.au/news/epicure/fresher-and-smellier/2005/07/18/1121538895265.html>

[3] Bio-Distributors, Spelt grain, <http://www.biodistributors.com.au/ProdInfFiles/spelt.php>

Borscht & Pirozhki

I bought Poh’s Kitchen over a year ago and I haven’t cooked anything out it. Poh Ling Yeow is a Malaysian Australian, who came second in the first Australian Master Chef. She is a really talented cook and in my opinion, should of won Master Chef. I really loved her TV series and recipes. Many of which are traditional Asian and European recipes. Now I am a trying to stick to a vegan diet there are many things in her book and other books I can’t cook. So I’m going to try to make the vegan version of them.

I have made Borscht before, but not Poh’s version or Pirozhki’s . I adapted these recipes to be vegan and different serving sizes.  For the soup I had to use different amounts of ingredients and just used tofutti and soy milk to make the sour cream. I also used arrowroot flour instead of wheat flour, so that it would be gluten free. For the Pirozhki I used tvp soy mince and beef stock instead of beef mince, soy sauce to give the filling more richness, mashed cannellini beans instead of hard boiled eggs and puff pastrey instead of making the Sour Cream Short Crust Pastry. I managed to make 19 of the pastries. I could only get 4 out of each sheet of puff pastry so I combined the scraps and rolled it out. It is takes a while to roll out the dough again, but I ended up getting an extra 7 pastries.  As for the filling I ended up with an extra 2 cups or more. I will keep this to make burger patties or maybe a Thai basil mince.  Anyway both were really delicious. It took a long time to make but worth the wait. The original recipes are Poh’s website as well: Beetroot Borscht & Pirozhki.

Borscht (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

50g vegan butter

1 small brown onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

250g beetroot, peeled and diced

1 carrots, peeled and diced

3 cups vegan beef stock (I use Massel)

1.5 tablespoons arrowroot flour (tapicoa flour)

90ml tinned crushed tomatoes or passata sauce

300g washed potatoes, peeled & diced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon raw sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

4 tablespoons vegan sour cream (or 2 tbsp tofutti cream cheese + 2 tbsp soy milk mashed) (optional)

4 tablespoons italian parsley, diced

Method:

1. Take a large pot and on medium heat, melt butter. Then add onion & garlic and cook for 2 mins or till soft.

2. Add beetroot and carrots and cook for 4 mins. Then add beef stock to the pot.

3. In a small bowl take tapioca flour and mix it with 2 tbsp of crushed tomatoes. Then add the rest of the crust tomatoes and mix and add to the pot.

4. Cover and bring to the boil. Then add potatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Put it on simmer and cook for 30 mins, or until the vegetables are soft.

5. Take off the heat and blend with bar mix or in a processor, so that it is no longer lumpy.

6. Reheat on the stove and add more beef stock or water, if it drys out before serving. Serve with 1 tbsp of sour cream and 1 tbsp of italian parsley

* Serves 4

Pirozhki (vegan, gluten free option, nut free)

Ingredients:

40g  vegan butter

1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for basting pastries)

1 white onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

160g of carrot, cabbage, mushrooms (1 carrot, handful mushrooms & small segment of cabbage)

160g soy tvp mince soaked in beef stock (combined weight of 300g)

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

3 tablespoons shoyu/soy sauce

4 tablespoons cannellini beans,  mashed

3 tablespoons italian parsley, chopped

sea salt & black pepper to taste

3 sheets of puff pastry (use gluten free puff pastry if you prefer)

Method:

1. Preheat oven 200 degrees (fan-force)

2.Take a pot and melt butter and olive oil on medium heat. Then add onion and garlic, and cook for 2 mins or till soft.

3. Add the rest of vegetables and cook for 4 mins, or until soft.

4. Add mince, caraway seeds, paprika, soy sauce and cook for 2 more minutes.

5. Take off the heat and stir in cannellini beans & parsley. Then place on a large plate to cool.

6. Take 3 pastry sheets out of the freezer and allow them to defrost.

7. Take a large chopping board and use a small bowl to cut out small circles. You will get 4 out of every sheet. Use the left over pastry to roll out and make more circles.

8. In the centre of the circles put 1 1/2- 2 tbsp of the mixture, then fold over into a half moon shape and close with a fork. Place them on trays with baking paper.

9. Brush with olive oil and cook in the oven for 15-20 mins.

* Makes 18-20 ( I made 19)