So I’ve decided to go large and start sharing my recipes across the web. My first attempt was a hit! I got my banana + carrot tahini buckwheat scones accepted onto Foodgawker, which I consider to be a massive privilege considering the amazing quality of photos on their website (which has certainly kept me very, very busy for many an hour!). Of course, bolstered by success, I submitted some more, only to have a trail of rejections, but I’m actually not fussed because hurrah for constructive feedback! It’s things like this that help one to learn about the intricacies of presenting and plating food, and then how you take the photo as well. Distance, depth…it’s like looking through a kaleidoscope by the end of it; there’s never just a vegan burger or sweet treat on a plate; the cutlery is either antique or placed invitingly, the space is wide, so as not to overcrowd the big juicy salad on the side…lah!
My second bit of big news is that I won a wonderful bunch of goodies from NuNaturals, thanks to gracious and lovely Ann’s giveaway over at Unrefined Vegan! 😀 I am so beyond psyched because the lucky packet includes a whole lot of stevia powder *and* liquid stevia *and* oat fibre…yum! I’m already plotting and making furious sketches and notes as to what I can possible make with all my bounty! 😀 Seriously, the blogging community is such an amazing living creature – one gets to meet fascinating people, share experiences and recipes, gawk and drool at amazing food and presentation…it really hits all my visual and communicative spots.
In order to celebrate my amazing good fortune I decided to revisit one of my favourite indulgences – pastry! I made one of these on Wednesday after presenting my second paper at the Master’s class and felt I needed a treat in the house for Man-thing and I both. Tonight is date night (can you believe it!). With all our work obligations, studies and general life circumstances, it’s easy to lose touch with one’s companion, so we have to set aside time to just be in each other’s presence consciously. So yes, I thought to spoil us with a pastry each (well, half for me with a big, dashing salad) and some steamed veggies. I love the comforting elements of the pastry with warm, flavourful insides. Pure bliss and actually quite easy to make, all things considered). Considering the on-off drizzly weather that just demands cuddling and warm things to eat, we’ve decided to set up downstairs today and bring the laptops with us to watch a movie or two on the couch like real adults. What could be better?
- 1/2 cup steamed pumpkin, pureed
- 1/8 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for a few hours, or overnight
- 1/2 cup cannenini beans, mashed
- 1/2 cup finely processed zucchini
- 1 tsp onion powder
- paprika, tumeric, white pepper
Pastry base – I used this recipe from over at the vegan crew because it’s quick and easy and had some leftover vegan margarine which I desperately want to get rid of. I wouldn’t recommend coconut oil as a replacement because it can get very…oily, which isn’t cool in this kind of pastry. I left out some ingredients and it came out perfectly delicious!
- 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP rye flour
- 1/4 cup vegan butter/marg or 3 TBSP – I put a fork through it after measuring so that it would mix in easier with the flour
- 1-2 TBSP cold water
- Combine dry ingredients, then add butter and mix with a fork or back of a spoon.
- Add in cold water until it forms a dough.
- Roll into a ball (or disc, as the original suggests) and keep in the freezer for at least half an hour. I like to have my pastry pretty chilled because I find one needs minimal flour for dusting and preventing sticky fingers.
- Once chilled, split the dough in half and roll the dough out into equal sized discs (mine came out to 15cm each in diameter), either by hand or with a rolling pin, dusting where necessary.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Blend the sunflower seeds til smooth/buttered. Mix in the onion powder, spices and mashed beans and set aside.
- Mix 1/4 cup of steamed pumpkin per pastry with 1-2 TBSP of the spicy nut sauce (see below) and spread with the back of a tablespoon so that the inside of the pastry (up to 1 cm from the perimeter) is covered thinly. Grind some black pepper if you wish.
- Sprinkle half the processed zucchini over the pumpkin mixture.
- Spread out the sunflower-bean filling til 1cm or so from the edge of the round pastry – you can put quite a bit in each pastry, as long as you’ll be able to fold the edge of the pastry over the filling at the sides.
- Fold up the pastry so that it forms a bit of a boat – enough so that the mixture doesn’t spill over or won’t bake over.
- Sprinkle the rest of your zucchini and sprinkle some paprika on top (I also dashed a tiny bit of smoked paprika up top).
- Brush the sides of the pastry with a bit of soy milk.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
- Optional: sprinkle some dried cranberries or sliced grapes atop. You can also place some washed and dried basil leaves in the centre or as you wish.
Spicy nut sauce
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 2 TBSP applesauce
- 1 tsp tabasco
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- white pepper + cayenne
- 1 tsp almond butter
- Blend all ingredients together briefly (or by hand in a small bowl, whichever works for you).
- Heat the mixture on medium low until it thickens. It shouldn’t go wild and boil furiously, just simmer happily.
- By chance, this sauce makes a delicious add-on for vegetable wraps or folded gently into warm salads. Mmm!
Full disclosure: the actual plan was for the pastries to be part of dinner for tonight as we gawked at a movie, but Man-thing came home from his friends, swooned at the smell of bakery in the house, and immediately veered towards the pastries. I made double the filling so I gave him the choice between that with some couscous or to eat his share of the pastries then and there. He went berserk, picked up the full plate of pastry and began to walk away with a spring to go gobble it upstairs, until I begged him to at least leave me my quarter! So much for that :p
Anyway, off I go! It’s almost movie time! 😀