Vegetarian “Sausage” Rolls

“I’ve got an increasing number of friends that are either vegetarian or vegan. so I decided I’d better perfect a vegetarian “Sausage” roll.  As I plan to open a cafe in the future I thought it would be a good addition to the menu.  I’ve found that other veggie rolls I’ve had have been a bit bland and lacking in texture so I’ve added pumpkin seeds and a few other ingredients to give them a culinary kick.  The filling contains no animal products so vegans can make them simply by substituting vegan pastry for the puff pastry I’ve used.  I’ve also used the filling as a veggie burger patty by rolling in bread crumbs and shallow frying.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 150g mushrooms, diced
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 75g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 60g olives
  • 100g bread crumbs
  • 400g can of chick peas, drained and lightly smashed
  • 400g sweet potato, roasted or grated
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry or vegan pastry
  •  Egg-wash or almond milk to brush on pastry
  • Poppy seeds
Method
  1. Place the whole unpeeled sweet potato on a tray and bake at 180 degrees C for 40 minutes or until it is soft all the way through.  Let it cool then blitz in a food processor until smooth. (You can also just grate the sweet potato and add to the mixture, but I prefer the baked version)
  2.  Fry the diced onion, garlic, mushroom and fennel seeds until onion is translucent.  Set aside to cool.
  3. In a food processor, blitz the sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
  4. Combine the grated carrot, zucchini, bread crumbs, smashed chick peas and pumpkin seeds.  Add in the tomatoes and olives, the garlic and onion mixture and the pureed sweet potato. Stir the mixture well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, then refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Lay out 4 sheets of puff pastry or vegan pastry and distribute a log of the cooled filling down the middle of each.
  6. Wrap the pastry around the filling and place seam side down on a baking tray.
  7. Brush with egg-wash or almond milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  8. Bake at 180 degrees C for 30-45 minutes or until the pastry has cooked and browned.
  9. Let the rolls cool slightly before slicing into segments and serve with a sauce or chutney.

 

 

 

 

Caramel Sweet Potato Cake

“This is one of the most popular cakes I’ve made in ages.  The recipe I adapted seemed too weird not to try it, but the combination of soft sweet potato and white chocolate makes for an amazing texture.  I also love the rustic drizzle of the warm ganache flavoured with apricot jam.  Very Moorish! Enjoy”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 400g peeled sweet potato
  • 300g white chocolate
  • 230g butter
  • 300g dark brown sugar
  • 100g golden syrup or molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 375g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
For the ganache
  • 100g cream
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 70g apricot jam
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 2cm cubes.  Place in a steamer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.  Remove from steamer and allow to cool.
  3. Melt the butter and white chocolate over a low heat, stirring regularly until combined.  Allow to cool.
  4. In a mixer beat the eggs, sugar and golden syrup until combined.
  5. Add the yoghurt and vanilla and beat until combined.
  6. Mash the sweet potato or process in a food processor until no lumps remain.
  7. Add sweet potato to wet ingredients and beat until combined.
  8. Add the flour and baking powder to wet ingredients and stir through until combined.
  9. Grease and line a 25-30cm springform pan.  Pour in cake batter and bake for 40-50 minutes.  I found I needed to cover the cake with aluminium foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent burning the top.
  10. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the cake tin.
For the ganache
  1. Bring the cream to a light simmer and add the jam.  Stir or whisk until the jam has dissolved into the cream.  Add the white chocolate and stir until smooth.  You may need to put the pan back on a low heat if the cream has cooled down too much.
  2. Allow the ganache to cool slightly.  While the ganache is still runny our slowly over the cake.  I applied a thin layer first and allowed it to cool on the cake before drizzling the rest over.
  3. Serve with whipped cream or Greek yoghurt

 

 

 

 

Apple Chai Pumpkin Pie

“Whoops! I seem to have missed thanksgiving or halloween for this post. (Not that we really celebrate them here much)  But who says pumpkin pie should only be served on those days? For this recipe I’ve combined the silky softness of the pumpkin custard with the spiciness of chai tea to make a slightly different version of this American classic. Like all good tarts, it’s slightly complicated and has several stages but the finished product is well worth the effort.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

For the cinnamon pastry

  • 140g butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
For the spiced apples
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tbsp chai tea
  • 2 tbsn raw sugar

For the pumpkin filling

  • 600g pumpkin
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tbsn chai tea
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 eggs

Method

  1. For the cinnamon apples: In a cup pour the boiling water over the chai tea and sugar and leave to sit.
  2. For the pumpkin custard: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a light simmer then add the chai tea.  Allow this to sit and infuse while it cools down.
  3. Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm square pieces and steam until soft.  Set aside to cool.  (If you’re in America you can buy pumpkin pie mix in a can. Shame on you!)
  4. For the cinnamon pastry: In a food processor combine the butter sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Add the egg and process until pastry comes into a ball.
  5. Tip out onto a piece of cling wrap and form into a disc.  Place in refrigerator.
  6. For the cinnamon apples: Peel the apples and cut each one into 16 wedges. Place apples in a small saucepan.
  7. Drain the chai tea and add the tea leaves to the cream. (Every little bit of flavour helps)
  8. Pour the chai tea mixture over the apples and bring to a simmer.  Cook the apples until they’re soft but still holding their shape.  Transfer the apples and liquid to a bowl and refrigerate, letting them cool in the remaining liquid.
  9. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a well-floured surface, roll out until it’s about 5mm thick.
  10. Carefully transfer this into a greased 30cm tart dish (I use the sort with the removable bottom), filling any gaps and neatening up the edges.
  11. Transfer the tart dish to the freezer for 15 minutes.
  12. For the pumpkin custard: Drain the infused cream of the tea leaves and put in a food processor.  Add the cooled pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and eggs and process until smooth.
  13. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the tart dish from the freezer and using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry evenly (about 20 times).
  14. Line the pastry with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beads or rice.  Transfer to a 180 degree celsius oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the beads/rice and baking paper and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees.
  15. Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool slightly.  Drain the apples of any remaining liquid and put a layer of 2/3 of the cooled apples into the bottom of the tart. (The remaining apples are reserved for serving)
  16. Pour the pumpkin custard over the apples and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes.  The cooked pie should be uniformly cooked but still a bit wobbly.
  17. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and some of the remaining spiced apples and a sprinkle of icing sugar.