Monthly Archives: March 2010

Buckwheat pancakes and scrambled tofu.

This is a really simple and cheap vegan, gluten-free dinner. It turns out buckwheat pancakes are just as easy to make as chickpea pancakes, with only 2-3 ingredients! I’ve seen several different and more complicated recipes, but this very simple one does the trick! I’ve poached it from Susan Jane Murray, my new inspiration. Buckwheat crepes are actually very common in France, where they are called “crèpes de sarrasin”. They are usually served with savory fillings, while the white/wheat ones are served sweet. They have a dark greyish-brown color, which is perhaps not super appetizing, but they taste very nice.

Pardon the slightly blurry picture, it was too dark to get a good-quality photo without a tripod..

Buckwheat crèpes for 2

  • 1 dl buckwheat flour (wholegrain)
  • 1 tsp salt or Herbamare
  • 2 dl water

Mix buckwheat flour and salt in a jug or deep measuring cup. Mix in half the water and stir well to form a paste. Stir in the remaining water. Set aside for at least 15 minutes (important!).

Meanwhile, make your favorite scrambled tofu, such as this one or this one. I made mine with 1/2 block tofu, 1/4 diced onion, garlic, 1/2 diced zucchini and various seasoning. The key for me is a lot of nutritional yeast!

When it is done, pour into a bowl and wipe out the non-stick frying pan. Fry the pancakes in some olive oil. They should be thin and crèpe-like, so swirl the pan in order to distribute the batter properly. Flip carefully when the underside is cooked. They should hold together quite well, but they are a bit fragile.

When cooked, transfer to a plate and fill with the scramble. Enjoy a quick and wholesome meal!

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Wholemeal buckwheat bread.

I gave in and stopped making up gluten-free bread recipes because it clearly wasn’t quite working out.. The two last ones have been thrown out uneaten.. I have accepted that there are others out there that are better at this than me, and one of them appears to be Susan Jane Murray, a fellow Oxford grad and “food guru”. I just made her wholemeal buckwheat bread, and even I, then gluten-eating family member, found it quite nice! It’s totally wholesome, and pretty much grain-free too. It must be quite high in protein and fiber, and with all those pumpkin seeds it should have a nice iron boost too.

I followed the recipe fairly closely, but I switched the millet flakes for quinoa flakes and the sunflower seeds for pumpkin seeds. The dough is very loose, sort of soupy, and you bake it in a square cake pan, more like focaccia. It works quite well. I think the point here is that dough doesn’t rise much without gluten, and this way it turns out less compact. Thanks, Ms Murray!

Update: I made a second one of these with flax seeds. Instead of the 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds I used 1/2 cup golden flax seed and 1/4 cup flax meal. I think I added an extra tbsp or so of milk too, and I cut the cinnamon a bit and omitted the ginger. It turned out great!

Good gluten-free muffins.

While I have mastered the gluten-free cookie, I have struggled much more with other gluten-free baked goods. Gluten-free baking is hard! Yet I have known all along that it is possible, because they serve awesome vegan gluten-free loaves and muffns at Linux Caffé around the corner. I have tried to quiz them a bit about what they put in their muffins, and I have discovered that they contain rice and buckwheat flours, and banana, and that they try to sweeten them with fruit to cut down the sugar. They also said that they did not use flax eggs or xantham gum. Otherwise they change it up with new flavor combinations every day.

I then came across this recipe, and I decided to tweak it using what I knew from Linux. The result was the yummiest gluten-free muffin so far, and while it still does not rival Linux’s muffins, it does come relatively close! I actually really don’t like banana, and I am a bit puzzled because the Linux Caffe ones really don’t taste like banana at all. These ones do, a little bit, but it really shouldn’t be an issue. They are moist and nice, and I am sure they can be varied infinitely! I certainly intend to find out.

Gluten-free muffins (makes 6)

  • 3/4 dl sweet rice flour
  • 3/4 dl buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 dl flax meal
  • 1/2 dl sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 dl dried cranberries
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/4 dl canola oil
  • 1/2 dl unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 dl soy milk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (so that it curdles)

In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a second bowl, mix the wet (including the banana.) Add the wet to the dry and combine. Bake at 375 F for about 25-30 minutes, test for doneness.

Green burger bento.

I went with the prettiest bento box today, and then as I was almost done packing it I discovered that the crackers didn’t fit.. Hence the crushed crackers that go along with those blueberries and the Vache qui rit cheese.

In the main compartment, there’s the last remaining green burger, carrot sticks and some rice shaped with my most recent onigiri molds. Yum!

Green burgers.

Just Bento is one of my favorite food blogs, and I really like Maki’s ideas for neat things to put in a bento (which can of course also be had for dinner etc). I have previously featured her mini tuna tofu miso burgers, which I really liked. This time I decided to try one of her vegan burger recipes, for poppyseed-encrusted green pea mini-burgers.

I had read the recipe before, but I did not have it at hand when I was cooking, so I made a play-it-by-ear/improvised version. It was a very successful adaptation, and judging by some of the comments to the original recipe I dare say it may even be an improvement. My burgers held together perfectly, and showed no sign of falling apart. Maki notes that hers were quite fragile. I attribute this to my addition of a “flax egg” as binder (which should also up the fiber and protein content a bit!)

So what did I do differently from Maki’s original recipe?

  • I used a mix of green peas and edamame. This tasted good, but I warn you, edamame is much more difficult to mash by hand. Actually it’s almost impossible. So it ended up being mushy peas with edamame bits..
  • I used lots of chopped fresh basil in place of the rosemary and I omitted the olives (didn’t have any). I really like the combination of peas and basil.
  • I used pumpkin seed butter instead of tahini (I am hooked on the stuff, and my latest jar of tahini seems to be rancid)
  • I added the aforementioned “flax egg” (1 tbsp flax meal [heaped in this case] plus 3 tbsp water, let sit until gooey)
  • I may have added a little more rice flour than what was called for, didn’t measure, which could also account for the firmer texture
  • I used a mix of poppy seeds and sesame seeds for the crust, and I did not have onion and garlic flakes.

I must say that, while they were a bit messy to make, these were really excellent!

Mini tuna tofu miso burger bento.

The top compartment has two mini tuna tofu miso burgers, carrot sticks and a starshaped onigiri with some gomashio on top.

The bottom compartment holds blueberries, raisins, a Vache qui rit cheese with herbs and four grainy crackers for the cheese.

This was a tasty one!

More cookie success!

So I made amazing cookies on Saturday. Which just happened to be both vegan and gluten free! Yes, I wouldn’t believe myself either if I were you. But really, they are amazing. I made them first with vegan white chocolate chips, which was possibly even more divine, but I obviously forgot to take a picture before they were all devoured… Also, I am out of vegan white chocolate chips and they are expensive. (The only place I have found any is at Panacea, the vegan shop on Bloor, which in my opinion is both expensive and a little bit too righteous…)

So here come the dark chocolate version, with vegan normal chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand, which is totally allergen free). They are not quite as ecstatically good, I must admit, and somehow the white chocolate ones were prettier, but either way this recipe is clearly the highway to gluten free vegan cookie success. I am planning to make a ginger version next, with powdered ginger and candied ginger pieces. Looking forward to it already!

Vegan gluten-free chocolate cranberry cookies

  • 1 dl Earth Balance/other non-dairy margarine, at room temperature
  • 1.5 dl brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp flax meal (the cookies will be prettiest using flax meal from golden flax seeds)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 dl Mochiko sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 dl chocolate chips
  • about 2 dl dried cranberries

Make a “flax egg” by mixing flax meal and water and stirring well, set aside until it becomes gooey.

Cream Earth Balance and sugar. Add vanilla. Add the flax egg and mix well. Fold in the rice flour mixed with baking soda. Fold in chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Shape into a long sausage and wrap in cling film, refrigerate until totally firm (1-3 hours, up to 3 days). When you are ready to bake them, slice up into cookie size chunks and bake at 350F/180C for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Make sure you leave a little bit of space around them, but they won’t grow too much.

Leave to cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet before peeling them off and setting aside to cool.

Enjoy!