Linda’s Pflaumenkuchen – a traditional German plum cake made vegan

 

plumcake no elephant

Pflaumenkuchen or plum cake, has just a few simple ingredients that showcase the tart taste of the fresh plums. In my family, it was my Tante Anneliese’s signature dessert.

I was long overdue to make a vegan version of this much-loved and traditional German dessert. My friend, Linda, shared her family recipe with me and I easily veganized it with just a couple substitutions.

Henceforth, this recipe is Linda’s Pflaumenkuchen!

Cake close

This recipe features a shortbread or cookie-like crust, fresh sliced plums and a cinnamon-y streusel on top. There’s probably an obscure law that Pflaumenkuchen must be served with whipped cream (in my case coconut whipped cream).

Let’s get started.

ingredients

Ingredients for the cake

1 ½ cup flour

½ cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp ground flax seed

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup vegan margarine

5 or 6 dark plums pitted and sliced into half moons.*

1 tablespoon bread crumbs

* You can make this cake earlier in the summer using peaches or cherries or later in the fall using apples or pears.

Ingredients for the streusel

½ cup bread crumbs

1 Tbsp white sugar

1 Tbsp vegan margarine

1 tsp cinnamon

Parchment paper to cover a cookie sheet– optional but recommended.

Directions

If you’re not using parchment paper, grease and flour a 9”x13” pan.

Preheat your oven to 375°

Make a flax egg by mixing the ground flax with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl or cup. Set aside.

Combine the flour and sugar. Sift in the baking powder and stir everything together. Add the margarine in dots throughout the flour mixture. Then make a well in the dry ingredients/margarine dots and pour in the flax egg and vanilla extract. Stir to combine, then use your hands to combine everything thoroughly and create a smooth dough. Shape your cake dough into a ball.

Place the dough ball on the parchment paper and roll the dough out to a roughly 9”x13” square. Transfer the parchment and dough onto a cookie sheet.

If you’re not using parchment paper, put the dough in your prepared pan and press out the dough to fill the pan making sure the dough is of a uniform thickness throughout. Do not go up the sides of the pan.

Prick the flattened dough all over with a fork. Lightly dust with the 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs. Place the sliced plums on the dough so that they cover the whole dough base.

Mix the ingredients for the streusel and sprinkle evenly over the plums.

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plums on top

Bake for 40-45 minutes and let cool before serving. Respect the law and serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.

Enjoy!

This recipe makes 6 generous pieces.

plumcake and elephant

 

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A creamy corn chowder to launch the harvest season

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This chowder is one of those easy, “throw it all in a pot and let it do its thing” recipes I love. It takes an hour on the stovetop, but you could also make it in a slow cooker . Put everything in the slow cooker first thing in the morning and have hot, fresh chowder for dinner.

The finished soup is creamy, flavourful, fresh tasting and satisfying. I enjoyed a bowl with a sliced beefsteak tomato on the side. Now those are foods that say “Good bye August and hello September!”

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Ingredients

3 ¼ cup corn niblets (if you want to use fresh corn, that’s about 5 corn cobs). I used frozen corn.

½ cup dried yellow split peas or red lentils

½ of a medium-sized red onion finely diced

1-2 cloves garlic minced

1 jalapeno pepper deseeded, deveined and finely diced

3 cups vegetable stock

400ml coconut milk

½ tsp coriander

¼ tsp cumin

The juice of one lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

But all your ingredients in a large pot and stir together. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let the soup simmer covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. At the end of the hour, use an immersion blender or regular blender to roughly blend the soup.

If you make the soup in a slow cooker, put everything in the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours. Stir and blend before serving.

And that’s it! This recipe will make 3-4 servings and will freeze well.

Enjoy!

Bosh bowl o’ curried sweet potatoes with a spicy avocado dressing

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Bosh has a recipe for a curry-crusted sweet potato with a rich avocado dressing. In fact, it’s almost too rich and flavourful and that’s not something I say often. I also could never get the crust to stay on the sweet potato in the original recipe and ended up with well… a mess and lots of unflavoured sweet potato.

So, I took their recipe and changed it up a bit to ensure success for every cook, spread all that flavourful goodness further and to add some greens and protein to the mix. I ended up with the Bosh bowl.

This bowl is spicy, rich, filling and will make your coworkers crazy envious when you bring it for lunch. Yup, it packs well.

This recipe makes 3 large or 4 regular servings.

You will need a blender to make this recipe.

Bosh bowl use

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes

4-5 cups fresh kale, spinach, chard or other sturdy leafy greens or any mixture of these, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces.

2 avocadoes

¼ cup plain, unsweetened plant-based yogurt

½ cup uncooked lentils. I used green lentils but Du Puys or beluga lentils would be great too.

2” piece of ginger root peeled and roughly cut

4 cloves garlic (you will be dividing this)

2-4 chili peppers (you will be dividing this)

2 small bunches fresh cilantro (about 1 packed cup) divided in half

1/3 cup dried, unsweetened coconut

A 250- 270ml jar of sundried tomatoes in oil. You will be dividing this. Set aside 3-4 sundried tomatoes and a tablespoon of the oil.

2 limes

1 tablespoon and 1 tsp salt

1 ½ teaspoons garam marsala (you will be dividing this)

1 ½ teaspoons cumin (you will be dividing this)

3 -4 small tomatoes (optional – as a garnish)

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Directions

Cook the lentils in 1 cup of water or broth by bringing the pot to a boil, then simmering with the lid on for about 15 minutes. The lentils are cooked when the cooking liquid is absorbed and the lentils are soft enough to chew but not mushy. Set aside to cool.

Heat the oven to 350F.

Wash the sweet potatoes and cut into cubes. No need to peel them. Place them in a large bowl.

In a blender combine: the ginger root, 3 cloves garlic, 1-2 chili peppers, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garam masala, the coconut, half of the cilantro, 1 tablespoon salt, the jar of sundried tomatoes and 4 tablespoons of the packing oil, the juice of 1 lime and a couple tablespoons of water.

Blend this mixture until it’s well combined. It’ll be like a thick paste. Spoon it over the cubed sweet potatoes and toss with a spoon or your hands to coat the cubes.

No need to clean your blender at this point!

Spread the sweet potato cubes onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Let them roast for 30-35 minutes until they are aromatic and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove the potatoes from the oven when they’re done and let them cool to room temperature.

While the potatoes are baking, put the flesh of the two avocadoes into the blender. Add the remaining salt, cumin, garam masala, sundried tomatoes and oil that you set aside, chili peppers, cilantro, the juice of the second lime and the ¼ cup yogurt. Blend until you have a creamy dressing.

Divide your leafy greens among 3 or 4 bowls (depending on how many servings you want to make). Divide the cooked lentils, cooked sweet potatoes and the dressing between the bowls. Add chopped tomato as a garnish if you wish.

Dig into one of the most flavourful, texture-loaded, delicious bowls you’ll ever eat!

 

 

Amanda’s goddess-power bowl – eat, love and thrive

 

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My friend, Amanda, is an amazing woman and a goddess-in-waiting. She runs a healthy, whole-foods meal delivery service – MVP meals – as well as a food stand at our local farmers’ market. This week, I helped her put on a set vegan menu for a special event. For my lunch break she whipped up one of her Zen Buddha Bowls for me. Because the original Buddha bowl isn’t vegan, Amanda had to make some substitutions and deletions for me.

So I’ve created a vegan version of the dish and it’s colourful, nourishing, satisfying, and amazing… a lot like spending time with Amanda.

orange tahini dressing

Ingredients to make 2 big bowls

For the power bowl

3-4 cups spinach leaves, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces

1 cup blueberries washed and dried

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa or 3/4 cup cooked quinoa

¾ cup cooked chickpeas (about ½ can drained and rinsed)

1 carrot cleaned and made into ribbons using a vegetable peeler

OR use one raw beet, peeled and grated

1 large navel orange washed but not peeled

2-3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

For the dressing

1 Tablespoon orange zest (from the navel orange)

1/3 cup tahini

1/3 cup plain vegan yogurt

2 Tbsp warm water

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp dijon mustard

Pinch sea salt

Juice of ½ lemon

Directions

For the power bowls

Rinse the quinoa and put it in a small pot with 1 cup of water. Bring the pot to a boil, then let the quinoa simmer covered for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.  Once the quinoa is cooked, let it cool down to at least room temperature.

Use a knife to peel the orange you grated for its zest. Peel the orange so that all the bitter, white pith is removed and cut the orange into bite-sized segments.

Place half the spinach in one large bowl and the other half of the spinach in a second large bowl.

Divide the remaining power bowl ingredients between the two large bowls.

For the dressing

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and serve drizzled over the power bowls.

Eat, enjoy! Go forth and be amazing!

 

 

 

Kaleslaw – crispy, crunchy, creamy, tangy and chewy

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Kaleslaw has been my go-to salad all winter. Thanks to affordable, mixed bags of already shredded kale, cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts, I can make this salad in less than 10 minutes and it will last for several days in the fridge. It also travels well in packed lunches.

For a burst of bright colour and extra nutrients and flavour, I sometimes peel and shred in a raw beet too.

Ingredients

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For the salad

4 cups of shredded mixed kales, cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts

1 granny smith apple cored and diced, but not peeled

1 rib of celery sliced

¼ cup raisins (optional)

¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 raw beet, peeled and shredded (optional)

For the dressing

1/3 to ½ cup vegan mayonnaise

¼ cup plain vegan yogurt

The juice of ½ lemon

1 Tbsp maple syrup

½ tsp salt

1 tsp Dijon mustard

A few grinds of pepper

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Adding a shredded beet gives the kaleslaw extra crunch and nutrients and a gorgeous colour.

Directions

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add the salad ingredients and toss to combine. This salad is even better if left to sit for an hour or more to let the flavours combine.

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Bob’s creamy, garlic-hummus pasta

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My friend, Bob, is a great guy and a clever cook. I met him through Facebook when he started following my blog posts. Bob lives in America and I’m in Canada. We’ve never met in person and yet we have shared meals. I love the way the world works these days.

Bob created this pasta dish using ingredients that are so easy to find most of us probably already have them in our fridge and pantry.

You’re going to love this flavourful, light but satisfying pasta with a creamy, mildly garlicky sauce and whatever veggies you want to add. Bob adds spinach and mushrooms. I think that cherry tomatoes, diced red peppers, broccoli or zucchini would also make great additions. But for today, let’s make the dish the way Bob explained it to me.

Ingredients

ingredients

1 lb (454g box) linguini (or you’ll see I used spaghetti)

2 cups vegetable broth

8 oz. (I cup) garlic hummus

1 cup baby bella mushrooms (a/k/a cremini mushrooms) sliced or chopped

1/2 a medium onion diced

1 cup raw baby spinach (I used a cup of frozen chopped greens)

1 tsp dried minced garlic ( or 1 large clove garlic minced)

1 tsp red pepper flakes – divided in half

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and put in a large serving bowl. In the pot, add the vegetable broth, half of the red pepper flakes and dried garlic, if using). Heat the broth.

Sautee the onion and mushrooms (and fresh garlic if using) in a nonstick pan with a bit of the veggie broth. Cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the onions are golden (or at least translucent – I’m impatient and was hungry. My onions got to the translucent stage and I couldn’t wait!).

While the onions and mushrooms sauté, add the hummus to the now hot broth. Stir until smooth and creamy. Add the spinach (or other greens) and stir until just wilted. Add the cooked mushroom and onion mix. Pour over the pasta and toss to mix.

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Bob folding in the mushrooms and onions into the sauce.

Serve the plated pasta with the remaining red pepper flakes for garnish.

I loved this dish – enough that I had seconds. It’s so fast and easy to make but looks and tastes special. I hope you’ll give it a try and make this your own!

NOTE: The sauce with thicken as it sits and cools. To thin it or reheat leftovers just add a bit more vegetable broth.

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And here’s how the pasta looked when I made it in my kitchen with my variations.

 

 

 

Vegan chai pear scones

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My friend, Marina, and I both know that any recipe can be made vegan. These pear chai scones are proof of that. After tasting her scones which tasted somewhere between happiness, a hug and warm spices, Marina shared the original milk-and-egg-and-butter version of this recipe with me saying “of course make it vegan.” Of course. It’s easy peasy to do by substituting applesauce or a flax egg for a chicken’s egg, any plant-based milk for the heavy cream and vegan margarine for the butter required in the original recipe.

Here’s my version with some added touches – a batch with raisins and a batch with diced candied ginger.

Ingredients

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2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup vegan margarine

2 pears, cored, peeled and cut into small pieces (and what a great way to use up pears that look battered and bruised)

½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or a third pear)
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plant milk. I used almond milk.

Optional – ½ cup raisins or 1/3 cup diced candied ginger

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Directions

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir together until the mix resembles a goopy brown snot (it does, sorry). Add the milk and vanilla and combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour, sugar and salt together. Sift in the baking powder and spices. Yes, sift. We talk about this sifting thing every time. You do not want nasty, crystalline, salty bits of baking powder showing up in your finished baking!

Cut in the margarine using a pastry blender OR use two dinner knives or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in the pear chunks (but not the applesauce).

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Your flour-sugar-spice mix should look like this once you’ve cut in the margarine.

Add the flax egg mixture and the applesauce to your flour mixture. Mix lightly to combine. IF you are adding raisins or candied ginger, add that now and fold in. The dough will be very sticky.

Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Form it into a circle then flatten it using your hands until it’s just a bit less than 1” thick.  You can sprinkle the top of the dough very lightly with flour too so you can work with it. Cut the circle into 8 equal wedges using a sharp knife.

Use a spatula to transfer the scones to an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle the scones with a bit of sugar (I used “vanilla sugar” I had made by storing a whole vanilla bean in sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Eat up and enjoy!