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!

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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

 

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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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!

 

Vegan cornbread muffins – savoury and not too sweet

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It’s only November but we are having a bona fide wintery day – a perfect afternoon for making my version of the Thug Kitchen Apple “Baked” Beans to have with cornbread.

I found this highly rated recipe from Loving It Vegan.com and gave it just a couple tweaks to make it less sweet and faster to make (Lazy, impatient… yes, I’m that vegan).

The resulting cornbread muffins are delicious – super moist, tasty and a great texture.

Here’s the original recipe with my edits indicated as either strike throughs or italics.

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Ingredients

1 heaped cup cornmeal

1 cup + 3 Tbsp all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (115g) vegan margarine or coconut oil. I used a mix of both.

½ cup 3 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 flax egg (that is 1 Tbsp ground flax and 3 Tbsp water stirred together until it makes a brown snot)

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1 Tbsp (15ml) apple cider vinegar

1 15oz (425g) can whole sweet corn drained and rinsed.

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit (200 degrees celsius).

Sift all the dry ingredients except the corn and brown sugar together in a mixing bowl. And I’m serious about the sifting part – don’t skip this step or you’ll get weird, fizzy, salty bits of baking soda and baking powder in your muffins.

Add the apple cider vinegar to the soy milk and set aside.

In a very small pot melt the vegan margarine and/or coconut oil with the brown sugar and maple syrup. Do not do this step in the microwave – it’s too easy to have a painful and messy accident with superheated fats and sugars. The stovetop method is slow and safe.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add the oil-sugar mixture, the flax egg and the milk and vinegar mixture. Stir to combine everything, but don’t over stir. Add the canned corn and stir to incorporate.

Grease a mini-muffin tin and add the batter – about 2 heaping tablespoons per muffin cup.

 Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Vegan meatballs with a German flair

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My mom used to make a traditional German recipe called Bulletten or Frikadellen– basically hamburger patties or meatballs on steroids. They’re moist, flavourful and frugal. These patties are usually eaten with a creamy gravy with noodles or potatoes.

I’ve taken my mother’s recipe and veganized it using my new favourite ingredient – TVP (textured vegetable protein). My thrifty mom would have approved!

Let’s get started on this super easy and quick recipe.

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Ingredients

½ cup TVP

1 slice bread torn into pieces about the size of a pencil eraser

2 mushrooms finely minced

2 Tbsp onion finely minced or 1 Tbsp dried minced onion

1 Tbsp ground flax

1 Tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped

Hot vegetable bouillon to make 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons broth

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ cup plant milk

1 Tbsp flour (I used chickpea flour)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp ketchup

A few grinds of pepper

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Directions

Heat your oven to 400F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or pan.

Place the TVP, flax, nutmeg, garlic powder, salt and pepper (and minced onion if using) in a heat-proof bowl and pour the vegetable broth over it. Give it a stir and allow it to stand for about 5 minutes.

While the TVP is rehydrating, you can prepare all your other ingredients and add them to the bowl.

Once the TVP is rehydrated, stir all the ingredients in and thoroughly combine them. You will have wet, dough-like ball. Form the meatballs using about 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture for each meatball, and place the meatballs on the greased cookie sheet. You should have 9 -12 meatballs.

Bake for 15 minutes then gently flip the meatballs. Be careful because at the 15-minute mark the meatballs will still be soft and I accidentally mushed one out of shape as you can see in the photo.

Bake for another 10 minutes then remove from the oven. Let the meatballs sit for about 5minutes. Serve up, or freeze for later use.

I served mine with my mushroom stroganoff.

Enjoy!

 

Savoury, flavour-y, classic chili – with a cocoa twist

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As I said in my previous post, I’ve recently discovered TVP (textured vegetable protein) and now soy curls (more on those to come!) and I’m intrigued by these inexpensive, easy-to-use, versatile products.

I recently revamped an old recipe of mine to include a batch of my soyrizo, and the transformation was fabulous.

Do not be daunted by the seemingly long list of ingredients in this recipe; most of them are spices that you probably already have in your cupboard.

Cocoa is the magic ingredient here. It gives depth and richness to the chili and I swear by it!

Ingredients

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion diced

1-2 cloves garlic minced

1 red or green pepper diced

1 rib celery diced

1 cup mushrooms sliced

1 15 oz can (400ml or 1 ½ cups) mixed beans or kidney beans drained and rinsed

2 Tbsp red lentils (optional)

1 batch of soyrizo

14 oz can diced tomatoes (or 3 fresh tomatoes diced)

½ cup bottled salsa (any heat level you like)

1 cup fresh, canned or frozen corn (optional- but so yummy and pretty in the chili)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp dried basil

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 Tbsp chili powder

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Directions

Measure out all the herbs, spices and seasonings into a small bowl or mug. I like to have these prepared so I can toss them into the pot all at once.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion, garlic, peppers and celery until onion is starting to wilt. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms start to release their liquid. Add all the spices, herbs and seasonings and stir into the vegetables. Let the seasonings heat through, then add all the other ingredients except the corn.

Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer the contents for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the corn and simmer for another 5 minutes.

You can serve immediately, but I find that this chili is even better the next day. It’ll last 3-4 days in the fridge and freezes well.

This chili is loaded with vitamins C and K, many B vitamins, potassium, fibre, protein and iron. What’s missing? Fat, calories and cholesterol.

Soyrizo – spicy vegan sausage-y crumbles

Soyrizo

I’ve recently discovered TVP or textured vegetable protein and I’m both intrigued and delighted.

I’ve resisted using TVP because I thought it would taste dry and bland. And you know what? It is dry and bland. So is flour until you do something with it.

TVP is also genius. It’s made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of extracting soybean oil. TVP is high in protein and fibre, it costs next to nothing (I bought a three-cup bag of dried crumbles for 75 cents!) and it’s versatile.

I have only begun to experiment with this amazing ingredient. The first big hit is soyrizo – my vegan version of spicy chorizo sausage crumbles.

I’ve been adding soyrizo to chili (recipe coming soon)

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And to nachos and pizza and spaghetti sauce.

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I’d love to hear how you plan to use soyrizo.

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Ingredients

1 cup TVP

7/8 cup boiling water or vegetable bouillon (that’s 1 cup of water with two tablespoons of water removed)

1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder, if you’re not already using vegetable bouillon

1 tsp salt

½ tsp smokey paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp chili powder

Directions

Mix all the dry ingredients in a heat-proof bowl, mug or jar. Pour the boiling water over top and stir the moistened crumbles. Let sit for five minutes before using, or store in the fridge for up to four days.