Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Foodie Pen Pals Parcel – Pumpkin Butter

Woot woot for another exciting month of Foodie Pen Pals. This month I received some wonderful goodies from Tamzin (who has a great blog over at Salad and Sequins, all about her love of healthy living, which you should check out for some healthy eating tips). I’ve been really busy at work this month so explained to Tamzin that I haven’t had a lot of time to bake and cook as much as I would normally like to. I’ve also found that when I have been putting in the extra hours in the lab I’ve been reaching straight for the chocolate to keep me going so Tamzin came to the rescue with lots of healthy goodies for me to munch through instead!

Nakd Cocoa Loco Bars – I’ve tried a few of the Nakd bars but haven’t had this variety yet so it’s great to be able to try these.

Banana, Mango and Brazil Bars – a great combination of flavours in these cereal bars.

Pomegranate Bar – I love pomegranate and tucked into this straight away, it was really rather moreish.

Pineapple infused raisins – two of my favourite things combined together…genius!

Apple crisps – These are a great alternative to the traditional potato variety.

Mixed fruit and nuts – Which proved to be the perfect energy source when I recently when on a hike into the Mourne Mountains.

Rosehip Syrup – Tamzin suggested this could be used in some baking. I haven’t had time to get busy in the kitchen with this yet but have my eye on a rosehip and olive oil cake recipe that I am keen to try so will keep you updated when I get around to baking that one.

So thanks for all of the lovely things packed into this months will definitely keep me going for  a while :o)

I sent a parcel onto Sarah this month. Sarah mentioned that she is a big fan of spices like cinnamon and ginger as well as loving things like pumpkin. This suited me perfectly as I am a massive pumpkin fan and have been saving up quite a few recipes to try once pumpkins started to appear in the shops and so I squeezed in some experimental kitchen sessions and shared some of the resulting pumpkin products with Sarah. As well as making Spiced Pumpkin Syrup I also made Pumpkin Butter. This thick, sweet puree is great spread on toast, swirled into plain yoghurt or used in autumnal baking and I hope Sarah enjoyed this slightly more unusual pumpkin product.

180ml cranberry juice
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
150g brown sugar

Put all of the ingredients into a large saucepan, place over a gently heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Increase the heat slightly and continue to stir until the liquid begins to evaporate from the mixture and the Pumpkin Butter starts to thicken. This takes quite a lot of elbow grease as I found the mixture had to be stirred for about 30 minutes before the desired consistency of a thick paste was reached.

Let the mixture cool a little before transferring to sterilised jars.

The Pumpkin Butter is best kept on the fridge to ensure it lasts.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Dairy Free Spiced Pumpkin Cake

So it turns out that ‘Something Missing’ is 1 year old today! I can’t believe that I have been blogging for a whole year; it seems like only yesterday that I was sitting in the pub after work when a colleague suggested that I should do something with all the slightly crazy recipes I was creating. Amazingly not only did I agree that maybe I should start to share these recipes with the world, but the next day once the beer induced fug had receded I actually turned on my computer and set about creating a blog. Since stating with an experimental recipe that resulted in a flourless, gluten free, vegan chocolate cake (it really is amazing what you can do with a tin of chick peas) I have posted 60 recipes, embarked on a journey into (what I now believe to be) the wonderful world of twitter, joined up to the quite brilliant foodie pen pal scheme as well as discovering so many other great foodie blogs that are out there on the world wide web.

To mark this anniversary I thought it was only right to celebrate with a cake. And as Halloween is fast approaching I decided upon using a seasonal recipe containing pumpkin. The cake is also dairy free using my tofu based buttermilk replacement. I then went and ruined the dairy free element of the cake by smothering it is cream cheese icing. But hey it is my blogging birthday so I think I can just about get away with this one can’t I?!?


160g soya margarine
225g caster sugar
2 eggs
150ml pumpkin puree (see my pumpkin bread recipe for a pumpkin puree recipe)
280g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
150ml vegan buttermilk (see my previous recipe)
100g raisins
100g chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts would work well)

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C / 350 deg F

Grease two 22cm diameter sandwich tins and dust with flour.

Beat together the margarine and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and pumpkin puree to the bowl and mix until all the ingredients are well combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into the bowl and gently fold the ingredients together. As all of the ingredients come together and the mixture begins to thicken up gradually add the buttermilk and continue to mix well.

Finally fold in the raisins and chopped nuts until they are evenly distributed through the mixture.

Then pour the mixture into the two tins, splitting the mixture evenly between the two tins. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before sandwiching together with icing, and spreading the top of the cake with icing too.

I added dairy to this otherwise dairy free cake by decorating with a cream cheese icing (by beating 200g of icing sugar into 120g cream cheese) but to keep it dairy free you could follow my cinnamon icing recipe as found here.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Gluten free sweet potato crackers

I’ve been a bit slow on the blog updates of late, a change of season cold and general PhD studentness have been getting in the way. I seem to have been spending so much time in the lab that I haven’t had the chance to cook anything more exciting than beans on toast. I really miss having the time to cook up a big fat mess in the kitchen so as soon as I found I had an evening to myself I indulged in a big fat, comforting bowl of sweet potato gnocchi. As I enthusiastically threw myself into this cooking bonanza I managed to overestimate the amount of sweet potato mash I was going to need so with the leftovers I got creative and conjured up these sweet potato and paprika crackers. I went for stick shaped biscuits with the idea of dunking them in gallons of creamy hummus but I think larger biscuits would also work well as an accompaniment for cheese.


100g cold mashed sweet potato
45g margarine
150g rice flour
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 220 deg C / 425 deg F

Mix the mashed sweet potato with the margarine until fully combined (I microwaved the sweet potato and once cool enough to handle I peeled the potatoes and mashed using a potato ricer).

Add the paprika and seasoning to taste and then gradually stir in the rice flour with a wooden spoon. As the mixture come together use your hands to form a smooth ball of dough.

Dust the surface with rice flour and roll out the dough until approximately ½ cm thick. Then use a knife to slice into evenly shaped sticks or alternatively use a cookie cutter to achieve the desired shape.

Transfer the crackers to a baking tray lined with grease proof paper.

Place the baking tray into the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes. Do not allow the crackers to brown too much otherwise they will dry out.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Vegan Coconut Ice

Due to circumstances out of the control of my foodie pen pal parcel sender I am yet to receive my parcel this month but fingers crossed some goodies will appear soon!

So in the mean time I thought I would share the recipe for one of the treats I sent in my parcel to Christine this month. When I inquired as to the sort of things Christine might like to receive in her parcel she informed me she was vegan so it provided the perfect excuse to devise a new recipe that would be ‘Something Missing’ worthy. For some reason I had been having a real craving for coconut ice recently. This sweet treat reminds me of child hood holidays by the sea side where I would frequent traditional sweet shops and splurge my pocket money on sickly slabs of fudge, nougat and the pink and white treat that is coconut ice. This confectionery is usually made with condensed milk but I substituted this with coconut milk to make a vegan version of this sickly, sugary sweet.


200ml coconut milk
450g icing sugar
150g desiccated coconut
Red food colouring

Place the coconut milk and icing sugar into a large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved.

Then stop stirring the mixture but bring it to a gentle simmer and heat until a soft ball temperature of 113 deg C or 240 deg F is reached.

Once 113 degrees is reached remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the coconut until well combined.

Pour half of the mix into a mixing bowl and add a couple of drops of red food colouring, stir until the desired pink colour is achieved.

Line a 20cm square cake tin with non-stick baking paper and spread the pink half of the mixture into the bottom of the tin. Then spread the remaining white mixture on top and smooth out.

Leave over night to set then turn out of the tin and slice into bite size chunks.