Vegan Frangipan is as easy as pie. Or tart. Or positively scrumptious. Daring Baker’s Time, kids!

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Looking for the Sweet Freedom cookbook giveaway? You have until midnight Paris time today! Just leave a comment.

The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800′s in England.

Bakewell Tart (Vegan)

I have 2 confessions to make :

Confession number one = I wasn’t very excited about this challenge.

There. I said it.

When I saw this month’s challenge recipe I found it rather uninspiring and even considered skipping out because I had a multitude of other baking obligations this month…Nearly 200 cookies for Guppy’s school (not at once), 36 savory scones for my school…I’ll stop here. I didn’t think this pudding tart thingy sounded very exciting, and just kept dragging my feet about the whole thing.

Confession number two = Sometimes I am SO wrong about things it’s funny.

My husband, Monsieur Fish, doesn’t read my blog, thankfully, so I can share with you and the monde entier that sometimes I just don’t have any idea what I am talking about (often times to myself, but I digress…).

Wednesday evening, in true last minute style, I thought I should maybe make this month’s challenge. I knew I had yet another work luncheon on Thursday, and my students had requested I bring something sweet. I shrugged my shoulders as I began setting up the kitchen and figured at least I could bring it to my students who just love to see how I transform desserts into Vegan yummies.

Yummy is rather an understatement here.

Blackwell Tart (Vegan)

I don’t know why, but as I printed out the original frangipan recipe from the forums, it dawned on me that I was about to veganize frangipan!! For many, this may seem like small potatoes, but here in France, frangipan shows up in many beloved patisseries that I’d never attempted before. Why, if I could successfully veganize frangipan, I could make a galette des rois this year. Ha!

Reading the Alternative Baking Forums I’d seen that many of my Baking possé had great success veganizing the frangipan using various strategies and ingredients. I decided to throw caution to the wind and follow the recipe as written and just swap in Ener-G egg replacer for the three eggs and to use non-dairy butter.

Oh yeah, can you get a whiff of the sweet smell of success here?

I also changed up the crust and used the Vegan Shortbread Crust from The Joy of Vegan Baking. This is a wonderful and versatile crust that I thought would work well. Rather than pre-baking the crust as per the recipe in JOVB, I put it in the freezer while preparing the frangipan, and then just followed the challenge recipe instructions.

I brought the tart to my French class and it disappeared before my very eyes. The class is made up of students from all over Europe and the world, none of them vegan. They all loved it and just couldn’t believe there were no eggs in the frangipan. Yippie! It was indeed delicious, and I’m really grateful to our hosts for proposing such a wonderful staple recipe to add to my repertoire. I for one know I’ll be making this one again.

Bakewell tartSorry about the wonky pic, we were eating outside and I had to hurry and snap a shot before the tart was all gone!

And because my work is so intertwined with my private life, I used homemade cherry and raspberry jam I’d received earlier in the week from students in my English classes. I love homemade gifts!

Homemade Raspberry Jam, I love you.

Vegan Frangipan

125g non-hydrogenated, non-dairy margerine, softened
125g powdered sugar
The equivalent of 3 Eggs (Ener-G worked perfectly here)
2.5ml almond extract
125g ground almonds
30g AP flour

Whip together the Ener-G and water with beaters, set aside. Cream margarine and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the Ener-G eggs. Beat well. The batter may appear to curdle or separate – it’s all good. Add the almond extract, almonds and flour and mix until well blended. Yum.

Do you like to play with your food? Visit The Daring Kitchen for wonderful food articles, sexy food p*rn and lovely portraits of the Daring Cooks and Bakers. Also, don’t forget to check out the other Daring Bakers and their tarts!

Mrs. K, Monsieur Fish Loves You! Sweet Freedom Saturday

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You still have time to get in on the big Sweet Freedom giveaway! Just leave a comment here before midnight Paris time for your chance! The two lucky winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 1st, in honor of Canada Day.

Mrs.K's Date Cake (Vegan)

This is Mrs. K’s Date Cake. Monsieur Fish also announced to me that this is his favourite thing ever that I’ve ever made. Ever. Monsieur F is a gourmand, and while he often says he just love this or that, this is indeed the first time I’ve ever seen him so passionate about a dessert.

So passionate in fact that when I left the kitchen for a moment…

missing cake

There were four more pieces missing! I had to hide the cake! So silly, I know. I’d much rather see him go crazy with this cake, however, than many of the less “healthy” versions out there.

This is indeed a decadent little snack cake, but it’s 100% natural and delicious.

Have you made anything yummy from Sweet Freedom this week ? Stay tuned next Saturday for another installment of “Sweet Freedom Saturdays”. We’ve also got a brand new Sweet Freedom Flickr Group – come join us! Other Sweet Freedom Saturday Deliciousness here in the Fishbowl : Raw Apricot Bars, Tomato Spice Cake, Carrot Snack Cake, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gingered Apple Muffins, Spiced Pumpkin Millet Pudding.

W.I.P. Wednesday : Rush, rush, rush!

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If you’re looking for the Sweet Freedom giveaway, go here! Three more days to enter!

I hate feeling like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, however, that’s pretty much what I’m looking and sounding like right now. I’ve got so many plates spinning I’m feeling a wee bit dizzy, but I know it’s pour la bonne cause.

W.I.P. Elephant

Working on appreciation gifts for Guppy’s two teachers is becoming a real priority since her last day of school is next week. I’ve just started stitching this adorable elephant that I modified from this free pattern (thank you!). Guppy’s class spent the year studying around the theme of circus animals, so I thought this cutie could look sweet on a little zipper bag…perhaps with some dark chocolate inside?

Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip & Raisin Cookies

Who doesn’t love cookies? I’m only making “special” gifts for Guppy’s teacher and her aid, but not wanting to leave anyone out, I made a double-batch of the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (with chocolate chips, because I can!) from one of my very favourite cookbooks, The Joy of Vegan Baking for everyone else – everyone else meaning the team of aids and auxiliary personnel who do so much for the kids and who often don’t get the thanks they deserve. It’s so fun making cookies and cupcakes for her school, because they are viewed as wonderfully exotic by the teaching team – and they always ask me for the recipes. I brought these to the school last week after Guppy’s school programme. She was a lion, and she roared the very best, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her Mamafish!

Cut out pieces

And lastly, here are some pattern pieces I cut out to make two aprons – and if I can get them done in a jiffy I’ll be sending them off to this month’s Tie One On. The theme this time around is “Pie Making Aprons”, which I think just sounds so fun and summery…the flower print fabric is so cute, and I think it works really well with the gingham. We’ll see in a few days…

I can’t wait to see what everyone has been up to W.I.P.-wise! Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too.

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How do you celebrate freedom? With a giveaway, of course! Sweet Freedom Saturday

Thank you for the wonderful response! Congratulations to our winners, found here.

Happy Saturday everyone! I just love Saturday, and what can make your Saturday even sweeter? How about some Raw Apricot Bars?

Raw Apricot Bars

These delicious raw bars will satisfy your sweet tooth in an oh-so-healthy and delicious way. They are a real snap to prepare which I just love, and you can even frost them if you want to with the Coconut Date Frosting recipe – also raw of course! I opted to just give them a light sprinkling of shredded coconut this time around.

I wish I could say they were a big hit with Guppy, but, alas, they were not. She is such a funny bunny; she just loves raw and dried fruits, but she just can’t get her raw treats groove on. Monsieur Fish is the same way – salé raw cuisine is no problémo, but when it’s sucré, he just wrinkles his nose. Whateveah. That means more raw goodness for me! These would be an excellent mid-morning or mid-afternoon sweet snacky treat – portable and easy to stash in your gym bag or purse. Who needs to purchase over-priced raw bars? These are even tastier!

Now, didn’t I say something about a giveaway?

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It’s nearly July, and that means three of my favourite freedom-related holidays : July 1st is Canada Day, July 4th is Independence Day, and July 14th is Bastille Day here in France. Wee! While I could debate the idea of freedom, and it’s obvious subjectivity – I won’t. At least not today. Today I’m here to share Sweet Freedom with you! Author Ricki Heller, who blogs at Diet, Dessert and Dogs, has graciously donated two copies of Sweet Freedom, a hard-copy and a PDF, for me to give to YOU!

We’re entering into the “heat” of BBQ season, and you’ll be the hero of the picnic when you arrive with treats that everyone can enjoy!

There are three ways to enter :

  • Just leave a comment below to be entered. You can improve your chances of winning by doing one (or both) of the following :
  • You can Tweet about the giveaway, linking back to this post. This will score you an additional 3 entries. (Visit Tiny URL if you need to condense.) Just don’t forget to comment with a link to your Tweet so it can be counted!
  • Blog about the giveaway, linking back here. 3 more entries are yours! Just don’t forget to comment with a link to your blogpost so it can be counted!

The drawing will be closed next Saturday, and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 1st, to celebrate Canada Day in style! Bonne chance à tous!

Have you made anything yummy from Sweet Freedom this week ? Stay tuned next Saturday for another installment of “Sweet Freedom Saturdays”. We’ve also got a brand new Sweet Freedom Flickr Group – come join us! Other Sweet Freedom Saturday Deliciousness here in the Fishbowl : Tomato Spice Cake, Carrot Snack Cake, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gingered Apple Muffins, Spiced Pumpkin Millet Pudding.

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Guest Blogger Mamma Fish : A 60-Day Project “Thank You”

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I just want to say a big Thank You to all of you who sent me gifts for my 60th birthday. This was the biggest birthday surprise I have ever had! Each one of you went above and beyond all that I could have imagined with your attention to details….special cards, and wrapping. Even the gifts you chose were perfect. Bath tea that arrived just after I had a fall, and baths brought so much relief. Cups of coffee and teas to enjoy, and the chocolate….all the delicious chocolate. Chocolate caramels from Montana that I had to order more of, heavenly. The beautiful apron, napkins, tote bag, candy dish,maple sugar candy/maple syrup…delicious, and healthy sweets to eat…amazing books and stationery…..really, there were too many gifts to list. I could literally feel the love and care in each package. My cup runneth over! My hope for each of you is that the blessings you gave me will come back to you in many ways.

Love, Renee/ Mammafish

There’s not much I need to add, but thank you. You’re a group of amazing women and I am so thankful for you all.

W.I.P. Wednesday : Wee Gallery Goodness

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Don’t you just love happy accidents? I found the lovely Wee Gallery totally by mistake one day, and what a happy find! Just gorgeous prints and other lovelies for babies and small children…though I feel I can speak for adults when I say I love them, too!

I was extra lucky the day I found Surya’s blog, because that very day she put out a call for some testers to sew up some kits to make soft books and I was chosen! Fortuitous, indeed.

Soft Book

Shortly afterwards I received a lovely and very complete Soft Book kit to sew up. This is a very satisfying project because it is a one-sit affair : very easy to follow instructions, nothing to measure or fuddle with. Depending on how quickly you sew and if your iron is set up, you can have this project done in 30 minutes flat, maybe less. Or longer, I suppose if your thread jams up, your telephone keeps ringing and you notice that there hasn’t been any noise from Guppy’s bedroom in a few minutes – silence is always a bad sign. Even with those distractions I was done in less than 40 minutes, so there.

Soft Book

Surya also had some just beautiful Circus Coloring Cards up for grabs. She graciously sent me the PDF file, and Guppy has been really enjoying colouring them.

Wee Gallery Colouring Cards

Though Guppy recently turned 4, she does usually colour a little neater (she doesn’t get that from me!). I asked her about the jiggly lines and she looked at me, somewhat exasperated, and sighed, “Mumma, they’re moving!”. Well, silly me. That should have been obvious I suppose.

Wee Gallery Circus Cards

These sweet colouring cards are now available in her Wee Gallery Etsy Shop. You should also check out their Wee Gallery Store for other beautiful prints. And thank you again Surya for allowing me to test your pattern! It was a real pleasure.

Are you being buried by a pile of unfinished W.I.P.s (or is it just me?). Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too.

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Pasta & Beanballs, or, Why the heck hadn’t I made these before?!?

Pasta & beanballs

I’ve had Veganomicon for well over a year and this is just the first time I’ve made the “Beanballs”. I feel like we have a great deal of catching up to do.

Maybe it’s because of their name, “Beanballs”, rather unappetizing, really. That being said, I haven’t really got a brilliant suggestion for an alternate title : Beanie Boulettes is the best I could do. It’s amazing how much sexier things sound in other languages, don’t you think?

beanballs

This was vegan fast-food at it’s finest : the beanballs were super simple and quick to make, mostly because I nearly always have homemade frozen sauce in the freezer. I also had some frozen (cooked) garbanzos, so I used those, but I’m pretty sure any bean would be lovely. Dinner was on in no time and I heard nothing but “miam“s, and “c’est trop bon“s from the Fish Family so I was nothing but smiles. Ok. Tomato sauce-smudged smiles.

Rosemary Potato Bread or Potato Rosemary Bread or Really Delicious Bread

I often have a difficult time following directions.

There, I said it.

The official BBA (Bread Baker’s Apprentice) group is to work through Reinhart’s bread bible in order. Whatever.

First off, I’m not an official member. And Secondly, “I’d prefer not to.”*

Potato Rosemary Bread (Vegan)

I grew up just loving my mum’s potato rolls. I have the most vivid memories of coming home from school when perhaps 8 or 9 years old, and being greeted by the heavenly aroma of fresh potato rolls just out of the oven. My mother didn’t really bake all that much; she’s a great cook, and when she did bake it was always delicious, but I don’t have memories of her baking up a storm. That’s probably why when she did make bread or homemade rolls it was indeed a memorable treat.

Potato Rosemary Bread (Vegan)

My family eat mashed potatoes very often, but when planning dinner recently it occurred to me that I really wanted to give the Potato Rosemary Bread in BBA a try. As with most of the breads in BBA, this one is naturally vegan (and the non-vegan versions have been a “piece of brioche” to veganize).

This was also my first time baking using a biga, or pre-ferment starter. Didn’t I feel all pioneer womanesque? Oh, yes I did.

The bread was just a delight to make, and baked up just beautifully. It had a lovely, buttery taste and was disappearing so fast I decided to freeze the second loaf (which froze very well, and has also since disappeared). I’ll be submitting these lovely loaves to Susan’s Yeast Spotting, your weekly dose of beautiful breads and more.

I know many of you, my sweet and lovely readers, are Gluten-Free or try to bake GF as often as possible. I’m sorry I’m not much help, but I’d love to refer you to Natalie’s blog, Gluten A Go Go. She’s been running a series baking recipes from the Culinary Institute of America’s Baking & Pastry book Gluten-Free and the results have been extraordinary.

*While not a real fan of Melville (to the gasps and horror of the director of the English department at the University I taught at here in France) “Bartleby the Scriviner : A Story of Wall Street” is one of my preferred short stories.

Who loves potstickers & Dumplings? Me! The Daring Cooks June Challenge

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After our delicious début with Ricotta Gnocchi in May, we’re back and cooking up a veritable storm with Chinese dumplings and potstickers! To clarify the definitions tout de suite, dumplings are steamed or boiled whereas the potstickers are (gasp!) fried. This month’s challenge hostess is Jen from Use Real Butter, and she graciously shared her family recipe for Chinese dumplings/potstickers. This month’s challenge was once again a slam dunk to veganize as the dough is naturally vegan, but that’s not why I love it. I thought it was fantastic because it was so darn tasty!

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again right now : this challenge was a hoot! I’ve found myself wondering why I hadn’t ever made potstickers before, and I’d see them featured from time to time on a blog and lick my lips in admiration, but I’d never actually taken it to the next level and made them. Thank you Daring Cooks for nudging me into new culinary territory!

Vegan Potsticker Filling

I wanted to try to use cannelli beans in the filling in lieu of tofu, because just defaulting to tofu seemed too easy. I feel badly because I didn’t measure my ingredients, but I think it was probably about 2 cups or more cannelli beans, about one cup shredded carrot, four green onions (heads and stems), a little soy sauce, a few teaspoons diced ginger root and salt and pepper. I totally ignored Jen’s advice (sorry Jen) and tossed the onions and beans in the food processor until I had a paste, then added the carrots until well mixed. It was just perfect.

Potsticker/Dumpling Dough

The dough proved a bit of a challenge as I think I added about three or four times the amount of water called for in the recipe. That’s life. I just kept kneading and adding water and knew that the gluten would develop if I would just let it. Once it was ready, however, the dough was very easy to handle and making the dumplings was easy peasy pie. I did punk out and just used a fork to seal my potstickers, but Jen has some beautiful pictures on her blog showing her folding technique.

Vegan Potstickers (pre-fry)

The real disappointment for me with this challenge was the dumplings.
Vegan Chinese Dumplings

I tried to boil a few, but they floated right away, and never really cooked properly, they just turned into floppy wet dumplings. I should have opted for steaming, and I probably will give it a try another time. The potstickers however were a dream come true, and I’ve already been asked to make them again!

Chinese Pot Stickers (Vegan)

Would you like to play with your food? Everyone is welcome in The Daring Kitchen! I would especially like to extend this invitation to any vegans and vegetarians out there – this is an excellent opportunity to flex your creative culinary muscles and veganize omni fare. Learning to prepare delicious “omni-friendly” meals is a wonderful talent to develop, and it’s such a relief to have more recipes in your repertoire!

Sweet Freedom Saturday : Tomato Spice Cake

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I’m so excited to have my real, live, tangible copy of Sweet Freedom! I’d been working from the PDF, which is great, but it’s nothing like being able to flip through the pages of a real book!

This week’s installment of SFS features the Tomato Spice Cake, which is just lovely!

Tomato Spice Cake (Vegan)

Ricki shares that this cake is a fresh spin on one of her Mother’s classic cakes. I remember when I was little the “tomato soup” cakes being rather popular at bake sales and socials. I also remember asking one of the women at the school tea why there was tomato soup in her cake, why didn’t she just use tomatoes? She told me I was impertinent. Hump.

I made this for Guppy’s Fun Friday after school quatre heures. She made me giggle because when she saw the finished cake sitting on the platter, just waiting for her to come home from school, she looked at me and said, “Mumma, you forgot the frosting!”. My oh my, I supposed I did. We’re not big frosting people here, but I did decide to just whip up a quickie-glaze for her. I must admit, it was yummy.

Quickie Vanilla Glaze (for Tomato Spice Cake)

Powdered Sugar (I didn’t measure this, I just poured some into a bowl, maybe a half a cup?

Apple Juice – A few tablespoons

VanillaExtract – 1.5 teaspoons

I just whisked it together with a fork and spread it over the cake. Guppy approved.

I think this would be a perfect cake for a brunch or for tea in the afternoon. It has a lovely spice cake flavour and a dense crumb making it perfect for dunking. I might even add chocolate chips next time I make this, you know, just to see how it would taste. We loved it (hence the lack of photos, when it goes fast, it’s more difficult to photograph!). I have so many recipes marked in Sweet Freedom, it’s not easy to chose which one will be next!

Have you made anything yummy from Sweet Freedom this week ? Stay tuned next Saturday for another installment of “Sweet Freedom Saturdays”. We’ve also got a brand new Sweet Freedom Flickr Group – come join us! Other Sweet Freedom Saturday Deliciousness here in the Fishbowl : Carrot Snack Cake, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Spiced Pumpkin Millet Pudding.