Saturday, 22 March 2014

Simple Apple Dumplings

I love this kind of simple food. Few ingredients, rustic and comforting. A bit like my golden syrup dumplings.

These apple dumplings were a desperate dinner after a tough few weeks filled with backaches and illness. I knew everyone would love these. 

Sylvia was surprised and delighted to be having "dessert" for dinner. And you know, mini apple pies for dinner really do something powerfully good for the soul!

They are basically chunks of apple wrapped in a light flaky pastry with a bit of brown sugar, margarine and cinnamon, then baked. The pineapple juice gives a nice tang to the pastry.

Next time we might try them with vegan custard, cream or ice cream. 

Simple Apple Dumplings  (makes 8 dumplings) (slightly adapted from Sinfully Vegan by Lois Dieterly)

1 1/4 cups plain flour

1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 large granny smith apple
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tbsp evaporated cane juice or brown sugar
1-2 tbsp vegan margarine

Preheat oven to 200C.

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Add the oil and combine with your fingers until the mixture is like small crumbs. Add the juice and knead it into a ball. Put the dough in the fridge while you prepare your apple. (Note: the dough will seem a bit moist and oily, but it really does turn out perfectly!)

Peel your apple and cut the apple into 8 chunks.

After about 10 minutes, get your dough out of the fridge and divide in half. Roll out one half quite thin between two pieces of baking paper. Use a knife to cut the rolled out dough into quarters.

Place a chunk of apple in the middle of each piece, some cinnamon, sugar and a bit of margarine and gather the sides of the dough and press closed so the apple is completely sealed in the dough. The dough is quite thin so try not to pull it too hard or it will rip. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake for about 20 minutes on a lined baking tray until the bottoms are starting to brown. Don't worry if a bit of juice leaks out of some of them, they're still delicious!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Rainbow Birthday Cake + Party Food

We hadn't really planned on having a party for Sylvia's 4th birthday. Except that in the months leading up to her birthday, she talked non-stop about what cake she would have, what would be in the party bags and what other food we would make.

So, as Sylvia is the "boss of this house", we had a small party at a nearby park! 

Most importantly, here is the rainbow cake:

Firstly Sylvia asked for a fairy cake. I was relieved when she changed her mind to a rainbow cake, it seemed much more manageable! I googled some images and this one seemed fairly simple. 

I used this wonderful birthday cake recipe. I made one round cake, which I then cut in half and sandwiched together to form the rainbow. I also made twelve cupcakes, which were the clouds. 

I decided to make a strawberry cream cheese filling for the cloud cupcakes and the main cake. I used the cream cheese icing recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and added some fresh blended strawberries. 

I used basic vegan buttercream icing for the rest - icing sugar, vanilla, vegan margarine, a splash of milk and colouring. 

This cake definitely contained the most sugar I've ever used in one cake! Sylvia loved it, and it tasted brilliant. It did take a bit of time, but none of it was very difficult. I love how all-consuming (!) baking is. A world war could have broken out while I was making and decorating this cake and I'd be none the wiser. 

Sylvia chose all the food. We had fairy bread and chocolate bread (bread with vegan chocolate spread), fruit skewers with vegan marshmallows and vegan sausage rolls. And the rainbow cake, of course. I think she chose very well!

Now it's dawning on me just how many novelty birthday cakes lie ahead of me, for both Sylvia and Lexie. Um, a lot! Their requests are sure to increase in difficulty as they get older! I just need to make sure that I don't run out of steam...

Other birthday cakes I've blogged about:
Easy Car Cake
Tiger Cake
Rabbit Cake