I'm excited for this week's post as I had the wonderful opportunity of reviewing a newly released cookbook by Bianca Haun and Sascha Naderer titled "The Veginner's Cookbook: The Ultimate Starter Guide for New Vegans and the Veg Curious." I'm not a vegan, but I'm consistently on the quest to increase the plants in my diet and I love to create and test recipes that meet different lifestyle needs and vegan recipes are one of the areas I dabble in most as a contributor over at The Peaceful Dumpling.
In the book, Bianca and Sascha walk readers through how they came to the decision of becoming vegan, how their transition to veganism went and how they respectfully handle challenges, "landmine" situations or questions about their food choices. The book has suggested kitchen tools, gadgets and tips to support readers' culinary efforts and it's packed with beautiful food photography (my favorite) of all 75 recipes.
The recipes in the book cover a wide range of areas including basics, breakfast, main meals, breads, sauces & dressings and of course....dessert! I'm grateful that Bianca and Sascha have allowed me to share a recipe I tested earlier this week. The hardest part of this portion of the review was selecting which recipe I wanted to go with as they all look so good! I chose the Cinnamon Raisin Flatbread because I have a soft spot for made from scratch, rustic bread recipes. I found this recipe to be simple, cozy and a really neat idea for something a little different for breakfast. As a bonus, this recipe is incredibly budget friendly and would come together easily with only a few ingredients from the pantry that you're very likely to have on hand even when your grocery shopping trip is a tad overdue (that might happen around here from time to time.)
Cinnamon Raisin Flatbread
(Copyright 2018 by Bianca Haun & Sascha Naderer)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 pinch of salt
-1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 cup plant-based milk (I used coconut milk)
- 1/4 cup raisins
-1/2 teaspoon coconut oil for the pan
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Give it a quick whisk. Add in the maple syrup and plant-based milk. Combine with a large spoon and knead with your hands until a soft dough forms. You may have to add more flour (if it's too sticky) or more plant-based milk (if it's too crumbly).
Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll it out until about 1-inch thick, then pour the raisins onto the dough and roll it again, so that the raisins stick to the dough. The flatbread should be about 1/2 inch thick now.
Prepare a hot pan with coconut oil and let the flatbread fry on each side for about 1 minute until brownish and bubbly.
Eat while it's warm and enjoy!
This recipe is tasty for breakfast served warm with a smush of nut butter and I'm thinking about giving it a try dipped in some veggies and homemade curry sauce for a dinner option. The recipe came together fast and the instructions were spot on- I found I needed to add a little bit more plant-based milk as my dough was a little bit too crumbly.
I hope that you give this recipe a try! If you're interested in learning more about this newly released cookbook, check out a few more sample photos from their cookbook below so you can get an idea of more of the wonderful recipes they've created. This cookbook gives readers the tools for delicious vegan recipes while showing that eating a vegan diet does not have to be complicated and expensive. This cookbook is for you whether you're simply looking for more plant-based food options, contemplating a switch to a vegan lifestyle, or you're already following a vegan diet but need some more inspiration for tasty ideas.
For more information about the Veginner's cookbook, you can find it here for purchase and make sure to head over to visit Bianca's popular food blog, Elephantastic Vegan, for more recipe inspiration.
Aaannnnd....the most exciting news is that I have a giveaway for one lucky reader to win a copy of this cookbook! To enter, please leave a comment on this blog post. Entry deadline is Saturday April 28, 2018 at noon Eastern Standard Time and is limited to U.S. residents only. The winner will be contacted directly to get the information as to where to send the cookbook.
Have a wonderful week!
This is the recipe that started it all for me: Grandma's Brown Bread. I grew up watching my mom regularly make this recipe and we were fortunate to get back to Ireland every few years to stay with family where I would watch my grandmother make this recipe. I have awesome grandmothers to always remember and two of the things that I most distinguish them by is their bread recipes. My mom's mom is Irish Brown Bread and my dad's mom is Irish Griddle Bread. Both breads are delicious, cozy and food for the soul and today's post is dedicated to my maternal grandmother's Irish Brown Bread recipe.
I knew my grandmother was amazing when I was growing up, but I didn't realize the extent of her amazing nature until I started my own little family. My grandmother lived on a beautiful little rural corner of County Wicklow in Ireland where she raised her fifteen kids. Yes, you read that right: fifteen....as in a decent size classroom of kids. I obviously didn't know her until my mother and the rest of her siblings were grown, but she was kind, funny, loving...and sane....even after raising fifteen kids, of which she did a lot of this on her own as my mother's father died when she was around ten years old. I don't think I have ever seen her lose her temper or get too worked up about anything and that is inspiration for me every single day. I'm fairly certain that she could have run a country.
From what my mother has taught me, this bread recipe was a staple in her house growing up. I swear that you could have blindfolded my grandmother, tied one hand behind her back, spun her around three times and she would still whip up a perfect loaf of this brown bread. The scent of fresh baked bread lightly mixed with Irish air pouring in through her kitchen windows is a memory held in my core. I think about this recipe often, but especially when St. Patrick's Day rolls around each year. This recipe is simple and it's definitely from the "little bit of this, little bit of that" baking school. I don't remember seeing my grandmother or mother using precise measurements when they baked bread, and I distinctly remember them "just knowing" when it was done...when it needed more flour...more milk. Over time, I've made this recipe enough and grabbed some advice from my mom that I think I've given enough details so that someone new could pick it up and enjoy some brown bread within an hour, but feel free to reach out with any questions. You'll still see some hints of my mom and grandma's old school directions here, which I love and will never be tired of reading. So, get ready to brew a pot of tea, get out the butter and jam and enjoy some Irish Brown Bread.
Irish Brown Bread
(as made by my grandma and mom)
3/16/2020: please note that there are some modification options noted below the recipe to suit your preferences and you can also find a video tutorial with our six year old and I walking you through the process of making the bread from scratch over on Instagram @sunday_bakers
-1 cup all purpose flour
-2 cups wheat flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 TBS sugar
-2 tsp baking powder
-enough whole milk to bring the dough to a moist consistency (usually about 2 cups)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place all of the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in the milk and mix until combined to a sticky dough. Sprinkle flour over your counter top or a large cutting board and dump the dough onto the floured surface. Add flour to your hands and knead the dough by hand by using one hand to take dough from underneath and bring it on top while using the other hand to turn the dough. Add more flour when needed to prevent the dough from being too sticky. Continue this process until the dough is in a round shape with a smooth surface on the bottom. Grease a baking pan with butter, oil or non-stick cooking spray. Flip the dough over onto the baking pan and use a sharp knife to etch a cross in the top of the dough to allow steam to escape while it bakes. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. This may vary depending on your oven and my mother and grandmother's famous words to know when the bread is done is to knock on it (like you're knocking on a door) and it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes and then wrap in a clean dish towel to allow it to continue cooling evenly. Slice and enjoy with butter and jam! See below for modification options.
Option 1: To bake a White Irish Soda Bread with raisins, use only All Purpose Flour (3 cups) and omit the whole wheat flour. After you stir in the milk and get the bread to the messy, wet consistency, fold in 1- 1 1/2 cups of raisins before you pour the bread batter onto your cutting board for kneading. Bake at the same temperature and time as noted above.
Option 2: For a plant based version, please see this vegan version of the recipe that I created here. This recipe uses coconut milk with the addition of a small amount of vinegar to create a vegan "buttermilk."
Option 3: You can modify any of these recipe options into scones. They aren't the super buttery scones that you might be used to in a bakery but they are wonderful to serve with butter, jam and tea. After kneading, simply use a rolling pin to roll/press the dough out to approximately 1 1/2 inches of thickness. Use a biscuit cutter or a cup to cut as many circles into the dough as you can fit. Then gather up the remaining dough, re-knead together and repeat the process until you have used all of the bread dough. Reduce the baking time to 30 minutes.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I committed to myself that if I wrote a blog that I wouldn't just post the baking successes but I would also share my bloopers....pictures and all. Isn't that half the fun? While we're on the subject, I will remind you that I'm very messy in the kitchen. Baking is an event and depending on how much controlled chaos is going on in the house at the time has a direct correlation to my bloopers whether it's a forgotten ingredient (I once forgot all the sweetener in some brownies...gross), wrong pan size, wrong cook time etc. Baking is an art and a science or something in between and the bloopers are part of it so let's love them.
Despite my gigantic sweet tooth, I somehow married someone who isn't really into desserts. When planning our wedding, he was heavily advocating for a wedding steak versus a wedding cake. Don't worry- we didn't have a beef carving photo session. Buttercream and a combination of chocolate and vanilla cake prevailed. There are only a few exceptions to his less than enthusiastic attitude towards dessert and lemon bars are one of them.
Back in June for Father's Day, I set out to find a lemon bar recipe that would change his dessert mind set. Ina Garten from the Food Network has an amazing recipe that starts with a buttery, shortbread like crust and a sweet and tangy lemon filling that sets just right on top. I set out on my baking journey that day in a rush and here's what I came up with....
The crust looked nice. The lemon curd was to die for. I had to adjust the baking timing recommended in the recipe. It didn't set. What did I do wrong? Wrong size baking pan. The effort wasn't lost but it was a win for baking being a science. Well, Mr. Sunday Bakers had a birthday a few weeks back and I set out for lemon bar redemption with the correct sized baking pan and here's the comparison...
Redeemed! This recipe makes a lot of lemon bars too so I was able to put half of them in the deep freezer for a cold winter day when we need a reminder of spring! The blooper was a nice excuse for a new baking pan also and I've got to say that the crust in this recipe is really a beauty and I've used it for festive strawberry and blueberry tarts over the summer.
So, enjoy the journey my friends; bloopers, messes and all. Have a great week.
New England wife and mom. Faith, fitness, yoga, baking and constantly cleaning my kitchen.