Vegan Treats and A Market
It means getting up at six on a Sunday, baking up a storm with the girls and then, more often than not, leaving the kitchen an icing sugar dusted chaos of baking trays and mixing bowls for my husband to sort out, as we dash for the door bearing trays and containers of crunchies, muffins and iced biscuits.
Last month I had two customers asking if I had anything vegan. I didn’t. All my baking is lavish with real butter. But I promised to work out a vegan version of my crunchie recipe and bring it to the next market. I reckoned I could replace the butter with coconut oil, decrease the refined sugar quotient (to make them healthier) by using molasses instead of syrup and go from there. What I didn’t know was quite how the texture would turn out. Would they be crunchy, or cakey, or crumbly? I left it till the last minute to try out, so only on Saturday did I put my re-jigged recipe to the test. It worked.
They were crunchy and only a tiny bit crumbly. And they tasted good, though of course different to real butter crunchies – more deep molasses flavour and less buttery toffee smoothness. I’m not going to share the recipe just yet, as I want to tweak the quantities a bit more, but I sold most of them and had good feedback.
The other coincidentally vegan recipe I’d been meaning to try ever since I read it on Lucullian Delights was farinata. It’s a traditional Italian flatbread-come-pancake made with chickpea flour. It’s the perfect example of Italy’s cucina povera coming up with the ultimate in dishes catering to modern food preferences – gluten free and vegan - and is very easy to make. It’s a brilliant snack or accompaniment to a meal, if you have unexpected vegan or gluten intolerant visitors to cater for.
I’d bumped into some chana flour in our local Spar, so grabbed it (pretty sure that I remembered chana meant chickpea). Then I tried the recipe out on my family in the week, was very surprised that the girls really liked it, and decided that farinata too must come to the market.
We have home-grown onions hanging in the garage, tomatoes being harvested quicker than I can cope with them, so I was even able to feel virtuous about its organic locally grown ingredients... apart from the flour of course which was bound to be flown in from somewhere far-off!
It was a hot day and the market rather quiet, as people headed for the beach instead of inland sun spots, but I sold most of my wares. The girls were busy with organising and taking part in games for their school stall, so were rather weary by the end but nothing that a refreshing dip in the pool wouldn’t fix as soon as we got home again.