Food Network Friday – Bacon corn muffins with savoury cream cheese frosting

This choice was partly from me and partly Tami. She was casting around for ideas and I suggested a muffin, because it fitted in with her new project and because I don’t bake enough and need prodding.

I’m not confident enough to freewheel when it comes to baking, so I cast around the internet for ideas. I was partly thinking that I’d do some version of the cornbread in Veganomicon, because I know I like it, and I found that someone else had already done it.
I added in some bacon bits and smoked paprika to the dry mix, but something went wrong because the mix was not at all the right texture going into the oven. It was much too firm but I couldn’t add more liquid because the polenta had absorbed the rest and was a lump. I didn’t have any more ingredients so I put them in the oven anyway.

I was quite prepared to throw them away and started to look around for something else to serve with the chilli, but they came out not as badly as I’d feared – not a soft moist muffin, more like a rock cake, but edible with a faint hint of smokiness. I wish I’d stuck with my initial preference and done a version of the corn muffins from Vegan Bakesale, but I live with a corn hater. For the frosting, I used sour cream which I flavoured with chopped green onion ends, hot sauce, agave and a few more bacon bits. It was loose so I just drizzled it on top.

The chilli in the background is from Vegan Diner. I hadn’t made this version before and I liked it. It went from a pile of ingredients to being dished up in about 20 minutes, and was a nice tasty dish to serve up with the rock cakes muffins.


Chickpeas Romesco with garlic saffron rice

I’ve talked about this dish before but I need to write about it again. It’s one of my favourite meals from Veganomicon but I hardly ever see anyone make it on their blog or talk about on discussion boards. It’s saved me from panic and chaos when gluten free people have visited; I’ve served it to at at least 3 sets of visiting omnivores and it’s honestly just a great meal.

I roast my own red peppers for the chickpeas; because otherwise it’s very easy and doesn’t take too long. But you could use jarred roasted peppers if you were really pushed for time. If you own a Vitamix you don’t even need to blend the sauce in batches because it all fits in in one go. They look just like chickpeas in tomato sauce but there’s so much more to them than that; they’re tangy and nutty and herby and are just delicious. As you know I never reproduce recipes from books on here unless I’ve significantly changed them, but if you want to make this and don’t have Veganomicon (why not?), you could google it and you’ll find it.

The rice is also from Veganomicon. It says it serves 4 but if you are healthy eaters I’d recommend using a bit more. The rice I use cooks a bit quicker too – and I ALWAYS use the optional toasted almonds on it.

With these 2 dishes I always serve something green. My preferred choice is sprouting broccoli but in this case it was greens. I boil them, then drain them and add to a frying pan with olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes, capers and salt. The yummy capers cut through the sweetness of the sauce in the chickpeas perfectly.

If you are vegan and own Veganomicon and haven’t made this, hang your head in shame. And even if you aren’t, and you don’t, then you really ought to.