Apricot season has sadly been and gone round our way, but I had a quiet hit with some of those rosy-cheeked fruit and was so chuffed, I felt I had to share it with you good folk.
When I was doing some Googling about how to make apricot sorbet, I found all sorts of recipes with different ratios of sugar, water and fruit. I also found out about the baume scale - a way of finding out how much sugar is in your sorbet. Too much and there's no hope of freezing it, too little and your sorbet's going to be a bit grim. You can buy a gadget to find out, say the kitchen chemists, or see it's at the right place on the baume scale by seeing if an egg will float in it (no. Just no).
That all sounded like too much work (and egg) for this vegan, so I roasted a punnet of apricots (about 400g worth), blended them with 50g of sugar, 50ml of water and 25ml of brandy until smooth. After a spell in the ice cream maker and a stretch in the freezer, I can surprisingly smooth and scoopable sorbet. Take that baume scale! I guess the fruit were ripe enough that I hit on the right level of sugar and water through sheer luck.
I can cook the same recipe in exactly the same way on two different ways, and one can turn out great and the other be an insult to the tastebuds. I think all recipes should have luck as an ingredient. I guess it's hard to pick up in your local supermarket, but I'm sure some days there's some floating around the kitchen and others it's impossible to find.
For other sweet treats, I've been investigating the work of Nakd. They're one of those safe harbours for vegans in most supermarkets and newsagents - you see Nakd, and you're guaranteed something tasty and not bad for you.
I'm a sucker for a new vegan product so when I saw these, despite the fact I loathe raisins, I felt duty bound to give them a go.
I was totally surprised - they were amazing, even to a confirmed raisin hater. I was particularly taken by the cola raisins - like those jelly cola bottles you had when you were little, only without as much sugar or indeed any ground up animal hooves.
Of course, I need to balance my healthy sweet treats with something less virtuous - my very thoughtful other half brought me a great big strawberry cupcake from Vegan Cross. It's nice to see a more restrained hand with the icing - I like a cupcake that doesn't give me a massive sugar high afterwards!
At home, there's also been things in muffin cases this week. I'm gradually coming around to using more vegetables in my baking (thanks to all those clever vegan bloggers out there for showing me the light).
This week, I got to make lunch for my folks, and one that could travel well in a car for a couple of hours - no small challenge. I made some potato salad, carrot top dip with quinoa chips, smoked tofu in a sauce of sundried tomatoes, capers, and basil, and some cornmeal muffins with sweetcorn and courgette.
There was one whole courgette in there and one shucked cob of corn (I still find the verb 'to shuck' amusing. Don't judge me), and for extra corniness, there was a mix of cornmeal and self-raising flour.
I couldn't taste the courgette in there, but I guess they're not normally known for their exceptionally strong flavour. Or was the corn just too powerful? Questions, questions. Where's my kitchen Miss Marple when I need her?
I used this recipe as a basis, with a bit of tinkering and was pleasantly surprised. Even the parental units approved and one even asked for the recipe.
Any more baking recipes with vegetables in? Send em this way. I'm on a roll. Or at least on a muffin.