Potato and Asparagus Salad (with some Celery)

Potato Salad is the taste of my childhood. Along with Sara Lee Gateau and Twiglets, I could devour a huge bowl of Potato Salad on my own, snarling at anyone who dares to wave so much as a teaspoon near MY bowl.
Let's elaborate here. I am an only child. I was not indulged in the same way as Edward from the Count of Monte Cristo ("Oh, it amuses me!"), far from it, but when my favourite food was available in the house, I got to eat the lion's share of it. There was no bickering at the table over who got the last sausage or pancake. I kind of wish there had been though.
This expectance of my favourite foods being mine all the time started to become challenged at that most heinous of things "the family get-together" when I then have to vie with the other potato lover of the family, my grandmother. And she lived through the war. And three children. She doesn't mess around when it comes to getting her potatoes. And as she survived all these things she does not see why she should share potatoes. Why, they are her hard-earned right.
I see fireworks in our future.
Skulking up to my bedroom with my tiny (mixing bowl sized) portion of potato salad, I put Blonde on Blonde on my super-duper stacking midi-system record player (what no CD player??) and sink into a foot-tapping sulk.
Even today I am reluctant to share MY food. I will cook for you, piles and piles of food. That is your food. This small (mixing bowl sized) portion of Potato Salad is for ME. Hence, this recipe for a Potato and Asparagus Salad (with some Celery) is enough to serve me, or four non-possessive Potato Salad eaters.

Potato and Asparagus Salad (with some Celery)
750g Jersey Royal (or any small salad) Potatos, boiled and cooled
Bunch Asparagus, boiled for a couple of minutes so that they still retain texture, not mush
1 stick Celery, finely chopped
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
Juice and Zest from 1 Lemon
2 tbsp finely chopped Chives
Salt and Pepper

Slice the potatoes in half. Chop the asparagus into thirds. Place in a small (mixing bowl sized) bowl, along with the celery and chives.
Whisk the Olive Oil, Mustard, Lemon and zest in a jug and pour over the vegetables. Mix thoroughly but gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I like to chill it in the fridge but very rarely can wait. However, all the flavours will amalgate better if you let it sit for a bit.

Vegan Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns

This recipe is an amalgamation of different ideas, theories and online gluten-free recipes (thank you to Gluten Free On A Shoestring!).
I have had many disasters trying to make Hot Cross Buns. Sometimes the dough was too tough and just didn't rise. Other times the buns came out of the oven like snooker balls!
I have since realised that the only way to make a successful gluten-free bread-type dough is to keep the dough like the consistency of a cake batter. On the upside: NO KNEADING!!
So, after reworking and veganising a recipe for Panettone, which I had some success with at Christmas time, I managed to produce some yummy Hot Cross Buns!
Where I state "blend the batter for 5 minutes" I mean it! Seriously, this extended time spent beating the batter will ensure plenty of air and bubbles in your batter, and consequently your buns.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Hot Cross Buns


adapted from a recipe by glutenfreeonashoestring.com
2½ cups Self-raising gluten-free flour
½ cup Sugar
3 tsp Instant Yeast
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tsp Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon
225g Raisins
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
½ tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
½ cup warm Milk
1¼ cups Vegan Yogurt
1 stick (112 grams) vegan Butter
For the cross (optional)
75g Gluten-Free White Flour
5 tbsp Water


3 tbsp Apricot Jam, warmed, to glaze


Method:
In a jug, whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, cream of tartar and salt.
Pour over the whisked together yogurt mixture and warm milk and, using an electric hand whisk start beating in the vegan butter, dropping it in by tablespoonsful.
Now beat for 5 minutes. This step is crucial as it incorporates air into the batter.
Then beat in the raisins until fully mixed.
The dough will resemble cake batter.
Now, you can either drop by the 3 tablespoonfuls of the mixture, spaced 2 inches apart, onto a greased baking sheet (giving you a flatter bun) or half-fill greased muffin cups with the mixture.
Now leave to rise for at least 2 hours. The rise will not be huge but the air that we incorporated through the beating will ensure a light dough.
Preheat oven to 180c.
If you want to make the cross, whisk together the 75g flour with the water until you get a thick, smooth paste. Pour into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes until just turning golden. If you overcook, they will be dry.
Once baked, remove from the oven and brush immediately with the warm apricot jam to glaze.

Avocado Peanut Butter Mousse

This is a beautifully simplistic pudding, less a traditional mousse and more resembling those instant pudding mixes that I fell in love with when I first met my husband.
I added a couple of teaspoons of my new favourite product, powdered peanut butter, which has much less fat than regular peanut butter, and just adds a hint of peanut flavour to this chocolate mousse.

Avocado Cacao Peanut Butter Mousse
Ingredients
1 ripe Avocado
¼ cup Cacao Powder (or Cocoa in a pinch)
¼ cup Non-Dairy Milk
2 tsp Peanut Butter Powder (or just peanut butter)
Pinch Sea Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Soft Dried Figs (for a delicious crunchy texture)
1 tsp Agave Syrup (or to taste)

Place all the ingredients in a blender or mini food processor and blitz until smooth.
That's it!!

Here's a throwback to a Tofu Chocolate Mousse that I made many moons ago on my Writing at the Kitchen Table blog. I served it in a Filo Cup which I thought was completely ingenious.