Perhaps it’s because, deep within my DNA, lurks British roots. Not that deep, actually, my grandfather was born in a suburb of London.
I’m pretty sure he never ate a scone like this one, though. For starters, it’s vegan, which would probably horrify my British ancestors. A scone made without butter?? Sacrilege!
Furthermore, these bad boys incorporate an entire sweet potato into the batter. Whaaa??? Yep, that’s right, there’s hidden vegetables in them thar scones.
However, my colonizing ancestors might have approved of the chai spice in these that makes them super delicious.
Use a good chai tea in these. If your tea is old and tired, it’ll affect the flavour.
This recipe is pretty big–if you are making these just for you, you might want to halve it. Or just make the whole recipe and freeze some. They are really good served with a little Earth Balance and some jam, or you could go savory and have them with slices of apples and cheese.
1 large sweet potato, or 2 small ones (note: they look like yams, but are lighter in colour, and are white on the inside instead of orange)
1 15 oz can of coconut milk
3 bags of your favorite black chai tea
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour (or you could try it with gluten-free flour)
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Peel the sweet potatoes and place them in a pot with enough water to cover them on the stove and then turn up the heat to a boil. Allow to cook until they are soft and easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the heat and place them aside to cool a little. Do not drain.
When the sweet potatoes have cooled a little, scoop them up from the pot with a slotted spoon and place them in a blender. Puree the sweet potatoes, adding a bit of the water they were cooked in if necessary.
In a medium saucepan, add the coconut milk and two tea bags, turn up the heat to a simmer, but don’t allow it to boil. Once it reaches that point, turn off the heat, and set aside to steep.
In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, including the contents 3rd tea bag which you have ripped open.
Once the tea bags have been steeping 5-10 minutes, remove them from the milk, making sure to squeeze them out to get all that chai flavour into the milk. Add the milk, maple syrup and vanilla to the sweet potato puree in the blender, and give it a blitz until it’s combined.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients (in the bowl) and pour the wet into it.
Mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a shaggy ball.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment, and plop the dough onto it. Make it into a large circle, and pat it down to about 1-2″ thick. Score the dough on the top with a knife, creating 8 “pie slices.” Sprinkle the whole works with a couple of tablespoons of sugar.
Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool and then cut over your score marks to make 8 individual scones. Best eaten warm.
What is it about tacos?? They are the kind of thing you can eat with one hand, and you can pretty much make them with anything. They are a delicious, self-contained unit that includes all four food groups. And you know what else?? They’re really, really fun. There’s a reason many families have “do-it-yourself” taco nights–because building your taco and all the different flavour combinations make it so much fun.
Any good taco has 5 great parts:
Shell: some folks like the texture of a crispy shell, others appreciate the soft shell
Protein: you can go with pretty much anything here. Traditionally, it’s cheaper cuts of meat, like ground beef or slow-roasted pork shoulder. Fish, of course, is awesome if you live on the ocean. But you can go vegetarian and vegan, quite easily with a product like Yves Veggie Ground Round, or the lentil technique I’m about to show you.
Veggies: veggies add texture and crunch. Traditionally, it’s lettuce, but I like a nice cabbage-based slaw, as well. Again, pretty much anything goes, here.
Cheese: smoothes everything out, gives you that creamy mouthfeel. Easy enough to sub in a vegan cheese like Daiya if you are vegan or lactose-intolerant.
Condiments: salsa, hot sauce, sour cream (if you need to cool it down), you can go as spicy or as mild as you like.
I made two different versions of these tacos; one vegetarian, and one vegan. I used the same base recipe, made from black lentils. The vegan version I topped with a crunchy kale, green apple and jicima slaw, and the vegetarian option I topped more traditionally, with cheese, lettuce, tomato and sour cream.
On the left, Vegan with a kale/jicima/apple slaw, on the right, more traditional toppings, including cheese, lettuce and tomato.
The great thing about this base is that you can let you imagination fly. You could create a tortilla pie (kind of like a Mexican version of lasagne) with it, or make it into enchiladas. It would also be great melted into quesadillas.
1 cube vegetable stock (or substitute the 3 cups water for your own homemade vegetable stock)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, chopped small
1 tbsp soy or tamari (to keep it gluten free)
2 tbsp apple juice or cider
1 package taco seasoning OR use the following spices to your taste: chili powder, cumin, chili flakes, paprika
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
additional water as needed
Bring water (with vegetable stock cube dissolved in it) or stock to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the lentils and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook, half-covered, for about half an hour, until tender. Drain the excess water off (if there’s any left) and reserve.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat, and then add in the onion. Stir well and allow to soften, about 3 minutes. If you are using fresh spices, and not a taco seasoning mix, now is the time to add them. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms start to lose some of their liquid, about another 3 minutes. Add the lentils, soy sauce, and apple juice. Stir well, then add the taco seasoning, if using it. Add the apple juice and stir well.
At this point, taste for seasonings, and more salt, pepper, chili or cumin if needed. I like to mash mine up a little with a potato masher or a fork so that they aren’t totally uniform. Add more water if you need to, to get the lentils to that stewy consistency.
Serve with soft or hard taco shells, and your favourite toppings.