Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cinnamon fruit bread and frankie casserole

Last weekend was rather busy in the kitchen with a few new recipes on trial. Time has been short since so I will only write about a couple of them and leave the rest for another post.

After cooking dinner on Friday, I found myself flicking through my copy of Vegan Yum Yum. The cinnamon swirl raisin bread had been bookmarked a long time ago although I had never made the effort to try it. Weekend breakfasts haven't been very special of late and they are always savoury so it was time to branch out and try something new.

The step by step instructions in Vegan Yum Yum paired with accompanying instructions were extremely thorough and easy to follow. It's exactly what is required for a recipe of this length. You don't want to mess anything up as the whole process takes about 4 hours from start to end.    

I was fully aware that my pantry did not contain raisins before I started to make the bread although I had planned to use mixed fruit left over from hot cross bun baking instead. When the mixed fruit came up a little short, I made a quick decision to add a few dried cranberries as well.

The construction of this loaf was a lot of fun and although the whole process was lengthy there was plenty of idle time as well. The loaf turned out surprisingly well for a first attempt. My only criticism was that the cinnamon swirl wasn't as prominent at the ends as it was in the middle which was probably due to inconsistencies in rolling out the dough. My son was the biggest fan of us all and requested that I make this often. The man and I found it a tiny bit too sweet (which is probably why my son loved it so much) although this didn't stop me from toasting slices for breakfast for 4 days in a row.      

Frankie casserole was a specialty that my mum used to make frequently throughout my youth. It was a meal that my grandmother also made for mum in her childhood and I recall that one of my aunts also used to make it for my cousins. I'm not sure if it ever came from a written down recipe or whether it was just something that was passed on through experiences in the kitchen. I know it was passed onto me via the latter method.

Traditionally it was made with sausages and some type of casserole beef and the vegies added were always carrots and peas. The sausages were always the highlight of the meal for me and leftovers were particularly nice in a toasted sandwich with cheese. I attempted to make a veg version of this once before using vegie sausages bought from the supermarket and none of us enjoyed it but I had a feeling it was due to the store bought sausages which we have never been fans of.

When I started blogging, chorizo sausages from Viva Vegan were on high rotation and they were being used in a variety of different ways. It was the first gluten based sausage recipe I had trialled and we all loved them. Chorizo sausages aren't really suitable for a non-spicy casserole, so I found a recipe on VeganDad's blog that seemed more appropriate.      

My adaptation of this recipe is posted below although some further tweaking will occur in the future as the seasonings were quite subtle. The sausages were perfect for this casserole although after sneaking a bit before they went into the pot, I'm not sure they had enough flavour to enjoy in piece of bread of bread with tomato sauce. I was pleased to be able to successfully revamp this old meaty childhood dish into tasty vegan fare and will definitely make this again one day.  

Vegan sausages (Adapted from VeganDad's recipe)

1/2 cup cooked cannelini beans
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/4 cup gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Massel "beef" stock
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Mash the cannelini beans in a small bowl until there are no whole beans remaining. Mix the water, olive oil and soy sauce together in a jug. 

In a large bowl, combine the gluten flour, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, "beef" stock, smoked paprika and dried oregano. Make well in the centre, then add the cannelini beans followed by the wet ingredients. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Divide the dough mixture into 6 even pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a sausage shape with your hands. Place the sausage in a piece of aluminium foil, roll up securely but not too tightly and close each end. 

Steam the sausages for 40 minutes in a steamer. Allow to cool completely and then store in the refrigerator. 

Frankie casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 x quantity sausage recipe above
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 small carrots, chopped
8 button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup vegan worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoon BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/4 cup water
1 cup green peas

Heat half of the olive oil in a frying pan, add the sausages and fry over medium heat until golden on all sides. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Chop each sausage into 4 or 5 pieces.

Heat the remaining oil in a large pot, add the the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until soft and golden. Stir through the garlic for a minute then add the carrots, mushrooms, sausages, worchestershire, soy, tomato and BBQ sauces and the water. Bring to the boil and cook rapidly for 10-15 minutes.

Place the cornflour into a small bowl, add 1/4 cup water and stir until it becomes a smooth paste. Reduce the heat of the casserole to low, add the cornflour paste whilst stirring continuously. Mix through the peas and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes.


  1. That bread looks AMAZING for a first attempt! I'm glad that your son appreciated it so much. :-)

  2. Such pretty bread that you would forgive it being a bit sweet - would love to try it some time.

    And I love the name frankie casserole - though I was surprised it didn't have frankfurts in it - I think I had a recipe with frankfurts from when I first moved out of home - but yours reminds me a bit of the sausage casserole that we had a lot as kids and I recreate with veg sausages - I quite like buying them because they are one of the few processed faux meat I like

  3. Thanks Cindy, I'm glad he loved it too otherwise I would have ended up eating the lot!

    Thanks Johanna, I actually forgot to mention in my post that I also glazed the loaf which wasn't in the original recipe and would have added to the sweetness. My mum always called this casserole frankies, and the toasted sandwich leftovers were named frankie jafs (jafs being short for jaffles) which the man thought was hilarious. ;)

  4. That cinnamon fruit bread looks amazing! And I'm so excited to see the vegan sausage recipe - thanks. I'll definitely be trying it :)

  5. Thanks Kari, the vegan sausage recipe seems pretty flexible as you can use the herbs and spices you fancy most. I think the secret is not to be shy with the spicing otherwise they can taste a bit bland.