Savoury Herby Soda Bread

It seems to me that savoury bakes and snacks can be harder to make and source if you avoid things like eggs, milk, sesame and nuts. Maybe that’s because I’ve become more and more adept at creating interesting sweet dishes, and there’s so much variety when you take into account cakes, biscuits, breads, chocolates and sweets. Or maybe, you miss those ingredients even more in savoury items – there is certainly a reliance on cheese, nuts and seeds when you look at savoury offerings.

For savoury items, there always seems to be a point where you want more than crisps or plain crackers (of only certain varieties mind), but you want something interesting and appetising. This might be a quick snack or an exciting addition to a soup or salad for lunch, and if it can be made in a flash then that’s always a bonus.

Thinking of quick, soda bread came to mind. Bread can be the highlight of a meal or a wonderful snack to graze on whilst waiting for the main event.

This version uses curdled soya milk to replace the buttercream which gives superbly authentic results, plus a super savoury ‘cheese’ and chive vibe to fit with my craving for more savoury bakes in our repertoire. If you’ve ever made my equally delicious savoury scones you’ll be familiar with the flavour profile. 

If you like other herbs then just sub them in; rosemary and thyme would be rather nice, as would the softer parsley or chervil. The beauty of this bread is that it really is quick – you can have it made, baked and ready in about 40 minutes – perfect for those times when you find the bread bin empty!

We ate this loaf, fresh from the oven with a spicy lentil and coconut soup (a delicious Ottolenghi recipe) and then warmed up the next day as a tasty addition to a picky bits lunch. Do you have those, or is it just us when we’re trying a use up the contents of the fridge but still have an interesting lunch!

Savoury ‘Cheese’ and Chive Soda Bread

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 makes 1 loaf

210g soya milk

15g vinegar (white wine or cider)

1 tsp marmite

300g plain flour

20g oats (plus a few more to scatter on top)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tbsp chives

1 tsp dried oregano

30g dairy-free butter/margarine, cubed

40g dairy-free cheese, cubed (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Line a baking sheet with parchment
  2. Pour the milk into a jug, add the vinegar and marmite and leave to ‘sour’
  3. Place all the other ingredients except the butter and cheese into a bowl or stand mixer.
  4. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips, or using the paddle attachment.
  5. Stir the soured milk and pour into the dry mix. Bring together to a very soft dough. Stir in the cheese cubes, if using.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead to form a smooth ball, you’ll probably need a fair amount of flour
  7. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and sprinkle over a few more oats. Cut a deep cross in the top (this will help let the carbon dioxide created by the bicarb and cream of tartar escape in a controlled fashion). Let sit for 20 minutes, uncovered on the worktop
  8. Place in the prewarmed oven and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 170 degrees Centigrade and bake for a further 15 minutes until golden and crusty. (30 minutes baking time in total)
  9. Cool on a wire rack.

Savoury Pretzels

Snacks – I don’t think we’d get through a day without snacks and that’s always particularly apparent at the weekend or in the school holidays. Biscuits and cakes are all well and good but sometimes savoury is the only way to go. Crisps are great, everyone loves crisps right? But they’re not exactly filling and nutritious.

I have a small repertoire of interesting savoury options: sausage rolls, savoury scones, cheesy crackers etc but I’m always on the look out for new ideas which are not only suitable but pleasing to everyone. Then I spied some big pretzels for sale – now that looks like a good idea. Chewy, bread based and certainly filling. I’ve never really delved into the wonderful world of pretzels before but in doing some research it seems they’re often served with mustard. Bingo! Inspiration! So here’s my take on savoury pretzels, topped with a mustard glaze and because dips make everything better, served with a sweet mustard sauce. These certainly keep those hunger pangs at bay with a satisfying snack. They also make great tasty sandwich rolls 😋

Savoury Pretzels

(Dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian, can be vegan) contains mustard

makes 8-10

500g strong bread flour

7g dried fast action yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp honey or maple syrup

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

300 ml warm water

2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (for the boiling water)

for the glaze:

1 tbsp honey or maple syrup

1 tbsp mustard

1 tbsp oil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

  1. Mix together all the ingredients except the bicarbonate of soda to form a dough and knead well until smooth silky and you can feel the gluten and firmed up the dough. Cover and leave to prove for at least one hour.
  2. Knock back and cut into 8-10 even sized pieces. Roll each one into a sausage shape with slightly tapered ends, then tie in a lose knot. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet and let rise for another 30 minutes. 
  3. Preheat the over to 200 degrees centigrade
  4. Bring a pan of water to the boil, once boiling tip in the bicarbonate of soda and drop each knot into the boiling solution for about 5 seconds.
  5. Remove and place on an oiled baking sheet.
  6. Brush with a little of the glaze and bake for 15 minutes until deeply golden
  7. Transfer to a wire rack and bush with the remaining glaze and sprinkle over a little salt. Leave to cool.
  8. Serve fresh with a dip of equal parts honey/syrup and mustard pepped up with a dash of hot sauce.
  9. These pretzels also freeze well. Defrost thoroughly and then refresh in a hot oven for a few minutes.

Quick Savoury Straws

Now it’s December we can officially get all Christmassy, which is really exciting as I have an ever expanding list of Christmas themed ideas which I need to get on with. Some of these have been on the back burner for some time, because if they don’t get posted before Christmas then they have to be kept til the following year. This is very frustrating when they’re fantastic recipes that need sharing! As you may have guessed, I have some knock-out sweet recipes lined up for the next few weeks, but here’s an easy savoury snack for the party season.

With so much festive time spent at home or visiting friends and family, the savoury snack has a crucial place for filling gaps between meals or to nibble on with drinks. In my view there’s nothing quite like something with a crispy crunch when you feel like a savoury snack. Having to avoid certain food stuffs really restricts the choices of savoury snacks available – of course no Christmas nuts in this house, no cheese based treats, indeed no Twiglets either – sad times!

Ok there is a choice of certain flavours and brands of crisps which we rely upon (we’re all big crisp fans in this household) and some popcorn brands are a good option but after that the choices get a little dull or difficult. So, the brief is a savoury snack which is easy to make, savoury and tempting too. Something that’s a little reminiscent of a cheese straw – light, crispy and oh so tangy? Welcome then  savoury stars which are irresistible savoury nibbles that are made in a flash. You may say, ‘oh I don’t like marmite so I’ll hate these’. Fair enough, but in my experience even marmite haters tend to enjoy these savoury crispy batons – it’s just a way of giving them a salty tang. I don’t tend to use ‘dairy-free’ cheese often, but on this occasion it does lift the taste to a new level. Make them any length/width you like – the photos show some that are long and elegant, some short and kind of chubby; all equally delicious.

 

Quick Savoury Straws

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 20+

1/2 pack ready made puff pastry

1 tbsp marmite

a few drops of water

a sprinkle of dairy-free grated cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degreesC/gas mark 7
  2. Roll out the pastry, trying to make a nice even rectangle
  3. Thin the marmite with a few drops of water and spread over the pastry. Sprinkle with the dairy-free cheese. A couple of tbsp should be plenty.
  4. Fold the pastry in half and roll it out a little more.
  5. Cut 1cm thick strips and then twist a few times. Place on a lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and puffed up.
  7. They will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container.

Egg-free Savoury Pancakes

egg-free savoury Dutch style pancakes

Pancakes – such a great staple recipe. We often have sweet pancakes for breakfast and whilst I’ve yet to create a family friendly egg-free and dairy-free savoury crepe filling, I’ve always wanted a savoury brunch/lunch style pancake in our repertoire.
These lovely flat Dutch style pancakes are inspired by our trip to the Pancake House at Center Parcs, which for us was a total revelation. Never before (or again) have we had the opportunity of eating egg and dairy free pancakes in a restaurant!

These Dutch style pancakes are basically a fluffy pancake batter topped with savoury morsels of choice; I used a combination of veggie sausage, sautéed onion and mushroom, and fresh tomato to give a Full English Breakfast effect. Little S had normal sausage and sweet corn as Dee’s brand veggie sausages and burgers may contain nuts and she HATES mushrooms and onions! Served with a side a baked beans, these fluffy but also crisp around the edges savoury pancakes make a truly delightful lunch or brunch.

Dee’s Wholefoods kindly contacted me and asked me to review their products and perhaps produce a recipe for them. I’d say their savoury leek and onion sausages make a fantastic addition to these egg and dairy-free savoury pancakes. Their herby, aromatic flavour and pleasing texture make them a great addition to a recipe or delicious eaten alongside some wonderful roasted ratatouille and mashed potato, as shown below.

Dee's vegetarian sausages with roasted ratatouille and mash

Dee’s Wholefoods is a brand worth championing. With fully vegan credentials they produce some thoroughly delicious and interesting vegan ready meals and products. Their veg pots are particularly tasty and a great quick meal in the office or before heading out for my evening yoga class. The Thai veg pot is rich with lentils and squash and packs a real punch of flavour and (be warned!) spice! It’s a rare thing of a ready produced meal where you feel quite healthy having eaten it! Well done Dee’s you fill a space in the market with some truly tasty and inspired products, just a pity of the blanket nut warning on all.

Dee's vegan Thai veg pots

Savoury Pancakes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan savoury pancakes

serves 4

250g self-raising flour, sieved

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp aquafaba (Water from a tin of beans or chickpeas)

450 ml dairy-free milk, I used Oatly

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl
  2. Whisk in the aquafaba and milk to make a smooth batter with the consistency of single cream.
  3. Set aside for at least half an hour
  4. Heat a frying pan to medium hot, add a drizzle of oil and pour in a ladleful of batter. Swirl around to coat the pan.
  5. Scatter topping ingredients* on top, drizzle over a little more batter and when the pancake is starting to look dry and crisping around the edges either carefully flip and continue to cook for about 30 seconds before flipping to serve. Or briefly place under a hot grill to finish cooking the top.
  6. Keep warm on a lightly oiled baking sheet whilst cooking the rest.
  7. *I used pieces of Dee’s veggie sausages, sautéed mushrooms and onions and fresh tomato for a full English brunch vibe.

cooking egg-free savoury Dutch pancakes

Super Easy Savoury Crackers

dairy-free savoury crackers

I’m constantly striving to find more savoury snack options – it’s so easy to revert to a sweet snack when you’re avoiding dairy and eggs and nuts. Even breadsticks which you would imagine are as plain as plain can be are a no- no if you can’t go near sesame. Besides, whilst crisps are delicious and often available, they’re best eaten in moderation and not always the go to savoury snack. I have a few savoury options on my site already – ‘mini cheddars‘, savoury nibbles, scones and breadsticks to name but a few. But, ‘variety is the spice of life’ and other choices are always welcome, especially ones as easy as these. These deeply rich, tangy and savoury biscuits are a wonderful thing – a great, almost addictive, little bite which really keeps the taste buds entertained.

If marmite isn’t your bag, and it is after all a love or hate it product, then miso would make a great alternative..
savoury biscuits, dairy-free

Super Easy Savoury Crackers

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free, egg-free, sesame-free crackers

Makes about 20

100g plain flour

70g dairyfree margarine

1 tsp marmite

1 tsp dried chives

  1. Pulse together all the ingredients in a food processor until they come together to form a dough
  2. Roll out and stamp out or cut out shapes
  3. Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes until starting to turn golden around the edges
  4. Cool on a wire rack
  5. These keep well for several days in a sealed container

free-from savoury biscuits

Mango Chutney Crackers

mango chutney crackers, dairy-free

I don’t know where this idea came from, it just pretty much popped into my head when I was thinking of making my curried lentil soup the other day. Seemed logical to make something that would compliment the soup I was making, to match the spices. Something crisp and crunchy to go with smooth soup.

So I present these cracker shortbreads flavoured with sweet tangy mango chutney and cumin seeds. Not sure why I’ve never used mango chutney in any other cooking. They also make a nice cracker to serve with cheese (dairy-free or not, depending on your preferences and needs) or with a dip.

Mango Chutney Crackers

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

mango chutney crackers, vegan

Makes about 12

1 cup flour

1 1/2 tbsps dairy free margarine

2 tbsps mango chutney

1/2 tsp curry powder

Pinch of salt

Cumin seeds to sprinkle

  1. Rub the margarine into the flour, curry powder and salt until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the mango chutney and gently bring together to form a soft dough
  3. Roll out and cut out shapes, sprinkle with cumin seeds.

chutney crackers4. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 180 degrees for 12 minutes 

egg-free chutney crackers

 

Scandinavian Style Potato Pancakes

IMG_5396

Fancy stepping outside of the norm this pancake day? Well here’s a Scandi-inspired delightfully savoury pancake recipe perfect for a different take on shrove Tuesday. By adding mashed potato to a pancake mix you get a more filling and naturally savoury and satisfying dish. I topped mine with tofutti soured cream alternative and homemade chilli jam to great effect. Roasted tomatoes and mushrooms are also wonderful, or opt for any slightly tart jam for a traditional feel.

Scandinavian Style Potato Pancakes (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_5394-0

makes about 15

  • 1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 cup mashed potato, leftovers are ideal!

– Whisk together the dairy-free milk, oil, flour, salt and baking powder

– Whisk in the mashed potato, making sure there are no lumps. Set aside for at least half an hour.

– Fry spoonfuls in a hot oiled frying pan until lightly golden on each side

– Keep warm in the oven until they’re all done. Serve.

IMG_5395

Egg-Free Herby Savoury French Toast

IMG_5495 I really really wanted to find another addition to our limited breakfast repertoire. Pancakes are our ‘go to’ special breakfast but everyone needs a bit of variety now and then. I was thinking about how our breakfasts veer towards the sweet (unless marmite is involved!) and how it would be nice to have some savoury options to hand. I then remembered eating eggy bread with tomato ketchup at University – and how would that work egg-free? So last weekend we had this experimental breakfast – wow, what a hit! You’d never think eggy bread could work without the eggs, but boy does it work well! Somehow the cornflour enables the milky mix to cling correctly to the bread and the herbs make it lean just enough towards the savoury. So how happy am I? Another breakfast of champions perfect for cold wintery days with no milk or eggs 🙂

Egg-free Herby Savoury French Toast (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan) IMG_5497

  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence or dried thyme/oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Slices of slightly stale bread (2 per person)
  • Flavourless oil for frying

– Place the flours, herbs and seasoning into a shallow bowl

– Add a little bit of milk to make a smooth paste, then whisk in the rest of the milk, let sit for at least 10 minutes

– When ready to cook, heat a little oil over a medium heat, dunk a couple of slices in the milk mix and pace in the frying pan

– Cook until golden, then turn over and repeat on the other side.

– Keep warm until ready to eat. Serve with sauce of choice. My children favour tomato ketchup, I’m quite keen on a dash of smokey chipotle Tabasco or some roasted cherry tomatoes. IMG_5494

Salt and Vinegar Crackers

Those with limited diets have so few options for savoury snacks – for us nuts are out of the question, most savoury options are cheesy and you can definitely have too many crisps. These little salt and vinegar crackers are super-tangy and savoury, and equally moreish and tempting – a little something to bridge the gap until meal time. This recipe uses nutritional yeast, which although doesn’t sound very attractive is such a useful weapon for giving dishes some savoury depth.

Salt and Vinegar Crackers (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_7190makes about 30-60 (depending on size!)

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 5 tbsps dairy-free spread
  • rock salt to sprinkle
  • oat milk to brush

– Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade/gas mark 5
– In a food processor, pulse together all the ingredients except the balsamic until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (or rub the spread into the dry ingredients by hand)
– Add the balsamic vinegar to make a dough
– On a floured surface roll out the dough to 1/2 cm thick and cut out shapes with mini cookie cutters
– Place on an cookie sheet, rush tops with oat milk and sprinkle with rock salt
– Bake for 10-15 minutes until starting to turn golden
– Cool
– These will keep well for a few days in a sealed container

IMG_7187