Friday, 28 September 2007

So, I had this massive head of brocolli...

... and it has appeared in most of my food this week! Nice simple, easy, and tasty dinner of stir fried brown rice, tofu, brocolli (all vegan cliches?), flavoured with some soy sauce and crushed garlic.

I usually marinade the tofu myself, but since there wasn't any plain stuff in stock when I went shopping, I used Cauldron's garlic and ginger ready-marinaded stuff instead. It's pricey, but gorgeous! And makes stir fries superly-easy 4/5 for the review
Next up is basic pasta from Alternative Vegan by Dino Sarma, using wholewheat spaghetti, with brocolli added. This is a super-easy and cheap dish to make, so I make it for my lunch frequently.

More Dino Sarma inspiration going on here- after listening to his segment on the latest Vegan Freaks' podcast, I tried cooking with whole cloves of garlic for the first time with my roast baby potatoes. They've also been drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with a pinch of rosemary and thyme. This was a triumph and I'll be doing it again sometime in the near future! I also ate all of the cooked cloves of garlic..mmmm!!

This is served alongside goodlife butternut squash roasts in tomato sauce, they were ok, edible , a bit on the bland side though and rather pricey, so they're only being awarded a mediocre 3/5. And of course, the obligatory brocolli for this post's theme!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Viva! roadshow comes to Glasgow

If you're free this Saturday between 10.30am-4.30pm, drop into the Royal concert hall for some free food, which I am volunteering to hand out in the morning! For details-


Saturday 29 September 2007, 10.30am to 4.30pm
The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (Strathclyde Suite, Level 3)

Directions: The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is located at the junction of Buchanan Street and Sauciehall Street, next to the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre.

Admission £1, under 10s free

Come along to Viva!'s Incredible Veggie Roadshow and enjoy, with family and friends, a fantastic day out. You can:

  • Taste a whole range of veggie foods from international dishes you can whiz up at home to ready-to-go convenience foods
  • Receive one-to-one nutritional advice
  • Pick up free recipes and helpful factsheets
  • Sit in on cookery demos and informative talks
  • Browse and buy lots of veggie goodies – from chocolate to cruelty-free cosmetics, bags to books, convenience foods to clothing, wallets to wallcharts and cuddly toys to T-shirts and more!
  • Find out how you can get active

So if you've ever given the idea of going veggie a go but need a helping hand, come along, and pick up your free copy of our It’s Time to go Veggie magazine, packed with tips, recipes, celebrity views, nutritional info and detailing the many reasons why "it's time to go veggie"!!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

chilli, garlic toast and brocolli pasta bake

Sorry for the long break, I'll be back with more food soon, promise! Above, a bit if brocolli added to my macaroni "cheese" recipe for added tastiness and healthiness.
Leftover chilli served as a snack atop some nachos.

And some garlic toast for a quick side dish. Garlic bread doesn't need to be in the form of a baguette!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Junk food ... and possibly the worst pic in the history of blogging

The camera has been a bit dodgy lately, so I have missed a few photo oppurtunities, and there is a bit much light in a few of these, but here we go...
First up, here's a nice healthy dinner, curry with tofu, bell peppers, broccoli and onions served over a bed of quinoa.
Next up, a product review for Redwoods' Cheatin' rashers- these are supposed to imitate bacon, but it's been so long I can't remember what it tastes like! I do however, like them for themselves, they're kinda chewy with a salty taste, and go lovely in a fry up. Jay says they don't quite taste like bacon as he remembers it, but he also likes them in themselves. Pricey, and not too healthy, so they lose a few points for that, but being damn tasty earns them an 8/10.
No, it's not cheese on toast, it's super-melting mozzarella cheezly on toast, another in the redwoods' cheatin' range, with crushed black pepper on top. It doesn't taste exactly like the real thing, not quite as stringy as I vaguely remember it, but again, it's nice in itself. Another 8/10.

Any new vegans, or those considering going vegan, might want to leave it for a bit before trying fake cheeses so they appreciate them for themselves rather than compare them to real cheese. I remember trying fake cheese shortly after initially going vegan and not being very fond on it, but after trying it again recently, I love this one.
Mmm... apple pie crumb muffins from Vegan With A Vengeance, I made some for my parents, who've had them before and like them, but of course I had to road test them before giving them away. They're very more-ish ;), spicy, sweet and gorgeous.

Last but not least, for your amusement, possibly the worst picture in the history of blogging! I'd eaten half my dinner before remembering I'd forgotten to take a pic- my bad! Nevermind though, I've drew on some broccoli, peas and sweetcorn using msn paint! :)

It's another vwav recipe, mashed potatoes and punk rock chickpea gravy, and some wicken fen veggie sausages. The gravy wasn't traditional british gravy as I knew it, but it was quite tasty, and I might even eat it as a soup(in fact I did exactly that with the leftovers!) The mashed potatoes, as you can see, have their skins left on for added nutrients since theyre full of vitamin C and other goodies(nothing to do with the fact I'm too lazy to peel...honest!), and the veggies... well, they're not going to earn me a job as a graphic designer anytime soon... (Have a look at some better use of ms paint here though-

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Cookies and din-dins

First up, here are some apricot and almond tea cookies from How it all Vegan, by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard. Except that they're mixed chopped nut and apricot cookies, since I used up the last of my chopped almonds for breakfast the other day, with cereal and soya yogurt. Anyway, I digress, they were just as yummy with the mixed nuts. I only made half the quantity in the recipe though, I tend to find cookie quantities in many cookbooks are massive, and that will make me massive too if I eat them all myself!

Next up, a product review, for Goodlife Nut Cutlets-
If you can read the print on the box, it says they're suitable for vegetarians- it also tells you on the back below the ingredients that they're suitable for vegans, which seems silly, why not add "and vegans"to the front?? Another complaint about the printing on the box is the cooking time, it says 20 mins, which does cook them through but leave them a bit soggy- I add another 10 mins to that to get them nice and crispy :) That aside, they're a great standby to have in the freezer for those nights you can't be bothered doing a lot of preparation, and taste pretty damn good served with a nice sauce, like cranberry, ketchup or even mango chutney, or as a burger as shown on the box. 4/5
Here they are served up with a couple of sides from Alternative Vegan by Dino Sarma, potato rounds and basic broccoli. The potato rounds only take a few minutes to prepare and are a cheap, healthy and tasty way to eat potatoes. Between this and my own wedges recipe, I no longer buy frozen packs of potato wedges, when I can make things like this myself!

Monday, 3 September 2007

cookbook reviews

(I have also posted these reviews on Amazon)

Alternative Vegan by Dino Sarma-

This is a vegan cookbook with a difference- it doesn't rely on meat substitutes and instead has recipes showcasing how tasty vegan food can be. There's a very helpful guide to kitchen equipment at the beginning and it's great for beginners or experienced cooks alike. The basic recipes section really *is* basic, with few ingredients and simple instructions, but innovative ideas that work really well. Even the advanced section is easy to follow. Variations are offered for many of the recipes if you dislike or don't have certain ingredients, and the author encourages you to adapt recipes to your own tastes rather than stick rigidly to the recipes, which is great. This book is a great all-rounder, but particularly good for anyone with soya allergies or anyone who just wants a vegan cookbook that's a bit different from the rest. Highly recommended. 5/5

Vegan with a vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz-

I bought this cookbook on the merit of the chocolate chip cookies that a friend brought to a party (they were AMAZING, every bit as good if not better than the ones I used to buy from cookie bars in my pre-vegan days!) and her recommendation, and I haven't been disappointed, since everything I've tried yet has been just as good! Both the sweet and savoury recipes in here are outstanding, and there's something for all tastes, from exotic curries to old, pre-vegan favourites like pizzas. As well as great recipes, she also offers tips on having a well stocked pantry and the best kind of equipment to buy and use. It's a great book for beginners and experienced cooks alike. 5/5

The wholefoods diabetic cookbook by Pat Stevenson-

I bought this book and I'm very unimpressed indeed. There is a lot of diabetes health information, although I knew all of this already and just wanted some new recipe ideas, but unfortunately, as a cookbook it's very poor indeed- there aren't very many recipes, and there are whole pages dedicated to things which should really IMHO just be footnotes. One "recipe" for example is for "lighter side of blt" which is basically telling you to make up a blt using shop-bought faux bacon and wholemeal bread... as if that isn't glaringly obvious! There's a couple of okay recipes thrown in, but lots of fillers. If it's recipes you're after, buy a regular vegan cookbook instead, and just avoid using sugar and processed "white" foods. 1/5(as a cookbook)

How It All Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard-

More than just a cookbook with tasty, easy-to-follow recipes, it also has sections on kids lunchboxes, homemade cleaners and toiletries, nutrition advice, and non-vegan ingredients to avoid to name but a few, making it a great first cookbook for a new vegan. 5/5

Easy vegan cooking by Leah Leneman-

Does exactly what it says in the title with fairly simple yet innovative ideas. It's divided neatly into sections(ie legumes, nuts etc) making it easy to browse, and has some nutrition advice in the foreward. My only gripe is that I find myself adapting a lot of the recipes to taste, as they can be fairly bland and require a little more seasoning for a spice-fiend like me! Most of the recipes are very healthy, but I'm of the strong belief that wholemeal flour can ruin the taste and texture of sauces and cakes, I just switch it to white and they turn out lovely! 4/5

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Lasagne and garlic bread

This is my own recipe for lasagne, using the bolognese sauce and (half amounts of the) "cheese" sauce recipes on here-, layered with sheets of wholewheat lasagne(you don't have to precook them first, just layer them on) with a little nutritional yeast sprinkled on top, and baked at 220 C for 40 mins.

I just broke the lasagne sheets up a little to get them into the round casserole dish. It tastes better than it looks! This is the remains of a fresh loaf of bread Jay had for lunch, spread generously in my homemade garlic margarine and baked to make garlic bread as a side for the lasagne. Unfortunately, the lasagne was a bit messy thgis time(but I didn't care, cos it tasted fine!), so this is the best pic I've got where you can see the layers, before I put the bread and veg on the plate with it.

Product reviews

First up for review are Kallo's organic rice cake bites with belgian dark chocolate. These get awarded 6/10, they're a nice healthier-than-a-biscuit-but-not-quite-as-nice-as-the biscuit-would've-been snack. Perfectly tasty and edible but not something I'd go out of my way to get ahold of.
Next up, it says "the best" on the box and it really is the best houmous ever, Morrisons' own brand caramelised onion and roast garlic houmous. The caramelised onion gives it a lovely sweet kick- it loses a healthy point for being so sugary but it really does taste amazing, and you should try it. Here I've used it as a dip, but it also goes well in sandwiches. 9/10

I've used Nairns' black pepper oat bakes to dip in it, these are a lovely snack, far healthier than crisps or tortillas, lovely and crispy with a nice nip of black pepper and lemon to them. They also taste fine all by themselves. 8/10