Sunday, 28 December 2008

Seasons' Eatings!

And a belated merry xmas to you all!

Now, these chickpea cutlets from the Veganomicon recipe weren't our actual xmas dinner, but they would have made a really nice one! I quadrupled the sage to give the flavour a nice hint of xmas stuffing and served it alongside some very festive cranberry sauce.

For our actual xmas dinner Jay and I went to his parents and had a very tasty vegetable soup with crusty rolls for starters(sorry there's no photos, I was too busy eating!) and a Redwoods' Celebration Roast for all of the non-meat eaters, served alongside all the trimmings(brussels' sprouts, roast tatties and parsnips, mashed turnip, cauliflour, carrots) for our main course.

For pudding we had a tasty vegan xmas pudding with squirty soya cream- yummy!

And after that- as if we weren't already well and truly stuffed!- we had this lovely black forest gateaux homemade by Jay's parents, pictured below for you to drool over...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

100th post, so here's some cake to celebrate!

Blogger is being weird and not letting me write directly under my first picture, so I'll just have to write here!

Since it's Jay's birthday in a few days, he wanted some cake to celebrate. (I think I may have mentioned this before, but he's type 1 diabetic so isn't normally allowed sugar, although his doctors have said to him that it's okay to take a little extra insulin and have a sweet treat on special occasions like birthdays and xmas etc). So I made the chocolate wacky cake with nut butter icing from How it all Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard. This may not be the fanciest cake in the world, but it was delicious, especially to a peanut butter lover like Jay!

The second picture is of Grassingtons' Beef-style peppered steaks from their new vegan Gardein range, which I'm gradually working my way through and taste testing, as you can probably tell from my last post! They were delicious and get full marks for taste, but sadly lose they some points for being very expensive at £1-99 and quite small, and don't make a very filling meal for all that money. 3/5

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Reviews for Grassingtons new vegan foods! And Over 150 Cookies!

Jay and i were quite excited when we came across new Grassingtons' vegan frozen foods in our local Morrisons' recently, so we bought some and have reviewed 'em for you! Above we have some Multigrain Vegetable Bakes, with "a healthy selection of fresh vegetables with nutritious cannellini and haricot beans into a crispy wholegrain, quinoa and oat crumb coating", served with roast potatoes, baby corn on the cobs and green beans.

These are quite nicely spicy and rather tasty and filling, so we'd definitely buy them again. Pricy, but not that bad, at £1-89 for a box of 4. We rate them 8/10.
We also bought some of these Beef Style Meatballs. They're super-easy to cook, you only have to heat them up in the microwave for a few minutes! They were quite pricey at £1-99 for a bag of 11, but they were really tasty. Another 8/10.

I served them with an Italian-style tomato-mushroom sauce, wholewheat spaghetti, and some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top(see photo below). Here's my sauce recipe...

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, sliced

125g sliced mushrooms

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 can chopped tomatoes

2tbsp tomato puree

1tbsp yeast extract (optional- gives a richer taste)

pinch of black pepper

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp thyme

-saute onion and garlic and mushrooms in olive oil until transparent

-add tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and herbs(and yeast extract if using), bring to the boil, simmer for 25 mins and serve! (Just stir in our preheated meatballs if you're having them with it)



There's over 150 chocolate chip cookies in those boxes! I made them for the Scottish Vegans' stall at the recent Bunnyhuggers' Compassionate Living Fayre a few weeks ago, and they seemed to go down well :)

I also handed out recipe leaflets for aforementioned cookies and variations, so here's the recipes for my readers...

2 and 1/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar (Tate and Lyle brand is vegan)
1/2 cup margarine (I use Pure)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2 tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla extract
A tiny drop of almond extract

· Sieve flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl

· In another large bowl, cream together the rest of the ingredients

· Combine both bowls and mix well

· Take tablespoonfuls of the cookie dough and place onto 2 baking sheets covered in greaseproof paper(makes about 30-ish) and flatten to about 1/2 cm thick, or alternatively roll out with a rolling pin and cut into shapes

· Bake at 200C for 12-15 minutes or until nice and golden, then leave to cool

A few variations…

For chocolate chunk cookies, take a 100g bar of vegan dark chocolate (I use Divine brand), break and slice it into bite-size chunks, before mixing through the cookie dough and baking as usual

For a Butter-cream-style filling to make Cream Sandwich Cookies

4 tbsp cup Pure margarine
2 tbsp soya milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 and 1/2 cups icing sugar

· Mix together the margarine, soya milk and vanilla, then gradually add the icing sugar until it's mixed through

· Spread "butter-cream" on just half of the cooled biscuits, then sandwich another biscuit on top, and then serve! :)

For a coconut sandwich variation, add 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut to the cookie dough before baking, and another 1/4 cup coconut to the "butter-cream” filling, and then assemble as usual.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

"Cheezy Peas" Risotto recipe, and jazzed-up oatmeal cookies

These are Veganomicon's chewy raisin-oatmeal cookies, but instead of using ordinary run-of-the-mill raisins, I used a mix of golden raisins and dried cranberries (in a bag from from Marks and Spencer) which are a lot sweeter, and doubled up the quantities for all of the spices, making these cookies extra sweet and spicy! I took these to Yahoo! Scottish Vegans' potluck yesterday.

This is a really easy and tasty risotto recipe! Serves 4

320g arborio rice
1 litre vegetable stock
2 onions, chopped
1 tin peas, drained and rinsed
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried basil
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/3 cup nutritional yeast, plus extra to garnish

-in a large saucepan over a medium heat, saute onions, and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes until onions become translucent
-add arborio rice and stir well, then pour stock in, and add basil, salt and pepper
-bring mixture to boil over a high heat, stirring continuously,then lower heat and simmer over a medium-low heat for about 20 mins until the rice absorbs almost all of the stock, continuing to stir
-add peas and heat for a few more minutes till they are warmed through
-take off heat, fold in nutritional yeast and serve, with a little more nutritional yeast sprinkled on top to garnish :)

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Yet another meme...

1. What was the most recent tea you drank?

Yogi tea's Choco flavour

2. What vegan forums do you post/lurk on? If so, what is your username? Spill!

I post on the Vegan Freaks' Forum and Yahoo! Scottish Vegans, also as Kris Dove.

3. You have to have tofu for dinner, and it has be an Italian dish. What comes to mind first?

Marinated italian-style tofu from Vegan With A Vengeance.

4. How many vegan blogs do you read on an average day?

Loads! I visit most through Planet Freak

5. Besides your own, what is the most recent one you’ve read?
Punk you Japan!

6. If you could hang out with a vegan blogger that you haven’t met, who would it be, and what would you do?

I'd like to eat out of an arty bento box with Peggy The Veggie at Vegan Teen Cuisine.


7. If you had to base your dinners for a week around one of the holy trilogy – tofu, seitan or tempeh, which would it be?

Definitely tofu, so adaptable.

8. If you had to use one in a fight, which would it be?

Well, seitan would be the heaviest...


9. Name 3 meals you’d realistically make with that tough protein of choice!

Chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon, seitan cutlets, served up as burgers, also from Veganomicon, or Bryanna Clark Grogan's "Neatballs"

10. What’s a recipe in vegan blogland that you’ve been eyeing?

Vegan Bear's Tiffin.


11. Do you own any clothing with vegan messages/brands on them?


Oh loads!
-an arty cows face with "if it's got a face I don't eat it" in light brown, ,
-a black t-shirt with "Go Vegan" in red letters and go-faster stripes on the arms, and
-a black vest with a pigs face that says "DON'T MESS WITH THE ANIMALS"
-a black "Meat is murder" from Viva,
-a grey one I bought in Cult clothing with a pig that says "we are friendly animals- don't eat us",
-a black one with the vegan society's logo which says "against animal tasting"
-and several ancient t-shirts I got when i was a teenage vegetarian, which I still a wear as pyjamas!

12. Have you made your pilgrimage to the 'vegan mecca' yet? (Portland, duh)

Nope, one day maybe.

13. What age did you first go vegan? Did it stick?

24, and yes, I'll never go back.


14. What is the worst vegan meal you’ve had? Who cooked it?

Some hotel I went to for my gran's birthday (cant remember the name) that never had anything for my main course, so i ended up eating other people side salads and chips! My aunt had called in advance to say there was a vegan in our party as well!

15. What made you decide to blog?
I started photographing a lot of things I'd made to post to vegan freaks' "food porn" albums, then decided my own blog would be a good place to show all the pics. That and everyone else was doing it! :P

16. What are three of your favorite meals to make?

Pizza with tofu ricotta, tomato rice soup with french baguette, or seitan cutlets


17. What dish would you bring to a vegan Thanksgiving-themed potluck?
I don't celebrate thanksgiving because I'm in the uk, but as far as I know thanksgiving meals are similar to xmas dinners?
When I go to potlucks I usually have to travel, and go by the "will travel well" rule, so maybe VWAV sparkled ginger cookies(I'm sure the author mentioned they were festive in the book?) and my mini-quiches, as they're party food.

18. Where is your favorite vegan meal at a restaurant?

I'm just loving Stereo's (Glasgow) tapenade and artichoke calzones and have ordered them the last couple of times I've been :)

19. What do you think the best chain to dine as a vegan is?

Wagamama's are really good as they've got a list for their waiters explaining what's suitable, or how it can be adjusted, to accomodate different diets, including vegan. I love their spicy tofu and veg dish with rice noodles replacing the veg. They even have sorbets and fresh fruit lollies available for dessert.

20. My kitchen needs a………
really powerful food processor

21. This vegetable is not allowed in my kitchen…..!
I don't have that rule, but Jay has one barring Aubergines(eggplant) from our kitchen!

22. What's for dinner tonight?

I've not decided yet, last night was tofu ricoota and broccoli calzones. Maybe a curry as i have poppadoms and loads of fresh veg?

23.What's a blog you read that has not yet been mentioned?

Skint Vegan

24.Add a question here!

What do you make that people always ask for more of?

(In my case, Jays' been asking for more French bread atm)

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Ooh la la!

This is a tasty, half-size(because my oven's only little!) French Baguette from Garden Of Vegan, using wholewheat bread flour for added healthiness. It was lovely and crusty, and really easy to make, so I'm definitely making this again soon! Jay and I scoffed the lot (with Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen's Tomato-rice soup) when it was warm out the oven, but I think I might try letting it cool next time and making into a garlic baguette...
For our entree we had this Kale and Cannelini bean dish from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, which was really quick and easy, as well as super-healthy. Because we'd had a big starter already I just served it on it's own, but it'd also be nice on top of pasta.

I can't give Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen enough praise! Jay is finding the handy nutritional info given at the end of every recipe to be really useful, as he's a type 1 diabetic and it lets him know exactly how much insulin he needs to inject for what he's eating. This would also be useful for anyone on a diet, and since the most of the book's chock-full of healthy recipes, it'd be a great buy if you're going on a diet.

I think I've already mentioned that it uses naturally vegan ingredients (rather than fake omni substitutes) in traditional mediterranean recipes, so this sets it aside from a lot of the other cookbooks on the market which try to recreate non-vegan dishes, making a nice change for vegans, and that also will probably make the foods more appealing to any omni friend or relative you're cooking for who might turn their nose up at the very idea of tofu (...often never having actually tried it, but that's a whole other story!)!

But tasty though healthy food may be, I still love my sugary treats, so I'll end this entry with a delicious Garden Of Vegan Carrot and Ginger Muffin, pictured above. I've adapted mine slightly replacing the nuts, because I didn't have any, with sultanas, and sprinkling the top with a dusting of icing sugar.

Friday, 17 October 2008

I found this quiz from Vegan Teen Cuisine blog.

1. Name a song that involves food in some way.
Caramel by Suzanne Vega

2. What criteria do you use when choosing a new cookbook to buy?
Recommendation of vegan friends, good reviews.

3. What did you eat today?
Granola with freeze dried strawberries, and a glass of OJ, since it's only 7am! Probably having lentil soup for lunch and a mixed veg stir fry for dinner though.

4. Name a vegan food that you know exists but you have never tried.
Truffles (too expensive!)

5. The Food Network just called and needs you to start your new show tomorrow. What will the title of the show be?
Kris's Cruelty Free Kitchen!

6. Favorite hot sauce or other spicy condiment?
Reggae Reggae Sauce

7. How old were you when you became vegetarian/vegan?
I went vegan at 24 in new year 2005, I'd already been a vegetarian since 1993 in high school!

8. Favorite vegan cheeze?
Cheezly Mozzarella-style

9. Cutest baby animal?
Kittens!!! (Ageism aside, cats are cute every bit as cute, and the grown-ups are less likely to be adopted from shelters...)

10. Favorite type of jam/jelly/marmalade/preserves?

Ginger jam!

11. Do you take any vitamins/supplements?
yepp, gotta make sure I get that B12 for sure!

12. What food/dish most embodies the Fall season?
Soup

13. What food would you have a hard time living without?
Soya or pasta or chocolate

14. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
coffee

15. It's 10PM and you're starving. What do you eat?
cookies or toast

16. If you have an animal companion, what is his/her favorite food?

Fudge The Cat likes any really smelly sachet of fishy cat food, ewwww!

17. Worst injury you've gotten in the kitchen?
Burning my arm when the lid spun off the blender when I was blending soup... and what a mess it made too!

18. When you have a food-related question, who do you call?
The Vegan Freaks Forums or Scottish Vegans!

19. Summer is ending- What food will you miss most?
Fresh strawberries, I know you can buy em all year round these days, but they're just not the same!

20. What snacks do you keep in your purse/backpack/desk at work?
I don't, I only work part time.

21. Favorite soup to make on a rainy day?
Tomato/risotto rice soup from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein

22. What's your favorite combination of fresh vegetable and/or fruit juices?
Mango, Orange, Apple, Ginger

23. Favorite brand of root beer?
Is it Geo Organics or something? The silver can

24. Make up your own question!
Favourite cupcake?

25. Hmmm....
The great debate: which do you prefer, tofu, tempeh, or seitan?
Tofu! It's soooo adaptable, you can make it into desserts like cheesecake or yogurts, as well as havung it savoury in tofu ricottas or quiches or scrambles, or stir-fried or baked... mmm!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Unlucky Black Cats and Black Dog Syndrome...

Quote from Start Seeing Black Dogs-

"Did you know that Black Dogs are generally the last to be adopted and are euthanised in shelters in much larger numbers? People may consider them too “plain”, think they are menacing, or simply don’t notice them because their dark color makes them disappear in their kennels. Those involved in animal welfare have dubbed this phenomena "Black Dog Syndrome.""


More info at Black Pearl Dogs.

The same is true for black cats, as well as other black animals. If you are considering adopting an animal from a shelter, please consider giving an often overlooked black-furred animal a good home!

Please repost this in your own website to spread the word!

(Image from www.icanhascheezburger.com)


Sunday, 5 October 2008

If I get fat then I'm blaming Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard...

...because their Garden Of Vegan cookbook has far too many delicious sweet recipes! Pictured above are their Coffee Break Muffins, which I've modified by adding half a cup of sultanas and sprinkling with icing sugar. These were delicious and really easy too. I used cornflour and water as the egg replacer as per one of their suggestions, since it's far cheaper than commercial egg replacer and does the job just as adequately for most baked goods.
These are cranberry almond cookies(well, mine are actually cranberry, almond and blueberry cookies since I had a bag of mixed dried cranberries and blueberries!). Lovely, and as they said themselves, the sweetness of the almonds and tartness of the cranberries balance one another beautifully!
Jay, my boyfriend, tried some of these cookies pictured above thinking they were chocolatey, but he was (pleasantly) surprised to discover they were actually gingery molasses cookies! Delicious.

This book also has loads of healthy recipes in it, so if you're trying to be healthy just avoid reading that naughty chapter near the end if you buy it!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

I turned 28 on Monday... :O

Which makes me feel old. :( But I did get some lovely prezzies, including a few kitchen-related ones which I'll blog about on here! :) These included what must be the cutest kitchen tool in the world, ever- a G'Rabbit pepper grinder!

I also got a couple of cookbooks, The New Farm Vegetarian cookbook and The Garden Of Vegan! I already have, and love, How It all Vegan by Garden of Vegan's authors, Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard. This sequel looks pretty impressive so far, and there's loads of things I'm looking forward to try out! Like it's prequel, it has a chapter on homemade toiletries and cleaners, which includes a recipe for making your own bath bombs! Can't wait to try that one out...

I'd already been introduced to the New Farm's legendary macaroni cheese recipe by Lelly at a potluck and made this recipe myself, so on the merit of that alone I was already impressed! This book was written way back in 1975, so it's even older than me, believe it or not. And it has photos of hippie-looking people too! Being re-published so many times you can still buy a copy now 33 years later says a lot! While it's vegetarian, rather than completely vegan, it does not actually have any dairy or eggs listed as ingredients in it's recipes, and the only non-vegan ingredient it lists is honey, and that can easily be substituted with agave nectar, golden or maple syrup anyway to veganise it!

It has a recipe for melty cheese for topping pizzas which I tried out with these mushroom pizzas, pictured below. It was yummy, although probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but I'd definitely make it again for a treat anyway! The cheese is also great on tortilla chips... which I ate before I remembered to photograph, sorry!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Vanilla "cream" sandwich biscuits recipe at last

For the biscuits...

2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar (Tate and Lyle brand is vegan)
1/2 cup margarine (I use Pure)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2 tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla extract
a tiny drop of almond extract

-sieve flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
-in another large bowl, cream together the rest of the ingredients
-add dry ingredients and mix well
-spoon tablespoonfuls onto 2 baking sheets covered in greaseproof paper(makes about 30-ish) and flatten to about 1/2 cm thick, or alternatively roll out with a rolling pin and cut into shapes
-bake at 200C for 12-15 minutes or until nice and golden, then leave to cool

For the "buttercream" filling

1/8 cup Pure marge
2 tbsp soya milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups icing sugar

-mix together the marge, soya milk and vanilla, then gradually add the icing sugar until it's mixed through

-spread "buttercream" on just half of the cooled biscuits, then sandwich another biscuit on top, then serve! :)

-for a coconut variation, as photographed in my last post, add 1/2 cup of dessicated coconut to the cookie dough, and another 1/4 cup coconut to the "buttercream", and (optional)replace soya milk with coconut milk



Monday, 15 September 2008

Tasty things!

First up are my experimental homemade coconut sandwich biscuits! I made coconut biscuits then sandwiched them together using a buttersque icing made from icing sugar, Pure vegan marge, coconut milk and vanilla esssence. I'll post up the recipe once I perfect it, it still needs a bit of tweaking!
Next up is Stromboli, from a recipe shared by friends from the Scottish Vegans group, after they'd brought their delicious creation to our potlucks and got everyone hooked! Here's the money shot below- and don't worry, there's no real meat or cheese, I've used Redwoods' Cheatin' ham slices and their mozzarella Cheezly.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

A tribute to Sophie :(


I am sorry to say my parents' guinea pig friend, Sophie, above, passed away yesterday. She had been unwell so was promptly took to the vet, who found she had an enlarged kidney, likely to be a tumour. My parents were forced to make the difficult decision to end her suffering. :(

Rest in peace, Sophie. :(

Monday, 8 September 2008

The vegan hundred!

I got this from http://twoveganboys.wordpress.com/ Apparently there’s the omnivore’s hundred out there and there should be a “vegan’s hundred” too! When it says something like "haggis" it means "vegan haggis" as there are vegan equivalents to these foods out there!

1) copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.

2) bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

4) post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.

5) pass it on!

1. natto
2. green smoothie
3. tofu scramble
4. haggis
5. mangosteen
6. creme brulee
7. fondue
8. marmite/vegemite
9. borscht
10. baba ghanoush
11. nachos
12. authentic soba noodles
13. pb&j sammie
14. aloo gobi
15. taco from a street cart
16. boba tea
17. black truffle
18. fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. gyoza
20. vanilla ice cream
21. heirloom tomatoes
22. fresh wild berries
23. ceviche
24. rice and beans
25. knish
26. raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. dulce de leche
28. caviar
29. baklava
30. pate
31. wasabi peas
32. chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. mango lassi
34. sauerkraut
35. root beer float
36. mulled cider
37. scones with buttery spread and jam
38. vodka jelly
39. gumbo
40. fast food french fries
41. raw brownies
42. fresh garbanzo beans
43. dahl
44. homemade soymilk
45. wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. stroopwafle
47. samosas
48. vegetable sushi
49. glazed doughnut
50. seaweed
51. prickly pear
52. umeboshi
53. tofurkey
54. sheese
55. cotton candy
56. gnocchi
57. piƱa colada
58. birch beer
59. scrapple
60. carob chips
61. s’mores
62. soy curls
63. chickpea cutlets
64. curry
65. durian
66. homemade sausages
67. churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. smoked tofu
69. fried plantain
70. mochi
71. gazpacho
72. warm chocolate chip cookies
73. absinthe
74. corn on the cob
75. whipped cream, straight from the can
76. pomegranate
77. fauxstess cupcake
78. mashed potatoes with gravy
79. jerky
80. croissants
81. french onion soup
82. savory crepes
83. tings
84. a meal at Candle 79
85. moussaka
86. sprouted grains or seeds
87. macaroni and “cheese”
88. flowers
89. matzoh ball soup
90. white chocolate
91. seitan
92. kimchi
93. butterscotch chips
94. yellow watermelon
95. chili with chocolate
96. bagel and tofutti
97. potato milk
98. polenta
99. jamaican blue mountain coffee
100. raw cookie dough

Clearly there's loads of vegan foods out there I've never even tried yet! I'm pretty much up for trying anything so long as it's vegan!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

From The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen

I've been trying out recipes from my new cookbook, Donna Klein's Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen and I'm quite impressed so far! The tomato-rice soup photographed above was gorgeous, and I'll definitely be making it again! It's a great book for pretty much everybody, from beginners to pros, it uses fairly easy to find ingredients for most of the recipes, and no fake meats etc, just traditional foods that happen to be vegan, so it's also good for any vegans who don't like omni-subs, or if you're cooking for omni guests who are a little freaked out by the whole idea of tofu! I give it a 5/5, and I'll be posting up some more pictures soon, so watch this space!
This here is a variation on the Enraged Penne, I've added a drained can of cannellini beans and some broccoli to make a balanced meal, and used extra-healthy spelt pasta. I thought this was absolutely delicious, but Jay found it a little too spicy. Spice wimp... :P
Last but not least, this isn't from MVK, it's an experimental chilli I made using tamarind and marmite instead of my usual chocolate, cocoa or molasses to add flavour, and it worked quite well indeed. :)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped,
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup frozen Vegemince
4 tbsp tomato puree
1 can red kidney beans, or other beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp marmite
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp crushed chillis

-saute onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent

-add tin of chopped tomatoes, vegemince, tomato puree, chilli flakes, tamarind, marmite and curry powders
and bring to the boil,

- add beans, then simmer for 20 mins and serve!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I've been eating lots of ethnic-inspired food lately...

First up is the mushroom and chickpea curry recipe from the vegan society's new recipe leaflet which I got with my copy of The Vegan magazine. It was gorgeous, yet really simple. I just tried to look for a link for a PDF for it, but seemingly it's not up yet. But seeing as how it's a leaflet they wish to be distributed as widely as possible, I'm sure they won't mind if I copy the recipe(with my commentary and variations in brackets!) on here for my readers!

1 large onion, chopped (I used 2 red onions!)
2 tbsp vegetable ghee, or oil (I used sunflower oil)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (I used 3!)
2 large tomatoes, chopped (I used half a tin of chopped tomatoes instead!)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
chilli powder, or finely sliced red chilli to taste(I used chilli flakes)
1 420g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
500g mushrooms, sliced (I only had a 250g punnet, so that's all I used)
2-3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped (I used 2 tsp dried coriander leaf instead)

-fry onion in oil over medium heat until soft, then add garlic and tomato
-after 2-3 mins, stir in salt, spices, then add chilli, chickpeas, shrooms, and 2 tbsp water
-simmer with lid on till shrooms are soft(about 10-15 mins)
-mix half the coriander leaves then sprinkle the rest on top before serving. If you prefer more sauce add some tomato puree with a little vegetable stock and adjust the seasoning.



Next up is the tamarind lentils from Veganomicon, served here with coconut rice inspired by Alternative Vegan. This was delicious! It's the first time I've tried cooking with tamarind, but it definitely won't be the last! I planned to eat the leftovers for tomorrow's lunch, but... there weren't any! :P
These things here are rambutan stuffed with pineapple (and they're from a tin, which I bought from Tesco's exotic foods section). I first tried (and fell in love with!) rambutan in Wah Wah's Thai Noodle Bar, when I was in Blackpool. This was the first time I've spotted them available to buy anywhere since, and these tinned ones are absolutely lovely. It's hard to describe rambutan, but do try it, it's delicious!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Cookin' with kale...


Kale seems to be an important part of the vegan diet going by other vegan food bloggers' blogs, but although I've tried it a few times and thought it was okay, I've (shockingly!) never before now cooked with it, because I've rarely seen it available to buy round this neck of the woods, and because I've been quite happy with the other leafy greens in my life, I've never felt particularly inclined to hunt it down.

But when I came across a bag of organic curly kale quite by accident( in Asda; we usually go to Morrisons or Sainsbury's these days) I had to buy it. I made a braised tofu, kale and sundried tomato stew(inspired by the braised seitan, kale, brussels and sundried tomato stew in Veganomicon) pictured here, with roast potatoes, which was quite delicious. The following night I finished the bag of kale by putting it in a tofu, kale and bell pepper balti with quinoa, (not pictured because the photos I took never turned out well, sorry!) I'll definitely be buying kale again. :)

In other (exciting?) news, I got a voucher from Amazon, which I've put towards buying 3 new vegan cookbooks - The Mediiterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein, Vegan Feasts by Rose Elliot, and Vegan Cooking; Recipes for Beginners by Eva Batt. Their estimated arrival is on Wednesday, so new dishes and reviewscoming soon, watch this space!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Yahoo! Scottish Vegans' potluck goodies...

Here is a large broccoli, sundried tomato and onion eggless tofu quiche, with a litter of baby sundried and tomato quiches! My own recipe mini quiches are one of my potluck staples, so when I made these the night before I just added more ingredients and made a big one for Jay and my dinner while I was at it.

I also made some of Terry's favourite almond cookies from Veganomicon for dessert. :)

Friday, 1 August 2008

Apparently my blog is Brillante...

According to Lelly at Lelly's Vegan Kitchen who nominated it!

Ok, so the banner's up and her blog's linked, so what i have to do now is nominate 7 more blogs for the award. And the nominees are, in no particular order...

1 DJ over at Skint Vegan...

2 Jillian at Bitchin' Vegan Kitchen ...

3 Tori at Herbivious...

4 Pamela and Sarah at Punk You!

5 Peggy The Veggie at Vegan Teen Cuisine

6 Kristin at Beans And Greens

7 ...and last but not least, Nancy at Veganica!

I'd better go leave comments on their blogs to tell them! Go check the links out! :D

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Chickpea cutlets again!


I love this Veganomicon recipe after trying it fried, because as I said in my previous post, I found them slightly dry when baked, but frying them made them absolutely gorgeous. This is very quick and easy to make, and I think it's quickly going to become a cruelty free kitchen household favourite. :) Served here with baby potato salad made with Plamil vegan mayo and dill, and mixed Italian-style salad leaves.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Bananas...and Fudge!

This week I had a massive bunch of bananas...

Bananas are the perfect accompaniment to the world's easiest vegan crepe recipe(below). Although any healthiness bananas added to my plate is balanced out by the obscene amount of maple syrup I drizzled on top...

(Makes 2-3 10" pan-sized thin pancakes or more or thicker smaller ones)

300ml soya milk
100g of plain or wholemeal flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla essence

a little vegetable oil


- blend or whisk all ingredients except the oil till frothy

- wipe the oil onto a preheated pan, then pour enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan, wait till it all the batter is "dry"(should only take a few minutes) before attempting to flip it or it will fall apart!

-flip and fry other side of pancake for a minute or so, then serve



This here is banana bread from Dino Sarma's Alternative Vegan which I've made loads of times before. I've sprinkled sugar on top this time to make it more cake-like. Sadly, sugar is not the best thing for a type 1 diabetic like my boyfriend Jay to be eating, even though the scent of freshly-baked banana bread was so tempting he took a little extra insulin so he could indulge... naughty boy!

...but wait! Now this banana bread can still be successfully made by subbing the 3/4 cups of sugar for 1/2 cup of agave nectar! Here's the sugar free version below...

And last but not least, here's a photo of Fudge (The Cat, that is... you weren't expecting a veganised version of fudge after all those sweet banana dessert thing were you?)

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Meet Rosie and Sophie...

These gorgeous guinea-pig ladies are Sophie, left, and Rosie, right. But no, they don't live with me(don't think that'd be safe anyway with Fudge-puss running around my flat!) but with my mum. Posted here because all vegans love looking at cute critters :)

Now for a step-by-step pie...

This is the Graham Cracker Pie Crust from How it All Vegan. Only I've used the british answer to American graham crackers, Morrisons own brand "Value" Sweetmeal Digestive biscuits. (Note; not all digestive biscuits are vegan, some, usually the more expensive shops-own ones and McVities, contain whey powder-from cows' milk- so do be sure to check the ingredients first. AFAIK Asda's cheaper own brand are vegan too btw).
The pie filling is Everyday Dish's Chocolate Espresso Truffle Pie- this website has a brilliant selection of vegan cookery shows- check it out!

Then I sprinkled chopped toasted almonds on top and put it in the fridge overnight. I've yet to taste-test it so watch this space...
I've made this Italian Marinated Tofu from VWAV before, but this time I used the leftover marinade to bake some mushrooms in (for 15 mins at 220C) and they turned out lovely.
And last but not least, Veganomicon's chickpea cutlets, served here with some broccoli and roast baby potatoes. I ate this with some ketchup, I baked mine as the book said you could do this and thought they were okay, if a little on the dry side, so I think I'll try frying them next time.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Devilishly tasty seitan cutlets!


No, don't panic, it's not meat, although Jay and I both thought our seitan cutlets looked scarily like a piece of dead animal when we saw them! It doesn't taste as we vaguely remember corpse tasting either, for it's a lot less chewy. It is, as I mentioned in the title, devilishly good though! (I do believe there's a law somewhere on the internets which states anything written about seitan must contain a poor satan pun? Right..?)

I used Veganomicon's recipe, then as they suggested, dredged the prepared cutlets in flour and fried them. This is my first attempt at making my own seitan using gluten flour(although I have tried ready-made vegan foods using it before) and I'd definitely do it again. It's very simple to make, although it is fairly time cionsuming and creates a lot of dishes(!), so it's probably best to make large batches so you can refridgerate the leftovers and use later.

I bought my gluten flour from a friend at the Yahoo! group, who'd bought a large batch of bags from the flour bin website for all in the group who were interested in buying some, so we could all save money on postage. If you have other vegan friends, then this is a great idea for ordering these hard to find items online. :)

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Potluck muffins and super-easy tomato, bean and herb pasta sauce recipe

Yesterday I went to a meetup and potluck with the Yahoo! Scottish Vegans group where I got fed lots of yummy food! Sadly I forgot to bring my camera with me, but I took a photo of my own contribution before I went.

I made two kinds of muffin, Apple Pie Crumble ones from Vegan with a Vengeance, right(I used white sugar because I'd ran out of brown for the crumbly topping, they still tasted okay but the brown sugar they advise does work a lot better), and chocolate chunk muffins, left. The chocolate chunk ones were adapted from the cherry-almond recipe from the same book, by omitting the cherries and almonds, and replacing them with a bar of chocolate diced into small chunks, and replacing the almond essence with vanilla essence.

This is a really quick and easy pasta dish, with italian style herbs and pinto beans.

Cook 250g wholewheat pasta according to instructions.

Dice 2-3 onions, crush 3-4 garlic cloves, then saute both in 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over a hot hob, until onions are transclucent. Add a can of chopped tomatoes, 140g tomato puree(about 6 heaped tbsps), 1tsp oregano, 1tsp basil, 1/2 tsp thyme, a few pinches of sea salt and ground black pepper and stir sauce. Bring to the boil, then turn down temperature to simmer.

Drain and rinse a can of pinto beans(any kind of bean would work really) and add them, plus the cooked pasta to the sauce. Stir through then serve!

You might want to adjust this recipe by adding sundried tomatoes, or any kind of vegetable that takes your fancy :)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Mmmm caaaake...!

This here yummy cake is from How It All Vegan, using the recipes for the Auntie Bonnie's Wacky Cake and the Maple Butteresque icing, with some walnuts on top to garnish. And it tastes as good as it looks!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Back from Blackpool!

Just back from my hols to Blackpool with Jay!

Sadly we never got to go to the all-vegan wildlife hotel that we'd booked over a month in advance after all On booking, the hotel owner asked us to call in the event that anything come up and we couldn't make it for any reason so she could rent out the room- which of course I would have done anyway.

Shame really that she couldn't take her own advice, because when we called on the morning to say we'd be arriving after 6pm, she asked if we could come later in the month instead? Apparently her companion dog had been ill a few weeks ago and so no staff were working in the hotel atm, and fair enough, it's understandable that these things happen- but we wouldn't have minded so much if someone from the hotel had at least been professional enough to give us a call and let us know all those weeks ago so we had more time to make alternative arrangements!

She said over the phone that perhaps she'd be able to let us just stay in the room at a discounted rate if we were unable to find alternative accomodation and that she could give us a call back later so I said I'd call if if we couldn't find anything else, though luckily we were able to find somewhere else at the short notice with less than half an hour to go before we left for our trains- the omni Chequers Plaza hotel. While it was a bit more expensive and had little in the way of vegan options, although to be fair we didn't actually expect any at such short notice, we did get a room with a great view, as you can see from our first pic! Although if we'd had more time we'd probably have tried to find self-catering holiday flats with a kitchen, or went to another entirely vegan hotel altogether in a completely different location.

However, we still had a good time anyway despite all the stress of sorting this out at the beginning, and Blackpool was a very nostalgic holiday for us since we'd both been there as kids
And, we've decided that we're going back as we've got a hot date in 2033 to visit Blackpool when we're older! :D

If anyone's looking for a good place to eat with vegan options in Blackpool, we can personally recommend Michael Wan's Mandarin, where they made us a vegetarian banquet, making it vegan by replacing the egg fried rice with boiled rice, or Wah Wah's Oriental Noodle Bar, and their gorgeous, but spicy Tofu and chilli dish with which my Jay has officially lost his spice wimp title by gobbling all up!

Let the holiday pics commence!
Jay bumped into Gordon Ramsay at Louis Tussaud's Waxworks but wasn't too happy to see him... btw, does anyone know what kind of wax waxwork figurines are made from? Never occured to us till later that it might possibly be non-vegan beeswax or something... :( I googled but couldn't see anything...


Here's one of me beside the seaside- please excuse the messy hairdo- it was windy!
Another from the waxworks of me dispensing some good advice on my T-shirt to Hannibal Lecter...