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 :)