Thursday, 31 January 2008


Almond-quinoa muffins from Veganomicon, which are yummy, healthier than your average muffin and sugar-free, sweetened by agave nectar. I left out the dried fruit but theyre tasty enough without. Yum!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Tales of joy and woe from the kitchen...

I'll start with a tale of joy- raspberry-choco cookies from veganomicon made diabetic friendly! I halved the quantity and tested this out to see if it'd work. I simply used diabetic jam, subbed the sugar for agave nectar, and used a little more flour (maybe 1/2 cup-ish) and kneaded the extra flour into the dough till it seemed dough-like. It was still a bit stickier than it normally would've been, but I just dropped it onto the baking sheet in tablespoonfuls and baked it for a couple minutes longer, and the resulting cookies tasted perfectly nice, so I'd call this a success!
Another happy tale- Pizza has long been one of my favourite foods, and something I thought I'd miss on going vegan. I didn't miss it much at all as it happens, especially with vegan pizzas around! This here is simple but delicious- Vegan with a vengeance's pizza dough and tofu ricotta recipe with my own pizza sauce recipe and some shrooms. <3

Now for the tale of woe- and this is what makes cruelty free kitchen different from most food blogs with their pretty pictures and sucess stories, here you get to read the fuck-ups and see when things get ugly, for your amusement...

They're lemon cupcakes. Explosive lemon cupcakes. With double the baking powder they should really have. How did that happen?

Well, I never had any self-raising flour so I tried to make my own by adding extra baking powder to plain flour(FWIW the rule is 3 tsp of powder per 8oz plain flour), something I've successfully done loads of times in the past.

But I was having a blonde moment and between the mental arithmatic of halfing things down to make a smaller quantity, must have got confused and used almost double the baking powder... eep!

I discovered my mistake on eating the batter and thinking it was overly bitter and remembered what I'd done... I looked at my cakes to discover they were rather explosive-looking. I tasted a little to see if the finished product was any better than the batter, but alas, they tasted bogging too. I hate wasting food, but if it provides my readers with a laugh I'll share all here...

Friday, 25 January 2008

Happy Rabbie Burns Night! Vegan haggis FTW!

And to celebrate we had a tradtional dinner of vegan haggis of course(Macsweens brand- 4/5, I love it!) along with creamed neeps(that's turnip, aka swede or rutabaga, mashed up with a little Oatly cream), and VWaV roasted garlic brussels' sprouts. Yummy, and not just for Burns' night! Here's a close up view...
Yesterday I made Veganomicon's Prospect Park Potato Salad to have alongside my signature dish of tofu "quiche". It was a nice potato salad and I'd certainly make it again, but next time I'll cut down on the vinegary as I found it a bit stronger than I'd have liked.
For this dessert, I was inspired by a certain irritating TV chef's ad for a supermarket which you might be familiar with, where he uses natural yogurt, honey and dried cranberries to make a dessert. I veganized it by using Alpro Soya natural yogurt, and agave nectar to replace the honey. The cranberries are really sugary so Jay just had the yogurt and nectar since he's diabetic, while I sprinkled some on top. This is tasty and fairly healthy as desserts go!
Close up...

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Comfort food at it's finest! Plus a book review

That's how Isa and Terry describe their leek and bean cassoulet with biscuits (when they say biscuits, being british I always think of what the Americans would call cookies or graham crackers, but we'd call them dumplings over here, lol) from Veganomicon anyway, and with the suggestion it was the perfect food to come home to from a long hard rainy day, I decided to make some for Jay's dinner since he was on his way home from a hard day at the office this rainy day!

I've seen mixed reviews for this posted online, with some folk suggesting they found it tasty if a little bland, and others raving about it. Now, I'm a spice fiend myself as you know, so I decided to tweak this a bit by quadrupling(x4!) the crushed garlic, upping my pinch of crushed black peppercorns to a heaped teaspoon, and putting a pinch of rosemary and thyme into the biscuits. I've also used black eyed beans instead of navy beans, and this turned out very nicely indeed!

Next up is the mushroom and sundried tomato risotta, also by Isa but from her previous cookbook, Vegan with a vengeance. I really liked this, and I also reckon it's something I could serve to a fussy omni guest since there aren't any "weird, vegan" ingredients in it like tofu, nooch, or even beans and lentils!

Last up is creamy mushroom sauce from the Low-carb vegetarian by Rose Elliot. Only this isn't low carb anymore since I've used it as a pasta sauce instead of as a topping for tofu cutlets.

I must say I was unimpressed by the low carb diet, while it may be possible to follow it as a vegan, in terms of weight loss I only lost 3lbs in a fortnight anyway, and it was pretty restricted, plus I felt hungry all the time. I much prefer sensible healthy eating to faddy diets, and this one's no exception. The book was vegetarian, and heavy on the eggs and dairy, although Elliot offered suggestions for vegan variations for many of the recipes. It gets 2/5, but thats just because some of the recipes were actually really nice, but I'd rather buy another of this author's vegan-only recipe books on the merit of that than recommend this particular one.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Messy rice? It's supposed to be messy!

I've been perusing more recipes from the ole veganomicon lately, and under this stir fry(my own creation- if you can call it that!) of tofu, mushrooms, onion and pepper, lies some Messy Rice, the books' take on dirty rice. And my rice was very nice. I'll definitely be making this again.

Next up, my didn't-have-all-the-ingredients-but-give-it-a-bash-anyway take on Veganomicon's peanut sesame ginger cookies. I had no crystallised ginger so I left it out, and no brown rice syrup so I subbed agave nectar. You may be wondering why two have a lovely covering of sesame seeds, and the rest don't? Well, I kinda screwed up there! I'd covered all the cookies in sesame seeds, and was just about to put them in the oven when I licked the last wee bit of dough off the spoon, only to realise that nice though it was, I forgot to put the blimmin' sugar in- d'oh!

So I left two little sugarfree cookies there for the diabetic boyf to try, and rolled the rest of the dough up and added the sugar this time, so the sesame seeds are kind of through all the other cookies. The cookies were a delicious success despite that setback however, and the boyf even liked his sugarfree cookies, although my sweet tooth found them a little bland sans sugar. I'd definitely make them again and I can't wait to try them in all their glory complete with the crystallised ginger, since I love ginger!

Last but not least, a big bowl of Mac Daddy with broccoli. I enjoyed this and so did the boyf(enough that we both went back for seconds!) although it wasn't very mac-and-cheese-like to be honest, it was very pleasant and tasty in itself, but for a more authentic-tasting m'n'c I'd recommend New Farm Vegetarian for cheesiness or my own recipe in here (scroll down near the middle) for creaminess. This is, however, far healthier, more nutritious, and less fattening than the others I've mentioned however.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

More vegan nom nom nom goodies! And oatly cream review...

I made the quinoa-chickpea pilaf from Veganomicon, which is super-easy, healthy and really nice- Jay loved it and said it was the best thing he'd eaten in ages I'll definitely be making this again! The other dish in the bowl behind the pilaf is stir-fried braised tofu(from a tin) marinaded in soy sauce and garlic.

I also made the jelly donut cupcakes from the same book, which are really tasty but as you can see from the pic, the jam kind of exploded outta some of 'em! Oh, and it makes waaay too much batter for 12 cupcakes... not that I'm complaining at having to spoon the extra batter outta the bowl to eat before I wash it or anything! (In fact, that is something of a bonus :P)
Here's another yummy dessert, strawberries with oatly cream, which as you may have guessed from the name, is made from oats! This stuff's pretty tasty and gets 4/5 points.

Cheezly and my new tattoo!

I've reviewed the mozzarella-style super-melting before, but this mature white cheddar style is pretty tasty as well! Not sure if it could fool an omni, but who cares? It's nice just for itself! I've served it here on some oatcakes, which my boyf loves. I've also been having it heated on toast- it doesn't quite melt, but has a nice, almost halloumi-like texture when served this way. Compared to dairy cheese it's also a lot healthier- in fact Gillian McKeith- the TV holistic nutritionist- recommends it to cheese-loving dieters in her show! 5/5
A few days ago I had my 5th tattoo done! It's the UK vegan society's sunflower logo in case anyone's wondering. It was done by Kev at Tribe 2 in Glasgow, who assured me when I called in to enquire that they only use vegan inks. :) I'd recommend this tattooist to anyone looking to be inked. It was the least painful of my 5 tattoos and I put that down to his having a gentle touch! This is what I call commitment to my vegan lifestyle!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Vegan nom nom nom!

I got vegan nom nom, sorry, Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero for xmas from my lovely boyf, and have only just got round to road testing some of the recipes. I'll give the book a proper review once I've tried a few more out.

Above is some Chickpea Noodle Soup, which was quite nice. I never had any shrooms and Jay ain't too keen on them anyway, so I just left them out and used a little more carrot and onion. She said to adjust the miso (1/3 cup) to taste and use more if you like a stronger taste(!) but I only used 1/4 cup and found it pretty strong at that! It's pretty easy and I'd make it again. Yes, I should probably have wiped the bowl before taking the pic, but I was hungry and distracted!

Below are Terry's favourite almond cookies. Now, I love almond, I love cookies, and... I think I might love Terry for coming up with these! I'll definitely be making these again. I never had any sesame oil so I just left it out, and I never had any brown rice syrup so I just used maple, but they turned out beautifully anyway! As you can see from the pic, they really spread quite a lot when cooked.


These little cupcakes are a wacky cake mixture(I used the recipe from Easy Vegan Cooking by Leah Leneman) with a thick chocolate fudge icing(I used the recipe from The Cake Scoffer booklet by Ronny from Animal Aid, but used a little more cocoa and icing sugar till it was nice and thick and fudgy) and a few flaked almond pieces to garnish.

While my poor boyf Jay is a type 1 diabetic and cannot normally indulge in cake, his dieticians say it is okay to take a very occasional(like annual, for a birthday or xmas or something) "day off", by injecting extra insulin to cover the extra sugar intake. So he had a few of the cupcakes plus he fancied a sponge pudding too.

Now, I've never veganised sponge pudding before, but it was really incredibly easy! I used the Microwaveable Sponge Pudding recipe from the Cake Scoffer again. The result is pictured below. It was okay, but really sweet, so I couldn't eat a lot of it.